Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Rug!

I swore I would never order a large item via internet for our home without seeing a sample or something, but I took a chance and I'm happy I did! Plus, was having this epic facebook sale and I got this rug for 50% and no shipping.

This was our living room rug before. It was a nice Persian style wool rug hand-me-down that was neutral enough, but I wanted something a bit more modern.

New rug!!!
I ruv it. It looks pretty blue in these photos but its actually a charcoal color, either way it works!

I love the texture, it's wool but it's a loop pile. It feels so good on the feet, like little plush nubbies.

Yay new rug!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Picture Wall

We had a hallway that was in need of dressing. You can see half of it below between the white sofa and the white cane chair.
I of course forgot to take a close up of the naked hallway before I masking-taped out my photo wall. So imagine a hallway wall with nothing on it, but the thermostat, the fire alarm and the door bell speaker thing....really attractive sounding, eh?

The spark for this day after Christmas decor job was actually because of Christmas. Mr. B's dad came over last night for our holiday dinner and gave us a few photos he had taken. He matted and framed them in his handmade barn wood frames, which I love.

Now these frames below that we had, although they are really nice solid wood they are not my style. Light Oak is just not a wood that goes with anything in our home. So I painted them quickly with a brush and some acrylic.

Here is my, "oh yeah I forgot to take a picture before Mr. B starts hanging pictures" shot.
Note I used the masking tape technique to map out the placement of the frames. I highly recommend this, it sped up time tremendously and there was no need to have Mr. B hold them up so I could see the placement.

Here is our hallway 1 minute later! I may add more pictures down the road as we grow our frame collection.

Here is the view when walking toward the bedrooms.

**updated I added a few more things tonight 12-27-11

View from the sitting room.

And here it is walking towards the living room and front door. It really seems much more "homey" now. I also think it looks more complete and somehow makes the space seem bigger? Weird right?

Glad we finally did something with that wall space! Just takes a little gift, or inspiration sometimes to get the fire burning.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mistletoe Kissing Ball

I was inspired to make my kissing ball after I saw this link on Pinterest. Although my faux mistletoe technique was totally different from the link I posted, I still made use of the felt material to make mine.

Materials used:
1 Grapevine Ball 6"
Cream ribbon
5 squares cheap felt (synthetic) in pale green
1 square wool felt in leaf green
bag of mini white pom poms
hot glue
wood roses (I collect mine down the street)

I didn't take any photos of "how to" steps....sorry. I was on a crafting buzz after getting back from Michaels, Walmart and the Yarn Store!
To make it, I basically cut out a bunch of mistletoe shaped leaves from the felt, hot glued them to a grapevine ball, and then added few white pom poms. I filled some of the empty spaces with my wood roses, because, well I have about 8 pounds of them & I think it breaks up the green nicely with some contrast.
I looped the ribbon through one of the vines and hung it from a hook, pretty easy right? Make one! You'll love it :)

I just happened to hang it in the walkway between our dining room and living room, so Mr. B can't miss it!

Happy kissing!

Other great tutorials on Mistletoe Kissing Balls here!
Martha Stewart Live Mistletoe Ball & Silk Kissing Ball

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Perry, the cardigan

The project that has been taking up the last 2 months of my free time, is now finished! Meet my new cardigan named "Perry"
Here is the pattern by Michele Wang at Brooklyn Tweed dot net.
Here I am wearing mine!
Please excuse the no makeup, undone hair, and dark circles under my eyes. If you know me personally, you know I don't wear makeup, so for this shoot I may look a bit pale and scary, and I apologize. Next time I take photos of myself for this blog I think makeup is a must!

Note that the skill level is a 2 out of 5. This was by far the hardest pattern I have even done, and I was only able to because of the step by step class I have been taking for it. I have been going to a Saturday morning class every two weeks just to learn how to do the math involved and steps for knitting a garment like this.

It's super comfy to wear, and soft! (Sorry Brooklyn Tweed's Wool Shelter is so itchy to me) I knitted it out of Canopy worsted. It's a 50% Baby Alpaca, 30% Merino, & 20% Bamboo blend, in Sarsaparilla color.

Here is my, Mr. B is in the Garage and I can't wait for a photo of me wearing it, shot.

This is a good shot of the lace detail on the bottom edge. I did it a bit differently than the pattern, not intentionally at first but I liked the look after I noticed.

I am really proud of myself for finishing the sweater. It was a huge project, but I learned so many essentials from the class, and now I can say I have made a real garment. Not just a hat or scarf!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baxters new "do"

It's been a while since I have done a Baxter post. So here is our pup!

This is Baxter our Lakeland Terrier, he is now 6 years old and just got back from a new groomer that gave him such a great new do.
Just check out that profile!

He is pretty much always playing, but going around and around in the bushes is his favorite thing (besides eating). He is one lucky pup that gets to go to work with us and have plenty of room to run around all day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pincushion sweets

Today I felt I had to make a pincushion in the shape of a cupcake.

So I did.

I really winged this one, so I don't have step by step tutorial in case you want to make one of your own, but I can try to explain what I did.

I cut a large circle out of cream color felt, about 9" in diameter. I then cut a frosting shape splatter out of pink felt and stitched it on with brown embroidery thread.
I basted around the outer edge of the white circle for the next step.

The basted stitch made it so I could pull it tight and gather the bottom for a nice little pillow.

I took some upholstery batting and tore it apart to make stuffing.

Here it is all stuffed. I think it looks like a Chinese dumpling. It actually gave me a major craving for Dim sum, yummy!

I had this one small white ramekin dish that didn't match any of my others so I pushed the stuffed pillow into that. You could hot glue it in to secure it, but I didn't.

I had the sleeve of an old cashmere sweater that the moths got to years ago, (darn moths, I hate them!) so I hot glued that sleeve cuff to the outside of the ramekin. I also glued a small circle to the bottom to make it look neat and finished (not pictured).

Final steps are the cute finishing touches. I felted a red "cherry" for the top and pinned it in with a leaf green sewing pin. I also glued on a cute grosgrain ribbon with polka dots.

Cute enough to eat!

Here it is with some of my pins stuck in it, kind of like sprinkles! I just love it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Macaron success!

Yeah you heard me, after last nights (see below) Epic fail, I have succeeded!
Okay I can't really take the credit because I had a very awesome friend come over and pretty much show me how to make them and I watched. I did help out with piping them out though.
Basically I think I can rock these little cookies now. She showed me that there are 4 important things to baking French Macarons. They may seem like obvious points, but they are really important to these particular cookies.

1.) A good recipe base. (which I now have! )
2.) The right ingredients
3.) Sifting and Folding are key!
4.) Temperature changes before & during baking

And look! Our macarons have "feet", yay. That's the little spongy base at the bottom of the cookie. Besides looking great, they were also delicious. These are Allspice macarons with chocolate ganache filling. They are Thanksgiving in a cookie.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Epic fail.

I was hoping to post some great photos of my first macaron baking experience, but alas, I failed.
I did not bake delicious light crispy coated chewy centered French Macarons, but dense very almondy chewy almond paste cookies. (it could have been due to my cockiness as a baker, and I felt I could substitute almond flour with almond paste, big mistake)

Ahhhhh, failure, you are not something I experience often, but I don't hate you as much as I once did. I handled tonight's mishap with a little advice from the kitchen of my mother. When something doesn't look as pretty as it should, or taste as you want it to, dip it in chocolate!
So that's what I did, well I drizzled my chewy almond cookies in dark chocolate and they are really yummy & cute, just not, I repeat NOT French macarons.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Macaron mania!

I have been wanting to attempt French Macarons for sometime now. They are amazingly delicious, as well visually appealing. This cookie is versatile and ideal to change with the seasonal fruits and nuts available to us here "on the farm".
Look at all the pretty colors!

If you know me at all, you know that I don't just jump into anything without a ton of research. This includes building a piece of furniture, upholstering a chair, or cooking anyhing. Its what I like to call my OCD of perfection.

So the same goes with baking French Macarons. I have looked up multiple recipes, asked friends that have baked them, I've done some recent field taste tests, and even watched videos.
I know, I know, I'm nuts!

~Speaking of nuts, what has sparked the need to bake these cookies is our overload of home grown Pistachios. We have about 5 female trees that were loaded. After picking, peeling, drying and shelling quite a few of them, I crave a different outlet with pistachios then salting them and eating them as a snack.
I want a dessert! Or three!

So in my search for the most epic macaron recipe I found this this absolutely adorable video of a young woman (I think I read that she is from Brazil) being delightfully chipper & entertaining while baking macarons with tons of great tips.

Her blog is Dulce Delight
Although I don't plan on using her exact recipe, I am going to be making Pistachio flavored cookies so I can certainly use some of her techniques.

So stay tuned for my actual macarons, let's hope I succeed!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hanging around on a rainy day

I just picked up this really great space saver clothing line for indoor drying. On a rainy Sunday like today, I still need to hang up some articles of clothing that can't go in the dryer. Our small laundry hallway posed a bit of space a challenge for setting up a clothing line.
This 5 line Sunbeam brand retractable one works great.

When it's extended it obviously blocks the cabinets above the washer and dryer, but as soon as I'm done with it, I just lift up the other end (shown here) and it rolls back to the other side and it's out of the way.

I hung up this little copper basket to hold clothing pins and keep them easily at hand. I was pleasantly surprised when I got it home and Mr. B installed it, to see that it matched our cabinets blue almost exactly.
Yay, for unexpected coordination!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stamping out ease

I love it when I find something that can combine visual appeal and make life simpler at the same time. That is a true "win win" for me.

For years I have wanted one of those old fashioned wax initial kits for stamping our seal on all of our letters. Let's face it, as cool as they look they are just not that practical for mailing real letters, and they are not fast and simple to use. There is all that melting involved.

So lately I have been lusting over personalized address stamps. I went online to check out the cost and found that some stores wanted $50.00 or more (once tax and shipping was added) to their overpriced yet adorable stamps.
So I searched a bit more, and found a site called that had them for under $20.00 and free shipping. So I ordered monogram #32 with brown ink and I got it in 4 days!

I used it with my Creative Memories tag punch tonight to make labels for our holiday gifts.

I am especially excited to use our new stamp for the holiday cards I have in the works this year. It will make return addressing so much faster and really cute.
So if you have been wanting one of your own return address stamps, I highly recommend the site above, and the quality of the ExcelMark stamps is really great.

The replacement ink cartridges are pretty pricey, so choose your color wisely!

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