Monday, April 23, 2012

10 Lovely Things

 1 The flower section at Whole Foods. Yes, I'll take one of everything please.

2 Road signs that make me laugh and think "only in Texas..."

"Your fences need to be horse high, pig tight, and bull strong."

 3 Food trucks in Austin

4 The way the evening sun shines through the backs of the leaves

5 The weather: 95° in April...whew!

6 Brisket tacos. Tex Mex cuisine at its finest.

7 Jilly's glee over her enormous shaved ice

8 Fried cookie dough stand. In reality I think this is gross but I love how unabashedly American it is. "We've got cookie dough and a deep fryer and we're not ashamed." Stand up y'all, we're pledging our allegiance to the United States of Terrible Food Choices.

9 Car shows. I don't appreciate cars myself but I love how enthusiastic other people are about their vehicles. 
(it was so hot my cell phone camera lens fogged up)

 10 And as always....Texas sunsets

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

DIY: Hand-Stamped Invitations

As you may or may not know, my little sister recently got engaged. I am so excited for her! Without getting all mushy, just let me say her fiancĂ© is one lucky guy and I fully support this union. And you know I'll be writing all about it as events unfold.

The wedding date is coming up fast: they will be married this July in San Antonio, Texas. As her maid of honor (yes, thank you, please hold your applause), I have jumped right into the planning of things, starting with a wedding shower in our hometown next month. 

And because I never do anything the easy way, I decided to hand make the invitations. Most of the products I used came from my new favorite store, Paper Source.

Materials (full list at the end of the post):

 Blank invitation:

 Envelope liners are a bit frivolous but I just love that pop of purple.

I cut regular white card stock down to place card size to make a small insert that lists the places Eva is registered. Emily Post probably would not approve but I figure if people are going to get gifts, it doesn't hurt to herd them in the right direction. I'd rather be a bit gauche than have Eva end up with six tea kettles.

I used a small sponge dauber dipped in water to seal the envelopes. I hate the taste of envelope glue and am secretly afraid that it's poison. I really don't want to die that way.

Now all that's left is to put them in the mail! I'm kind of proud of them though, so I might have trouble letting go. It was a fun project and I am fully available to make invitations for anyone else with a party coming up soon. Seriously.

Product List
Lovebird clear stamps (from a set from Hobby Lobby)
ColorBox Dye Ink in Deep Grape
LePen in Brown
A2 scallop cards in luxe white
A2 envelopes in paper bag
A2 envelope liners in beet
Plain white cardstock (from Michael's)

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I just finished Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran. If you're at all interested in classical history this is a fascinating (if fictional) portrayal of some key players during a tumultuous time in the history of Egypt and Rome. I promise the book is much more thrilling than how I just described it.

It's been so lovely outside lately that it makes me want to smile and dance. So I put together a little springtime playlist on 8tracks.

a baby blanket. I don't know if you've noticed, but SO many people be having babies lately! Anyway I figure, what better way to use my newly-found knitting skills?

PaperSource. For all your stationary/paper/gift-giving needs. High-quality & eco-friendly. It's official, I've turned into a raging craft monster. Seriously, I can't stop making stuff. I either need to open an Etsy store or a job. Preferably a job.
Anyway, I'm almost finished making invitations for a bridal shower with PaperSource products but more on those later.

new recipes.
You guys, Jillian is a culinary wizard. I have become quite spoiled by her cooking. Unfortunately for her, the inducement for me to relieve her of this nightly task is very low. I can bake cakes and cookies like it ain't no thang but making real meals is a problem. I have managed a handful of times to overcome my qualms about my lack of skills to put a meal on the table, however. I have been craving fish lately (weird, who does that?) and since she's not a huge fan I figured I'd better make it myself if I really wanted it. So last night we had pan fried tilapia and it was quite delicious  . I used this recipe and I highly recommend it. Easy and quick and it was the least fish-tasting fish I've ever made.
Also I made these yesterday. Just in case the fish turned out awful and I needed in some way to reassure myself (and Jillian) that I can still make magic in the kitchen.

Turns out I still can. They are amazing. But unlike the fish, not doctor recommended. 


It's a dog that looks like a cotton ball when it's sleeping. It's so cute, I can't stand it. I only watch it like six times a day. 

You're welcome.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guest Post: Sam

Hey guys, one of this week's writing prompts is to have a sibling or friend share a story (in their own words) about yours truly that you may not have heard before. I asked my brother to do this, since he has a blog of his own. Plus, I trust him to tell you a story that's not too damaging to my reputation. 

Hello.  I’m sure you got all excited to see that my dear sister has updated her blog, but unfortunately, she copped out this week and gave this one to me.  Hopefully I can live up to the high expectations Ellie has set.  Who is me?  I am her younger brother.  The one that reached legal adulthood.  I’m supposed to tell a story about Ellie that ya’ll might not have heard.  As a younger brother, I can definitely fill that role.  See, as the only male child until 2003, I had a lot to handle with two older sisters.  These are just a few of the ways they, and especially Ellie, occasionally made life difficult.
The first story is about a terrible relief for heat.  See, my duty as son around age 10 was to mow the front lawn.  In the Tennessee heat, this was a tiring task.  When I was done, I would be sweaty, hot, and in need of some cold refreshment.  Everyone’s had lemonade, right?  Sweet, delicious lemonade.  Well, this one time, my sisters made me some.  I was thrilled, because lemonade is great.  So I took a biiig old swig. 

And promptly spat it out, because my dear loving sisters made it with water, ice, and straight lemon juice.  I then spent the next 10 minutes chasing them around the house, trying to dump it on their heads in payback.
I suppose you could chalk up that last incident to childish immaturity.   Sadly, this would not be the last time I would have to deal with my sisters’ antics.  We loved going to our grandparent’s house in NY, in part because we enjoyed helping our grandfather around the house, hauling wood, mowing, and, on one occasion, painting his barn.  We used a rust-red stain to do so, and it was a messy job.  The rollers would flick stain all over us, regardless of how careful we were.
In any case, I want you to imagine a roller pan.  You know, with the one end stable and squared off and slanting up to the other end, so there’s some space under it when the other end sits level.  The paint sits in the one end, and you roll the roller in it to get it all painty.  Ok, so you have this roller pan in your head, filled with runny red stain.

(ok just pretend it's red and not white)

Now, we’ll move to describe my situation.  I was helpfully on a ladder, because I have the distinction of being vertically challenged since 1991.  However, on a ladder, I can’t reach everything, so I would have to move the ladder every few minutes.  Remember that roller pan?  Ellie was using one just like it, and she was painting next to me without a ladder.  And where does she choose to leave it?  Right at the foot of my ladder, that’s right!
I went to step down from the ladder to scootch it on over, and set my foot on the slanted end, sending the stain straight up the back of my leg.  I imagine it looked like my femoral artery was severed on that leg.  I was appropriately furious and yelled at her.  Lucky for her, there was no chasing and dousing as in the last story, as the stain was a pain to get out of hair.

And there you have it.  A little story or two you may not have known about Ellie.  Thanks for bearing with me, and next week I’m sure she’ll return to her regularly scheduled funny stuff.
Disclaimer: These stories aside, I am really lucky to have my sisters.  Nobody messes with them but me, m’kay?
So now you all know, I was a devious and sometimes careless child. I won't deny it but Sam made an easy target. I notice he didn't tell you about the time we made him wear a dress and have a pretend picnic on the floor of the kitchen....huh, weird. 
However, I'm glad to say our relationship has improved since then and I pride myself in thinking these traits have not carried over to adulthood....mostly....

Thanks Sam!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, April 2, 2012

If I were a Rich Girl

"Na na na na na na naaa..."
...anyone else have the Gwen Stefani song stuck in their head? You're welcome.

I recently saw the Audrey Hepburn classic, How to Steal A Million, and I've got money on my mind. With all this talk of mega millions and lottery winnings, I started thinking about what I would do if I became one of the nouveau riche

Not that I condone playing the lottery (or stealing, for that matter, even if the film is completely adorable). It's a fool's game. Wealth is best come by honestly and through hard work.
That is if you're going to pursue it at all. Life's too short to spend it chasing paper.  I think the urban poet Notorious B.I.G. said it best in his ode to wealth, "Mo Money, Mo Problems": "It's like the more money we come across, the more problems we see." Amen, Big Poppa.

Regardless, this is the Internet and not real life so let's pretend I've just come into a beaucoup d'argent. And assume I've paid all the requisite taxes and donated an appropriately obscene amount to charity.

First, I would buy an English country house, specifically this one:

Why? Because it's an English country house, duh. My family would "summer" there, as the wealthy say. It's the perfect setting for taking tea in the garden and long moody walks through the countryside.

Second, I would dress only in filmy cotton dresses and gossamer sequined evening gowns where the label is heavier than the fabric. Think J. Crew for breakfast and Jenny Packham for dinner. My closet would look like this:

Since jewelry is not my thing, I would feel no guilt about dropping 2 Gs on a handbag that looks like it was made for $30. I'm looking at you, Celine.

I find that generally in high fashion, the simpler it looks, the more expensive it usually is. Listen, I don't make the rules, folks. But you know, what I save in diamonds I make up for in handcrafted leather goods. 

Third, I would travel everywhere. Constantly, and on a whim. "Hey guys, want to hit up this castle in Colombia for the weekend?" "Sure, let me grab a hat." Or, "There's a festival in Morocco next month, who's with me?"

(1)Source       (2)Source

My passport would be so full of stamps I would be one of those people who would have to get extra pages, like some sort of cultural ambassador. 

Fourth, I would buy my Aunt Debbie this car. Because I once promised her that if I ever got rich, I would get her a Fiat 500. And I am a woman of my word.

Fifth, I would open a cupcake bakery somewhere on the eastern shoreline with my cousin Christina. It would be glamourous and delicious with a pretentious one word name like Morsel. Pipe dream fulfilled! 

I could keep going but you get the idea. This is all in the event of somehow coming into a lot of money, you understand. In the meantime, I'm pretty happy with my life as it is. So I think I'll be just fine without ever stumbling upon a giant pile of riches. 

What would you spend the money on? (Be selfish now, none of this "putting it away for the future" business.) 


design + development by kiki and co. creative