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Archive for July, 2010

Inspiration Board: You’ve got (Air) Mail!

After spending what felt like half of my life in airports and on airplanes this past year, I found myself wishing that flying was like the olden days. Wouldn’t it just be nicer if everyone dressed up for the airport? If flying was still an event in and of itself? Not to mention, I love vintage inspired plane details–cheerful leather suitcases, vintage airmail stamps, everything red and blue striped. .  . I actually kept the Destinations journal below while I was abroad, and inside, it’s filled with cute little vintage details. It made my air travel that much nicer!

airmail; Inspiration Board: Youve got (Air) Mail!

Cardstore In the Mail Moving Announcement by Baumbirdy

Vintage Stewardess Pattern available at Etsy shop Bluettecourt

Wright Brothers Plane Dress from Anthropologie

Vintage Light Blue Suitcase from Flickr user SplishySplashyShop.Etsy.com

Vintage Stamp from Flickr user Patrick_Daley

Destinations Journal available at Amazon

Junior Stewardess pin from Etsy shop ItsaGuyThing

Why Don’t You. . . July 31st and August 1st

peaches; Why Dont You. . . July 31st and August 1st
At a cute peach farm called “The Farmer’s Daughter”

. . . go peach picking? Last Sunday, my best girlfriend and I did our best to look like Southern belles, grabbed a couple of metal old buckets, and made our way inland to Brentwood, CA.  If you live in Northern California, set aside an afternoon to hit up the beautiful peach orchards  (here’s a guide to the various farms)! We had so much fun climbing ladders, picking, and sampling the lovely peaches and nectarines here.  It also makes the perfect spot for quaint pictures. Plus, it will give you a whole other activity for later in the week. A couple days after our peach picking adventure, we set ourselves to making peach everything–peach pastries, peach tartes, peaches and cream! It was delicious–I’m still in a state of food coma.  Do yourself a favor, and try this amazing, easy peach cream tarte recipe from Paula Deen for the Food Network.  It tasted like it took much more work than it did, and it was easily (and gluttonously) devoured within the day! -Allison

peaches2; Why Dont You. . . July 31st and August 1st
Some not-quite-ready nectarines and the prettiest truck ever!

. . . make fabric flowers to adorn whatever you like? I’ve been seeing fabric flowers on everything lately, and I just love them. I featured some beautiful ones from Emersonmade in my tea party inspiration board on Wednesday, but as those are a little out of my budget–and I’m in the mood for some crafting!–I’ve been hunting around the web looking for how to make them on my own! Go here to make beautiful little roses with great instructions from Calamity Kim. Also check out her (slightly easier to make) chiffon flowers. The easiest ones I found to make were over at Hey Jen Renee; I also like how understated they are.  Martha even breaks it down with templates for specific flowers here. For flowers that most closely resemble Emersonmade, check out this tutorialposted at 100 layer cake by Michonne.  -Allison

emersonmade; Why Dont You. . . July 31st and August 1st
Some inspiration from EmersonMade!

. . .add a luxe touch to your next bonfire or camping excursion with gourmet or innovative s’mores? This is the first summer in a long time that I haven’t been to a single beach bonfire! I haven’t even been camping.  This dearth of bonfires means another huge gap in my life–no s’mores!  I’ve been thinking about fun ways to mix up the typical s’mores recipe, and the ideas keep on coming. Why not grab some chocolate graham crackers, Reeses peanut butter cups, and the usual marshmallows to make a chocolate-peanut butter lovers dream? Or, take a fresher approach, whip up some mint marshmallows, grab some York Peppermint Patties and chocolate graham crackers to make a chocolate mint delight! Or, my personal favorite, some almond joys, homemade almond marshmallows, regular graham crackers, and some crushed almonds and extra coconut sprinkled in-between. Sounds like heaven! Try straying from the typical graham cracker and grab some ginger cookies. Then make some lemon marshmallows, add some blackberries, and lemon curd, for a real treat!  Check out this recipe from Joy of Baking for how to make homemade marshmallows. Also check out this Plush Puffs blog that features a new s’more combination every week!  -Allison

smore; Why Dont You. . . July 31st and August 1st

… have a spa getaway at home? Who doesn’t get exhausted after a week of working in the office or with the kids or both, and craves a fabulous spa getaway? While not all of us have the time or money to indulge that fantasy, Martha Stewart has a fantastic guide for a 3 Day Spa Getaway at home using ingredients you probably have already! Even if you don’t have 3 whole days to dedicate to yourself, just using a few of these methods to help relax would be beneficial. I can’t wait to try out the DIY facial massage this weekend. This relaxing playlist would even help to take your spa day and de-stressing to the next level. -Vanessa

bas may06 manicure xl; Why Dont You. . . July 31st and August 1st

Image from Martha Stewart

… host a canning party? With the plethora of fruit from the summer season, I know I’ve been having trouble using all of it in creative ways. I’ve never done much canning myself, but this idea of hosting a canning party from design sponge sounds like a blast! I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer weekend than with friends and fruit. How About Orange provides a great free printable label for canning, so you can make your finished products look stylish enough to be gifts. I even found a fantastic website called Sweet Preservation which provides recipes and an awesome canning playlist! -Vanessa

cannedfruit; Why Dont You. . . July 31st and August 1st

Image from Sweet Preservation

… make rainbow cupcakes? When I stumbled across this recipe last week, I literally squealed with glee. I have never seen such incredible cupcakes in my life! These rainbow cupcakes from spearmint baby are the prettiest things I’ve ever seen, and I’m positive they’d make any adult or kid’s day; they’re so cool! I had to try them out, and I have never had so much fun baking in my life. From mixing the colors to dolloping the layers on top of each other to finally biting into the final product, my kitchen was full of giggles and delighted shouts. I’m completely serious. In other words, you MUST try this recipe!

cup14; Why Dont You. . . July 31st and August 1st

Image from spearmint baby

… send your father-in-law a note? July 30th is “Father-in-law Day”, so if you have a father-in-law, why don’t you show him how much he means by sending him a quick note? The Love Letter Squad has a great article showing how you can go about sending him a note he’ll love. -Vanessa

Cardstyle Find #10: Alphabet

cardstyle 10; Cardstyle Find #10: Alphabet

I’ve always been in love with the alphabet. Maybe it was the thrill of learning it as a child, or how when the letters are combined they can create infinite possibilities, but my fascination with it has never ended. When I came across this alphabet from bookhou, I was filled with inspiration. I think it would look adorable in a nursery or sitting atop a shelf in any room. It’s simple, sophisticated, modern, and has beautiful clean lines. Where would you use it?

How To: Create a Proper Wedding Invitation

I’ve been in major spring cleaning (or is it summer cleaning?) mode lately, and after cleaning out the attic, I found a Miss Mannersbook from 1983. I quickly browsed through it, and was struck by the wit and sometimes scathing humor of the author, Judith Martin. I couldn’t help but note that the book contains tips that could actually be helpful to our readers regarding letter-writing, so I’ll be using Miss Manners as inspiration for How To’s for the next few weeks, beginning with How To Create a Proper Wedding Invitation.

Miss Manners explains what a proper and impressive wedding invitation should look like in a cute and clever way. She writes, “The most impressive invitation begins: ‘Mr. and Mrs. Geoffrey Lockwood Perfect/ request the honor of’ and then there is a space of several lines, followed by ‘presence at the marriage of’” (320). The space between ‘request the honor of’ and ‘presence at the marriage of’ should be filled with the names of the people invited. However, this is often hard to do when numerous people are invited to the wedding, so Miss Manners says it is perfectly acceptable to instead write, “Mr. and Mrs. Geoffrey Lockwood Perfect/request the honor of your presence/at the marriage of their daughter/…”. She also notes that the invitations for a reception should be engraved on separate, smaller cards than the wedding invitations. She also notes that, “‘the honour of your presence’ is used for religious ceremonies… and for related social events, the proper phrase is, ‘the pleasure of your company’” (323). Cardstore.com has wedding invitations that can easily be personalized, in a proper way that even Miss Manners would approve. Hope that’s helpful for anyone trying to figure out how to create a wedding invitation!

miss manners1; How To: Create a Proper Wedding Invitation

Miss Manners Book from Flickr

Pack up a Picnic

Summertime means warm weather and some of my favorite, fresh, and seasonal foods are being prepared. One of my favorite things to do on a warm summer day when it’s not too hot is pack up a picnic and go to Balboa Park with my friends. Finding a fantastic picnic spot can be tough, but once you’ve found that grassy area with picturesque views, it can become a spot you’ll frequently visit. I’ve been toying with the idea of having a picnic dinner party lately, complete with an invitation and cute accessories. To help me out, or to provide you with some picnicking inspiration, I came up with a picnic inspiration board with colors inspired by a Dinner Served Party Invitation from Cardstore.com. Even if you don’t want to host a formal picnic, pack up some snacks for yourself and find a cute spot to do some people watching. You’ll love it, I promise! And make sure you come back and share your picnic stories with us.

picnic inspiration; Pack up a Picnic

Dinner is Served invitation from Cardstore.com

Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches from MarthaStewart.com

Picnic Plate from Country Living

Bigger Kids Picnic Table from Flickr photographer alwayscreatingsomething

Wicker Picnic Basket from Etsy vendor Amber Filkins

Picnic DIY Napkins from Amy Atlas

Cardstyle Find #9: Kitchen Utensil Dish Towel

cardstyle find 9; Cardstyle Find #9: Kitchen Utensil Dish TowelI love these simple, pretty sketched kitchen utensils on a plain white dish towel from etsy user girlscantell. The simplicity of this towel would make it a great gift for anyone. I can see it any type of kitchen–a warm, yellow, homey kitchen, a blue and white one by the sea, a stark, large kitchen with black granite counter tops, you name it!

Inspiration Board: Tea Party Baby Shower

There’s few things that are so unabashedly quaint and feminine as tea parties. I’ve always been a sucker for high tea–the little sandwiches, the scones with lemon curd and Devonshire cream. . . I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! I can think of no theme prettier–or tastier–for a sweet, pastel baby shower!
tea party; Inspiration Board: Tea Party Baby Shower

Cardstore.com Tea Party Pink Baby Shower Invitation by february 13 creative

Pale Pink Top from Anthropologie

Little Johnny’s Shoe Blooms from Emersonmade

High Tea Tray from Flickr user HighTeaforAlice

Flower Display (using tea tins no less!) from Martha Stewart Weddings

Pink Dessert Buffet from Flickr user TechieMommie

Cardstyle Find #8: Patent Leather Oxfords

cardstyle find 8; Cardstyle Find #8: Patent Leather Oxfords

I have a special place in my heart for anything patent leather, and oxford shoes. Patent leather is so cute to me, and I grew up loving the patent leather heels my mom would wear out for special occasions. Oxford shoes on the other hand, make me think of smart, sophisticated students, and are an addition to my wardrobe I’m dying to make. When I found these shoes from Etsy vendor brownbagvintage that combine patent leather with oxford shoes, I fell in love.

The Art of Letter Writing: Mastering the Sincere Letter Beginning

art of letter writing4; The Art of Letter Writing: Mastering the Sincere Letter Beginning

In an English course I took a while back, the class was reading a famous letter—who it was or what they were writing about has escaped me now—which began something like, “I have tried to start this letter five times, and torn it up five times.”

“Look at that beginning!” my professor marveled. “It’s communicates the sincerity, the effort, the importance of the letter with ease, without being overbearing! It’s overwhelmingly perfect.” Since then, I have been entirely too conscious of how I start my letters and notes. How might I make a good impression right away? How can I best communicate my sincerity, whether it be the sincerity of my thanks, my sympathy, or my birthday wishes? The beginning of a letter sets the tone for the rest of it. It colors and shapes the recipient’s reading of it.

In my quest to better my letter-writing, I turned, of course, to dear Emily. To include her tips for beginning any sort of letter would be too much—for now. Here are her tips on beginning a conversational, everyday letter:

  • When you have neglected to write a letter for a while, or when an apology is necessary, take care that “Even one who “loves the very sight of your handwriting,” could not possibly find any pleasure in a letter beginning: I have been meaning to write you for a long time but haven’t had a minute to spare or I suppose you have been thinking me very neglectful, but you know how I hate to write letters or I know I ought to have answered your letter sooner, but I haven’t had a thing to write about.” Clarifies Emily, “The above sentences are written time and again by persons who are utterly unconscious that they are not expressing a friendly or loving thought.”
  • Instead, “change the wording of the above sentences, so that instead of slamming the door in your friend’s face, you hold it open: Do you think I have forgotten you entirely? You don’t know, dear Mary, how many letters I have written you in thought or Time and time again I have wanted to write you but each moment that I saved for myself was always interrupted by—something. The first one is delightfully sentimental, don’t you think?
  • To help turn a hasty apology from an insult to a compliment, Emily instructs to keep in mind that, “If you are going to take the trouble to write a letter, you are doing it because you have at least remembered some one with friendly regard, or you would not be writing at all.”

It is easiest to begin if you answer a letter as soon as possible, clarifies Emily, explaining, “the news contained in it is fresh and the impulse to reply needs no prodding. Nothing can be simpler than to say: We were all overjoyed to hear from you this morning, or, Your letter was the most welcome thing the postman has brought for ages, or, It was more than good to have news of you this morning, or, Your letter from Capri brought all the allure of Italy back to me, or, You can’t imagine, dear Mary, how glad I was to see an envelope with your writing this morning.” Not only are these all wonderful, charming beginnings but they highlight the ease of regular correspondence. Don’t put off writing back to a letter. It’s so much easier to respond to a letter freshly read!

Take Two Tuesday: Key to my Heart

Moving away can be a very emotional time. Sometimes it’s extreme happiness and excitement, othertimes it’s sadness and fear, and often it’s a mix of the two. Keeping up with friends and family after the movie is essential though; that’s why our moving announcements are so helpful. Personalized with your new address and information, and even a picture if you want, it’s a way to ensure you’ll always stay in contact. I love this moving announcement from Sugar Cookie Cards; it’s as sweet as the designer’s name! When paired with this image from Flickr photographer Midnight Snack Store, it makes for a great way to show the memories you’ve made with family and friends will continue on, even in your new home and location; in other words, they’ll always have the key to your heart.

key heart final; Take Two Tuesday: Key to my Heart