Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

From my nest to yours, have a Happy Halloween! Here are some spooky cupcakes from Cupcakes Take the Cake for you. We spent the day going to see Paranormal Activity (spooky, creepy, but not terribly scary) and watched the original Halloween while doing last minute work on the costumes. We're all dressed up and ready to head off to the Halloween party, a report to come!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Eve of All Hallow's Eve

It is a gray and rainy day before Halloween. I awoke to one of my most anticipated television moments of the year - the unveiling of the Today show host costumes. (This is totally dorky, I realize, but like a woman in retirement, I watch the Today show every morning.)
We are in full on Halloween mode now - I'm doing some last minute alterations to costumes to get ready for the party tomorrow night. I want to try to squeeze in a matinee of Paranormal Activity tomorrow just to set the mood. I am sad that I won't have trick or treaters this year. I moved to a new apartment, and I'm on the second floor, so no little ones.
I have gotten most everything for my costume, let's see if you can guess which one I picked. I apologize that I did not choose Jem (of Jem and the Holograms), but that would have required sewing the entire thing from scratch, and I just couldn't muster the Christian Siriano in me this year. Next time. It would be a fantastic costume!
Click here if you're dorky like me and want to see the Today Show crew in their costumes. And speaking of Christian Siriano, my favorite little elf from Project Runway, click here for the 50% off coupon for his line at Payless. It was announced on Oprah yesterday - it's only good until the end of the day today! You're so fierce.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My top 10 scary movies

In honor of our visit tonight to the Netherworld Haunted House, I give you my favorite scary movies. I love a good really really scary movie. Not gory or gross, but suspenseful, something that makes me jump out of my seat. The true test of a scary movie is whether you are still scared hours, days...years later.

In no particular order, here they are -

  1. The Ring (2002) - I saw this in the theater with a friend when I first moved into an apartment on my own. I was terrified to look at the TV screen when I got home.
  2. The Blair Witch Project (1999) - I re-watched this movie last weekend, by myself. I do not recommend this. I also recall that at one point in my life I liked the woods, and even camped by myself. Probably not doing that again any time soon!
  3. The Descent (2005) - This is a newer movie, but one of my faves. A bunch of kick-ass, cave monster stomping girls go spelunking...and some of them make it out alive. Those cave monsters are creepstown.
  4. Psycho (1960) - One of my all time favorite movies of any genre. Genius. Total genius.
  5. Candy Man (1992) - For anyone that played Bloody Mary a kid, I challenge you to watch Candy Man and not be scared to look in the mirror in the bathroom after. Also a great scary movie for urban-ites like me. Sometimes the wrong side of the tracks can be scarier than anything.
  6. Drag Me to Hell (2009) - Also a newer movie, but scary and funny at the same time.
  7. The Exorcist (1973) - The story is that my dad went to see this when it came out and it creeps him out to this day. For those of you that haven't watched it beginning to end in a while, don't knock it until you've sat through the whole thing. Still scary.
  8. The Shining (1980) - The movie is fantastic, but the book is scarier than the movie. I read it in high school, and I remember screaming when my cat jumped on the bed unexpectedly while I was reading. I have issues. Shelley Duval's wardrobe is almost as frightening as the ghosts.
  9. Jaws (1979) - Not a traditional scary movie, but Jaws made me afraid of the deep end in the pool.
  10. Cape Fear (1991) - My mom called me from the theater when my parents went to go see this movie on a date night. I was babysitting, and she said she was just calling to make sure we were OK. I didn't understand this until I watched it years later. Just try to overlook Robert De Niro's bad southern accent.

Birthday potato soup

Last night I made my brother's birthday dinner. Potato soup might seem like an odd choice for a birthday celebration - unless you've had this potato soup! It was so fantastic, and couldn't have been more perfect on a rainy, cold night. My poor dog Penny was tormented by the smell of bacon all day.
All you need a little salad and crusty bread. Who knew Kroger bakery had an artisan bread section?
The plan was to make German chocolate cake, as well, but somehow the chocolate got left at the grocery store. So, we will be having cake this weekend instead. The soup was so hearty, we didn't have room for cake anyways. Everything was lovely and delicious.

Here is the recipe for the soup. I found a well-reviewed recipe online, but this includes my tweaks (it needed a little something extra).

1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
12 slices bacon (you could use turkey bacon or lean ham)
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup flour
6-7 cups skim or 2% milk
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 of the potato skins, chopped
1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (you can use 2% low fat cheese, reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)
1 cup sour cream (you can use low fat sour cream)
1/2 tsp paprika
1-2 tablespoons Chipotle Tobasco sauce
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup green onions, chopped (for garnish)

Directions -
Brown the bacon, drain, and crumble. Dice and sautee yellow onion and garlic in olive oil or bacon drippings. In a stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thinned. Stir in potatoes, bacon, yellow onion, and garlic. Bing to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add seasonings - paprika, salt and pepper, and tobasco sauce. Adjust to taste. Add cheese and sour cream. Continue cooking , stirring frequently, until cheese is melted. (Note - If you use low fat ingredients, you will not know the difference!)
Phew, we were all tuckered out after that meal. Even Penny.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What the kids are wearing

Mondays are half price day at the gigantic Last Chance Thrift Store. My brother and I made our way there to look for Halloween costume stuff. He found a fantastic gray suit and a red bow tie (can you guess the costume yet?). While he was trying on the suit, I noticed a couple of fabulous teenage girls trying on all of these very Blanche Devereaux-esque 80's floral print dresses. The kind you wouldn't be caught dead in. At first glance I thought they were also Halloween shopping, but they were discussing alterations - hemming the dresses short, wearing with leggings, add a button here or there. Such creative little DIY fashion mavens! Here are a few dresses from Forever 21 with the look they were going for.

Smart girls - buying dresses everyone else would pass by on half price day, do a few nips and tucks here and there, and voila. You've got the look for less. Granted, I am not exactly on the pulse of what the kids are wearing these days. Since I hit 30 this year it's harder and harder for me to keep up. This was absolutely adorable though. Perhaps something I could pull off with a cute cardigan, leggings, and boots. I'm not going to lie, I snuck over to the dresses to see if I could find some that they hadn't snatched up!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A day at Uncle Shucks

On Saturday, we had our annual pilgrimage to the Uncle Shucks pumpkin patch in Dawsonville, about an hour from downtown Atlanta in the North Georgia mountains. It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day.
There were horses! A city girl doesn't see horses very often, unless they are pulling a carriage downtown.And we had corn cannon target practice...
And I finally got caught in the stocks. Probably because it took me an hour to pick out my pumpkin! I finally found the perfect little guys to bring home. It was such beautiful weather, and sooo nice to get out of the city for a day. I can't wait to do some carving this week for Halloween.

If you are looking for some ideas for unique pumpkin carving, you should visit Extreme Pumpkins. Beware, these are NOT for the amateur pumpkin carver! How about a mooning pumpkin?
Photo from Extreme Pumpkins

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween poll

Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday ever. As a craft-a-holic, I love to make my costumes. I have been Tina Turner, Carmen Miranda, Brenda Walsh, and Atlanta's own local celebrity Baton Bob (most people did not get that one until I told them who I was, and only an Atlantan would get it.)

This year, I've got a few ideas I'm tossing around, and I'm letting you help me decide. Vote in the poll on the side bar and let me know which costume idea you like best!
In the running are - Bjork in the infamous swan dress, Jem, Carmen Sandiego, Ikea (weird, I know, but cute), Jane Jetson, and Hitchcock blonde.

P.S. There are so many great costume ideas here at Coolest Homemade Costume!

And here is a little sampling of my costumes of yore (Tina Turner, Carmen Miranda, and Baton Bob)

Home office makeover

I am fortunate to work for a nonprofit that lets me work from home. However, living in a small space, I am unfortunate to not have an extra room for an office. So, I have created a little office nook in my kitchen and my dining room table serves double duty. I am going to be doing a little home office makeover this weekend, so I will keep you posted! I'm trying to make the space a little more functional, and a little more organized. More to come...(The view from my Carrie Bradshaw-esque "office" window, and the construction across the street that has become the soundtrack to my work day.)

I'm half-apologizing, Anthropologie

By now you know that I have a complex relationship with Anthropologie. It's mostly love, as in I desire most everything in their store and the shopping environment and experience they create. But I find a lot of their stuff overpriced, and some of it I just want to make myself, or find someone on Etsy who does. However, I also appreciate the inspiration I find there and the uniqueness of their brand. It's my wallet that can't handle it. Enter the Sundance Channel's new show "Man Shops Globe." You had me at shop.

The show follows Keith Johnson, a buyer for Anthropologie, as he travels to exotic locations in search of merch for the store. I thought I would hate it, and although I set my DVR to record, I didn't watch it until last night. I found that it was totally the opposite - it's a great show, and it gave me more respect for the company. You get a glimpse into the process of how they find their inpsiration and merchandise, and it's no small feat, scouring places like Turkey, Holland, and South Africa for artisans and crafts people who are making what looks new and fresh. Keith says his mantra is, "you always have to turn that last corner to find what you're looking for." So true, so true.

So Anthropologie, I'm offering my half-apology. I'm sorry I doubted your authenticity, but I still will probably stalk your shelves and find a way to DIY at home. But I will be watching the show, and coveting this guy's job. (And I find him oddly attractive, despite the fact that I'm 99% sure he's gay. Story of my life, girls.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eat your veggies

My friend Leah just gave me the heads up on this fabulous service, Vegetable Husband. They pick out locally grown, organic produce and deliver a big basket to you once a week. They also put recipes for what they give you on their website. How awesome is that? I am so not adventurous with my veggies, I basically stick to broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and romaine. Perhaps this would help me branch out?
As someone with displaced princess syndrome, I really just like the idea of someone bringing me groceries. In NYC, I had to go get a bunch of snacks and drinks for the teens who were coming to do the play reading I organized. It was rainy and gross outside, and as a non-New Yorker, I could not figure out for the life of me how people in the city get their groceries home. I always have a gigantic car load when I shop. So, I brought my empty suitcase, and I'm sure everyone was staring at me as I was loading up. However, at the checkout, the cashier asked me if I wanted them delivered. They do this for $4! I was shocked. Sadly, you had to have a four hour window for so I shlepped through the streets with my suitcase full of snacks. Oh well. At least now the mystery of grocery shopping in a real city is solved. We don't do public transportation very well here in Atlanta.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Guess who?

I could not believe it myself when I found out who this craft maven disguised as Bridgette Bardot is. Wowza.
Any guesses?

Invigoration Station - DIY body scrub and bath bombs

I could barely pry myself away from my pillow this morning. Trekking through the city, hauling my suitcase around miles of airport, and multiple flight delays. I am going to bed early and looking for a little bit of extra oomph in the morning to get my day going. I found this recipe for a DIY body scrub that sounds very fall-ish and yummy.

Ginger Cinnamon Body Scrub

1 cup sea salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup almond oil or olive oil

This body scrub has the fresh, invigorating scents of both ginger and cinnamon! Mix all ingredients together, then gently rub over your damp skin (except your face) to slough off dry skin. Rinse with warm water.

I would also recommend just mixing sugar and olive oil together. It works really well and moisturizes so nicely. Here is another great post about homemade body scrubs.

If you're feeling extra adventurous, here is a DIY recipe and tips from Not Martha for making bath bombs. Looks like fun! Look out Lush.

Photo from We are Not Martha

Monday, October 19, 2009

New York Undercover

New York was grey, rainy, windy and cold. I have been told that autumn in the city is lovely, but sadly the weather did not cooperate. And most of the time it looked like this...
I did have some time to visit the Mothership (i.e. the gigantic Anthropologie on 5th Avenue). I'm not so sure they appreciate paparazzi in the store, so my photography had to be stealth and via cell phone. My undercover photos aren't fantastic, but I picked a few things that will inspire some home and fashion projects around my house.
This sweater is adorable and also way out of my price range. But it is basically a cardigan with a scarf through the extra button holes. I already have a scarf in mind...
This tablecloth was gorgeous - a cream color with different antique looking doilies around the edges. I'm not sure that I will do a tablecloth, but I spotted some really inexpensive doilies at the craft store, so this will be another project inspiration I think.
Please accept my apologies in advance - I do not like to preemptively do Christmas, and Halloween is my favorite holiday. But they had some things stashed in the back in preparation for a holiday display, and I want to steal this idea. The photo is grainy, but it is basically a tree made from glittery white paper. I don't think I will do one this big, but this could be a great, inexpensive, recycled holiday project.

The rest of my NYC adventure was mostly work, but I did have some time today to enjoy a few hours of sunshine and wander around Chelsea and the Meatpacking District with my B.F.F. All in all, a great trip!

Friday, October 16, 2009

An afternoon at the Met

I spent my work-free afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. I wish I could say I got myself there by subway, but I was lazy and decided to cab it. Partially for my mother, whose great wish is that I get in the Cash Cab while I am here. She asks every time we talk, "Are you in the Cash Cab? Have you seen the Cash Cab?"

I spent most of my time in the modern art wing, looking for all the artists I studied in my contemporary art class in grad school (the ones I knew I would recognize by name). I got a latte, a hot dog from a street vendor, and headed in for a leisurely afternoon at the museum.And then I spent some time in the modern design wing, which is where I found an object d'art after my own heart....a vacuum cleaner. Sigh. I feel justified now in wanting a Dyson. It's not just a vacuum, it's a work of art.

Maroon and Marooned

I was trapped, or marooned, you might say, at the Philly airport yesterday for almost 6 hours awaiting my flight to New York. There was something called a "nor'easter". Being a southern girl, I have no idea what this means, but it didn't look pretty. Foggy, rainy, and windy. I finally got out and to the city.

On the theme of "marooned", here are some new things I've made for my shop. Call it maroon, cabernet, burgundy, whatever you like. More news from the NYC in the next few days!
You're An Animal Earrings here
Red Red Wine Necklace here

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stitch yourself a T-shirt shrug

I am not much of a seamstress. I failed to inherit the tailoring gene from my mother, who is astoundingly anal about her stitchery. I like to play around with fabric, I don't like to measure, and patterns and instructions make me crazy. But this cute little project seems like something even I could handle. So go make yourself an adorable little shrug out of an old T-shirt! As soon as I get back from NYC, I will be doing the same.

Link to tutorial from EVEnl on Cut Out and Keep is HERE.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DIY Halloween Tombstones

Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. These tombstones are a great DIY project for your yard. Totally easy, totally inexpensive. Here's a step by step tutorial...
And here's a picture of my musician inspired tombstones...Here's a tip - styrofoam is great for this project, but you can also use cardboard boxes for an even less expensive option.

Real World Anthropologie Style, Part Deux

Felted bowls and teacup lamps - so adorable at Anthropologie, but so out of my price range. And wouldn't you rather buy it hand made and one of a kind? Here are some real world alternatives to satisfy your hearts desires.

(BTW, I will be in NYC this week and will most certainly be stopping by the Anthro flagship store on Park Ave. I may pass out, I will take pictures, and I will be sharing my citified adventures.)
Top left - Passion Double Wide Treasure Bowl from Etsy seller shanineal, $40
Top right - Anthropologie Felted Bowl, $68
Bottom left - Anthropologie One Lump or Two Lamp, $198
Bottom right - White Teapot Lamp from Etsy seller DelightfulFinds, $45

Everyone loves a festival

No one loves a festival more than Atlantans. This weekend was the Candler Park festival. It's one of the smaller festivals in the city, but in a lovely little neighborhood near downtown and complete with music, crafty people selling their wares, corn dogs, and the Red Bull girls, who seem to have been everywhere lately. My brother and I had a great time - it was a gorgeous fall day, we enjoyed a Sweetwater beer and listened to a few bands (some better than others), and found an odd little scary dwarf to take our picture with...
"I'm a hot dog. I'm eatin' myself."

Friday, October 9, 2009

New shoe clips

I am loving these new shoe clips...Pink and Solid Gold

It's Fall Y'all Sale - My Faves

The Georgia Etsy Team has a great fall sale this weekend - search "gaetsyteam" or "itsfallyall" all weekend for discounts. Here are my picks....Top left - Fall Leaves Handpainted Scarf
Top right - Rosa Statement Necklace
Bottom left - Free Shipping - Nichole Shoulder Bag
Bottom right - Free Shipping and Free Nola Brooch - Falling for You Necklace

Thursday, October 8, 2009

DIY - Something out of nothing

One of my favorite things is taking something random and turning it into something pretty and totally different. I bought these West Elm curtain tie backs for a dollar a package at a yard sale a few weeks ago and created some chunky necklaces out of them. Score.
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