Exciting times in the Northeast

So clearly, I’ve been a busy lady. Summer has been amazing. We’ve had all the typical ups and downs: the headaches of house projects, and the satisfaction of seeing some of them completed. The anticipation of the little one’s 2nd birthday, and the its bittersweet passing. The nerve-wrecking job search, and the satisfaction of finding a truly wonderful job (YAY!).

So, I’ve been playing catch up in more ways than one. And now the upcoming changing of the seasons has me invigorated. After all, there no more waiting for the return of the pumpkin spice latte, because folks, it’s HERE!

What else makes me happy? Fast and thoughtful gifts. I love to give them. So, I whipped this one up for my friend who just became a first-time homeowner! It makes me smile and I hope it will do the same for her! I made some sunny yellow and cream colored cotton dishcloths:

Simple double crochet (DC) dishcloth with single crochet (SC) edge

And paired them with a happy flower dish scrubbie and lemon-scented handsoap and lotion in a little ceramic caddy.

Completed Housewarming gift!

I love how it came out and the best part was this was so quick to make! I believe I may see more of these in my future. How do you like it??

 

Wedding Shawl

I mentioned in my last post about the recent family wedding we attended. I’m still in love with every detail of this wedding and will share some of them here! First though, the yarny goodness portion!! I decided nearly immediately when I heard the wedding news, that this very special bride required a very special gift that I wanted to make myself. Enter, the crocheted South Bay Shawlette. This easy to follow pattern works up like a dream in Kidsilk Haze yarn. I added a final row of single crochet stitches in spaces, with a chain 1 with bead stitch over each stitch in the previous row. It was my first time using beads in a project and it was quite easy and made such a difference!!

Close up of the Swarovski beaded edge and shawl pin

Now, as promised, here are a few select images from the wedding day!!

BIG NOTE WITH FLASHY AND SPARKLING LIGHTS: The following are all pictures from April+Paul Photography and these two are GREAT! Talk about fun!!

I’m so honored the bride wore her shawl for her and the groom’s “first look” pictures (above)! It went perfectly with her dress, hooray!

Next, some fun photos from the day!First, I have to show off my baby girl, who played the role of flower fairy!! The bride made her little dress and tutu, which were a big hit!

Unfortunately, Elena couldn’t quite make it through the ceremony and fell asleep on her Daddy. He was an usher and is wearing the men’s chosen attire, colored button-down shirts with suspenders and bowtie, what fun!!

This bride is A-MA-ZING and MADE these dressing gowns for each of her bridesmaids! She chose fabric for each that represented them or was their style and then made a kimono-style dressing gown, complete with matching boxer shorts! Showing off these gowns made for one of my fav pics of the day…..

This picture is only here because I LOVE to watch DC Cupcakes and was super excited when these little puppies arrived! The bride has a friend that works there, oh lucky us!

DC Cupcake yum-yums!!http://aprilandpaul.com/

DC Cupcake yum-yums!!
http://aprilandpaul.com/

The simple elegance of this wedding made it so special. Below is the ceremony site. See those penants hanging on the front porch? Yep, made by the mother of the bride! The ribbon swag over the door and quilted pinwheels flanking the door? ALL Handmade.

The reception decor carried on the simple pleasures garden party feel.

Even the wedding favors were all homemade goodness, watermelon and grapefruit jam made by the mother and sister of the groom:

Overall, this was definitely a day we will not soon forget. Love to all my family, we miss you!

The Bride and Me:)http://aprilandpaul.com/

The Bride and I :)
http://aprilandpaul.com/

 

Flowers in bloom

Happy Spring! Boy have I been waiting for winter to end! So what did I do today? Spent my first spring morning shoveling snow and slush. What? Yes, spring is off to a slow start here in New England….

But I do still have some beautiful spring flowers to share! I recently had the honor of standing in my dear cousin’s wedding as matron of honor, and let me tell you, this wedding was everything a spring Southern wedding should be. It was fun, it was a gorgeous WARM day, and it was full of friends, family, food and homemade details that made me (and everyone else) smile. I was privileged to contribute to a few of these details! I share with you today, flower corsages!!

The bride provided lovely yarn in the wedding’s spring garden colors:

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After some quick pattern and inspiration searches, I modified a rosette pattern to crochet these:

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And here are some close-up shots. To dress them up a bit, I added a single clear ‘crystal’ bead to the center of each rosette.

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This too large for corsage prototype turned into it’s own pin, which I used as decor on the bride’s wedding present:

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I have to say I am just tickled at how these turned out!

Oh Busy Times…

My oh my, how busy life have been lately! First off, I’m officially unemployed now. So, I’ve filed for unemployment and purchased more yoga pants, not necessarily in that order. I found out pretty quickly that my wardrobe had become very work-oriented and while I have a lot of ‘work-out’ clothes, they are all shorts or capris. I have a few pairs of sweats, but they tend to be my pajamas and not necessarily fit for public consumption. So, I filled in that gap, thank you Target.

I’m finding my days ‘at home’ go by really fast! Between stalking my email for job hits (only a couple of responses so far), checking my FaceBook ‘farm’ (dear Lord, why did I start that?) and then playing Mom and wife with some cooking and house projects, I’m really very busy!

First, we took a trip to Ikea. It’s what every newly unemployed person should do, right? NO! It’s not! However in this case, it was a money saver. We are working on redoing our office and we had picked out a sweet freestanding Elfa double desk with wall shelves at Container Store for the hefty price of almost $2000. It was kinda like this, but with another desk section:

Birch & Platinum elfa décor freestanding Study Zone from Container Store

But alas, Ikea had a more affordable option that offered more toddler friendly (aka, hidden from plain site) storage…

Billy from Ikea

Which we choose to pair with two tabletops with one cabinet and legs from Vika system. Sorry, this is in pieces since it’s customizable, so you will see the picture when we are all done. But, the best part of the trip, which I look forward to every time, is lunch in their restaurant. Elena LOVES it!

Mommy and Ellie waiting for lunch!

An appetizer while we wait…

Nom Nom Cheerios!

Getting the goods! Elena wasn’t sure what to think of this part and just quietly took it all in.

Success!! We got everything we wanted and Elena got a new stuffed bunny! He’s currently one of her fav toys :)

Furniture assembly began during Blizzard Nemo last weekend. I expect it will take at least another week or two before it’s all finished, so stay tuned for the final product and hopefully a few more updates along the way!

 

Recipe Review: Neopolitan Cupcakes

Last weekend I saw these here Neopolitan Cupcakes floating around Pinterest:

So I just had to try them. I have to say this concept is awesome and these cupcakes are nearly as good as they sound! In this case, you make one cake batter, then split it in three. One-third remains good old white cake, one-third get some strawberry, and one-third gets some chocolate. Great in concept. Only one glitch in execution…the cocoa powder for the chocolate batter makes it SUPER thick. I added some extra milk to help thin the consistency, but my chocolate cake still came out very dense. The strawberry and regular cake baked up fine.

My cupcakes:

The frosting is made the same way, one batch of buttercream is divided in three and strawberry is added to one-third, cocoa powder to one-third and the remainder is left vanilla. Similarly, the cocoa powder made my frosting REALLY thick. Also, I had to add extra cocoa powder and milk/cream to make the frosting taste chocolately and be a workable consistency. See, in this case the base buttercream frosting has significant vanilla and trying to taste chocolate over that vanilla is tough!

So overall, these cupcakes were TOTALLY edible and yummy, and my coworkers devoured them with no problem. Adding strawberry jam to make the strawberry batter and frosting worked great and this is definitely a trick I’ll use in the future! However, next time, I’ll make a separate chocolate cake batter to get the right cake consistency and also a separate chocolate buttercream.

2013 in with a bang

Happy 2013! I realize January is almost over, but better late than never for a New Year’s wish, right? I ended 2012 with a bang and clang whose ring keeps echoing. While crafting clever plans for home projects, craft projects with my little one and other fun stuff, I got hit by a ton of bricks. On 12-12-12 (yes, one of those famous-impossible-to-forget-dates) I was informed that my workplace is being closed. I’m about to join the unemployed, and I can’t say this is easy news to accept. It’s hard to stay excited about my fun project plans when I now have to update the resume, work on job searching, come up with a new budget for my little family, make decisions about my little one’s daycare, etc, etc, etc. I’m afraid that first day ‘home’ will be hard and I won’t be sure what to do with myself. I’ve literally never taken a ‘break.’ I’ve always been one of those types that plows into the next thing. I went straight from high school to college, college to grad school, grad school to post-doc and post-doc to job. I only took 2 weeks off when we moved across the country! I will either love or hate this. Any bets which?

Looking forward

So, I’m making plans again. I feel I need to capitalize on this opportunity. I hope to do those house projects, do a lot of baking, and PURGE PURGE PURGE and ORGANIZE my house!!! This could get interesting!

 

This little light shines

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

Friends, it has been a hard week. One in which we are reminded to be grateful for the precious people in our lives, and the simple joys of this crazy little life of ours.

I had some posts planned, but in the wake of such tragedy, they just seem so insignificant. So, I write instead the best message I can:

To all those affected by the events in CT last week, we love and pray for you. It seems impossible to ‘celebrate’ Christmas, but “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Jesus’ birthday is coming, and I know he has some new angels with him who are eager to celebrate.

Hold your loved ones here on Earth tight, and tell them how adored they are. And for your loved ones who are bright shiny stars in the Heavens, hold them close in your heart and tell them how adored they are. Because with a little Faith and Love, I know they will hear you!

I wish you all peace this holiday season. See you in 2013

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