Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter wonderland

This is what I woke up to from my bed this morning.

Obviously I haven't mastered the art of photographing snow, especially through a window where the room I'm in has dark walls and outside the window is so bright. My camera didn't know what to think!

Once I got up, I ventured out to the front porch to catch a couple quick shots.


We had our first snow a few days ago, but it wasn't as pretty or fluffy or deep as today's. I just love it when everything is coated. Unfortunately we missed the snow actually falling in those puffy flakes, because it happened overnight. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant sight to wake up to.

And we have the best neighbor who owns a building up at the corner near our neighborhood. He owns a tractor with a plow and salt-spreader, and he's already cleared our driveway twice this week. We thanked him with some Reeses Squares. Have I not shared that recipe here before? Well, I need to. They are just like the tasty Hershey-brand treats, but cut into squares. Yummy goodness, and only five ingredients. But I digress.

Any snow where you live? If so, do you like to get out into it, or do you like to admire it from the warmth of your house like I do?


Friday, December 28, 2012

Crushing on: American Buffalo print by Sharon Montrose

Clearly I have not been very active on the blog lately. One of my goals for 2013 is to do quicker posts, so that I'll post more often. Usually I spend hours on one post (because I'm OCD like that) and that gets intimidating to me, so sometimes I don't post because I don't have that much time. But I realize I don't have to show a zillion photos in every post, and if I do, it may get boring for my readers. I enjoy some blogs that just feature a photo or two in each post (unless it's a detailed tutorial), and those posts can be fun and easy to read. I think if I do simpler posts more often, that will make all of us happier. So here's my first attempt.


Lately I've been obsessed with art. I could get lost for hours within Etsy, and I love reading about artists that are new to me. A few months back I heard about The Animal Print Shop by photographer Sharon Montrose. I didn't pay too much attention at the time because the installation was several framed photos of baby animals, hung on a wall in a nursery. (The collection is called "Little Darlings" and the installation was done in Molly Sims' home.) 

I was reminded of Sharon's work again via Elements of Style, and my jaw dropped when I came across this big beauty.

The Animal Print Shop

I think almost anything can look super-cool when it's giant. Don't you? Sharon has awesome photos of many different animals and I'm also interested in the tigers and the lions. Hey, I'm a cat lover, ya know?  But I'm particularly obsessed  with the buffalo because of a historical moment in my family's life. Before we built our current house, we sold our old house and lived in a rental in a rural area. When driving to or from our rental, we had to pass by a local buffalo farm, and I loved saying hello to the "buffies" as we drove by. Often I would stop in the road and look at them for a while, until someone else came along behind me.

Today buffaloes remind me of that moment in my life, when we were in transition but so excited about the new home we were pouring our hearts (and lots of money!) into. Is Christmas over? I think I have a new item for my wish list!

Check out The Animal Print Shop and let me know which animal you'd love to feature in your home!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Clay monogram gift tags

I am not usually a crafty person, but when I came across this on Pinterest, I immediately ordered the supplies.

Check out the tutorial at A Pair of Pears. Here's how mine turned out:

Clearly I'm lacking in the styling department, compared to the designer couple who run A Pair of Pears! And I had no good light to use for photos before the gifts got opened today during our first gift exchange. Such is life.

I don't think I've used clay since I was in elementary school, other than Play-Doh during an office brainstorming session or for a baby shower game. The jury is still out on the usefulness of the "cookie cutters." It's difficult to get the clay to release because the cutter isn't open on both top and bottom like normal cookie cutters. Sometimes the clay wouldn't shake out and I had to pry it out, which causes the clay to get misshapen. Creating the monogram is actually a second step. Once you cut the clay into the appropriately sized rectangle with the cutter, you turn the cutter over for the embossing. The shape of the letter itself is just smooshed into the top of the clay. I had assumed the letters would be embossed into the clay during the cutting process, rather than after, so that was a bit of a disappointment.

The good news is that because the letters are raised, I could possibly dip them in paint and use them as stampers for a project down the road. Hmm ....

Do you make crafty gift tags, or do you just use the peel-off stickers with To/From?


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crushing on baker's twine

What is it about this simple colored string that makes me giddy?

The Twinery

I love wrapping gifts. Usually I'm so obsessive about it during the holidays that as soon as I purchase a gift, I must wrap it right away. This year I've decided to wrap in batches instead, for efficiency's sake, but my pile of unwrapped gifts is making me twitch a bit.

I've been using kraft paper for wrapping the past couple years, and this year I decided to pair it up with baker's twine instead of my usual colored ribbons. Since I like to decorate with blue and red for the holidays (well, for EVERY day!), I have a spool of baker's twine on hand in both colors. Of course, a rainbow of colors would make me even happier, but that's a bit of an investment for someone who doesn't do much wrapping outside the holidays.

Allora Handmade

Simple Blueprint

Laura Elise Crafted

Usually you wouldn't refer to baker's twine as glam or elegant. But I beg to differ with this black and gold glitter twine. Had to include this beauty shot for my girl Kimberly of Swoonworthy. It would only be more appropriate for her if the twine were leopard-printed.

Knot and Bow via Etsy

We have our first, and largest, holiday gift exchange this weekend, so I've got some major wrapping to do tomorrow. Before then, I have a craft project on my list that I hope will make my gift recipients happy even before they open their packages. I'll be sure to share, whether it's a win or a bust!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Crushing on Monaco Blue - part 4, fashion

Now that I've admitted my obsession with Monaco Blue interiors (velvet sofas, walls, and everything else), and shared my suspicion that Kate Middleton inspired Pantone's color choice for spring 2013, let's look at how else Monaco Blue and similar colors have made their way into fashion.

I happen to think I look pretty good in blue, so here's hoping I snag myself something on trend for spring ... or sooner! In the meantime, here's some fashion eye candy for all of us.

J. Crew

Miu Miu

Zooey Deschanel on the set of "New Girl"

Chic Chef blog

Kendi Everyday blog

Vamastyle via Style Bungalow blog

The Blond Salad blog

Rachel-Marie Iwanyszyn wearing Palladium boots, via Lookbook

Kate Moss in Mango's blue military blazer

Olivia Palermo via Style Bistro

What's your favorite splash of blue?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Guest posting for "Dreamy Dwelling" series at It's Overflowing

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! While my Sweet Potatoes Caramel are cooking, I wanted to pop in and let you know that I'm guest posting today at It's Overflowing.

Its Overflowing – Simply Inspired Home Living

Aimee invited me to participate in her "Dreamy Dwelling Home Tour" series, which is super-exciting, and such an honor! Even for those of you who have seen every photo I've ever shared of my house, there's a brand new photo at the very end. You'll just have to check it out to see what it is!

By the way, if you aren't familiar with It's Overflowing, you definitely need to check out Aimee's blog. She has awesome photography tips, and her blog photos are always so light and bright and clear. She's got lots of other great DIYs, recipes, organization tips, and more.  She also has one of my favorite link parties, called "Totally Overflowing with Creativity" on Saturdays at 7pm her time.

If you're just visiting It's Overflowing for the first time, let her know you came over from I'm Busy Procrastinating! And you can leave me comments about the last photo here at my blog. :)


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Living room pillow evolution

Anyone who is interested in design would admit that her tastes evolve over time. Even just living here for five years, my rooms have changed over and over. If you ask The Mr., what has changed the most is our living room pillows.

I just got some new pillows for my sofa, and I'm very excited about them! I purchased them from the Etsy shop Kassapanola. I asked Agnes, the shop owner, to make mine 20 inches square, rather than her usual 18 inches. Lucky for me she had a little bit of the Togo Dots fabric left, as it's been discontinued.

The black and white pattern is another step in my quest to tie my white kitchen in with the large black blob (aka sofa) in my living room. The white background also helps as I continue to try to brighten up the room.

Want to take a walk through time as I examine my pillow choices over the past five years?

When we first moved in, my decorating tastes leaned toward a coastal look, with soft blues and browns. I used these crewel circle pillows from Target for a while, paired with the same silky light blue pillows you'll see throughout all my living room photos below.
 I bought those when we had our old sofa in the living room, with a beige slipcover on it. My first attempt at bringing bright colors into the living room resulted in the matrix-like pillows below.

They were cute when I viewed them on Etsy, but they didn't really class up the place once in my living room.

Side note: Artwork sure did change the room, huh? Next I purchased these pillows by Bobby Berk on Fab. At the time I wanted to bring in pops of red, but they were never my favorite in there either.

Apparently I never even took a photo with them on the sofa! After that I found these Palm Springs pillows by RoomService on Gilt. They help bring out the coral in the painting over the sofa, and I'm a sucker for a geometric pattern.

Next I swapped out the plain blue pillows I'd had forever with these reversible blue and white Hot Springs pillows by Xavier&Me, purchased on Fab.

They're brighter than the blue silk pillows I'd had on the sofa forever, which helped the coral geometric pillows pop. Once I added the black and white Togo Dots pillows, I brought the blue silk pillows back and moved the Hot Springs pillows to the gray club chairs across the room.

I'm sure I'll do some switching around again before too long (don't tell The Mr.), but for now I need your opinion. Do you like option 1, with the Palm Springs pillow in the corner, best? Or do you prefer option 2, without the corner pillow? I could also put a blue silk pillow in the corner, so I guess that's option 3.

Option 1

Option 2

 Please let me know what you think. And tell me I'm not the only one who buys new pillows every few months!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Crushing on Monaco Blue - part 3, velvet sofas

Designer Emily Henderson put me on the blue velvet sofa train. Blue is her color, and one of her favorite ways to use it is with velvet fabric on a sofa. There's something about blue velvet that elevates even the plainest or slouchiest of sofas, don't you think?

Designer Emily Henderson's living room

Designer Todd Romano's Manhattan apartment

Source unknown

via Houzz

Source unknown
Source unknown

via Apartment Therapy

If velvet wasn't a high-maintenance fabric, it would totally be on my wish list. Tell me I'm not the only one crushing on blue velvet sofas.

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