Monday, April 30, 2012

{366} Week 17

{Day 113] 04.22.2012
Trying my damnedest to not kill these herb plants. So far, I'm 4-1 and the thyme isn't looking too great.

{Day 114} 04.23.2012
If Komainu in jerseys can't help you win a playoff game, nothing can.

{Day 115} 04.24.2012
I had to rearrange my large number calendar so the current months were closer to my computer. #forreal

{Day 116} 04.25.2012
Andy pointed out this sticker on the L the during our morning commute. OMG! Pee!

{Day 117} 04.26.2012
I'd bet good money that the owner of this bumper sticker is a man who doesn't know a thing about breast health.

{Day 118} 04.27.2012
Bolivian Dancers at our neighbor's art show opening.

{Day 119} 04.28.2012
I stumbled upon a really, really good deal and took the plunge. I spent all day Saturday with my new boyfriend and have to say that it is not quite love at first site. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tempting Throw Pillows

Are these pillows too femme for a couch that's used by a gentle giant while watching car shows, hockey, football, and racing? We were in west elm trying chairs on for size and I spotted these cockatiel and hummingbirds pillows.


Would this be considered putting a bird on it?

In person, they look like they would look great with my tie dye pillows from west elm circa 2011.

{Source: west elm, no longer available}

I should have snagged them before they're gone! I wish that west elm wasn't such a hassle to get to on weekends.It's definitely a weeknight treat.

I am totally dying to change something up in the house. I haven't had a project in over a year and I've gots the itch.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

{Recipes} Low-Fat Weeknight Dinners

My e-friend, Linda, had asked about some of the new recipes that Andy and I have tried in the last two weeks. I'm always too chicken to blog about recipes that come from books, but here are a few available online that we've been enjoying lately.

{Source: Cooking Light}
  • Here are the April recipes we've tried and loved:
    • Hazelnut-Crusted Halibut with Roasted Asparagus: Finding halibut is next to impossible in Chicago, so we use swai for this recipe. Also, Andy likes this one with a little lemon drizzled on it. I think that adding garlic to roasted asparagus is genius. 


    • Sausage-Spinach Rice Bowl: My only quandary with this dish is that it's 9-points for a one cup serving. One cup of rice isn't a huge dinner (or leftover lunch). I wanted to eat 1/2 a pot.

We actually have several more on our radar. I'll post our favorites after we give them a try.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{366} Week 16

{Day 106} 04.15.2012
Tulips make errand-running so much happier.

{Day 107} 04.16.2012
I spotted this package in my lobby. There has to be an excellent backstory to using a Successorie as a mailing label.

{Day 108} 04.17.2012
We did our taxes ages ago, but I forgot to pay the state. Then on Tax Day, I left the payment at home and had to grab a ghetto fab money order to meet the deadline without going back downtown to the big post office before midnight.  (Yes, they totally still sell money orders.)

{Day 109} 04.18.2012
I arrived home to find a "Handmade Pay It Forward" gift from Tara waiting outside my door -  homemade jam, recipe cards, and am orange trivet. I need to get on mine!

{Day 110} 04.19.2012
The training class that I attended last week got out early, so I got to hit the sample sales at lunch. Yikes.

{Day 111} 04.20.2012
More sample booty. Yikes. My favorite holiday showroom is closing and offering 75% off.

{Day 112} 04.21.2012
I ain't gonna lie. Unexpected occurrences of the word "wiener" thrill me every time. I have several "wiener" pix on my phone, as I am emotionally a 12-year-old boy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

{Paper + Parties} Nursery-Inspired Gift Wrap

When celebrating friends, I like to wrap their packages in their favorite colors or try match the event's theme. (Remember these Crate & Barrel boxes from my friend's weddings in 2010 and 2011?)

For my friend Tara's baby shower this past weekend, I was inspired by her recent nursery blog post when selecting the packaging for her gifts:

{"Nursery Ideas" from In This Instance}

What a happy, sunshiny place for a little babe! To mimic the feeling for our group gift, I selected some beautiful handmade paper, a Snow & Graham favorite picked up at a cute neighborhood shop, hangar 18, and shiny satin ribbons.

{Photo by Ami of Elizabeth Anne Designs and Entouriste)
Running around the city looking for the perfect gift wrap may be ridiculous, but what fun it is!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

{Paper} Washi Tape Place Cards

This month's brunch club gathering was a baby shower for our friend on Team Green, Tara. It was such a nice celebration as everyone contributed something. Colleen tirelessly hosted and made the most spectacular ham and cheese sandwiches I've had since France, Natalie baked incredible muffins, Ami took photos with her fancy camera, and devon made witty favors inspired by the super cute invitations received from Colleen. I don't want to share any photos in case Tara is planning on blogging about it, but here are some place cards that I designed using washi tape and my Silhouette SD.

{Photo by Ami of Elizabeth Anne Designs and Entouriste)
I downloaded the shapes from the Silhouette store and re-sized to fit my cards.

Next, I applied the tape to some regular text-weight printer paper. (This was a time-consuming task, so be sure to build some time in for it.)

Then, I ran that through the Silhouette machine using the largest blade tip. (Pink on my model.) It worked like a dream! I was short on time, so the back layer of the houses was simply cut out of plain gravel paper from Paper Source.

I ran all of the pieces through my Xyron 900 and assembled them on 4-bar note cards printed with each guest's name.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

{366} Week 15

{Day 99} 04.08.12
Easter Baskets for our niece and nephew

{Day 100} 04.09.12
Foreshadowing of the week to come...lots of swearing at home *and* work. (P.S. It's running fine now.)

{Day 101} 04.10.12
We tried THREE new recipes this week!

{Day 102} 04.11.12
I received my "5 Pound" Star at WeightWatchers! Only 15 more stars to go. It couldn't have come at a better time motivationally.

{Day 103} 04.12.12
I forgot to take a photo, but my friend posted this funny to my Facebook wall and made my day, so I'm stealing it.

{Day 104} 04.13.12
Cracking myself up while sample sale-ing at the Merchandise Mart. Imagine the loss of dignity in ordering bulk cheap tiaras. Then again, if you own a shop that sells cheap tiaras, you probably don't think twice about it. Local Friends - the sample sales are Thursday and Friday of this week - Merchandise Mart floors 12-15.

{Day 105} 04.14.12
Andy went to watch hockey and I stayed in and did an impromptu clean out and organization of our kitchen. It started with one drawer and next thing you know, I was flying through the Container Store trying to fill my cart before closing time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

{Paper} Recipe Shower Invitations

I have a total party fail that turned out to be pretty cute nonetheless. My friend, The Wick, asked me to make some invitations for bridal shower she's hosting for a co-worker. She couldn't think of a theme, so I suggested a recipe shower inspired by the Taste Test Recipe book I've been eyeing at Anthropologie for the last year:

{Source, Book Images: Anthropologie}

I've been wanting to plan a party around this book ever since I saw it. I had envisioned stitched invitations with matching recipe cards and cute homemade linens. Unfortunately, none of that worked out. Here's an incriminating photo to prove it:

So yeah, I bagged that. Then I sat on the project for three weeks feeling uninspired and not knowing what to do...until I purchased the "Mishka" and "Mishka Ornaments" fonts from My Fonts. I love them! They really made the design fall into place.


Return Address  Label

Envelope Liner

I designed an envelope liner using a Mishka Ornaments character.


I scanned the cover of the book and cut the spoon out as a template. I then traced it onto the thick cardboard tops from carryout containers purchased at the Dollar Tree. I tried roasting pans for a shinier look, but they were too flimsy.

The inside of the invite included a recipe card in the party colors and a giant ribbon from Mishka Ornaments.


I also made some miscellaneous signage, streamers, and paper elements with directions for the guests.

There were two styles of food cards in the party colors. The book pages are bright red, green, and orange, which is fun, as the bride and all of her guests are elementary school teachers.

I originally planned to hand cut some spoons and stitch them to the cards with rainbow thread, but decided to use my Silhouette and some silver paper for a cleaner look (and less work).

In lieu of a guest book, the guests will leave messages on the inside covers of the recipe book. Wouldn't you love to have that in your kitchen? It would make me so happy.

"Book Plate" for the Recipe Book

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{Holidays + Paper} Last Minute Easter Treats

I had to make an unplanned grocery store run on Easter morning, so I impulsively picked up my family members' favorite snacks for impromptu Easter treats. And by impromptu, I mean, I rushed home, downloaded some bunny shapes from the Silhouette Store, had the machine cut them while I was in the shower, tossed some names on them, and assembled them in the car ride out to the suburbs. Still pretty cute though, no? If there was life before the Silhouette SD, I don't remember it.

Since I was on a roll, I decided to add some rabbit labels to our niece and nephew's baskets as well.

Incidentally, Andy was "upset" that he didn't get a special bunny treat...even though he got his own, ugly - but delicious - pound cake with special white frosting.