Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We LOVE Wednesdays: Spats, Celebs and Small Shoes

Happy, happy Wednesday to us all.  Think of all the fun that's right around the corner....Mardis Gras, St. Patty's, Spring!  So here is some good Wednesday juju for you.  Check out my latest LOVES....

The featured Etsy shop this week is JoelmaSouza.  How to describe:  a party for your favorite pair of shoes?  Perhaps a little fancy for your ankles?  Or better, the perfect excuse to get new shoes without having to tell your husband you bought new shoes!  And with the latest trends, these are right on quirky cue.  Skinny jeans, leggings, skirt and tights?  Yes.  Yes please.  I'm super in love with the set below....and my birthday is coming up....oh lawd, someone hide the credit card.


Wednesday means we're closer to the weekend and closer to the Oscars!  What more is there to love than a red carpet, a glass of wine and the chance to judge others.  I feel obligated to reminisce about my favorite Oscar gown from last year.  I know she took a lot of flack from those snarky ladies over at E!, but I swoon when I look at this frothy Givenchy confection Zoe Saldana rocked.  Could anyone look happier and can anyone top her this year?  Me thinks it will be hard.


So I spoke a little in my last post about going vegan in an effort to improve my overall health.  Also, I've taken to the gym quite a bit lately and for the first time in my life, I can run.  Without stopping.  Without feeling like I'm going to keel over a die.  While I was there this week, I set my iPod on Glee.  Before I knew it, I had ran a 5k.  I'm sorry, what??!!??  So today, I love Rachel Berry.  She totally kicks my ass.


And for some DIY love, I share my favorite baby shoe pattern of all time.  These little guys are precious and so easy to make.  I'm in love with the idea of giving a mom to be a box full of teeny shoes in different patterns and colors.  So sweet.


My last love is a wee bit more serious.  I'm sure everyone has read about the malicious act of vandalism that occurred in Auburn, Alabama.  I have close ties to that area and while I'm not a fan of Auburn football but rather married to die hard Bama fans, I've had the privilege of seeing those lovely old oaks rolled in victory TP.  So, I encourage you all to visit Tide for Toomers and donate a dollar or two in the name of tradition and more importantly, good sportsmanship.  I think you'll see from the number of fans, there is no question Bama fans greatly respect their rivals.  The state of Alabama has its problems as any place does, but one thing it does not lack in is kindness, passion and tradition.  What was done was done, but tomorrow always holds something new, something brighter and something else worth loving.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Adventures in Veganism: DIY Fruit Sorbet


I need to be clear....I have no intention of turning this into a food blog, mainly because I'm hopeless in the kitchen.  But in the past few months, I've been feeling quite inspired, so when I find a simple, brilliant little recipe, I feel obligated to share.

My husband and I did some research on ways to improve our health and diet and stop feeling awful.  So after joining a gym, becoming more active and doing some reading, we took a step that some may see as drastic.  For the past four months, we have been vegan.  No meat, no cheese, no eggs, no dairy.  To be honest, the difference in both of us is way beyond being just visible.  We feel amazing and I don't really miss meat, cheese or dairy considering how much better I feel without it.

Eating is a very personal thing and this post is in no way trying to preach or convert.  I don't think that eating animal products is wrong, I just think that for me, choosing not to eat them has been quite beneficial.  Along with the animal products, we've ditched soda pop, caffeine and most sugars.  Don't get crazy, I still have weak moments and snarf down the occasional treat.  But it's given me a sense of control and understanding of the "you are what you eat" theory I never would have gained otherwise.

The other night I was really wanting something cold, frozen and not ice cream so I searched our freezer and found a bag of mixed berries.  I added some agave nectar which is a wonderful, natural sweetner found in most natural food aisles and some juice (100%, no sugar added).  A few minutes of pulsing in the food processor and I had myself a delicious frozen sorbet.

Today, I tried out some different flavors with super successful results.  I give you Tipsy Pineango Sorbet.  Ingredients:  Bag of Frozen Pineapple, Bag of Frozen Mangos, Champagne and agave nectar.

I put the frozen fruit in the food processor first, then added a bit of each liquid.  You will know when it's pulsing if the mixture is too dry.  Too much liquid and you'll have tipsy fruit soup.  Pulse until almost smooth but still firm....we're not making smoothies (although you easily could).  Taste a bit to ensure it's not too tart and if it is, you'll need some more agave.  After it's blended, transfer to tupperware and freeze for a bit before serving...the picture below should give you an idea of the consistency.
It really is completely yummy and can't wait to try out some more combinations.  Here are some other suggestions:
  • Frozen Blueberries and lemonade.  Those two go so well together!
  • Frozen Peaches and Champagne....I'm a bit of a lush.
  • Frozen Cherries and a touch of vanilla.
  • Frozen Strawberries and fresh kiwis with limeaide.
Leave a comment with any other brilliant combinations you come up with...enjoy!

**I will say that I used raspberries the first time and it came out WAY too seedy.  I'm not quite sure how to fix/avoid that yet, but will post a solution if I find one.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We LOVE Wednesday: Vintage Vegan Vulgarity

Oooo, I've been so excited about doing this post.  Imagine that...being excited about a Wednesday!  So here it goes, some more good PR for the least favorite day of the week.


Every Wednesday needs to start out with some Etsy love!!  I have personal attachment to this week's shop.  One of my favorite people in the world is engaged and has been searching endlessly through a sea of bridal cliches hoping to find a wedding gown that suits her unique style.  It has not been easy and she's been looking for months.  To make it worse, very few bridal consultants/sales people have understood her need for something different.


Magically, the unicorn of wedding gowns appeared yesterday.  So today we send some major LOVE to Hinterland Vintage!!!  Besides having the perfect dress for one of my bestest buddies, Hinterland Vintage is home to a plethora of loveliness...hats, shoes, dresses.  All adorable pieces that are not just vintage, but fantastic additions to any modern wardrobe.  I was also completely thrilled to find that this shop owner takes a great deal of pride in what she sells....Hinterland Vintage has noted a piece's flaws (if any) but has also taken the time to fix many of them while still preserving the integrity of the garment.  After all, how annoying is it to pay for vintage and find that the buttons are falling off? So in my book, Hinterland deserves some serious kudos.  And besides the fantastic photography, I just love this hat...beyond cute.  I cannot wait to place an order and hope you will do the same!  Also, check out her blog.




I hope everyone had a sweet Valentine's Day...my husband and I did.  When making plans we knew we didn't want to cook, but the Vegan options in the Fred are limited.  We wanted delicious and different...so for anyone in the Fredericksburg area, I hightly recommend Smryna Mediterranean Market and Cafe.  They have delicious  and healthy dishes and the best part, there are SO MANY different vegetarian and vegan options.  And don't fret if you're more of a mainstream eater...there are pages of yumminess to choose from while dining in or carrying out.  We carried out and had ourselves a romantic "living room picnic."



After watching the Grammy's Sunday night, I'm more in love than ever with Cee-Lo Green.  His performance with Gwen, but more importantly, the Muppets, had me dancing in front of the TV.  (Btw, the new Muppet movie is set to be in theatres on November 23rd....but that's another We LOVE Wednesday post all together).  And how about that outfit??  Sigh...the weekend feels closer already!



It's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York! Of course, the designers are currently showcasing Fall Fashions but I've been thinking spring and been drooling over the fresh designs that rolled out in September. Anna Sui is one of my absolute favorites and thought I would share a fantastic look from her Spring Show....so pretty and feminine. I just love the flow and am getting very excited to see this style trickle down to the racks I usually shop. Thanks Phil for making spring and spring style happen for me sooner!!


And while we're on the subject of spring, how great is this bright and sunny oil cloth lunchbag that Martha shows us how to make? I see a weekend project in my future!!!


So happy Wednesday....I hope it's a good one!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Yudu Cardshop Blank Screens!

If they're going to run out, I'm gonna make my own.  I just attempted to wash one of the pre-burned screens and it worked!!!




Get some emulsion remover, spray it on and voila...a little patience, a ton of water and some light sponge rubbin' and you have yourself a blank screen!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We LOVE Wednesday: The Original

Wednesday seems to be everyone's least favorite day of the week.  The weekend still feels AGES away while last weekend went by so fast you're still trying to catch up on everything you didn't get done.  Wednesday just has middle child syndrome (and that's coming from a middle child).

So, I think Wednesday needs some better PR.  Maybe Wednesday can be about embracing the things that we're happy about.  Maybe Wednesday can be called We LOVE Wednesday....nothing like a little positivity, right?

I have decided that Wednesday is a perfect day to showcase some things I LOVE.  This can be anything, anything at all that I'm currently happy about or drooling over or just LOVE.

First, let's start with the shoes I'm wearing...the Blowfish Beacher Booties.  I JUST got them from Zappos yesterday and no one can deny that their customer service is unrivaled.  Ooooo, they make me so happy!
Today, Chad got new glasses!  And we all KNOW how I feel about him...and that he emailed me a picture of him happily driving to work in them.  He makes my days.
I have been droooling over this Etsy Shop for quite some time.  Untamed Menagerie is the place to go for unique and utterly dramatic statement pieces.  I try to always be original so naturally, I'm obsessed.  This piece is my ultimate favorite.



Don't you love it when you remember something random?  A few days ago I remembered the movie Hans Christian Andersen with Danny Kaye and could not get it out of my brain.  DVD copies are like $60 so I'll have to deal with just the YouTube snippets for now.



Next week is Valentines Day!!  So hop over to the Paper Source Blog and learn how to make recycled Origami Valentines!

A coworker of mine let me paint my nails with this fantastic polish.  It's amazing and the lovliest shade of nude!  Sally Hansen's Cafe au Lait is available at most drug stores.


And finally....the happiest news I have read in a loooong time.  My wish to rid the world of phonebooks may become a reality.  That article along with this picutre has me feeling like the weekend is right around the corner.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

DIY King Headboard Happiness

Whew...all that whining from the last post makes me want to show something productive!!

Ever priced out a king sized headboard?  Well they're bloody expensive and without one, our room (complete with new Pottery Barn duvet and Fisherman Knit Shams) was just looking sad.

My original solution was inventive but perhaps not 100% realistic.  I do enjoy some good trial and error however.  I had ordered three 18x24" artist canvases from the amazing DickBlick.com (and no, I don't work for them although I've been pushing their merchandise for the past 2 posts) and thought, I'll just cover each and mount them on the wall.  I figured it would be lightweight, still look good and be less hassle than other DIY counterparts that consist of huge pieces of wood and 2x4s for mounting.  Chad was not sold on the whole art canvas idea and after a snafu with a shorted fabric order (they sent me 1 yd instead of 2 and promptly ran out so one of the canvases had a giant seam in the middle), my simple idea was looking like a craft FAIL.  But I forged on and put them up on the wall with thumbtacks so every time Chad bumped his head one would fall on his face.  Funny at 11pm.  Not so funny at 4am.  That man's patience with me is beyond normal.

My handy husband did this instead....12 little metal joiners (you can find them in the hinge section of Home Depot.  Just ignore the "you're a lunatic" looks from the men folk working there when you ask them for such an item and explain what you're trying to do) and poof!  Three 18x24" artist canvases have become one 18x72" artist canvas perfect for a king size bed without weighing a million pounds.


What next?  Spray adhesive and some batting.  I would chose a higher loft batting if I did it again.  I like the end result (I "tufted" it with buttons) but think it would have been even more perfect if I had gotten fluffier batting.  I bought a crib size and joined it together so it would cover the length of the headboard.  Just slice in half longways and layer over itself to make the cut.  That way when you put them side by side, they line up evenly....like you would cut some sod for the lawn.  Thank you HGTV for that little tidbit of brilliance.


Get out your handy dandy staple gun and cover with fabric.  I cannot recommend a NON one way design enough...especially one with built in lines.  I'm rather in love with this trelis ee, double wedding ring ish, chocolate pick I found at Hancock for $4 a yard.  That's right...never buy full price...that's just silliness.  So if you need to cover a 72" surface and the fabric is 54" wide, you need a yard and a half.  I would buy 2 just to give yourself a little room to screw up.  If you have a one way design chosen, you'll need to do some seams (so three pieces measuring 18x18", 18x36" and another 18x18" plus seam allowances and a couple of inches for wrapping on the top and bottom). Happy Stapling!



For the tufted look, I got some buttons and sewed them individually through the canvas using upholstery thread and a gianormous needle. Be careful...if you pull too tight or make your stitches on the back side too close together, the canvas will rip underneath and the button won't be attached to anything but fabric and batting.  I managed to fix that after it happened once or twice.  Also, some of the buttons ended up needing to be sewn over the wooden braces of the canvas.  Luckily, the canvas isn't attached except at the sides, so I could pull it away and weasle the needle out from under the wood.


Handy husband to the rescue again!  After diy headboard 1.0 was mounted with thumb tacks he insisted on "doing it right" with diy headboard 2.0.  So he attached picture hangers and the rest is cute bedroom history.


Ta Daaaaa!!!!!





Monday, February 7, 2011

The Yudu and the Yudu Cardshop: Provo Craft Did Not Invent Screenprinting


Sigh...it's been too long and I have lots of crafty to update in the coming weeks. However, first I feel the need to fill in the dots for a lot of people in regards to the Yudu machine that, as some of you know, I purchased last summer.

The Yudu was appealing to me because I wanted to screen print and found the whole process overwhelming. This fun toy offered everything I needed in one nice, shiny, well advertised package. It could burn the screens, it could print the screens, it could dry the screens, it could do everything but go to work for me so I could sit at home and craft.

To say I'm disappointed with my Yudu wouldn't be completely accurate. I have found it difficult to master. I also haven't felt inclined to spend the extra $100 investment to stock up on the supplies needed to practice and master the technique. Also, it's large....way too large and too messy for the sewing room. The screens are too big for a regular sink so I really need to look into adding a utility sink in the basement where I have the thing set up....I can't even fathom what Chad's reaction to that looney tunes plan will be. So I haven't used it much....but I'm still in love with the idea and the possibilities. Le sigh.

Enter the Yudu Cardshop. This little guy is so cute and compact....a mini Yudu perfect for paper products and smaller projects and perhaps a brilliant solution to the dying Gocco. To be honest, this is what I wanted the big Yudu for in the first place. The screens are 5x7, I can make my art prints, do some table linens, screen print a few onesies....again, you can see where I fall in love with this idea and all the possibility!

HSN is the sole seller of the Cardshop at the moment. I order it gleefully but did not get the blank screens in time.  Meaning that if I believed a word of what ProvoCraft would have me believe, I am stuck with their designs, preburned on the screens without a hope of making my own.  Why in the world would anyone want this product without the ability to make your own screens?  And why would ProvoCraft not include at least one blank screen in the set?  HSN.com is sold out and no one else has it. So after a not so nice review of this crappo customer service experience, I began to explore my options.

I've read 100s of posts about the Yudu, Provo Craft and the Yudu Cardshop. It's like Provo Craft made this thing, wants to talk about the magical stuff it can do, showcase the products it can produce but not offer any help to people who want to make something other than birdcage ribbon. Annoying. Incredibly, incredibly annoying.


So here is what I know and what I've learned from these two machines. Hopefully it will help some other poor, lost crafty soul who just wants to make cute and ORIGINAL stuff:

1. PROVO CRAFT DID NOT INVENT SCREEN PRINTING. This means that anyone who thinks you need to own a Yudu or Yudu accessories to screen print is high. There are a TON of tutorials on screen printing out there. The benefit of the Yudu (in my opinion) is that it makes it more practical space wise to set up screen printing in your home while dumbing down the process. But if you don't want to shell out the $$, then you don't have to. You can be just as successful (and maybe more?) with a kit from DickBlick.com.

2. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY YUDU PRODUCTS to use with your Yudu. Meaning, the emulsion sheets, ink, emulsion remover and transparencies can all be purchased elsewhere for a heck of a lot cheaper. Here are the best deals I've found:
-Emulsion Sheets: DharmaTrading.com (10 pack for $29.99) or Ebay (just search for Emulsion Sheets).
-Ink: DickBlick.com. Use Speedball or Versatex 8oz for around $6
-Emulsion Remover: Diazio at Dick Blick or Dharma
-Transparencies: Staples (100 pack for around $30) You want them for "write on" or "ink jet" printers. Apparently, the laser jet/copier transparencies are not as clear so the image doesn't burn as well.

3. The CardShop CAN MAKE ITS OWN SCREENS. Eventually, when those blank screens come back in stock (I cannot express how ANNOYING it is that they're out), you will be able to burn your own with the same technique as you do with the big Yudu. If you don't have the big Yudu, YOU CAN STILL BURN YOUR OWN SCREENS. Again, ProvoCraft didn't invent screenprinting. Get a light bulb, get an emulsion sheet and watch some YouTube videos. There are also some really great screen printing tutorials on DickBlick.com that are much more thorough than anything ProvoCraft has ever produced.

4. The preprinted screens CAN BE WASHED WITH EMULSION REMOVER and burned again. That's right folks....at least that's what a ProvoCraft employee said when this question was asked by a smart HSN customer. This is not rocket science although the folks at ProvoCraft don't seem to have any idea what they're talking about half the time. So get some emulsion remover, spray it on that cliche birdcage motif and rinse it away.

Okay...generally I don't like to slam companies or complain about customer service. But I find myself writing and getting more irritated at ProvoCraft misleading people into thinking that to use a Yudu or to screenprint you can only use their products. Their products are enormously overpriced and apparently impossible to keep on the shelves due to the low quantities they're producing.  I will say the Yudu makes it all more convenient, but not convenient enough to offset the high price and the frustration.


The moral of this story: Be creative. Don't believe that the nice, shiny, well advertised package is better than a less glamorous but time tested method. Don't believe that there is only one solution to a problem. There is ALWAYS more than one way to skin a cat.

And don't let your credit card do the talking :)