Wednesday, June 30, 2010

getting a gorilla

I have a thing for stuffed animals.  I don't know why, but I love them even now that I'm married and have a human to snuggle with instead of a fuzzy stuffed bag of fabric.  My mom has been supplying me with the stuffed animals I've wanted over the past couple of years under the guise of giving them to my future children and now I can make good on my promise.  I have four Jellycat softies from anthropologie that are so cuddly and funny looking that I couldn't wait to pick one out for Baby Celeste.  After much deliberation (ok, about two and a half minutes) Matt and I decided on the gorilla.  He's masculine enough for Matt and cute enough for me.  Plus he'll coordinate with the baby's grey nursery!  Cute and coordinated... it doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

love from Prudent Baby

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I won a copy of Sandi Henderson's new book, Sewing Bits & Pieces, at Prudent Baby?  Well, I've been waiting and waiting and a pretty pink package has finally arrived!  Thank you United States Postal Service!  The prints from Sandi's Meadowsweet collection that came along for the ride are super adorable - little strawberries, perky daisies, whimsical flourishes - I can't wait to use them in one of my projects!  Some of my favorite ideas from the book are...
the patchwork pillow, shown here using some of my most favorite fabrics ever - Heather Ross's Mendocino
the countdown chain, perfect for marking off the days until any special event
the library bag... need I say more?
party lights - great decor for a party indoors or out!
scrappy silhouettes - a very cute addition to any wall in your home
Has anyone made any of the above projects or any others from Sewing Bits & Pieces?  I'd love to see some of the finished products!  Now which one to tackle first...

Monday, June 28, 2010

gallery at home

From the time I was twelve years old until I was mid-way through my senior year of high school I papered my walls with magazine pages -" target="_blank">Ralph Lauren models for the fragrance Romance, photos of me and my friends," target="_blank">Paul Walker's mugads for the Toyota Echo," target="_blank">Hanson concert ticket stubs - I had everything up there.  All four walls, floor to ceiling, even my closet doors, inside and out - covered.  I went on a missions trip for a month and in the time that I was away my parents redesigned my room as a gift, scraping off every last bit of sticky tape residue that they had previously vowed never to remove for me.  I was in love with my new room (fresh blue paint, recovered furniture, brand new custom bedding) but I admitted that I missed my wall covering collection.  When I saw this photo mosaic wall over at paislee press (via Creature Comforts) I instantly knew I had to create something similar for our home.
I'm thinking some wedding photos, favorite vacation images, and soon some pictures of the little baby to come.  What's your favorite way to display photos at home? 

Friday, June 25, 2010

la la lemonade

As an intermittent but long-time Del's Lemonade employee I have a deep love for lemonade and all things lemon-y.  I start driving a lemonade truck next week and before I'm tempted by the sugary, frozen goodness that is a Del's, I wanted to make my own lemonade.  My search at tastespotting turned up this yummy sounding drink - Lavender Lemonade
 I began by gathering my materials - cutting board, santoku knife, hand juicer, measuring cups, small saucepan, wooden spoon, and um, anything else I needed.  I set the water to boil with the sugar and lavender and then I got to work cutting and juicing lemons.  It was quick work and in fact the longest wait time was while the syrup was steeping.  
After 45 minutes of lavender and sugar happily mingling in hot water I combined the syrup with the lemon juice and then added a little water to dilute the mixture.  Voilà!  Lavender lemonade.  It was a nice surprise to see that the syrup took on a pink hue as the lavender steeped and, happily, I ended up with pink lemonade!  Lastly, I made a quick trip out the side door and into the front flower bed to pick some more lavender as a garnish and I had a wonderfully refreshing first-day-of-summer-vacation drink. 
As you can see, my first glass didn't last long.  Luckily the recipe makes a decent amount so I can enjoy this tasty treat all weekend! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

lovin lil' Rhody

I spotted these pillows over at Design Mom and am now coveting a Rhode Island shaped pillow.  
So many decisions - canary or mustard yellow, purple, light grey... you can even have the heart placed closest to the city or town of your choice!
I wonder which state is the most popular.  My guess would be California, Texas, or New York... your thoughts?

images via Always Fits

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

this is me

I saw this photo over at peonies and polaroids and smirked because this is how I've been wearing my pants for the past few months.  A number of people have pointed out my unzipped fly so I guess that means I need to invest in longer shirts.  Or perhaps maternity pants.  So far I've been getting by with an elastic or occasionally a BeBand.  I'm holding out as long as possible because, hey, I don't think I need to look too put together when I'm scooping lemonade out of the side of a Del's truck all summer long.  Maybe I'll have purchased some appropriately sized clothing by the time schools rolls back around.  Maybe, but I don't want to think about that quite yet.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

on the Cape

Last month Matt and I took off for Cape Cod over Memorial Day weekend to celebrate my birthday and our second anniversary.  I told Matt that being able to combine both events was a rare occasion and that he should enjoy it this year.  We stayed at a bed and breakfast called An English Garden and thoroughly enjoyed our stay.  Our hosts Anita and Joe were very warm and welcoming throughout our visit to their inn.  They also cooked up two delicious breakfasts that we enjoyed on Saturday and Sunday morning - vanilla bean French toast and a seasonal vegetable strata.  After breakfast we drove about an hour to Provincetown.  Unfortunately only one bicycle will fit in a Corolla so we had to find a place to get a bike for Matt so we could ride the Province Lands Bike Trail.  Our first order of business was finding a bike rental shop.  Mission accomplished!       
After a few hours of riding through salt marsh, past sand dunes, and along the coast we ended up back in the center of P-Town and brought Matt's bike back.  Earlier in the day we had a spied a tower that looked climbable so we set off in search of it by walking around town and continually looking up so we could keep it in sight.  We eventually ended up at the base of the Pilgrim Monument, a structure that was built in the early 1900s to honor the Pilgrims' first landing in Provincetown.  The tower is 252 feet tall and in order to climb it you have to scale 116 steps and 60 ramps.  The view is definitely worth the ten minutes and labored breathing it takes to get to the top.  
Matt took this photo as we were walking back down - 
And finally one of the tower...
After all of that exercise I was in serious need of some nourishment.  Next stop?  Candy store!  We were able to watch salt water taffy being pulled and wrapped and even got a free sample!  I filled up a bag with lots of different flavors and snacked on them for the rest of the weekend.  My favorites were chocolate peanut butter and peach... mmm... 
Fistfuls of taffy were enough to keep me walking through town so for the next couple of hours we continued to explore.  Here are some of our finds...
brightly colored buoys.
Ben Pegg.  Ben made his own double-necked guitar and he can play like nobody's business.  Check him out here.   
a sunset.
snails, some of them smushed.
The next day we hopped in the car and began our drive out of Cape Cod but not without stopping along the way to continue our adventures.  Matt loves blown glass and the Cape is home to many studios.  We stopped at the first one we saw, Fritz Glass.  The oven was fired up but wouldn't be ready for another 45 to 60 minutes so we opted to leave rather than hang around to watch.
We stopped at the Scargo Tower.  This is me doing my impression of Rapunzel minus the long hair.
We discovered a historical society that maintained some walking trails and along one of them was this 100 year old Weeping Beech.  I would love have a dinner party under its limbs, wouldn't you?
There were old railroad tracks off of one of the trails and while Matt took some shots of the tracks going off into the distance I played gymnast.
Our last stop before home was a state fish hatchery, which stocks Massachusetts rivers and lakes with different breeds of trout twice a year.      
There was so much to do and see on the Cape that I really would have liked to spend more time there.  I guess that just means we'll have to go back!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Room for Children

Has anyone seen this book in real life?  I would love to get my hands on a copy but not a single library in Rhode Island carries it.  I read that Jenna Lyons's son Becket's nursery is featured and I loved those famous yellow and white stripes when I first saw them in Domino.  Right now nurseries are my favorite part of baby anticipation.  We started getting "the purple room" ready for Baby Celeste's arrival by priming it over the weekend.  We're painting it grey but beyond that I don't have too many ideas for the nursery.  My favorite inspiration photos can be found at ohdeedoh, spearmint baby, and Baby Space.  Any nursery must-have items that you would recommend, readers?  

Friday, June 18, 2010

La Antigua or Bust

Last summer Matt and I and four of our friends flew to Guatemala for a week's worth of adventures in and around La Antigua, the old capital of the country, so I was excited to see that J.Crew held their last photo shoot there (I know, I'm a little behind as the catalog came out in late May... oops).  J.Crew's model and I are both set against Lake Atitlán.  Please don't compare us as I look as though I've been in a van for three hours (I have) and she looks like she's been lounging on a rowboat wearing a caftan all afternoon.      
The photo above features one of J.Crew's models leaning against a wall that Matt loved (he has a slight obsession with walls)... here's me in front of the same wall - 
Each one of the images in the catalog transported me back to last summer.  It was fun to see models decked out in J.Crew apparel and accessories strolling the same cobblestone streets that we walked last summer.  If the shoot has inspired any of you to board the next available plane to Central America I highly recommend it!  Some things to do - 
1. Hike Pacaya.  I booked a guided hike with Old Town Outfitters for a very reasonable rate.  The photo below features a swarm of children that flocked to our van offering to sell us walking sticks, which came in very handy when we were hiking through jagged rocks, slipping down unstable ash, and precariously hopping over lava flows.  Unfortunately, due to the torrential downpours that pelted us throughout our hike I don't have any photos of the actual climb.  Our friend Matt recorded a video of me poking at the lava with my walking stick but he has yet to post it or else I would include it here.  Even if it's raining on your hike I wouldn't opt out!  Walking directly over lava is an incredible experience that you'll never forget.  You may even be able to take home a chunk of the volcano as I did!  
2. Visit Chichicastenango, Guatemala's most colorful outdoor market.  There we saw tons of gorgeous textiles, detailed woodcarvings, ceremonial masks, gigantic machetes, raw meat and sausauge swarming with flies, and assorted farm animals.    
3. Tour a coffee plantation.  We toured a plantation that supplies Starbucks with its Antigua beans.  Not only did we enjoy a tour of at least an hour in length, but while we were waiting for it to begin my friend Allyssa and I rode donkeys, and then afterwards we were all treated to a delicious lunch on the patio.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
Stop making fun of our helmets, they were mandatory.
4. Reserve a ride on the Cables X-Tremos (also knows as the ziptrek or a zipline) in the San Buenaventura valley on the shores of Lake Atitlán.  We went through Atitlán Nature Reserve and arranged for a shuttle to pick us up at our hotel (Soleil La Antigua).  The van ride was looooong and torturous but worth it.  Upon arrival we all signed waivers (they said something along the lines of if our cables were to come undone and we plummeted to the earth or water below we wouldn't hold the Reserve responsible) and then began the process of being harnessed and donning helmets (for the second time this vacation).  We rode a total of eight ziplines that ranged from 295 feet to 1050 feet across canyons, over valleys, by waterfalls, and through a coffee grove.     
After our trek through the sky we walked through the Natural Reserve and there were monkeys!  They were separated from us by metal fences and also smaller wooden beam fences, but you could feed them bananas and mangoes by tossing the fruit over the top.  I even climbed over the wooden fence to hand feed this menacing looking creature a hunk of banana.  Our fingertips touched!  I shuddered when it happened but it was very cool.  In fact, I can feel his leathery little fingers and scratchy little nails right now just thinking about it.   
In conclusion, I highly recommend La Antigua and the surrounding areas to any adventurous travelers out there.  There was so much to do and see and eat that we didn't even get to everything on my list of must-visit locations in and around the city.  Now if only some traveling plans would come together for this summer!  Any early August recommendations?   

all photos by blueflash unless otherwise noted
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