Wednesday, December 16, 2009're it!

I love beautifully wrapped packages, but I usually settle for some simple paper and a great gift tag. If you're of the same mindset, a few ideas...

Darling chalkboard (reusable!) gift tags from etsy seller heart of light, via armelle.

FREE printable mailing labels...or gift labels...or bin labels if your new years rezzy is to get organized...from Oh, Smile.

Jewel-toned mini cards from The Paper Addict. Great prices!

Old favorites...thin wood tags from Bell'ochio.
Also loving their vintage French baggage tags. (psst! they just updated their on-line shop)

Of course, if you're in the do-it-yourself mood, PaperSource is the go-to source for great supplies--stamps, paper, cord etc. Did you know that they have a blog now? It's chock full of great ideas and how-to's. I also have to say, if there is a store anywhere near you, I found the BEST stocking stuffers there this year. Wacky, off the wall stuff you won't find anywhere else.

Cold (part II)

The house continues to come along, though at a slower pace right now with the holiday preparations to keep us busy. It feels so good to finally have a nice spot for our tree though, after eight years of Christmases that involved an attack tree right inside the front door. The only way to get in the old house in December was to climb through the tree limbs, as if running an ornament gauntlet. Forget pet couldn't leave our house without having a thousand fir needles embedded in your sweater or scarf.

But meanwhile, I keep dreaming of my someday to come kitchen remodel. Our temporary fix with pale turquoise upper cabinets and chocolate milk colored bottoms is a nice make-do kitchen for now. But I left my (albeit tiny) kitchen with custom cabinets with antiqued glass, gorgeous Brazilian cherry handmade counter tops, and a huge farmhouse sink.

It's been well worth the trade off to be closer to the city, have more space and a better floorplan, and have 10x the garden space, but...I can't help but dream. I do know that right now, top on my list, is one of these pretty retro refrigerators from Big Chill. All the modern conveniences in such a pretty package!

On a side note, are any of you other bloggers out there struggling with Blogger all of a sudden? No noticeable changes to the program, but the pictures won't move anymore unless you're in the HTML side of things, which is doable but a bit of a hassle. And...they won't even delete. Seriously, if Google can come up with an Android phone that supposedly is so fantastic it would make me leave my beloved if given the chance, why can't they write a new edition of their blog software? Blogger must be the most awkward, cumbersome, and unreliable program in existence. Google, I've been really nice this year...maybe for Christmas?

Ok, taking a step down off my soapbox to go get ready for the day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cold (part I)

Pictures from a family outing on Sunday to see Snoqualmie Falls after days of below freezing temps. WOW! It was breathtaking and wondrous, and I was reminded yet again how beautiful this place where we live is.

It hadn't snowed at all, but the spray from the falls had formed 20'+ long icicles on the right of the falls and deep powdered snow on the left.

The lesson? Don't hesitate to be a tourist in your own habitat--I've never seen so many people at Snoqualmie Falls, snapping pictures and enjoying the view, yet every conversation I overheard was from a local. And everyone was in complete awe.

Go see something this holiday season that will amaze you, even if it's for the second/third/fourth...time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

week in review [12.11.09 edition]

Hey loyal readers out there! I'm still alive, but have been badly neglecting all work this week while trying to work through a little bout with pneumonia. It's so like me...everyone else who is sick gets the trendy and chic h1n1, and I get frumpy old pneumonia. Which is making me REALLY tired!

So, not much creativity or insight out of me, but a few things in the blogging world I liked this week. Short and sweet, because I've mostly been sleeping if I have relaxing time.

Hope you are all staying healthy!

Freezing in cold Seattle, but loving the icy sparkly,

A beautiful pinecone themed board on Ritzy Bee...
A spunky little felt wreath on Pickles, found via Simply Grove...

Pretty wildflower and succulent wedding inspiration from Rosehip Flora...

A fancy hat--too bad it's not Kentucky Derby season--seen at Lobster and Swan...

And a gorgeous wedding from JL Designs...pomanders, lanterns, succulents everywhere!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Good Times!

Thanksgiving weekend, 2009. Cooking with the boys, antlers on the dinner table, ice skating to welcome the season.

(#30) Just a glimpse...

of something I wood love to get for Christmas, though it probably will knot be happening.

(Available from Donna Wilson, who is unfortunately across the pond. The Santa at my house would find the prospect of having it shipped OVERSEAS insurmountable.) Via It's (K)not Wood, which must be added to your reader if you love faux bois as I do.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Warm & Fuzzy

I just received a beautiful new scarf from a good friend's mom, and have to do a little raving about it. Karen Young saw them in a little boutique in London on a recent trip, and had to have one because they are so warm, snuggly, soft...the list goes on! She returned home, and realized that they would be treasured by friends and family as well, so she went into serious production mode. As expected, people have gone crazy for them, so she is a regular one-woman sweat shop now. A fact I was very grateful for when I wrapped mine around my neck for the first time!

Karen's scarves are not only made out of the softest and most luxurious feeling faux fur, but they have this great little ingenious stretchy band of something INSIDE the scarf--so the scarf snugs up close around your neck as if IT is trying to cuddle with YOU! Brilliant! She also finishes them off with unique vintage-inspired buttons that are fantastic.

Karen is opening an Etsy shop, but until it is up, you can contact her directly at She's carrying the scarves in five different "furs" right now (all modeled by those cuties above). I have the chocolate mink, but have my eye on the zebra as well... She's also wrapping the scarves in gorgeous wrapping if they're a gift, and will gladly ship! Now go shop!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Breaking news! Act FAST!

Yea Amazon! For letting us celebrate Black Friday from the comfort of our own homes. They have an awesome deal going, on an awesome gift, but it's only available for a few more hours. Remember these? Usually $35, now $10* until they are all purchased or time runs out. Save money, save a child (feeds a schoolchild for a YEAR!), and save yourself a trip out into the insanity.

Happy Friday! I'm going ice skating, so I'll be back in a few days unless I have a broken neck. Which is highly likely given my mad skating skillz.
*(When you get to, you have to click on the little promotional box that says "Black Friday Deals" and then scroll through the list until you get to the FEED bags. If you look it up using their traditional search, they'll show up at the regular price. Just a hint.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stunning Swedish flowers

Minna Mercke Schmidt writes Blomsterverkstad, one of my favorite blogs to look at. I've started just looking, because Minna writes in Swedish. I'm pretty sure Google translate doesn't always get it correct, based on some of the wacky things I read that I'm pretty sure she didn't write! But her fantastic photos of her fantastic house, fantastic garden, fantastic life really don't need much explanation.

This week, Minna shared some pictures from a flower show she went to at a Swedish floral design school, from what I can tell. I just love the successful blend of modern and innovative designs with fabulously lush, romantic textures and a rustic appeal--a very difficult feat!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm thankful for this!

This being a STUNNING recipe for sweet potato casserole!

Hold on, don't click off of here yet, all of you potato haters! This recipe from Cooking Light a few years ago (yes! it's light!) has successfully converted EVERY person I've ever served it to into a sweet potato lover. The family voted me sweet-potato-bringer for every Thanksgiving from here until eternity after I made it the first time, and I've never felt any desire to fiddle with it's formula for delicious perfection. The crazy part is I usually see several people sneaking into the fridge to heap a little more on their plate at dessert time.

If you're the sweet-potato-bringer for your feast, please, PLEASE give it a try this year. You'll be thankful for ME!

Fluffy, Awesome, Sweet Potato Deliciousness
The potato part of recipe can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. I usually make the topping the day before as well, and just keep in a separate container until time to bake. And don't worry if the potato mixture is very thin when you pour it into the baking dish--that's what makes it taste almost like a souffle. Serves 10-12.
2 1/4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Place potatoes in large pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or so until very tender. Drain, cool slightly.
3. Place potatoes in a large bowl. add half-and-half, 3/4 cup brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, beat well. Pour mixture into a 13" x 9" greased baking dish.
4. To prepare topping, sprinkle miniature marshmallows over top of casserole. (This is the one place I do mess with the recipe. I can't resist accidentally spilling too many onto the top). In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt. Cut in butter until mixture is course crumbs. Stir in toasted pecans and sprinkle over marshmallows.
5. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

(#29) Just a glimpse...

of Thanksgiving table inspirataion from a beautiful wedding! Loving the refreshing, rustic change from all those dark harvest colors, and I'm off to buy a bolt of burlap! (Photos by Carrie Patterson , directions here, rest of the wedding here! All via Style Me Pretty)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday update

1. Involved in the usual family brawl over Thanksgiving main dish.

2. Making a run for the border today for a class in Vancouver BC tomorrow with a talented group of friends from a rock star teacher. I'm the girl that doesn't have an up-to-date passport and my radio tracking device hasn't arrived yet, so I'll be spending most of the day flirting with the customs officers.

3. The nighttime tape-on-the-counter trick has been deemed successful. Rosie the Cat did not appreciate getting her paws stuck in packing tape, but Binky the Fish does appreciate the peace.
Spud wreath for my friend by Laura Dowling.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Frock shop

It seems like all of the clients I've been talking with lately are deep in the midst of bridesmaid dress shopping. Seattle bridesmaids have a fantastic new option opening in the next couple of weeks--I'll have more info later this week! So excited!!!--but for now, and everyone else, J.Crew just added some really lovely dresses (and beautiful accessories) to their pretty constant repertoire for bridesmaids. These seem to be a little more seasonal perhaps, so I'd jump on it if you see something you love.

Oh, and if you pick any of the following lovelies, I'd like to offer my bridesmaid services. I can be super supportive, come to all of your parties, drag your grandfather out on the dancefloor, and pick gifts straight off your registry. Especially if it's that grey number with the brilliant yellow shoes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Real Weddings: Kelley + Mike

OK, we really suffered for this one at Bellevue's Robinswood House, with pictures from the lovely Kelly Chandler. I usually love my job...the joy of handing someone their dream bouquet on the best day of their life is pretty unbeatable. But, when you're doing an outdoor wedding on the hottest day in Seattle in 98 years, things quickly go from exciting and creative to just plain torturous and scary! Thank you Jenn and Kimberly for helping out on this one--you're saints for helping me heave huge spools of ribbon 40' up in the air to hang lanterns while sweat is dripping into your eyeballs! The other saving grace was the happy, sweet bride, and her gracious and thankful mother.
Shimmery gold linens from Choice, handblown votives from Glassybaby. And flowers, yours truly.The lanterns were glowing like floating moons when I came back to pick up at midnight--so ethereal and otherworldly. Green silk curtains are my newest favorite shade of dupioni silk draping I'm carrying. Granny smith apple green!
Two centerpieces kept made the reception tables varied and interesting. The low mounds were inspired by a photo Kelley had taken of some flowers her dad sent her earlier in the year that she loved. The tall pieces were manzanita branches embedded in split peas (a perfect shade of green! But I got the STRANGEST looks buying 100 lbs of split peas in that weather!) with wired cymbidiums.