Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wreath of the month: February

Happy last day of February! I had this month's wreath up by Valentine's Day but just never got an opportunity to take pictures of it, so here you have it on the last day of February!

In keeping with a Valentine's Day theme, I wrapped a heart shaped styrofoam wreath with grey yarn, then cut out and stitched together a felt heart, stuffing it with cotton balls. Then the wreath was hung from a red and white ribbon that took some maneuvering to get it wrapped around and fairly straight.

The breakdown:
  • Heart wreath form: $2 (used another 50% coupon at Michaels!)
  • Grey yarn: free (leftover from another project)
  • Red felt, thread and ribbon: free (leftover from other projects as well as years of hoarding)
  • Total cost: $2
  • Total time: 1.5 hours (but once again spread out over several intervals, making it seem more laborious than it really was)
Closeup of the final product:

And a little stitching on the back of the heart:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Flowers of the month: February

I was in charge of this month's flowers and chose hydrangeas, this time in a lovely antique purple. I love them b/c the blossoms make a big impact and there's not really much arranging to be done!

A tip on prolonging the life of your hydrangeas (so they do not wilt as quickly or this method can also be used to revive wilted blossoms):
  1. Fill a vase with room temperature water
  2. Heat up some water close to boiling in the microwave in a separate glass or bowl
  3. When cutting the hydrangeas, figure out how tall you want them to be in your vase, then snip them with kitchen shears, always right before a nub on its stem
  4. Place the newly cut stem in the hot water for 20-30 seconds
  5. Then put them in the vase with room temp water
  6. Enjoy! Mine have lasted close to two weeks with this method.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Favorite Friday Recipe: Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

I have really great memories of these cinnamon rolls that my mom used to bake every Sunday morning. She had gotten the starter from a friend and it made the best dough ever for bread, rolls, and of course cinnamon rolls. I've never quite recovered from the day when my mom threw out that precious starter. From then on, every cinnamon roll was a disappointment and could never compare to those original ones.

Well enter the Pioneer Woman whom I love love love. She posted this Cinnamon Rolls 101 recipe and I spent so much time reading the step by step instructions and drooling over the pictures. I've never been really handy at baking (something about not really being exact about measurements) and am terrible at dough, but I decided to give it a try. With the help of my sister in law, we measured and rolled and sprinkled and baked and to our delight we were finally able to proclaim--the best cinnamon rolls ever!

And the most miraculous thing of all is that I've been able to recreate these time and time again. Here are a couple of tips I can share after making many batches:

  1. You can tell when the milk/oil/sugar mixture is scalded by the bubbles that just begin to hit the surface
  2. Use plenty of flour on your surface to help with the rolling
  3. Yes you will want to track down the maple flavoring for the icing, it's worth it.
  4. And yes, the coffee is really necessary. I don't drink coffee at all so I just went to get a $1 cup at McDonalds
  5. These freeze well (I put them in the round aluminum tins, place in a gallon size ziploc bag and then squeeze the air out)
  6. And any leftover dough, if you can resist the urge to sprinkle more butter and cinnamon sugar on, are actually great left as is and baked as dinner rolls


Here they are baking in the oven (before icing)

And after the glorious icing

Thursday, February 25, 2010

another sneak peek update...

B's project is coming along nicely...I can't wait for all that sawdust to be out of the garage!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: Popeye's shrimp tackle box

Growing up, I did not have any experience with Lent nor do I understand much of it now, but I do know that it's given me the wonderful gift of Popeye's Shrimp Tackle Box. How can you resist a yummy box full of butterfly shrimp on a bed of cajun fries with a biscuit? And for $4.99? Oh and you have to get a side order of the red beans and rice as well. YUM!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vintage Monday: Marushka

I am so behind on blog posts! I have plenty of pictures and crafty little things to share but unfortunately my laziness/perfectionism gets in the way. That and sick little puppy dogs and pleasant company from Chicago! But more on that later...

Today my vintage find is a great fabric stretched canvas by Marushka: a design and silk screen textile manufacturing company based in Spring Lake, Michigan. They began making their iconic and affordable silk screen prints in 1972. This particular one is stamped in 1986 so at 24 years old it's not technically vintage yet but we'll let it slide for once. Speaking of which, I am turning vintage this year. Interesting.

At first glance, I see snow capped mountains, but upon further inspection, a white bird emerges, much to the delight of my inner crazy bird lady.

This was a find at the Citywide Garage sale and the result of some rather strange bargaining. A quick side note about bargaining--it goes against my nature to haggle because I get too flustered and embarrassed. Usually I just mumble "I'll take it" and that's that. However lately I've been trying to at least ask respectfully in hopes of a pleasant exchange. I will never truly enjoy it, but I do like the discounts! In my experience, sellers are usually willing to go for 10% off at the least so that's been encouraging.

In this case, it went somewhat like this:

Me: "How much is this?" (points at Marushka canvas)
Seller: "$45"
Me: "Is this your best price?" (I'm told that this is *always* how you should phrase it)
Seller: "I could do $25"
Me: (jumping up and down in glee inside my head) "Oh great, I'll take..."
Seller: "Just give me $15, no tax, if you take it right now"
Me: "Uhhh, ok, here." (hands over money, grubby hands on canvas, quick exit)

Now I think back and wonder just why she was so eager to sell the canvas at that very moment. Maybe those were her selling tactics, maybe I have a black market Marushka on my hands, but whatever the reason, I'm chalking this up as a bargaining success and am ready for the next negotiation!

Side note: Link is doing much better now and Kirby celebrated his first birthday this past weekend! Here they are sunning themselves by the balcony door.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: for Link

I haven't had the time to write lately because we've been taking care of our puppy Link who has been so very sick. He's still recovering and we are so thankful for all the good thoughts and prayers sent our way from friends and family. My wishlist for today is a smooth and speedy recovery for our Link dog!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy year of the Tiger!!!

My fondest memories of Chinese New Year include visiting with my extended relatives, the hong baos (red packets with money), and of course the treats! Every year it seems like they're always creating new varieties of cookies or pastries. In this post I'm sticking to the good ol' versions. Wish I had some right now!

Pineapple tarts

Cashew cookies

Kueh Lapis (layer cake)

And perhaps my favorite of all--love letters

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: more etsy goodies

More items on my etsy favorites list!

Mini Art Feelings by Artmind: a series of babushka’s where the artist added a texture or addition to it on the outside to evoke various feelings.

My favorite one titled "Invincible":

1940s moon and star locket necklace from vintagerehab:

Diamond in the rough ring by JujubySarah:

And I just found this on the etsy main page--definitely a must have!

Penguins on an iceburg Ring holder by Rainsend:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Vintage Monday: danish modern chair

When we were in the final closing stages of buying our home, I began religiously visiting Uptown Modern, a well edited treasure trove of mid century furniture here in town. Their prices are a bit steep but you're paying ultimately for the condition of the items because they usually either reupholster or refinish the furniture they sell. Usually I go to browse and admire but have been fortunate to land a few good deals.

B and I have a goal of starting to accumulate "real" furniture (ie. not from Ikea) and so our first two purchases came from Uptown Modern--our Saarinen tulip table that we use in the kitchen and this lovely Danish modern chair that's sitting in our living room. I wish I had a before picture of the upholstery on this chair--it was obviously from the 60s and hunting lodge chic could be best used to describe it.

I had originally wanted to sew cushion covers myself (crafty crafty) but quickly realized that it would require me being able to piece together a 3D cushion pattern and well, also sew. My mom was visiting for Christmas and I thought to persuade her to sew the covers. Mom instead deflected nicely and offered to bring the material home and get an upholstery person to do it instead.

2 months later (international mail is slow!), the newly made cushion covers arrived in the mail and I was finally able to dress up my new chair! Eventually I'll need new foam cushions but that's for another day.

(shown here with my favorite Missoni orange pillow and Alexander Girard for UO curtains)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

a little sneak peek...

Turns out I'm not the only crafty one in the house! B is working on a little project--can you guess what it might be?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: silk blouses and spring please

The weather is cold and rainy out and I am sitting here in my uggs dreaming of spring! I adore silk blouses with pretty little details and these would be perfect paired with a pencil skirt or tucked into some high-waisted pants. To quote E. Marshall from "Spring Thought": Out with the cold, in with the woo!

From the Lyell collaboration with Urban Outfitters

On a Wing blouse from Anthropologie

Watercolor blouse from Urban Outfitters (will not be wearing w/ black bra)

Tic Tac Toe blouse by Anthropologie (just may cave on this one)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vintage Monday: flower brooch display

Flower brooches are another obsession of mine and I think they're a lovely piece of flair on the lapel of a jacket or cardigan. I've been collecting vintage brooches for a few years now, some from travels and others from local garage sales and vintage stores. My jewelry box was getting a bit full and when I finally laid out all my brooches I was a bit startled to find quite the collection. As one can only wear one (maybe two) brooches at a time (trust me on this), I thought I'd try to find a way to display them so that they could be admired more frequently (and serve as good reminder to wear them and not buy a duplicate piece!).

This crafty project was easy to put together. I tucked in some linen on the embroidery hoop and then arranged the pins on them to make sure I liked the arrangement before finally pinning them on. B then helped me hang it in the corner of our bedroom where I am trying to set up a little "dressing corner" (more on that to come soon). It's a pretty piece of decoration that's functional at the same time.