Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Downton Abbey

I have a certain weakness for British literature and films, particularly 19th and 20th century pieces. I spent my teen years reading British authors like Agatha Christie and one of my mom's favorite authors, Catherine Cookson. I'm an unabashed Jane Austen fan. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel and this movie version tops my list. All this to say, I was pleasantly surprised last winter to discover the PBS series, Downton Abbey. I looked forward to watching each new episode on Sunday nights. Have any of you seen it? What did you think?

Written by Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for his Gosford Park, Downton Abbey follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family, and those of their servants, during the Edwardian period. Beginning with the sinking of the Titanic, season one concluded with the outbreak of World War I. I think the character development is particularly well done. Throw in a compelling plot with plenty of twists, intrigue, romance and gorgeous set design and costuming and you have a very fun series. So, if you didn't catch it the first time, starting on December 18th, PBS is going to re-air season one. Season two is scheduled to premiere on January 8 on PBS. I'm so excited! You can check out more here.

My one precaution is that Downton Abbey contains s few grittier scenes than what you'd see with, say a Jane Austen movie, but seemingly less than Gosford Park or other big screen productions

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pretty Pops of Bold Color

A couple of new rings have bloomed in the Shop...

Purple Five Petals Ring

Green Succulent Ring

More new designs and colors are on their way! I do hope you enjoy them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Been Years

On this day 13 years ago, I married my best friend. I treasure him more and more as time goes by. And although today is not turning out quite as we had expected, we're still going to be able to spend the evening together and I'm so looking forward to it.
We were married on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon following Thanksgiving. We had a beautiful wedding ceremony at church and a lovely reception at an old monastery. Before diy was the thing to do, it was the thing we were doing. From our invitations to the decorations to the programs, we took on as much as we could. It was so much fun to lovingly labor over each detail, making our day full of personal touches. One of my favorite details: my Mom and I made little white origami boxes to hold heart-shaped butter cookies that we had baked and decorated. And now, inspiration for weddings simply abounds. Here are a few lovely details that caught my eye from 100 Layer Cake...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Swinging From the Rafters

Via Pinterest

Yesterday was Thanksgiving day here in the States; a day set aside to give thanks to God for all that we have been given. I give thanks for the many blessings in my sweet husband, my fun and loving children, my extended family and friends, our church family, our home and health, and I give thanks for all of you for encouraging and supporting me in my creative efforts at The Striped Straw. Thank you so very much!
I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday and are enjoying a little extra time with loved ones. We had a very full and very fun day beginning with Thanksgiving breakfast, followed by more cooking, followed by football, followed by more eating and followed by a big birthday bash for five out of the six grandkids who live in town. And now, today, I find myself up way too early after a late night and my littlest C waking me up every couple of hours (sore legs, too cold, too excited, etc.) After the abundance of presents, which I can't begrudge them as it was the adults who decided we'd do birthdays at Thanksgiving after making them wait a month after their birthdays, all 3Cs are up and at 'em with their new toys. Maybe they won't notice if Mom camps out on the couch and snatches a few more z's. (And wouldn't that hammock be an ideal place for a nap? No doubt it would become a launching swing for superheroes, ninjas and spies in my house, but it's nice to entertain the dream of lounging in a lovely place.)
Happy lounging to you! If you happen to be engaging in holiday shopping today, please do consider stopping by my little Shop to pick up some lovely gifts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bats, Lightning, and The Moon

Here's a little wish list for the little men in my life...

Bat Hat

Lightning Sweater

Black and Gray Scarf

Tartan Button Front Shirt

Moon Nightwear

My littlest just gave me a thumbs up so my list has been officially approved. All items can be found at Sweet William.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Kids' Thanksgiving

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is almost here? I'm so excited for this week and for the family that is coming into town and the celebrating we'll be doing. It's so good for us to truly slow down, reflect on the many blessings in our lives and give thanks to God. My hope is to help my 3Cs cultivate grateful hearts. They were able to help my husband and me serve at a Thanksgiving dinner last night at church. It was so sweet to see them carrying around trays of pie and clearing dirty plates for people. So this morning, I have Thanksgiving and kiddos on my mind. Here are some fun Thanksgiving ideas for your little ones...

One Charming Party via Pinterest

Free download today only at Oohmoon

Faux Pumpkin Pie from One Charming Party

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pretty Pairing

I've been looking at girls' dresses lately for my niece. I stumbled across Olive's Friend Pop and I think these lovely modern vintage items would pair nicely with the Pink Little Bloom Earrings.

Pink Little Bloom Earrings


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Succulent Love

When I began this journey of making jewelry, it really started with a desire to duplicate the intricate beauty and design of succulent plants into jewelry. (I love the living walls you can make out of a grouping of these little gems.) And so you'll see a number of items in my Shop that carry the name, Succulent. I've just welcomed in these Green Little Succulent Earrings to the Shop. When I took the photos, I thought I'd try to capture the feeling of a little succulent garden. I hope you enjoy them!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grateful to Be a Busy Bee

A lot has been happening in my little Shop lately and I'm so thankful to you all for your support and encouragement. Here are a couple of new items that you may have not seen...

Golden Nest Ring
Heart of Gold Ring
I'm also working on new hairpins in different colors and styles as well as new necklaces and rings and earrings. Stay tuned as I keep adding more to the Shop.
*Update: the Golden Nest Ring has been purchased but will be back in the shop very soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Trio of Towels

Lovebirds Tea Towel
Persons kryddskåp Kitchen Towel

Copenhagen Kitchen Towel
This morning, I'm loving these kitchen and tea towels from Scandinavian Design Center. I think they would make a lovely little addition to a gift basket with a selection of teas and coffees and baked goodies. A beautiful way to bring some art into the kitchen.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good Morning! Have a Cupcake

Our morning sky from a few days ago. We're a bit more overcast today.
Happy Monday to you! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I had a blast this weekend at a retreat with some homeschooling friends. It was refreshing. It was fun. It was food for my soul. Before I left home, we celebrated the final birthday for our 3Cs. Our middle son turned 7. He spent the day at work with my sweet husband (his workplace is a golf course so a pretty cool place for a seven year old) and he got to chase coyotes in a golf cart, learn to drive a golf cart and hit some balls. Meanwhile, back at home, I was whipping up another new birthday treat that is gluten free. I don't have any photos to show you because they are all gone. Which I like to think is proof that they were good. The cupcakes have a good nutty flavor and texture and don't require using pricey almond flour. The frosting is rich and fudgy. Honestly, I'm wishing there were some left so I could have one. Right. Now. And given the quality ingredients, it actually wouldn't be all that bad to begin the day with one of these goodies. Here are the recipes:

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes*
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup almonds
3 eggs
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place chocolate and almonds in a food processor
3. Grind until the consistency of coarse sand
4. Pulse in eggs, grapeseed oil and agave
5. Then pulse in vanilla and salt
6. Spoon batter into muffin pan lined with paper
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes (mine took a little longer to firm up)
8. Cool and frost with Vegan Chocolate Icing
Makes 10 cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Frosting*
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used up my vanilla with the cupcakes so I used Hazelnut extract. Yum!)
pinch celtic sea salt

1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and grapeseed oil
2. Stir in agave, vanilla and salt
3. Place frosting in freezer for 15 minutes to chill and thicken
4. Remove from freezer and whip frosting with a hand blender until it is thick and fluffy  (I got interrupted while I was making the frosting (can anyone relate?) so I had to thaw and refreeze a little bit to get it right.)
5. Frost over cupcakes

*Recipes from the ever wonderful Elana's Pantry.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sweden: It's in the Details

I'm loving this bright and cheery home in Sweden...

That light fixture, those pillows, the floors, the combination of green and blue, the branch wall art, those wooden candlesticks...lovely details that make this house a home. 

p.s. I have a sudden urge to paint something apple green.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pretty Pairing

One of the things I enjoy about having long hair is experimenting with different styles, including the messy bun. To keep my locks in place, I'll stick a bobby pin in here and there. Wouldn't the Winter White and Gold Hair Pins tuck in nicely with a messy bun?
Photo via Pinterest
More hair pins can be found here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cutting a Path Through Beautiful Terrain

Some lovely items from Terrain that caught my eye...
Glass Jug Pendant
Ceramic Salt Pig
Bubble Place Card Holder
Petite Velvet Pumpkin
Mason Jar Candle Holder
Charcoal Stripe Tablecloth
I love each and every one of these items and so much more at Terrain. Wouldn't it be so much fun to fill those Bubble place card holders with fresh flowers and glass pebbles or something else colorful like sea glass or candy that coordinated with your table colors? Ahh...I've enjoyed this little jaunt through gorgeous Terrain and hope that you will too. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ooh La La

Photo via Pinterest

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go on an amazing home tour. It was the Ooh La La  Christmas Home Tour, which is a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. It's a fantastic cause (so grateful for our soldiers who sacrifice so much to keep us safe!) and the home tour was just unbelievable. There were eight homes on the tour, all custom but of varying styles and sizes, and each one was decorated for Christmas. It was so much fun to see different decorating ideas as well as step into gorgeous homes.
One of the decorating ideas that I hope to incorporate in my home is hanging a large branch from the ceiling with ornaments hung from it (similar to the photo above.) We saw that in a home that has an Asian theme and it was really simple but striking. Another unique idea in that same home was several groupings of red and white and flowered paper lanterns hung from the ceiling by wires. It was festive and fit the overall look of the home.
I also took away an appreciation for how the decorators used the existing color scheme in each house as a base for their seasonal decorating. One home had orange and gold running through it, which was reflected in the Christmas decorating with a sprig of greenery, an orange glass ornament and a gold butterfly grouped together and hung throughout the home. Who would have thought of using orange and gold for Christmas? And yet, it was very elegant and suited the home perfectly.
So while Christmas isn't next week, I'm inspired to begin thinking about how to add some holiday charm to our home. What's inspiring you for holiday decorating?

Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of The Striped Straw Giveaway is... Megan! Congratulations Megan! Thank you all for participating in my Giveaway. Stay tuned for more fun from The Striped Straw!