Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Boutique Treasures

I love shopping local and supporting small businesses. For me, that extends upon my own immediate area. I love discovering small boutiques in other towns.... whether I am there visiting or if I happen to find a shop online. I was looking at a boutique last week in Old City Philadelphia called Scarlett Alley. It looks so charming and welcoming. Included in their treasures, this amazing Gold Pyramid Pendant necklace. I love simple designs and this lucite necklace is stunning.

So pretty! Love this Alexis Bittar Gold Pendant Necklace.

Monday, April 29, 2013

All in the Details

I have two daughters that go to private school. They wear simple navy and white uniforms that I love but the girls do occasionally like to put a pretty pin on their cardigans to give them a bit of color. I love these amazingly soft flower pins from The June Bride on Etsy. Each pin is made of unique materials from recycled, repurposed sweaters. Fiber content is outstanding quality lambswool or cashmere. I love the rich color combinations and the detailing of the petals. These pins are perfect for kids or adults and I love them as an accent on a pretty straw bag in the summer. Each flower has a hinged pin in the back.  I love that The June Bride is eco-friendly & even offers free shipping within the United States.
Happy Monday! xo

Love these pins as gifts! At under $15 each, they are so pretty for bridesmaids or Mothers Day!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Silver Maple Magic

I recently spent a bit of my morning gathering small white stones to make a pathway for our resident gnome. We have an enormous silver maple in our front yard that I love. I appreciate it in even more so since, about 5 years back, we had what came to be called The October Surprise and were hit with a freak snow storm that....because the trees still had so many leaves on them....downed a great majority of the trees in this area. It was a huge storm....like no mail, no school for 5 days storm. But our front tree survived and I adore it. So, this week I worked a little magic and it's now a Home For A Gnome. My youngest daughter said..."Oh, that just makes me smile!" Yes, exactly.

If you have a gnome in need of a home, this shop on Etsy can help! xo

Williams-Sonoma Eat Well Cookbook - 32707 (Google Affiliate Ad)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Glam Affair

Spring is the time of year when I start having lots of fun events to attend...many outside....and I really wish I had a bit of a tan going on. Just a touch of color. Never a fan of self tanners on my face, I instead opt for a bronzer powder and the Bronze Affair Duo from Bare Minerals is amazing! The pressed compact has two colors: The Skinny Dip Bronzer & The Premier Luminizer. The color is a soft, beachy bronze that is just perfect and easy to apply. I just purchased this a week ago and I use it constantly. The champagne colored shimmer of the luminizer is just so pretty! Not orange-y or fake...and you simply buff on how ever much works for your own coloring!

Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream - 1.7 oz. - 2 pk. - Olay (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Search is Over

I love gift giving. The whole process....searching out the exactly perfect gift for your loved one or friend. Pretty gift wrapping. Everything. With Mothers Day nearly here, graduations upon us and wedding season fully in swing...I am just in love with these charming pendant necklaces from the Etsy shop "Sealed with YOU". How cute would these be for bridesmaids! Each monogram pendant necklace is handcrafted with a lead free metal. Stamped with a wax sealer they are then sanded, buffed and hand painted in your choice of colors. They come on a pretty 18 inch chain. I think they are the perfect blend of hip & vintage! For the next week I will be highlighting more gift ideas!  xo

Love this antiqued silver on silver look!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Perfectly Pretty

I had a good friend come for lunch yesterday and she brought flowers. A tiny petite vase filled with a great mix of eclectic spring blooms. I just love these!

Making banana bread today. I love being home alone, baking & listening to music... and then how yummy the house smells later in the afternoon when the girls return from school. My newest tiny purchase for the kitchen: these colorful, ceramic measuring spoons from Chantal. They are non-porous and beautifully glazed. Such a great alternative to plastic or metal.

I've been addicted to listening to all the tracks from "Songs From the West Coast" by Elton John on my iPad. The entire CD is amazing. It came out a bunch of years ago and I loved it then but I just found it on an old play list and I had forgotten just how great it is. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

All Squared Away

Back during the holidays Neiman Marcus and Target paired together to offer an extraordinary seasonal collection! I was given this super hip Tory Burch lunch box as a gift and it's one of my favorites. The quality is amazing and I love the vibrant design. I have transformed it into the perfect organizer for my yarn stash...all those smaller balls of yarn that always add texture and charm to a scarf project. Where do you keep your favorite yarns? xo

Perfect for all those little remaining balls of yarn that you love!

Austin Tote Handbag (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Full Bloom

I write all the time how I knit almost exclusively with wooden needles. I'm addicted to Lantern Moon Ebony needles most of all. But.....I was on Purl Soho and I saw these sunny Crystallite Needles by Susan Bates. These colorful needles are so pretty and remind me of spring! Super charming, affordable and lots of great sizes are available. I think I may need to branch out a bit and order a set! Happy Monday! xo

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend at Home

This past weekend has had me caught up in knitting & books. I've been alternating between the two. I just finished a great seamless cowl from Knit 1 LA...the New Years Cowl. It took exactly one skein of Cascade Magnum yarn. I knit it just a tad larger than the pattern called for. I wanted it extra slouchy so I cast on 44 stitches onto circular needles. I believe the instructions call for 40. Love this site & this pattern is my favorite!

I had been completely addicted to reading the new memoir "Wave" by Sonali Deraniyagala. It tells of the tragic day after Christmas when she was vacationing in Sri Lanka with her husband, two sons and her parents and the tsunami struck. Her honest, deeply profound telling of this story is breathtaking. Her transformation throughout the grief process leaves the you spellbound as she slowly emerges from her nearly catatonic state and starts revisiting the life she lost. 

NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight BNRV350 (Google Affiliate Ad)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Cold & Blustery Day

The snow has returned a bit (crazy!) and it's a good knitting weekend here. I've been all about tea lately and I found this great tea from a small South San Fransisco company called Lindsay's Teas. I love their Tiki Tiki Chai and the packaging is super charming! Really ideal for gifts! Paired with my Anthropologie mug...a happy Saturday morning! xo

Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Soup Cookbook - 31366 (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Vintage Vibe

I am in love with fashion influences from the 1920's - 1940's era. I love the way this style is continually reflected in fashion today. Whether it be the current huge success of Downton Abbey or the constant presence through the years of Chanel, this influence is so inspiring right now. 

I love antique shopping & coming across great fashion finds. I have a small collection of vintage handbags that are my favorite going out pieces. This silver antique bag is completely hand crafted in Japanese seed beads. The white and silver is a great combination with the gold clasp. It's perfect with everything from cocktail dresses to skinny jeans.
Love the simple timeless design of the beadwork.

2 3/4" RHINESTONE BROOCH (Google Affiliate Ad)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring Bee

Come the weekend, I find nothing more relaxing than quiet time in the kitchen. I find I constantly go back to my favorite recipes (like risotto) that take a while to prepare, can't be rushed and give you time to just enjoy the process. I also have certain staples for cookware & cutlery that are my all time best kitchen pieces. One of my very favorite things are my Laguiole knives. Crafted in France, Laguiole knives have become an iconic part of cooking. The name symbolizes the countryside region that's been crafting knives since the time of Napoleon. The bee that is on each knife is the trademark symbol of these French knives. I love the quality and history of these knives. And....they are just simply beautiful to use. 

I just love the buttery ivory colored handles on these knives.
 Catskill Butcher Block Cutting Board - LARGE 20" SQUARE (Google Affiliate Ad)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Sense of Community

There are some yarns that I love knitting with so much that I'm almost a bit sad when I'm at the end of a project. I definitely always feel that way about Knit Collage Sister Yarn and I feel that now about this great burnt orange Cascade Magnum super bulky yarn. I'm at the end of working on my cowl that I found on Knit 1 LA. I have been in love with this site (and constantly writing about it!) since coming across it just a few months ago. I didn't realize until this past weekend there's another related site, Knit 1 (Chicago), that is equally as inspiring! I love the knitting community...seeing different stores & hearing what people are working on. Feel free to comment on your latest creation. xo

Love the cozy, beautiful richness of this yarn!

Knit Triangle Pattern journal (Google Affiliate Ad)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Local Favorite

I was peeking around Etsy today looking at hand spun yarns from all over.  I was on one site, KnoxFarmFiber, for a particularly long time when I suddenly noticed that the artist was from East Aurora, New York. I am in East Aurora often as it's only about 40 minutes from my house & I love going to a yarn shop there called The Wooly Lamb. It's also home to the Roycroft Inn which is just an amazing arts and crafts treasure!

The Roycroft Inn lounge area. I've enjoyed wine & great live jazz here on Friday evenings.

The organic yarn from Knox Farm Fibers is truly beautiful!  I cannot wait to purchase skeins for a fingerless glove gift I'm working on. Love the texture & rich colors! xo

Id Rather Be Knitting. bag (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Charming Find

I am constantly adding to my knitting needle collection. I love displaying them and when I teach knitting class it's great to show students all the beautiful options available. I completely  love these wooden needles that can be purchased on Etsy from TheSpinnersEmporium. They are unique and charming and just radiate warmth! Handcrafted of hardwood, rubbed with linseed oil & capped with a tiny colorful spool.....these could not be prettier. A number of various sizes are available. Happy Monday! xo

A perfect knitting bouquet!

The North Face Wool Alpaca Blend Cable Fish Beanie Hat - Women's - (Google Affiliate Ad)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Collected Treasures

I once read how it's important to layer your home. Not so much with items you've purchased from a certain retailer or catalog but rather with things you've collected as years have gone by. Pieces that tell a story. An autumn trip to an antique store. Or a vacation far away. I love that theory. When I'm entertaining I try to use pieces that I've gathered here and there. I love unique serving pieces. I have lots of cream dishware that are of different designs but look great together. I just love the warmth that comes from a table set with things you love. xo

My favorite: An appetizer knife that has great details. I love the shimmery glaze and set stones.
Vintage inspired, mismatched cream dishes.....I love these!

 Williams-Sonoma Entertaining Cookbook - 27819 (Google Affiliate Ad)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

All That Shimmers

Some weeks have just a bit too much crazy in them. That's been my last seven days. I wanted a small treat to perk myself up. Still a bit too chilly for spring clothes...I opted for these new earrings from Amelia Rose. I love all their jewelry but these Cabo Gem Mother of Pearl Earrings are just stunning. A bit larger in size, I love the simple contrast in the shimmering pearl with gold. They are also available in silver, too! Happy Weekend! xo

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sunny Days

I love finding amazing work on Etsy. Such a wonderful community of artists....I often buy birthday presents, holiday gifts and customized invitations from this site. There's a fantastic Etsy store that I love called CorinneCitrolo. Her sewing is simply amazing and I love her fabrics and fresh print combinations. This "Yellow Chevron & Garden" duo of skirts is so sweet for twins! Perfect for a sunny day! xo

Jumping Beans Chevron Leggings - Girls 4-7 (Google Affiliate Ad)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pretty In Pink

I am not one to change my makeup with the season. I have my tried and true favorites that I love throughout the year. I'm not bound to one company...I love mineral makeup for my base but not so for my eyes. I was reading an article this morning on current best selling blushes. The one I use made the top of the list. I wasn't surprised....Nars "Orgasm" has a cult like following. That's how I originally found it. I had read so many times how universally flattering the color is. Everything I read was correct. I love the product and so do a lot of my girlfriends who also wear it. 

Lipstick though is much harder to find a perfect shade. I used to have a drawer full of "Almost Amazing" colors. Colors that were nearly the ideal shade. Or started off  perfect... only to fade or dry out my lips. Then....one day I found Dior Addict Lipstick and I finally got it right! Best lipstick I've ever used. I swear by the color "Urban". Prettiest pale pink Although the price is higher than what I normally had purchased, in the end I now save money not constantly replacing colors I buy and don't wear. I don't know if this color is at the top of any list but it is my very favorite item in my makeup bag!
Dior Addict Lipstick in Urban.

Powder Foundation Spf 12 - Jam (Google Affiliate Ad)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fresh Dinner Idea

Tonight was one of those rare nights where I wasn't rushing. I've had a recipe stuck in my head for a shrimp pasta with lemon. Well...I was short on shrimp this evening but had crab so this is what I adapted from that fresh sounding idea.

Spicy Pasta with Crab, Lemon, Shallots & Parsley

Bring a pot of water to boil. Generously salt water. Put in 3/4 pound thin spaghetti and cook until al dente (slightly firm).

While your pasta cooks, in a sauce pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. I had on hand a bit of garlic infused oil so I added a few drops of that as well. Add 12 ounces of flaked imitation crab, the juice of two lemons, one thinly sliced shallot, one garlic clove finely chopped, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup of white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio), salt and pepper. Saute until hot.

When your pasta is cooked and fully drained, return it to the pot. Pour in your crab mixture and toss. Add to the tossed pasta two tablespoons of butter and a 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese and stir. I topped each dish with fresh chopped Italian Parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and additional shredded Parmesan cheese. 

All in the Details

Last nights knitting class was great. Students each have their individual projects going on and I love hearing about their yarn preferences as they become more familiar with different weights and fibers. Each week, I bring to class ideas that I find online as well as displaying work that I've completed in the past. We've chatted about saving all your left over yarn...no matter how small...because there's so many times when you are looking for a unique detail to add to your project. I showed some examples of how I love fringing my scarves with lots of different yarns which then add a totally different element of texture.

The cowl project I'm currently working on is from Knit 1 LA. One of my very favorite sites....everything featured is so inspiring! Perfect project ideas for any skill level. Happy Knitting! xo

Some of my favorite yarns that I've saved...

My current cowl project using Cascade Magnum yarn (warm, burnt orange: Color # 9463)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Coffee & Knitting

There are days when I want to clear my schedule and just sink into a cozy corner, with an endless cup of coffee & knit. There were thunderstorms here last night & this afternoon is looking to be overcast....and I am just starting a new project with Cascade Magnum yarn. This super bulky is absolutely one of my favorites. A super soft Peruvian Highland Wool...I picked out a great warm, spicy orange color. I'm making a chunky, over sized ribbed cowl on 19US/15mm wooden circular needles from Knitters Pride. I think it will be great with jeans and ballet flats. What are you knitting? xo

Keurig K-Cup 18-Pk. Gloria Jean's Butter Toffee Coffee (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Sweet Start

As far as Mondays go, this week is starting off sweet. The sun is shining and I haven't seen snow in days! The girls were excited to have running club this afternoon and tonight is the final game for basketball.... Louisville v. Michigan. My day is not overly crazy so it will be a good day for baking. I saw this recipe for Fudgy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars over the weekend and it looks amazing. Originally created by Pillsbury, I found this idea on the yummy food blog "Family Bites".  I love this blog and the authors fresh & vibrant approach to cooking!  Enjoy! 

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars 

1/2 cup butter, melted 
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (32 squares) 
1 bag (8 oz) Heath toffee bits (1 1/2 cups) 
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
1 bag (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate baking chips (2 cups) 
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk 
1 tablespoon butter 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan. 
In medium bowl, stir 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 1/2 cups of the cracker crumbs and 3/4 cup of the toffee bits. Press mixture evenly in bottom of pan. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until firm. Then, let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. In 2-quart saucepan, heat chocolate chips, milk and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Spread mixture over cracker crust.
In medium bowl, break up cookie dough. Mix in remaining 1/2 cup cracker crumbs with wooden spoon until well blended. Crumble mixture evenly over chocolate layer. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup toffee bits.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours. For a firmer bar, refrigerate 30 minutes longer. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 4 rows. 

OXO Stainless Steel Measuring Cups (Google Affiliate Ad)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Warm Hands. Warm Heart.

I think I've mentioned before that when I knit I work with primarily wooden needles. I love the warmth of working with them compared to using metal or plastic. They keep me much more toasty! I also love using a good hand moisturizer when I knit. Natural fibers can rob your hands of oils leaving them a bit dry. A good hand balm totally solves this problem and I like a great scented product. 

My older daughter has always gone by the nickname Lolo. I found this super hip line of moisturizers and they have a hand balm called the LoLo Bar. I had to order one....they are just so fun! This really is a great artisan line. You get to pick the design of your tin and a custom scent of your choice. We picked Hot Toddy. It's a rich, warm, spicy scent. Perfect for using while knitting. Their shipping was fast, they ask for customer input and all of the packaging was charming! Really great new find!

On the topic of new finds, I love shopping local and from artists on line. If you know of an Etsy site or small business I should peek at....leave a comment with a link. I'd love to take a peek at their work. Featuring people so passionate about their work is one of my favorite things about blogging. Happy Sunday! xo

The charming packaging enclosed with our hand balm!

Lion Brand 444121 Superwash Me (Google Affiliate Ad)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A bit of this with that....

Over the last week, I've chatted about the farmers market being one of my favorite aspects of spring. I love sipping coffee, walking and purchasing from all the local vendors. I also wrote about great knitting bags that I was thrilled to come across from from Yarn Pop. Combining a bit of this idea with a bit of that...I love these colorful market bags from the Etsy shop Knitshearbliss. These open bags are perfect for bread, produce, jars of preserves....all of your finds at the market. You can purchase the bag with a closure or not but I like the open, unstructured design shown here. The Venetian bag has such a great vintage inspired pattern to it. I love that these are roomy too...approx 17 by 24 inches. You can also pick the lining of your choice! So super cute! Happy Weekend! xo

Italian Ceramic One-Handled Soup Bowl, Red (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Two nights ago, it was quite late....I was knitting and listening to Maroon 5. One might think as I fell asleep, given my choice of music, I might dream of perhaps....let's just say...Adam Levine? Makes perfect sense, right? Sadly....nope. Instead, oddly, I dreamt of being out and having coffee cake. Very strange.

So, a craving for coffee cake has been stuck in my head ever since. With the weekend here, I figure this is the perfect time for baking. My project....this yummy Sour Cream & Pecan Coffee Cake. I found this great recipe on the blog Never Enough Thyme. Made with brown sugar and cinnamon...this treat looks ideal for the fun, basketball watching weekend ahead! Happy Baking! xo

Fat Cat Measuring Cups (Google Affiliate Ad)

Warming Trend

I have already admitted to my obsession with candles. I love the atmosphere they create and the scent just makes the house cozier. My newest find is a fantastic line called Bella by Illume. I love the beautiful tin they come in...it has a pretty vintage-y feel to it. My favorite is their Vanilla Amber candle which is scented with warm vanilla, golden amber and orange blossom. Love this combination. Best bonus...these 10 ounce candles are priced under $15.00! You can purchase these online, at a variety of boutiques and currently at Target as well. They are such a steal! Last night I knit, watched Les Miserables and had this candle burning. A good, quiet night. xo

Thirstystone Monogram 4-Pc. Coaster Set And Pedestal Holder (Google Affiliate Ad)