Etsy Treasure Tuesday: Downstairs Designs

I happened upon Downstairs Designs Etsy shop not long ago and I think her signature In Touch Clutch is so cool. If I was going to meetings all the time and needed something stylish in natural linen to carry cards and a notepad with me at all times, I'd definitely have one of these already.
And it would be fantastic to take to jewelry consultations too. Consequently, it may just show up on my birthday list; be warned. Here are some of my favorites (all pink, of course):

Also available are larger discount packs for bridal parties or set gifts.

All images by DownstairsDesigns. Check out the Etsy shop!


My Weekend

Was awesome. With only a very few exceptions. Friday night was a communal family birthday party at which there was lots of laughing and lovely desserts. On Saturday morning we slept in and ate biscuits for breakfast while watching Rick Steves explore Madrid. Then for most of the afternoon, we read and rested. I made beef empanadas with golden raisins and asadero for dinner, after which we went out and worked for about an hour and a half in the backyard, stripping out the rogue trees that won't leave our kind plants alone. I went in shortly before Nathan, got in the shower, and ten minutes later, was frightened out of my wits when he knocked loudly on the bathroom window from the backyard -- it had started to rain, and I had inadvertently locked him out. Oops. I had to get out of the shower to go let my poor, sopping husband back into the house. (I'm really sorry about that, dear.)

And Sunday morning was even better: we decided that due to a sad lack of milk in the house, we'd have to go to Krispy Kreme for breakfast. And while we were there, they started baking, and gave both of us a free doughnut! Then we ran a couple more errands, including the library and grocery store, after which we came back home and I worked on finishing the custom wedding order I posted about on Friday. (More pictures coming soon.) More reading, jewelry, and the making of tasty homemade enchiladas followed. Then, what we all (well, I, mostly) had been waiting for: Hercule Poirot on Masterpiece Mystery! It was brilliant, just brilliant. I love Masterpiece, and Agatha Christie on Masterpiece is a wonderful treat.

I advise you to go and have a wonderful treat. I see a trip to Krispy Kreme in your future, I think. Happy day to you.


Favorite Things Friday: Wedding Jewelry

Of all the custom orders I do, wedding jewelry is my absolute favorite. Here are a few pieces I've done for an August wedding in soft yellow, gold, and ivory. I've done weddings before where the bridesmaids' pieces were all the same, but this bride wanted to personalize each of the girls' necklaces to fit their individual personalities and tastes, which I love and I think it makes the gift so much more special. So we talked about what each girl likes, wears, and their style, and these are what we came up with (there are actually six bridesmaids, but I'm still finishing up two of the necklaces):

Large handmade hoop with hand-wrapped faceted citrine and a double brass chain.

Large creamy rose with handmade tassel and vintage faux pearls.

Double-stranded brass chain with yellow chalcedony and crystal quartz briolettes.

Vintage brass flower with freshwater pearl in center, and large vintage faceted glass beads.

And this one, for the bride, is actually triple-stranded: a double-strand of delicate sterling chain, with a brass filigree on which I set a vintage crystal, overlaid with a hand-wrapped circlet of ivory freshwater pearls.

And here is a necklace and earring set I did last year for a bride from California who contacted me on Etsy:


DIY Thursday: Knot Trivet

I'm so going to try this out! Maybe I can find a pretty cotton rope in red or aqua to match my kitchen. See the instructions here, via design*sponge.


I Have Been Given Permission

to buy this on my way home tonight:

And I've been so looking forward to it, that I think I will, despite trying really hard lately not to spend money unnecessarily. It's gotten such good reviews. I ♥ regina!

And anyway, a celebration is in order: this is my 100th blog post!


Etsy Treasure Tuesday: Bake It Pretty

I've been seriously wanting cupcakes lately. I have no idea exactly why, but then why does anyone need a reason for cupcakes? I think I may have to come up with an excuse to make them sometime soon. I'll use yellow cake, whipped icing, and I'd love to add these wonderful little additions from Bake It Pretty:

Bake It Pretty's Etsy shop has hundreds of charming little items to make and embellish cakes cupcakes, and other lovelies. If you make some, please share.


A Little Joke for You

In case, like me, you didn't get enough sleep last night and have something of a Case of the Mondays.

Found here, on a lovely blog I just discovered, Naturally Nina.


How To Name Your Dog

My perennial go-to name for my non-existent mystery dog used to be Cletus. But I've officially been topped. One of our professors proudly introduced us to her Chihuahua today. His name is Busta. As in Busta Cap. She explained, "He told me that's what he wanted to be named. He told me if I didn't, he'd bust a cap in my ---." So yeah, like I said, official.

Oh, and his doggie tag reads "Holla at my peeps" right above the phone number to call if he's found somewhere. Run, Busta, run.

New New Math

I'm feeling the satire today, so here you go.

(More sarcasm here.)


So today, for DIY Thursday, I thought I might unveil an exciting home project we're about to embark upon, although I guess I can't technically classify it as DIY, because we're not actually going to do it ourselves. Anyway, we're going to have our house painted!

I've wanted to do this for a really long time; fix up the outside, make it reflect us a little more. So understandably, a lot of thought has gone into the paint colors, and I think I've decided upon a color scheme that seems a little risky, given the typical tame and neutral regional choices. So tell me what you think.

This is a Martha Stewart signature color called Vintage Map, which is the perfect shade of light aqua, in between blue and green. Almost every room in our house incorporates some little bit of aqua or light blue, and given that our house was built in the early 50's, I really think that it fits well with the overall style of the house as well as with our personal decorating tastes. And when this idea first occurred to me, I very nearly rejected it as being a little too crazy, but I love this color so much that I've determined to make it work. I'm thinking this color or one very similar for the greater part of the outside, white for the trim and the front gable of the house, and dark brown board and batten shutters, which we will actually make ourselves. Like these:

And of course, our red front door will tie in with the red climbing roses I plan to plant on the front wall and the red geraniums or other flowers I'll put in the flower box under the big window on the front. All of this is happening in July, and we have a lot of work to do before the house is ready to be painted: trees to trim, ivy to strip off, and a metal "cage" on the front porch to remove. I'm so excited! I'll take my own Before and After shots and show you the transformation in a couple of months. In the meantime, let me know what you think of my projected color choices!


Catching Up

I apologize for the terrifically long silence. I've been really busy, then sick, then busy again. The previous three weeks have entailed, among many other things: several inconvenient and slightly worrying trips to my doctor's office, new freshmen students descending on the campus in hoards (frustrated and harried hoards), two and a half days on the couch watching Elvis and Fred Astaire movies, seven hundred and fifty-four dead kleenexes, one dead Bur Oak, five custom jewelry orders, and a wedding for which I did the flowers. And I left a lot out.

So there hasn't been a lot of time for writing, and I'm not promising anything for the coming weeks, which are full of birthdays, family moving long distances, and more hoards of frightened freshmen. But I'll try to be at least a little less absent, and promise to post pictures of some of the custom orders I mentioned. Sadly, I was much too busy with getting all of the flowers done and delivered on time for my wedding this past weekend to remember to take pictures of any of them, but I'll try to do better. Forgive me, please, and we'll try to move forward together.


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