One of my dearest pals, Erin, from Carosello recently had a precious baby boy. Since she moved away from Tulsa last year, we didn’t get a chance to see her before Emerson was born, so rather than a shower in anticipation of her little fellow, we put together a handmade baby shower as a welcome to world party for him.
You know how I love to throw a party, and I wanted to share a few snippets of my party preparations here on the blog. I was on a really tight budget for this party, so I used a lot of things that I already had around. Sourcing from my home and shops is always a big plus when I’m trying not to spend too much. Also, the husband and I spent the morning of the party driving around Tulsa foraging for flowers, which was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a new weekend habit.
A few days before the shower, I started gathering some styling props and making a few little decor items. First step was obviously to make some Fringey Streamer Garland from Jordan’s tutorial out of some sheets of crepe paper that I had around the studio. I also cut some felt letters to make a sweet little Emerson banner that Erin could keep. I just glued the letters onto a colorful piece of leather. Easy-peasy and hung over a gold foil fringe backdrop that I snagged on Amazon.
I wanted handmade favors and browsed Pinterest forever, but settled on making something that I carry in the shop. Pocket mirrors! I made these black, white, and gold, to match the theme of the party. I actually cut the black and white geometric prints out of a book of old knitting patterns and then hand drew the gold hearts on them. I wrapped them up in tissue paper and attached nametags with baker’s twine.
To style the table, I layered tea towels, crepe paper, florals, and treats on the tables. The black and white polka dot pieces were pieces of the gift boxes from AltSummit that I chopped up because they were pretty. See, hoarding lovely things pays off!
I brought over all of my succulents from the shop to add to the summer feel of the party and put some pretty candies in mason jars for everyone to snack on. Since it was a mid-afternoon party, I kept the food simple; a lemoncello cake, berries, and sparkling lemonade. I’ll share my ridiculously easy “recipe” below. I also always like to have a pitcher with ice water and this time I added some berries for a little flavor and because they’re just so pretty.
Here’s the recipe for the Quick Afternoon Punch that I made, as well as a quick list of what to gather, what to make, and what to purchase for you to use as a starting point for planning an easy afternoon shower or gathering. Click through for the free Afternoon Party download.
I wish I had photos of everyone at the party, but I always get sidetracked and forget about that part. I promise, we had fun. Enjoy your parties!
I posted last week about Bing Rewards and my new obsession with getting gift cards for searching. I’ve already earned another $5 Amazon since that post and used it today towards an order I was placing for a Father’s Day gift. Woot!
Bing has another awesome program called Bing in the Classroom . When you earn your Bing Rewards for searching, you can opt to donate them to a school of your choice to use towards Surface Tablets. Bing also provides daily digital literacy lesson plans that inspire critical thinking for teachers as a part of the program. The part of the program that stands out most to me; Bing in the Classroom provides ad-free, safe search for schools.
I think ad free searching is a HUGE deal for kids. Living in this hectic world, we get pretty inundated with ads all over our web browsing, scrolling text on our tvs, and just so much information. It’s everywhere we look. I know I feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information in the world on any given day, so I can only imagine that it’s even more intense for those little developing minds. Even though I don’t have kids, I’m at that point in life where the husband and I have many conversations about our future children, and I’m happy to know that they will be able to search and satisfy their curiosity in a safe, ad-free space. Little minds are so hungry for information and I think the ability to search the internet is an amazing tool that I wish had been so far developed when I was trying to wrap my mind around big concepts, doing my homework, and just wondering how things worked. And I also *know* that I would have gotten distracted by targeted ads trying to sell me on things, which is why ad-free searching is so awesome. You can find out more details and pledge your support to ad-free searching at Show support for #adfreesearch! I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Bing. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences.
Well folks, you may have noticed over on the husband’s blog that he has made the switch from Google to Bing. For those that know him, this is a huge deal. I have to take a little credit for pushing him in the Bing direction…
We first took the “bing it on” challenge together and I continually got Bing as my result. I slowly began to switch over to Bing when I thought about it, but didn’t change my default search engine in my browser settings until I discovered Bing Rewards . Yes, rewards. As in, getting credits for something I do every day anyway and being able to use those credits for things I want.
I just signed up about a month ago, and by last week, I had already reached Gold Level. It doesn’t take a lot of work. Sign up for your account, I just signed in with Facebook. Easy peasy. Then, you start to earn credits just by searching. You can get 15 per day on your computer and 10 per day by searching from your mobile device. Two searches = one credit. So simple. I pretty much hit my 15 credits a day every day on my computer without even thinking about it now that I have Bing set as my default search engine and just keep my account signed in.
One of my favorite things about Bing Rewards is the handy little Bing bar at the top of my search page that tells me how many credits I have and updates me when there are extra little fun credits available to earn. A few of these seem to pop up everyday and will just have a little tidbit of info and when you click it, it pulls up search results to learn more. And you get a credit. And sometimes you learn something new.
There are also other fun specials like, double credits on Tuesdays in May and getting bonus credits when you hit Silver Level or invite a friend and they do some searching.
So, what can you do with all of these credits? Well, there are a few of options… you can enter contests, “buy” gift cards, or donate your credits to schools or organizations. So far I’ve entered a few contests for 40 credits, and thought about getting myself some Starbucks giftcards as treats, but since I’m doing my best to stop drinking caffeine, I’m opting for Amazon gift cards. For a $5 gift card, you spend 525 credits, or, with your gold level discount, 475 credits.
How that breaks down: Sign up for your account, set your default search engine to Bing, keep your account signed in, search, get free stuff. How it’s working for me so far, I earn roughly 25 credits a day, 6 days a week (because I try to keep my Sundays tech free-ish), invited a few friends to sign up, and within my first 3 weeks, I’d entered a few contests with my points and have now just redeemed my first $5 Amazon gift card.
I’ve got a pretty long Amazon wishlist of things I likely won’t buy for myself, but with these gift cards, I feel like I can treat myself a little bit. I got my first gift card today and ordered Grow Your Handmade Business: How to Envision, Develop, and Sustain a Successful Creative Business by Kari Chapin, because I happen to be taking her 3 day course on Creative Live this week and am feeling super inspired (and because I loved her first book). Getting $5 bucks off because I’ve been searching away this month is pretty awesome.
I love knowing that Bing is a company that’s engaged, supports events and organizations that I like (like Alt Summit) and they reward me for searching.I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Bing. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences.
Anyone who knows me or my brand well knows that high on my list of design inspiration is one amazing bearded fellow named William Morris. His quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”, has graced my studio walls in every creative space I’ve worked from. It is a constant in my mind when I am working on a new design or product and I have adopted it as the ethos of my weather&noise mission statement.
So, I’m gonna give you a little history lesson. I mean, I just graduated from college, so I’ve gotta have an outlet for report writing somewhere. William Morris was an artist, textile designer, writer, and widely accepted as the Father of the Arts & Crafts Movement in England and America. His writing inspired J.R.R. Tolkien and his design and pattern work inspired Liberty of London as they were starting to design and create textiles in the late 1800’s. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I haven’t actually read any of his books yet, but a few are on my summer reading list. In the description for News from Nowhere (1890) you can get an idea of Morris’ utopia and ideals:
“a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction. In the book, the narrator, William Guest, falls asleep after returning from a meeting of the Socialist League and awakes to find himself in a future society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means of production. In this society there is no private property, no big cities, no authority, no monetary system, no divorce, no courts, no prisons, and no class systems. This agrarian society functions simply because the people find pleasure in nature, and therefore they find pleasure in their work.”
Morris grew up in rural England in the early 1800s, spending his days wondering the acres of forest that surrounded his home. In his mid-twenties he moved to urban London and formed Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, a decorative arts company. With the company, Morris and his partners hoped to reform standard British manufacturing and production practices and return to a system of well made, but affordable goods for the home. It was at this time that Morris started focusing on pattern design for wallpapers and textiles, which is what made me fall in love with his work.
Later in Morris’ life, he developed an interest in typography, calligraphy, and preserving historic printing methods, which also makes me swoon a bit. He spent his late years designing illuminated text for his earlier works of writing and learning the Icelandic language and about Scandinavian folklore. Again, swoon-worthy. Morris’ tapestries were often made of fibers which he would dye himself, using vegetable dyes rather than of chemical dyes that were becoming popular in manufacturing. And this was in the 1800’s before it was hip to go natural with things, quite the opposite in those days when modern manufacturing was becoming more and more about machines and chemicals. Morris was also skilled at embroidery and after mastering the craft, he trained his wife and her sister so they could execute his elaborate designs. Religious embroidery for vestments, sacramental cloths, and tapestries were a main part of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co’s revenue.
As his love of printmaking and typography grew in his later years, he founded Kelmscott Press, “to refashion Victorian typography and to create beautiful books based on medieval manuscripts. The press was founded in order to produce books by traditional methods, using, as far as possible, the printing technology and typographical style of the fifteenth century. In this he was reflecting the tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement, and responding to the mechanization and mass-production of contemporary book-production methods and to the rise of lithography, particularly those lithographic prints designed to look like woodcuts.” Kelmscott Press became one of the most famous presses of the Arts & Crafts Movement.
His deep involvement in the Arts & Crafts Movement is just one more reason to love Morris. He fostered craftsman ideals by having apprentices, teaching his skills to many and working to form communities of makers and encourage society to support these skilled craftsmen.
“Because craftsmen took pleasure in their work”, Morris wrote, “the Middle Ages was a period of greatness in the art of the common people. … The treasures in our museums now are only the common utensils used in households of that age, when hundreds of medieval churches – each one a masterpiece – were built by unsophisticated peasants.”
William Morris died peacefully in October 1896 in London. His family doctor pronounced that he had “died a victim of his enthusiasm. The Disease is simply being William Morris, and having done more work than most ten men”. Want to see more? Check out one (or all!) of these
The first exhibition devoted to William Morris and his influence on twentieth-century life, entitled Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, is to open at the National Portrait Gallery in London this autumn. The exhibit will focus on Morris’ far reaching politics, thought and design and will include portraits, furniture, books, banners, textiles and jewelry. The collection highlights the element of anarchy within the ‘art for the people’ movement which demanded a total overturning of accepted values. The exhibition extends beyond Morris’s own death in 1896 to show how his radical ideals developed through the Edwardian decade; It explores the ruralist revival of the 1920s and 1930s when leading craft practitioners – the potters Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew, the weaver Ethel Mairet, the hand-blocked textile printers Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher – evolved their own alternative ways of life and work in an increasingly materialistic age. I so deeply wish that I could go to London for the exhibit next year to see the work of the man that has shaped my aesthetic and my brand and to see some of his work in person and celebrate his life. And that beard.
I curated this sweet little treasury this week to celebrate the start of spring and share a few things that I’m finding inspiring these days. What’s been inspiring you with the change of seasons?
With the start of the new year, I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions, goals, or whatever you want to call them. The main change I want to make with 2014 is to let go.
Letting go is a pretty open ended goal without a quantifiable way to track, but I think it will help me in other aspects of life and business.
A few things I’m letting go of…
Did you make any new goals with the start of 2014?
I just wanted to post a quick heartfelt note to say how much I’m looking forward to calm summer days.
Usually spring is my favorite time, but oh, I do love fall… and of course winter has it’s charm too, but this year it’s summer that I’m longing for. I think because it represents a time that I’m so desperately needing. A break. Pretty much all of last year, and all of this spring, have been non stop, go, go, go. I don’t want to complain, because I’m lucky to be involved in so many wonderful things and I choose to do it, but I do need a break and just a little time to reflect, and nap, and swim, and patio dinners with friends and family, and watch movies with the husband, and do projects around my house. I miss those things. Lately it’s wake up, shower, drink a quick smoothie, work on my weather&noise business for a few hours (screen print, store orders, etsy orders, etc), then head to the shop (which again, I LOVE!), work till either 6 or 8, depending on the day, go home, do homework for my classes, attempt to do laundry and clean for a few minutes before I fall asleep. And repeat day after day since November. I’m off on Sundays and Mondays, but every Sunday holds some sort of meeting or event and Monday is when I try to catch up on the homework that I didn’t get completed during the week, which usually ends up being about 6-8 hours worth. And then there’s my favorite Monday activity, crochet night with some of my favorite ladies. That time is kind of my solace every week.. the only time when I get to just sit, and do something I enjoy, and drink coffee for a few hours and know that nothing else needs to happen then. And that’s kind of how I’m going to look at my summer. I’ve now completed my last final for the semester and I won’t be enrolling in summer classes this year. I have said no to a number of opportunities for collaborations and projects over the summer because I’m taking this summer for me. This will (hopefully!) be the last summer I have with Thom as just our little 2 person family, and I want to soak up all of this time to remember forever. I want to have picnics, and go to the movies, and on fancy dates, and make lemonade, take Tucker to the dog park, have long conversations with friends on our patio, and do some of those kinds of things that have kind of fallen aside in importance because of our hectic schedules. Also, I want to cook more. And grow some things. And finish a whole bunch of unfinished projects, both around my house, and little crafty things that I’ve started for ME, not for business. These are all things that will keep me busy, but in a rewarding way.
When I was a kid, summer was always special. I spent most of my summers with my grandparents. Both sets. Sometimes at the lake sewing and painting and baking with my grandma. I miss her sugar cookies.. nobody else makes them the same way. She taught me to sew. I treasure those moments in her sewing room. She had this gigantic spinning thing with tons of drawers and while she would sew summer dresses for me and let me pick out fabrics and trim, I’d pour out the buttons and categorize and sort them into different arrangements. I spent hours on that floor watching her and being amazed at her ability to make anything on with just fabric and her sewing machine. I do hope I end up with a little girl one day that can wear all of those dresses I saved that were handmade with so much love by her. And then there was making birdhouses with my Poppy. And getting my hair curled, oh how my sweet grandma Fran loved to curl my hair into ringlets. And paint my nails. And lather me up in Avon Skin So Soft and take me out to catch butterflies in the butterfly net we made together. Every time I smell that stuff I think of her. I would usually just catch grasshoppers and was pretty terrified of them, but she’d get them out of my net and drive me up and down the hills in their golf cart, letting me swish and swoop with that silly little net until my heart was content. It sounds like a picturesque and made up childhood, but that’s exactly how it was.. dreamy and perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about those days, I just would have made them last forever.
And with my grandparents in Tulsa, we’d go to Big Splash for senior aerobics, bright and early in the morning, and I’d get to swim around the wave pool with the waves turned off and I’d scavenge for change, and jewelry, and keys, and all the other random things that people lost in those big dramatic waves. It was such a fun happy, (and strange!) memory because it was like a daily treasure hunt. Then we’d spend hours at the library. I’d always pick out a huge stack of books to take home and my grandpa would always grumble about having to carry so many. We’d go back to their house and I’d sit outside under their big magnolia tree and read and read. And I had my summer friends, three sisters that lived next to my grandparents. I remember spending days, maybe weeks, working on a huge strawberry shortcake latchhook piece with them in my grandparents driveway. On Fridays we’d set up my grandma’s booth at the Tulsa Flea Market. She had an antique business called “The Little Black Pump”, named after an antique water pump that she treasured. I definitely get my business sense from her. I *loved* helping unpack and display her antiques at her booth each week. Every Thursday was “hair day” for my grandma and we’d all walk over to the beauty shop. Carol, the lady who had done my grandma’s hair for basically my whole life would always braid my hair, or do something silly to it and let me sit under the big dryers next to my grandma, reading smutty gossip magazines and thinking I was such a grown up.
And now I am a grown up. And my grown up life has taken over a bit too much and I’ve decided that I want one last kid summer. And I haven’t given up on all commitments. I’m still of course going to be running the shop, but might actually consider hiring a part time helper to work some of the evenings/weekends. And I’ll be teaching a class at Youth Services with the teens every Tuesday night. Oh, and I’m organizing the vendors at Free Tulsa in July. And organizing Swap O Rama Rama at Philbrook in July. And planning Indie Emporium. And having our sweet 7 year old nephew come stay with us for 2 weeks. And this weekend I’ll be a bridesmaid in one of my favorite lady’s wedding. Things will be busy, but I’m vowing to be better at balancing it with time for myself, and time to just enjoy and savor those sweet summer days and warm sunshine rather than just avoid the heat between tasks and to do lists.
Remember those delicious bran muffins I mentioned last week? I thought I’d share the recipe for anyone interested.
I’ve been trying to eat healthy these past few months, but had really started craving something sweet and chocolat-ey. Instead of baking cookies or something, I tried a basic bran muffin recipe, but added dark chocolate chips. I substituted honey for sugar and applesauce for butter, so these are actually even healthier than regular bran muffins. Plus, the husband loves them!
I made these a second time last week and threw in a handful of blueberries and 2 mushed up bananas. It definitely made them more moist and flavorful, but I’m thinking that I won’t add blueberries again – I prefer to just eat them raw..
|don’t you love that anthro plate that I picked up on clearance here in Tulsa?|
Anyway, I won’t lie and say that these are the tastiest sweet treat, but they did satisfy my craving. If you don’t mind extra wheaty/branny flavor, you might like them. I was pretty convinced that the husband would find them disgusting, but he actually seemed pretty impressed with them, especially the second time around.
1 cup Wheat Bran
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Honey
3/4 cup Applesauce
2 tbsp Melted Butter or Oil
Various amounts dark chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, blueberries or whatever add-ins you want. I put about 1/3 cups dark chocolate and 1/2 cup of blueberries. I also added 2 mushed up bananas, and that time used just a little less applesauce.
Preheat oven to 400. Mix flour, bran, baking soda, and baking powder. In separate bowl, mix milk, eggs, butter/oil, and honey. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and then stir in your add ins.
Spoon into lightly oiled muffin tins or foil muffin cups and bake for about 18 minutes. I noticed that they took about 3-4 minutes longer when I used banana in the recipe, so just check them until they are firm. Makes 12 muffins.
And now to go tidy the kitchen for a lil photoshoot happening in about an hour. And this time it’s not me! The husband is doing a story about home-brewing for Tulsa People Magazine. I’ll post a scan of the article when it’s out.
The day has finally come! The new Tulsa Anthropologie opened this morning! I picked up the husband for an early lunch so he could check out the store with me and we were there within about 5 minutes of the doors opening. Goodness, what a happy and inspired atmosphere. One of Indie Emporium‘s talented vendors & designers, Mr. Tony Li and the Anthro crew were responsible for these displays – and I think they had some help from a few other IE vendors. What a talented crew!
And the staff was all so sweet and friendly. We shopped around for a while – so many lovely things to take in. I’ve had a kind of crummy, stressful week, so this was a great way to segway into the weekend. I ended up taking home a few new lovelies for the kitchen. A pair of seafoam Latte Bowls and 2 fancy pie plates. I think I fell in love with the Happy Filling pie plate from the description on the Anthro website “Rhubarb, blueberries and pecans alike will appreciate the company of a gregarious duck and laughing suns during their warm bake.” – How charming. I really think I’m going to need the ceramic rolling pin too, but I stuck with just the pie plate for now. It ended up being on sale for just $14! Of course, since I was saving a few dollars there, the husband said it was alright to splurge a little and get the other one that I was trying to decide between. I hadn’t seen it before on the Anthro site, but it’s so sweet. It says, “make me a pie, bake me a tart, mix in some love, with all of your heart”. I’ve been feeling really nostalgic these past few days, and missing my dear grandmother a lot. She made so many pies and treats and these sort of reminded me of her, so I’m sure they’ll be special for a long time.
Also, for being one of the first 50 customers, we got a lovely little terrarium ornament. I’m going to have to find just the right place to hang this little guy. What a happy little treat!
Other than that, life has been looking a lot like this..
I’ve started working on plans for the fall shows and what inventory I’ll be taking to each one. I’m so excited about a new line of products that I’ll be debuting this fall! I’m not ready to share with everyone what I’m working on, but it involves purchasing large quantities of linen for some trials.. I’ve been studying in depth different linen blends and cotton vs linen and European linen and linen, linen, linen. I’m pretty madly in love with the stuff at the moment to be honest. Things are in the works and I promise to share soon enough!
This week while I was at home working, and I ventured up to the studio on a particularly hot afternoon. I had made my daily chai and headed back downstairs to make it an iced chai, rather than hot and decided to take a totally different approach…. We recently bought some popsicle molds, so I poured my chai in there and made it into a popsicle! So good.. I’m still experimenting with various popsicle recipes, but goodness, what a nice summer treat!
So – here’s a quick recipe –
Chai – you can either use regular chai tea and add some cream, milk, or yogurt (oh how I love the honey almond yogurt from Target!), OR, if you want to do this the super simple way, just use a chai latte mix. I’m obsessed with the Oregon Chai mix. Tazo also makes a really good organic liquid Chai concentrate that I buy a lot, but was out of it this week. The photo above represents only a fraction of our chais.. I may go a little overboard with tea purchases, but that’s a story for another blog..
So, make your chai as usual – however YOU prefer it. For the photos I just used the chai latte mix, but it was tasty with reg chai tea and a little almond milk, and a bit healthier. Now, pour into popsicle molds.
Freeze for at least 4 hours – mine were still a little slushy when I checked after 3 hours, but by the 4th hour, they were totally solid. Your freezer may be different.
When we took them out, they were a little hard to get out of the molds, and I didn’t want to pull the stick out, so I ran the mold under warm water for about 30 seconds and voila – chai popsicles! So simple and tasty! It’s like a kid’s treat for grown up taste buds.
By the way, that is the husband‘s hand – I don’t have man-hands or thumbs that bend backwards.
I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. I had a few moments of panic earlier when my computer said it needed to “system restore” or something similar. I got it to finally come back to normal and saved EVERYTHING to an external hard drive.. I’m afraid the end may be near for my dear laptop.