Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....Packing.

More than anything these days, I've been craving the scene of us decorating a tree, hanging garland & lights, sipping on hot chocolate and putting up those last decorations in our cozy apartment while Christmas tunes play in the background. Reality, however, looks a little more like this:

For some reason we signed a 15 month lease last October, which gave us the task of moving right smack in the middle of December. The smartest choice? Probably not. But hey, at least we're getting a bigger place (raise your hand if you'd like to raise a baby in a one bedroom, 600sqft apartment!) and I'm hoping that we'll get moved in and mostly unpacked in time for me to throw up a little Christmas cheer to enjoy before the holiday descends and then passes on all too quickly (did I mention it's my favorite holiday?).

For the past month and a half I've been pinning all sorts of holiday decor ideas and since I promised myself I wouldn't buy anything before we move in order to limit the amount of stuff we have to transfer from one apartment to another, these will have to tide me over for another week or two!

I absolutely love the wreath snowman and I can't wait until our little boy will be old enough to help decorate the tree! What are your decor plans for the holidays?

Photo credit: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Thursday, December 1, 2011

So What'll It Be?

After waiting for what seems like an eternity, we finally got to go to the doctor this morning to find out what we we're going to have! It was like Christmas morning; I could barely sleep (though that might have to do more with my expanding waistband) and we couldn't wait to get to the doctor - thankfully my appointment was at 9:00 am!

So the verdict?

Yep! We're having ourselves a little baby boy. Which is funny, because almost everyone said they thought it was going to be a girl, including us. But it was very apparent that a boy is coming our way! Most of my nursery ideas have been on the feminine side until now, so it's time to start brainstorming a more masculine room. Inspiration photos to come, I'm sure!

Photo credit: 1 2

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gettin' Present (& Correct) With It

Today on my daily stroll through Pinterest, I discovered an eclectic website that has been around for a few years but until now has escaped my radar. Present & Correct is an online business based in the UK that houses "a place for our own designs, things we love by other designers from around the world & vintage items which we discover around Europe, and sometimes further afield." Their inventory seems to lean heavily toward the office supply environment, but in a very unique & diverse way. Original posters from the 60s mix with new calendar designs, all in a site categorized by words like "mail," "organise" and "ephemera."

I love these Christmas stamps that could be used for all sorts of crafty feats - they're made new, but the 10 different designs have a distinct retro feel about them. And then of course the Roll Calendar from the 70s, with German text and a choice of green or white.

These old tickets are begging to be used creatively and I'm loving the numbered pins, which do indeed cater to my OCD side, as the description describes.

Vintage post cards featuring iconic London vehicles would be fun to send someone and can you imagine having 220 meters (over 700 feet!) of pure cotton airmail string to use at your disposal? I could see myself wrapping all of my gifts this year in nothing more than brown craft paper and this twine-esque embellishment.

What catches your eye on Present & Correct?

Monday, November 7, 2011


Just when I thought I was getting way ahead of myself by wishing that the upcoming holidays would come just a bit sooner, I got my December issue of Real Simple magazine in the mail. Oh the glory. The gift ideas, the decor suggestions and 30 different kinds of holiday cookies, which to a pregnant lady sounds pretty flippin' awesome.

The thing that really caught my eye, however, was on the very first page of their gift suggestions for women. Maybe I'm a little late to the game, but I had never seen these before and I think they're precious. Enter: Mugtails.


I think my favorite is a tie between the the dainty fawn tail and the over-sized rabbit tail. I wouldn't complain having the full set though, and at only $16 a pop, it's not completely out of the question (I was expecting $30+ each). I would see myself using them more in a decor setting than a practical, "use for my morning cup of coffee tea milk" situation, but either way they'd make an appreciated addition to our world.

One thing the magazine didn't mention was that they not only serve as drink-of-your-choice receptacle, but also as a tea light holder. Since the animal shapes are thinner than the rest of the cup, they serve well as the focal point when the light shines behind, like so.

These might just be going on my Christmas wish list. What do you think?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Freshly Sharpened Pencils

Via Amazon
"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."  
                       - Joe Fox

I've always loved You've Got Mail, though I'm a sucker for any of Tom Hanks' older movies. I've also always had a thing for school supplies...I know better than to head down that aisle during August (or any time, really). So a few months ago when Fall should have been setting in, here in Texas we were still experiencing 100 degree days and I started pining away for cooler weather. When school started up and all I could see walking through the grocery store were pens and pencils and folders and highlighters, it made me think of that quote from the movie.

So I went out and bought a pack of pencils. For like a dollar.

Then I stole the mason jar that I had turned into a pin cushion jar awhile back and after tediously sharpening all 40-ish pencils (funnily enough, doing it by hand ended up being faster than using the old-n-busted electric sharpener), I shoved artfully arranged them in the jar!

Simple, cute, and now that we're actually starting to experience fall weather here in Central Texas, appropriate.

Has the changing seasons made you do anything crazy? Did anyone else watch You've Got Mail many times as a teenage girl?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Forshizz Up the Spout. Honest to blog.

I was doing so well with posting on this thing until about two months ago when I was suddenly EXHAUSTED all of the time. All I wanted to do when I came home was collapse on the couch, so that's pretty much what I did. Of course, it made a lot more sense when I found out this little bean was amongst us!

I'm already in love with its nose <3

So while the thought of posting on here has crossed my mind many many times since we found out the big news, I've simply been too drop dead tired to do anything other than work and come home. I'm just now entering the second trimester (14th week), which I've heard is the golden age of pregnancy - no more nausea (though that only really hit me for about two weeks early on), a lot more energy and of course that "glow" :) I'm looking forward to this next stage, where I can get things done and hopefully have a little more motivation to do anything other than lie pitifully like a sack of potatoes.

Now that I've gotten the ball rolling, hopefully I'll make a point to post on here more often and pick back up where I left off. On a side note, am I the only one who loves Juno? Hi-lar-ious.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lindsey's Senior Pictures

When my in-laws came into town last month for a visit, we (me, the husband, my brother-in-law William and my sister-in-law Lindsey) escaped for a day downtown to take Lindsey's senior pictures. We first hit up Zilker Gardens and then made our way over near South Congress to sneak walk around the alleyways and whatnot to find some cool spots. Lindsey is, for lack of a better word, crazy. But the awesome kind. She's hardcore into basketball (she plays on her HS varsity team) but can't leave the house unless her hair looks perfect (you know it's true, Linz). Not to mention she's a ridiculous ball of energy. We love her to death and her silliness made the photoshoot all that more fun. She was a trooper, too - we walked around for about 4 hours in the middle of the day and in this summer weather, that means 100+ degree temps. Now that they have the final images on disc, I thought I'd post a few of my favorites. Including some outtakes at the end... :)

Um, yeah. Apparently playing basketball gives you killer legs. Sign me up! Also, if you're a boy, look away.

And now may I present to you: "Gangsta" Lindsey and Overly-Giddy Lindsey. She hearts haterz.

This last picture on the right is quite possibly my favorite of all of them. Classic Lindsey.

She might kill me for posting these last couple, but deep down she loves them too :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This is Coming my bedroom.

Yes, that is newspaper on my wall. No, it's not staying, but something else will be in its place. It's still in conception but I'm hoping to start on the project soon. I can tell you that 1. I can't decide between white and a color, 2. they won't be photographs, and 3. I need 64 total, but currently there are only actually 59 in existence.

I know that doesn't make much sense, but what fun is it to tell you ahead of time? :) Stay tuned...

My New Best Friend

Okay well "new" is a relatively loose term, I suppose, since I've had this particular product for seven or eight months now, but it is still very much my bff in the kitchen. When the husband and I got married last October, we received a new cookware set that we had registered for from his wonderful family as a wedding gift. I was super psyched to get them since I had been sporting a $20 set from Ross since sophomore year in college and I was done with that cheapness! *

One thing I didn't count on was my new pots and pans looking anything other than beautiful and right-out-of-the-box shiny forever and ever. I quickly realized that without a non-stick coating things tend to, well, stick to the pans. This is largely combated by generous amounts of butter and oil, but even if you prevent things from getting stuck, after awhile the pan starts to look like this....
Pleasant, isn't it? Yeah, it looks like a layer of gunk, but we do wash our pans, thank you very much, and this is as clean as it gets! That is, unless you know my good friend.

Super cheap on Amazon
Yes, this aptly named can of powder is pure magic (though I suppose Harry Potter might argue that "scourgify" is a bit faster). In fact, if you visit that link I put up there in the first paragraph to our cookware on Amazon, the one thing it tells you that most customers "frequently bought together" along with the pots and pans set is this stuff. Easy to use? Why yes, yes it is. Are these visuals necessary? Probably not, but ignore that point and enjoy the pictures.

STEP 1: Wet the pan and dump out any excess water.

STEP 2: Put a generous amount of the powder on the surface that you want to tackle.

STEP 3: Start scrubbing with a cloth that you don't particularly care much about. Make sure it's wet as well so that the powder starts to make a paste. Depending on the severity of the surface, you might be doing this for awhile.

 STEP 4: Realize that the back of your pan has foreign markings on it as well and scrub some more.

 STEP 5: Rinse well and hand wash to remove any remaining residue.
Already looking better...
And now for a before and after, because those are my favorite things ever:

I don't use this stuff every day, but when I notice a pot or pan looking a little worn, I like to bust it out and make them look nice and shiny again. This powder will get out pretty much everything. If it can be removed, it will be, as long as you're persistent enough. This one pan only took me about 2 minutes. So if you have stainless steel cookware that needs a pick me up, I highly recommend it!

Do you have any "must haves" around the house?

* I realize this makes me sound like a horrible person, but you would agree, had you used those terrible pots and pans for so long.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pot Roast Monday

Pot Roast has become somewhat of a tradition around here on Mondays and I never get tired of it! We don't do a whole lot of variation (why mess with a good thing?!) but it still lets us have melt-in-your-mouth meat once a week with deliciously season potatoes and broccoli. It was always one of my favorite things my mom made growing up and ever since I invested (okay, it was $20) in a good crock pot, I've been a happy camper :) It's a good "meat and potatoes" dish (literally) - warm, comforting and best of all, easy to make. And as crazy as Mondays can be, that's a good thing.

- One rump roast or similar cut of meat, roughly 3/4 lb per person
- Beef or Chicken broth, enough to nearly cover your meat (we've used both with equally good results)
- Vegetables 
- Seasonings (I use garlic powder, pepper, onion powder and red pepper flakes)
- Flour

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix the flour with seasonings of your choice (for this step I use pepper and garlic powder) and cover both sides of the meat. Place meat in the skillet to brown, two minutes per side. Remove from heat and transfer to crock pot.

Cover meat with the beef or chicken broth and add the rest of your seasonings (I reapply pepper and garlic powder and add in the flakes and onion powder. Because the broth already contains a massive amount of sodium, I never add additional salt). Cover and cook on high for 7-9 hours.

Optional: Add in vegetables during the last hour or two of cooking, depending on the type of veggie. I use red potatoes - one per person - and put them in for at least two hours. They are delicious by the end. I also throw in broccoli about 15 minutes before we sit down to eat so that it doesn't get soggy but that it has a chance to absorb the flavors.


What about you? Do you have a staple dish that you keep coming back to?

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Trip to the (Hillside) Theatre!

Yesterday Charles and I, my mom, stepdad, two brothers and close family friends took a trip to Zilker Park for our annual tradition of swimming in Barton Springs before settling down for the musical of the year. Zilker Hillside Theatre has been putting on productions for the last 53 years and we've been coming for the last ten. This year's show?

The theatre is literally on a hillside - if you don't brace yourself correctly, you slowly start to slide down in your seat (which is usually your butt on a blanket, unless you bring a chair), which only adds to the charm. Everyone comes and starts putting down blankets around 5:00 and the show starts around 8:30, when it starts to get dark.

The cast warming up for the show

You're not supposed to take pictures during the show, but I was a rebel and snuck in a few shots for this post. Don't worry, no flash! I did it all ninja like.

End of Act I

End of Act II - The Finale

I had actually never seen any form of Footloose before, though I did recently see the trailer for the new remake of the movie, so I had a general idea of the plot going into it. For those who don't know, from the Zilker website...

Dancing is not a crime!

When Ren [MacCormack] and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, he is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school. But, what he isn't prepared for is the town's ban on dancing... instituted by the local preacher. When the reverend's rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren's reputation, and many of the locals are more than eager to believe the worst about the new kid.
The heartfelt story that emerges centers on a father longing for the son he lost, a young man aching for the father who walked out on him, and celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people... with a warm heart and an open mind.

While is wasn't my favorite musical of all time, it was definitely good fun. What I can't wait for is next year's show - The Sound of Music!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Speaking of Mason Jars...

I recently stumbled upon this post from one of the blogs I follow called Young House Love that chronicles the adventures of Sherry, John and their adorable daughter Clara. I am continually jealous of all of their awesome home improvement projects since most of them I can't yet implement while in an apartment, but they really have some great and inspirational stuff.

One thing I CAN do, however, is this idea that Sherry came up with after seeing something similar in a Pottery Barn catalog. Observe:

Pottery Barn via Young House Love

See those jars over there on the right? They're filled with all sorts of goodies from what we can only assume are far off exotic lands, judging by the labels (you can't see them from this distance, but they're there). So Sherry took that idea and applied it to her own vacations that were, as she admits, a little less exotic but still fun nonetheless. So here is her take on the keepsake jars:

Fun, right? I have a habit of saving every little thing from a trip but it all ends up in a box somewhere and I don't see it again until I'm rummaging for something else and I happen upon a trip down memory lane. But I love this idea - putting small but memorable items into these (insanely cheap) jars to have a visual reminder of all of the places you've been.

In fact, I have a huge bag of stuff that I've been holding onto from our semester in Italy that I originally planned to scrapbook, but maybe I'll try this out instead....Read Sherry's full post here and be sure to poke around the rest of their blog as it is fantabulous.

What would you put in these jars?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sewing Jar DIY Tutorial

After working out some kinks with the new sewing machine, I've finally started on that skirt tutorial that I talked about in my hobby post. It took me forever to figure out the pleats (damn you!) but those are finally pinned and ironed, so I'm about a quarter of the way through. Ish. I'll certainly be posting the final results of that when it's completed, but until then, a small preview...

In the interim, I made something that I've wanted to try out even long before I decided to purchase a sewing machine. See, I have a weak spot for mason jars, as I'm sure many do, and now that I'm sewing, this project makes the perfect easy DIY. May I introduce: The Sewing Jar.

Martha Stewart 2006

I love these jars. They've been around for quite awhile and it seems every other blog offers a tutorial (yes, now including me). The idea is a pincushion/storage container all in one so they're practical and super cute to boot. This project is super quick, easy, and best of all, cheap.


1. Sewing odds and ends. I bought a pre-packaged kit at Hobby Lobby for $5.00 that included Scissors, a Needle Compact, Tape Measure, Pin Wheel, Tracing Wheel, Safety Pins, Thimble, Snap Fasteners, Hook & Eyes, Wool Needle, Needle Threader, Shirt Buttons, Seam Ripper, Dressmaking Pencil, 10 small spools of thread, and a Pin Cushion (no longer needed!) Or if you're a sewing extraordinaire, just use everything you already have on hand.

2. A mason jar of your choice. It can be tall, squat, large, small, whatever, as long as it has the two-piece lid. Just make sure it fits everything you want to throw in there to keep around. Mine was just about 70 cents - half off the original price. Can you really get much better than that?

3. Stuffing of some kind. I put off doing this project for awhile because I thought it was ridiculous to buy a huge bag of filler (I never saw small bags during my trips to the craft store, though to be fair, I didn't look overly hard). Of course, that's exactly what I ended up doing, so now I have enough to make about 300 sewing jars. Or I guess I could keep it around for future projects... After I finished my jar I saw somewhere online that you could use cotton balls, so if you have those around, put them to good use!

4. Fabric (not pictured, ob-v). This is a great time to use any scraps you have lying around and to try out some fun things. I'm using all of my patterned fabric for my skirt, so I used a bit of some nice, heavy duty black fabric I have since I haven't gotten to that "box of scraps" point yet. Not all that exciting, I know. But the great thing is you can change it at any time, so for now it'll do.


Step 1: Draw a circle on your fabric one inch larger than the lid insert. This is a lot simpler to do with a drawing compass, but if you haven't had one of those since middle school (like me), it's pretty easy to freehand it. Cut out the fabric shape.

Step 2: Get a handful of filling ready. This is going to take some trial and error on your part. It depends on how big of a cushion you want on top and how firm you want it. (Note: if you want an extra large cushion bump, make sure to cut out a larger circle of fabric to accommodate the extra filling)

Step 3: Hold the outer ring of the lid upside down and place the fabric circle on top, also upside down (put the side of the fabric that you want to show face down). Then start filling it in, being careful to not let the fabric get pushed out through the hole. If this happens, you have too much filling, so start over and add less.

Step 4: Watch as the bump is pushed out the other side. Keep adding filling until you reach the size you want it to be (again, watch the fabric). Your fabric will probably pucker a bit at the sides (like in the picture) as you work with the filling. To get it smooth, gently pull the ends of the fabric a little at a time until it is smooth around the perimeter.

Step 5: Once the pin cushion is the size you want it to be, take the lid insert and push it back into the outer ring. It should snap back into place, holding the filling at bay. At this point you want to glue the remaining edges of the fabric down so that the top is easy to screw back on the jar. It's best to do this with a glue gun, which I didn't have with me today, so for now mine is hanging out in all its glory!


This whole process took me maybe 20 minutes and I love how it looks! All of my little sewing bits fit perfectly in the jar except the scissors, but that wasn't really a big concern for me. So now I have everything at my disposal in an adorable jar instead of an ugly green plastic case. No offense, Hobby Lobby.

Cost breakdown:
- Sewing kit: $5.00
- Mason jar: $0.70
- Filling: $3.50
TOTAL: $9.20

Friday, July 22, 2011

Craigslist Finds

Every so often I like to browse the furniture category on my local Craigslist site without a real plan to buy anything (though my honest intentions do get me into trouble sometimes, when I find something I just have to have...I'll be posting about that in a bit). The hubs and I live in a one bedroom unit, which means 1. we have absolutely no extra room and 2. we can't afford many bonus purchases that don't really come with a legitimate use. However, I like to window shop because it allows my mind to wander and think of ways that I would refinish a certain piece and how I might decorate a room around it.

Lately my findings have been pretty poor, but today is just full of unique and fun things, so I thought I'd share! When I do a search, I usually put $50 or $100 as the max price, depending how I'm feeling that day, and click the "has image" box (because who, really, would buy a piece of furniture unseen? Why people continue to post their items without visual representation does not make sense to me....). And then I just see what turns up.
Price: $40 (reduced)
I could see these sanded down and painted either a crisp white or some bold, fun color and placed next to a modern couch. They've very unique - it would definitely add something to your decor!

Price: $15
Looking through Craigslist can sometimes yield a bunch of junk, but you have to keep an eye out for things that might have good bones that could be refinished into a really cool piece. For $15, this nightstand is super cheap and it could make a really cute stand-alone table if refinished correctly. A fresh coat of paint, new drawer/cabinet pulls, and a cool replacement for that wicker (or not, if that's your thing!) could make this piece shine!

This post is selling those two chairs and the table on the right for $25.00. Not each...together. Speaking of good bones, those chairs have a great structure and could easily be reupholstered. And that table is cute, it's round and it could easily go between the chairs as a great set. Just the thought of these three pieces, newly refinished and upholstered, sitting together in front of a wall of windows makes me want to get in my car and go get them. Not to mention it's maybe ten minutes from my apartment....must...resist!

So if you're in the Austin area looking for a project or just want some new (to you), unique furniture, visit the links below the images and have fun! And if you happen to buy the chairs and table, I will be forever jealous. :)

Have you found anything interesting on Craigslist lately?


This is glorious:

Found via Etsy on Facebook

The craftsmanship on this piece is beautiful! I used to love those marble tracks as a kid and this is absolutely brilliant. I love when someone takes a concept for children and re-imagines it for use in an adult world. While a bit distracting as a dining table, I could see this being an arts & crafts table in a game room or something just as fun!