Silhouette Embroidery Hoop

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This little mini-project was inspired by all of the embroidery hoops I've been seeing in the blogosphere (which are so adorable), and silhouette diy projects, which are everywhere.

So I thought, why not combine the two concepts?

This is Red. He's our cat. We also call him "Rhetoric" and "Bread."

Jonny took this photo above (which I also used for the silhouette in the blog banner, incidentally).

To make the silhouette part, I printed this photo out in black-and-white on regular printer paper. Then I centered Red's profile on a copy machine and copied it at 220%. I made sure he would be big enough in the center of the hoop before cutting out the fabric.

Then, I pinned his [paper] profile to the blue fabric and cut 'eem out with fabric scissors.

For the embroidery hoop, I bought a plain wooden one at Jo Ann and some craft paint in burnt orange, and just painted it with one of those spongey brushes. Next, I measured the yellow fabric and stretched it out under the hoop to make sure it would cover the hoop's surface area.

Then, I/we (Martha helped) used embroidery thread to sew Red's cloth profile onto the yellow fabric.

After centering him in the middle of the hoop, we tightened the top of the hoop thingy and voila!

This project probably cost around $7, if I had to estimate?

Just a little fun somethin-somethin for your pet or your face (you could do anyone/anything!).

[Went ahead and stuck this on A Soft Place to Land's DIY Tuesday. Check it out here, entry #114.]

Another Registry All Over Again...

Monday, September 28, 2009

I went to help my friend Kate complete her wedding registry on Friday night at Williams-Sonoma and Macy's. A lot of the available household items are the same, but let me tell you, A LOT of them are different than when this old married lady registered almost four years ago. [Don't normal people remember their registry anniversary?]

Thought it would be fun to compile a list of items for a dream-world 2009 registry, could I do it over again. These are some items I would love to have, now that I actually know what kind of homekeeper (Martha Stewart's word) I am, but [obviously] have a hard (read: impossible) time buying them for myself.

[Another part of this "dream" registry is the dream that there is ample storage space for the following items.]

Dream Registry 2009:

[charming little salt keeper with magnetic closure, Williams-Sonoma]

[Martha Stewart Two-Tiered Cupcake Carrier, Macy's]

[Lacoste towels, Macy's]

[Silpat collection, including counter mat and cookie sheet mat (see Silpat Disaster '09), Williams-Sonoma]

[All-Clad odd-size measuring cups...are you kidding me? A measuring cup for 2/3 cup or 1 1/2 tablespoons? Heaven. from Williams-Sonoma]

Kate has incredible taste, and made some fantastic selections. It was a completely fun evening together.

For the recently-wed, what are some items you wished you could have registered for if you could do it over again? Or do you just put your big-boy pants on, bite the bullet, and buy these for yourself, like a responsible grown-up?

Meanwhile, my petite blog was nominated for Love! This Site, if you want to vote. here.

Jonny's Worst Nightmare

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mushroom centerpieces [tutorial found here, via Martha Stewart Living].

My husband hates mushrooms.

For the most part, Jonathan does not have strong feelings about food, one way or the other. When we first got married and I delved into cooking for him (which I really enjoy), it took some adjustment to his "it's fine" attitude about most food. Because I love food. Now, I do understand that this is really a good thing; he never "hates" anything and rarely "looooooooves" anything, so I kind of always win. Like [most?] girls, I have an emotional attachment to some foods and can be quite dramatic about it [shocker].

It's because of this trait that when Jonny says "I really like ______" (my raspberry oatmeal bars, par example) or "I really don't care for ______" (disastrous salmon burgers I made one time), I know he actually means it.

But the man hates mushrooms.

On our first date, we went to Memphis Pizza Cafe and ordered [one of my faves from there] the Cajun Chicken Supreme pizza. Trying to "go with the flow" poor J did not say anything about the mushrooms residing on this pizza pie, nor did he remove them. He didn't want to draw attention to his single food phobia. [Had there been bananas (I hate bananas) on that pizza, I would have taken them off kicking and screeching.] What a sweetheart.

So I'll avoid making this centerpiece--which is marginally cute, no?

[I won't really go into the time we had the Farises over and I made this black-eyed pea/spinach/mushroom stuff that wasn't good and featured waaaaay more mushrooms than originally thought. Poor man--I told him beforehand "you can pick them out"--but there was no picking out. The mushrooms comprised a good one-third of the food on his plate.]

Patience of a saint, that one.

Another Look at Croton [fall foliage favorite]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The first time this plant really entered my radar was last fall when Martha's florist [L & Jay] used it in our bridesmaids bouquets (see below).

[photo by Aaron Snow Photography]

I'm holding Marth's bouquet in my left hand, and the bridesmaids bouquet in the right. See the clever use of croton as the bouquet base!

[you can also barely see Dudley's wedding band on that ring finger, which subsequently got stuck for a moment when it was time for "giving of the rings"--see Man Hands.]

My mom and grandma have always loved and grown croton on their own patios, so after noticing how beautiful it was in our bridesmaids bouquets, I very willingly accepted an offshoot of my mom's croton plant.

Here she is on my patio, filling in very nicely.

One of the draws of this plant is that one never knows what colors the leaves will be. Will they be prodominantly red, or will you have more greens and yellows? They love sun and maintain their lushness through the summer!

Here's a semi-interesting row of croton, showcasing all of the different colors:

[image found here]

Up close of the leaves [from my own croton plant]:

Yet another comprehensive look at the foliage:

[image here]

Look at all those different shades of beautiful autumn colors!

So, next time you see croton plants for sale at the grocery store, disregard the sterile/industrial backdrop and picture it in your own garden. Think of it as a welcome and somewhat unexpected addition to the mums and pansies you'll be planting. The undpredictable colors you invite into your yard will be most welcome!

The Red Chair

Friday, September 18, 2009

I am no longer a blogger flake--whether you care or not, here is the "Red Chair" post I've been promising/going on and on about.

Isn't she a beaut? [and just look at that kitty...looking out the window, getting ready for Halloween, his favorite time of the year.]

The chair is made by King Hickory, and has performed very well as the new living room addition. And for those wondering, no, Red has not been scratching all over it at all. He really doesn't even like to sit on it at all unless one of us is sitting there. Even then, he won't really fall asleep on it--I guess leather is too slick for a kitty? Not a bad thing.

You can see its cute little wings that flare out, and how the chair is not gargantuan but still manages to be classified as a wingback. Je t'aime, La Chaise.

Do you think I need a small rectangular pillow for the back? It actually helps when sitting in this chair. Some options (once I save up some pennies):

[peacock medallion pillow, from here]

[harvest pillow, from here]

[floursack option, here]

***my absolute favorite, methinks...

[elephant pillow, here and maybe better for our bed?]

Special thanks to one of my favorite sisters-in-law, Amanda, who helped make this chair a reality for the Jerkins household.

opinions? pillow at all? did the chair live up to the hype?

DIY Day + Bonus

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Today is DIY Day on A Soft Place to Land, brought to my attention by Lauren (who submitted her fantastically redone chairs).

I submitted the painted dresser (terrible photos and all), #174 on Soft Place to Land's list of submissions.

Here's where the BONUS comes in. This submission prompted a comment on my blog by another Soft Place to Land reader, Katherine at Grass Stains.

I was looking on her blog, and stumbled across a delightful post titled "Things People Say That Make Me Want to Hurt Them." Please find it here.

My favorite [annoying grammatical] mistakes that she calls out:

1. "all intensive purposes" instead of "all intents and purposes"
2. "Let's take Jerry and I's car." GRODY!

any of these just kill you too?

Current "Obsession" : Free DIY Envelope Wraps

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

...first saw these featured on one of my daily reads, Lucky Me.

I just LOVE these envelope wraps! I really first encountered envelope wraps on Stephen & Amanda's wedding invitations and thought they were just the neatest. As a stationery-lover, I am always interested in ways people snazz up their envelopes!

You can just download these pdf files, print 'em, cut them out, get some tape, and voila! It's been a fun addition to my correspondence for the past several weeks. [I love to wow my pen pals when I can.]

Each theme has two different styles of envelope wraps on each pdf. Free downloads here.

Hope you enjoy these like I have. A sweet [and pretty] handwritten note never hurt anybody.

I Am a Runner?

Friday, September 11, 2009

[this post is named after a post by my dear friend Kelly, from March '05, and for some reason the title has stuck with me since.]

I guess I would call myself a runner. I never crave it like I've heard described by other runners. My body and psyche don't really seem to "need" a run for a day to be complete. I've enjoyed and am proud of the accomplishment of completing three half-marathons and one full marathon, but yet it is terribly easy for me to go through a week and complete zero runs.

I had never even considered long-distance races as feasible until my dear friend Erin suggested we train for the half-marathon in Austin in 2003-2004. My dad got on board (he had never done long-distance training/races either), and we ran a half in Austin and the full in Memphis, both in 2004. Since then, I've completed two other halves--the jury is still out on whether or not I'll tackle another full marathon ever again, although it technically went well.

Yes, I suppose I am a runner.

This is the time of year when Hal Higdon and I get reacquainted. I've used his training programs for all four of my races, and was prepared for each. [And this year, Martha and I are walking on the wild side and going to attempt the intermediate training program. Our goal: at or below 2 hours flat.]

So, in honor of the start of "training season," I put together the "I Am a Runner 2009 Playlist" ... perhaps you will find this selection odd, perhaps inspiring, perhaps intriguing, perhaps helpful. Whatev. Jesse is always so good at making playlists, I thought I'd try my hand and get back into it, as I "get back into" the swing of running.

"I Am a Runner 2009"

1. Linger, The Cranberries
2. Cupid's Arrow, Amy LaVere
3. Dope Nose, Weezer
4. ACL, The Medders
5. What I Got, Sublime
6. Back in the USSR, The Beatles
7. I Don't Know Why, Ben Kweller
8. Inside and Out, Feist
9. Photograph, Weezer
10. Burning Love, Elvis Presley
11. Maybe I'm Amazed, Paul McCartney & Wings
12. The Walk, Imogen Heap
13. The Late Greats, Wilco
14. Allentown, Billy Joel
15. Remember the Time, Michael Jackson
16. What Is and What Should Never Be, Led Zeppelin
17. I Got You (At the End of the Century), Wilco
18. Times Like These, Foo Fighters
19. We Can Work it Out, The Beatles
20. 1 2 3 4, Feist
21. The Handshake, MGMT
22. These Arms of Mine, Otis Redding
23. September, Earth, Wind, and Fire

Training officially starts next Monday (Sept 14), and we're kicking it off with the Forrest Spence 5k on Saturday.

Let's go get 'em!

Blueberry/Strawberry Pie

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I had made a blueberry/strawberry pie earlier this summer for our July Fourth dessert contest (and won 1st prize!) ... but I wanted to attempt another recipe that perhaps would produce a "prettier" result. I'm still unsure of whether the weather (hee hee) or the baker had caused the previous pie to not "stand up" to my liking.

After some traipsing around the internet, I pieced together the following recipe, and the results were most definitely successful (as evidenced by the empty pie dish above).

Side note: I must say that this pie would definitely be just as delicious or possibly more delicious if it were 100% blueberry--but alas, the blueberries were not cheap this week and the strawberries were still looking pretty, so there you have it.

Start off by cooking your pressed-out crust for 10 minutes at 350 degrees (I used Pillsbury one leftover from the summer galette semi-disaster).

Then, after the crust cools a bit, you pour half the washed and appropriately sliced fruit into the crust:

Meanwhile, stir the rest of the ingredients in a medium saucepan until it looks nice and juicy (the below picture is not at said juicy-state):

Once the saucepan's contents are nice and bubbly, pour it over the top of the uncooked fruit:

Bake it for approximately 15-ish minutes at 450 degrees, or until it doesnt look soupy. In fact, I turned my oven off after taking out the pie, and then put the pie back in the oven to just sit in there for several more minutes, so all-in-all, maybe about 20 minutes. [But, it must be said that my oven has a mind of its own: prescribed temperatures and cooking times rarely correspond to recipes I use.]

Let it set for a while to pull itself together before serving. This one actually set better than my other one, and I didn't even let it sit overnight before serving.

The "official" recipe (compiled from several found on

Blueberry/(Strawberry) Pie:

1 prepared 8 inch pastry shell, baked and cooled
2 pints fresh blueberries (or 1 pint blueberries, 1 pint fresh and cut strawberries)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 t vanilla
1/4 t cinnamon

Pour half of the berries into the cooled pie shell. Then, mix the rest of the ingredients (in order) in a medium saucepan until juicy and bubbly. Pour on top of the uncooked berries and bake at 450 degrees for 15ish minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let cool completely before serving.

The results (once more for good measure):

[this will not become a "cooking" blog--it's just whatev]

Adorable Beings on Labor Day

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

[this not-so-adorable-but-nevertheless-funny sign spotted in a restroom in Searcy, Arkansas]

Off to Heber we went again...

[our "silly" pictures we took during the thunderstorm.]

Meet Kendall, my four-year-old rockstar niece, whose vocabulary rivals mine and everyone I know.

Her cutie-patootie little sister Kailyn, who just celebrated her first birthday in July. She has the bluest eyes I've ever seen...

Their puppy Presley (yes, a Memphis-inspired namesake)

[Kendall took this "silly" picture of her Aunt LaLa]

Red was again very glad to have us home...

Hope yours was pleasant and as full of adorable living beings as ours was!

Are You Kidding Me?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

These are the most BEE-YOO-tiful cards I've seen in a looooooooong time... Couldn't resist posting.

[via Oh So Beautiful Paper, Sesame Letterpress]

Anyone up for a calligraphy class?
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