Etsy Treasures Tuesday: Caramelos

Despite the hassle of getting out all of the wrapping paper and ribbon and losing the scissors and the tape under all of the mess, I love wrapping Christmas gifts. It combines so many of the things I like best: beautiful papers, lovely ribbons, precision, and creativity. And I think it's even more special because I only get to do it once a year. Plus, I usually go shopping for Christmas wrap right after the new year, when it's discounted everywhere, and then I put it away in my paper closet, and it's like a wonderful holiday surprise when I take it out again at the end of the year. In honor, then, of my Christmas delight in wrapping my gifts beautifully, I've chosen for my Etsy seller spotlight this week a shop that features all kinds of gorgeous things to make your gifts lovely, Caramelos. Here are just a few of the pretty things to be found in the shop.

And another pretty addition I've used on my packages this year is the very cheap, and very cute Baker's Twine, so named because bakers used to tie up their white boxes full of yummy cupcakes with the traditional red and white version. I bought a cute little six-pack earlier this year at Michael's, which also includes these other lovely variations.

Here's a gift on which I used classic red and white. Isn't it sweet?

I hope that your Christmas is lovely. I don't think I'll post again this week, so my wish for tomorrow and until you visit again is that your holiday is just as merry and bright as it can be.


How To Spruce Up Your Blog

I have absolutely no idea. Suggestions? "Anyone, anyone? Bueller?" In the meantime, some lovely holiday centerpieces.


Favorite Things Friday

I L O V E Houndstooth! It's so very classic English countryside. Here are some fun examples. (If I wore black, that tee would already be on its way to my house. In fact, it's so incredibly cute, I might break my rule just this once.)

Houndstooth tee at Target.

Houndstooth wellies at Target. A sidenote: Nathan swears that he'd never heard the word "wellies" for rainboots before he met me. I swear that he's crazy, and that it is the accepted, nay, the ONLY, term for the item. Can someone back me up on that? What else are you going to call them -- "tall boots," as Nathan insists? Nonsense!

Houndstooth wool coat, from Amazon.

A way cute houndstooth and red leather bag from Amazon. (Hmmm ... maybe this should have gone under a Wish List Wednesday post.)

A fun metallic take on houndstooth in a cute cropped jacket from J. Crew. I like shiny things.

Houndstooth for the home -- a black and gray wool rug. Happy weekend! Make it a classic!


O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

I remember listening to that song, with the original German lyrics, around Christmastime in my sixth-grade German class at SCS. (I'm not going to tell you how long ago that was, but I'll give you a clue: it was the year Ross Perot ran for President, and our sixth-grade class collectively decided to give him our vote -- which we didn't have -- and even made campaign signs for him -- which we didn't post anywhere except on the edges of our desks in the classroom.) Anyway, our German teacher, Mrs. Garret, promised us a special treat at Christmas: she brought an electric skillet and made us authentic German waffles right there in the classroom. (I should explain here that German waffles aren't quite as much like waffles as pancakes with the slightly rubbery consistency of English muffins, and which you eat with jams instead of syrup.) I remember how much fun I thought that was; at least, until after the waffles were actually on our plates. Then, most of my classmates, beginning with a few of the most troublesome boys, began making gagging noises and asking to be excused to the restroom. They spit out the waffles in the hall trashcan, washed their mouths out at the water fountain, and came back to class smirking and giggling. And here is my Christmas confession ("because at Christmas you tell the truth"): I followed their lead and went and spit out my German waffles too. So if you're reading this, Mrs. Garret, I'd like to publicly apologize for my rudeness and bad behavior. I gave in to peer pressure, and I just want to say for the record, that your German waffles weren't so bad. I'm not particularly fond of English muffins, and I'm not saying that I want to eat a platter-full every morning, but I openly acknowledge that the better course of action would have been to politely choke down most of my waffle, and discretely throw the rest away when you weren't looking. Please forgive me; I was a punk in sixth grade.

On the subject of Tannenbaums, however, a photo of our beautiful Christmas tree is above, and here are some photos of a few of our lovely ornaments: the glitter Eiffel Tower that we got this summer when we stayed at the Paris Hotel in Vegas; the little paper-mache house we bought last year, in honor of our first married Christmas in our own little house; and some other colorful and sparkly examples of the vintage ornaments that cover most of the tree. It's so pretty, I'd leave it up the whole year round, if I could.


Wish List Wednesday

If I had ONE MILLLLLION DOLLARS today, here's what I'd buy:

Nathan and I are spending our third Christmas together this year, and (prepare to be shocked) we still don't have our own stockings to hang up at our house! Every year, I deplore this fact, and yet I never go out and actually buy us stockings. Partly, it's because we don't have a fireplace, therefore we don't have a mantle, therefore we don't really have any place to hang them except on the edges of our entertainment center, and somehow, the thought of celebrating Christmas by hanging a symbol of hope and charity on a symbol of American mass commercialism just feels inherently wrong to me. But maybe this is the year I'll decide to get over that, and go out after Christmas when stockings are dirt cheap on sale, and use that very same American mass commercialism to get myself a good deal on some fun stockings. This cute and cuddly example is from one of the happiest places on earth.

If I had a little more of that million left over after purchasing my stockings, I'd buy:

If you know me very well (and if you're reading this blog, you probably do), you know that this beautiful little number combines two of the things I love most: scarves, and pink. On top of that, the button and the ruffles are about the cutest bonus you could ask for. I found it here, at another of the happiest places on earth, a darling shop on Etsy called Flutter.

Finally, if I have just a tad to spare, I'd purchase this:

I have a thing for chairs (you know I do). I just think this one is absolutely gorgeous. I'd set it in front of my antique walnut vanity and play dress up on Saturdays, when there's nothing to dress up for. Isn't it lovely?


Etsy Treasure Tuesday: Alica Bock Photography

I discovered Alicia Bock quite a while ago on Etsy, and fell in love with her work immediately. I L O V E the soft colors, the muted edges, the way her photographs make me believe I could walk into this beautiful, faded world she creates. Even though she lives in Michigan, so many of her photos feel like they could've been taken right here where I live, in the fields and grasslands and playas that you can find when you drive 10 miles out of town. But they seem, at the same time, centered in some place, some time, very far away from my here and now. That's the brilliance, in my opinion, of her work: that I can identify immediately with her photographs, because they feel like where I have been and what I have loved all of my life, but they also remind me of the fairytale world of my childhood imagination, a place that's not real but is there in my memory all the same. A place that is idyllic and nostalgic at once; I could stare at them and daydream for hours, I think. If I'm ever lucky enough to have time to really work at my amateur photography skills, she'd be a huge source of inspiration for me. (And incidentally, if you're wondering, she will most likely show up in a future post on Wish List Wednesday; if you need hints {wink, wink}, her 2009 Polaroid Calendar and Pick 4 Mini Square Print Set would be near the top of the list.) I hope you enjoy getting lost in her photos as much as I do.


How To Be Sarcastic Without Getting Beat Up

1. First and foremost, train yourself to remember that sarcasm is an art. There's a lot of poor art being shoveled upon the world these days. Brush up so you don't contribute.

2. There are lines you should never cross, no matter how funny the other side looks from where you are. Keep it above the belt, and use extreme caution when venturing into the land of "your mama."

3. If you sound really, really smart, you're more likely to receive a hand shake or at worst a scowl, than a left kick to the right shin. So throw in at least two four-syllable words. (Viable choices include "innocuous," "disinterested," "effrontery," "repudiate.")

4. Smile your sweetest smile and put on that "But I'm so small and innocent!" face you used to use when you did something to instigate a fight with your younger brother and you tried to weasel out of punishment when he told on you.

5. If you actually do accidentally insult someone (or his mama), refrain from using sarcasm in your apology. It just makes things worse. If you cannot or will not follow Step #5, continue to #6.

6. Sidestep to either the right or the left quickly. Try ducking simultaneously if you don't anticipate a left kick to the right shin.

I Need Structure

There are so many things I want to say and share with all of you, that I've had to come up with an organized plan for doing so; that's just the kind of girl I am. So here's how things are going to go down from now on: I'll have How-To Monday, Etsy Treasure Tuesday, Wish List Wednesday, Random Thursday, and Favorite Things Friday.
Let's kick things off right, shall we!?



We had a lovely time last night at the Book Group Christmas Party. I made spiced cider, roasted sweet potatoes, and these, my first foray into the floury world of iced sugar cookies:

Not Martha Stewart, by any means, but not so bad for a first attempt. And I put pyracantha berries in my Pottery Barn simple wall vases; they looked fantastic against our mocha wall.

Then we drew numbers and played our gift card exchange game, a favorite from last year's party. And at the end of the night, we took our Book Group Christmas photo, as we have for the past three years. There have been one or two additions, and we're almost too many to fit in front of the tree anymore; we're grateful for Cory's wide angle lens.

Little Sarah and Isaiah played happily together with their toys, and Sam was giggly and happy until he got a little tired, right before we gathered for the photo. Next year, little baby Neo will will join us at the party. I love the holidays; hooray for Christmas.


A Girl Can Dream

If I lived in a magical fairyland, where the houses are small and cozy and pastel-paletted, this would be my living room:

The books in the bookcases would be Austen, Dickens, Dumas, Lewis, Bronte, Barrett Browning, and Whitman. And the far chair basking in the sunlight near the fireplace would be mine. I'd cuddle up with Sonnets From the Portuguese and drink English Afternoon at teatime. Occasionally, I'd have a scone. (But not everyday; even in fairlyland, you have to keep some things rare so that they remain special.)


Meet Me.

I suppose I should introduce myself, if we're to be friends (and I hope we shall be). I'm Sarah. This is my first blog. I've wanted to create one for quite a while now, and have only just worked up the courage to do it. If you're going to keep visiting (and I hope you shall), you'll probably want to know a little about me. I'm 27 (really? {groan.}). I work full time in a wonderful job at my local university, but there are billions of other things that interest me and which I hope to do, at least on an amateur basis, someday. Just a few: photography, knitting, recreational traveling, pottery, fashion and/or interior design, sewing my own clothes, herb gardening, painting, novel writing. And a few I've tried and already know I love: jewelry-making (check out my little Etsy hub of happiness, here), floral design, baking, purse/bag design, handmade stationery, container gardening, calligraphy. I'm very happily married to a man I knew I wanted to be with after our very first date. Dashingly handsome, yes?

I have a large, beautiful, incredibly creative and talented group of friends. This is us.

We get together every week to eat and discuss a chapter or two of whatever book we're collectively reading at the time, so we've aptly (and creatively) dubbed ourselves "Book Group." The name's prosaic, I know, but we're all superlatively interesting. Proof: I make jewelry, my husband, Michael, and Chris are electric guitarist, bassist, and drummer in an amazing band called Cyrus (new album source; check them out), Evan paints, embroiders, and makes wonderful things out of felt, Jessica H. writes, Cory photographs, Garrett works in leather, Lori and Dani mold the minds of our young and impressionable, Jessica K. photographs and paints, Ashlee designs buildings, Dustin translates Greek and Hebrew. Oh, and little Sarah and Isaiah do fantastic impressions of a puppy and a lion, respectively. Sam just wiggles, but he's going to be a hula grand master before long. I'm really lucky to have such great friends. Tomorrow night we're having our annual Book Group Christmas party at my house! I'll post pictures soon!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin