roundup of things

screen licking may now commence

Don't these each look like a mouthful of spring?

All images belong to their original posters.


house pictures, finally!

Just a couple.

currently my favorite bit of the house

view from my living room

warning: may cause coveting

Can I have set in each color???
Seriously, though: this is a good way to store stationary, trims, small lots of yarn...anything, really, that needs stacking.
$19.95 at landofnod

I think my jaw just knocked on my knees

Yep. There's a bruise. Because these boots? These incredibly adorable boots that are only $18 and look very Anthro-esqe? They come from a store I hate and despise and my sisters use as an insult (As in, "You look like a _________ employee).

I'm not even going to tell you. Just click the picture.

shoes vs. books

The challenge my brothers-in-law made up because quite the topic of discussion yesterday, as I asked everyone I knew. (For the record: all my coworkers chose books over shoes. But that could be because most of them only own five pairs of shoes, if that many.) So I'm posing the question to you, dear readers.
Here are the constraints: you have access to either five pairs of shoes and unlimited books or five books and unlimited shoes for your entire lifetime. (Yes, Porkchop, I know this is a little different than what we discussed, but I had to set guidelines somehow.) If any of the objects wore out they would be replaced with the same thing.
So, which would you choose, and what would you choose?
I would take unlimited books, and my five pairs of shoes would be:
1. perfect black highheels, rounded toe, with a narrow, but not skinny, heel. (The goal is a classic shape that will look good for fifty years.)
2. black chanel ballet flats (M and I agreed that if we only get five pairs, money is no object.)
3. strappy black high-heeled sandals
4. knee high red leather boots (gotta relieve the black somehow) flat leather sandals of some sort, for summertime
5. a pair of athletic shoes. (This choice is highly debateable, since I hate exercise. But I suppose that by the time I was 60 I might appreciate something I could wear besides the chanel flats.)

So what are your picks? And if you choose unlimited shoes, you have to say what five books you would take.


tutorial alert!

How to make fabric-covered thumb tacks. I'm definitely doing some of these for the inspiration board; this could also be a cool way to show off photos?

word on the street is, I'm crazy but trustworthy

Is it because the interior of my house looks like an easter basket? Or is it because my hair was pale blue when I woke up this morning? Let me explain.
I came home from work last night to a houseful of friends and family who had spent the evening helping move and debating the question: given a choice between 5 pairs of shoes and unlimited books, or 5 books and unlimited shoes, which would I (the lady of the house and posessor of WAY TOO MANY of both) choose? My husband and oldest brother-in-law wisely guessed books, and they were right. So anyway, with all this manpower about, I decided to put it to good use spray painting the interiour of bookshelves and the exteriour of the new desk. (Sadly, I forgot to get "before" pictures of the latter.) So there we were, five of us (I think), crammed into the garage (with the door open, of course!) painting and taping merrily away. Clouds of spray paint were flying and I somehow managed to pick up most of it on my hair. (And around my nose: it looked like had been snorting blue cocaine.) This wouldn't have been a big deal except for the fact that I couldn't find a hair brush, because they were all over at the old house. (More information that you didn't need: in the drawer with my hairbrush was my deoderant and perfume. Fortunately my husband managed to find some non-Axe this morning, or I would have been smelling very manly today.) Truly calamitous, and I went to sleep without brushing my hair. Fortunately el husband found a comb this morning, or I would have been making a quick pre-work stop at the dollar store.
I read through the past few posts, and I notice that I've been promising to take pictures. Well, I have taken some. But they're still on the camera, and the computer is in pieces all over the office, so I won't be uploading them until that's put together. And it probably won't get put together until the new desk is painted, which should be done tonight or so.
Also: there will be no pictures of the kitchen until I manage to dispose of the newspapers and other assorted painting paraphenilia that currently cover every horizontal surface.


paralyzed by all the decisions

I'm currently trying to figure out what fabrics to use in the red/white/blue/pink kitchen, and I just cannot make a decision.

Do I want a kicky feedsack reproduction print, like one of these?

Or do I want a strong graphic element? I'm loving the two prints on the right together, but would that be overkill? And is that red too orangey? Should I maybe use the pink print on the left, and pair it with white eyelet or maybe red sashing?

Or should I try a small blue and red print? I like the two on the ends better than teh one in the middle, but would the flower provide a good counterpoint to the very graphic prints? I love the retro feel of these, but there's really no pink at all in them....on the flip side, they would tie in nicely to the yellow office next door.
Le sigh. All these choices. I think part of my problem is that I don't know what the colors will be when I only see them on a computer monitor, and also that I have to look at real fabric to know what will work together and what won't
All images courtesy of sewmamasew

in case you care

I'm completely addicted to Nylon and Interview magazines. Awesome, awesome photography on almost-matte paper makes me very happy.

thrift score

The moving project grinds slowly forward. Well, not-so-slowly, actually. Last night they moved all the living room furniture; tonight it's going to be the beds and the clothes. So we're sleeping over there tonight! I don't want to be at work today; I want to be at home helping to pack.
Anyway, this morning between racing around trying to find boxes in which to pack things (this involved diving into dumpsters while wear a bandanna to cover my unwashed hair) I made it to the thrift stores to look for a new desk. My current one is truly impossible, so I went scouring about and found:
  • a set of four green-striped placemats for $1
  • a pair of green and yellow converse hightops for one of the inlaws, for $2
  • a pair of shoes for another friend, $2
  • a child-sized folding chair, $1
  • a desk, $10. Now, you have to understand: this is one of those monstrosities from the sixties that's big enough to perform surgery. It's beige and metal, with a laminate top. However, it has plenty of filing drawers (which we need) and I say once I spray paint it and cover the top with printed oilcloth, it will be quite lovely. I promise to post pictures.


is it possible for bangs to impede one's thinking?

Or should I just blame it on fatigue? This whole moving/painting/planning a birthday party on Friday/trying to get wedding photos edited thing has me a little tired. So. Lovely coolness.
  • coveting: this floormat. Wouldn't it look lovely on the floor of my yellow office? (Oh, right, you haven't seen my yellow office. Trust me--it would be perfect.)
  • also: pretty pins. I want to pin a whole bunch of them around the neckline of a boatneck top.
  • I'm loving these breakfast photos. They're so restful, somehow.
  • decorating with books. I love his idea of covering paperbacks with heavy paper.


a very bad picture of the new bangs

le bangs are very bangish
So according to various sources I look alternately younger, more sophisticated, more modern, or retro. Or like Nelly Furtado (the horror!). I like them, aside from the fact that, not having had bangs since I was 19 or so, I'm no longer used to fixing them, so it took me 15 minutes this morning. On just my bangs. Hopefully I'll get better at it?

the cake that makes people SWOOON

lemon pound cake with raspberry jam

I can brag on this cake, right, because it's not my recipe? Le sister invented the recipe for the perfect pound cake, and it's just so good it makes me want to cry. Of course, the frosting is the best part because it's three creams: cream cheese, sour cream, and whipping cream. You can seriously eat this stuff with a spoon.
So anyway, for this particular version of the cake I used the zest and juice from two lemons and mixed it in with the milk to get that lemony flavor spread throughout. Then I filled it with raspberry jam (I used too much, as you can see on the left where it started slithering apart) and slather The Wondrous Frosting over all. It was yum.
Side note: this photo edited on picnik, which is a pretty nifty little online photo editing tool. Awesome for when you're NOT going to be at your own Photoshop equipped computer.

Edit: since it's been requested multiple times, here is the recipe. (Porkchop, you don't mind, do you?)

::delicious cake::
1 1/2 cups of butter.
3 cups of sugar.
5 eggs.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1 1/4 cups buttermilk. (or just use whole milk soured with vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon salt.
3 cups flour.
2 tablespoons vanilla.
cream butter and sugar thoroughly. (the longer you cream this, the better your cake crumb will be.) add eggs, one at a time. add vanilla. sift together baking powder, salt and flour. alternately fold in flour mixture and milk mixture to the eggsugarbutter mixture. pour into greased floured cake pan. bake on 300 until toothpick comes out clean in the middle.
(this is enough for 1 bundt cake or 3 nine inch layers.) Note from vdoprincess: I actually used two 9 inch rounds and then split them. They were very full when they baked, but it worked out well.

you can use whatever you please for filling. i melted down peach jam and the chopped/shredded frozen peaches and threw them in. added some vanilla, cooked it down, threw in some cornstarch to thicken...threw in some more vanilla. cooked it until it was a filling consistency.

::icing:: (you can use this icing for ANYTHING, people seem to eat any kind of cake as long as it's a vehicle for this icing. it also is fluffy and quite impressive if you heap it onto cake.)
2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese.
1 pint sour cream (i think that's the regular sour cream size, right?)
1 pint heavy whipping cream.
2 cups of powdered sugar.
2 tablespoons vanilla.
beat the cream cheese until soft, whip in the sour cream. add the powedered sugar. BEAT UNTIL SMOOTH. add vanilla. beat until smooth. in a seperate bowl, whip the whipping cream until it is the verge of becoming butter. veryvery stiff. but not quite butter. then fold your whipping cream into your first mixture. voila! Check your flavor--if it's too sweet, add sour cream. Too bland? Add vanilla.

editor's note: for the cake in the picture, I added the zest and juice of two lemons two the cake recipe, replacing part of the milk. I also used raspberry preserves, straight out of the jar, for the filling.


another boring post in which I'm rambling about my house

Sadly, that is not my kitchen on the left. That is this other totally cool kitchen I've had favorited on Flickr for forever and since I haven't uploaded any pictures from le camera yet, I have nothing to share with you. But I promise I'll get them up soon!
I'm sorry I've been so absent lately. I've been so excited about the move/painting/having a little house of my very own (sort of) that I've not wanted to look at other people's house--I want to be at mine, working!
Since yesterday was my day off, I ran a bunch of errands, including a haircut (I have bangs now!) and then rounded up le sisters-in-law and went to the new house to paint. Hooray paint! We weren't able to get started on all the rooms, because we had to wait for the varnish to dry in the living room. However, we did get the kitchen completely done--it's pale, pale pink. About halfway into the project I started having misgivings and convinced myself that the whole thing is going to look like a nursery gone mad (it has a bright blue floor). Ah, well. I'll make it work! I think the key will be picking the right fabrics to tie everything together.
Oh! Did I mention that we've agreed that le husband gets to do whatever he wants with the basement? We're planning on keeping both the weight set and the TV down there, and I've heard talk of bean bag chairs and a rug. We already have an extra couch, so things will be quite comfy. I'm referring to it as his "lair" and am threatening to get him a disco ball, just because I'm nutty that way.
I can hardly wait to get off work in an hour and a half so I can zip over there and see what else has been painted today. I'll take the camera, I promise, and this time share pictures of the progress.

incredibly creative minds

meesters & van der park

The image on the left is a rug made out of old wool blankets, and on the right is pottery that is (quite obviously) amazing, but that's all I know because the description of that bit is in Dutch. And, well, I don't read dutch.


I caved

And bought those shoes I'd been coveting. Sort of one last hurrah before I go on my shopping ban April 1st. I know, I know, it defeats the purpose. What can I say? Warm weather makes me want to buy cute shoes.

Jenny Slingback, from Delias


worth a look

* This month's Country Home magazine. Sadly, they don't have many images on their website, so I can't share them with you, but I especially love pages 94 (paper-covered boxes), 105 (an innovative way to display trophy ribbons), and 32 (lots of uses for eggs). The whole issue has a "green theme" so there are lots of suggestions for reusing and more environmentally concious living.

* Junk Market Style is full of ideas on reusing found objects. Some of their ideas are a bit "country" for me, but inspiration can come from anywhere, right? So check it out.

And that will probably be all for today. We're headed over to the house tonight to do some spackling, and tomorrow I plan to start painting. Hooray!


want. to. try.

tutorial for photo journals--these are so lovely, I can't wait until I have time to make some.

happy pretty springy things

That's enough for now--I want to get outside and enjoy the (warmish) weather.

happy first day of spring!

In honor of this day that I've been eagerly awaiting, I baked a pound cake for work. It's taking all the self-control I posess (which is to say, not much) to keep from going to the back and cutting a chunk for breakfast.
Other happy news: we got the keys to the new house a couple of days ago, and last night le husband took his siblings over there and taped the whole thing. We can start painting at any time! Hooray!


the loveliness, it is unstoppable

And that is probably all for the day. I am only working half a day today, and when I get home I have to start sorting the 1800 (!) wedding pictures we took on Saturday. So, no more play for me.


I could easily get addicted to this site

All images from Basic French
The products are charming, sweet, and colorful, if not inexpensive (although not overpriced). I especially love those striped toothbrushes--they're simultaneously eye-catching and witty.

stuff that makes me want to try new things

  • altered notebooks. Like scrapbooking, only not. Makes me want to make notebooks for all my family....
  • how to melt grocery bags into a giant shopping bag. I've been saving my grocery bags with the intent of knitting them into something, but right now they're threatening to leap out and smother me every time I open the closet. This might be a quick solution. I wonder if you could also make other stuff out of the plastic "fabric." Maybe if you made it thick enough it could be a trash can? And if you didn't want it to look like shopping bags, make a decoupage effect by melting stuff into the top layer? not sure what, though. Must work on that.
  • goodwill as a source for gift wrapping/decorating.
  • pictures of lovely, colorful, frilly things, especially aprons. I need to make more of those.
  • Speaking of apros reminds me: Kim over at Spontaneous Sunflower has started a cooking themed swap. I am so in! (Anything that will net me a new apron.)

shoes I'm tempted to buy before the shopping ban kicks in

Navy patent flats, $19.99 at Target.
I saw these last night in person, and they don't look cheap. I love the color, too; it's a little different than the usual black and less predictable then the current ubitiqous red patent. Wouldn't they look lovely worn with yellow?
At the store they had another pair of flats I wanted to share, in royal blue suede with little holes punched in, but I couldn't find them on the website. So I guess you'll have to go find them on your own.

stretching out of my comfort zone

So. I'm taking the wardrobe refashion pledge, starting in April. I actually signed up yesterday, for two months, but after taking a cold, hard look at my spending habits, I changed my mind and decided to go for four. And with the amount of clothing I have, if I can't live on it for four months, I have issues! Besides, I can still go thrifting. For me personally, I'm going to try to limit my thrifting a bit. (Still deciding exactly what this means.) Also, I'm not limiting my buying for le husband--all his stuff falls under "work clothes" anyway. I just don't do well on thrifting nice men's dress clothes. Shoes and underwear do fall outside the restricted areas, too, but I'm going to see if I can limit the shoes. (Underwear really isn't my downfall. However, if I absolutely have to shop, you never know what I might induldge in. It's the equivalent of gorging on baby carrots: good for you, but only in moderation.) So anyway, we'll see how this goes.

I promised Alissa that I'd post this photo

day 13
She wanted to know how the yarn from Mystical Yarns looked in real life, and I have one word for that: FAAAAABULOUS. I haven't tried to knit any of it yet; I've been to busy fondling it. The green yarn is a silk/wool blend, and you know how beetles' shells are all iridescent? That's what this yarn is like. It reflects light beautifully, and the colors almost glow. I think I'm going to make a hat from this; the colors will be lovely next to anyone's eyes.
The yarn in the back is a cotton chenille in shades of blue and purple. I've never knitted with chenille before, so I'm looking forward to the challenge. I have zero idea of what I'm mking with that, either.

attack of the chocolate mint

day 12
If you're ever bored for conversational topics while talking to one of my siblings, ask their opinion on the subject of chocolate-mint baked goods. I assure you it will amusing, to say the least. In my defense, I was just trying to perfect the recipe! I now know better than to offer them anything remotely chocolatey and minty--they'll throw it at me. However, I haven't burned out my coworkers on this taste sensation yet, and one in particular loves that combination. So for March's birthday party, I made a big try of chocolate-mint cupcakes with fudge frosting and Andes sprinkles. They weren't my favorite (I thought the cupcake part was a bit dry), but everyone else seemed to love them. I think a lot of it has to do with the presentation--a little piping goes a LONG way!


beautiful blue

I love the image: the color, the expression, the light streaming down and glowing up against her little hand.


today I love

That's all I have time for.

picking paint colors

Yes, we get to paint at the new house, even though it's a rental. I'm so excited--no more white walls or tan carpet awfulness! So yesterday I went to pick out paint colors with the "Last Kiss" soundtrack playing on my iPod (it's very conducive to paint-color picking). This shot isn't terribly color accurate, since it wasn't taken in natural light, but there you are. So.
The green is for our bedroom. I think I'm going with the one on the left, second from the bottom, the grassy color? All of our bedding is white, so I think this will look very fresh. (Don't tell le husband, but I think I'm going to wangle a sort of drapey canopy thing.)
The purple (either second or third from the bottom) is the color of the bathroom floor. We can't change that, so I'm trying to work with it. I'm thinking mybe a cafe au lait color on the walls, with white and chocolate brown accents? Will that tone down the purple or will it look too middle-aged/boring/annoying?
Yellow is for the office. We're going with on of the lighter shades; you can't see it in the picture. I think the bookshelves (at least some of them) will end up in there, and I'm going to paint the inside backs with leftover green from the bedroom. So it will be very springy and daffodilish.
Blue is for the living room. One of the two middle shades, and I can't remember which right now.
Pink, on the far left, will be the kitchen walls. This is the one color that could go disastrously wrong, but I want to try. See, the kitchen floor is BRIGHT ROYAL BLUE. So the obvious choice is a red white and blue theme, but there's a couple of problems. 1) That would require white walls, which I hate. 2) It would be a little too predictable, I think. 3) I have a pink kitchenaid. And I don't want to knit it a cosy. (Although that WOULD keep me from having to clean it!) So based on the above information, I've decided to go with a red/pink/white/blue theme, with the emphasis on the red and pink. That way, I get to indulge my current obsession with that color combo. So I'm having very pale pink walls, and I'm pulling the red in with fabrics, etc.
That's it! I'm so psyched. I think we get to start painting next week. Hooray!

delighting in the springish weather

the springy look!
I officially busted out the sandals on Sunday, but waited until Tuesday to wear them to work; it's just too chilly in there. However, yesterday I wore this wondrously spring outfit and it made me happy all day long. (Aside from the fact that the sleeves on the blazer are too tight and they left red squeeze marks on my arms.) Also, please ignore the fact that my legs are very winter pale. Must break out the sunless tanning lotion.
yellow and green scarf (in hair): thrifted
vintage plaid blazer: thrifted
red tee: target
denim skirt: walmart (!)
green sandals: gap clearance
odd pose: I'm showing off the fact that I'm wearing sandals instead of cloistering my little toes.


dotty delights

As I'm sure you know, polka dots are all the rage for this spring, but even if they weren't, there's something ineffably springy and cheerful about those little spots of goodness. Avoid the cookie-cutter look by wearing vintage dots instead of picking them up at the nearest chain store. All items from Ebay, and all under $20 at the time of posting.

I love the idea of wearing this with a high-waisted pencil skirt and a primly buttoned vest for that secretary look. auction

How about wearing this over a pair of skinny pants with red heels and giant red sunglasses? And then use the sash as a headband. auction

So we don't all have the legs for this look; that's ok. Add slim white pants, simple flats, and a giant straw tote for the ultimate in comfortable springy ease. auction

At first glance this dress is a bit tricky to wear, but I could so see cinching the waist with a wide belt and adding impossibly high heels. Maybe shorten the sleeves to three-quarter-length, too? auction

I've almost convinced myself to lose 20 pounds just so I can fit into this suit. It's just that adorable. (And yes, I would so wear a vintage swimsuit in public. With red lipstick and waterproof mascara, of course!) auction

pages of cheery loveliness

All fabrics from fabric attic. Between $6 and $7 per yard.