Craft & Consumption

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wildflower Garden {stage 1}

We have our own tranquil little view from the cozy front porch of our house here in the Northeast (zone 6 for all of you gardeners). I decided earlier this spring that the only thing that could make our view a little better is a cheerful wildflower garden on top of the sloping hill. 

I worked with one of my expert gardener friends to prep the space. We ripped up old landscaping cloth that was down before we moved in, and removed all of the weeds that had grown on top of it. Then we let the soil dry for a week. 

We bought a fabulous wildflower seed mixture that includes the following flowers: 

(Note: these flowers all bloom at different times from spring through fall, so I'm very excited to have blooms all season long!)

We put all of these lovely, different seeds in a bucket and mixed them with sand. We then put that mixture into a hand-held grass seed spreader (like this). Mixing it with the sand and spreading the seed with a spreader meant that we got the seed spread evenly over the garden patch. If we had sprinkled it with our hands, it would've come out in uneven rows.

After the seed was spread, we simply piled a bit of straw on top and then watered the patch thoroughly. After a week of watering, this is what the seedlings looked like (Note: teeny tiny bits of green are popping through the soil, if you look REALLY close!). 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Etsy Pick of the Week: A Lovely Pear

I said last week that Etsy is a fabulous place to find great little cards for all occasions. As I'm going to a bridal shower next weekend, I still have weddings on the brain. These cards were too cute to pass up sharing with everyone!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Weekend Getaway: Quebec City {Part 2}

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Quebec City. We spent a long weekend in a place that felt out of this world. As we pulled up to the Chateau Frontenac that very first night, this is the magnificent scene we saw.

Brass rotating doors transported us from the outside in. In all of my travels I've never seen a rotating door as beautiful or as just plain magical as the ones at the Chateau Frontenac

The next morning we awoke to a beautiful view from our hotel room. We explored the city on foot for the entire day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Etsy Pick of the Week: Letterpress Love

I went to the wedding of a childhood friend last weekend, the first of a few fabulous weddings I am looking forward to this summer. I found some witty wedding cards on Etsy that felt personal and chic. It was a pity I could only buy one! But the good news is, I get to share them with you here...

I really like the idea of supporting local printers and designers with the simple act of purchasing a card from an independent craftsman, rather than from the local drug store or Barnes & Noble. Plus, I didn't have to leave the comfort of my home to do it (the little beauties arrive on your doorstep like magic)!

Two of my favorites are pictured above, both from Pink Orchid Press studio on

I also purchased a personalized folk-art print for the happy couple from Spread the Love, a wonderful print studio based out of Pennsylvania. More on that to come!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Signet Ring Fondness

I got this beautiful men's signet ring as a Christmas present a few months ago. After taking my sweet old time with the engraving, I just got it back last week with my initials! I am in love! Apparently the signet ring goes back to Cleopatra's era...very intriguing. I'm wearing it proudly! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Raspberry Rose Buttercream Macarons

During my latest baking adventure, my friend Christy and I tried our hand at French macarons for the very first time. After I made them a few people asked if there is a difference between coconut macaroons and French macarons . Yes, there is! The French ones are colorful, chewy, delightful, and uber trendy in the Pinterest-loving female crowd these days; the coconut ones involve lots of coconut flakes and a spiky finished product.

I found a recipe for French Macarons with Raspberry Rose Buttercream on my favorite cooking site, It is a fabulous site with lots and lots of very sophisticated recipes, beautiful photos, and helpful reviews. 

(What's even more fabulous is borrowing your boyfriend's iPad during a Saturday afternoon baking session and suspending it from the kitchen cabinet. I felt super pro. If you have an iPad and don't have this awesome Gorilla Yogi Case for it with the grippy-legs, I recommend buying it STAT. The case lets you hang the iPad from anywhere and watch movies, page through recipes, FaceTime, whatever!)

The first step was to prep the sugar/egg "dough" for the cookies. Christy did that while I prepared the raspberry jam. The dough was surprisingly liquid and needed to be piped onto the cookie sheets. The piping helps you to create perfect little circles. 

   Little notes for next time

  • DYE DILEMMA: If I could go back I would've added pink or red dye to the cookie batter so the final product was a little more fancy and pretty. After baking they ended up coming out golden brown, which was not so ooh-la-la Frenchy and beautiful.
  • SIZE MATTERS: We also made the cookies too large. They could've been closer to 1 or 2" in diameter, instead of 4" in diameter. There was such an amazing taste explosion that occurred while eating them, we could've made more smaller cookies and spread the love more efficiently. 

When the raspberries and sugar were done simmering together, I separated the seeds from the syrup. Then we whipped the buttercream together and added some of the seedless raspberry syrup. Meanwhile, the cookies were in the oven baking...

When the cookies were finished baking and had cooled, I took the baked little meringue circles and assembled them with the seed-portion of the raspberry jam. 

Next Christy put the buttercream into a pastry bag with a 1/4" pastry tip on the end. She used this to apply the buttercream in an even way to each of the little cookies. This makes for a uniform little macaron cookie-sandwich.

    Note for next time:

  • I think it might've been easier to use a 1/2" pastry tip. The 1/4" seemed small and it seemed to take forever!

The final step was to take my raspberry side and Christy's buttercream side and match them together. The finished product was EXCELLENT tasting (seriously, amazing). I was slightly disappointed that our version wasn't as beautiful as typical French macarons. Now we know what to do to step up our game for round 2!

Have you ever made macarons? What was your experience like?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stripes and Pleats for Easter

I felt super comfy in my Easter Sunday outfit last weekend. Flats and a forgiving striped sweater helped! I even played some t-ball with my cousins in this little outfit. Feeling confident, playing yard-sports with 8 year olds, AND eating to your hearts content? I'll be stowing this outfit away for future use :) 

I am OBSESSED with my new signet ring (a gift from the novio). Details on that to come in a later post!

Sweater: Forever 21 // Pink Belt: J.Crew // Pleated White Skirt: Urban Outfitters // Purse: vintage Coach (thrifted from Tea Street Vintage) // Sunglasses: Chanel // Watch: Michael Kors // Turq Bracelet: MiMi by Sorrelli //  Gold Stud Bracelet: MiMi by Sorrelli (similar here) // Crystal Bracelet: Sorrelli // Signet Ring: from JA Meyer's Fine Jewelry // Band Ring: Bora (similar here)// Lipstick: Maybelline Fuchsia Fever

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy, happy Easter! May your holiday be filled with the crafting of Easter eggs, fabulous food, fragrant Easter lilies, and the company of good friends and family.

A hollow, marbelized egg made last year for the Egg Tree during our annual Egg Decorating party. This was done using nail polish and a bowl of water (appropriated idea from a nail art process: tutorial here). At some point I'll get around to doing a full tutorial with the eggs!

My brother Collin working on his wax resist egg using a kistka tool, which allows you to draw with the wax.

Our family Egg Tree, where all of the eggs we decorate each year find themselves on display each Easter.

My mom, ever the crafts-woman, making chocolate covered strawberries for Easter Sunday.

An amazingly fragrant Easter lilly. My namesake, and a gift for my Mom as a "thank you" for having us all over for the holiday (and cooking so much!).

Our crew of friends, buzzed on Trappist Rochefort beer and giddy after a full 8 hours of egg decorating. We're a little hard-core about our crafts. This is one reason why I love the holidays, creating traditions that are fun and inspire everyone to create brings a lot of joy and camaraderie to our little bunch.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Etsy Pick of the Week {Pom Pom Magic}

I'm getting into outdoor party mode lately. The flowers are up, the weather is warm, and lots of the past few weekends have been spent pruning, mulching, and weeding outdoors. The nights are still cool, but as they warm up and summer comes, I'll be looking forward to lots of outdoor BBQs with friends and family on our little patio.

I think these festive pom poms would be a fun addition to an outdoor party hanging from a low, wide tree branch. They're like big carnation flowers in punchy, fiesta-like hues.