Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend Baking

This weekend, I had planned to continue my ongoing cake-making attempts (see the whole story here and here) but then I realized I needed to do some Valentine's Day themed baking. I let my husband choose what he wanted me to make and not surprisingly, he chose brownies. My husband doesn't like fancy desserts...give him a good old brownie over mille-feuilles any day.

In order to make the brownies somewhat Valentine's Day appropriate, I cut them out into heart shapes and sprinkled them with powdered sugar. I'm pretty pleased with the effect! It kind of works with the low-key, simple night we have planned. And I have to admit, I like me some brownies, too.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


The Gist: 
I switched over to a new blog account, name, and URL.

The Story:
Ever since I started this blog, I've been having some problems with Blogger. Out of a dozen small problems, I've also had some major ones. I've gotten a bunch of email from people who say they tried to follow me but couldn't, or tried to comment and couldn't. After trying to get help from the Blogger people with no success, I've decided to bite the bullet and create an entirely new account and an entirely new blog, hoping this will solve my problem. We'll see, I guess. I've imported everything here into my new blog, which of course, I had to rename. 

I'll be posting in both places for awhile, but if you are so inclined,  
please follow me over to my new (but not really new) blog
For those of you who I also follow, I will be re-following you with my new account.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Paint Chip Art

I've been collecting paint chips since I was a child. I'd take a bunch every time my parents went to Home Depot or Sherwin Williams or any place that sold paint. I literally have thousands of them...and I have finally found some uses for them. I love all of these, but the first one is my favorite!

I could make an adorable mobile for my as-of-yet-nonexistent baby (I doubt my 11-year-old stepson would be that thrilled)

Via Say Yes to Hoboken

Or I could use them to "paint" an entire wall

Via Design*Sponge

Or to make some abstract wall art

Via The 3 R's Blog

Or maybe I could turn them into skylines like these.

Via The Ambitious Procrastinator

This bunting would be perfect for a Valentine's Day party

Via Grace and Light

Or this banner could be made to work anytime.

Via A Bit of Sunshine

I could even make over a clock.

Via Crafts By Amanda

I can't believe how creative and talented some people are!

If you want to give one a try, click on the picture or link to go to the tutorial.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What I Read Last Week...{2.09}

You've probably already heard, but Tuesday was the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth. In anticipation of the day, I decided to read something Dickens-related last week. I've had The Girl In a Blue Dress on my bookshelf for months now, and last week was the perfect time to read it.

The Girl In a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold

In Alfred Gibson the fierce energy and brilliance of the most famous of the Victorian novelists is recreated, in a heart-warming story of first love—of a cocky young writer smitten by a pretty girl in a blue dress.

Alfred Gibson's funeral has taken place at Westminster Abbey, and his wife of twenty years, Dorothea, has not been invited. Her younger daughter Kitty comforts her, until an invitation for a private audience with Queen Victoria arrives, and she begins to examine her own life more closely. Uncovering the true deviousness and hypnotic power of her celebrity author husband, she'll now need to face her grown-up children—and worse—her redoubtable younger sister, Sissy and the charming actress, Miss Ricketts.

My Take: This novel is loosely based on the life of Charles Dickens, focusing on his often estranged relationship with his wife Catherine. While the character of Alfred (Charles) is prominent in the novel, it is written from the point of view of Dorothea (Catherine.) This book had a funny effect on me. I disliked the characters, and yet, I liked the book very much. Alfred is portrayed as an egotistical and domineering father who cares more about fame than his family. Dorothea is content to play the martyr for most of the book, which usually drives me crazy. In spite of that, I liked the book! Go figure.

My Recommendation: If you are interested in Charles Dickens, I think you should at least consider reading the book. There are quite a few references to his novels and writing, so that would be interesting. There is a great deal of accurate historical detail, both about the relationship between Dickens and his wife, but also about the daily lives of Victorian women. It was a solid read. I didn't love it, but then again, I don't expect to love every book I read.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Want That Room! {2.08}

I just love the home office of designer Emily Ruddo. Last summer, High Gloss magazine did a spread on her beautiful home, and this was my favorite room in the house. I love the vibrant blue color on the walls, although I'm sure it might be too bright for some tastes. The contrast between the blue and the fuscia/pink chevron rug is wonderful. Everything else is comparatively understated. A couple of colorful throw pillows on the couch, a desk chair that coordinates with the rug, a plain white desk, and a collection of framed prints on the wall.

Personally, I love a couple of brightly colored rooms in a house. In my house, most of the rooms are neutrals, except for one turquoise blue room and one painted cranberry red. The thing I love most about this office is that it would be fairly easy to emulate the look. Sometimes, designer rooms look amazing and beautiful, but they are extremely hard to do in your own home. Not so with this office. I'm off to look for some colorful rugs now.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chair Art (for lack of a better description)

Going through the furniture section of Anthropologie's website the other day, I noticed an interesting trend. I don't even know what to call it. It's art...on seating. Like literally, paintings and other works of art produced on a "canvas" of sofas and chairs. It sounds a little strange, but it looks beautiful. Just look at the examples below.
The prices, however, are not so pretty. Thousands of dollars for a novelty settee? Not for me. In any case, I'm not sure I'd purchase something like that for my house. As gorgeous as they are, they're not exactly my style. No, I'm content just looking at pretty pictures on the internet. What do you think? Would you spring for seating like this?

Monday, February 6, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed...

What great advice (she said sarcastically.) I've been trying for ages to recreate this cake that my dad ate in his childhood. My grandfather used to make it, and it's one of the happiest memories my dad has of his father. I originally wanted to figure out for a Christmas present, but after a while, I got too busy with Christmas busyness.

This weekend, I wanted to resume my efforts. I made 3 cakes, and none of them turned out quite right. Actually, 2 out of 3 tasted pretty good, but they just weren't like the cake my grandfather made. I'm beginning to think this cake is some sort of myth! I'll admit that I got pretty frustrated, especially after Attempt #2, which failed miserably.  I might or might not have thrown the cake into the backyard. Which is better than throwing it at on the floor of my kitchen.

The good news is that I'm getting closer. I'm systematically changing one variable at a time, and that seems to be working. I'll be at it next weekend again.