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!


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:)


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


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:

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

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

1 package of dried mango

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!