Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Grayer Place...

My sisters and I found ourselves making a beeline to the antique stores this weekend.  I suppose to anyone outside our family, shopping after having just lost our grandfather so unexpectedly might seem shallow.  But to us, antiques were the most immediate way to feel closer, not only to the grandfather suddenly no longer with us, but also to our grandmother and the rest of our family currently gathered in Vermont awaiting us.  

I spent a lot of time examining the influences my grandfather has had on me this weekend, and time and again I came back to my love of antiques being one of the biggest.  I am comforted to realize that this love permeates absolutely every aspect of my life. From the lamp that has been on my bedside table for as long as I can remember to the ring that Nathan will put on my finger at our wedding, Papa's love of these objects has clearly become my passion as well.

On trips and in life, Nana and Papa always made time for the treasure hunts.  They taught their grandchildren to see that every antique has a purpose and a story that adds to its value. Papa's interest in antique lighting inspired us to see the history in every old find.   His passion inspired all of us to find ways to do what we love and to surround ourselves with things that others have loved.

It is because of him that I know how to tell the difference between hand blown and factory made glass.  It seems a small thing really, but it represents all those times he took the time to share his interest with me.  All those times I tiptoed through his shop, trying my best to be graceful, while asking about oil lamps, shades, and electric wiring come to life every time I run my finger across the bottom of an old lamp. 
My grandfather was a fascinating man.  He was resourceful and determined.  He was talented and creative, and he was brave and proud.  And the world will be a grayer place without him in it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shoe Showdown

I'm currently deciding on my wedding shoes. You'd think that our wedding, being the nontraditional venture that it is, would make for an easy time of choosing an appropriate shoe.  In truth, I am finding it to be a challenge.  First of all, since the wedding is outdoors, I can't go with heels. So I am limited to wedges or flats. I would prefer them to not be completely flat.

This is one pair I ordered: Sophia by Seychelles.  They're pretty comfortable, will fit into the color scheme, and I will probably wear them again (although I don't really own any yellow clothes, and I will definitely be needing a tan). 

I also ordered: Bette by Seychelles.  The picture shows them in something of an aqua color, but I got them in off white.  Though they are completely flat, I was surprised by how much I liked them on.  Very comfortable and although they look somewhat frou frouey, they don't look over the top on.
And, I ordered (thank goodness for those free returns from Zappos): Chiara by Franco Sarto.  These look a little Pepto Bismal-esque, but in person it's more of a blush color.  More the heel height I would prefer, but not loving the color and the shoes aren't perfectly comfortable (although I could probably stretch them on my shoe stretcher to fit perfection).

Finally, my favorites: Grape by Franco Sarto.  A 3 inch wedge heel with tiny perforations.  I love that this could be my something blue, I love how cute they look on my feet, and they are super comfortable!  I would probably also wear these a lot afterward.  My only concern is that these are pretty substantial wedges for trotting about in a field...

Luckily though, I have a full year to return them for a refund, so I have lots of time to decide.  And, of course, I can keep looking.  This is by no means the end of my shoe shopping (I always love an excuse!)  Any opinions on these?  Also, if you come across any cute options as you are surfing the web or even doing some live shoe shopping, let me know.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

I guess today I am living by the words, "if you can't stick to your own diet...ruin someone else's too." Sorry.

I always chow down at least 3 of these cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. I force myself to give away all but a dozen of them because if they are in the house, I WILL EAT THEM. (Last time, I took a giant bag of them to the gym...Yes, I see the problems with that plan.) It certainly doesn't help the situation that they are so incredibly easy to make, and I almost always have all of these ingredients on hand...

2 c. peanut butter (The brand makes a clear difference; I usually use Skippy, but I've had it with Peter Pan too, and it was fabulous.)
2 eggs
2 t. baking soda
2 c. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together and drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Do NOT flatten. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup heavy cream in microwave for 1 minute. Add 1 c. dark/bittersweet chocolate chips and mix until completely melted. Place a small dollop of ganache on each cookie and allow to cool completely.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Captain Hook Would Hate My Living Room

Up until a few weeks ago, I only had one of these. But then I came across a few more, and I realized how much I love them as a group!

So now it's a collection. Nathan rolled his eyes at my declaration last night, but I can live with that. He may initially doubt my chic genius, but the fact remains that he loves the eclectic design style of our house. He sees the beauty in the old beat up stuff I love. I truly knew we were meant to be together forever when he came home with an old water-stained trunk he found in the alley. Better than flowers!

Anyway, there are so many cool little vintage alarm clocks out there, but they're pretty hard to find, especially working ones. It makes me want to apprentice myself to a clock repairman, so that I can learn how to fix those less expensive non-working ones. So far I've been lucky though, all of these work great (although you can't tell in that first picture because I hadn't set them all yet)!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Something Old, Something New

I have been mulling this necklace over in my head for months now. I've had the buttons from my grandmother's button tin for years, just waiting for some special way to use them. This necklace inspired me to start making jewelry last year mostly because I hadn't seen anyone making anything like I was picturing. If you can't find it, make it yourself. I had the basic idea of what I wanted: a pearl necklace connected to the vintage buttons in their respective settings, but it just wasn't quite right.

I sat down yesterday determined to figure out the puzzle. I think I initially stayed away from adding more of the intricately detailed buttons because I thought it would be too much, but it turns out that it's exactly what the necklace needed to become truly special.

It's funny, this is how all my favorites come about, I mull and I dwell and then all of a sudden I come up with the exact right thing and I put it all together in one sitting. It's just exactly what it was meant to be.

One thing I particularly like about this is that, except for three of the buttons, all of the buttons could actually be taken out of the necklace sometime in the future and used as buttons again.  I feel like that's the ultimate in the reuse, recycle, reinvent philosophy.