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Friday, April 30, 2010

how does your garden grow?

Another cute idea for a Mother's Day gift for your mommy, grammy, auntie, or any other special lady in your life whom you would like to recognize next weekend.  Visit Heather Ross's blog to download a pattern for a pair of garden gloves, whip them up, and then give them to Mummy with some potting soil and bulbs, or with some lovely potted tulips.  Heather also has some cute gift tags that you can download and print, good for Mother's Day or any other gift-giving occasion!  See more from Heather in her book, Weekend Sewing.
(image via Heather Ross)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

heaven in the form of an armchair

Swoon...  I want to marry this armchair from (where else?) anthropologie.  Isn't it the most beautiful piece of furniture you've ever laid eyes on?  I can think of so many rooms I could use it in - our bedroom, the "purple room," the porch, our sewing/photography studio room... I think I'm going to set it as my wallpaper now.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

nutella ravioli

Have you ever tried Chocolate Hazelnut Ravioli?  If you haven't you must because they are absolutely delicious.  Get yourself some wonton wrappers, a jar of Nutella, cooking oil, and confectioner's sugar and you're good to go!  Last time I made this sweet treat I garnished them with sugared mint leaves, but alas, my mint plant didn't make it through the winter.  This time I used some fresh raspberries and they did the trick, too.  What are some of your favorite ways to use Nutella?  Besides eating it right out of the jar, of course...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

fawning over fabric

(image via shambijoux)
I recently bought some of Heather Ross's  Mendocino fabric and I am in love!  It's actually part of a kit but the finished quilt it makes is pretty small so I think I might buy some more, especially after seeing some amazing quilts on flickr...  Betty Ninja's below is gorgeous, as is Elizabeth Hartmen's (of Oh, Fransson!) here.  
(image via Betty Ninja)
The kit is a combination of all three colorways - jughandle, sand, and brackish - so I may just try to buy whatever I can find, but the pinks and oranges and mermaids and octopi are my favorites.  Why are sea creatures so funny?  I love them lately!  

Monday, April 26, 2010

fresh flowers

Isn't it amazing how much fresh flowers can brighten your day?  Matt and I were at the grocery store last week and I spied these pretty carnations at the florist's counter.  My husband very sweetly offered to bring a couple of bunches home so I could enjoy them throughout my vacation.  They looked cheery all week, by the kitchen sink, on the dining room table, and on my nightstand.
Now if only I didn't have such a black thumb I might have some beauties blooming outside by now...

Friday, April 16, 2010

May 31, 2008

With several of our friends planning their weddings I've been thinking a lot about our day back in 2008.  Here are some of my favorite images from the day and a collection of links where you can find us elsewhere on the web.

- Featured by Summer of {grey}likes weddings here
- See us on Chatty Brides, a division of Southern New England Weddings
- A featured event at Stoneblossom, our floral and event designer
- Read Stoneblossom's blog post about our day here


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Do you obsess over your desktop wallpaper like I do?  I've been using Marimekko wallpaper on my computer for over a year and that's quite a commitment for me.  I love the matkalla maalle pattern and only recently parted with it in favor of nonparelli.  I love how happy and bright everything by Marimekko is.  We use Marimekko bed linens in the fall and winter and they never cease to cheer me.  What perks you up during the day?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mother's Day

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm excited about Mother's Day this year.  It's the first time Matt and I are hosting any sort of holiday at our home and I'm looking forward to choosing special gifts for our moms just as much as I'm looking forward to baking for the day.  While I can't share my gift ideas for my own mother and mother-in-law quite yet, I can suggest that you visit Cool Mom Picks and take a look at their Mother's Day Gift Guide, (or check out the link on my sidebar over there on the right).  Not all of these gifts would make sense for my or Matt's mom, but some of my favorites are the Mom Stocks Up! gift set from Dean & DeLuca, the Petit Collage Deluxe Baby Book and Memory Box, and a pretty La Creuset stoneware pitcher.  Perhaps the best idea of all and perfect for absolutely any occasion (especially for an ice cream lover like me) is a pint of personalized ice cream from the ecreamery.  I would choose lavender and lemon.  What would you pick?  

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

baked

(image via Design*Sponge)
Baking is absolutely one of my favorite things to do.  I've been planning a menu for a Mother's Day soirée (I would love for it to look like the image above!) that Matt and I will be hosting at our house and I can't wait to try out some new recipes and also make some of my old favorites.  Here's the tentative menu -
- fresh fruit (maybe peaches and raspberries), vanilla yogurt, and homemade granola parfaits in my cute little dishes that look like this
- banana chocolate chip muffins
- classic waffles from The Joy of Cooking with fresh whipped cream 
- herbed popovers
- a quiche and/or fritatta of some sort
- stuffed baked french toast
- chocolate almond biscotti and pistachio biscotti
- nutella croissants
- more fresh fruit like pineapple and strawberries
I know I can do all that, but now for the new...
I'm going to be tapping into the brains of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the owners of Baked in New York City, through their book Baked.  Sour cream coffee cake anyone?
Gale Gand's Brunch is another cookbook I plan on perusing over the next couple of weeks for ideas.
Since Matt and I will be at church from about 8:15 until 12:30 on Mother's Day everything needs to be able to be prepared ahead of time or very quickly.  I'm hoping my evolving menu cooperates and makes our day a success.  Any spectacular brunch suggestions?  I would love to hear what your favorite morning treats are!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dan at RiRa

Dan's show on Saturday was amazing!  He played a great mix of music from his first and second CDs as well as some new stuff, with some of the Beatles thrown in for good measure.  Oh, and then there was a mid-set a capella version of Happy Birthday for his sister!  I was glad to be back in time for Dan to take the stage.  Where did I have to go, you ask?  I neglected to bring my bag and was lacking an ID so my friend Ed kindly drove me back home to retrieve it.  (It's not the first time Matt and I have gone out only to realize I don't have my license upon arrival... last time we were in Jamestown - eek!)  Anyway, we got back to RiRa in plenty of time to hear Dan begin the set.  However, I didn't sample anything at the restaurant... I was too full after a dinner of panini and yummy apple tartine for dessert with Matt, Ed & Laura, and Elsa.  Check out more pictures from the show by blueflash on facebook here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dan Mills

Have you ever listened to the music of Dan Mills?  If you haven't you should start.  Dan has been a friend of Matt's since they were in middle school and then in That Falcon Band together at Cranston High School West.  They and five other friends formed a ska band that friends and I used to follow around Providence where they played at local venues like Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel and AS220.  Well now Dan is living in New York City but he's back in Rhode Island for the weekend and playing a show on Saturday at RiRa, an Irish pub in Providence.  (I hear they have pretty good eats and I'm looking forward to sampling something made out of potatoes.  Perhaps their Irish Potato Cakes with savory sour cream and balsamic reduction?  Question: Has anything bad ever been made with sour cream?  Answer: I think not.)  Check Dan out on myspaceYou Tube, and don't miss his cover of You Can Call Me Al which was featured by New York Magazine here.  It's amazing!  One of my favorite originals is Those Clothes.  Check it out... you can support Dan and his music at the iTunes store - buy his albums, Different Colored Walls and Fiction in Photographs (or download it for free on his site here).  Maybe we'll see you at the show!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

H2O

On Tuesday I mentioned that I've been trying to drink more water.  While Paul Smith's bottle may be pretty I have one that is functional and gigantic.  My mom bought me a Kor One vessel for Christmas and I've just recently started toting it around with me.  I have this ice blue one and it never fails to intrigue people.  Everyone is interested in how to open it.  Buy one and find out.  Anyway, it holds 25 ounces and I try to drink two bottles a day.  I don't know if I've met my goal quite yet but I'm sure as our ancient elementary school building starts to heat up as summer approaches I won't have any problem.  Kor vessels are all BPA free and a portion of sales supports a water cause, such as ocean protection, global water crisis, watershed protection, and container recycling.  Pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

comfort in the kitchen

One of my favorite foods is beef stroganoff but I must confess I've only ever had it prepared with one recipe - my mom's.  It's from one of her cookbooks that she's had for ages and the recipe is actually titled Economy Beef Stroganoff because it calls for stew beef and most call for sirloin steak tips, braised short ribs, or something equally expensive.  Stew beef can be found for $2 per pound if you have your eyes peeled for sales at your local supermarket.  I stock up whenever it's cheap and stuff the freezer so I can make this satisfying comfort food any time.  It was the perfect dinner last week when we had a small swimming pool in our basement.  The dish takes an eternity to cook so Matt and I (alright, it was more Matt than I) vacuumed up water and monitored the pump to ensure our basement was on the way to its pre-flood condition while the the beef softened up.
Economy Beef Stroganoff
Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs. stew beef in 1/8" slices
2 T butter
1 1/2 C beef broth
2 T ketchup
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t salt
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 T flour
1 C sour cream
4 C cooked egg noodles
1 med. chopped onion
Directions
Cook and stir beef in 2 T butter in a skillet over low heat until brown.  Reserve 1/3 C beef broth.  Stir remaining beef broth, ketchup, garlic, and salt into skillet.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until beef is tender, about 2 hours.  Stir in mushrooms and onion.  Cover and simmer until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.  Shake resserved beef broth and flour in tightly covered container.  Stir gradually into beef mixture.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir one minute; reduce heat.  Stir in sour cream; heat through.  Toss noodles with 1 T butter.  Serve beef mixture over noodles.    
Notes
I usually eliminate the teaspoon of salt as the beef broth seems to give the dish enough flavor.  The addition of more cloves of garlic helps, too.  I usually use 2-3 times the amount mentioned in any recipe (unless the garlic is raw).  Also, I don't pay attention to the instruction to use 4 cups of cooked noodles.  Instead, I just use a package of Strom No Yolks Dumpling Noodles.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

a pretty bottle

Have you seen this Paul Smith for Evian water bottle?  I'm in love!  Apparently it was available back in the fall of 2009 and was only sold through Christmas so, Ebay, here I come.  I love bottles and have amassed a collection over the years - interesting shapes, pretty colors, difficult-to-manage caps, different sizes, etc.  I use them as vases, in tablescapes, and sometimes for their intended purpose.  I would love to add this one to my collection!
Via Stoneblossom.  
Image via the dieline.

Monday, April 5, 2010

giada at home

Are you all wiped out from Easter festivities like I am?  Matt and I enjoyed brunch with my family and then dinner with his.  I feel like I can't look at ham for a month but I have a funny feeling it's going to be showing up in my meals all week.  Despite my current aversion to food (I still feel stuffed from yesterday) I'm very excited about Giada's new cookbook that hit stores on March 30th.  I saw Giada at Home at Williams-Sonoma when I was shopping on Wednesday and it looks like it has lots of yummy recipes.  Doesn't lemon hazelnut tiramisù sound delicious?  
Giada elsewhere - Target... has anyone purchased anything from Giada's collection?  I really like the bakeware but haven't purchased a piece.  A friend of mine is registered for a few items and her shower is coming up.  I'll have to ask how she likes them.  Any reviews? 

Friday, April 2, 2010

a fresh start

After removing gallons and gallons of water from our basement yesterday and the day before, I decided it was time to brighten things up around here.  Switching our bedding from winter to spring always puts a smile on my face because I LOVE this quilt.  It's so bright and cheerful!  I spent part of the afternoon sprawled across it in the sun with a good book.  How do you make your house say "spring?"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

wedding walk

My summer employer, Stoneblossom (also the floral and event designer responsible for our wedding), is participating in the Wedding Walk on Main Street in East Greenwich on Saturday, April 10th from 12pm-5pm.  Flowers, jewelry, pretty dresses, and more will all be on display along the street.  The walk begins at Dugan Custom Jewelers where brides will receive a tote and also enter a drawing for diamond pendants... score!  Complimentary snacks and grilled pizza will be served at Café Fresco... I'm hoping for a slice of spinach and mushroom or chicken pesto - yum!  Special occasion dress shop Zuzu’s Petals is offering discounts on their selection of dresses which include designs by Betsey Johnson, Nicole Miller, and BCBG Max Azria.  Stoneblossom is using this inspiration board to put together a reception table, bouquet, and other wedding-related eye candy for the walk.  I can't wait to see what the talented designers come up with!
Read Maya's post about the Walk here.  I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday!
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