Friday, September 28, 2012

hello weekend

Looks like we're in for another rainy fall weekend here, but I'm not complaining. Rain makes things kind of cozy, and it's the perfect weather for curling up with a book and cup of tea. Might have to do just that tonight. If you're local, check out the schedule for the First Works Festival in Providence tomorrow night. It looks like a super cool event - I want to check out Bandaloop, the Papermoon Puppet Theatre, and Squonk Opera. Now you're intrigued, right?

Also, so many good finds this week! Check 'em out...
bunk beds are my favorite
- score! loads of free script fonts
- the two best photo shoot props are a heart-shaped kite and a yellow scooter
- one of my many dreams: live in a converted schoolhouse
- this vintage trunk restyle turned out way better than mine
- aren't these ideas for a housewarming party great?
- must make my own wheat thins
- love the name of this local letterpress shop
- check out the fab new children's lifestyle blog, Small Fry
- need an excuse to make a three layer peanut butter pie
- this subdued shared space for a boy and a baby is my kind of room
- the sweetest little dress up busy book I've ever seen

Have a wonderful weekend!

image via Emerson Fry

Thursday, September 27, 2012

tea with Rose and Laura | the Duck and Bunny

This month Hillary and I decided to mix up the tea tour a little bit - we went out for brunch and invited our friend Laura along, too. The Duck & Bunny was our destination of choice, and it was a beautiful fall morning so we chose to sit outside on the patio. Sitting outside always makes me feel better with a toddler in tow... Ezra can climb on the chairs and jabber incessantly without it being disruptive to other diners, which is always a good thing. I ordered a personal pot of pomegranate pear tea and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was sweet and flavorful even without the addition of sugar, and the pretty pink color didn't hurt either. You should know that I'm a sucker for tea in a little teapot, too.

My meal consisted of the most delicious truffled pomme frites (better than any I had in Paris!) and brie with fig spread and pecans on multigrain bread from Olga's.

The toast points were delicious, but I could have done with another order of fries and been plenty full and perfectly happy.

Random shot, I know, but I had to share it because when I saw it I laughed - Ezra took it when he was fiddling with my camera. He has quite the eye for detail, don't you think? Like his dad :) Before you read on, don't forget to click over to read Hillary's account of our morning. 

I don't know about you, but I'm enjoying our tea tour immensely. The tea is always nice, but it's even nicer to have time set aside to spend with friends. It's so easy to get busy and complacent going about our lives, but I'm beginning to realize how important it is to make the time. Do you feel like that, too?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

a visit to a New England cider house

A couple years ago Matt and I went to Mystic for a long weekend and visited an old-fashioned cider mill and I just realized I never shared the pictures here. It's called B.F. Clyde's and you can watch the whole process, from the avalanche of apples tumbling off the truck to the clear brown liquid being poured off the press, all inside the little cider house for free.

The press is powered by a small steam engine, the oldest in the country. I love having so much history right in our backyard. It's one of the best things about living in New England, in my opinion. 

You can stand (elbow to elbow with everyone else) inside the cider house while the press is run by the sixth generation of the Clyde family.

Be sure to stop in shop afterwards to get yourself a steaming cup!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

reasons why I love the farmers market

One of my favorite things to do in September is visit the farmers markets near our house. There's a really good one about ten minutes away from us in East Greenwich that I try to go to each week. (We went yesterday, but these photos are all from last week.) I took a few shots of everything we went home with, all from Barden Family Orchard in North Scituate.

candy colored cherry tomatoes - perfect sliced in half, sprinkled with sea salt, and on top of cottage cheese

white raspberries - a novelty! We ate them all before we even left the market.

yellow peaches - delicious in a smoothie or just as they are

A few more things that make me love this market in particular:
1. There's a playground on the other side of a big grassy hill from the market, so after we shop Ezra can play for a while.
2. Tallulah's Tacos, a food truck selling, you guessed it, tacos! Made with ingredients sourced from Rhode Island farms, of course. Might I recommend ordering the carnitas taco. 
3. Seven Stars is there selling all manner of delicious baked goods. I picked up a baguette last night for a special lunch I plan on making this week.

Do you have a favorite farmers market I should visit?

Monday, September 24, 2012

new beginnings in Autumn | a special delivery

Happy Monday everyone! I know, I know - Mondays aren't usually considered the happiest of days, but that's how I'm feeling right now. Autumn is so amazing and I'm just loving every day lately. The leaves are starting to turn, people are breaking out their sweaters, and pumpkins are showing up on doorsteps in the neighborhood. I love that the beginning of fall is like the start of a new year, but in September. Here's one way you can help someone celebrate the season, no matter where you live! 

Around this time last year I gave a friend a little basket full of her favorite snacks (it was part of our church's secret prayer sister ministry - more about that here), but I didn't want it to end up looking like a typical grocery store fruit basket. You know the kind I mean - bruised apples, yellowing oranges, the odd pear, and lots of cellophane. If you'd like to create something similar, here's what you do...

Pick up a small bushel basket at your local craft store, pull out the kraft paper, and gather some fabric and ribbon scraps from your stash.

Cover the basket with a piece of fabric (I chose burlap printed with old skeleton keys) and then wrap the whole thing with a wide strip of lace and some wired linen ribbon.

Select your snacks! I chose some pears, apples, clementines, two kinds of cheddar, and a bar of dark chocolate.

Wrap up the cheese and chocolate with kraft paper and tie them up with ribbons. At the last minute I decided to add a cheese slicer to the basket, so I tied a bow on that, too.

Now arrange everything in the basket and admire your contribution to the anti-shrink wrapped gift movement.

Last step - delivery! I left it my friend's doorstep for her to find some time that day. I like to think it was a nice surprise! Have you ever left a surprise on someone's doorstep? I'd love to hear...

P.S. Today is my dad's and his twin sister's birthday, so... Happy birthday Dad and Aunt Mickey! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

hello weekend

Ahhh, the weekend. It really feels like fall here - crisp air, rustling leaves, and of course, terrible leaf blowers practically every minute of the day. To escape the noise we're heading to the farm tomorrow to pick apples with Ezra. I can't wait to see him taking bites out of each and every one. What are your plans for the weekend?

- I love everything about this townhouse
- can't wait to try zigzag binding my next quilt
- absolutely love following along with this beautiful adoption story
birthday cookies are the new birthday cake
- why didn't I think of confetti business cards?
- what a sweet gift exchange between friends
- an adorable book turned clutch, via Design Mom

Have a good one!

image via I ART U

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

polka dots and elephants | a sneak peek

Just had to share this snapshot of a quilt I've been working on lately. I haven't quilted all summer (!) and this particular project has me super excited to make lots of cozy quilts this fall. The colors and patterns are perfection! How can one go wrong with gray and yellow and elephants and polka dots? 


Monday, September 17, 2012

how to be a typical tourist | sightseeing in Paris

Last Paris folks, I promise! Some of you may be disappointed and others may be relieved... either way, we'll be back to normal tomorrow. I'll end with all the things you have to do if you go to Paris. Everyone will ask if you saw La Jocande and you don't want to have to say you didn't, do you? I didn't think so. So here's what to do and where to go, according to me - 

arts and culture:
Louvre - I'm ashamed to say it, but we zipped around the Louvre like lightning to see Mona and Venus with a pit stop at Winged Victory of Samothrace (the one I actually really wanted to see), and then spent the rest of our time in the area at the Tuileries garden watching the fountains and eating pistachio gelato
Musée d'Orsay - impressionism at its finest. Go if you love Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Van Gogh, etc. My favorite, along with... 
Musée de l'Orangerie - you'll feel like you're inside Monet's famous gardens. I could have spent all morning staring at the waterlilies. 
Centre Pompidou - Modern art, some to look at and some to experience, plus a fun children's section.
Palais Garnier - all I could think of was Victor Hugo's The Phantom of the Opera. The gilded halls, intricate wooden floors, and lush velvet curtains of the opera house were a sight to see for sure.

monuments and sights:
Arc de Triomphe - absolutely humongous, and it was fun to watch the traffic zooming around the circle
Eiffel Tower - of course! Go at night to see the tower twinkle.
Montparnasse Tower - ascend to the 56th floor for incredible views, and then walk up the remaining three flights to the rooftop. Better views here than from the Eiffel Tower because you can see the Eiffel Tower and not the Montparnasse Tower!
Place de la Concorde & Obelisk of Luxor - the light at the end of the Champs-Élysées

churches and history:
Notre Dame - so crowded but worth it to see the amazing stained glass windows
The Pantheon - see where Rousseau, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and Marie Curie are entombed. 
Père-Lachaise - the final resting place of many famous Parisians (or at least temporary Paris residents), like Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and Gertrude Stein. If you're not into any of them, the cemetery is still a beautiful place unlike any I've seen in the United States. 
Chateau de Versailles - not in Paris but close enough. I would have been happy just visiting Marie-Antoinette's estate, but we didn't know what to expect and saw it all because we didn't want to miss anything. We were mostly hot, tired, hungry, and grumpy because the grounds are so extensive and we walked everywhere. Plan accordingly.

Luxembourg - This was news to me in the months leading up to our trip, but in Paris you can't walk on the grass in many public gardens. We walked from one end to the other until we found a place to rest and promptly bought a crepe and sat down. Then just take it all in...
Tuileries - pretty fountains, a little carousel that Ezra loved, and a cart selling gelato = my kind of garden

That's all for my guide to Paris! I'd love to know if you visit (or have visited!) any of the places I've mentioned. And if you head to Paris any time soon, have a macaron for me!

Friday, September 14, 2012

hello weekend

Today will be filled with running lots of errands - there are big things happening at church in our youth department and I'll be picking up a few things for the junior high room and a high school girls retreat that's coming up in a few weeks. I'll also be working on a pretty gray and yellow quilt that I don't know if I'll be able to part with! Then on Saturday Matt and I are bringing Ezra to a children's music class, and after that we're going to a birthday party for one of his little friends. I'm excited to get things done and then have some fun! After a few weeks of not reading any blogs I have to say it was really nice to check in with my favorites again. Here are a bunch I wanted to share with you...

 - can't stop looking at this duvet cover
- can you feel it? fall is almost here
- print your own adorable bicycle note cards
- lots of mason jar love over here
- how to frost a scallop cake
- sew up a sweet mermaid doll
- what a sweet back to school tradition!
- dreaming of a studio space like this one
- build your own chalkboard city
let's do ice cream!
- we made this Brussels sprout pizza last night and it was amazing!

Have a great weekend! Can't wait to see you again back here on Monday!

tea with Rose | Teas and Javas

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Paris program for this important message: the tea tour continues! Hillary and I went out for tea in August just before we went on vacation, but we didn't get around to posting before we left so this is a bit of old news. However, it's still totally worth sharing! We checked out the (then) brand new Teas and Javas, a new venture from the people at Alex and Ani, on Wayland Avenue in Providence. We both loved the atmosphere and thought the place was really cute and well decorated, and it was especially nice that the store front was open to the sidewalk. Sidewalk seating is so Parisian :) Anyway, we ordered our tea (iced this time - it was a scorcher!) and sat for a few minutes while we waited for it to brew.

The tables were dark granite and the walls were covered in white subway tile which contributed to the overall feeling of calm. Hillary and I ordered peppermint alfalfa tea (by Irie Tea) as we both tend to stay away from caffeinated teas and the herbal offerings were somewhat limited. That was kind of disappointing, but I did really enjoy the peppermint alfalfa - it was cool and refreshing. Ezra probably drank half of it even though I got him a cup of water. 

There was a case full of yummy looking cupcakes and cookies, and my friend Karissa said she and her husband went for lunch one day and they loved the roast beef focaccia. After perusing the menu online, it looks like I'll have to go back to try the French brie sandwich... we'll see how it measures up to all the brie baguettes I enjoyed in Paris!

Don't forget to check out Hillary's post about tea tour stop six right here!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

blogging tips + tricks | the Alt blog

If you write a lifestyle, DIY, or design blog, you have most likely heard of Alt. If you're me, you want desperately to go to Alt but couldn't convince your husband it was worth the $700 price tag, plus airfare and a place to stay. So since I most likely won't be making it out to the conference in Salt Lake City in January, instead I'll satisfy my need for blogging education by reading the Alt blog. There are so many great ideas and lots of inspirational posts, and reading it has been helping me spruce this space up a bit! I even send Matt links every now and then because there are often tips for small business owners. So far one of my favorite posts has been this one on getting started with advertising. I'd like to use my blog as a platform for supporting small businesses that I know and love and I've been thinking about hosting ads for a while, so I think it might be time to take the plunge. For blogging inspiration and business advice check out the new Alt blog. It's definitely worth a look!

image via the Alt blog via The Business of Fashion

les Petits | things to do with kids in Paris

Paris is a great city for kids. We could have planned our entire vacation around activities for Ezra, but that would have been a bit much. Instead, each day we did something for us (the Louvre, for example) and then something that we knew Ezra would enjoy. Here are a few of our favorites...

- la Grande Galerie de l'Évolution - within the Jardin des Plantes, this museum has loads of animals to look at. I liked it even better than a zoo because you can get super close to the (fake) animals, but they're very lifelike.
- Centre Pompidou - Paris's modern art museum. After walking through the main exhibit areas we spent some time in the children's section. The current exhibit was about the funny words kids say before they can pronounce the actual word (for example, Ezra says "mout" but he means "milk"). You could go into a booth with your family and talk about the words your kid says (or your child could recall something they used to say) that are funny and then be added to the exhibit.
- Le 104 - on the outskirts of Paris but worth getting to. It's a cool exhibition space that has a (free!) play space for children called La Maison des Petits, which was like a combination of a children's museum and the child development center where I worked when I was in college. One of the current exhibits there was a giant cardboard labyrinth that we walked through, and there were also breakdancers practicing everywhere. Unexpected and definitely not an official part of Le 104, but fun to watch for a while.
- Deyrolle - amazing taxidermy store that is more like a museum than a shop. Picture yourself standing right next to a giant stuffed polar bear and you have the general idea.
In addition to the larger gardens around Paris like the Tuileries and the Luxembourg, there are little parks everywhere. We stopped almost every time we found one to give Ezra a chance to run around and ourselves a chance to sit down. Square Paul Langevin was a particularly nice one (located on the corner of rue des Ecoles and rue Monge) where we spent the better part of an afternoon one day. Also, metro rides function as transportation of course, but they're also great entertainment for a toddler. Ezra loved putting the ticket in the machine, counting down the stops, and sitting in the fold down seats or hanging onto the pole while we rode. If you're headed to Paris with children, be sure to check out this book, as it lists places to go along with nearby family friendly restaurant recommendations. If you're questioning going to Paris (or any foreign city) with your child, just do it! It was definitely worth it and I'm so glad we went. One more post coming next week on the typical tourist things we did while we were there...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

croissants and baguettes | where to eat in Paris

Tell people you went to Paris and the first thing they ask you about it the food. We didn't do too much fine dining, but we enjoyed plenty of bakery type meals. Give me a chocolate croissant for breakfast and a sliced baguette with brie and veggies for lunch and I'm a happy girl.

Here are some of our favorite bakeries...
Paul, 77 rue de Seine - expect a line out the door, but for good reason. Delicious brioche sucre, croissants, palmiers, and macarons.
bread & roses, 7 rue Fleurus - organic breads made with whole grains, nuts, and seeds
Banette, 2 rue de ces Commines - a chain, but I had the most perfect little chocolate and raspberry tart here
Arnaud Delmontel, 39 rue des Martyrs - beautiful styling, and our breakfast treats were still warm!
Le Grenier de Félix, 64 avenue Félix Faure - our neighborhood bakery, perfect for a quick snack any time of day

For lunch or a light dinner...
Pink Flamingo, 105 rue du Vieille du Temple -  a funky pizza parlor serving up unique topping combinations like fresh fig, honey, and goat cheese called the Brangelina (and it was fantastic!)
Le Pain Quotidien, 2 rue des Petits Carreaux - I had such a delicious artichoke heart and white bean salad here
L'Ebouillanté, 6 rue de Barres - cute patio seating outside an old church on a cobblestone path; we had crêpes, quiche, and fresh juice.
La Ferme, 55-57 rue Saint Roch - order your meal at the counter, choose a drink from the cooler, and sit where you like. We liked the laid back atmosphere, and everything is made in house!

For sweets...
Ladurée, 75 avenue des Champs Elysées - macarons, of course. 
La Maison du Chocolat, 8 boulevard de la Madeleine - we bought a teeny box of chocolates, but they'll offer you a sample! Seriously, it's worth checking out for the sample alone.
And get a palmier at every boulangerie you walk by. I did.

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