Archive for December 2010

DIY Canvas Tote

Winter usually provokes a great desire in me to be "crafty" and make attempt, after attempt, to sew eloquently.  My homebody side takes over during these chilly months; reading, crafts, or cooking are the things I'd rather be occupying my time with.  About a month ago I came across this darling tote on Design Sponge and had to try it. Problem...I didn't have a sewing machine.  I waited until I traveled back to Illinois for Thanksgiving and then swiped my mom's for a bit.  You can guess what I have already added to my wedding registry. :)

Renskes Minimalist Tote Bag

Click on the above link for step by step instructions on making this Minamalist Tote Bag. 

If you take on this project some words of might be hard finding big enough eyelets for this bag and a strap that fit through the eyelets! I had to compromise on my tote handle and went with a thin strap that could squeeze through a smaller eyelet and that could easily have rivets or fasteners hammered through. Originally I had picked up a super cute leather belt from Salvation Army to use for the was way to wide and thick to use with the biggest eyelets I could find.  Here is how my tote turned out. Thanks Mom for taking these awesome pictures with your amazing camera!

I highly recommend checking out all of the other DIY projects on Design Sponge, their site rocks.
Hopefully this posting will spark your crafty side for the winter months ahead!

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Mingle 'n Mix: Fashion, Décor, and Clutter Control

As much as I adore organization, I've noticed that a majority of storage and organizational products are rather bland and quiet frankly, ugly!  Function and aesthetics that blend and compliment each other are essential. Usually the need to display items or storage them comes into play when we accumulate more than one amount of a certain item.  Shoes, jewelery, books, clothes, spices, cleaning products, belts, and the list goes on.  When the trend for bold and long necklaces began, my collection expanded as well. Not having a big enough jewelry box, I used a 3M hook in my closet.  This setup grew old reallllly fast; thus began my search for a delightful and pretty way to store my long necklaces.  Going through some old Pottery Barn magazines, I found my inspiration! 

Jewelry Display Frames

I loved how this took care of my storage issue and also gave me a great piece of art! Finding a frame was easy enough and since I wasn't wild about the hooks on these frames, I just used clear push pins! I first hung this up in my apartment when I lived in Holland and got a tremendous amount of compliments when friends visited.  Since the bold jewelry trend is still alive and well this year, I've kept it up in my new apartment.  

Here is another divine option for hanging your jewelry. This one is from Real Simple

How do you store or display your collection of jewelry? Do you have an innovative way or does a 3M hook suffice? I'd love to hear any ideas! 

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Tis the Season: Christmas Wish List

Christmas is almost here! 

Enjoying the company of our loved ones during Christmas is something I cherish.  Traditions have changed dramatically over the last couple years with the passing of my grandparents, but this time of year never fails to bring joy to everyone.  Reflecting on this past year, I realized how blessed my family has been and how wonderful it will be to revel in that this holiday season.  

At this point in our lives, Zach and I know that we don't NEED anything for Christmas. Despite our good efforts to tell our families that we'd like to not do that many gifts (or none at all) we lost the battle and had to write up our wish lists. My list of course reflects my interest in cooking, decor, fashion, and running.  I made a point to only put  items on my list that I know I would use or at least put in a future house. 

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

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Escort Card Tree

It seems like this holiday season I've been a bit distracted from my wedding preparations, mostly with work and the errands that Christmas brings with it.  For a person who wants to have every detail planned out in advance, this wedding has been a teaching tool that I can't do everything at once. That I need to enjoy this preparation time and journey. While searching one of my favorite sites for random craft ideas, Apartment Therapy, I came across this branch centerpiece that I immediately adorned.  Zach teased me when I showed this to him and expressed in a child-like voice, "Well I kinda like the birds!" 

I scrambled for the perfect branch behind my apartment and decided to spray paint it silver instead. After doing so, I put it on the bistro table and decided, "Hmm this looks dumb."  I usually get frustrated when an idea I envision doesn't work out, but I loved how the branch looked so I just stuck it in one of my MANY mason jars that I'm collecting for the wedding. That's when I realized that this would be a perfect escort card "tree" for my wedding. 

Now the idea of a escort card tree is not by any means original, brides have been doing this for a while, but I think that with my sea glass take on the tree, I can make it my own. Here are a few trees I found online.

Right now I still only have that one branch in the mason jar, but I envision tons of branches coming out of this jar (or perhaps one of my larger mason jars) with the escort cards attached.  Here is a what I have so far. Of course I'd put real daisies in this jar, maybe have a few dangling from the higher branches.  I'd like to keep the end result a surprise, so you'll have to wait for the wedding pictures! What do you think? 

I love working on these wedding reception details...I believe these little crafts are what make a wedding more special and meaningful to the bride and all the guests. Plus, all of these ideas in my head are usually budget friendly! Mom, hope I'm not "chintzing" up the wedding too much!  

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Christmas Time

This weekend I had some last minute Christmas gifts to shop for and with a light cascade of snow coming down in Grand Rapids, I wanted to be comfy as well. Comfy nowadays for me usually equals leggings and a hoody, but today I didn't want to look like a bum. With Christmas fast approaching, I felt it appropriate to dress in the holiday colors. I know most people, including me, aren't a huge fan of green and red together, but when paired with different shades of green and red, I don't think it looks too bad. Now please excuse the poor quality of these pictures. Until I get a better camera, these will have to do.



I love this hoody and how easy it is to throw it on top of any outfit. My finance calls it my "Frodo" hoody, but I don't see the resemblance. :) Besides, I don't think Urban Outfitters specializes in hobbit clothing.  The nice thing about leggings this time of year is they can be used for dressy or causal occasions and still look awesome. These Groundhog "Molly" Boots was one of the best investments last Christmas and are one of the most comfortable boots I own.  Most of the clothing I wear is pretty simple...I'm not big on huge prints or flashy styles. Plain tees and sweaters are one of my favorite staples and can easily be a base for any fashionably great outfit. To give this outfit a pop, I added my gold belt that I snagged at Plato's for $8.00 and my lovely hand warmers that Momma got for me from The Garlic Press Store.

Now off to wrap my Christmas presents! 

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Lentil Burger and Sweet Potato Fries

I didn't always adore cooking. Most children and teens take this art form for granted; a task their mother or father takes care of. This was the case for me until I left home for college and realized how spoiled I was at home. My mother is a wonderful and natural cook, but it wasn't until later on in life that she pursued her dream. She has worked at The Garlic Press, which is an awesome little cafe in downtown Normal, IL and now works as a sorority chef at the local university. I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't have that strong of an interest in cooking or baking if it wasn't for her.
Thanks Momma!

This past year I trained and ran my first marathon, yet another hobby that I couldn't live without.  It was during this serious training regime that I became even more engrossed into cooking; and doing it in a ultra healthy matter. As of now, I'd consider myself to be almost a full fledged vegetarian. So sorry meat lovers, but most of the recipes I will post will be vegetarian or vegan centered...feel free to substitute!

My fiancée had requested that I try a lentil burger for him, so after searching quite a few recipes, a lentil burger from Everyday Vegetarian was the one I decided to make.  I also had to make my favorite Sweet Potato Fries!

I used brown rice in these patties and brown lentils as well. I did not have any sunflower oil, so olive oil was substituted here. Instead of using flour, I used Panko Bread Crumbs and mixed about a cup or so into the mix before making the patties. Topped the burger with spinach, tomatoes, and onions and put it on sprouted grain bread. These burgers are extremely tender, so be careful when frying them.

Sweet potato fries are such a healthy alternative when you get that craving for real french fries.  I know sweet potato fries usually aren't as crispy, but think of how many more you can eat! Not to mention the health benefits that come with them. :)

Happy Eating!

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My Slight Addiction

Besides being addicted to coffee, blogs, sweet potato fries, and shopping; organizing is right up there.  Yes, many call me bizarre for I love to clean and have been known to organize many people's houses for the fun of it, but this hobby of mine is one way I stay sane. Every person has a level where they can stand chaos and clutter, mine is just not very high. :)

I'd like to share with my readers advice on how to become and stay organized in many aspects of your life and will continue to make postings on the latest and greatest in organizational tools, websites, and books.

My first clue to my parents and myself that I was exceptionally organized was in grade school. I had scolded my mother for putting away a blue shirt in the green section of my closet. To this day I still keep my clothing color coordinated to make it fast and easy to find exactly what items I'm looking for. This also allows for a easy color palette selection!

Organizational Tip of the Week: 
Organize your closet in a way that makes your morning routine go a little quicker!

Whether you color coordinate your clothes, store your unused shoes in boxes, or buy hooks for your accessories (ties, belts, purses, scarves) you will notice how easier it will be for you to find certain items and how efficient this will make you! Discard older items that you haven't worn for a while. Trust me, they won't be missed!

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