Archive for December, 2010

One of my friends got a book for Christmas called the “Forgotten Art of Letter Writing” …or Something like that. Any of these from Amazon may fit the bill

In it, it gives each and every detail about the etiquette, style and such for writing letters. One tid-bit I found particularly stinging was this: “If you have time to surf the web for 10 minutes, you have time to write a note.” Flashing into my mind at that moment: 52 uncompleted TY notes from the wedding!!!! OH. DEAR.

Thankfully, I have finished the Christmas Thank You notes, but now, Mrs. T must push forward and complete the ones that should have been done already. And, as everyone was so incredibly generous and gave us such beautiful useful things, how can I not just sit down and zip through them? I can! &. I will.

Hopefully all will be postmarked 31 December 2010.
Gorgeous clips from this delightful blog!
(Imagine this is posted 31 DEC.)

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The bloggoworld is full of cloth bunting these days.

Little buntings on cakes, medium on pillows and large ones for children’s rooms.

I was wondering what BUNTING actually was, so I wikipedia-ed it. And this, is what I got:
* Bunting (bird), a group of birds
* An infant sleeping bag
* The act of laying down a bunt, a type of offensive play in baseball (???)
* Bunting (textile), a lightweight cloth material often used for flags and festive decorations ta da!
* Bye, baby Bunting, a nursery rhyme (presh).
Then of course there are the endless names of Sir Bunting, of Buntville Cakes (and such, :))

So. I am making a bit of bunting for a dear friends shower. Her colors are blue, navy, cream, and blue. So I pulled all my extra blues out of my fabric cupboard and am setting to work.

My goal is to make this sort of bunting (which I labeled “Circus Garland”)

Hopefully this will turn out quite sweet, if not I will tear apart and turn into a patchwork quilt. And put up paper crape and *tears* instead 🙂

Tutorials. I found a few when google-ing “how to make bunting.” But I think I’ll just wing it on my own and post the tale tmr.

Guiding Framework:
1. Snip triangles (and seal)
2. Secure together (or to a ribbon)
3. Hang & festoon about the room.

Potential Pot-holes:
1. May need to purchase pinking sheers.
2. Will do small flags to I can get more color variety (I’m thinking 4″ long, with a 3″ base)
3. Will snip original flags by hand (don’t have my rotary cutter yet), then hair-spray edges to seal (in the event the pinks don’t get purchased pre party)

BUT. If you’d like to make a bunting TODAY. Here is a sweet little pic-by-pic guide by my Aunty at A SIMPLE LIFE

In other news, found the most dramatic Robert Cummings thriller yesterday, “Sleep, My Love.” I’m not sure if Gaslight was a remake of this or if this is a remake of Gaslight. Either way it was a delightful thrill to enjoy while hopping about on my week off. Don’t you just LOVE her dress (they really make the sweetest couple I’ve ever seen.)

Little snap of this charming pair in, "Sleep, My Love"

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So the new year is almost upon us, and my little Etsy shop (proposed to debut 15 Jan!) is coming along well. I’ve finally gotten my project room 100%. Here are some before and after pics:

Now that my working area is perfectly situated. The creativity can now commence! The fabric has been stacked and arranged, ready to be snipped into usefulness.

Here are the sketches of some of my next projects:

I also found the most fabulous little tutorial from The Red Thread on how to make fabric tape, ooooh so precious. In fact this entire blog and shop are marvelous. The little Ooshka dolls are perfectly charming!

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Such a delightful weekend — how sweet to have family from every corner perched under our roof for our first Christmas. I think our little row-house was quite bursting with love and good cheer (along with a continual flow of good coffee, spinach dip and uncrackable nuts).

On Christmas eve day, after popping out to see The Tourist with Mr. T’s family, both my new sister in law and I were presented with the most beautiful handmade stockings. My dear mother in law had stitched each sequin on by hand. Oh this picture does not do justice to the expert craftsmanship!

Of course it had birds on it, which just warmed my little heart to no end. On Christmas morning, I woke up to my husband saying that Santa had come! The stockings all had been taken down by the fireplace and were sitting full of little presents (the girls, got beautiful pens, fabulous little leaf journals — 4″X4″, so cute!!!, and then a lovely SBUX giftcard).

This Christmas morning, was full of new traditions for all of us — showers and coffee a must, watching White Christmas, then a pleasant brunch of quiche, bacon and fruit. THEN Christmas gifts! Without doing a complete inventory (although the VS PJs and Real Simple Mag made me coo with delight), the highlights were from my sweet husband: A Russian SBUX Travel Mug (I have no idea how he found this, I didn’t think it was possible to find these anymore), and a beautiful brown and teal Vera bag.

I must say, that it was the thought that counted for all these dear gifts. Such love was shown and given on our little Christmas as Elle Street Inn, I surely was thanking the Lord for his goodness and faithfulness to us all.

Although I didn’t take pictures of the food (too busy hostessing and enjoying family). Here is what the Christmas menu turned out to be:
1. Christmas hickory smoked Smithfield Ham
2. Mashed potatoes and gravy
3. Stuffing (half cornbread, half regular)
4. Texas toast
5. Collard greens
6. Creamed corn
7. Mama B’s homemade applesauce
8. Cranberry sauce
9. French cut green beans
10. Baby dills and pickled okra
11. Selection of blush and red wines

Dessert: Apple crumb pie, pecan pie, cherry pie & pound cake

Appetizers throughout the day included the usual, but my particular fav is the Knorr Spinach Dip (with water chestnuts), and mixed nuts (not for the faint of heart, I can tell YOU!).

And that my friends was the menu & all the goings on at the Elle Street Inn.

Today is a normal Monday for the T’s. I intend to use my fabulous Gap coupon (BOGO!), merely out of principle and then settle down for a quiet evening of sewing (and re-made ham and sauerkraut).

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Alright dear friends. For those who grace my FB area, y’all are well aware of my proposed attempts at a Chicken Liver Paté.

Now, to provide a smidge of context: On our honeymoon, Mr. T and I had the most fabulous paté sampler at a simply divine French Restaurant. I loved each of the patés and was eager to try them at home. So, when I found that I had spare livers from a wee cornish hen, I was ready and eager!

Here is the recipe I used for inspiration, though I modified it considerably.

* 1 lb chicken liver
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 cup grated onion (or more to taste)
* 1 -2 clove garlic, mashed
* 4 eggs, hard boiled
* 2 tablespoons cognac (optional)
* 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

So, I only had a few ounces of liver, so I made about an 1/8th of the recipe. Here are the little guys (don’t look SO eager to be a paté??)

Started by sautéing the livers wrapped in garlic and salt.

Once livers were fully cooked (i.e. a milky brown color). I set aside. The caramelized some diced onions in the same pan (allowing the flavors to blend a bit).

I then placed, livers, onions, 1 tsp of crushed garlic, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 2 hard boiled eggs into a little food processor and blended for about 90 seconds. I then scraped the sides, added more spices (salt, garlic, black crushed pepper), and blended until smooth (about another 90 seconds).

Once smooth, I scooped it out of processor and placed it in a custard dish. Wrapped the top and chilled overnight.

I have to admit, I’m a little wary of my creation. But, I think chilled an on toasted sour dough rounds, I will not be ashamed of my hard work.

If anyone is a pate expert. FEEL FREE to provide helpful tips!

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One of my favorite books as a child was “Old Farm, New Farm,” the little farmer bought an old farm, and started making repairs and modernizing the whole estate. This type of “make-better” story is so sweet, especially as the farmer sat back with his lemonade once all was complete. 🙂

My current project is a blazer refinement endeavor. I found this sport coat last winter at a little Thrift Store in between snowstorms. It was just begging to be renewed. I think one of the most defining aspects of a jacket are the buttons. SO. This little jacket will be transformed with a fresh set of beautiful faux leather buttons and some additional vintage lace accents (for the pocket and lapel).

Here is the progress so far! Notice the old ugly buttons (the cheap flat ones, not the leather ones).

As you can see, this is still QUITE “in-progress.” But should be done tonight!

In other news, found a pair of black velvet vintage pumps at a Thrift Store today. Once conditioned and transformed, will be etsy’d 🙂

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Busy AM, but wanted to do a shout out to the beautiful and ever lovely TJs.

Yesterday after enjoying a fab Chai Spice Eggnog Latte @ SBUX,

I dashed into TJs for some unique grocery shopping. I found everything and more that that was on my list.

So. Favs at TJ of the week:
1. Soyaki Sauce, $2.29/jar
2. Frozen Edamame $1.69/lb
3. Frozen Mango, $2.29/lb
4. Shallots, 3 for $0.99!!
5. Edamame Crisps, $2.29/bag

With all this goodness (mostly edamame goodness, haha), we managed a lovely oriental fusion type dinner. Used half of the ingredients, and only ate half what we made. SO. $18 investment, $4.50 delish dinner and three to come. Yum!

Pics of my favs. Check out your local TJ for equal fun and flavor 🙂

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I was reading a blog on how to blog, and it said one of the worst things you can do is have a bad post title. I hung my head in shame, and thought…oh dear “Thrifting” really wasn’t exactly the most dramatic title, but, but, but it was descriptive!

So. I went thrifting again with a dear friend on Saturday. With coffee in hand and carrots in good supply we headed on our quest. I tell you, speaking of a losing streak. I lost any “luck” I ever had with thrifting. We went to five different places, and it was one extreme to the next.

Stop #1.
In this one (as my tweet mentioned) everything was horribly overpriced. It didn’t feel like thrifting, it was regularly normal prices for tired items. Sad, but moving on!

Stop #2.
This one was tucked so far in it was difficult to locate. We managed to finally find it, and tip-toed in hoping the musty smell was the smell of good deals. Alas no. We did find one treasure. A WELL preserved 1980’s formal gown. If I’d been party worthy in the 80’s I would have worn this dress.

Stop #3.
We were looking for #3 but saw a sign, and thought…I guess this is the one. Oh dear. This was a quite an experience. There were piles of shoes and electronics when you walked in, one rack of clothes, and in the back were stacks and stacks of car tires. We politely made the scape, and the scooted out. Across the street we saw another sign for one…so we continued on.

Stop #4.
This one was closed, retail space available, but the sign was too much to resist.

Stop #5.
Thrift Store. Ahhh, we made it! This store was lovely. Normal peaceful selection, thrifty prices. Actually this one had the best selection of old Bridal gowns I’d seen. Again, I saw one that was so beautiful and preserved. I would have worn it, had I been born a few decades earlier (and if Mr. T had been born earlier. Essential.) I found some curtains that will be turned into aprons soon. $2.99, and boy was I happy 🙂

I heard one lady at my favorite T-store say last Wednesday “You don’t think anyone will shop on Friday if they know we have a sale on Monday?” Wahhhhoooo. So Monday, today, I may poke my head in. Just for a split second.

Felt Update: Check our Mrs. Priss. She’s got some great felt on! Felt Hair Bows: Dying sweet deaths inside. Oooooh la LA!

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I would like to post a disclaimer at the very beginning of this post. I really have had absolutely wretched luck in the thrifting area the past two years. Since moving to the big city in Jan 2009, I’ve been again and again woefully mistreated by the t-stores in the area. BUT, for some odd reason, I’ve managed the past four months to break my losing streak into one so glamorous, that I’m causing my friends to envy (what? who, me!?). So I post these trophies to encourage those of you who are on losing streaks and fear that thrifting is all for naught.

And…some thrifting tips I’ve learned over the years (feel free to add your own in the comments):
1. Short trips can be rewarding (working 24/7 woman that I am, don’t have all day to scour a disorged store, so keep it brief with your eagle eyes open).
2. Know what your looking for.
I typically look for four things: a. Shoes (easy to scan a rack quickly), b. Fabric (look at the sheets and linens section), c. mirrors (some amazing finds here ladies!), d. skirts/shirts (I don’t dig that much, I try to look for nice prints or materials, before I reach into a rack for a shirt etc.)
3. Walking out empty handed is okay.
4. Find your favorite t-stores and ask about specials, discounts etc. I found a very little one, but has great turnover (is NEAT), so I’ve done about 50% of my thrifting there this fall.
So, my trophies this week:

Just realized these all were plaid of some sort. Oh dear, I guess it was in the air! But luckily the shoes are going to be embellished, and gifted. So the only plaid addition to my wardrobe is the shirt. Of which, my husband pointed out that I already had some plaid…but I said, is a little more plaid all that bad? *winking wickedly*

BUT, I agree. Plaid in moderation is a VERY good rule.

Posted this for friends to see at Ms. Finding Fab. Really sweet ideas and LOVELY pics.

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With my free greens procured at the local fresh tree market, I commenced making a wreath of my own. Only to find that, dear me, hadn’t done it in over a decade. WOW.

But thanks to some DMC green embroidery floss and a few twisty ties, I think she turned out okay 🙂

Also finally wrapped some gifts for my sweetheart, Mr. T. The one is so amazing I think I’ll be patting myself on the back for a good while. As I do love him so very much, these are some prime specimens of the Mrs. T wrapping style (complete with Turkish lace!). Now this and one other matching gift are perched under the tree. From: Mrs. Santa.

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