Friday, April 29, 2011

My Dream Fantasy Royal Wedding Outfit


Well, now that I've admitted publicly that I got up to watch the royal wedding, I thought I'd share what I would have worn if I'd snagged an invite! Nina Ricci dress, a colorful Stella McCartney coat and of course, a big crazy hairpiece!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

EmersonMade: Everything You Want is Yours

Photos from EmersonMade Travel Blog

I'm sure you're all familiar with the lovely designer and proprietress at EmersonMade. If you aren't, Emerson and her husband Ryan have set up an amazing accessories and clothing line, produced in Manhattan and on their New England farm. Emerson models and designs, Ryan manages the website and photographs. Right now, they're in India, setting up production for a line of hand-blocked clothes. I can't wait!
I was reading more about this in this article from Boston Magazine, and read this incredibly great inspiration quote from Emerson:

The first thing is to decide on the deepest level that the thing you love doing is worth doing, so much so that it is worthy of obsession. That’s the fire that starts the engine. After that, you must promise yourself to work extremely hard and do good work everyday, and that you will never give up, no matter what. Just say, “I will never give up, I will never give up, I will never give up,” like the little engine that could. When you decide this, everything you want is yours —it’s just a matter of working hard and pushing through the hard parts with a grin on your face. The grin comes from knowing you can do it because you decided you would.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Catherine Deneuve, I Like Your Style

I would give my everything to look like Catherine Deneuve for one day. It could be her when she was a young brunette model, like above.

It could be her at her height, with golden locks and doe eyes.

It could be her looking sweet, with a bow and a puppy.

Or in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, with another bow and a trench.

How about in the chicest tortoiseshell glasses I've ever seen?

Or, heck, why not look like her the way she looks right now?

In case you aren't familiar with her ouevre, slip "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" to the top of your Netflix queue, then add Belle du Jour to the second spot. And if you want to feel REALLY inspired, take a look at her former baby daddy and try not to feel jealous of her life.

All images found through Pinterest

Get Her Look:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Need a Gardening Tutor

When I was a very little girl, we lived in a house where grape hyacinth (muscari) grew wild in the yard. I thought these were the blue bells I read about in old books, but now I know otherwise. I haven't seen them in years, but seeing this picture recently gave me a flashback...they were the first bouquets I ever made. 

I'd love to grow them in a container, and I read the instructions, but I guess they're bulbs and that means I should have planted them a long time ago? I seriously need a gardening tutor. I've decided I'm not going to try to do the whole gardening thing this summer, even though I still have the containers. It's just too expensive if you know you're not diligent enough (yet).

Does anyone have any gardening 101 tips to share? I'd like to put out some potted plants that:
A) Don't need a lot of direct sunlight
B) Can survive if I miss a day of watering.

Do such plants exist?! Help!

Monday, April 25, 2011

DIY Tie-Dye Napkins

Yesterday, while everyone was dying their Easter eggs, I decided to finally tackle a project I planned to do this time last year. I had this vision of tie-dyed dinner napkins in shades of blue. I wanted them to look sophisticated, but lighthearted -- perfect for summer barbecues. But like many of my projects, they ended up on the back burner last year.

As I so often find out, the idea was not that revolutionary. A quick Google search led me to several versions of exactly what I had in mind, like this set from Good Housekeeping.

The project itself took about 4 hours, but that included an hourlong discussion with my mom and at least 30 minutes of watching TV. It's a little work-intensive, but totally fun to see the results. You will need:

  • Plain white dinner napkins (I bought two sets of 8 from World Market, for $16)
  • RIT dye (costs about $2)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rubber bands
  • Buckets
  • A couple mixing bowls
Step 1: Wash napkins to remove any treatments.

Step 2: Tie napkins with string or rubber bands. I used this AWESOME guide to figure out how to make different patterns in the napkins.

Step 3: Prepare the dye. Fill a mixing bowl with about 2 cups of hot water and add your dye powder, then stir to mix it well. Add the dye mixture to a bucket filled with 3 gallons of hot water. I put both of my buckets (one for each color of dye) in the tub for easy cleaning. If you have a laundry room sink or basement sink, that would be even more ideal.

Step 4: Wet the Napkins. I put the tied-up napkins in another mixing bowl of hot water.

Step 5: Soak in the dye. Drop the napkins into the dye and leave in for at least 7 minutes. The hotter the water, the better the dye will set, and the longer you leave it in, the deeper the color will be. If I could do anything differently, I would have let them soak an eensy bit longer.

Step 6: Set the Dye. Once you remove the napkins from the dye, immediately squeeze out any loose dye, then rinse under water, gradually turning from hot to cold, until the water runs clear. Set aside. Some sites recommend leaving the fabric alone to dry, letting the dye really set. I was a bit too impatient, and if I did it again, I'd leave them alone overnight.

When you are done rinsing all the napkins, pour out the dye (slowly so it doesn't stain the tub or sink!!) and immediately clean the tub with some cleaner containing bleach.

Step 7: Cut the rubber bands off. This is the most fun part! You simply use scissors to cut off the rubber bands, then unfold to see your design! Super fun.

Step 8: Wash and Dry. Wash the napkins with a mild detergent in warm water. You can do this in the machine, but fair warning: the dye will fade in the first washing. I was a little disappointed at how much it faded, but I still think it worked for my vision. Tumble dry low.

And voila! Completed napkins ready for summer!

I think they would make excellent gifts, especially tied up around a nice set of salad servers or with a set of napkin rings (I still don't have any!). 

All told, the project cost me $20; I already had the buckets, gloves, rubber bands and mixing bowls. Compare that to $6 each for these tie-dye napkins from Uncommon Goods. 

Now I'm thinking of all the other things I could elegantly tie-dye ... tableclothes, plain white IKEA curtains, duvets, etc. I'm also hoping to try the ombre effect at some point.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Best v.56

If you have a chance today, perhaps you should do this with your Peeps? Found via Pinterest.
  • I want to print my own fabric like the folks at Young House Love.
  • These summer updos make me think twice about trimming my hair!
  • A HILARIOUS video of a boyfriend trying to do his girlfriend's make-up.
  • I know it's been around for a long time, but I just found out about the bacon alarm clock.
  • I also just found out about the idea of wabi sabi, to embrace beauty in the imperfect.
  • I kind of love the ideas of these hammock/swing-inspired beds.

Friday, April 22, 2011

And the winner is...


I could have never made the choice of who would receive this watercolor painting in my first painting giveaway, so I recruited an impartial coworker. Nosheen, dear, please e-mail me the best address to get your painting to you and to the rest of you, thank you so much for playing! I'm sure there will be other giveaways in the future, so hopefully you'll enter then, too!

Great Useful Stuff

I just discovered the most amazing site — Great Useful Stuff. It's really all in the name, and seems like a great source for gifts for the dads and granddads and practical moms in our lives who don't want knickknacks. Here are some of my favorites on the site:
Perfect for folks who have to take their laptops/cameras/etc. with them when they travel. Travel Cord Organizer, $35.

This could be the best lunchbox for the cool kid. It's a bento-inspired Dutch lunchbox with stackable containers. $29.50

And how precious is this little Clothes Tree? $80.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Perfect Sweater Cometh

Remember chic Mary Kate Steinmiller's smart little boy's cable-knit sweater? I believe she bought it in the little boy's section, but not all of us are tiny enough to pull that one off.

But amen for Anthropologie, who understands how a girl might pine for a sweater with shrunken proportions to wear with her circle skirts! Evening Chill pullover, $88.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Perfect Spring Wedding In Williamsburg

The other day I was walking out of a meeting in downtown Williamsburg, a couple blocks from Colonial Williamsburg, and I noticed the wisteria is in full bloom over this area in the memorial park sandwiched between the Library and the government offices.

If I had gotten married in the spring, I would have been all over this location, and I thought I'd share the idea.

It would be like getting married in the most amazing chapel of flowers.

And it's directly across the street from the Williamsburg Community Building, which is available to rent for receptions.

The only drawback is that it's such a public location, but just imagine the pictures and that SMELL!

I'd do it in a heartbeat. 

When was the last time you got original artwork for zero dollars and zero cents? I'm giving away an original watercolor painting of poppies, inspired by a recent spread in Martha Stewart Living, on Friday. To enter the contest, click here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Watercolor Painting Give-Away!

I wanted to do something a little different and fun on the blog, so I decided to give away this watercolor painting of poppies that I did last night. It's painted on very beautiful Langton Prestige paper and is 12 X 9 (I think...I'm embarrassed to say I didn't check before I left today). To get a better look, you can click on the picture to enlarge it. I think it would make an excellent mother's day gift, but who cares what I think?

To enter to win, just leave a comment below about where you would display it or who you would give it to and why. I will get a neutral party to review the comments and choose the worthiest winner on Friday.

I Spy: Cypress Point Antique Mall

I'm a pretty crazy Craigslist fanatic. I don't often buy anything, but I'm always on the lookout. In my search for mid century pieces, one antique store kept coming up: Cypress Point Antique Mall. It's the very definition of a hidden treasure: way off the main roads of Virginia Beach, on the side of a strip mall. But I saw SO much stuff I wanted, and if you're ever in the beach area, I think it's a must-stop for the avid antiquer.

I am still kind of daydreaming about this tufted white leather chrome 1960s chair, which had a twin. For both, $250. I showed it to Sean, who weirdly said, "Sure." I think he probably wasn't listening.

I loved these three leather stools. They look so manly and hunting lodge-y, but I think could literally work in any room. It was -- wait for it -- $80 for the set.

This 1930s mirror had a gorgeous shape, a pretty little chain and would look lovely in a bedroom, a bathroom or even a breakfast nook. I've already forgotten the price, but I remember it was a steal.

I came thisclose to picking up this 60s ceramic lamp, but I just don't really have a place for another table lamp right now and for once, I'm 100 percent in love with all the ones I've got. But really, it's a super classic piece.

This chrome lamp appeared in the sorely missed Domino magazine, in the home of one Kelly Wearstler (super famous designer if you aren't familiar) and it made me reconsider my present desk lamp situation. It was $80.

I like the idea of having statement pieces, especially in very simple rooms. These tall brass giraffes would surely do the trick. It was $125 for the pair. Wouldn't they look great at the base of a white fireplace, or perched atop a teak credenza?

I was in love with the drawer pulls on this mid-century dresser. It was $250.

Another to-die-for chrome lamp! Seriously, I can't believe I didn't scoop them all up! I think this one was $80, too.

And another fun statement piece, a sculpture of cherries. Very Claes Oldenburg. Could be a fun display piece on a console or a bookcase and would be an awesome centerpiece for a birthday dinner.