Thursday, December 30, 2010

Four Years Ago Today...

I married my true love on December 30, 2006. Four years has gone by so fast! We've been through 1 Apartment, 1 House (and counting...hopefully), 3 dogs, 1 European Vacation (with one more to go!), Four Jobs, 1 Dead Ford Focus, 31 Trips to the Doctor, a LOT of trips to the Vet, and Countless Wonderful Memories.  And we're just getting started!

I Love you Scott.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

DIY Craft: Tiered Cupcake or Dessert Stands

This is a craft I've wanted to share forever but couldn't because they were Christmas gifts, and I didn't want to spoil all the surprises!  The link to the original tutorial is here at Givers Log.  If you're following along the tutorial in the link you will need:

• A Drawer Pull - Hobby Lobby was a good resource for me, of course
• A Hollow Candlestick or pieces of candlesticks with a hole through the center
• A few melamine or ceramic plates you think look good together with your drawer pull.  I used melamine plates from Target.
• A drill and different sized bits.
• An allthread that matches the size of your drawer pull.
• Paint and Primer (Optional)

I'll be darned if I could find a single candlestick that was hollow all the way through. I probably unscrewed every brass candlestick at the large antique store downtown, but I had no luck.  So all I used was the plates, a candlestick where the base unscrewed, a drawer pull, the drill, and paint.  You can leave your candlestick the metal color, but I wanted them to look a little bit more modern, so I spray painted all my candlesticks either white or red.

Instead of using the allthread, I had Scott drill holes in all the base plates so that I could just screw the candle back together with the plate in between.  Then Scott drilled a hole for the drawer pull in the top plate and I just hot glued it directly to the top of the candlestick. 

It defeats the purpose of having the tiers be interchangeable, but if anyone finds candlesticks that are hollow all the way through the bottom - send them my way!  I made four of these cupcake/dessert stands.  I like how they're all different.  Enjoy this craft and let me know if you find any good hollow candlesticks for this project and where the heck you found them!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Back to Work...

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break.  We had four Christmases in four days!  It was quite the whirlwind tour of Kansas.  Some of the highlights included:

1. Christmas Eve with my in-laws in Wichita - a pretty candlelight Christmas Eve Service with a living nativity  ("Look, Grandma! There's a chicken!") and my four year old nephew who got to hold his own candle...scary.

2. A yummy Christmas Day Dinner made by my Grandpa who is quite the chef.  He made Chicken Elegant and we helped with the sides by making my favorite strawberry spinach salad.

3. The day after Christmas we drove most of the day back to KC and spent the evening with my Dad and Sisters opening gifts and watching funny videos on YouTube.  And also teaching my Dad how to use his new iPod. . . Hope you were able to get your Toto CD on there, Dad!

4. On Monday we spend the afternoon at the Shawnee Mission Urgent Care Center because I couldn't get an appointment to see my doctor about horrible chest pains I was having all weekend.  So I spent an hour in the waiting room to finally be diagnosed with Pleurisy.  I got my Z-Pack and Pain Killers and was on my merry way to spend the last celebration at my Grandma's house.  It was a quick trip for us so I could go home and rest!  Here's a lovely picture of me in the doctor's office.  Isn't my husband hilarious? < / sarcasm>

Hopefully you all got some wonderful gifts and got to spend some quality time with your families and friends. . .and I especially hope it was chest-pain free!

On another note, here's a relevent article I found this morning about the crafting renaissance.  This quote from the article sums up my feelings perfectly:

"I think young people are crafting because our generation is more computer-oriented than ever, so it's even more important to us to break away from that while we aren't at work and create."

So enjoy your break if you're still off, but I'll be back to work today!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Decorations

This is my last post until after the holidays, so I figured I'd share all of my holiday decorations.  Keep in mind our house is bitty, so there's not a whole lot of room to decorate, so I do the best I can.  What I really need is a mantle!  Here are some of my decorations this year:

1. My DIY yarn and felt wreath on our front door.  Luckily it's protected by our glass storm door so it stays nice but it still completely visible.

2. Our little bathroom always needs something. The wire snowman was a $4 Hobby Lobby find and the wire tree was 99¢ at Walgreens.

3. Our Tree (camera flash on).  It's a prelit 7' tree.  Perfect for the size of our house and ceilings! 

4. Our tree (camera flash off - thus the blurry).  I wanted to show how pretty it was all lit up. 

5. Some of my DIY packaging I did this year - now with presents inside!

6. This crazy white thing is a tree branch I found in our yard (probably from one of our huge Elm trees) wrapped in white yarn, placed in a milk glass and covered in big silver star ornaments.  It's a little Tim Burton, but I like it.

7. Coffee table.  More gold wire trees, candles, a big oval bowl with gold ornaments and our Christmas cards we've received so far!

I hope all your holidays are merry and bright!  Enjoy your time with your loved ones!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Paper Snowflakes

Via Martha Stewart

One of the easiest decorations to do for the holidays is paper snowflakes.  Super easy and a fun project to do while watching Christmas movies.  String a bunch of little ones together with some twinkle lights and you have elegant garland.  I like to make mini snowflakes using tracing paper since it's see-through, but sturdier than tissue paper.  Here's the tutorial for cutting single snowflakes.

Also, for last year's holiday party at work, I made these really large snowflakes to hang from the ceiling.  Enjoy!

And if you need some more paper snowflake ideas, you know Martha always has a few ideas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another Awesome Gift

I feel so blessed that I've already gotten some amazing Christmas gifts!  I love the holidays! Yesterday, I received a gift from my sweet Grandpa.  My Grandma passed away this past June, and she collected teacups and their saucers from around the world.  These particular teacups came from Canada.  The poinsettia one is my favorite.

They're not part of a set, so they're all slightly different, but don't they look like they belong together?  I'm too nervous to drink out of them because they're dainty and I am...well....not.  If anyone has any good display suggestions, I'm open to them.

I hope you have a lovely weekend, dear readers!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Gifts...Or Why I Will Never Win

So, Scott and I exchanged our Christmas gifts last night.  Why, you ask?  Well, for no other reason other than we get excited and want to give the other person their gift.  We never make it very long once we have each other's gift before we give in and exhange them.  This year, I got Scott this jacket:

and this woodburned art of Heath Ledger as the Joker from Etsy seller BaconFactory (because the boy loves himself some Batman):

 So I got him what I thought were pretty cool things.

What did he get me?  Oh, just 16 years of memories or so.  He spent three months putting every VHS tape of every ballet recital, choir performance, vocal recital, pom routine, etc. onto DVD for me.  Seriously, everything my family had on some really crappy video tapes onto 8 new, easy-to-navigate DVDs.  So awesome.  And while it's embarrasing to relive some of my worst hair moments and awkward years (for there were many), it seriously is the BEST gift.  And I know that Christmas is not about who gets the best gift and it's not about competition, but COME ON!  I will never win. So here's a cute picture of my hubby for your viewing pleasure:

He's laughing in triumph.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Unique Wreath Round-Up

I love non-traditional holiday wreaths, as evidenced by my previous post on DIY Yarn and Felt Wreaths.  Here are some other options I think are clever and look lovely. Most of these are easily DIY as well!

Wine Cork Wreath Via Etsy - Lizzyjoedesigns.  You could leave this one up all year in your dining room or bar.

I love the single color scheme in this felt creation from Etsy.  It's also one you could easily DIY with lots of felt and pins and a styrofoam wreath.  Via Etsy - Lillyblossom.

The look of this Marshmallow Wreath makes me want to drink some hot chocolate.  If you have dogs, though, you'd have to hang this one very high.  I can see both of our pups sitting underneath this one for hours just staring at it. Via

Little Presents.  Via

This one is just paper doilies and white lights, but the effect is very romantic.  Via

Clothespin Wreath - a fun way to display all those Christmas Cards. Via

This pretty wreath is made from sheet music.  Via Etsy - RiriCreations

I've seen lots of these ornament wreaths this year and I'm always impressed.  Very glam.  I also like the color combination of this one - reminds me of a peacock.  Via Etsy - Catatonic9

This is a DIY wreath - perfect for those of you who have a HUGE ribbon stash.  The woman that made this used a foam wreath form, pins, and lots of ribbon. Via

Have any great non-traditional wreath ideas?  I'd love to see them!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Parties!

Tonight I'm going to my husband's company Christmas party.  They have a fun theme this year: black and white.  And while I've already got my dress, I thought I'd round up some of my favorite black and white looks from my favorite shops around the web!  Stay warm this weekend, lovely readers!

The Conservative - via BCBG

Universally Flattering with Black Tights - via French Connection

Elegant - via J Crew

Sophisticated and Unique - via ModCloth

For the Sporty Tomboy - via ModCloth

For the Corporate Rockstar - via VeryUK

For the Hippy / Rockabilly / Vintage Lover - via Ruche

Thursday, December 9, 2010

DIY CRAFT: Recycled T-Shirt Necklace

I saw some of these that were similar on Etsy and decided to try for myself.  This technique could be used for making headbands as well with these braided flower embellishments.  Have fun!  You will need: 1.) Fabric strips 2.) A Hot Glue Gun 3.) Ribbon and 4.) Scrap felt (optional).

1. Cut three lengths of T-shirt fabric.  I used an old red t-shirt and another shirt that had some sparklies on it. Knot all three lengths at one end.

2. Braid all three lengths of fabric together and knot at the other end.

3. Start wrapping the braided piece in a spiral around one knotted end, hot gluing the flower together as you go along.  Make however many flowers you want for your necklace or headband. 

4. I then arranged my flowers in the pattern I wanted them and glued them together.  You can glue them all to a piece of felt backing if you want for a little more stabilization.

5. Add cut ribbon to the back of the necklace, and you're done! Be sure to use a lighter or a no-fray substance on your ribbon so it doesn't fray.  I didn't have any thicker ribbon, which I think would look a lot better.  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go back to Hobby Lobby.  Oh the horror!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shopping Frenzy for the holidays always makes me want to shop more.  With all the running around to the mall, online store shopping, etc., it's inevitable that I'll find thing I want for myself.  Like, quite simply, this dress:

French Connection Penelope Dress
However, do I have an extra $250 laying around for a dress?  I don't think so...  Oh holidays, you are a conundrum...

But it's ok, because I LOVE spending money on presents for other people and watching their faces opening gifts I took great care to pick out.  It's more rewarding than shopping for myself any day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Paris or a House?

So, we've been trying to save up for a house...but our home has been on the market for a while now and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon.  So...maybe we should take that money and go to Paris instead?  I was reading some other blogs this past week and saw some photos of this woman's trip to Paris, and it made me want to go SO BAD! 

We went to Italy and Greece last summer, so I think we're due for another European vacation.  What should we do?  Save the money for a house or go to France?  Check out these lovely photos from photographer Nicole Hill Gerulat.  She has more on her beautiful site.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Etsy Gift Guide Part II - The Ladies

Welcome to part 2 of my first annual gift guide.  These ideas are for the womenfolk.  And of course, we're focusing on Etsy as our source of great gifts - handmade and unique vintage items!
Price Range: Up to $25

1. Sample pack of 5 Gourmet Hot Chocolates - $5.  You can't go wrong with chocolate.  Choose from flavors like Peppermint and Caramel Vanilla.  Offered by MereCreations.

2. Ginger Spice Body Scrub - $9.  These single use sugar cube-shaped body scrubs look good enough to eat, but I wouldn't recommend it!  Loaded with cocoa butter to soften the skin, avocado and olive oils to condition and moisturize, and of course, pure cane sugar to scrub and polish.  Offered by FlourishBathBody.

3. Red Feather Headband - $12.50.  I love the embellished headband craze, I even own a...few.  However, there is a fine line between sophistication and just looking like, well, a big baby.  Go for the sophisticated angle with this red feather embellished head band from LovMely.

Price Range: Up to $50

4. Le Pagase Feedsack Pillow - $35.  Ok, I know there are about a bajillion pillows on Etsy.  I happen to like this one.  Offered by TickingandToile.

5. Set of 3 Birch Vases - $39.50.  These would look gorgeous on a holiday table filled with tall votive candles and flowers.  I'm loving the natural look of wood more and more.  These are from NHWoodsCreations.

6. Prenite and Aquamarine Sterling Silver Necklace - $48.  This handmade ethereal piece is a beautiful and unique statement that can be worn year-round. From SleepyMoonDesign.

Price Range: Up to $100

7. Austrian Crystal and Black Satin Cuff - $55.  Perfect for those holiday parties, a great way to dress up a more casual outfit as well..  From LaClaire.

8. Cream Moss Stitch Cowl - $68.  I included a cowl in the men's gift guide, and I had to include one for the women as well.  They just look so cozy and warm!  Perfect for those cold days.  This one is from KnitFrekkles.

9. Handmade Knitted Bag in Gray and Coral - $80.  I can't tell you how beautiful I think this color combination is.  Plus, in this particular shop, they have about every combination of colors in this bag you can think of! I'm also fond of the gray with red ribbon and the turquoise with silver ribbon.  Offered from NzLBags.

Price Range: To the Moon

10. 1 Carat Cushion Cut Diamond Ring in 14k Gold - $8,750.  Okay, Okay.  I know.  But we can all dream, right?  Plus, how gorgeous is that cushion cut diamond?  I love a unique piece of jewelry - especially one as exquisite as this.  I also love that this company is eco- and world-conscious and makes sure their diamonds are blood-free.  Check out their shop at OneStoneNewYork.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On The Menu: Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Image Via Martha Stewart
Yeah, I know what you're all thinking, "No more food!"  I realize we're all in a food induced stupor still from Thanksgiving, but I had to share what I made for Thanksgiving dessert.  I made THIS triple chocolate cheesecake from Martha Stewart.

It was my first cheesecake and experience with a springform pan.  The process was a little more involved than I'm used to, but I got rave reviews.  And if I do say so myself, it turned out pretty darn good.  Be sure to eat SMALL slices, because this is one rich dessert.  Here's mine (as always, not as pretty as Martha's):

I didn't take pictures of the process because I was so busy trying to get everything right, I didn't want to take any focus away and ruin dessert.  I added the strawberries to cut through the richness of all that chocolate.  Next time, raspberries!  I didn't find any chocolate wafer cookies, so I substituted chocolate graham crackers for the crust.  It turned out fine.  I also made the filling with a hand mixer instead of a food processor.

I enjoy the two dogs waiting patiently for me to drop them a little morsel.  It was actually the strawberries they wanted most.  You can see the yummy crust in this picture.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Men's Gift Guide

Here is Part One of my FIRST ANNUAL GIFT GUIDE!  Are the men in your life hard to shop for?  They are in mine!  They never tell me what they want.  I think part of it is because the things they want are usually expensive (think TVs, Video Game Consoles, iPhones, etc.).  Well, I decided to pull all of my gift ideas for the gift guide from Etsy this year.  We should support homemade and small businesses. Plus, all of these gifts aren't usually things you can get at WalMart at 4am.  So, without further ado, some manly gifts...

Price Range: Up to $20

1. Balsam & Cedar Wood Scent Natural Soybean Candle - No frilly vanilla for these manly men!  Plus, these are vegan and eco-friendly.  Every dude needs a nice candle that doesn't inlcude the word "freesia" anywhere.  Plus, at only $5.50, this is a steal.  Offered by Pure Palette.

2. Dark Brown Retro Leather Cuff - It's hard to find "jewelry" that many men would wear. You can't really go wrong with a simple leather cuff.  Only $6!  Offered by GoodLife00.

3. Deer Design Felted Men's Soap - The wool around this soap acts as an exfoliator, which guys need but don't realize it.  Most of them don't want to buy the pink soap "poufs" with girly smelling bath gel.  Problem solved for $16.  Plus, these last much longer than a regular bar of soap.  Offered by Sofino.

4. 6 oz. Bicycle Design Flask - for the lush in your life.  Or those, like my hubby, who prefer their fine gins.  This particular flask will run you only $18.  Offered by WhimsyandInk.

5. Recycled Record Drink Coasters - These modern square coasters are made from old records.  Great for the man cave - don't let the beer cans ruin your nice wood bar!  Or your wife's coffee table.  These coasters will run you $20 for a set of four.  Offered by Retired Records.

Price Range: $25 - $50

1. Funny Mustache Wallet - Because it makes me laugh for only $25! Offered by MartyMay.

2. Darth Vader Wood Burned Art - Definitely more interesting than a movie poster, this is an affordable and unique piece of original art.  There are lots more movie related pieces in this shop from Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter.  If your guy likes Star Wars (and really, who doesn't?), this should be perfect for only $35!  Offered by BaconFactory.

Price Range: $75 and Up

1. Hemp Laptop Sleeve - A stylish way to protect your laptop.  This one will run you $75 and is offered by PackandSmooch.  All-natural!

2. Taupe Infinity Scarf - Yes, you'll always see those guys wearing shorts during the winter, but I bet they're dying inside.  Guys need to be cozy and warm, too!  This hand knitted infinity scarf is $75 and is offered by SmittenKittenOrig.

3. Tweed Messenger Bag - for the Dapper Gentleman :).  This bag runs around $113.  Just don't let him wear it with a tweed jacket - that would be tweed overkill.  This bag is made from recycled suits. Offered by SewMuchStyle.

Hope you enjoyed Part 1 - Stay tuned for the Ladies' gift guide later this week!

Cyber Monday!

Welcome back!  I hope everyone had a lovely and relaxing Thanksgiving break.  I know I did, but of course it never feels long enough.  Was anyone crazy enough to get up at 3 am for any of the Black Friday deals?  Not me.  I'm a dedicated online shopper!  So, in honor of Cyber Monday, I've added a few more watercolors to the Etsy shop.  Get them while they're hot!  Original art makes a wonderful holiday gift and is so much more unique than an iPod :).  And AFFORDABLE original art is even harder to come by, so check out the new pieces.  You can click the Etsy button on my sidebar or CLICK HERE to view all my paintings for sale.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I'm Thankful For

Just wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving filled with lots of comfort food.  Hopefully you stay away from any crazy shopping madness and there are no trampeling deaths this year.

Here's a quick list of things I'm thankful for.  But mostly, I'm thankful that in this economy with so many people struggling, that my husband and I have a warm home that's not in foreclosure and steady jobs.  I know all that could change in a heartbeat, but I'm hopeful things will continue to get better for this country and the people who are truly suffering.  We're good here in America at pulling ourselves out of whatever mess we've landed in, and we can do it again!

And The Winner Is...

Janice is our lucky winner of the handmade yarn and felt wreath!  Congratulations!  Check back for more giveaways in the future.