Wednesday, February 29, 2012

game night invitation

photo via
 I realize that I am exposing my inner geek by sharing this, but it's too funny not to share.  Erin Weck has a hilarious article over on Wired entitled, "The Game Night Invitation I Wish I Could Write."  Is there anything you'd add if crafting your own game night invitation?

lip-smacking good: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes in some adorable silicone footed cups given to me by a coworker
Red Velvet Cake is one of my favorite desserts.  I realize its just chocolate cake with red food dye, but there's a quality about it, a je ne c'est quoi feel to red velvet that sets it apart from chocolate cake.  It could be, too, that the cream cheese frosting helps a bit.

A while ago, I decided to try my hand at red velvet cake from scratch, and also made my own cream cheese frosting (a 3rd generation, no fail frosting recipe that will have people talking for weeks).  I've also made this frosting when baking sugar cookies and carrot cake.

I used this recipe from Martha Stewart to make the red velvet cake, and ended up making regular and bite-sized cupcakes.

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes

Then, to make the frosting:

1 stick butter (softened)
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese (softened)
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 C coconut (optional.  makes it harder to dye the icing, and some people are not huge fans of coconut.  the frosting is delicious either way)
Mix together well with mixer. For extra frosting to cake ratio, do one and a half this frosting recipe and you'll have plenty for the cake and some leftover (for spreading on graham crackers, regular crackers, sugar cookies, fruit, cardboard, or eating by the spoonful).  I decided to color some of the frosting using some neon pink food coloring I got from the grocery store.  Happy baking!

Monday, February 27, 2012

dusty the destroyer: blinds edition

truer words have never been spoken
photo via
Early on in my relationship with Dusty, I discovered that, when left to his own devices, boredom quickly crept in and he would resort to "re-arranging" my apartment to keep himself engaged and occupied.  I also discovered the hard way that he preferred to have the floor to ceiling windows in my living room, as well as the bank of windows in my bedroom, blinds-free.   This allowed him to look out without any obstructions and gave him lots of light in which to do his rearranging (nothing is worse than trying to reorganize in low light).

You know where this story is going.  Less than a month after adopting Dusty, I came home to shredded blinds, much like those pictured above.  One set of blinds in my living room was destroyed, and all three sets in my bedroom have seen better days.  I haven't had the guts to request four new sets of blinds from my landlord, though I'd be willing to chip in for them.  So I'm currently living without blinds in the living room, and dealing with one exposed window in my bedroom, coping with the mangled blinds in the other two windows as best I can.  Oh Dusty, it's a good thing you're cute.

vintage find: bookends

Heavy midcentury modern stone agate quartz bookends
my bookends from High Street Market

Despite getting a Kindle for Christmas a few years ago, I still love having paper copies of my favorite books.  And, as a self-proclaimed book worm, I have lots of them.  Bookends can be expensive, but if you go the vintage route, you're apt to find unique looking ones for a fraction of the price of their newer counterparts.  It's also likely that the ones you find will be as unique as the rest of your carefully curated bookshelf.  Case in point:

1) Brass Clamshell Bookends, VintagePennyLane, $22
2) Ivory Marble Horse Bookends, LolaandMaddieVintage, $22
3) Modern Onyx Bookends, theelmsvintage, $45
4) Shoe Form Bookends, buffalowinter, $24
5) Natural Tree Woodblock Bookends, NoWorseforWear, $25
6) White Quartz/Agage Geode Bookends, hopehealshome, $40
7) Brass Loop Bookends, BeautifulLine, $27
8) Industrial Salvage Caster Sale 1 Bookend,  tippleandsnack, $24.99
9) Stained Glass and Wood Bookends, BeautifulLine, $38

Friday, February 24, 2012

think spring sale

a pair of painted lampshades
 Now through March 23rd, most of the items in my shop are 20% off. 

kelly green graphic painted lampshade
Shop lampshades, wreaths and paintings.  More wreaths and garland coming  to the shop soon, including a crepe paper rose wreath. 

pom-pom wreath

I'll have a DIY post on how to make a similar crepe paper rose wreath sometime next week.  Stay tuned!

12x12 geometric acrylic painting
Enjoy your weekend.  Hope it is warm wherever you are!

before and after: gold painted frames

So, as you can probably tell, I am on a gold kick.  Even better if a project involves gold spray paint.  I have a gallery wall of sorts in my living room and wanted to add a few more pieces to it.  But, all three of the pieces had black frames that didn't go with the rest of the pieces on the wall. 

The finished product with the art back in the frames.  All art was purchased on Etsy.
 So I popped the pictures and glass out of the frames, brought them outside and applied a few even layers of gold spray paint to the front and sides of each of the wooden frames.  I really like how they turned out, and they look great on the wall.

the whole wall with the newly framed art

If you have a frame you'd like to make gold, but cant remove the picture or glass, Jenny put up a great tutorial on using a gold leaf pen to transform your frame.  She has some impressive DIYs and a great sense of style.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

lip-smacking good: sharp cheddar and sparkling apple cider fondue

sharp cheddar and sparkling apple juice fondue with bread, apples and peppers for dipping
I love me some fondue.  When my parents got a fondue pot several years ago, my mom set to work making delicious cheese and chocolate recipes and I was hooked.  Fondue combines my preference for sampling little bits of several things (or, in this case, a little cheese or chocolate on several things), with the urge I often get to dip my food in something (cookies in milk, bread in soup, donuts in coffee).  And that's not even to mention the fun parties you can have with fondue on the menu.  There's something intimate and fun about sharing stories over a pot of melted cheese.  There are even games you can play while eating fondue.  One I know of involves anyone who loses their bread, apple, brocolli in the fondue must tell an embarrassing story about themselves on the spot.  Have I sold you yet?

My mom and I got so good at making fondue, that we believe our recipes rival the Melting Pot.  Lest you think I'm a total braggart, our opinion has been echoed by friends and strangers alike.  So when I found out about the Crafty Pinterest Potluck happening in my city at the Upcycle Exchange this Friday, I knew I had to come with fondue.  My go-to cheese fondue recipe is a sharp cheddar and sparkling apple cider fondue.  It calls for a pinch of nutmeg, too which really sends it over the top in my book.  Without further ado or fanfare, here is the recipe.

the goods
4 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1 C sparkling apple cider
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

bread, granny smith apples, peppers, and any other vegetables or fruits for dipping
1) combine the cheese and cornstarch in a medium bowl
2) place your fondue pot on the burner and turn the heat to medium
3) add the apple cider and lemon juice to the fondue pot and stir together
4) wait a few minutes for the liquids in the pot to warm
5) begin to add your cheese/cornstarch mixture to the fondue pot in handfuls, stirring as you go
6) as the cheese in the pot begins to melt, add more until you've reached the bottom of the bowl
7) during this time, you can also be cutting up the bread, apples, etc you'll be using for dipping
8) stir in salt, cinnamon and nutmeg
9) turn the burner to med/lo
10) at this point you can either dish the cheese into individual bowls or take the fondue pot to the table and place a tea light under it to keep the fondue warm


Monday, February 20, 2012

game night

Juli and Zach pondering their answers to one particularly loaded question

On Friday, I hosted a Valentine's-themed Game Night.  And by Valentine's-themed, I mean that most of the food and decorations were pink and red. I made large and small red velvet cupcakes, strawberry cake pops covered in white and milk chocolate, chocolate lollipops, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

the sweet to salty, junk to healthy food ratio seemed appropriate for the valentine's themed-party.  you can see the celery sticks poking out in the background. strawberries (chocolate covered or not) count as fruits.

 I also found some strawberry Fitz's drinks, blood orange sparkling juice and raspberry lemonade to continue my pink and red theme.   

Sarah guessing everyone's answers to the question, "If you owned a funeral home, what would the slogan be?"

About 10 people showed and we mingled, ate and played a long game of Loaded Questions.  This is a great game for a large party, and even though not everyone knew each other, you wouldn't have guessed it by the third question. 

Looking perplexed that her guess for Stuart did not pan out

A night full of food, fun and friends for sure.  My favorite kind of night.  I'm already thinking about when to host another one, and what the theme should be.

Some Stuart and Diane love before the game commenced
What games are your favorite to play with a large group?  What kinds of themes have you come up with for parties or game nights that have been a particular hit?

vintage find: boots made for walking

size 7 brown italian leather riding boots
vintage leather boots from here

Wanting to find stylish boots while keeping more than half of my paycheck, I had the inspired idea to go online to my site of choice, Etsy.  I quickly found these beauts, and saw that they were well under half the price of all the boots I ogled at the mall.  Also, when buying leather, I like to buy vintage.  For some reason, it makes me feel less guilty about owning leather.  I suppose because the boots were already manufactured and I'm not creating demand for new leather to be produced. 

There are plenty of options in a range of sizes, styles and colors.  As with anything vintage, if you like it, buy it, because once it's gone, it's gone.  Here are some other options for those who still haven't found a pair they like in their price range:

1) myfavoritevintage, size 5.5, $55
2)  oldbaltimorevintage, size 9.5, $55  3) santokvintage boots, size 7.5, $54
4) foragershop, size 7, $35
5) lovestreetvintage, size 7.5, $30
6) fillyourboots, size 7-7.5, $45.33

Saturday, February 18, 2012

lip-smacking good: cake pop edition

my 2nd attempt at cake pops. strawberry cake with strawberry icing, dipped in white chocolate.

Ok, so this feels like cheating a little bit, since there isn't much of a recipe to follow, but these were delicious and so fun to make.  No question, I am a cake-pop convert.  There are cake pop recipes all over the Internet, so I won't post one here, but I will say that the sure-fire way to get the cake balls to stay on the lollipop sticks is to dip them in melted chocolate first.  Then, push the melted part of the stick 3/4 of the way into the cake ball.  Some of the melted chocolate will ooze out of the cake ball and form a circle around the base of the cake ball.  This is fine, and helps anchor the cake ball on the stick.  It also helps to refrigerate the balls for a little while before dipping them into the melted chocolate.  Either way though, the cake pops should stay on the stick when submerged in the chocolate.  And a little chocolate goes a long way.  Also, if you decide you want to embellish your cake pop with sprinkles and such, make sure to do this right after dipping, as the sprinkles will not stick to hardened chocolate.

Good luck on your cake pop adventures.  Have you ever made them?  Any advice you have that I neglected to mention?

Friday, February 17, 2012

before & after: striped rug

If you've read my blog before, it's likely you know what a little terror my 8 year old Australian Shepherd, Dusty, can be.  Terror is also a good way to describe the emotion one look at my carpet brings out in me.  Where Spot Shot hasn't worked, I am hoping rugs can.  Six rugs in a 615 square foot apartment seems like overkill, but when the alternative is visibly stained carpet, I'm ok with it. 

Finding and financing 6 rugs that I like enough to grace my floors is another problem.  Until, I got the brilliant idea to spray paint a cheap, bland-looking rug in a style that is consistent with the rest of my decor.  I've been a fan of using spray paint to spruce things up for a while.  I've used it to update my coat rack and to make my picture frames appear uniform on the wall.  I had my doubts about whether this experiment would work.  But figured if it was absolutely awful, I could turn the rug over and no one would be the wiser.  Thankfully, the project went off without a hitch, and I have a rug I am happy with for under $25.

the goods

1 rug
spray paint (I bought one black and one white canister of flat spray paint)
2 strips of cardboard as long as the rug's width (or something like it to cover the section of rug that you dont want to be painted)
drop cloth (to protect the area where you will be working)

how to

1) lay down the drop cloth in the area where you intend to paint your rug.  Place the rug on top of it.
2) cut two strips of cardboard as long as the rug's width and as wide as you want your stripes to appear on the rug.  If you want different stripe widths, cut several strips in different widths.
3)  place one strip of cardboard on the rug below where you want the first stripe to be.
4) pick a paint color and spray the exposed part of the rug evenly until the paint has covered the rug and the original color of the rug cannot be seen.
5) let the paint dry before moving on to the next part of the rug.
6) cover the painted part of the rug with one of the cardboard pieces.  take the other cardboard piece and place it on the rug so that there is a section of rug exposed between the two cardboard pieces.
7) Take your second color and spray the exposed part of the rug evenly until the paint has covered the rug and the original color of the rug cannot be seen.
8) Repeat steps 6-7, alternating colors, until you have finished painting the rug.
9) Let the rug dry thoroughly before placing it in your home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

here's to like

a card, edited by your's truly, for joe
I know there are a lot of people who don't like Valentine's day for whatever reason, be it the attempt at commercializing of love, the lack of a love interest, the feeling that love should not just be reserved for one day.  I understand, and agree with those reasons.

Natural Wood Coasters - Alaska Spalted Birch - Set of 4
coasters from this cute Etsy shop
But I also love that there is a day reserved to tell all the important people in our lives that we care for and appreciate them.  It's nice to express gratitude for them and show them that we think they are pretty special.

a cookie and chocolate candy plate I delivered to Joe's office yestrday morning

We can (and should) do it every day, but I don't mind having a day to do it extra well.  Here's to like, gratitude, love, care and appreciation.  Hope you had a Happy Valentine's Day.

*yes, that is a chocolate lollipop that spells out a name in cursive.  and yes, I will be doing a short, and super easy tutorial on how to make these lollipops later this week.  stay tuned :).

Monday, February 13, 2012

interview: erica popp

Erica Popp is a St. Louis artist who has been exhibiting her photography and mixed-media work since 2003, including a solo show of her non-silver photographic prints at the Indianapolis Art Center in 2007. Erica holds a B.A. in Studio Art from Principia College, an A.F.A. in Photography from St. Louis Community College at Meramec, and is working toward an M.A. in Literacy Education. She also spent a year studying photography and ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute. Erica is a practicing artist and teaches writing and Photography at Principia College in Elsah, IL and at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art.

After seeing that Erica had work in the current exhibit at Art Saint Louis, I asked Erica some questions about her art, and she answered them as best she could. She remarked that the questions were challenging and fun to think about.

a Van Dyke Brown print, "Whisper of a Dream"
Who or what inspires you?
I draw a lot of inspiration from nature, and from ideas that I come across in literature or in conversation. I am also inspired by the work of other artists. Their influence may not be obvious in the work that I do, but some of my favorite artists are Andy Goldsworthy, Imogene Cunningham, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Anselm Kiefer, Ann Hamilton, and Oliver Herring. Most of those artists are contemporary. I think this is because I see art not as just making beautiful things, but as a conversation with other artists and with viewers of art. What am I saying in response to Goldsworthy’s work? How do I relate to Sugimoto’s ideas about what makes the best photographs? I am interested in what’s going on now – what is happening in the world, and how are other artists responding to these events and ideas?

a digital photograph titled "Secrets"

Who or what would you consider your most important form of support?
I think my mom’s encouragement to do whatever makes me happy is huge. Another important supporter is my friend Sun Smith-Foret. She’s an established artist who I work for as a studio assistant. I’ve learned a lot from working in her studio over the last two years. I also have the support of my friends and of other women artists from the Women’s Caucus for Art.

One of Erica's sculptures (Found books, plywood, and particle board) "They Are So Wise"
How has your own art evolved over time?
I think my art has come to be more concerned with exploring ideas than with creating pretty pictures. I still love making beautiful things, but I am now more interested in how it helps me think through complex ideas. I care less about the end product and more about the process. I’m also more comfortable working outside of my favorite medium, photography, and trying different approaches to the same idea.

Erica with her piece, "Temporal, Cyclical," which was on display at the Foundry Art Center in 2010. 
It is currently on display through Feb. 23 at Art St. Louis
photo credit: Jennifer Weigel
What is your favorite piece of your own art and why?
My favorite piece is the installation piece that is currently on display at Art Saint Louis as part of the “Memory” exhibit (the show runs through February 23). The piece is called “Temporal, Cyclical,” and is made up of ginkgo leaves and torn paper. It’s my favorite because it is one of my first serious departures from my photographic work. I’ve been interested in sculpture, but not done much of it. However, I find it refreshing to pursue similar themes in different media – to approach the same idea in several ways. In some ways this piece isn’t much of a departure at all. As a photographer, I’m interested sharing what I find beautiful or intriguing in the world. That’s also what I’ve done with “Temporal, Cyclical.” I found the leaves beautiful, and I found the yellowing paper beautiful, and I wanted a way to share what I saw in them. Presented in this way, as a shape resembling a crescent moon, I am able to speak about the way things change over time, yet continue. I think that art and poetry affect us on a level that is intuitive and that gives us a new insight into something that is true, but that perhaps we don’t know how to put into words. 

This piece is also a departure from my obsession with archival quality that so many photographers have. We’re trained in it. In photography, everything is acid-free, and I handle my work with white cotton gloves. This sculptural piece is the opposite of archival. This piece is not meant to last in its current state. It’s made from organic material and paper that is yellowing away to nothing. It will, however, have a second life when I use the materials to make new paper.

Erica installing her piece, "Temporal, Cyclical," at Art St. Louis
photo credit: Robin Hirsch
Who’s your biggest fan?
Definitely my mom. Although my friends and the rest of my family are also great supporters, as are the women from the Womens’ Caucus for Art.

"Temporal, Cyclical" at Art St. Louis
photo credit: Robin Hirsch
Final words? Advice for other artists and aspiring artists?
If you are passionate about art, make it fit into your life. It’s difficult sometimes. I know that I have a hard time finding time and space for art-making when I know I have papers to grade, papers to write, dishes to wash, and lessons to plan. I’m trying to get used to thinking about art practice in the same way musicians think about practice. When I took flute and piano lessons I was always supposed to practice for an hour or two a day or something like that. Art is the same way, I think.

I think building a network of artists is also important. Although it’s true that the world of art is competitive, my experience has been that artists are generally supportive of one another. Getting involved with groups such as The Women’s Caucus for Art, Art Saint Louis, or the Saint Louis Artists’ Guild can help you meet people who are dealing with the same things you are dealing with, or who are older and wiser and great at giving advice. I have learned a lot from the people I work with.

I also recommend that aspiring artists put their work out there! And don’t just show it to your parents and your friends who will tell you how great you are – show it to people who know about art and will ask you tough questions about what you’re doing. Getting critical feedback can sometimes feel discouraging, but you can’t fear it. It’s important to know what people are seeing in your work, and it’s an opportunity for artistic growth.

Also, look at art, read about art, write about art, and take a class in criticism. I audited a literary criticism class and learned even more about art than I had learned from my studio classes. I had learned techniques for making art, but studying literature helped me learn how to think about art.

Thanks so much Erica for taking the time to share your inspired thoughts on art with me.  Be sure to check out Erica's piece in Art St. Louis's Memory exhibit now through February 23rd.  You can also learn more about Erica by following her blog or visiting her Etsy shop.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

vintage find: scarves

Hot Pink and Navy Ikat Border Print Pure SIlk Crepe de Chine Fabric--One Remnant
remnant of a pink and navy silk fabric from here
My wardrobe consists of a few tried and true basics, and I love finding inexpensive fabric or scarves to jazz them up and add variety. This ensures coworkers and my mom are less likely to notice when I wear the same thing twice in a week.  I've found scarves in my grandmother's closet, on the streets of New York, in second-hand shops and online.  I particularly like the online fabric stores on Etsy because they often sell pretty fabric by the yard and I can wear what I find and then figure out how to incorporate it into my apartment (as a pillow, wall art or something else entirely).

Here are a few available fabrics and scarves I am digging as of late:

1) Bright Abstract, fabricsandtrimmings, $17.88
2) Vera Silk Scarf, RetroReality, $24
3) French Vintage Scarf, taffetablue, $21.57
4) Silk and Rayon Velvet Tie Dye, fabricsandtrimmings, $22.88
5) Native American Print, WhimsyTime, $16
6) Bright Orange and Fucshia Stripe Nylon Spandex, fabricsandtrimmings, $9.95
7) Blocks Print Long Scarf, leahgoren, $36
8) Zig Zag Geometric Scarf, bluebutterflyvintage, $3.20
9) Two Vintage Vera Silk Long Scarves, voguevintage, $18

Thursday, February 9, 2012

dusty the destroyer: seat belt edition

dusty hiding in shame, hoping to blend into the pillows

Last week, Joe took me out to Chihuahua's Mexican restaurant for dinner.  Initially, I was a bit hesitant because of the name of the restaurant, but Joe assured me that he had been several times and their fajitas were really good.  Since Dusty had proven a few weeks prior that he could not be trusted to stay in Joe's house alone, we brought him in Joe's car with us.  Dusty was a champ all through dinner, and stayed peacefully in the car.

Joe and I pushed the envelope when we decided to run by the grocery store on the way back to his house to pick up a few things for the Super Bowl party we were throwing later in the week.  We were gone less than 10 minutes, and we returned to discover Dusty chewing through Joe's seat belt!  Luckily we reached him in time to prevent him from completely chewing the seat belt in half, but  Joe still had to piece it back together with duct tape before we drove off.

Fast forward to a few nights later, when we took Dusty back to the same grocery store, this time in my car.  He had been in my car for much of the day since he protested staying in my apartment while I was at work.  He then sat obediently  in the car through dinner with my parents, not so much as touching any seat belts.  However, the very short trip to the grocery store proved to be more than Dusty could handle without retaliating, and this time, Dusty was able to chew my driver's side seat belt in two.  I used a combination of knots and duct tape to piece it back together and hope to attach the two pieces together more effectively with a needle and thread.  As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you.  Fool my twice, shame on me.

you know you're awesome when

sometimes, i feel like this white seal looks
photo via

* you realize at 4:00 that your cardigan has been on inside-out all day.
* you wear tennis shoes with a dress into work since you rolled your ankle (and made a
   scene) during your first spinning class.
* you wipeout in the middle of the parking lot on your first day in heels since the spinning
   class debacle, due to the combo of said heels and some very roomy pant cuffs.
* you go back to pairing tennis shoes with dresses indefinitely.
* you listen to the glee and wicked soundtracks day after day because you don't have the
   administrator rights necessary to install flash on your work computer.
* you and your boyfriend compete to complete the wheel of fortune puzzles each night on
   tv.  this is the highlight of your day.
* your friend refers to you as the albino rhino.
* you still don't really know what this means, but decide to go with it.  I mean, it's kinda
* your boyfriend affectionately refers to you as katonce even though you are a slim, white
   girl with no rhythm.
* your dog chews entirely through your seat belt, forcing you to use a combination of knots
   and duct tape to render it of use again.  then he proceeds to pee in your trunk.

yes, all these things really did happen to me in the last two weeks.  But, I am grateful to report that I am back to wearing normal shoes to the office!  It's the little things.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

painting lately


 Last night was the first night in a while that I had a block of time to spend just by myself.  In addition to updating my coat rack, I also broke out my acrylic paints and set to work on two new paintings.  I turned on Law and Order: SVU and went to town on these two canvases.  I haven't painted much since Christmas, and didn't realize how much I missed it until I sat down to work on these.


I realized that I need to make more of an effort to carve out time for painting.  To make it more of a priority to engage in creative pursuits that stimulate my mind and give me a sense of accomplishment.  That push me to think and to translate this thinking to something concrete and physical.

What are you trying to carve out more time for?  What are you cutting out of your life or making less of a priority to make this happen?

before and after: coat rack

 Last night I decided my coat rack needed some updating.  With more and more brass items in my living room, its dark, antiqued look stuck out like a sore thumb.  I went to Michael's, my go-to craft store and picked up a can of Krylon, Metallic Spray Paint in Gold.  I looked at the brass color, but it was too yellow-y for my taste, and the gold looked warmer.

I got home, removed the coats and scarves from the rack and brought it out to my patio.  I would recommend completing a similar project in the daylight, but I work during the day, and when the makeover bug takes over, I like to strike while the iron is hot.  I sprayed the rack all over, and then went back to trouble spots (underneath some of the rack arms, the little balls on the end of each rack, etc).  Then, I let it dry for a few hours and brought it back into my house.  I'm not sure if it was necessary to wait a few hours, but the last thing I wanted was gold paint on my carpet.

 I am really pleased with the results and can't wait to use it as a coat rack again.  Have you ever used spray paint to update a piece of furniture?  How did it turn out?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Be My Valentine: Handmade Gifts for Your Honey Bun

 This Valentine's Day get your best friend, girlfriend or boyfriend something handmade.  They will be sure to appreciate something made just for them.  I've listed some ideas above and below that should work for most people on your list, even the Valentine's nay-sayer.

1) Vintage Cherry Secretary Blouse M/L, shopREiNViNTAGE, $36
2) Retro Snack Bowl, PherdsFinds, $10
3) Valentine Card Set, leahgoren, $11
4) Valentine Custom Message Photo Locket, stellasavestheday, $58
5) Custom Printed Hankercheif, BenignObjects, $4.50
6) Pink and Yellow Roses Oil Painting, bijuterra, $100
7) Two Sweet Rose Combs, alexandragrecco, $15
8) Custom Calligraphy Address Stamp, kmcalligraphy, $40

1) Knit Tie Skinny Necktie in Tobacco Tweed Brown Lambswool, vKnit, $43.81 
2) I Love You Myopically Valentine's Card, mardymabel, $4.87
3) Half Pint Red Denim Thermos, inmyigloo, $9 (perfect for filling with homemade soup)
4) Handmade Soft Leather 11 Inch Shoulder Bag, GenuineGoods786, $54
5) Eco-Friendly ShavingKit, orangefuzz, $37
6) Man Meat Valentine Cookie Gift Box, whippedbakeshop, $36 
7) Military Blanket with Yellow Stitching, jerseyicecreamco, $65
8) Men's Plaid Apron, dearedna, $35

Monday, February 6, 2012

artist crush: lulie wallace

photo via
 Lulie Wallace's paintings are some of my favorites.  I love how cheerful they are, the bright colors and the beauty and dimension in the flowers.  I also love that they are reasonably affordable. I recently bought myself one as a Christmas present.  As you might imagine, I think it is even more beautiful in person.  Here are some of my favorite Lulie Wallace paintings.

photo via

Lulie paints out of Charleston, SC at a studio space at the non-profit community art center, Redux with 26 other local artists.  She also works at Indigo, a local gift store.  She started painting florals during her senior year at the College of Charleston and has been painting flowers ever since.  She used to purchase local flowers from a florist, but soon tired of painting the same types of flowers for a month at a time.

photo via

She has expanded her subjects to include pictures of wedding bouquets.  She also takes commissions, and some women send in pictures of their own bouquets for her to capture on wood panels.  The wood panels that she paints on provide a texturized foundation for each painting.

photo via
Lulie hopes that people will look at her artwork and feel that it represents "something they never would have pictured in still life. I want it to make the viewers think, ‘That’s something I never would have expected.’”

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Check out more of Lulie's work here and here.

*Biographical information and quotes from Lulie's personal blog, or the Charleston City Paper
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