Tuesday, May 31, 2011

necklace collection

The other day I took some photos of the beckley design necklace collection. It was fun seeing them all together, the different styles, materials and sizes. Supplies are abundant right now so I hope to be adding some earrings and bracelets soon-maybe even a watch or two! Check out the full collection at beckley design on etsy.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

happy long weekend!

With all the big sales on Memorial Day Weekend I guess I'm in the mood to shop. I just love this shirt from thimble and acorn, and it's not only cute but it looks comfy too. It might just be in the budget. Enjoy the long weekend!!!

Fun Projects for the weekend:
Plan your next vacation destination
Sew up a shag pillow
Check out my etsy shop

Friday, May 27, 2011

slow and steady

Sewing is a slow process! But my latest endeavor is coming out alright and might be done sometime before my 50th birthday. At least I finally got a chance to use my new sewing machine-fun!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

midweek inspiration

Found this lovely spring/summer collection by Hound over at elephantine. Love it! Inspires me to keep sewing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

pattern making

A stack of lovely fabrics has been waiting in my beckley office (otherwise known as the junk room) to be turned into something. So I'm experimenting with making my own pattern.

I started by taking a couple of tops that are my favorites and sort of taking the best ideas from both, I created my own pattern on some tissue paper. I had hoped to keep it pretty simple (essentially side seams, hems and some elastic at the waist), however I ran out of fabric along the fold so I had to turn 2 pattern pieces into 4. I think it will add a bit of interest but we will see how it turns out. So far so good!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

clotted cream

Well wanna-be clotted cream, I guess. But from what I've heard it tastes much better than normal clotted cream. 

I found the recipe online and made it to go with the cranberry orange scones. It's really simple and tastes great-kind of like a less sweet whipped cream.

Clotted Cream
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/3 c. sour cream
1 T powdered sugar (I took matters into my own hands and did 3 T instead)

Whip until soft peaks form. Ta da!

Friday, May 20, 2011

cranberry orange scones

This is a really yummy scone recipe that I found at Martha Stewart. I'm not the biggest fan of scones because they are usually too plain and dry for my taste but this recipe comes out really moist and the orange zest adds just the right pop of flavor. 

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons more if necessary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest.

With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal (or until it feels like your arms are going to fall off). Stir in dried cranberries. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Add buttermilk and stir until just combined; do not ovemix. Use a little more buttermilk if dough is too dry to work with (mine actually usually ends up a little too wet).

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; shape into an 8 inch round. 

Transfer to baking sheet. Cut circle into 8 wedge

Martha's recipe says to space them 1/2 inch apart (to prevent sticking, dust knife with flour) but my first batch I did that way all grew back together during baking. So my second one I spaced them more like 1-2 inches apart. I also patted some raw sugar onto the tops.

Bake until golden brown 18-20 minutes. Yummy!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

compromise stencils

I got a definite no on stenciling our kitchen table, but I figured vintage floral napkins would be a good compromise! This was the first one-trying some with black lettering soon. Maybe monograms?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

what a process

Saturday was a wonderful quiet day and I finally got a chance to put together some new jewelry for my etsy store. As much as it might seem like making jewelry is easy, it is quite a long process when you are taking apart vintage or broken jewelry, cleaning it and sorting it out. Then I start looking at what might go together (colors, styles, shapes, sizes), lay it out and let it sit for a bit. Add in a little internet perusal for inspiration. I'll usually change it at least twice before I finally put it together. The process is so interesting and creative but it can take forever! Head over to my etsy shop this week to see what made the final cut!

Found this lovely collection in my www ramblings. Reverie is by Alison Woodward, a NY jewelry designer (you may have seen her line in Anthropologie). It's beautiful!

Friday, May 13, 2011

sorted by color

I was getting ready to make some jewelry this weekend when I realized that I may have some obsessive compulsive tendencies. I organize everything by color: my beads, the clothes and shoes in my closet...the other day I even rearranged the icons on my computer by color. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

midweek inspiration

I'm looking for some painting inspiration and came across these drawings and paintings by Scott Duce, an artist in New York City.  Love them!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

mom & gingersnaps

Hope everyone had a great Mother's Day. I spent the day with my amazing mom who I must say is just the best! She is not only the sweetest lady you will ever meet, she is also incredibly talented. Always the perfect hostess, she taught me how to cook, bake and how enjoying good food brings people together. She always let me set the table (my favorite part), sneak bits of cookie dough and chop up any pieces of fabric (even tablecloths or sheets) for my latest clothing design. I hope someday I am half the lady she is. Here's to Mom!

Since my mom is a fabulous baker, it fits perfectly that my latest endeavor was cookies. Described as a "chewy, spicy cookie," gingersnaps are one of my absolute favorites. This recipe comes again from the aging yellow The New Pillsbury Family Cookbook (a gift from Mom, actually).

Preheat oven to 350. Cream 1 cup sugar (I do 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/2 c. white sugar) and 3/4 cup shortening or margarine, softened (I do 1/2 c. butter, 1/4 c. oil).

Beat in 1/4 cup molasses and 1 egg. (I used my adorable Anthropologie measuring bowls which are decidedly less functional than a regular measuring cup but 100 times cuter!)

Stir in 2 cups unsifted Pillsbury flour (I do 1 c. wheat flour, 1 c. white flour), 2 teaspoons soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. And of course, add in the spices: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. Stir until well mixed.

At this point you can chill the dough for a bit in the fridge if you want to make handling it easier.

When it's sufficiently chilled, shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll them in white sugar. I always use a cookie scoop-I don't have to get my hands messy and the cookies all come out nice and uniform. Place the sugared balls of dough 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. The recipe says to grease the sheets but I never do and the cookies come off just fine.

Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until edges are set (I do about 10 minutes). The recipe also says that it yields about 48 cookies but my scoop must be a bit too big because I get closer to 35.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

dinner with friends

Last night we had a lovely dinner with friends at our little condo.

The menu:
Fresh Roasted Garlic Bread
Caesar Salad
Shrimp and Leek Rotini
Pesto Penne with Grilled Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes

They say to never try a new recipe when you are cooking for company but for some reason that's always when I want to do something new. Real Simple had a tempting recipe for Shrimp, Leek and Spinach Pasta. I've never cooked leeks before but they actually were really tasty. As usual I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but it was still really good!

12 ounces gemelli, fusilli or some other short pasta (I used whole grain rotini)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks (white and light green parts only) cut into half-moons
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp (I just got precooked cocktail shrimp)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup heavy cream
10 ounces baby spinach (I ran out of time and didn't use any spinach :/)

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks have softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and lemon zest and cook, tossing frequently, until the shrimp is opaque throughout,  4 to 5 minutes more.

3. Add the cream and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pasta in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp mixture and the spinach and toss to combine.

A shot of the last remains of the Pesto Penne with Grilled Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes. This is one of my favorite pastas! Especially when my husband grills the chicken for me!
Dessert was cheesecake (made by Sara Lee, not me) and fresh strawberries and whipped cream. So yummy and full!

Friday, May 6, 2011

melting wax

Made the yummiest smelling candle yet yesterday! The melting process didn't quite go as planned. A glass container definitely doesn't work as well as the metal one I used last time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I just got my first pack of stencils-so excited! Now for a good stencil project....hmmm...
Love this ordinal dresser from Anthropologie

Pots are something I do have plenty of & the bright red color is fun! This project is from Curbly.

Love this table from design*sponge. I'm not sure my husband would appreciate me stenciling our brand new table however...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I have to admit, I haven't had time to do anything creative lately mostly due to a lack of inspiration and time. Mostly time. I did finally fill up and hang the new hummingbird feeder on the balcony though-does that count? Experts say that hummingbirds consume up to half their weight in sugar each day! It's recommended to use a simple syrup solution (leave out the red food coloring) as it is very similar to nectar from flowers. Below is the recipe I use to make my own hummingbird food.

Hummingbird Food Recipe:
1 part white sugar
4 parts water

Here are some fun sites that I have found in my search for inspiration: Designtripper (documents all kinds of fun artsy places to stay and eat), Christen Mattix (love the nest painting) and the Andean Collection (beautiful jewelry with great purpose).