19 October 2010

Make your own mulling spices

Last year, I went through multiple grocery stores in an attempt to locate mulling spices. I had thoughts of warm mulled apple cider (or wine on a particularly chilly evening). But, alas, I was left dumbfounded when I couldn't find them ANYWHERE. So this season, instead of grocery store hunting again, I decided to make my own.

I found some wonderful recipes and variations, and look forward to some lazy winter weekends to try each of them. Some of my favorites are:
- Mulling Spices Recipes: Warm Your Winter
- How to Make Your Own Organic Mulling Spices
- Mulling Spice Blend Recipe

18 October 2010

Nature at its finest

 { a dream scene }

Each time I visit my parents, I come back home with an overly full stomach, a bag of goodies/groceries/leftovers, a smile, and a desire to live among the beautiful scenery that I just left. I grew up with a "backyard" of 150 acres of land that held a stream, a swamp, large fields of Christmas trees (which my dad sold for the holiday when I was young), an expansive forest, and multiple looping paths on which to ride a four-wheeler or take a walk. It is truly one of the most breath-taking places I have ever seen and provides inspiration for amazing photos. There is little that can compare to the beauty of this untouched nature.

My husband and I have a goal that in 10 years from now we will be able to build a house on that land. We want our peanut (and hopefully more children) to have that outdoor environment to grow and play on. In my mind I can see a bountiful garden of vegetables and flowers, afternoon family walks through the woods, and room for picnics and an outdoor fireplace (I swoon over them every time I see one in a magazine).

Last weekend, on a particularly phenomenal October weekend, we took a four-wheeler ride up through the property and forest with our camera in tow. The photos turned out beautifully!

15 October 2010

Currently coveting lollipop pies

I found these delightful pie pops awhile back and have been waiting for a good reason to make them. Since reasons have come and gone, I might make them for no reason at all, other than to take pride in the process and relish in the taste. They look amazing, I can't fight it any more. {The rest of the lollipop pie pictures presented by Luxirare are stunning.}


14 October 2010

Cute DIY halloween costumes

As a self-employed wife and mother, I see the need for quick and easy tips that will save time (and hopefully money, too, if I'm lucky). I have been using my natural cleaning products, vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, since my post about the topic. While my husband may mention (frequently) that our house smells like salt and vinegar chips, it's been an easy transition and I feel good about not using chemicals.

I'm always on the hunt for more quick and easy tips, which is one huge reason I love the magazine Real Simple. It is filled with numerous lists of reuse ideas, recipes, and tips for your daily life. Today on their website, I found these adorable DIY Halloween costumes for youngsters. You could grab most of the costume pieces from your child's wardrobe (or your own!) and create a cute, inexpensive costume without much hassle.

12 October 2010

DIY projects: how many is too many?

After a long weekend away from blogging and focused on a mini bathroom makeover, I make my return with thoughts of home improvement projects. It requires ambition, of course, which I may not have today. But the feeling of achievement when a project is finished... it's worth it.

These are some ideas I would love to try in my house. They may happen, they may not... but what fantastic inspiration they provide. 

I love the idea of various size drawers/boxes on their sides on the wall. It not only provides a design element, but also extra storage (which everyone needs!). The chalkboard background is so useful.  Looking at these colorful chairs makes me realize that I'd love some bright chairs as well. The lighting fixture looks like it has feathers on it - I am in love!

 { via this old house }

Our kitchen is not nearly as beautiful as this, but with some easy additions, it can get a lot closer. We already have the pendant light and white cabinets, so updating the cabinet hardware might be my next project. I also like the petite, striped window treatments. So cute. I still need something for ours to add to the blinds. We even have a beautiful, new faucet to install waiting for us in the attic.

The dark color inside this fireplace gives me inspiration the paint the inside of ours. Also an ornamental fireplace, I've wondered what to do with this great piece of architecture. We have leftover charcoal colored paint from painting a wall in the dining room that would be a great compliment. A coat of paint plus the decor I already have might be the perfect combination.

I suppose I should stop adding to our already bulging list of tasks and things to be done. First I need to find time to carve a pumpkin, THEN more house projects. Priorities, check.

06 October 2010

Wedding nostalgia turned honeymoon recap

Today on Sweet Little Thrills, my design and inspiration blog, you can see more photos from our beautiful wedding. After getting the post together, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and began looking through oodles of photo folders on my computer.

Upon looking at our honeymoon pictures, I was transported to Northern California where we spent a week exploring new places, holding hands, and laughing. We had such a marvelous time and brought back many memories of our trip (I nabbed a pair of one-of-a-kind vintage red cowboy boots that will go down in history as the best honeymoon purchase ever).

 Our first few days were spent in San Francisco, specifically in Union Square. We stayed at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, which just so happens to be in the heart of the shopping district. We leisurely walked into dozens of stores and took the streetcar or trolley wherever we pleased. The temperatures never rose above 55 degrees, but with a scarf and light jacket on it was very comfortable. (Back at home, Erie was battling temps in the mid-90's... and we don't have AC! Needless to say, we were happy to be bundling up.)

Next, we picked up a rental car from the airport and drove up to Napa Valley. We honestly couldn't wait to get there. We had booked a one-bedroom condo that turned out to be one of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen. Pleasantly surprised and delighted, we picked up some groceries and started cooking in our state of the art kitchen. With a fireplace, balcony, full kitchen, and jacuzzi tub, there wasn't much to leave for. We made a daily trip to the beautiful pool area and made sure to eat out at least once.

 We drove around (sometimes with purpose, other times aimlessly) and took photos, drank wine, and simply relaxed in each other's company. It was glorious... and a very difficult place to leave.

05 October 2010

Infographics: Information and design combined

 { via metrobest }

Some of my favorite updates on Twitter come from Web Design News, and I am constantly clicking on the links they post. A particular link the other day became an immediate favorite and was quickly bookmarked on my browser. I was led to The Infographics Showcase, a collection of infographics from all over the web. After a subsequent search in Google, I lost about two hours of my afternoon in looking at these well-designed graphics that display large amounts of interesting information. Now I ponder what I can make one about.

A few to take a look at:
- One of the weirdest and yet most intriguing is The Human Tongue Infographic.
- An infographic that might make you think twice about recycling is How Much Do We Really Recycle?
- After being a teacher, one of my favorite infographics is Education By The Numbers.

04 October 2010

Halloween project hunting

My goal for this Halloween is to infuse a little extra creativity into the traditional aspects of the holiday. In order to achieve any of these, it requires a little early planning. So I'm starting some of my online hunting for creative ideas that I can put my own twist on.

This is what I've found so far:

1) Carve-by-color pumpkins from Martha Stewart

 Night owl pumpkin

 Faux-bois pumpkin

2) Fright on the fridge from Better Homes and Gardens

3) Deadman's finger sandwiches from Disney Family

4) Halloween yarn wreath from Hilarie's Random Stuff (and seen on Stretch My Check)

If you have created or seen anything that you would like to share, send it my way!

01 October 2010

Friday image roundup: Bright colors and rainbows

We are officially welcoming October with another gray and dreary day (the sixth in a row, I think)... so instead of feeling gloomy, I decided to feature some cheeriness today. Enjoy!

{ via weheartit }

{ via weheartit }

{ via weheartit }

On another cheery note: My honey and I have been married for two months! Since there isn't a 31st of September, I suppose the 1st of October will do. I love being his Mrs. :)