12.06.2011

boardwalk empire + yelena bryksenkova

Are any of you watching Boardwalk Empire this season? Oh my goodness, the last few episodes have been absolutely mad and it is taking all my willpower not to read all the finale spoilers. Aesthetically this show is a dream (the writing is pretty sharp and exciting, too). I love how presently most of the female characters still have those wonderfully coiled long locks and I adore how delicate and sheer all of their garments are. A few weeks ago I discovered the work of Yelena Bryksenkova and was particularly intrigued by her Ziegfeld girl illustrations. It immediately reminded me of my favorite series (well, besides Mad Men and Downton Abbey). I like the way Yelena's girls are full-bodied and almost amazonian in stature. I also love the contrast between the colorful background patterns and the black/grey/white figures. Lovely!

11.19.2011

plushies galore hand-made by mel stringer

I'm excited, because ever since I had the seedlings of this blog in my head, I have wanted to feature some of Mel Stringer's work. I can't help it - she makes things that epitomize cute in the best possible non-cloying way. Recently, she's created some sweet plushies that make me wish I knew a bunch of little ones to give them to. I wonder if I'm too old? I know it may be a bit childish, but I like decorating with wide-eyed, hand-made creatures. Walter, the bear, is my very favorite of the group.

I'm hoping a sewing machine will be coming my way this holiday, so that I can make some of my own softies. I am currently enamored with narwhals, so I'd like to make one of those. I may sound like a dullard saying this, but I didn't know that narwhals were even real until about a month ago, and since then I've been obsessed (blushing, slightly embarrassed). Anyway, you ought to swing by Mel's shop; she has paper goodies and zines and the like. Very cool lady. Well, Happy Saturday!

11.09.2011

shade love: hannah stevens

I was poking around etsy last night, when I happened upon Hannah Stevens' shop. I fell for her lovely hand printed lampshades. Usually, I go the white lampshade route with a more bold base, but I love the idea of taking a simple white base and creating interest with the shade. I like how her textiles have a simple color palette, yet remain whimsical through the topsy-turvy placement of her birds. Just so cool:)

11.07.2011

a little spot of hermes orange

I have a habit of squirreling away pretty packaging. I cannot help it. I have a little strawberry-covered suitcase that I bought in Paris that contains an interior pocket packed with small Chanel, Dior and Versace shopping bags and boxes. I love the care that goes into packaging a purchase in a luxury shop - the way that trinkets are carefully wrapped in tissue and ribbon. Its just so lovely that I suppose I like to keep those labors of the shop-girl as a reminder.

One brand's packaging that I covet is Hermes. That vibrant orange says "I contain beautiful things." I couldn't imagine hiding away an Hermes box, if I had one. I love the way that some people incorporate that promising orange into their decor. These are a couple of examples that work marvelously.
Sources: 1, 2

11.06.2011

white chocolate cupcakes with dried mango

Hello, sweet readers! I have a scrumptious recipe to share with you today for white chocolate cupcakes with dried mango. I adapted it from this recipe. So good! The coconut milk is really what makes it. Nam nam. Here we go:

Ingredients
Cake
8 ounces (1 bar) of white chocolate
1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
3 large egg whites

Frosting
8 ounces (1 bar) of white chocolate
8 ounces (1 package) of cream cheese
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Topping
1 package of dried mango

Preparation
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Then, line two 12-cup muffin pans with pretty paper liners. Place your white chocolate into a double-boiler, or in a metal bowl over a barely simmering pan of water. Allow that to melt.

Mix together your flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat together your sugar, butter and vanilla. I like to start off slowly, so that chunks of butter don't end up in my hair:) Beat this mixture until it starts turning light and fluffy. Add your white chocolate and mix. Add your flour mixture and coconut milk. Alternate between them, until they are well combined and the batter is smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter in three parts.

Then, it is off to the muffin pan they go. These cupcakes don't rise a great deal, so fill up each cup 3/4 of the way. Bake for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your frosting. Melt another bar of white chocolate. While it is melting, toss the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it is smooth and voluminous. Add the white chocolate and mix until well incorporated.

Slice the dried mango into tiny sprinkle-sized pieces with a paring knife. Wait for your cupcakes to cool, frost them and add a few mango pieces on top. Voila!

10.30.2011

d*s book signing + handmade printing loveliness

Last week I had the delight of attending Grace Bonney's book signing for Design* Sponge at Home. It was loads of fun - I made a sweet friend, I hand-stamped a tote, and met lovely Grace (who is remarkably tiny in person). I felt much too rushed and anxiety-ridden during the demo though, so my tote ended up looking kind of sloppy. However, I had learned a nifty craft and I knew that I would attempt stamping again in my own decidedly quiet space.
So, I hopped over to the craft store the other day and bought some Martha Stewart craft paint and some adhesive-backed foam. For this project, I decided to stamp some muslin for a throw pillow. I used Martha's Hailstorm and Blue Calico, as well as a fabric medium.
I then drew a loose outline of a fox head onto my foam in pencil. I refined it a bit and then cut it out using a very sharp pair of scissors and stuck it onto my cardboard. I measured my stamp and calculated how large my piece of fabric ought to be if I wanted five rows and five columns.
I mixed up my paint and fabric medium (2:1) in two shot glasses and started loading up my stamp with a brush. I like the way that you can see the brush strokes in my print, however, if you'd like to avoid that, you can just load your stamp with a more even coat of paint.
And that, my darling readers, is that! Here is the finished fabric.
I don't have a sewing machine, so I am going to have to hand-stitch this baby. Bleh, sewing can be such a drag, but what's a girl to do when she wants throw pillows, damn it:)

Grace's book is really tops and I highly recommend it. I'm just so happy to have a hard-copy collection of her Sneek Peek feature. The crafts are pretty great and seem fairly easy too.

Well, I'm off. I hope that all of you have a mischievous Halloween tomorrow. I will be in Charlotte with my sweetie doing serious grown-up things (Andrew has an interview). Until next time;)

10.24.2011

the return of fifi


This morning I awoke squealing, “Fifi is here!” Andrew just peeked in from the kitchen and smiled. I've been waiting centuries for the Fifi Lapin shop to be restocked with fashion-y bunny goodness. I admit it, I am mad about Fifi's blog (is there anything better than a style maven, who also happens to be a bunny?) and have been longing for a print, but in the past I've been too indecisive to snag one in time. This time I was prepared though. I waited all week trying to savor each snippet of the collection. The time finally came today and Andrew sweetly purchased one for me for the upcoming holiday. He's such a swell guy. I cannot wait to have my own Fifi print to admire on our wall! Here are some of my favorites: