Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Ever since my bridal shower I’ve been on a major bundt cake kick. Bundts are pretty, quick, and require no frosting after they come out of the oven. A step to cake making that I find cumbersome and most times annoying, although delicious.

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I found this recipe from Lick the Bowl for a Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake. My husband has a mild obsession with snickerdoodle cookies so I figured I would try my hand at a cake version of the treat.

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This cake is AMAZING. Hands down scrumptious. The best part is the caramelized cinnamon sugar crust around the entire exterior of the cake. The only part of the recipe I’ve altered is adding a bit more cinnamon (3tsp rather than 2tsp).

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If you love cake, and love snickerdoodles run don’t walk to your kitchen and bake this little number up.

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Sochi Inspired Doodle Stich

It’s that time of year again folks! That magical time every 2 years when all standard programming stops and the Olympics take over my life. This year was no exception complete with opening ceremony party and some down time crafting.

Although I’m technically classified as a mutt…aka American… (basically name the country and it turns up somewhere in my heritage) My father’s side is straight forward Polish and Russian. With the games being in Russia the little Russian babushka in me got excited. My absolute favorite part of these games was the matryoshka doll set up on the slope style course. I ignored every jump every athlete completed near that babushka and would simply giggle with glee at the sight of her ready to hit the slopes, ski goggles and all.

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Seriously though, how great is she? Photo courtesy of Sergei Grits / AP

While watching the games, and admiring the Russian heritage I know little about, I became inspired to complete an embroidery of my own matryoshka doll.

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I am very happy on how well she turned out. Looking forward to creating a mini series of sorts of a couple of dolls with varying patterns and styles. At the minimum my two sisters are already asking when they get one. So expect a 3 doll series, minimum.

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Did you all watch the Olympics? Get inspired to do anything crafty thanks to Russia? Let me know!

A Hand Made Valentine

There’s a tradition in my house. Every Valentine’s Day, since the first year I was born I believe, my mother has made my father a home-made Valentine. Always out of construction paper, sometimes with paper doilies, almost always featuring a picture (or 12) from the last year, and progressively more witty/corny as the years pass. We’re talking almost 30 years of hand made cards.

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Valentine Circa 1989 (I’m the shorty on the right)

It’s one tradition my sisters and I always look forward to. Usually pictures of “all of Daddy’s girls” make it into the card. The crowning jewel in the collection is the year we moved into the new house, Mom worked the lyrics of our family theme-song “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads into the card:

“and you may find yourself in a beautiful house”

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“with a beautiful wife”

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“and you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

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Ever since my hubs (what?!? Still so weird to say) and I moved into our apartment I’ve carried on the tradition of making hand-made Valentines. I always look forward to breaking out the construction paper, glitter, scissors, and glue and rifling through the last year of pictures for a theme/idea. Lets just say this year’s is going to be epic (and easily 100 pages long). I can’t post this years just yet (need to keep it a surprise for my Valentine).

One of my favorites from years passed is our 5th Valentine together.

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They aren’t super fancy and polished, but they don’t need to be. Getting down and dirty with old craft skills and slapping something together is sometimes the best way to express your love. It’s also something to cherish forever. These Valentine’s are also great for a last minute “oh no I forgot to get a present!”

A Little Feat

“If you’ll be my dixie chicken, I’ll be your Tennessee lamb, and we can walk together down in dixieland.” Originally written by Little Feat, and rediscovered through Dave Matthews and his sneaky live recordings.

Bored one night and falling deeper in love with this Spring inspired quote I decided to try my hand at a little illustration/calligraphy work. For the most part I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

 

What’s Your Numbah, Sugah?

03.01.05 the date that I like to think changed my life forever. It was that date 8 years ago that I met my soul mate and never looked back. We still to this day wish each other “happy anniversary” the first of every month. It has turned into more of a game so many months later who can wish it first and on what media device. (I usually win on all accounts)

03.01.05 are our numbers. Period. Even when we (finally) get married I’m sure we’ll still do something special on the first of March. These numbers were my semi inspiration for a project I’d been dying to do. As seen in a previous post I recovered my blue college apartment pillows to match our red cabinet. Love them. The fabric however was rather summery and just doesn’t work year round.

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Graphic and typography items are popping up everywhere; numbers, letters, quotes. I decided to take our most treasured numbers and create graphic pillows for the living room. The process was easy. Find a font you love, I used the font “Elephant” (should be standard on most PC’s) I really liked the vintage feel of this font; the serifs, the almost hand typed feel if you could call it that.

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Once a font is selected increase the font size, a lot. I think my letters were done at a 60 or 70 point. Print them out, tape or rubber cement the print down to a thicker piece of paper, and cut them out to form a stencil. If you have a steady enough hand I recommend tracing the number/letters with pencil and painting within the pencil lines. You could also use the stencil as a true stencil but I found the paint tends to sneak underneath creating less than graphic crisp lines.

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I used cheap yet thick and sturdy fabric from Ikea, $3.99 for half a yard and typical craft paint $2 in a charcoal gray. You could use a fabric medium if you chose to but I found the paint spread and held just fine, even after washing. I used a graphic red striped fabric (also Ikea) for the reverse side to play with the red accents throughout the room and the vintage graphic feel of the pillow. I used the same pocket hemmed technique illustrated in the previous pillow post, an easy way to create removable pillow covers.

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I really love how they came out and adore that they reflect something so meaningful to us in such a subtle, stylish way.

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PS Happy Anniversary Babe! 8 years (AAAHHHHH!!) Time really flies when you’re having the time of your life. Looking forward to many more adventures together. Love you!

Paris Day Dreaming

What does a 27 year old do without power for 8 days? Oh that’s right, she pretends she’s 90 (or living in the Colonial era) and makes embroideries. Lots of embroideries.

This little beauty surprisingly took up most of my week. I blame the intricacies of all that steel work. I’ve had Paris on the brain ever since visiting the beautiful city last month. (More on that 3 country whirl wind trip soon, promise!)

I decided to hang her over the sink; a happy day dream to escape my dish pan hand hell. (Damn you apartment sans dishwasher!)

I found the frame at Joann’s Fabrics. $3.99. I painted the once black frame robin’s egg blue to make it cheery and kitchen matchy. My favorite part of the frame is the subtle details  which reflect the details in the tower itself.

Probably one of the best things to come from 8 days without power or heat. You have to agree Paris really is always a good idea. (Even when your travel buddy has a horrible cold and Belgium goes on strike. More trip details to come!)

A True “Shower”

The moment you all have been waiting for, the bridal shower to end all bridal showers. Last weekend was my very good friend Melissa’s Bridal Shower. Very good friend doesn’t quite sum up what this girl means to me.

Us reuniting at the start of Sophomore Year

Quick back store. We met late August, 2003 in a roughly 8’x15′ cell dorm room. Actually our names met before that. Call it fate or divine intervention the computer roommate generating program at good old RIT thankfully paired me with my roommate-soul mate. For 4 years we lived together (this includes the year I had a single and Mis had a triple on the same floor). We laughed together, cried together, did copious amounts of laundry together and ate way more raw cookie dough than 2 girls should consume in their lifetime.

Apparently I paid my dues over those four glorious years together since Melissa found it fit to make me her Maid of Honor in her upcoming wedding this August. Beyond honored and touched doesn’t sum up how I feel about this rather hefty duty she has bestowed on me. Part of my Honoree duties included planning the bridal shower 🙂 Oh that’s right. I pintrested the hell out of that shower. (I know, none of you saw that coming.)

The bridal party (all 9 of us) agreed on a “theme”: summer garden party reflecting the wedding colors of yellow and blue. I called dibs on decorations and went to work. my pinterest board sums up what I was looking for. Fresh, pretty, and fun.

First I made buntings following instructions from Crafete. A description can be found here.

I also made 12″ diameter real working pinwheels to line the driveway and highlight the guest of honor’s table. More on that mini saga here.

Here’s a shot of the tent before we all worked our magic:

another shot of the tent in set up progress:

and completed with everyone really enjoying the stylish party:

The flower arrangements were a mini labor of love. Inspired by cut lemon centerpieces which are floating around pinterest. We attempted our own version. The Bride’s Mama bought super market flower bunches for $40. Then the Matron of Honor and I arranged the flowers and man handled the lemons to create these beauties:

We also went kind of “eco-chic” by borrowing the table runners from a bridesmaid who happened to get married the weekend before and candle holders and plate chargers borrowed from another friend of the family’s wedding. They all helped to add a stunning touch of elegance to the whole affair for a no cost to us price tag.

I still can’t get over how amazing everything came together. Everyone involved busted butt to get things together and I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for embracing my crazy dreams. The Bride most certainly loved everything. It was well worth the work.

The party itself went swimmingly. Literally. While the day started out sunny and summery it ended showery, rainny, windy, tornado warning-y, did I mention it rained? Like, a lot. Like flash flood conditions for 45 minutes lot.

It most certainly made for a memorable shower including (but not limited to) the entire party running for the house using the tablecloths as umbrellas.

All we could say was The Bride received enough inclement weather at wedding related events that we should be all clear, and all smiles, for a sunny and fabulous wedding.

a very diy southern wedding

A few weeks ago us Yankees took the trip south of the Mason-Dixon to welcome the newest member into the family. A family wedding in North Carolina to be exact. Besides the Bride being stunning, the Groom handsome as ever, and the day being picture perfect there were a few other highlights of the event.

The bride (I guess she’s technically my future cousin-in-law?) is a rather crafty gal (excited to have her in the fam for sure). She hand made every flower featured at the wedding. Let me repeat that. She hand made every flower. From the flowers that lined the aisle

to the ones that adorned the tables at the party

Not to mention every bouquet, including her own.

Let’s just say I’ve got some hefty competition.  Thankfully we’re on the same team, as they say, and she was happy to share all of her insider secrets. the folded paper flowers featured in the centerpieces and aisle decorations were found at this website, the paper roses (apparently super easy) tutorial can be found here. For the insider tips to quote the bride “For the rose pomanders, I just bought large Styrofoam balls and covered the heck out of those babies with hot glue and flowers.” For the record this is one of the reasons I absolutely love this girl.

Also The Bride and Groom have a little place in their hearts for garden gnomes culminating in this blog. To pay homage to their little creative baby the Bride’s mother secretly added gnomes in random centerpieces throughout the reception.

Needless to say we had a beyond fabulous time on our mini vacation to the South. The wedding was exquisite, we had a blast and wish all the happiness to the bride and groom.