Thursday, December 31, 2009

so long 2009!

Hello friends. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

While 2009 is coming to a close, I thought I would share some of my favorite photos from this past year. As tough as it was, it was a year filled with significant events and good experiences...

... I graduated college, married my best friend, traveled to the Caribbean for the first time, and added a furry new member to our family...

...went to great concerts and fun events with friends....

...enjoyed our new place just minutes away from the shore...

...and tried to enjoy the simple, often-overlooked things in life.

Hopefully there's lots more to come in 2010. Best wishes & Happy New Year to all!


Mrs. M

Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy holidays

{The Nicest Present}

Hello my darlings!

Just poppin' in to send you all some warm holiday wishes, and all the best in 2010. I hope you get to spend time with loved ones and eat lots of yummy things!

The snow is falling outside right now (again) so, it looks like we're definitely going to have a White Christmas this year :-)

Posting has been light as of late because of holiday-induced insanity but, will return to normal next week. I hope to see you then!

Mrs. M

Monday, December 21, 2009

my peachy pink champagne birthday

Hello there darlings.

As a December baby that arrived only 3 days before Christmas, I've had a history of short-changed and seemingly over-looked birthday celebrations. I know, poor me. So, I'm throwing myself an imaginary bash right here in Blogland, and you're invited.

My peachy-pink champagne birthday
would look like..

{Martha's beautiful champagne & streamers; Leslie's gorgeous Moroccan glasses & rose petals}

...and smell like...

{Fresh-baked cookies and sweet sugar wafers}

...and taste like...

{Thorsten's scrumptious apricot cheesecake; a sweet sorbet-champagne cocktail}

...and sound like...

{ Britney and Gaga for dancin'}

...and feel like...

{Lighthearted and bubbly}

Between my nasty cold, the 1+ feet of snow and the general busy-ness of this week, this is probably as good as its gonna get. Cheers anyway!


Mrs. M

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

greening the holidays

Hello dears. Are you green-ing your holidays this year?

No, I'm not talking decor color schemes but, rather, ways that you can have a more environmentally and socially conscious holiday season. I know that everyone has a lot on their plates this time of year (literally AND figuratively) but, that's no excuse for taking it out on Mother Nature, and your fellow earth-dwellers! So pardon me while I step up on my soap box for a minute ;-)

Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year's, American household waste increases by 25%, and that the trash generated from gift wrap and shopping bags totals over 4 million tons annually? Think of all the money and reusable materials wasted...
Nauseating, isn't it?

Well, it doesn't have to be this way. There are little things that we can all do to reduce our impact on the environment and help out others, while saving money, energy and other valuable resources in the process. Here are some great ideas to get you started...

{Martha's wonderful recycled holiday card ornaments and garland.}

{Stars made out of old cards could be used as ornaments, gift toppers or components of a garland, found on Recycle, eh!}

Holiday cards
In the U.S., 2.65 billion holiday cards are sold each year (that's enough cardstock to fill a football field 10 stories high!).

-This year, skip the cards and opt for e-cards for a nice, inexpensive and postage-free holiday greeting. You can find an assortment of lovely holiday e-cards at American Greetings, Hallmark and elsewhere online. Alternatively, send out a family style letter via e-mail with holiday photos and wishes for *free*.

-You'll inevitably get a few cards from others -- but what to do with them? Use the festive bits to make your own cards, gift tags, ornaments or use them in scrapbooking. Martha has a great tutorial for making different kinds of ornaments and garlands out of recycled holiday cards here. (I've made several of the globe ornaments -- they're so easy and look wonderful!)

{Pretty metallic wrapping, huh? Yeaaah, that's a potato chip bag! Don't believe me? - check this out.}
{Paul's recycled holiday card gift tags are so cute and eco-friendly.}

Gift wrap
Half of all the paper used here in the United States is used to wrap and decorate gifts. HALF. That's a freakin' lot of paper! Not to mention, we're spending about $2.7 billion on all that stuff... just to end up in the garbage.

-Recycle and reuse as much of your trimmings as you can -- wrapping paper, gift bags, tins, tissue paper, ribbon, bows, twine and packing fillers can all be reused easily. If the paper, tissue or bags are damaged beyond reuse, shred them to make recycled filler for gifts and packages.

-Better yet, don't wrap your gifts with wrapping paper at all! Try using newspaper, comics, brown grocery bags, craft or butcher paper, outdated maps, burlap bags, children's artwork, fabric - perhaps jazzed up with a little paint, rubber stamps, stickers or glitter, and tied up with yarn, lace trim or strips of fabric that you already have.

-Even better, make the packaging part of the gift -- put your prezzies in a basket, tin or crate; wrapped in a kitchen towel or a vintage scarf; in reusable fabric grocery totes or inside of a larger gift.

-Make your own gift tags out of paper scraps, old cards, paint color chips, brown paper bags, magazine pages or whatever else you can get your hands on. Or skip the tags completely and write the recipient's name directly on the wrapping.

{Craftmodo's classic cranberry & popcorn garland.}

Holiday decor
-Keep holiday lights turned off and/or unplugged during the day and while you're snoozing. This not only saves energy and reduces your December utility bill but, it will make your lights last longer, too.

-If you're buying new lights this year, try LED light strands -- they use 90% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.

-Create your own decorative garlands and buntings out of upcycled or repurposed materials (scrapbooking leftovers, newspaper, pretty magazine pages, fabric scraps, old envelopes, cupcake liners, book pages, coffee filters, whatever!). A few tutorials I thought were cool: Design*Sponge's recycled paper garland, and Creature Comfort's repurposed paper garland & cupcake toppers.

-You could also create biodegradable garlands from foodstuffs like popcorn and cranberries, which can be left outside for your feathered and bushy-tailed friends when they're done decorating your home.

{Edible homemade gifts are thoughtful and yummy. I love Real Simple's chocolate chunk hot cocoa mix idea.}

{Martha's teacup candles are a sweet gift -- and a great way to repurpose old candles and orphaned teacups.}

Gift shopping & giving
-Bring along reusable grocery totes when you're shopping for gifts, or consolidate all of your purchases into just one large shopping bag.

-Support artistans and crafters by buying handmade! Ya'll know I support Etsy and indie crafters as much as I can, and the holidays are a great opportunity to present your loves with beautiful handmade creations.

-In the interest of saving money, using things you already have and giving something truly meaningful, consider making your own gifts. There are great ideas out there for folks of any skill level and it is so much more special than anything you could possibly find on a store shelf. My favorite ideas include: edibles (cookies, granola, spice rubs, scented sugars, etc.), DIY infused vodka, homemade candles, family recipe books, stuffies, coupons for a service or time, treasured framed photos... see my links below for oodles of great ideas!

{Use fallen bits from your tree and other elements from nature as decor & gift embellishment, as Martha does here.}

{Your tree doesn't have to be a tree at all! Country Living's lovely rosemary "trees" are a great idea.}

Christmas trees
Over 33 million live trees are cut in North America every year, and most of them just end up in a landfill.

-Use clippings or fallen sprigs from your tree in your holiday decor or to top gifts.

-Look for alternatives to just throwing your tree out when the holidays are through -- some towns and cities use trees to make mulch for hiking trails, beach front erosion barriers and other things. Check with your local municipality to see what they're doing.

-Consider buying a potted tree or other plant (that is appropriate for your climate) and decorating it. It makes for a fun, nontraditional tree that you can keep or plant afterwards, and enjoy for years to come.

Some more links to give you green holiday inspiration...

*Martha Stewart: Eco Trimmings - Handmade Gifts - Earth Friendly Crafts (great gift ideas)

*Creature Comforts: 18 Days Series (ideas for handmade gifts & trimmings)

*Green Craft Magazine (gifts, gift wrap & decorations)

*Real Simple: Holiday Helpers - New Uses for Holiday Decorations - 9 Easy Recipes for Homemade Gifts - 14 Simple Homemade Gifts - New Uses for Holiday Things (great ways to repurpose post-holiday)

*A Do-It-Yourself Christmas: 34 Great Gifts You Can Make Yourself

*Recycle, eh! Blog (gift, decor & wrapping ideas)

Well my darlings, I hope that came off as helpful and inspiring, rather than preachy. I just think in these hard economic times and during these over-commercialized holidays, that we should be more mindful of our activities. We can be conscious, without sacrificing the thoughtful and joyous spirit of the season.

Mrs. M

{waste statistics from and}

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

pretty papers, pretty ribbons of blue

Hello darlings.

Today I felt like putting a wee collection of pretty blue-hued images together that remind me of my favorite things this time of year, like...

...shimmering lights...

{Sweet Paul's simple chestnut how-to, photo by Studio Dreyer Hensley}

{Ez's gorgeous You're Dazzling My Deer print, from her Wren & Chickadee shop}

...sweet comforts...

{Christmas cookies from Ez's inspiring Flickr stream}

{Aran's beautiful & mouth-watering churros with chocolate bisque}

...cheerful crafting...

{one of Leslie's lovely vignettes of ribbon & wooden buttons}

{Martha's pretty stiffened doily snowflakes}

...and celebrating tradition.

{Martha's unique manzanita branch Menorah}

{one of Country Living's easy snowflake crafts, the beaded tree topper}

These beautiful holiday blues just put me in the right mood. I hope you enjoy them, too.

Mrs. M

Monday, December 7, 2009

shop o' the week: naoko's stoop

Heya! Its Shop O' the Week time and do I have a special one for ya! Grab a cup of something warm to drink and pull up a chair, won't you?

{Left: Feels Like Yesterday, Right: Follow the Wind No. 4}

Today I'm beyond happy to share Naoko's Stoop with ya'll. Naoko - born in Tokyo and now residing in Brooklyn - is a self-taught illustrator who creates her wonderful renderings in her own loft studio. Inspired by her Big Apple neighborhood and childhood whimsy, her work exudes a unique brand of sweetness that I just *love*.

{Left: Moon Talk No. 2, Right: Oak Reading Room}

Her Red Knit Cap Girl series is just darling -- I love the adventures with her little animal entourage and of course, her signature red cap. I think I need to snag one of those hats...

{Left: Serene Night Story No. 4, Right: Bird in a Cage (green)}

{Left: Cardinal, Right: Happy Birthday}

Naoko's Brown Paper Bag collection is quite impressive -- inspired by a variety of used papers like vintage books and envelopes, she used brown paper grocery bags as the base for all of her artwork in this series. I think the repurposed materials make these works all the more charming, don't you?

{Left: Holiday Tree, Right: Making a Friend}

She also has several holiday-themed pieces, which are oh-so-cute and festive. Naoko offers several different notecard sets and all sorts of prints that would be great for giving to someone special this holiday season. I just bought the Winter Trio set of cards last month, and I love 'em so much that I've decided to keep and frame them for myself! (Merry Christmas to me :P )

So go take a peek at Naoko's work in her lovely shop and website, and get some of this cuteness for yourself!


Mrs. M

Saturday, December 5, 2009

shades of gray

Why hello there.

Its been a minute since I last did a post of themed picks so, I thought I'd do another for this imminent winter season.

The color gray (or grey, depending on your location) kind of gets a bad rep -- its usually associated with being dull, washed out or -dare I say- depressing. I happen to love gray, more so than I realized; after reorganizing my closet two weeks ago, I noticed that half of all my clothes are a shade of gray!

Anyway, I think there is a certain sophistication of gray that just appeals to me: its classy yet not as predictable as black, and delicately pretty without venturing into the metallic realm. Perfect for any occasion you may find yourself in this winter...

Staying in tonight? These picks make me want to do just that.

*I could definitely picture myself wearing this adorable polar bear hoodie by Zoe Chen, lounging around the house or otherwise. Cozy and cute.

*I featured a pair of Infusion's amazing Eco Toes way back when, but I adore these Mary Jane herringbone wool versions. A wonderful remedy for fugly house slippers.

*Nothing would make me happier than drinking some hot cocoa out of these neat faux bois mugs by Urban Soule on a cold winter night. Marshmallow, anyone?

*For those nights when you're fighting a bug or its just too damn cold, these therapy packs from the Ferris Wheels would be the perfect things to snuggle up to (while you're drinking your hot cocoa, of course).

Going out on the town? Go glam with gray.

*These lovely Wendy earrings by Bead Who You Are would be great for going out to eat, drink and be merry, whether in a dress or just jeans.

*Move over Little Black Dress! This Haute couture dress by Nostalgia is edgy, feminine and just plain chic. I love it and would wear it out in a heartbeat.

*I also loooove this Stormy Skies necklace from Rose Marie's Bijouterie. Something about the combination of pearls and satin ribbon is just so elegant.

*I'm not really a headband person but, I thought this charcoal Dior bow headband by Nomsa was adorable. Cute for a holiday party, no?

Where ever you may be headed, keep warm with something gray and cozy.

*This beautiful Alpaca scarf by Jill Bent just looks snuggly, and would go swimmingly with just about any style of winter jacket you might have.

*What's not to love about this reusable cozy cuff by Megan Auman -- it keeps your hands warm and your latte warmer, and it even doubles as a funky cuff bracelet!

*Whether you're headed to a party or skipping off to grandma's, this steel gray capelet from Hand Knitted Things is one sweet way to keep warm.

*Keep your digits toasty when you're braving the cold with some cute folk mittens like these by Green Bean Designs. I adore the Scandinavian pattern.

As always, I hope you've enjoyed my picks. Until tomorrow my darlings!


Mrs. M

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

cupcake liner holiday projects

Hey darlings! Its December already -- can you even believe it?
I thought I'd share some interesting projects with ya'll today, all of which involve creative holiday uses for - you guessed it - cupcake liners. I love finding new uses for common objects, and I think these ideas are really neat and so creative! Not to mention, they're a cinch to make and most of the materials needed you probably already have around the house.

First up, I have Annie Schlechter's cupcake twinkle lights (found via decor8). Strand of lights? Check. Cupcake liners of your choosing? Check. Scissors? Check. Snip, slip and viola! A sweet strand of twinklers perfect for stringing across the mantle for the holidays -- but I think they'd be lovely at a birthday party, a shower or even an intimate wedding celebration, too. So pretty.

(image: Anne Schlechter)

Next up, is Sweet Paul's cupcake liner holiday tree. Don't have room for a tree this year? Fear not! This tree can go up just about anywhere and all you need are the liners, some double-sided tape and a glittery tid-bit for your topper. Simple instructions right here (and check out the rest of Paul's blog for a whole month of wonderful holiday crafts).

(image: Alexandra Grablewski)

And last - but certainly not least - we have the fantastic cupcake liner garland from Project Wedding (featured in a recent Sunday Suppers post). This beauty is made with the liners - some tea-stained and others left as is - and vintage fabric scraps but, you could use just about anything (this version in Green Craft magazine uses coffee filters, old sheet music and book pages as well -- your materials are only limited by your imagination). No matter what you're using, I think these garlands would be right at home strung around doorways, above windows or even around your tree. Get the how-to right here.

(images: Karen Mordechai)

Who knew these delicate little paper cups could make such fun holiday decorations? Cupcake liners: not just for sweet treats anymore!

Mrs. M