Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Last Call

Happy holidays!  I hope you're having a busy but fun holiday season.  I've been spending a lot of time in line at stores wondering why I haven't done more of my shopping online.  I keep wishing stores were laid out like websites - searchable, able to checkout anywhere when I'm ready.

I heard a story on Nordstroms where they do just that.  Employees with iPads can check you out anywhere, just like at Apple stores and even offer emailed receipts.  They have instant access to all Nordstroms stock, online and in stores - this is the direction shopping needs to go because otherwise I will soon become a hermit, ordering everything from groceries to paint from the comfort of my couch.

If you're trying to finish up your Christmas shopping from home, I'm offering free shipping until Sunday, December 16.  Check one more person off your list or treat yourself to something pretty for standing in all those lines.  Please get those holiday orders in by Monday, December 17 to ensure Christmas delivery.

Signature Petals Earrings are in limited supply.

Keep your eye out for a new line of jewelry coming in 2012 and a new website in the works.

Remember to stop and enjoy this time of year - wishing you the very best!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Apple Cider Muffins

We have been stockpiling Honeycrisp apples this fall, or, we would be, if I could stop eating all the stock.  This morning was cold and grey so I decided to warm up the house with some fall baking. 

I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect recipe and couldn't find one, so I improvised with the King Arthur's Apple Muffin recipe.  Baking + improvisation can lead to disaster, but I pushed my OCD aside and went for it.  I added cardamom and nutmeg, so they are wonderfully fragrant and I added a splash of apple cider and Greek yogurt to keep them moist.

Apple Cider Whole Wheat Muffins

(adapted from King Arthur)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
grated fresh nutmeg - between 1/8 and 1/4 tsp if you want to measure
1/2 cup butter (one stick) at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar (divided)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 6 ounce container Chobani Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt (or 1 cup plain Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup apple cider
1 huge or 2 large apples peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a 12 cup muffin tin (or line with paper, but I love browned edges on muffins).

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg.  In another bowl, cream the butter, granulated sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar until fluffy.   Add the egg and mix well.  Add the Greek yogurt, but mix slowly.  Add the apple cider and mix.  Scrape down the sides, then add dry ingredients in batches, but don't over mix.  Add apple chunks. 

Scoop batter into muffin tin, they will be pretty full. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar on top - next time I'm doing to do a streusel topping - recipe to follow!

Bake 25-30 minutes, but check after 25 - if a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, they are done.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then move to a rack.  Enjoy them warm! Or have some restraint and save some for the week, microwaving for ten seconds to recreate that fresh from the oven taste.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How-To: Tooth Fairy Pillow

Kelly started losing her teeth a few months ago, right now she's missing her top tooth and has the most adorable lisp.  I keep recording her saying "suffering succotash" - I'm glad she thinks it's funny too!

When she lost her first tooth we needed something to hold it under her pillow.  Kelly is a light sleeper and I knew if the tooth fairy had to dig around for a teensy tiny baby tooth in the middle of the night, she'd get caught red handed.

First we came up with an embroidered muslin bag - I just traced a tooth icon I found online and split-stitched the outline.  It worked out but we needed something bigger.  Like an entire pillow.

Sewing a pillow is easy.  If I can do this, you can do this.  It's a rectangle.  It's stuffing from a bag.  Easy Peasy.

Kelly picked some soft fleecy fabric at JoAnns (which sheds like crazy when you cut it). I measured two identical rectangles and cut them out.  For the tooth pocket, I used white felt and cut out a large tooth shape (which was the same tooth I found on the internet).  I used a blanket stitch at the top of the tooth so it wouldn't fray, then sewed three sides of the tooth to one of the pillow rectangles.

Turn the rectangles so they face each other (inside out), and sew them together, leaving a hole at the bottom of the pillow to stuff it.  If you don't have a sewing machine you can do this by hand, it'll just take longer. Turn it right side out, fill it with stuffing until it's fluffy, then hand stitch the hole closed.   If you want to be fancy, do a hidden stitch to close it.

When we have a tooth ready for pickup, she places it in the tooth pocket, where the tooth fairy replaces it with a two dollar bill.  Because my husband thinks that's the only currency she would carry.

Kelly was so sad to never see her teeth again, so we asked the tooth fairy to leave her teeth on my dresser at night so we could keep them.  What the heck does she do with all those children's teeth anyway? Kind of a creepy. 

Supplies that will make this project easier:

cutting mat
rotary cutter
embroidery hoop
sharp fabric only scissors

Monday, July 23, 2012

On My Nightstand

I'm in the middle of a few books lately, which is something I hated to do when I was younger but now seems a way of life.   I don't make as much time for reading anymore, when it used to be at the top of my priorities.  Maybe that's why I'm taking on so many books at once.

I'm a big fan of - where you can make To-Read lists, catalog what you've read, check out book reviews, see what your friends are reading - I only recently found this site and have become obsessed.  I'd love to be your friend there and see what you're reading!

I like to have several types of books on my nightstand:  something non-fiction so I can feel learned, something autobiographical, some kind of deep, good literary type fiction and something fictional I equate with junkfood for my brain, or TV books as my brother calls them.  There's nothing wrong with TV books (as in, books that are more like watching TV than reading literature) I think we all need them to decompress and escape sometimes.   So here's what's on my night table  - won't you share yours?

Lost in Shangri-la by Mitchell Zuckoff.  I heard a great interview with the author on NPR and had to get this book.  It's the true story of a planeload of servicemen and WACs surviving in a remote part of Dutch New Guinea in 1945, complete with plane crashes, headhunters and cannibals - it should be an exciting read, if I could just get past the first few chapters of introducing the characters.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  Okay, this is an big one, and while Steve is a fascinating person who left us too soon, sometimes his character flaws and personality can be too much and I have to step away from this book.  I will make it through, someday.

The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen.  I found this one on Goodreads, plus I have a thing for  apocalyptic fiction.  This story is set in a small commonwealth in Washington State during the 1918 flu epidemic.  I also heard a great review on NPR which you can listen to here.  I'm loving it so far, though I just started it.  I worked with a Native group in Alaska documenting an abandoned graveyard that had so many grave markers from this period.  I even had a professor that warned this virulent flu could survive in the soil.  This professor tended to taste soil at dig sites, but refrained in this area.  I was never sure if he was kidding or not.

And now for my late night junkfood book - Feed by Mira Grant.  It's another apocalyptic story, complete with zombies.  It feeds my addiction to all things end of the world and takes the place of The Walking Dead while I await it's return.  It's a fun, fast book and is the first book of three, so I know there's more to come when I'm finished.

Underneath those are some issues of bon appetite, Bazaar and House Beautiful for perusing, you know, in my down time.  I wish I had the time to take it all in.

Friend me on Goodreads, share what your reading, I'd love to add to my to-read list!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pinterest Roundup

This weekends pins are inspired by berry season, purple stained fingers, scratched up arms and baking in a hot kitchen.

Blueberry Slump Recipe from Saveur

Berries Tea Towel from jennarosehandmade, $15

Blackberry Jam Lip Balm from orangethyme, $3.25

Do you pin?  I'd love to follow your boards!  Put a link to your boards in the comments and I'll make sure to follow!  You can find me here.  I have a board dedicated to Tom Selleck for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fashion Friday - Summer Date Night

The overwhelming heat this summer has me living in dresses and wearing lots of gold.  Date night usually means a maxi dress and one big gold accessory.  Even with this heat, I can't get enough of the summer sunlight, wearing gold at night feels like I'm selfishly dragging it's rays into the evening.  I love these picks for a hot night.

Feather T Shirt Summer Dress by sealmaiden, $36

Rose Gold Hammered V Bangles by AltanaMarie, $50

Organic Natural Botanical Perfume - To Bee, by IlluminatedPerfume, $225

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Over The River and Through the Woods

"Would you like to spend the afternoon at Nana's house?"

That question is always answered with a smile.  We spent the day at my mom's house last week, she wanted me to take some pictures in her backyard for an empty wall in her front room.  I took so many, her yard is full of little vignettes, secret paths and shady spots to read.

The fairy path is the epitome of sun dappled.

Viburnum is various stages of bloom.

Things I covet - wooden lantern, healthy begonias.

Also coveting - shade.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How To: Shipping Made Easy

After numerous attempts, I have finally set up a proper shipping station that speeds up my processing time and makes me feel organized.  The key was to have everything, EVERYTHING, I need to package, at my fingertips.

Jewelry shipping is small, I realize I'm lucky to be able to setup a small shipping area that doesn't have to be picked up at the end of the day.  But if you can carve out a space that will let you have all envelopes, boxes, tissue, ribbon, cards, etc within reach, it will make you feel organized and efficient.  If you're short on space, maybe you could set up your supplies on a roll-up sheet that can be tucked away when finished.

The foundation of my station is my envelope and jewelry box supply, it slides right under my table where I sit to package.  Sometimes I even have a helper to pull it out.

On top of my table is a vintage desk organizer I got from reclaimer with my delivery confirmation stickers, customs forms (yes, I still do these by hand) and my postcard inserts.  There are tons of great vintage office organizers on Etsy and they feel more "special" than something from Office Depot. In my lazy susan are my jewelry cards, business cards, scissors and pen.


Right in front are my ribbons and tissue paper, where George and Martha look on.  I only wish I could mount my ginormous bubble wrap roll under the table, but a certain evil cat cannot, or will not, stop chewing it. When I'm lucky enough to have a bunch of orders I try to setup an OCD assembly line, a little tower of boxes, everything done in the same order because I'm terrified of sending the wrong item.

I still hand write my forms and addresses, I'm lucky enough to live very close to a USPS facility so I don't mind the daily trips.  But I'm thinking about printing labels on Etsy if I got a postage scale.  I know a lot of Etsy sellers love endicia, or ebay shipping tools. 

There's a Shipping Improvement team on Etsy where you can test drive new shipping functions like processing time estimates, ship estimates, tracking - it's a great place to learn about the new improvements and how to use them.  What other shipping tricks do you use?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chore Charts and Expense Accounts

Kelly's desire for all things American Girl led to a real discussion on money and saving so we decided to start a chore schedule and allowance.  But how much can a six year old realistically do? I know I can't live with the way she makes her bed, she does her best but my chamber maid self can't handle it.  I know this is my issue.  We're starting with three basic chores - starting small won't set us up to fail.

1. Pets - Aren't kids supposed to be learning responsibility from pet ownership?  Seems I'm getting all the lessons. With very clear instructions on food serving sizes and constant reminders - we're not going to let the pets suffer - she can feed and water the cat and dog daily.  I put a water bottle in the fridge for her to fill the cat bowl to prevent the dripping walk from the bathroom with the cat's dish.

2. Hamper and PJs - Clothing on the floor makes my eye twitch, so we have fold pajamas and put them away every morning and put dirty clothes in the hamper every night on her list.  This is a reasonable request that I'm hoping will stop the trail of socks and underwear I'm constantly bending over to pick up.

3. Toys - Lastly she has to pick up any toys on the floor in the family room and her room nightly.  This seems like common sense, but we have seen otherwise.

I googled kids chore chart and found tons of free printable lists, we chose a Tangled theme this week, hung it in the kitchen and made a deal that if she checks every box in a week she'll get $2.00.  Too much? Not enough?  I don't really know what the going rate on chores is these days.

Do you have chore charts?  What are your kids responsible for and how much do they get?  What consequences are there when the chores don't get done?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

First Day Last Day

We made it through a year of Kindergarten.  Everyone said how fast it went by, but when I think back to that first anxious day, school supply shopping - the freshly sharpened pencils, the waxy crayon smell - it all seems like a long time ago.

Apparently we learned how to trim her bangs this year.  Those shoes don't fit her anymore, she's grown over an inch and lost two teeth.  I don't see much left of her baby face and she learned to stop doing the "grimace smile".

Oh yes, hands on hip pose has become a favorite.  And her hair has gotten so long it has to go in a ponytail for schooldays.  Rapunzel would be proud.
I can't imagine what it's going to be like next year when she's at school all day, it's bittersweet.  She's my one and only and kindergarten is all done.

She's already started the great bus debate, I think she intends to beat me down all summer until I let her ride.  At least it's not makeup or boys.  Yet.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Shooting the Moon

The full moon this weekend was amazing!  Driving home from our Friday night date, my daughter caught sight of the huge, yellow orb rising and gasped, "Mama, the moon!!"

After getting her settled in bed I decided to dig out my tripod and try taking a few shots with my Canon. I've never tried night shots and didn't think I had the best zoom lens for it and I was right.  But I got a few shots that weren't a white blur and after playing with the shadows in photo editing software, I ended up with some cool pictures.

 The details: Canon Rebel T2i, Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lens, f/11, ISO 100.

I know my lens is not ideal for shooting the moon but I'd love any feedback and suggestions on shooting the sky at night!