Archive | April, 2011

Nuptial Nostalgia: Guestbook

28 Apr

To continue the series I promised in my first Nuptial Nostalgia post, lets talk about guestbooks!!

For our wedding, I felt like the traditional guestbook wasn’t our speed.  I scoured bridal websites and magazines and became infatuated with vintage typewriters.  Since we were going for a vintage vibe, I thought that would be beyond perfect.  Enter Ebay.  After looking at the variety of styles, I decided on a Smith Corona Sterling typewriter and scored the perfect 1940’s model for $50 after shipping!

With the traditional guestbook, you get traditional comments.  With a typewriter, the comments are entertaining and worth reading multiple times.  Some of the winners included a wedding Haiku and a spy movie inspired wedding wish which included a top secret mission and promised to self destruct.


I’m still in love with this typewriter and convinced Hubby to let me keep it. In the near future it will find a place into our house’s decor.  Yay!  The typed messages will most likely be collaged together and also find a place in the house, so stay tuned!

*photos are thanks to our wedding photog, Erica Lyn.  Special thanks to Geoff, the model, who won’t know he’s in my blog until he reads this post.  Hi Geoff!
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First Holiday

25 Apr

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Here it was a fun/relaxing/exhausting weekend wrapped up all in one. Between an annual (blasphemous) dinner with friends on Friday, visiting with my sister-in-law Saturday before we dropped her at her bus back to NYC, and hosting our FIRST holiday at the house Sunday, its a wonder I found time to sleep.

Now that we are officially settled into the house, Hubby and I offered to host Easter dinner for my immediate family this year. To my surprise, my mom took us up on that offer and was thoroughly pleased not to be hosting the typical holiday at her house.  Even though all the guests (my parents, sister & her hubby, Hubby’s brother, and a close friend) had all seen the house before, we took this as an excuse to go all out. It was my job to make the table pretty and it was Hubby’s to make the food taste good and the plates look pretty (Iron Chef style).  Making sure the house was spotless(in record time) was a joint effort.

We were both pleased with what we presented.  The table looked beautiful thanks to items we already owned, place-mats and water glasses from Christmas Tree Shop, and some fresh flowers.

Hubby’s meal was very well received.  The main course consisted of blanched asparagus, pork tenderloin, and potato latkes with a strawberry apple rum sauce.  YUM!

Sorry for the slight blur... we were a little eager to eat. If you squint, the image looks flawless!

I also made a passionfruit cheesecake for dessert to pair with the ice wine that my sister brought.  Sadly I didn’t get a picture before it got devoured.

I can’t wait to eat leftovers this week!  I guess that’s a perk of hosting a holiday dinner.

Holla at my Peeps

22 Apr

Ahhh Spring at last.  Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and Peeps are combusting.

Wait…… What??…..

Let me break it down for you.  Spring is also the time of year when stores become overrun with sugary, colorful marshmallow Peeps.  So where, you may ask, does the combusting come in?

Well,

Microwave + Peeps = delicious hilarity

So, today I will answer for you, the age old question:

How do you blow up a Peep?

You begin with an unsuspecting Peep on a microwave safe plate.  They look so peaceful before they realize their fate.

Into the microwave he goes.  I did learn a valuable lesson through this process: It is very difficult to take a picture of something in the microwave!  Who knew?!  Well, here’s my attempt to show you how gigantic a few measly electromagnetic waves will make a Peep.

It takes less than 30 seconds to achieve the ideal Peep inflation.  In order to get a clear picture, I hit the open button and snapped a picture as fast as I could.  Trust me when I say, he’s already shrinking at this point (although still amusingly over-sized).

As long as you haven’t charred your Peep and it’s a rock of burnt marshmallow on your plate, now you get to enjoy the warm gooey-ness that is microwaved Peeps.  Watch out, its HOT!  That’s what compelled me to grab a fork and go to town in it.

Hubby: “Are you eating it like spaghetti??  You crazy goyim.”  Me:”Don’t hate.  It’s delicious!”

________________________________________________________

In addition to my own Peep exploits, I though I would expand your culinary knowledge and expose you to a few relatively new terms:  S’meeps, and Peepshi.  I didn’t make them up, I swear!

S’meeps are naturally s’mores which use Peeps as the marshmallows.

Peepshi, or Peep Sushi, may be the most delightful culinary discovery of the last decade!  Well, I may be exaggerating a little, but how awesome is this?!?!

Is your mind blown yet??  Both of the above dessert delights are brought to you from SeriousEats.com where they apparently celebrate Peeps for an entire week each year!  Some of their other Peep creations include Peepza and deep fried Peeps… a website after my own heart.

But enough about Peeps for today.  Hope you have a happy Easter, or whatever holiday you celebrate or don’t celebrate!

Nuptial Nostalgia: Centerpieces

14 Apr

Wedding season is quickly approaching and as I help a close friend through the beginning phases of the planning process, I’ve been reminiscing about my own wedding almost 2 years ago (my how the time flies!!).

I decided to share with you some of my favorite DIY elements that I created for our Old Hollywood inspired bonanza.  I think I’ll break this post into a few weekly posts so I don’t overwhelm you with a novel of a post.  It was a wedding on a budget, so I had to prioritize the money (location, photography..) and DIY whatever I could.

Part 1: DIY Centerpieces!

The tablescapes I created for my wedding included DIY menu cards and centerpieces.  I had quite a time trying to figure out what to do for the centerpieces.  We had our wedding at The Bushnell, a historical theater in Hartford, CT.  The beautiful room(part of an addition on the historical part) that our reception was in had 35′ windows on 3 sides and a spectacular orange Chihuly glass sculpture on the ceiling.  I didn’t want my centerpieces to compete with the views or the sculpture (or the 18 piece swing orchestra we had as a wedding gift from Brian’s parents, tee hee), and the flower centerpieces that I could envision just weren’t in my budget.  What other choice did I have?  I hand made 200+ tissue paper flowers of course.   Although it was a daunting task, I had a quite a bit of fun with it.

I took Martha’s Pom How-to and played with it until I came up with a small-scale flower that looked elegant and a little quirky.  You should have seen my apartment as I went through the process!  Purple tissuepaper everywhere!  And Hubby was still willing to marry me- amazing!

100+ and counting.

Each bunch of 16 – 20 (depending on flower size) got bound with flower tape and shoved placed into silver bud vases.  I also printed table numbers on acetate and used a wire holder to suspend them over the ‘flowers.’  On the table the bud vases got placed onto a square mirror which was placed diagonally on a larger square of green fabric.  The green fabric was actually fabric napkins and came surprisingly in the size I was looking for (yay HomeGoods).  All they needed was a quick iron.  I was so happy with the way it looked when it all came together.  AND I had guests wanting to take the bouquets home (which of course I let them)!

Did you make DIY centerpieces for your wedding?  I’d love to see!

*all the wedding photos above are courtesy of our fantastic photographer, Erica Lyn

Idea Storm

12 Apr

Is it possible to have too many ideas swirling around in your head?  At this point, I would say emphatically YES!!  I have so many ideas- for the house- for the yard- for future business ventures- for a friends wedding…  and zero time to actually execute any of these ideas or to come up with the solutions for the unanswered ones.  They keep multiplying and pretty soon there will be an idea avalanche of epic proportions.  Be warned!

Lets see if I can unload a few random thoughts/ideas/dilemmas here to start with.

#1. I heart estate sales.

I may have a new addiction.

Pretty bottle + amazing chair to refinish = $5 & 1 giddy buyer (a.k.a. ME)

The bottle is destined to have some jewelry draped on it (for now at least).  The chair’s future is somewhat uncertain.  Definitely getting painted and getting a new upholstered seat.  Potentially upholstering the back caned area- that might be a game time decision depending on how the paint comes out.  I’m thinking it would look spectacular in glossy white (don’t tell Hubby, he thinks he hates white furniture) with a punchy fabric.  I’m even thinking it might compliment our future Hollywood regency bedroom nicely.  We shall see.  Its currently sitting in the yard waiting to get hosed off.  Once it’s cobweb free, it’s going to go on an adventure through the house, being carried from room to room to see if it’ll live with us or be sold after refinishing (I’m rooting for living with us, its so sexy!).  This project might get done sooner rather than later.  I just need to get a jigsaw (to cut a seat), stapler for upholstery, some spraypaint, some zazzy fabric, and padding for the new seat.

#2. Yard work.

The fantabulous (you heard me) parents are coming up from CT this weekend to celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary and help with the yard.  Their idea, I SWEAR!  If the weather allows, we’ll be putting some bushes out of their misery to make way for an epic veggie garden in the side yard and better curb appeal in the front.  I know the oversized bland bushes in the front need to go… I just have no idea what to replace them with.  Any ideas?  I want color or texture- something different that will still look decent in the 9 months of winter we seem to get in Massachusetts lately.

#3. Curtains- living room and bedroom.  This is the biggest ‘question mark’ in my mind right now.

Hi, my name is Karen, and I am severely indecisive.  Here’s where I have too many ideas on one topic and I can’t make a decision if my life depended on it.

Living room.  I know I want white sheer-ish curtains with a subtle texture which I then plan to add a ribbon of vertical color to.  Great, I have this decided! right?  Close, but not quite.  What white sheer-ish textured curtains do I get?  White crinkle?  Satin stripes? Linen-y stripes? Burn-out circles? I’m forcing myself to answer this week so I can move past this and nix the heavy looking brown curtains living there currently.

Bedroom.  As I mentioned a few times before, its going to be delightfully Hollywood regency (eventually) and I want curtains to reflect that.  I’ve decided on an accessory color scheme and that I want a simple white comforter with black trim (which will be punched with various patterned pillows).  I can’t decided if I want a dark silver luxurious window treatments to compliment the light gray walls, or if I want a bold black and white stripe (or gray and white) that will be complimented by colored accessories, or if I want a lattice-type pattern in a color (particularly yellow).

#4. House guest preparation.

Brian’s sister is coming in from NYC this Sunday for a few days- making her our first official house guest!  I only have a few items on my house list before we pick her up from the bus depot.  Also, in addition to my parents semi-frequent visits, Hubby and I have offered to to make Easter dinner- just for my parents & siblings basically, but still our first holiday!  Hubby will take care of the meal and making the plates look Iron Chef-worthy.  I’ll make some dessert and make sure the house and table looks as pretty as the plates.  In planning additional house projects, I decided that I needed to pick a date for a housewarming so I would have a date to work toward.  End of May.  Now I have to pick and choose what projects I do first!  One step at a time.  I have to keep reminding myself of that.

#5. Chevron rocks my world.

I need to find a way to incorporate it into the house.  Maybe on the cool new chair above.  Maybe on a throw blanket, or curtains…

As you can see, my mind is pretty blank lately ;-).  Other topics racing through my head include: chandeliers, dining chairs, cat doors, and event planning (just to name a few).  Hopefully I can share all these topics/projects with you as I tackle them.  Are you as excited as I am??

*images via Tonic Living & Apartment Therapy

Gettin’ my Gallery on

4 Apr

Hooray for weekend room transformations!

The office now has its very own gallery wall (with my personal touch to make Hubby happy).

As a reminder, here is what the office looked like before we got our hands on it.

Office (other side)

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………….  Oh I’m sorry, where was I?  Ah yes- the office was a snoozefest before.  After a good coat of *bright* green paint and our (sleepy IKEA leftover) furniture moved in, it was a little livlier.

My plan all along was to create a gallery wall behind the desks, so I made up my mind to tackle that this weekend.  Mid week, a lightbulb went off in my head when I was melting in front of the TV…  You never see computers in design magazines of offices and desks.  Occasionally you see a laptop or a cute little Mac.  But, the million dollar question here is: How do you make both an interior designer and an obsessed gamer (Hubby) happy?

Drum roll please!

…………………………………………………..

Ta Da!!!

You mount the monitor amongst pictures giving it a place of honor to shut up make the gamer happy and make it blend with all the pictures and art to make the designer happy.  Success on both parts!  Huzzah!

THE PROCESS:

I started as most would recommend- cutting out paper the size of the frames and placing them on the wall to figure out placement.

The monitor got mounted first since it was the only thing that NEEDED to be in a certain place.  The other item mounted in the picture above is a plot plan blueprint of our property from 1917 when the house first transferred owners (to the best of my knowledge).  Very cool!  When we moved in, the last owners left us a box of appliance manuals and extra lightbulbs… in the bottom was an envelope labeled “Leave for new owner.”  Inside was the plot plan and deeds from 1917, 1924, and 1956 (I think those are the right dates.  I’m far to lazy to dig them out of the basement to double check currently, sorry!).  Hubby and I agreed that we wanted the blueprint hanging in the house.  and Yes, we will leave it for the next owners, but until then we plan to enjoy it!

I put all the items up as planned, then switched a few around and moved a few this way or that way (more holes oops).  But I’m beyond pleased with the outcome.

When it came time to photograph the result, I had to politely kick Hubby off his computer game before I lost the remaining daylight.  I asked him to put a pretty picture on the monitor before he evacuated the chair, so he picked a pic of the house- thumbs up.  After a few test shots, I heard “wait, hold on”  and Hubby proceeded to straighten a few frames.  Maybe my anal retentive detail oriented side is rubbing of on him a bit.  Or maybe its just wishful thinking.

Yes, there are quite a few empty frames there.  I need to print some pictures or find some cool art to put in, but just getting it up makes me very happy.  My next plans for this space include a traditional style custom desk by yours truly, a few industrial looking drawer units from IKEA, and patterned side chairs to use as desk chairs.

This will look like an interior designer lives here eventually!