Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I can't believe that New Year's Eve is already here! I've been ill for the past two days, so I'm grateful to be feeling better in time to celebrate a bit with my boy.

We are planning to have brunch at a delicious local bagel shop, do a bit of shopping, make a nice dinner (glazed pork loin with apples, onions and potatoes), and ring in the New Year together. 

I'm so grateful for all of the wonderful experiences that 2010 has given me, and I'm ready to see what 2011 has in store!

I will be taking a few days off from blogging to spend time with family. We are taking a little trip to Boston for a wedding on New Year's Day, which I'm excited about. Since A and I chose to do Christmas together at home, this is my opportunity visit with extended family. 

Have a safe, happy New Year! Thank you again for visiting me here on my little blog. Your wonderful comments truly mean a lot to me :)

{Image is a new piece, Soft Silence, that I will be adding to the shop soon}

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Remedy

It's a very cold, blustery day today. I've caught a cold bug, which has made for a mildly unpleasant day at work sniffling and sipping tea. But, in the spirit of the impending New Year, I'm trying to keep things positive :)

On New Year's Day I'll be driving to Boston for a family wedding, and a red nose just won't look cute with my party outfit. Since A is away visiting family for a few days, I'm nursing myself back to health with pajamas, won ton soup, dark hot cocoa, blankets, kitty cuddles and television.

How do you cure what ails you?

{image from a little tune}

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hideminy Ceramics & Snowed In

I am absolutely loving these beautiful, handmade ceramic pieces by Hideminy. The snow white color, combined with the feminine lace details - gorgeous. I would love a set of bowls, but I don't know if I could bring myself to use them!

Perhaps it's all of the snow we've had that is drawing me to simple, lovely white pieces like these. We had a blizzard in the Northeast last night. I woke up to find a very thick, fresh blanket of snow outside. I just love how clean the landscape looks covered in snow. Snow storms bring with them a quiet stillness that is indescribable if you haven't experienced it yourself. 

I'm just enjoying this lovely Snow Day, bundled inside drinking coffee and doing a bit of painting. What a wonderful way to extend the Christmas holiday a bit longer!

Little Family Christmas

Christmas day is special to A and I for two reasons. Firstly, it's just a wonderful holiday filled with love, giving, old traditions and new. Secondly, it happens to be our anniversary. This year, we celebrated our seventh year (and Christmas) together in our little apartment with our two lovely kitties. 

Every year we find that we spend Christmas day running between parties hosted by my family and his, with little time to breathe and just "be". It can be stressful trying to plan the day, splitting our time between families so as not to hurt feelings.

This year we decided to keep it simple, celebrating in the home we have made together over the past few years. We love our families very much, but it was important for us to spend this year with each other.

On Christmas Eve, we made little origami wreath ornaments while watching The Holiday. These are really sweet and simple to make; fun to do while watching a festive film! We also munched on dark chocolate espresso cookies, coffee cake and lots party mix..

Christmas day began with coffee, followed by a big, traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast. We exchanged gifts and took a wonderful afternoon nap - simply perfect.

As a gift, A tracked down my favorite Christmas special, Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas! It was such a thoughtful gift, I may have cried a bit when I opened it. If you haven't seen this special, I highly recommend it. We watched Emmet Otter Christmas night, while munching on Christmas Eve leftovers 
and Chinese takeout.

All-in-all, we had an absolutely fantastic holiday. It was a wonderfully simple, low-key Christmas; Just what we were looking for.

I hope you had a nice holiday! How did you celebrate this year?

{The top image is a small piece from a new listing in the shop}

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

May you have a wonderful Christmas filled with new memories and old traditions! Thank you for your visits and wonderful comments this year. I am so thankful to be a very small part of such an amazing community!

{image from Pretty Ingrid}

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Brown Paper Packages

Last night A decided he was going to see a movie, so I took the opportunity to wrap up his Christmas goodies.

For those with cats, you know how hard it can be to complete any task that involves paper, ribbons, use of the floor and boxes of any kind. Things like this happen...

... often.

It took Princeton about one second to jump in this box after I emptied it. I didn't even have time to take out the inflatable packing material (which he deflated with his claws). He proceeded to sleep there for the rest of the night. I can't be mad at him, even though I was planning to use the box; just look at that face!

How is your holiday to-do list coming? I still have some baking to do, and a few more odds and ends to pick up for holiday meals..

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Whimsical Warmers

Aren't these slouchy winter hats by Dahlia Soleil adorable? I'm daydreaming about wearing one of them with a pretty dress, colorful tights and boots this winter. The yellow one with the sweet owl makes me want to dye my hair red again!

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010, You've Been Good to Me

I'm not a big list-maker, which is probably one of the big reasons I'm not particularly organized. Even so, I thought I would throw together a little personal list of 2010 events if for no other reason than to convince myself I accomplished a few things this year! Here goes..

This year I:

Started this blog!
Took a course on differential equations - just for fun
Watched in horror as the hard drive on my computer died, losing LOTS of information
Received my Master's degree, despite previous event :)
Became an avid coffee/tea drinker
Re-discovered crafting, drawing and otherwise creating during the month I was unemployed post-graduation
Learned I could be both an analytical AND creative person
Landed my first "real" job
Went to New York City for the first time. Saw three Broadway shows
Opened my Etsy shop, Pretty Ingrid
Invested in a dutch oven (a major event if you love bread as much as I do)
Took my first yoga and Zumba classes (loved them both)
Hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the first time
Used Photoshop for the first time (Yikes!)
**Endlessly pondered future career path, discovering that what I really WANT to be doing has little to do with what I'm "trained" to do (see "Master's degree"). A scary but pretty freeing realization; this is the most important item on the list.

Yes, I think 2010 has been pretty good to me. I will be a bit sad to see it go, but I think 2011 is going to bring with it even more exciting times.

The image above is a small peak at a little project I am working on. I'm hoping to share more in the next month or so. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bubble Umbrellas

It can get really windy where I live. I notice it especially on rainy days, during the winter season and when I have to do a lot of walking around campus. In the past seven years, since moving to the area, the wind has broken every SINGLE umbrella I have owned. I have averaged about one per year, allowing myself to experience the embarrassing moment when my umbrella flipped inside out (always with people around) only once before swearing them off again for many months.

I really want to try one of these cute bubble umbrellas. I think the shape makes for a sturdier design, and I'm all for protecting my short hair, which can end up looking particularly terrible on windy, wet days. I love that these are clear so you can pull the canopy down over your head, protecting your face while still being able to see where you are going :) The neon version is just so darn cute, too.

{found here and here}

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Little Moment

I snapped this picture of little Stella with my phone last night. She wedged herself between A and I while we were snacking and watching Bones on the couch. A said to me, "This is the good stuff. Sometimes I think it doesn't even matter what happens in the future, as long as I have my family, and moments like these". Best part of my day, right here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cranberry Coins and Lattes

Today is our office holiday party, so last night I decided to test out a recipe from the lovely Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies issue. The magazine is really lovely, with so many great recipes. I will definitely be adding it to my cookbook shelf for later cookie inspiration.

These cranberry coins are SO good. They are buttery shortbread cookies flecked dried cranberries. The tartness of the cranberry makes these a bit more interesting than the traditional shortbread, and festive to boot!

Cranberry coins paired with a homemade latte first thing this morning - Perfect.

P.S. This set is perfect if you are looking to make excellent coffee drinks at home, without investing hundreds in an espresso maker. The milk frother is much less scary than the traditional, pressure-powered version. I know from experience.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fun Holiday Stockings

These stockings from Circa Trade are so cheerful! Wouldn't they look amazing hanging from a mantle? Really, they would look good anywhere; no mantle needed. Well worth the investment, I think.

{found via AT}

Monday, December 13, 2010

Changes Are Coming

I know I'm not alone when I say, "things are getting busy around here"! The final few Christmas cards are in the mail (the ones my boy was charged with writing, ahem!), the last gifts have been purchased, and preparations are being made for the homemade goodies I plan to make for friends and family. Craziness is sure to ensue in the next week or two..

Even so, this weekend was relatively quiet. A, being the sweet boy he is, offered to make a few of these with me to add some additional holiday cheer to our place, patiently enduring the Christmas soundtrack that naturally accompanies all holiday crafting :)

On a whim Saturday night, while watching television, I grabbed my sketchbook. I didn't really have a plan, just a sudden desire to make something. The result is the little piece, above. Usually my creative process isn't really driven by impulse. Most of the time I have a pretty clear idea of what I want the final product to look like. This creation was born from a completely different approach, which was fun for me. I just sort of went with a feeling, and the result makes me smile.

I know it's mid-December, but I am really looking forward to the start of 2011. The new year is going to bring with it some big changes for both A and I, likely the biggest year of change yet. It's so exciting to think about, and I can't wait to share as our plans begin to unfold in the next few months. Changes are certainly on the horizon, slowly taking shape as January nears.

Are you excited for the new year?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Happiness at Work

Happy Friday everyone! It's amazing to me how quickly December is passing; there is still so much to be done before the holiday arrives!

I thought I would share this fun little project a co-worker of mine found. He passed on the tutorial to me, and I whipped a snowflake up in a few minutes at the end of the day. It made me laugh how amazed people were by how quickly I pulled one of these together. What can I say? I love crafty projects!

These snowflakes are SO SIMPLE. What a great way to spruce up your office (if you are allowed) or home. I'm planning on making a few for my apartment this weekend, just for a bit of fun. I hung this one from the ceiling tiles in my office at work. It was quite a hit; I had people stopping in all day to comment on it!

Between my new snowflake, poinsettia plants and Pandora streaming Christmas music, I am feeling quite festive during the work day, indeed.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dainty Jewelry

I'm always surprised by how varied my taste in certain things can be. Take jewelry, for instance; some days I want to wear the biggest, brightest, most "costumey" pieces I can find, and other days I crave the simplicity of dainty, feminine pieces. I definitely have multiple personalities when it comes to accessorizing!

These beautiful pieces by Upper Metal Class really appeal to me because they are so simple, feminine and classic. Pieces like these look beautiful against bare skin, and work amazingly well as accessories against bolder fabrics; a great choice when you want your jewelry to complement, but not complicate your overall look.

The warm tones of the metal really make these pieces so soft. LOVE!

{designer found here}

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Loving: Verabel Lockets

Can I just say that I am SO excited for my Verabel locket to arrive! Seriously, I am in love with these vintage lockets, featuring the artwork of the fantastic Alyson Fox. I chose the "Origami" locket, above, but I just might have to go back for the "Color Study I" design! I can't wait to pair it with my new holiday dress and opaque tights for the winter wedding season...

Update: Weekend Wreath DIY

Last week I was really excited to find this fun little wreath DIY. Well, this weekend I went out to the craft store, bought myself a mess of felt and straw wreath and made my own mini version. I'm really happy with the way it turned out! 

If you are thinking about tyring this project yourself, be warned that making your own felt balls takes some time. Let's just say I'm really happy I decided to make a mini wreath and not a large one! Overall, though, the DIY is quite straightforward; not a bad way at all to spend a quiet weekend.

I can see myself hanging this up in my home year-round!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Snow Day

Happy Monday! I am a very excited girl this morning, since today is the first official Snow Day of the winter season where I live. I work at a University, and class cancellations mean no work for me!

I started this fun wreath project over the weekend, which is turning out to be quite a bit of work! I'm really excited about the results so far, though, and I can't wait to share. Hopefully I will be able to finish it up today, since my schedule just opened up :)

I also finished this new print for the shop. I'm calling the piece "Patience", the style of which is heavily inspired by the fashion and photographic style of Anthropologie. I had a lot of fun working on this print, which is available in both 5x7 and 8x10 sizes.

It looks like I have another day of cooking and creative fun ahead of me today on this snowy Monday. I'm going to turn on the Christmas tree, put on something cozy and enjoy the wintry weather from the warmth of my apartment. Thank you, snow!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Cheer!

The tree is decorated, which means I am one happy girl! On a whim I picked up some silver ribbon for the tree, thinking I would replace the red ribbon we used last year for a more "winter wonderland" feel. I ended using both strands of ribbon, and I'm really loving the sweet candy cane effect!

I have been meaning to make a tree skirt, but just haven't gotten around to it. I used the white under-side of a yard sale find from a couple years ago. It's a bit country for my taste, but overall I'm happy with the result and excited to have the delicious pine scent in our home. Nothing is better than enjoying the light of the tree with a mug of coffee before work, mmm.. Puts a smile on my face just thinking about it!

This weekend I'm hoping to pick up a few more decorations, bake a pot of beans, mail out our holiday cards and enjoy some creative time. I have so many new ideas floating around in my head, but this week has been so hectic I haven't had a chance to start any new projects. I'm really looking forward to it!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Quirky Holiday Fun

I stumbled upon this gorgeous wreath DIY at Poppytalk this morning. I want it for my front door in a very bad way. I just might make this my weekend project! I love how festive this bright wreath is without being too obvious. It's just plain cheery!

Pickles recommends buying the felted balls pre-made, but I don't think I'll be able to find any in my area. I do know that I can get my hands on some wool roving, though, so I may go for it! Maybe a mini version would be more doable?

I think this would look great on our white outside door. We went pretty traditional with the tree, so I'm loving the idea of a more offbeat take on the holiday wreath!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Because I Like Cute Things..

West Elm is killing me with these adorable animal mugs! The reindeer is too precious for words. Even though I don't need one, I really NEED one.

On Personal Style

Usually I am a pretty decisive person when it comes to design and style. I know what I like. I always try to let my emotions drive my personal style and design choices. If I'm strongly drawn to something, I buy it. I trust that each separate choice will result in a collection of possessions that truly represents my personal aesthetic. I don't worry about creating a cohesive look, because I think that happens naturally when you allow yourself to just be drawn in by what you like.

My style "philosophy" has really worked for me. I think my personal aesthetic is reflected well in the way I dress, the look of my home and in my art. I see strong, consistent patterns in my clothing, decor and art. I'm drawn to cheery colorways, mixing patterns, bold accents, quirky/whimsical silhouettes, with the occasional infusion of simplistic design for balance.

So, I'm curious how you make your own style and design decisions. Do you let your emotions drive you, or are you more methodical, carefully thinking about other pieces you own and whether something new will fit into your overall "look"? Everyone is different, so I would love to hear how you approach personal style!

{Image: "Heartstring" from Pretty Ingrid. Available in my shop!}

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things..

Happy Wednesday, my lovely friends! It is December 1 today, can you believe it? The first of the month means the Christmas season is officially here. The boy and I are picking out our tree this evening, and I can't wait! The decorations are piled on the living room floor, just waiting to be used. Truly, this is one of my favorite things to do each year.

No decorating event is complete without holiday music and sweet treats, which is why I will be making a dessert that combines two of my absolute favorite things; bread and ice cream!

I found this recipe for ice cream bread on The Kitchn, a place I visit multiple times daily for delicious foodie inspiration. The directions are super simple and the results look amazing, no? Really, how can you go wrong combining bread and ice cream?

So, while I decorate the tree and listen to some holiday tunes, I plan to eat an entire loaf of this bread. If I'm feeling generous, the boy just might get a piece ;)

Have you put up your holiday decorations yet?
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