Wednesday, December 31, 2008

fantastic flutes

whenever a new year is on the horizon I dream of having a dressy party with little hors d'oeuvres and flutes of bubbly, somehow the New Year always arrives at my doorstep without my having planned a party at all, but if I ever do get on the ball (bad pun, i'm aware) maybe I'll pick up a few of these:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

deer decor

i snagged these bronze deer at fabulous tar-jay last year on post-christmas clearance and love the way they look with our holiday decor.

Friday, December 26, 2008

service for eight.

my christmas present from timothy:
such a delight, we both love the simplicity of handle shape and this is a set we'll love to entertain with. the teeny tiny little espresso spoons are so sweet.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008


When I look a these, I can't believe how blessed I am to be married to him.
- taken at Gunston Hall, Mason Neck, VA on 12/15/2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

this year's

We love love love IKEA . . . so much that we themed our christmas cards on it's iconic branding.

In the way of a little backstory, you should know that our favorite date spot as teenagers was the IKEA showroom floor, where we'd stroll around pointing out which pieces we liked and didn't. We sat down for long talks in the set-up rooms like it was our own place and we endured sideways glances from employees and fellow shoppers when we flopped over the couches with our legs over the arms at either end and our heads togther in the middle. When I left for college, he'd call me up and over the phone we'd pour over our catalogs, he in Virginia and me in my dorm room in Philly. "Turn to page 87," he'd say "do you think the EKTORP chair goes with the couch that we liked?" We celebrated Valentine's day with $1.99 breakfast in Philly's IKEA my senior year of college. We know the rules of the AS IS area by heart and we've tasted all of the Market Place's swedish food offerings. In search of a much desired piece we once traveled to five IKEA stores in one day - and that's no easy feat considering there are just 37 stores in the Continental United States!

Here's the big idea for our card: flat-packed real wood tannenbaums for all our friends and family, complete with assembly instructions and a catalog-shot of us in our kitchen. We included a bit of string for hanging the assembled tree.

After moving into our Apartment and reflooring it with none other then IKEA laminate flooring we began choosing pieces for around the house. Generally refering to our furniture pieces by their original IKEA names after assembling them, the names sort of stuck, so now when Tim asks "Where did you leave the car keys?" I reply "They're right on the DIKTAD, where they belong!" and the piece where we store the dishes (you can see it in the catalog photo of us.) In the middle of prepping a tasty dinner Tim will blurt "Sweetie can you grab me two bowls off the FORHOJA*, please?" Needless to say, we're very familiar with the IKEA naming system, so ofcourse choosing the name for the card was a much anticipated task. Karte is actually swedish for card so that was an easy swap and then a tricky spelling phonetic-sounding swap-out for Christmas with obligatory umlauts, completed the name.

We usually include a picture in our card for those who haven't seen us in awhile (and for those who forgot who we are and are scratching their heads looking at the return address) so when it came to an idea for the photograph we knew it had to be inspired by the light flooded rooms gracing the pages of the catalog we so admire. After much discussion and planning we set up the shot. It took three hours and every light in the house. The couple of takes took an underwhelming 15 minutes - and most of that was spent getting paddy to jump up, so he'd be the right amount of blurry. Here's a closer look at the final photo:

so, that's a wrap.

*This is the piece that inspired the five-store trek up the East coast. I should mention that even after visiting five stores we were not able to obtain the FORHOJA that day, but had to wait until it was back in stock (no one would give up their floor model!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

they're off

after much hub-bub at the united states postal office in lorton.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

peanut butter

i'm a fan of speedy & delicious baking which is why the cupcake part is only semi-homemade. the frosting though- that's all me. after shelling out $3 a cupcake for Hello Cupcake!'s Peanut Butter Blossom several times in the past few months, I decided I needed to try and replicate their delicious peanut buttery frosting for my self.

banana cupcakes:
-white or yellow cake mix
-2 bananas (thawed if frozen)

mash up the bananas and add to the cake mix at the end. use an ice cream scoop* to place even amounts of batter into regular or mini-sized cupcake wrappers.

* i used to roll my eyes when i saw people doing this but it helps so much that i'm completely converted!
it makes all of your cupcakes even-sized

peanut butter frosting:
1 stick of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of JIF peanut butter
2 1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
3 tbsp. half & half or cream

first combine the softened stick of butter and peanut butter and whip them together until the mixture is lighter in color and you can't see any chunks of butter, this takes a few minutes (3-5) but it's the most important step because if it isn't right then the frosting will be very greasy. next, add the almond extract. then begin to slowly add the confectioner's sugar and mix well - add the half & half a little at a time to thin the mixture. you can add more confectioner's sugar or more half & half to achieve a consistency that you like, i kept mine pretty thick.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

i am so watching it.

this is not the time of year to diet, but that doesn't stop me from trying. sort of. i enjoyed these earlier in the week.
and i made these peanut butter frosted banana cupcakes last night. but i have lots of helpful coworkers to help me eat them so i consider that a perk. and yet another reason to bake.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

what to expect when you're NOT expecting

everyone else is pregnant. or at least every woman in ikea last saturday was, and not just any kind of pregnant but really cute pregnant. i've decided that when i have a baby i want tim to wear this around:
(image from
he totally will. . . i'm about 90% sure of it. maybe. if i ask him to.
oh and if he could be barefoot, like this guy - that would be good also.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


i've really been enjoying participating in Nectar & Light's Photo Trade (here on Flickr) for the past several months. the themes are challenging and the photos are rewarding. . . plus it means i get a sweet little surprise image in my mailbox once a month!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

winter's coming quick

letters today.

i'm not quite ready for fall to be over, but the weather feels like winter's coming quick.

reminds me that i haven't started on my christmas card yet, i really should figure out what its going to be so i can start producing - it always takes me a bit longer then i think it will and i have a longer list this year too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

wall decals

i'm having a thing for sticky vinyl lately . . . i want to do some in my house - but i'm sure if i start I'll go crazy an put it everywhere - so i really need to be deliberate and plan what I'm putting where. i've been looking around for a few months now - these are just a couple of the ones I adore, i plan on doing a mock of what i want to do in photoshop so check back for that.

if i ever have a home office I really want to have these on the floor - particularly the mint/teal one.

I'm definitely ordering these as soon as i have a laundry room.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

farm festivities

i'm off to a mennonite farm for the weekend to celebrate with family and to enjoy all things fall.
enjoy the weekend!

Friday, October 24, 2008

great {design} expextations

i've been anticipating the arrival of this month's issue of Print, mostly because i've been excited to see the regional design annual winners, but two other things struck me before i could even get to the award section.
1. this quote:
"people today don't just appreciate good design - they expect it."
- David Butler, the vice president of design for Coca-Cola
as a person who strives to create work - and generally live life - in a way that more then simply, meets expectations, i find this quote surmises what i've discovered in my limited experience and it also challenges me. how inspiring!

and 2. tur-da! this amazing ad from Neenah Paper announcing the addition of a pearlized linen paper to their line: way to combine my two favortie things. side note: the typography and pattern looks straight out of Martha Stewart Living.
it's beautiful. and just examine the texture . . . the little swatch of "linen is embossed" to feel extra linen-y, how delightful. I can't wait to use this paper for a future project.

also i really love this color right now.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

iPhone vs. Letters

i've been enjoying my iPhone 3G so much that i've barely sent any snailmail in the past couple of weeks, mostly just bills, my fingers have spent more time adapting to the touch screen keyboard then they have scrawling notes and thank you's. eeek.

Monday, October 20, 2008

pear cupcakes with caramel frosting

Pear Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups coarsely shredded Pears (about 1.5 lbs.)
Caramel Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low; mix in pears. Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until just combined.

Fill lined cups halfway with batter; bake until tops are springy to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from tins; let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, frost cupcakes; and decorate as you please.

(the pic might have been after a few glasses of wine. oops.)

Caramel Frosting
3 cups (light) brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons half and half
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix sugar and half and half in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring over low heat until syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. If lacking a thermometer, check doneness by dropping a tiny bit of syrup into a cup of cold water. When the syrup can be gathered up in fingers and will almost hold its shape, it has reached the soft-ball stage.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter, then let syrup cool. Add vanilla and beat until frosting reaches spreading consistency. A little cream (or half-and-half) may be added is mixture is too thick.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

happ landing

does anyone else take issue with the phrase happy fall? it seems a little odd when you stop to consider it. i've been delinquent in posting through september because, well, september has been kind of a bummer month, mostly uneventful.

in any event, i am excited that fall is on its way! fall means apple picking, baking and candy-making with said picked appples, wine tasting, maize maze wandering, crisp evenings, dinner with friends and perhaps a bonfire which would be spledid.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

hello cupcake

que ode to joy. a new cupcake shop has opened up on dupont circle this week and i went to have a look (and a taste of course) it's called hello
the shop is real cute with clean design and modern but vintage looking chairs and tables with a little counter for sitting and people-watching while munching on yummy cupcakes.
I couldn't resist a few cupcakes I didn't inted to buy more then two but they have the cutest boxes for 4 packs and it has a little insert that holds the cakes in place and even has a space for you two reach two fingers around the cupcake which allows you to lift it out easily. additionally since its opening week and they've been slammed they have a four per person limit - which made it almost like a challenge - since i could only have four i suddenly wanted four!
above is the cute box label and a lemon cupcake called "you tart"
mint chocolate chip . . .the mint icing is divine!and i just had to try the "peanut butter blossom" since it looked so cute and is aptly named - the addition of the hershey's kiss makes this one complete! the last one i chose was rootbear float which had yumy rootbear flavored cake and is just available for the summer. if you live in the area you should definitely check out this trendy new shop!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

c a r o

typography can be inspired from the simplest thing . . . i new i would find enjoyment in these blocks i picked up a few weeks ago!


one of the coolest uses of polaroids i've ever seen:
check out this video!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


i just found this site dedicated to polaroid art. I am so inspired, take a look at thes gorgeous images!

images property of Grant Hamilton, taken from

i love the above middle it's titled Atari.

images property of Randolph Barry, taken from

I really want to take a few of my polaroids and have them made postersize so I can use them in my
kitchen . . .hmmm or maybe the living room like the ones below.

Friday, July 25, 2008

bahamian treasures

happy friday! a little bit more show and tell: these are a few bahamian stamps from the collection we picked up at the post office, strangely enough there were no other tourists in the nassau post office when we visited so we felt like bright for thinking to go and pick out stamps.

a few more delightful souvenirs from our anniversary trip, i couldn't resist these. the starfish is 12" in diameter at its widest point. The license plate just seemed quirky and i liked the numbers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

ceramic delicacy

this is one of those pretty items i couldn't resist snatching up because of its delicate feminine form. i love the way it looks on my desk at the office and I'm detemined to make some pretty pink cherry blossoms out of tissue paper - like these - for it the next time i'm feeling crafty and have a few minutes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

keyboard type

these keys will never feel the same as writing a letter by hand, though i do enjoy the clicking sound and sometimes in the middle of a stressful day i find it soothing.

Check out this article from The New York Times about the decline of penmanship and handwriting.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

avon bottles

i suppose i have a bit of a weakness for feminine dainty things . . . it comes from admiring my grandmother's vanity as a little girl. . . these are a few more of the treasures i picked out this past sunday in the nottingham antiques barn. they are vintage avon cologne bottles - the blue boot is still 2/3 full of cologne. and the little carriage, though empty, smells heavenly when opened.

Monday, July 21, 2008


found these in nottingham, pa yesterday, in an antique barn.

Friday, July 18, 2008

anniversary postcards

tim and i just had our first anniversary and we took a quick trip to the bahamas to celebrate. somwhere in between scooting around Nassau on a moped and climbing the queen's staircase we decided to begin a tradition. we each picked out a postcard for the other, secretly wrote a note, stickered it with local postage and dropped it in the mail. yesterday, the postcards appeared in the mailbox and we read them together with childish giggles and grins. it was so delightful to see what we'd each written. the best part is we now have very personal souvenirs that are dated and location stamped (not to mention that they cost next to nothing), we're going to do this every year, whether we travel to someplace new or just stay local.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

creative self

I read this article from Scientific American Mind after seeing a post about it by dozidesign.

a few bits of the article really spoke to me:

-"When children are very young, they all express creativity, but by the end of the first grade, very few do so. This is because of socialization. They learn in school to stay on task and to stop daydreaming and asking silly questions. As a result, the expression of new ideas is largely shut down. We end up leaving creative expression to the misfits—the people who can’t be socialized." - Robert Epstein

having worked on a few occasions with young children, i've wondered about this idea for years, where does creativity begin to be stymied ? this opened up a can of worms for me just beginning to think about the ways that we halt our own creativity or allow it to be halted by others.

lots of people have said to me "you're so creative," i've heard that so many times that it has taken on a persona of its own in my head - i've been told i'm creative, i think i'm a creative person, therefor i create and i maybe the most creative person i know (at least in my own head). i've begun to think about the culture or mindset among people who have established creativity as a part of their personality that makes them competitive with other people who are creative. i think we can get caught up with wanting to be the most creative person, even though we feed off of eachother and are inspired by eachother.

i think the established and affirmed creative people tend to shut out the idea that the other people could be creative to if they were allowed.

-"Creative people are productive. They may have lots of ideas that don’t work, but the point is that they have lots of ideas." - John Houtz

i often find i have so many ideas, i'm overwhelmed by choosing one direction, and i allow those overwhelmed feelings to follow me through the creative process.

one last one:

- ". . .let me give you an example of an exercise I do with people that boosts group creativity. It’s called “the shifting game.” In this exercise, half of my teams stay together for 15 minutes to generate names for a new cola. The other teams work together for five minutes, then shift out of the group to work on the problem individually, then come together for the last five minutes. Even with all the moving around, the shifting teams produce twice as many ideas as the nonshifting ones. This happens, I think, because groups inhibit a lot of creative expression. Dominant people tend to do most of the talking, for one thing. But when people shift, everyone ends up working on the problem." - Robert Epstein

i've always found this to be true but i like how Robert Epstein articulated that the dominant people do most of the talking. i'm one of those non-dominant people who lets the talkers do the talking. lately i've been struggling with trying to change this about myself so that i have a voice in group settings. i've heard that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, so i've meekly tried to force myself to become a sqeaky wheel, or at least - squeakier. the truth is i'm not sure if i can hack it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

for the love of light

this just came in the mail . . . postal polaroid bliss
a book devoted to polaroids and their creators

Monday, July 14, 2008

eames inspired

i've been inspired by the eames brothers for several years but i was hesitant to use these stamps and invoke the names of designers as great as charles + ray eames without putting a bit of like-minded, free-spirited design into the envelope which I was slapping these bits of design history on to.