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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Five Fab Handmade Finds: Gift Tags

This Tuesday, for my 4th edition of "Five Fab Handmade Finds", I am featuring five fabulous handmade sets of gift wrap tags. I'm a sucker for a handmade or hand-printed greeting card, but these tags make for an even more affordable and unique option to top that special present.

Enjoy!

1. Cupcake gift tags by Esty Seller pinkflowercube -- 6 for $3.50



2. Amy Butler flower tags by Etsy Seller accessoryqueens -- 24 for $5.00


3. test print gift tags by Art Garage Sale Seller 315thomas -- 5 for $5.00


4. BIRDCAGE TAGS IN LIGHT PINK by Art Fire Seller Digital Paperie -- 12 for $4.00


5. Drunken Tags by Etsy Seller Farouche -- 8 for $4.00



Gift tags... not just for Christmas anymore!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Make that two...



I have been nominated again tonight for this award. My second nod, came from the lovely blogger Pamela at Yada Yada Yada so I wanted to give Pam her own shout out! Thanks for adding me to your list, even when you knew I was already awarded. It means a lot.

If it wasn't 11:00 pm, I would round up eight more blogs to feature (really, I love giving praise!), but I don't think I can muster the energy tonight. I'll be sure to comment more religiously on all of them, though. Comments spread Joy! Joy is good!

Never been tagged...

...until now! Yay! 



Thank you to Angie at klenkekonfessions for bestowing upon me this lovely little "Friends" award. Before today I was a blogosphere award virgin, so thank you for being my first ;-) Your blog is fun and a pleasure to follow.

A bit about me: I used to write for a living and now that I don't, I love using my blog as a creative outlet and a way to document my thoughts, projects and day-to-day randomness. Not many people in my life even know I have a blog, but I am ecstatic for the few followers I do have and I hope that I can continue to keep you all intrigued. Please leave me a message so I know who you are and so that I can add your blog to my reader if it's not already on there... the more the merrier!

Now, for the fun part...Here are the rules:

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Angie already named a few of the blogs that I read often, but here are 8 more great blogs, all of which I am a cyber-friend & fan:

1.) Sara at Creative Adventures of Sara Ellen -- I know Sara in real life and she is as creative and inspirational in person as she is in her blog posts.

2.) Colleen at BCharmer Life -- Who would have thought that a simple little bridal party gift purchase on Etsy would result in finding a great blog-friend halfway across the country!

3.) Ellen at exit, pursued by bear -- Ellen and I share a set of relatives in real-life, but we are in no way related; although I do cyberstalk her dogs through her blog and love her impeccable taste in decor and home goods.

4.) Jen at Quirky Abq -- Jen is another one of my real-life friends that also happens to be a blog-friend. She is a talented artist, outspoken advocate and encourages people to 'Take Risks & Stay Inspired'.

5.) Aaron at BlueRue Blog -- Aaron is a former coworker of mine and a talented photographer emerging in the the Kanas City Market. Check him out!

6.) Mai at mai photography -- Mai & I had the same wedding photographer so I saw many beautiful photos of her over my wedding planning period, but now she is on the other side of the camera and creating beautiful work as well.

7.) Andrea at old, new, borrowed, bleu -- I enjoy watching the process of her wedding planning, because she has beautiful ideas and great style.

8.) Shannalee at food loves writing -- This Chicago-based blogger always shares scrumptious recipes and the occasional restaurant review. Yum!

There are many more blogs that I read but I could only nominate 8 (hey, rules are rules).

Hopefully I have introduced you to a few new blogs to add to your reader, so check them out and be sure to spread the blog love!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar...the Grouch!

I don't know why, but I just cannot get into the Oscar's tonight (hence the blogging).


Tonight, I am relating more to the Oscar in the garbage can, than the little golden statue.


Oh well. Maybe I'll have some ice cream and look forward to watching Big Love at 10pm... that will make me feel a little better ;-)

**Edit** Ok I love musicals, so that part was just pretty cool.**

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I surrender!

Ok, Hunter. I'm waiving my white flag. Your boots just don't want to fit my legs correctly and I give-up, I will stop ordering your pricey pairs of wellies and stop trying to make them like me.


Hunter Original, your were pretty, but a bit too tight around my calf...



Hunter Huntress, you were too big and wide around my foot and ankles (and the shade was not my fave green color anyway)...



Thank goodness for Zappos AWESOME free, fast shipping AND returns. So now I'm on the hunt for a non-Hunter brand wellie. Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dear Microplane...

Dear Microplane,


Where have you been all of my life? In particularly, where were you just last weekend when I was grating two blocks of cheese for our Valentine's fondue with another grater, which resulted in sore biceps for days? I don't know why it took me so long to bring you into our home, but I'm so glad we have finally adopted you (gotta love registry completion discounts). You just shaved minutes off of my shredding, zesting and grating needs forever, though I may have you to blame for my flabby arms now. Oh, and by the way you are also responsible for the most incredible microwave white cheddar nachos I have ever had, the perfect 60-second snack (grating & cook time included!).


Sincerely,
Steph

P.S. I think you are worth every penny!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not a Hunter, but maybe a Huntress?

So, I posted last month about the wonderful Hunter Wellies I bought off of Zappos. They were pretty. And purple. And did not fit my calves :-(


I did fit into them (a minor accomplishment), but they came up so high (almost to the knee) that my calf could not even wiggle in it, none-the-less have any hope of fitting a pant leg in the shaft as well. So I sat on them (not literally). And sat on them. And just decided to print my Zappos return label tonight to return them.

BUT I may be in luck. No, they do not come in pretty purple, BUT Hunter has considered us bigger calved ladies and made a slightly shorter and wider style, called Hunter Huntress. Now these only come in black, green and navy, but since green is the original Hunter boot (and my fave color) I went ahead and ordered them tonight to give them a try instead.


I'll be happy to report how they fit as soon as I get them. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Five Fab Handmade Finds: Necklaces

It's Tuesday, and for this week's installment of "Five Fab Handmade Finds", I am featuring some fun necklaces!


1. Custom Envelope Jewelry by Etsy Seller LOOKAJewelry --$75


2. orbit necklace (white, orange green) by Supermarket Seller MOUFELT --$48




4. Demeter Single Necklace by Supermarket Seller We Dream in Colour --$32


Hope this inspires those of you with naked necks ;-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Presidents Day

Happy Presidents Day!


I hope that many of you are enjoying a day off home from work, relaxing in honor of.... who exactly?


I always associated Presidents Day with Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday, but this year I also thought I may include our recently elected president, Barack Obama, in my thoughts. But who are we really supposed to be celebrating? I wasn't sure, so I went to wikipedia to find out who exactly this national holiday is really observed in honor of.
"Washington's Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. It is also commonly known as Presidents Day (or Presidents' Day). As Washington's Birthday or Presidents Day, it is also the official name of a concurrent state holiday celebrated on the same day in a number of states.
By the mid-1980s, with a push from advertisers, the term "Presidents' Day" began its public appearance.[1] The theme has expanded the focus of the holiday to honor another President born in February, Abraham Lincoln, and often other Presidents of the United States. Although Lincoln's birthday, February 12, was never a federal holiday, approximately a dozen state governments have officially renamed their Washington's Birthday observances as "Presidents Day", "Washington and Lincoln Day", or other such designations. 
However, "Presidents Day" is not always an all-inclusive term. In Massachusetts, while the state officially celebrates "Washington's Birthday," state law also prescribes that the governor issue an annual Presidents Day proclamation honoring the presidents that have come from Massachusetts: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy.[2] (Coolidge, the only one born outside of Massachusetts, spent his entire political career before the vice presidency there. George H. W. Bush, on the other hand, was born in Massachusetts, but has spent most of his life elsewhere.) Alabama uniquely observes the day as "Washington and Jefferson Day", even though Jefferson's birthday was in April.[3] In New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois, while Washington's Birthday is a federal holiday, Abraham Lincoln's birthday is still a state holiday, falling on February 12 regardless of the day of the week. In California, Lincoln's Birthday is also a legal state holiday, however, observance is frequently moved to the Monday or Friday occurring closest to February 12. When Lincoln's Birthday is observed on the Friday preceding Washington's Birthday, the resultant four-day weekend is commonly called "Presidents' Day Weekend", particularly by retailers in their sale advertisements. In Washington's home state of Virginia the holiday is legally known as "George Washington Day."
So there you have it, each state kind of picks and chooses which one of our late, great leaders they want to include in the mix and advertisers in the 80's made it a more inclusive day so that it sounds better for sales ;-) 

So if you are off today in honor of whomever, go out and pay your respects to whichever presidents you see fit, by doing your part to stimulate the economy at a blow out sale!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shout Out: David Garcia Fine Art

I want to give a shout out to my friend, David Garcia. He is a Chicago-based photographer and artist and a fellow St. Louis native, who has just recently started selling his work on Etsy; you can check out his work on his Etsy shop.


I wanted to let everyone know that his work is currently showing in Chicago at Cafe Selmarie now through April 6, 2009. 

Dave and I recently purchased a larger version of this piece and cannot wait to get it framed and hung:



And this Tuesday, February 17th, there is a "reception" for the artist. So, if anyone is interested in having dinner (or dessert, coffee or a drink) from 7-9pm on Tuesday, please do drop by the restaurant. I will be heading that way after work for a bite and to see his masterpieces from his recent trip to France.

New Wall Decor: Crate & Barrel Outlet Finds

Since it's "busy season", Dave had to go into work on a Sunday...boo! So I dropped him off at work this afternoon and then I made my way to the Crate and Barrel Outlet armed with some wedding gift cards to see what I could find. I was excited to find some fun wall decor at drastically reduced prices.


First, I found these Crate&Barrel Medley Prints; $14.95 each reg. $29.95


Next, I grabbed this great Crate&Barrel Green Lacquer Mirror; $19.95; reg. $54.95

It looks like the mirror is no longer online, but it also comes in orange and white, so if you are lucky enough to live near an outlet you can stop by and check out what they have left.

I hung the mirror in our bedroom but still need to find the perfect spot for the four canvas prints. The ideal spot would be behind our TV in the living room, but there was no way I was going to attempt hanging and leveling those puppies alone, and risk toppling over onto the precious flat screen in the process. So I'll save that for a day when we can both participate in the hanging :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Fondue for Two

Happy Valentine's Day!



In celebration of our first married Valentine's Day we are going to take advantage of the fondue set purchased for us as a gift from our wedding registry and have a nice night in. We are going shopping soon for all the ingredients to make a savory cheese and a super-sweet chocolate fondue, and we plan to use these two recipes:


Ingredients
1 clove garlic, halved
1 (12-ounce) bottle hard apple cider
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon brandy
Pinch kosher salt
5 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere, grated
5 ounces (2 cups) Smoked Gouda, rind removed, grated
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
Several grinds fresh ground black pepper

Directions
Rub inside of fondue pot or heavy small saucepan with garlic. Pour cider into pot. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, the brandy and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, grate the cheese and toss well with the cornstarch in a large bowl. When the cider just begins to simmer, gradually add the cheese a handful at a time, allowing each addition to melt completely before adding the next. Continue adding cheese and stirring until all cheese is incorporated, about 3 minutes. If mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to low. The mixture is ready when creamy and easily coats the back of a spoon. Stir in curry powder and pepper. If cheese seems stringy, add some or all of the remaining lemon juice. Move fondue pot to alcohol warmer, and keep stirring during service. 

A variety of breads, from pumpernickel to rye to bagel chunks can be skewered and dipped as can cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms and potatoes. (Soften all vegetables by blanching briefly in boiling water then chilling.) Crisp fruits such as apples make great fondue fodder, as do cooked meats and sausages. Even soft pretzels make for good dipping. If any fondue is left over, cover with ice water and refrigerate, pour off water and reheat over low heat.

Chocolate Coconut Cream Fondue, Coastal Living, JULY 2006

Ingredients
1 (11.5-ounce) package dark chocolate morsels
1 cup cream of coconut
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until chocolate melts. Transfer to a fondue pot, and keep warm over a candle burner. Serve with pound cake and fresh fruit. For tropical flair, serve with bowls of toasted coconut and toasted sliced almonds.

We can't wait to try these out tonight.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Five Fab Handmade Finds: Throw Pillows

This Tuesday, for my 2nd edition of "Five Fab Handmade Finds", I am featuring five fabulous handmade throw pillows. Enjoy!

1. Honey Honey No 2 Pillow / Cushion Cover by Esty Seller UmberDove -- $42





3. Furniture (30X40) by Chocolate Creative -- £35.00 or ~$50 US






I hope you find a pretty pillow on which to rest your pretty head from these great designers.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kitschy Kool: Volume 7: Telephone Tables/Benches

Recently, I have been really interested in finding a vintage telephone bench/telephone table and taking on a little refurbishing project all my own. After scouring the net for the perfect entryway bench piece (and falling short), I decided that a custom piece, like a revamped vintage telephone table, would be an unexpected addition to our entryway area.


I gained some inspiration from a few old entries I found on design blogs, like these "before" and "after" features from Design Sponge.


before:

after:


Amazing what some sanding and a little spray paint can do!


before:

after:


Wow, right?

And last but not least, there is this cute little number I found on Quest Twenty Eight:

before:

after:


What a transformation!

So now I am on the hunt for the perfect tattered table to take out my creativity on. I found one post on craigslist so far, and it's affordable but I'm not sure it is the one ...



It's nice and has tons of potential, but ideally I'd like it to have a small drawer, and maybe less ornate detail on top. What do you think?

Mad props to any fellow blogger that can help me find a listing for the perfect table! Chicago-land area or St. Louis area (maybe even Milwaukee for the right find) only please, since I need to be able to pick drive it up in our new SUV!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Five Fab Handmade Finds: Handbags

I love shopping handmade and I browse online daily, so I thought I would start posting my favorite five handmade finds here-and-there, bundled into different categories.


Today I'll feature five fabulous handmade bags!

1. Fall in Love bag by Etsy Seller Retrofied -- $82



2. Morchella in Wool bag by Etsy Seller morelle --$69


3. Wine Tasting Weekend Bag by Etsy Seller PacoandLupe --$96



4. Tweet Bag by Art Garage Sale Seller Backyard Design --$12


5. The Fraulein Tote (in Black or Rosewood) by Supermarket Seller Moop -- $121



Hope you enjoy!

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About Me

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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