Tuesday, May 17, 2011

meet corky {and my other quirks}

First things first, the reason behind this post is simple: I was given a "Stylish Blog Award" by my sweet friend Kim of Grin and "Barrett" {Click on the name to go check out her blog}. Kim and I grew up in church together and I absolutely love reading her blog. It is a peek inside her life and the things she enjoys doing; I especially love the posts where she talks about different products/recipes that she has tried. She is extremely domestic and such an inspiration to me!

The "rules" of this blog award are as follows:

1. Link back to the blog that gave you the award {see above}.

2. Share seven things about myself that you may not know {here it goes...}.

1. My husband and I have been dating since senior year of high school, but I have known him since middle school. Ford and I have completely different hobbies/interests, but somehow it works. He is always supportive of my painting and crafting and is always willing to lend a helping hand {think: putting wire on the back of the growth charts} but he'd much prefer to be outdoors rock climbing or camping. Just last weekend I sent him to Utah for a three-day trip with his best friends for his birthday.

2. Ford and I first started dating two weeks before Valentine's Day (talk about pressure- especially in high school!) so he took me to Build-a-Bear and we made a little stuffed dog that we named Corky. If you've ever been to Build-a-Bear, you know that you put a heart in the animal that you stuff. Well, Corky has two hearts, a red and white plaid one that I chose and a plain red one that Ford chose. Corky can always be found sitting on our bed with all the other pillows. We refer to him as our "love child." Ha!

3. Despite my love for creating artwork, our home has practically nothing on the walls. I have my bridal portrait in the dining room and a magnetic board in the kitchen, and that is it. You'd think I'd at least frame engagement/wedding pictures, but honestly I haven't had a chance. I'm constantly making things for other people and I would not have it any other way.

4. Speaking of my home, my favorite piece of furniture is our ottoman. It's probably my favorite because it's the first piece that we got together after getting married. I love the bold floral pattern and the bright colors. Not to mention, that awesome tray you see on top of it is from the lovely and talented Lydia of Vintage 2 Vogue. Love my sweet friend and wish she didn't live so far away.

5. I always have to make sure things are "perfect." It usually takes me two or three times to get the hang of something that I am doing. Typically, I don't post my first projects, but below you will see a picture of my first polka-dotted cookie back from the beginning of April that ended up being thrown out because I thought the icing was too bubbly. Also, the first time I made magnets I tried to paint them and the glaze was bubbly {I'm sensing a theme with the bubbles...}. Finally, at Wine & Design last week with Mary English, we painted the NC State University bell tower. Believe it or not, it was one of my first times painting a "real" object-- I'm not a fan. I'd rather do cutesy over real anyday.

6. I can make those bows you buy by the bag full at Christmas time. I even made one today. I made them out of magazine paper when I was babysitting a couple of months ago, but I wanted to see how it would work with just regular construction paper. I think it's pretty cute, but I may step it up a notch and try it with fabric before posting a "how-to."

7. I'm in the process of making cookies for Ford to take to work tomorrow. I have the worst habit of making dough and then forgetting about it until it's too late to use it. I also have an awful habit of eating my buttercream icing with a spoon... but that's another story. One thing you may have noticed when I post pictures of my cookies is that I bake them on aluminum foil. Is it some super awesome secret to make your cookies more delicious? No. In fact, they taste a thousand times better when baked directly on the stoneware... I'd just prefer less clean up :)

Last but not least, I'm awarding the "Stylish Blog Award" to the following blogs...

Side note: I realize this is a random post, and it's been over a week since I posted last, but we had end of grade testing and I've been exhausted! Luckily, I've had a few orders lately so I'm in the process of making personalized magnets, a growth chart, a framed silhouette, and cupcakes. All different projects, but I love being able to create the one-of-a-kind gifts for you to give and receive. I can't wait to post them as I finish them up!

Monday, May 9, 2011

the great cookie/magnet exchange

Over the weekend Ashley (of Award Inspirations) and I decided that we needed to exchange "goods." I wanted monogrammed cookies from her so I offered to make magnets for her whiteboard at school as a trade.

I have all new fun paper for the magnets, so I was excited to try them out. I really cannot believe I only took one picture (not even wrapped up!) of these magnets. But, at least you can see some of the new paper patterns that I have...
Head on over to Award Inspirations to see pictures of the adorable polka-dotted, monogrammed cookies that Ashley made for me in exchange for the magnets! Also, read the post to find out some of her tips and tricks for icing cookies.

I'll leave you with a couple of additional pictures of magnets I made this weekend... these are featured in the colors of Elon Law School (the school from which my sister is graduating in two weeks). She gave these to the Dean and her assistant as a "thank you" for all their help and guidance during these past three years. 

Using these as a "thank you" made me realize how PERFECT they would be as a hostess gift for a bridal or baby shower. Love it! Only wish I had come up with that 7 months ago when I was having showers... :) Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

mother's day double doozies

Ever since I can remember (back when North Hills was an actual indoor shopping mall), my mom would take me and my sister to get Double Doozies from Great American Cookie Company when we would go shopping with her. Now, I think I can say that we all prefer Mrs. Field's cookies, but if given the chance we all will still get a "Cookie Sandwich" (as Mrs. Field's calls it) when we are at the mall. Now, though, we don't get it every time and if/when we do, we definitely split it.

Well, in honor of Mother's Day, I decided to make some homemade double doozies to share with my mom (and Ford's mom too). Despite my sister not being a mom, I could not leave her out as she always begs to be my taste-tester.

It was SO easy (not that I thought putting icing in between cookies would be difficult, I just never did it before). Considering it costs close to $4 for one double doozie at the mall, I think this was recreated just as well and I was able to make 7 large and 9 small cookie sandwiches for less than $15. Score! All you need are your favorite chocolate chip cookie and vanilla buttercream icing recipes. If you don't have a favorite, look on Martha Stewart's website. I love her recipes.

So, first of all, I made my chocolate chip cookie dough, formed it into a log, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator to chill. After a couple of hours, I pulled it out and started cutting.

I shaped my cookies even after I cut them because I wanted them to be as round as possible. After they finished baking, I pulled them out to cool...

A hint and a warning: I put my cookies (and cupcakes, for that matter) in the refrigerator to cool a little bit faster if I need to get the icing on them quicker. However, Be super careful if you put multiple cookies in the refrigerator and try to carry them all on the aluminum foil at once. I dumped a whole tray of cookies today doing that... ugh!

Finally, put the buttercream frosting (you can make this while the cookies are baking, the night before, etc... it only takes minutes to make regardless of the recipe you choose). in between the two cookies. To get a good thickness, I pipe mine on the cookie.

Put the cookies together and you are all finished! Wrap them up to give away or enjoy for yourself. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

gifts for the {teacher} bride-to-be

As I mentioned in my last post, my friends Lauren and Daniel got engaged this past weekend. Lauren and I graduated from college together with the same major {Middle Grades Language Arts & Social Studies Education} and she was one of my bridesmaids.

Lauren, Ashley and I went to get gelato tonight so that Ashley and I could see the ring and talk wedding plans with the bride-to-be. Of course, we all know that you cannot go empty-handed to see a newly engaged girlfriend!

One of the most fun things, especially for a teacher, is the fact that you get to change your name. Not that anything was wrong with my maiden name or Lauren's maiden name, but for years you've wondered what your last name will be when you get married (and, if you're like me, you've spent countless hours since you were 13 years old doodling your name with various last names of your boyfriends) and so to finally know is so exciting! Being a teacher makes it that much more exciting because from the time you're married on the kids will be calling you Mrs. {insert new last name here}. Although, since I got married in the middle of the school year, I just completely confused my students so they call me whatever first comes to their mind.

Anyways, I decided to make magnets for Lauren that she can use in her classroom once she is married. They ended up being so cute that I've already made several other sets for other teachers/future teachers and am working on some for myself... :)

I also decided to monogram a wine glass for her with her soon-to-be new monogram.

I think that you could use either/both of these gifts for more than just an engagement present... and I will definitely be making more.

Congratulations, Lauren and Daniel! Can't wait for the wedding next year!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

wedding weekend

Yes, I was one of the millions to wake up super early on Friday morning to take in the Royal Wedding. Although my original plan was to get ready for work and then be ready to watch when Kate arrived to the Abbey at 6 (Eastern Time), I got sucked into watching the guests arrive and put off getting ready for close to two hours. Oops! At least I left for work in enough time to stop and get a Diet Coke to keep me going through the day... 14 year olds don't let you off the hook just because you are tired.

At any rate, along with the Royal Wedding, I've had a couple of friends get engaged this weekend {Congratulations Lauren & Daniel and Christine & Alex!} and my cousin, Kathryn and her fiance, Pat, recently announced their wedding date. So, I figured I would do a post about all things wedding today to wrap up the weekend.

In the spring of 2007, my sister and her then-boyfriend of 6 1/2 years got engaged. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I would do anything for my sister. However, I never thought I'd have to ask myself to be her maid of honor. She wanted a creative way to ask her friends to be bridesmaids, so I took it upon myself to paint monograms on wine glasses. She put a miniature bottle of wine in the top (Sutter Home White Zinfandel to match the pink).

I loved the glasses, but really the purpose behind the pink and white stripe was because she planned on us wearing pink and white striped seer-sucker dresses from J.Crew. Unfortunately, they looked super white in pictures so she opted for a different color scheme a few months later...

In 2008, one of my sister's closest friends was engaged and she asked me to put monograms and bows on vases so that she could give her bridesmaids flowers in the color scheme of her wedding. I was also asked to be in this wedding, but unfortunately for me it was a destination wedding in Las Vegas and I was in the middle of student teaching so I could not be there. But, again, I love the idea of putting a coordinating color scheme/flower arrangement/etc. into how you ask your bridesmaids. I think it really pulls everything about your wedding together.

For both my sister and myself, I addressed save-the-dates and wedding invitations. When I addressed my sister's, I got a pair of Jack Rogers out of it... my kind of deal! I love doodling and writing. My mom has always said I waste SO much paper because especially if I'm on the phone, I will sit there and use up a whole notepad just writing names of people or things in crazy different ways. Sometimes, during my planning period at work, I will sit at my desk and start making a to-do list and end up with a post-it full of random ideas written in several different styles of handwriting. Usually, my doodles just end up in the trash so I'm sure I need to find a better way to spend my time... :)

This weekend, inspired by the Royal Wedding, I made it my goal to teach myself calligraphy. Unfortunately, I haven't found my style/stride with the calligraphy pen yet, but I'll keep working. After using up 10+ pieces of computer paper, I ended up with three different styles that I liked, and none of which required the use of a calligraphy pen... go figure!

I'll keep on working on calligraphy and let you know how that turns out. For now, I leave you with my Bridal Portraits, taken by the amazing Carl Hoverstad of Hoverstad Photography...

... and finally, a few pictures from my November wedding, taken by the extremely talented Katherine Fallis of Furnished Photography...