December 31, 2011

New Year = New Closets

Ryan was out of town this week, which means that in addition to wearing my most hideous pajama pants and drinking all of his nice beer, I got to enjoy a bit of R&R: rabid re-organizing.  When I mentioned to my less orderly other half that I was cleaning out our closets, he sounded perplexed. "But I thought they were already pretty clean..."  Oh, Ryan...sweet, naive Ryan.

Now, I won't go all Gwyneth Paltrow on you and wax on about how I just love polishing silver and always hand wash my delicates in dye-free detergent made from plant extract.  I'm not that kind of cleaner.  My oven has burnt pieces of food stuck on it that smell up my kitchen when I bake and until the other night, it looked like a vagrant with an aptitude for wreath-making had taken up residence in our hall closet.  The latter was remedied by a quick trip to Bed Bath & Beyond and a bit of elbow grease this past Thursday night.  I only wish I had 'before' pictures to share but, alas, in the midst of my OCD glee I forgot to take them! 

My first stop was our entry closet.  Without these new chrome shelves and tote bins, I was left to stack things on the floor of my hall closet like some disorderly, real-life game of Jenga.  The best part about my new shelving unit is that it's super heavy duty and holds up to 500lbs...the equivalent of one sewing machine and 3,000 glue sticks!

Next, I moved on to Ryan's closet in our guest bedroom.  Before my organization intervention, Ryan used the floor as his primary storage technique for his running clothes.  This set of hanging shelves made by Real Simple did the trick and I love that you can break them apart and hang side-by-side as two shorter columns.  There's also a little pouch on each side where you can store belts, scarfs or special pieces of jewelry*. 

PS: Guess who also loves Real Simple's storage bins for tucking away seasonal clothes?!?  This girl! 

* just checking to see if you are still reading my blog Mr. Bocskay

December 30, 2011

DIY Recycled Coffee Can

When I bought the Trader Joe's coffee below I instantly loved that it came in an old fashion can vs. today's standard plastic stand-up bags.  I decided to cover it with some scrapbook paper and use it to hold my hair straightener and curly iron but you could use it to hold office supplies, package up baked goods for a gift, store small kids toys, etc.  Here's a run down of what you'll need to make your own:

1.  Gather your supplies.  You'll need scissors or an Xacto knife, a pencil, glue gun and whatever patterned paper (or fabric) you want to cover your coffee tin in.  

2.  Lay you coffee can over your paper and make pencil marks where the paper needs to be trimmed. 

3.  Line the edges of the paper with hot glue, then place over the coffee can, holding down for 30 until the glue sets.

4.  Voila!  Stuff with whatever goodies you want and you're done!

December 25, 2011

Cross Stitch Family Portrait

Ryan's Mom, Carol, knows how much I love counted cross stitch so I was excited when she told me about this article in Martha Stewart Living about how to cross stitch your own family portrait.  I've included a few photos from the article below for reference but there are even more on with cute examples of how to personalize each family member with different items of clothing, accessories, hair styles, etc.  Create your pattern either on graph paper or in Excel by making each cell into a little square.

I decided to make one for Carol as a homemade Christmas gift and as a thank you for sharing this great idea with me.  Below is the before shot of Ryan, Carol, Kirsti and Sophie on Aida 16 count fabric, as well as the after shot once framed.

December 22, 2011

We Made A Gingerbread House

Muffin Tin Potatoes!

This post was migrated over from my old blog but I wanted it to have a home here... 

Ryan's Mom taught me this simple-yet-delicious potato recipe that's a perfect Fall/Winter side dish and I wanted to share with you! All you need are: white potatoes, whipping cream, olive oil, salt, pepper, a basting brush and muffin tin.  You can also peel the potatoes first if you prefer the skins off.
Using a mandoline slicer or a sharp paring knife, cut the potatoes in "super thin" (official term) slices. 
Get your muffin tin out and place a base layer of three potato slices in each cup. 
Grab a basting brush and add a thin coat of olive oil on the potatoes. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Repeat until you've filled the muffin tin to the rim.
Next, pour 1 tablespoon of whipping cream in each of the cups. Bake in the over at roughly 400 degrees for 20 minutes and...
...they will come out looking like little scalloped potatoes!

December 21, 2011

Crafty Ass Bitch Supplies

My super sweet co-worker (aka: "It's Jess") got me the adorable tote bag below for Christmas.  *squeal*  I was so inspired by her Etsy find that I went scouring for more crafty-themed goodies and slapped them all in a little collage for you!

From Top

Pick Your Poison craft tools illustration.  I'll let it slide that a glue gun is conspicuously absent.

Knit Purl Wooden Sign.  Perfect for a little sewing / crafting room!

She's Crafty.  Love this little Beastie Boys inspired tote, especially the chunky font and cool citrus colors.

Fabric Whore.  Comes as either a magnet, mirror or bottle opener, for all your fabric whore needs!

But wait, there's more...

Keep Calm And Get Your Craft On T-Shirt.  Six words:  I would sleep in this forever.

The Crafter's Mind Embroidery.  This particular crafter loses points for misspelling 'jewelry' but I'm impressed with the scope of crafting brain lobes represented.  Quilting...very nice.

Knitta Please Letterpress Card.  Love.  Just Love.

I'm A Crafty MF-er Button.  For the crafter with a potty mouth...and who wears buttons.

Create Crafting Journal.  Doesn't this remind you of the vintage-inspired, hilariously snarky Someecards??

Crafty Scrabble Tiles. Made with tiles from circa 1970 Scrabble sets, this looks like it should be sitting on a Principal's desk!

December 19, 2011

Ork Posters!

I've been in love with Ork Posters ever since I stumbled upon them a few years ago and have give them on occasion to my dear friends as birthday or housewarming gifts.  Priding themselves as "the most beautiful city neighborhood posters in the whole wide world," the original designs feature a map of local neighborhoods within large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, DC, Chicago and Boston.  The modern color palettes and clean typography make them a must-have for every urban dweller. ($22 each)

December 13, 2011

Classic Chicken Soup

It's winter in Los Angeles, which means it dips down to a chilly 50 degrees and countless Angelenos break out their North Face jackets and crank up their seat heaters.  My comfy pajama pants are on, my Christmas fir candle is lit and a pot of chicken soup is on the stove.  I love this hearty, feel-good dish and the verdict from my taste tester tonight is positive...which means I wanted to share it here! 

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 4-5 loose carrots
  • 4-5 celery stalks
  • 1 large white onion
  • 5-6 small Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Tiny pastini (ie: Orzo, Acini di Pepe)
  • Chicken bouillon cubes

Before you get to work on your key ingredients, pour 12 cups of water in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add in 8 bouillon cubes.  Technically, the ratio should be 1:1 but I personally think that to add any more would make it really salty. 

Gather up your vegetables and chop, dice, and 
slice them up to the size of your liking.
It should roughly look like this. Add the vegetables
and shredded chicken to the boiling water and cook
on medium for approximately 20 minutes or until
everything is tender.
You'll also need these things.  After cooking
your soup the 20 minutes mentioned above, add 

1/2 cup of the Orzo and 1/2 cup of the
Acini di pepi (or 1 cup of the pastini
of your choice). Just enough to add a little

texture to your soup. You can also add a 
pinch or two of rosemary for flavor if you 
feel so inclinded.
Cook another 10 minutes and you're done! 

December 11, 2011

$20 And Under Hostess Gifts

If you're like me, you don't always think very far in advance when it comes to hostess gifts.  I often find myself doing the grocery store drive-by on the way to the dinner party/book club gathering/BBQ/etc. and grabbing a nice - albeit generic - bottle of wine.  With a little bit of planning though, there are so many thoughtful, affordable gifts you can give for every type of host or hostess during this sure-to-be-busy holiday season.

For The Lush. My fabulous friend Jessica gave me a set of the Sofia Coppola Blanc De Blanc below as a thank you gift and I've been obsessed ever since.  Encased in a pretty pink mini can, the sparkling wine comes as set of four and is accompanied by petite little sipping straws. $20 for four 6oz cans

For Your Gal Pal. I stumbled upon these cute little Minimergency Kits online the other day and I'm kinda sorta in love.  They're packed in a stylish patent pouch - choose from one of ten colors/charms - and stuffed with must-have tools for common girly emergencies: an emery board, lip balm, double sided tape, a stain removing wipe and more, all for a perfectly palatable $15.

For The Foodie.  The to-die-for spices below are must-haves in any chef's arsenal and are made by Michigan-based small business owners Geno & Joy.  Get the Spice Box starter pack with my favorite trio - Pork & Poultry Seasoning, Miracle Blend and Malabar Pepper - for $12.

Another delicious, gourmet kitchen-worthy foodie gift are these incredible flavored olive oils from Fustini's.  Infused with unique flavors like white truffle oil, blood orange or chipotle spices, grab a 12oz bottle for just $15.95. 

For The Girly Girl (Or The Germaphobe). Nothing says fancy like a gorgeous smelling bar of hand soap wrapped up in a pretty paper wrapper.  Clockwise from top left: Candy Bar, Blithe and Bonny Goat's Milk, Cote De Azure and Lollia. $8 Each at Anthropologie.

For The Book Worm.  Penguin publishing has a series of beautiful linen-cover books featuring original, iconic artwork that are sure to make any avid reader squeal with nerdy glee. From Bram Stoker's Dracula to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, there are dozens of classics to choose from.  $10-$14 on Amazon.

For The Modern Holiday Hostess.  Round out Bing and Frank with the latest album from the always-darling Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward...A Very She & Him Christmas.  While it's modern in the sense that Deschanel isn't Eartha Kitt, the sound is still reminiscent of a can't-quite-put-my-finger-on-it retro time period, with Deschanel crooning classics like Sleigh Ride and Silver Bells in her pitch-perfect voice.  $9.99 on Amazon.

December 9, 2011

O' Christmas Mantle, O' Christmas Mantle

Guess what I decided to use all my new Christmas ornaments for?!?  We didn't put a tree up this year, mainly because when the thought crossed my mind, I looked at the calendar and it was already December 8th.  So, I opted to make my own Christmas centerpiece of sorts using our fireplace mantle.

As with most crafts, this was must easier than it looks...mainly just a tad time-consuming.  To create your own  You'll need your ornaments, fishing wire, crimping beads, pliers and some thumb tacks.  Loop a section of fishing wire through top of your ornament, then slip a crimping bead on, closing it using your pliers to create a secure 'knot'.  Repeat at the other end of your fishing wire so you have a loop to affix to your mantle with a thumbtack.  It should look like this when you're done.  Vary the spacing and hanging lengths and you're left with your floating ornament mobile!

December 7, 2011

DIY Painted Christmas Bulb Ornaments

I'm reluctantly posting this blog because of how fug my photos turned out so forgive my Ray Charles, sepia-style camerawork.  It doesn't help that the blog I was inspired by is completely adorable. Note to self, purchase Canon Rebel camera.

Anyways, I saw this idea on my favorite crafting blog - Sugar and Charm - and knew I had to make these ornaments.  Most of the crappy bulbs you find in stores are frosted or weird shades of maroon whereas this lets you pick custom colors.  All you need are clear ornaments and a variety of paints...some glittery, some high gloss, etc.  Squeeze a large dollop of paint inside your ornament and basically just shake it around (covering the hole with a paper towel) until the entire inside is coated.  Then allow to dry and pop your ornament lid back on.

December 4, 2011

Unique Birthday Cards For Kids

Even at a young age, I loved when my Nanny would send me subtly grown-up cards without the standard eye-jarring colors and die cut TV characters.  They were un-commercialized...not something you just picked up at a Walgreens.  They made me feel special.  

From Etsy to your locally owned stationary story, there are so many choices for kids birthday cards today that are sophisticated, stylish and will be loved by little recipients.  Here are just a few for your enjoyment:

Top: Egg Press
Middle: Smock Paper
Bottom: Hello Lucky

December 2, 2011

Have You Met My Friend, Folex?

Thank god Ryan and I have mostly hardwood floors because I am a complete and total spaz when it comes to spilling stuff.  For my occasional stain incidents though, I have the world's best kept secret to share with you:  Folex.

When I say that this stuff will literally get any stain out of your carpet and upholstery, I'm still not doing it justice.  It's a wonder to me that they haven't totally monopolized the stain removing business and kicked the asses of Resolve, Oxi Clean and all the other crap out there that's not Folex.

Here's a list of the stuff their website says it will remove: Beach Tar, Road Tar, Blood, Copy Toner, Inks, Varnish, Shoe Polish.  Holy moly! Add to that list the everyday stuff like makeup and coffee and you have one awesome stain fighter! You also have me admitting that I'm officially a huge dork for being this excited about a cleaning supply.

20 Days A'Gifting From Anthropologie

If I could live anywhere in the world, I would live inside an Anthropologie store. (close second: Ryan Gosling's house) So, imagine my delight when I saw THIS. 20 days of Anthropologie giveaways. *squeal* Today's giveaway consists of the adorable under-the-sea themed baubles below. I'll be checking back daily to see what other little treasures they'll be gifting!