Thursday, June 30, 2011

A is for {shabby} apple: dress review

All around Blogland there have been generous giveaways from Shabby Apple, an online dress boutique selling women’s dresses, casual dresses, skirts, and women’s apparel. Perhaps you have even entered a giveaway or two -- I know I have. So when I was approached by Shabby Apple to either host a giveaway or choose a dress to receive and review, I couldn't help myself because I actually had an event to go to and that is almost as rare for me as getting a dress for free!

I was given a long list of items from which to choose. I consulted the website's Fit Guide and Shop by Body Type tools, which were very helpful.

I also liked the info in their About Us:
After years of not being able to find stylish dresses that covered enough skin to make you really feel comfortable (without wearing a tank top, cardigan or long slip), owners Emily and CK decided to do something about it. {No cardigan!? Is this possible?}

I decided on the Azure Coast dress. It was ordered for me and arrived the day of my event. I was thrilled until I opened the box because while the dress was pretty, it was heavy-weight and I would be spending the evening outdoors on a warm summer night at a zoo fundraiser. I wore something else.

Silly me.

{Not silly-me or my dress but the one photo I took at Zoobilee.}

Today with my review deadline approaching, I tried on the dress.

I instantly loved how it fit. Loved the details and how the canvas-weight adds to its overall quality and the way it drapes (drape-ability? drape-titude? drape-appeal?). Yep, just as the description stated, the dress is a "true gem of a multi-tasker ... with it's playful puff sleeves and no-nonsense shirt collar."

So, while the dress description could have included more about the type of cotton or weight, everything else was wonderful.

And look -- no cardigan!

~ If you plan to order something from Shabby Apple, use the code cottage10off within 20 days to receive 10% off. There are many really beautiful dresses from which to choose.
~ For special promotions and discounts, Like Shabby Apple on Facebook, too.

happy shopping!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

furniture earrings

I wasn't looking for new hardware but when I saw some knobs on sale recently at Anthropologie, I grabbed a trio in two styles of palest pink glass, knowing I'd find a use for them someplace.

This plain cabinet tucked between the desk and a bookcase in the Girlie Office seemed like a good candidate for a 2-minute makeover.

Within minutes, a little transformation had taken place. It was like the furniture had switched basic post earrings for something special and fancy.

Fashioned like a slow motion splash,
watery glass
lends a refreshing air
to stately chifforobes.

{Love this description of the Violette knob from!}

I added the final "earring" to the coffee table ...

From everyday elegant
to evening magnificent.

Eternally chic designs that captivate the eye
and illuminate your style.

{Fabulous description of earrings from Tiffany & Co.}

Captivating! ;)

Now my "everyday elegant" pieces are ready to mingle with the likes of chifforobes, chiffoniers, davenports and chesterfields.

{How anthropomorphic!}


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

summer stylin'

I have been pitching DIY articles to Cottages & Bungalows magazine for some time now and guess what? I was recently assigned two pieces that will likely publish this fall. DREAMY!

Acting as stylist for do-it-myself photo shoots, I headed directly to Trader Joe's, home of beautiful flowers and produce at really great prices, in prep to style rooms for each article.

{Below are some of the photos I took that did not make "my cut"
and were
not sent along for publication.}

I recalled images from favorite magazines and things that Fifi did while she was here to style the kitchen, dining room and master bedroom. {Yep, there are those faux cherries from Target again}

I scurried about staging little scenes and vignettes.

I even wrote a couple of project tutorials and shorter sidebar pieces and am so curious and excited to find what will be used or not and how it will all be laid-out and look in print.

I even finally committed to the idea of how to use this piece of linen (hugs, huge thanks and dinner to Shellie) which will be revealed in the bedroom article.

I also wrote a Make It feature for the August issue of Romantic Homes. Not to rush summer or anything ...

Happy Summer!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

pretty messy

Tonight while sorting through my iPhoto library, deleting photos to make room for new ones, I came across a bunch of pics I had taken of messes.

Not all-out crazy messes but the pretty messes that happen when creating. The above photo was snapped during a recent snipping session that included coffee and brownies. My youngest sat drawing across from me. {I treasure afternoons like this.}

This little mess was likely made during preparations for an annual craft show.

Like many bloggers, I enjoy the process of staging and styling mini photo shoots -- last minute tidy-ups and positioning things in view just-right -- but sometimes it's fun to document the flip side of creativity -- the glorious mess-making of it all!

Photo by Dan Mayers

It's important to remember that not every day looks like this ...

or this ...

but more like this.

Happy mess-making ...


Thursday, June 9, 2011

displays of affection

Back in April Somerset Studio announced a call for submissions looking for "pictures of mood or inspiration boards and of what's currently on your worktable." I never did get a reply from the magazine but it was still an enjoyable exercise because who knows? In a few months the board could change. Again. And this post will serve as a keepsake.

The board was originally powder blue gingham purchased in excited preparation for my first baby's bedroom. Years later, after painting the Girlie Office pale yellow, I recovered the board in raspberry paisley fabric. Then there was my giant GASP over the aqua Lecien antique flower fabric and the board was recovered once more to how it looks today. {Fascinating stuff, eh?!}

My board is a mix of mood and inspiration ... and fun. It holds sweet notes and Valentines from my boys, pretty business cards, family photos, even the price tag from a dress I bought for $4.98 that was marked down from $89.50 (a real coup!).

To complete the publication entry: here is what was on my worktable that day.

Stepping back and looking at the photos, I can see that my inspiration-mood board reflects what I'm working on and vice-versa. Kind of like -- is the sky blue or does it reflect off the ocean? Or did I just have too much sugar with breakfast and I'd better nibble on some almonds?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

greatest hits collection

Feels like it's been a while since I've posted a tinkering idea so here's my latest ... a recipe card holder made from a CD case.

First, gather your favorite sturdy patterned paper (scrapbook, wallpaper) or copy fabric onto white card stock (shown above). Using an empty CD case as your guide, trace where you will need to cut for each card to fit inside the case. {You will need to trim a bit smaller than the outline}

Select favorite recipes, type them up and print them out.

{Tinkered Tips}
- For this project I used the Word application
- Use an easy-to-read font for the recipe but feel free to have a little fun with the titles
- Your layout will need to be kept narrow so that it will fit on the card stock
- Use short recipes that will fit on single cards
- 12 cards is probably the maximum that will fit into a CD case
- Use glue stick

Print and trim each recipe so that it will fit on your cut card stock leaving enough room for the pattern to show. You may need to experiment with font sizes and recipe length so that it all fits as you like.

{Once your recipe cards are complete, it's time for a pretty cover because packaging is everything, is it not?}

For my cover I created a title with the same font combination I used for the cards (and then placed the text box within an oval shape with a dotted line border). Next I printed, trimmed and glued the title onto a piece of card stock.

Finally, slide all of the cards face-up with the cover on top into the CD case. If giving as a present, tie the case with a strip of fabric or ribbon and secure a paper rose into the knot using its wire stem.

To use, open the CD case and swing the top all the way back until it forms a stand. Tuck the cards into the holder.

A sweet summer something to add to a basket with a jar of preserves or muffins, or to simply enjoy in your own kitchen.