Thursday, May 30, 2013

Weekly Wishlist: Cream, Blue, and Brown

1. Sweater: ModCloth; 2. Camera Bag/Purse: Jo Totes; 3. Shoes: Ele Handmade/Etsy; 4. Broach: Vintage/Etsy; 5. Belt: Anthropologie; 6. Skirt: Ruche.

This week I'm loving cream, light blue, and rich brown colors. 

I'm absolutely in love with this camera bag/purse from Jo Totes. I recently got a legit camera (as in not my phone... yeesh.) and haven't been carrying it around as much as I would like to because I simply don't have a good way to tote it around. This bag would be the perfect solution because it's as adorable as it is functional!

I love the easiness of this skirt and think you could wear it with a billion different things so it would be really fun to accessorize and try pairing with different tops, like this sweater from ModCloth. I have a few different pieces of clothing that have peter pan collar detail and think it's really fun to wear a broach, like this cute little vintage bow broach, at the center.

Also, guys? I can't stop drooling over the Ele Handmade Etsy shop. These shoes are too dreamy!

What are you wishing for this week?

Til next time!


Happy Birthday Katie!

Yesterday was my friend Katie's birthday! Since I love gift giving, I decided I should whip something up, so I put together an embroidered pendant necklace for her.
I'm in love with honeycomb patterns right now and decided to choose reds since Katie is in obsessed with red right now! She loves it enough to feature the color on a recent post on her blog, Katie Marie V, which you can check out here.

If you are interested in putting together your own embroidered pendant, check out my DIY post here.

When I tried to make the hexagons with a ruler, i found it was pretty tough to make them even, so if you are interested in making one yourself, I would recommend investing in a template like this one

I'm also in love with gift wrapping, but was strapped for time, so I rustled up a box from a votive candle, a doily, a little piece of cute paper, and some seam tape to get it all wrapped up. I also couldn't find my tape anywhere, so I improvised and used some glue dots! Gotta love the adorable things you find around around the house!

Katie loved her gift, and we all had a wonderful night eating awesome food and sipping on delicious cocktails! I was so glad to be a part of a celebration for such a wonderful lady.

Happy birthday, Katie!

Til next time!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Easy Cherry Hand Pies

Well guys, as summer fast approaches and I still have a cupboard full of preserves, I'm looking for new ways to use them up. I eat them in yogurt almost every day, I put them on toast, make milkshakes with them, but I'm always looking for more ideas. Last week I made this Apricot Custard Tart, and since I had  leftover dough from that, I decided that this week I would make hand pies using sour cherry preserves!

Now, I'll say this: it was not my most, er, elegant work, but they came out super tasty and with a little more care they will look as good as they taste!
  • Prepared pie dough for a double crust. I used the recipe found over here. If you would like to use that recipe, double it or you'll only end up with 3 hand pies since it's for a single crust! I would also recommend doubling the sugar called for in that recipe for a sweeter crust.
  • Two half pint jars of Sour Cherry (or other fruit) preserves
  • 1 egg
  • Approximately 1/8 cup granulated sugar (fine granules are ok, but coarse would be better if you've got it in your cupboard. I did not.)
1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
2. Roll out your pie dough to 1/8" thick. I like to roll my dough 
   between 2 sheets of greased saran wrap since gluten free dough 
   tends to get quite sticky.
3. Cut your dough into 4" circles. I used a 4" tart pan, but you 
   could use a biscuit cutter, a bowl, etc. To maximize the use  
   of your dough, you may need to re-roll it after you've cut a 
   few out so you can keep cutting more.
4. Place half of your dough rounds on a baking sheet lined with 
   parchment paper, and reserve the other half.
5. Place 2tbs of cherry preserves in the center of each round on 
   your baking sheet. This picture makes me drool. Yum!
6. Top each pie crust round on your baking sheet with one of the 
   ones you reserved. Then, using a fork, pinch together the 
   edges to seal the pie, and poke two sets of holes in the top 
   of the pie using your fork.
7. Got any holes or imperfections on the top crust of your hand pies? Me too! I always use leftover dough scraps to make cute little shapes to cover them up. Easy as, well, pie. Cue sad trombone noise.
8. In a small bowl, beat the egg well. Then using a pastry brush,  
   brush the pies with the beaten egg.
9. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the pies. No exact amount here, 
   just enough to give it that lovely bit of extra crunch and 
   sweetness when they're all baked up.
10. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until golden brown, bubbly, 
    and dreamy looking.
11. Let cool to warm but not hot. Serve with vanilla ice cream, and eat up!

Til next time!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekend Wardrobe, plus Buddy and Hank!

Cardigan: ModCloth; Dress: Target; Belt: Anthropologie/Similar; Tights: Nordstrom; Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens.

Well, it's been a bit of a drizzly weekend here in Seattle. Fortunately it hasn't been too chilly so I've still been able to bust out some cute spring clothes!

I found this dress on sale for $8 at Target on Friday when I was doing some birthday shopping and obviously had to snatch it up for myself! I think it looks adorable with navy tights and my red Swedish Hasbeens, but will also look great with boots or flats and with or without tights depending on the season. You gotta love dresses you can wear year round!
The cats were pretty involved in the photo taking process today. Buddy definitely wanted to be in the pictures WITH me, as seen above. I was also CRACKING UP while I was looking through the pictures, because I didn't realize while I was taking the pictures, but off to the side of the frame, this was happening:
Hank's pretty intrigued by the sound of the shutter on the camera, so he stared at it for a while and then decided he better go attack it. Sheesh!

Hope you had a lovely long weekend!

Til next time!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

String Art Portrait Plaques

Looking for a craft project to do over the long weekend? How about making a string art portrait plaque (or 3!)?

These plaques are super cute, easy, and surprisingly quick to put together! I was inspired by a tutorial I saw on the Country Living website, but wanted to put my own twist on the idea. Since my living room has a lot of beautiful wood in it, I decided to stain my plaques rather than paint them. I also thought it would be pretty cute to make one of Buddy, one of Hank, and one of myself, so I created my own templates.

Creating a template can be done relatively simply in Photoshop using your own pictures, but if you want something quick you are welcome to use the ones I made, which can be found here. They will need to be scaled accordingly for whatever size plaque you choose.

Now, on to making them! You will of course need some supplies:
Wood plaque, wood stain or paint of your choice, hammer, art template, 3/4" nails, waxed cord, rag, sponge brush (not pictured), scissors (not pictured, but come on, you have 'em handy, right? You're crafting!).
Begin the process by staining your plaque. I bought a Walnut colored Soy Stain, which worked great! The directions recommended applying the stain with a cloth, but I found the easiest way to apply it to this plaque was to brush it on with a sponge brush and then rub off any excess stain with my rag. I really loved the way the color came out and found the stain dried fairly quickly.
While your plaque dries, cut out your template. When the plaque is dry, place your template and tape it down. Be sure to use a 
relatively un-sticky tape so you don't inadvertently remove any of the stain when you remove the tape!
Now you'll need to hammer in the nails around the perimeter of your template. If you have any areas with more detail, I would recommend starting with those. For a larger template place nails approximately 1/4-1/2" apart. For a smaller template, place nails approximately 1/8-1/4" apart. They don't need to be perfect, but you'll want to space them as evenly as possible.

My many years of staring at sewing rulers and tiny seam allowances have gotten me pretty used to eyeballing things, but if you're not comfortable doing that, feel free to use a ruler to mark the nail placements before placing your template.
Once you've hammered nails in around the perimeter of your template, remove it! It's string time!

Begin by tying a knot around one of the nails. I chose the one at the base of the design. Then take the cord and bring it to the next nail (you can go on the inside or the outside of the design), pull taut, then loop the cord around the nail, and repeat for each nail until you've completed the other shape of the design.

Admittedly I did my first plaque with the cord to the inside, then tried the next one with the cord to the outside and found that I slightly preferred the look of that one. Live and learn! I still think either way looks great.
Once the outline is complete, it's time to fill in the middle of the design! To do this, just continue pulling the cord taut and looping it around nails, but this time do it randomly, creating lines that go from one side to another (top to bottom! Left to right! Upper right to lower left! Etc!).
At some point while you're filling in the middle, you'll think to yourself, "Golly this looks good!" and then you'll probably keep going for a little longer, and then you'll think to yourself "Golly, this looks less good." If that happens, feel free to undo a few of your lines, which is fortunately very very easy. When you've achieved a design that YOU like, cut the cord (leaving enough excess to tie a knot), tie it around the nail and trim the ends.
Guess what! You're done! Wasn't that easy? Since I stained all my plaques at once, once that was done, I was able to turn out all three of these in about an hour.
Now all that you need to do is figure out where you want to put them. Want to hang em on your wall? Get some of these, nail them into the back of your plaque and hang away! Want to display them on a mantle or on top of a cabinet? Well, you could lean them, but WOAH precarious! So you could get some of these and make a fancy little display that isn't about to fall over at any given time.

I'll be hanging mine in my living room near the front door. I can't wait to get them up!

Til next time!


P.S! If you haven't heard, Craftgawker and Whimseybox are holding a challenge right now! The submitted projects that receive the most "Favorites" on Craftgawker will have a chance to have their project turned into a DIY kit with Whimseybox! Super cool right? Well, yours truly has entered, so if you are feeling generous help a sister out by favoriting my String Art Project on Craftgawker!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Weekly Wishlist: Navy Blue and Gold

1. Skirt: Modcloth; 2. Bag: Modcloth; 3. Shirt: Anthropologie;  4. Necklace: Ruche; 5. Shoes: Ele Handmade on Etsy.

This week I'm really into navy blue and gold. 

This skirt from ModCloth would be a great piece to have in your closet because you could dress it up or down super easily. For a casual look I love it with these dreamy flats from Ele Handmade and this super cute t-shirt from Anthropologie, but also think it would be great with a pair of brown heels and a crisp white blouse with some sweet details to make it a little fancier.

I've been loving bows lately and think this necklace would be a lovely accessory to add to the outfit. Also, between the cut-outs and gold sparkle background, I cannot get enough of this bag!

What are you wishing for this week?

Til next time!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Weekday Wardrobe

Shirt: Nordstrom (years ago); Belt: Anthropologie; Skirt: vintage; Tights: Nordstrom; Shoes: J Crew.

After a few weeks of some GORGEOUS weather, things in the Northwest are back to being, well, like things in the Northwest. Since it's pretty chilly right now, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get in one last wear of the season for one of my favorite skirts. The skirt was hand knitted in the 1950s, and is too dreamy for words! Cozy, intricate, quirky, and quite the statement piece! While I can't wait for summer to arrive, I was definitely thrilled to have another opportunity to wear this piece again!

Til next time!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Apricot Custard Tart

Today I'm going to show you how to make this Apricot Custard Tart. And boy is it dreamy. It's made using apricot preserves, which are one of my favorite things because they can give you a taste of summer all year round. I'm always looking for new ways to use my stock of preserves and was super happy to use them for this tasty treat.
Tart shell ingredients and filling ingredients.
To get started, you'll need some ingredients!

For Tart Shell (for a 9-10" tart pan):

  • 1 1/4 c multi purpose flour (I used Manini's Multiuso gluten free flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/8 c super cold water
For Tart Filling:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped out
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 heaping tbs sugar
  • 12 oz Apricot preserves (or 1 1/2 half pint jars). I used homemade apricot vanilla bean preserves, but you could use store bought, too. Heck, you could even use preserves made with a different kind of fruit (raspberry would be dreamy!).
You'll want to begin by making the tart shell because it needs to be cool when you add the filling.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and   
   pulse a few times until combined.
3. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it resembles a coarse
4. Add the water and pulse until forms clumps and starts to look
   like dough (you can add a tiny bit more water if your dough
   looks dry).
5. Carefully pull the dough out of the food processor, form into
   a ball, then flatten it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap,
   and refrigerate for 1 hour.
6. After pulling the dough out of the refrigerator, roll out the 
   dough to just slightly larger than the tart pan, then place in
   the tart pan and press up the edges. I'm usually a mess at     
   putting dough into pans so i tend to have to press lots of
   cracks together and push the dough up the sides with my 
   fingers. And that's ok! It doesn't have to be perfect, just
7. Place a piece of parchment over the tart shell and fill with 
   pie weights or dried beans. This will help avoid any bubbling
   of the crust and is called blind baking.
8. Put the shell in the oven for 10 minutes, take out, remove 
   parchment, and cook for 10 more minutes.
9. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
While the crust is cooling, you can begin work on the filling. The preserves are already ready to go, so you'll just need to make the custard. Here's how:
1. If you turned your oven off, now is the time to re-pre-heat it
   to 350°. Then, in a small pot, combine the milk and the  
   vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a boil over medium heat,   
   stirring occasionally.
2. When the milk comes to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and 
   let sit for 30 minutes so the vanilla bean can infuse into the  
3. After 30 minutes, strain the mixture and put it back on the   
   stove over very low heat, just to keep it warm.
4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the sugar 
   until they become light and somewhat pale in color.
5. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking as   
   you pour.
6. Return the mixture to the pot and cook over medium-low heat, 
   stirring constantly. Don't let it boil as that can cause it to 
   curdle. Cook it over the stove for 7-10 minutes, until the 
   mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
7. Remove the mixture from the heat immediately and pour it into 
   your tart shell.
8. Bake for 10 minutes, just long enough to slightly bake the 
   custard, then remove from the oven and spoon the preserves 
   over the top. You'll want to add just enough of 
   the preserves to come to just under the edge of the tart 
9. Return to the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the 
   preserves begin to bubble and thicken slightly. I used a 
   fairly loose preserve so this took some extra time. The 
   easiest way to tell if the preserves have thickened is to 
   shake the pan. If it's real jiggly, then it will need a little 
   more time. If it has just a touch of jiggle, it'll be perfect!
10. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, cut and  

I hope you get a chance to try making this delicious tart soon!

Til next time!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Phinney/Greenwood Garage Sale Day!

Who doesn't love a good garage sale? And hey, who doesn't love a whole neighborhood full of garage sales?

Saturday was the annual Phinney Ridge/Greenwood Garage Sale day, so my friends Nicole, Elle, Ira the dog, and I got an early start to check it out and see if we could make some good finds. Here's a little of what we saw on our garage-sale-ing adventure:

Spring-time ice skates.
Zoo bricks? 200 bricks? Either way, bricks. 
I loved this pink flower broach.
Pretty pretty packaging.
My first find of the day. 
I loved this green shelf, but left it behind since I had no idea where I would put it.
1920s lace collar.
Tiny things!!!! 
Beautiful hardware. 
My partners in crime.
We all ended up with a lot of great finds! Elle managed to find some Hunter rain boots for a measly $8, Nicole found some great stuff for the kids she works with and some good stuff for around the house, Ira found ALL of the other dogs that were out and about, and I came home with all of this:

Sock organizers for a future DIY project, copper bundt pan, vintage bird and birdcage print skirt, buttons, tiny things.
My haul cost me a whopping $9.50. I'm the most excited about the vintage skirt because of its adorable print (and $2 price tag).

Buddy and Hank are clearly the most excited about the tiny things, which are little ceramic statuettes. I got a bird, an owl, and a kangaroo to add to my collection!

It's just like they say: one person's trash is another person's treasure!

Til next time!