Image from Prairie Hive Mag, Issue Four
Wishing you a safe and festive New Year’s Eve!
Coming next week: Best of Prairie Hive, the return of MANDAY and more!! See you in 2012!
Image from Prairie Hive Mag, Issue Four
Coming next week: Best of Prairie Hive, the return of MANDAY and more!! See you in 2012!
There is no better place to be than home for the holidays! I traveled up to my parents’ house in Northeast Philadelphia for Christmas, and I must say I have been enjoying the time off, the family activities and the home-cooking for the past week. They moved up here about 6 years ago, and a few years later I moved just miles from them, where I lived for a couple of years before returning to Tulsa. So, I enjoy coming back here every Christmas and seeing all the old sights. I love the historic sites, the colonial houses and the lush green-ness — in December!
I thought I’d share a few of my favorite views around here. And some new, lovely ones I’ve come across this trip, too! (I should try to get some pictures of these places in the fall, too, with the breathtaking colors…)
I love that most houses display a candle in every window for Christmas! (please excuse the slight blurriness of the picture below… it was rainy, and getting dark)
We met up with my aunt, uncle and cousin from Upstate New York in Strasburg, PA which is in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. You can grab an Amish buggy ride for a tour through the Amish farmlands. Strasburg is also home to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. After a visit to the Museum, you can climb aboard for a ride on a vintage train at Strasburg Rail Road. We went to go to the Sight & Sound Theatre for a showing of Miracle of Christmas – an awesome interactive musical with live animals and all! (There is also a Sight & Sound Theatre in Branson, MO. Not too far from Tulsa!)
We had lunch at the Strasburg Country Store, and it really hit the spot! The house-made fudge looks divine, but sadly, we didn’t partake but instead enjoyed a delicious warm apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream. Mmmmm….
While I was here, I had to visit my favorite thrift store – the Bryn Athyn Thrift Store. Great stuff – anything you could need – for fantastic prices! This time I scored 2 books at $0.25/each, a $6 jacket and 2 $2.00 afghan blankets.
If I lived closer, that blue sideboard would have been mine in a heartbeat. Sigh.
Next door to the Thrift Store, is a charming art gallery – Orchard Artworks. So cute!
I hope you all had very wonderful holidays, wherever they found you. And have a Happy New Year!
This week I have been determined to try and get my house in order before starting 2012. Not that it’s in complete disarray, but it certainly could use some help.
If you are anything like me, then one of the worst places is your refrigerator. Tuesday I decided that it was kitchen day and that I was going to tackle my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. I threw out everything that was expired or that I hadn’t touched in a while (you know what I’m talking about….the containers at the very back that you can hardly reach). I cook a lot, so it accumulates all kinds of condiments, left overs, and who knows what else.
I cleaned all of the shelves and then put everything that was left back in – in an orderly fashion. Hoping to keep it nice and organized, at least for a while. I found this great article from Real Simple that shows a refrigerator before and after. Quite impressive! It gets into all the details about the proper placement of things, the benefit of labeling, and matching containers. Don’t be fooled, my refrigerator does not have nice labels or anything, but it is nice and clean!
Here are some items that can make your food storage much easier whether it is in the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry…
Herb Keeper from Crate and Barrel
The Fridge Locker from The Container Store would be great to keep little hands out of certain items in your home refrigerator OR big hands out of your yummy homemade lunch that you brought to the office. Perhaps Ross could have benefited from one of these in the Friends episode where someone takes his “moist maker” sandwich (click link below for a refresher on the episode)….
image via Ma vie est mon message
image via The Container Store
These stackable water bottles are the perfect shape to use the vertical space in the fridge.
image via The Container Store
Erasable food storage labels make it easy to keep track of what’s in your fridge and freezer, and if it’s still good. No more guessing about the leftovers!
image via IKEA
GRUNDTAL Containers are little stainless steel storage containers that have a magnet on the back. They are perfect for spices. You’ve probably seen multiple photos on Pinterest showing them attached to a metal tray or cookie sheet that is hung on a wall or the back of a cabinet door. Well, IKEA is where you find those little containers!
Do you have any tried and true guidelines for keeping your food storage areas nice, clean, and up to date?
My next challenge is the guest bedroom. Under the bed, in the closet, you get the idea. Should be fun!
Image via B. Jones Style
It’s always been my opinion that New Year’s Eve – whether your plans involve game night at home or a big party – is the time to bring out the sequins. It just doesn’t seem right to countdown at midnight without them. This mix of warm and cozy paired with sparkle on top of more sparkle somehow takes it down a notch and elevates the look at the same time. For my New Year’s Outfit to Room Edition I decided to do a little party planning as well, and dreamed up a permanent room with a bit of this look, blinged out for a party. Enjoy!
1. Worlds Away Faceted Pendant, Zinc Door 2. Sunburst Wall Mirror, Lamps Plus 3. Glitter Sign with Ribbon, Party Secret 4. Diamond Pinata in Silver and Crystal Pinata in Gold, Confetti System 5. Faux Sheepskin Rug, Home Depot 6. Perforated Metallic Tealight Holders, West Elm 7. Mikasa Pure Red Charger, Macy’s 8. Sculptor’s Dinnerware, Anthropologie 9. Oneida “Vivanti Alessandro” Flatware, Dillards 10. Inside Out Champagne Glasses, MoMA Store 11. Triad Dining Table, Crate & Barrel 12. Silver Sequin Fabric (as Tablecloth) source ideas: NY Fashion Center Fabrics, Online Fabric Store, or your local fabric shop! 13. Sheepskin Throw and Piana Dining Chair, DWR. (I also think this would look fantastic on the Wishbone Chair).
As I’ve been thinking about my big plans to get organized this year, I figured the best way to start was with a new calendar - a nice visual to help me organize my time and put dates in perspective for the upcoming year. I typically need something that as A LOT of space – one that will allow me to include the many activities and appointments for each day. But as I started looking, I think I would really just like to have a beautiful one to hang on the wall or set on my desk. It might be nice to look at a calendar and only be reminded what day it is! Here are a few of my favorites – although I did include a couple that has space for more than the date for those of us that absolutely need to make a note or two.
1. SusyJack Wall Calendar, See Jane Work 2. Flora and Fauna Wall Art Calendar, ModernPrintedMatter at Etsy 3. ferm LIVING Calendar Wallsticker, All Modern 4. Rifle Paper Fruit Calendar, Luxe Paperie 5. Little Things Studio Calendar, Etsy 6. Surge Calendar, MoMA Store 7. Watercolor Calendar, Terrain
I know it’s 2 days (1 day? Don’t ask me, I keep losing days!) before Christmas, but now that it’s here, I keep thinking about what I want to do next. Between Alliday and Christmas, I’ve been so busy I couldn’t even mentally add projects to the list, but now I’m back in full swing with big dreams of completing LOTS of projects this winter!
In the season of giving, we often put off personal purchases and treats so I figured what better project than something just for me? I spend very little time shopping and then when I do get out, I tend to get disappointed by the selections. Especially with clothes. So I’ve gathered a list of pattern design companies that I peruse when dreaming of one-of-a-kind outfits. And for all you non-sewists out there, no worries, there are plenty of seamstresses and tailors that would be happy to complete your one-of-a-kind creation.
First up, BurdaStyle. I think you can find anything here and then there’s lots of extra inspiration with the user uploads of their own versions of the patterns.
Amy Butler is a favorite designer I follow, I love everything from her house to the fabric color combinations. I’m often drawn to her personal accessories patterns, particularly the bags. But my favorite at the moment is this jacket, what a unique look with the fabric choice.
Anna Maria Horner has a talent for creating desirable color palettes and warm or cool color based, they all make me smile and feel happy.
This is a sweet company I found yesterday and I thought of Sarah and the search for maternity clothes. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all whip up a perfect maternity top for any occasion? I only dream of having those kinds of skills, but this might be the time to get some hired help. Megan Nielsen has a simple, timeless style that could be interpreted for casual to formal occasions.
Hot Patterns! This is probably the first of the non-big-four pattern companies I found and have been watching for years. I even like the patterns they make that somewhat follow trends, they tend to clean up the style and give more of timeless look to them.
And last, but certainly not least is Colette Patterns. A simple silhouette is sometimes all you need and I love the nod to an era gone by in their patterns. I tend to go through phases with my clothing selection (shirt, pants, shoes) and get bored forgetting how much simpler it is to throw on a unique dress.
Any of you out there dream of creating your own wardrobe or already doing it? I hope to really get off the ground this year with personal sewing, I tend start projects for myself, but push them back for “more important” things and next thing I know I have several cut-out or half-finished garments stuck in a box since the last house move 3 years ago! Maybe we can inspire each other to get them finished!
All images from corresponding pattern companie’s websites.
Last week my parents were in Hot Springs, Arkansas for some relaxing. Wednesday evening me, my husband, and my sister drove down to join them and my grandparents for a couple of days. I have always heard people talk about Hot Springs, but I had never been.
It’s a beautiful 4 1/2 hour drive from Tulsa into the Ouachita mountain valley, complete with many winding roads. Unfortunately it was my turn to drive Wednesday night and of course it rained cats and dogs the entire way. Not to mention the fog that set in right about the time we hit the winding roads. Great fun I tell you! But, we made it safe and sound.
We stayed in a time share in Hot Springs Village, just north on highway 7 (super twisty highway….motorcyclists rave about it). This is a completely gated, huge community. They have their own gas stations, restaurants, gym, etc. The majority of the residents are retired. So, we were by far the youngest there!
Hot Springs got its name because of all the natural springs in the area. The temperature of the water flowing out of the ground is 147 degrees! Steam rises from the grates in the streets, the fountains, streams, anywhere there is water. Of course I had to touch it and it was very warm!
During the 1920′s it became a popular resort destination because of it’s ”healing waters”. People would come to take baths to hopefully cure their ailments. Multiple bathhouses were built, creating “Bathhouse Row”. They are still standing, some have been turned into museums and such, but there are two that are still functioning bathhouses. I knew right away that I would need to try out a bath. I’m a sucker for a great massage, so I figured it couldn’t be that much different….well I was wrong.
There are a couple of different options. One option allows you access to multiple thermal water soaking pools. Each pool is a different temperature ranging from 90 degrees in the lap pool all the way up to 102 (or 104…can’t remember exactly) degrees. You can lounge and relax and move from pool to pool as you wish. The second option is a private bath like they did years ago.
Well my sister and I figured that if we were going to do it, we should do it the original way. We headed to the Arlington Hotel (the only one open on that particular day) for our private 45 minute bath. I’m not really sure what I expected, I mean it was called a “Thermal Mineral Water Bath”, but not this.
image via Penny Postcards from Arkansas
You have an assistant that takes you through each step. First up is your thermal mineral water whirlpool bath. Your assistant takes you back to your own private tub (original and huge…I could stretch out!) where she turns on a contraption that makes bubbles (again, original tub, no water jets or anything). This contraption reminded me of a mini boat motor, or maybe an electric paint mixer. Anyways, you soak in the tub for 20 minutes, and let me tell you, it was hot! After 20 minutes your assistant comes back in and uses a loofah to scrub your legs, arms, and back. Then you step out and move to the sauna where you site for about 5 or 10 minutes. After this you are warm…getting out all of those toxins for sure! For the third step you move to a table where you lay down and they wrap dripping wet hot towels on each leg and arm. Then they put one on your stomach, and just when you think you can’t be any hotter they place an ice cold towel on your head to help regulate your temp. You lay there for about 20 minutes. The fourth and final step is the needles shower. Basically your rinse off in a shower that has multiple streams shooting at you. Again, not a high tech shower that you may have seen before. It looks like pipes with lots of little holes in them. And that’s the end, unless you opt for a massage.
Nothing like I have experienced before, but let me tell you, I wouldn’t mind doing that every day! Those 45 minutes were so relaxing. I loved the loofah scrub down, but my favorite may have been the hot, dripping wet towels that they wrap you in. It was awesome. I know it probably sounds weird…having someone give you a bath…but if you ever find your self in Hot Springs, Arkansas, be sure you try it out!
Besides the bathhouses they have a great downtown area with lots of shops and restaurants. It was beautiful with all of the Christmas lights.
image via flickr
A fun side note: back in the day gangsters such as Al Capone frequented Hot Springs and the baths. There is actually a gangsters museum in downtown!
One night we attended a bell ringing concert at the Anthony Chapel, which is absolutely gorgeous.
Really, there are no words to describe it. Just beautiful architecture. And that’s all glass in between the wood…it’s enclosed, not open air.
After the bell ringing we walked around the Garvan Woodland Gardens. They have over 2 million Christmas lights that you can walk through.
image via Garvan Woodland Gardens
And finally (I know…long post!) I have to mention a couple of tasty restaurants that we tried out.
First up is Roland’s Bar-B-Que Company.
We saw this while we were driving to a huge antique store (lots of these in Hot Springs!), the parking lot was packed full and we laughed b/c it looked like a hole in the wall (which is always a good sign). After a couple of hours at the antique store we needed food, so I urbanspoon’d Roland’s and it had a 92% approval rating, so we tried it out. Fabulous ribs and the potato salad was awesome; my husband even liked it and he hates potatoes! And the owner was a super friendly Texan.
image via flickr
Great burgers and fried catfish! The catfish was my favorite. They also have homemade pies. My parents ate their once before we arrived and got to have my favorite, coconut cream pie. Mom said, “You may have tasted as good of a pie, but not better.” That says a lot coming from a baker like her. Unfortunately they were all sold out of pies by the time we got there Friday night (we were there around 7, but the 65 and over crown eats promptly at 5 and apparently had all of the pies). We were able to score some pretty good chocolate malts, though.
And finally, Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcake Shoppe
124 Central Avenue | Hot Springs, AR 71901 |
image via Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcake Facebook page
Oh. My. Goodness. This was hands down the best cupcake I have had. My husband and I shared the Salted Caramel one. Not dry at all, the frosting was perfect, and it was beautiful! They are located right in downtown and their store front is simply adorable…and how about that name???
All three restaurants had fabulous hand made food and friendly, personable people. What more could you ask for?
So, if you ever need a weekend getaway, be sure and check out Hot Springs, Arkansas and all it has to offer!
Or maybe it was the influence of my Prairie Hive team, or maybe it’s some kind of strangely manifested nesting instinct. But it happened. If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I am not usually the crafty one of the bunch. I see ideas, I like them — but I never quite get around to doing them. I don’t have the patience or the skills for hardcore crafting. For some reason this holiday season, even though I decided early on to simplify my Christmas decorations (at 8 months pregnant, waddling around to sit out Santa and Snowman figurines is a real effort) — I got the crafting bug. I’m blaming Pinterest. It bombarded me every day with beautifully photographed images of seemingly easy, charming decor that I just couldn’t go without. So I caved, did a few easy projects and thought I’d share. Some were more successful than others…
Image via Southern Accents (found on Pinterest, naturally!)
So this was kind of where I started in terms of Christmas this year. Simple, modern, clean – with kind of a woodsy/green vibe. My plan was that + metallics. I have an absolute ton of existing Christmas decorations, so every year I pick a color or theme to help narrow down what comes out of the boxes. I also get a little chintzy about it, so don’t like buying a ton of new stuff. So here we are with The Cloche – my current holiday obsession (see my Pinterest board – it’s a little absurd) – plus some simple added in elements.
Then I started stumbling upon all these beauties, Mason Jars – another obsession, one which I happen to own a ton of, just waiting for my creative flair to make them fantastic. The whole snow globe thing was looking like way too much work, and as much as I wanted those pretty white bottle brush trees, I couldn’t find them ANYWHERE (and again with the 8 month pregnant waddling issue), so here’s what I came up with:
Lessons learned: 1.)When you’re working with fake snow, less is more. 2.) Don’t be lazy. I think these little guys would have looked much nicer as snow globes if I would have had the patience to glue down the items, find the right kind of snow, fill them with water, etc. The good news is, nothing is attached so I can pull all this out and try again next year.
Also, someone needs to teach me how to use my camera. These could have looked much more glamorous with some nice lighting, a blurry sparkly background, and a dramatic focal point.
Image via Something Green, and me.
Up next, pinecones. I had this ribbon leftover from t he wreath on my front door, so thought I’d coordinate the back door. I wish I could have found some pinecones a little larger like the ones in the photo, but maybe you have to live someplace pine-ier than Tulsa to come up with those. Other than that, I think this one turned out OK. Add in the charming country door from the photo (and once more, better lighting) and I feel pretty good about it.
I even got crafty with my wrapping, which doesn’t always happen. I just used craft paper, stick on letters and old Christmas cards that I had in a random drawer, cut out shapes and tried to think outside the bow. There are so many cute wrapping ideas on Pinterest, this is just a combo of several that I spotted…many of them are way to intricate for my skill level (see last weekends post re: glitter animal pins).
No, I didn’t make this tree, but after Alayna’s post last week about her grandmother’s tree, I couldn’t help but share mine. It’s extra special to me because my mom, who passed away 10 years ago, made it back in the 70′s. It’s getting a little rough around the edges and is missing a few bulbs, but I put it out every year and think of her.
While I’m sharing, I thought I’d show you a few of my favorite ornaments this year…as much as I would love to have a perfectly coordinated theme tree that exactly matches my fabulous decor, I cherish the tradition of decorating the tree with ornaments handed down from year to year, each with it’s own story and symbolism to the family.
(clockwise from top left) 1.) Santa is another one of my mom’s 70′s ceramics creations – there are a few still surviving and I love this guy. 2.) Each year I buy an angel to remind me of my mom, so my tree is getting full of them! I like to buy from local artists or stores if possible, find ones with special meaning or symbolism. It’s a great tradition to remember loved ones at the holidays. 3. My husband is a chef, and I’ve been trying to incorporate ornaments that have special meaning to him into our tree since we’ve been together (since most of what I have is my family’s). If you’ve ever been in the market for a chef ornament you’ll know, they are HARD to find! Most are these awful cheesy baker Santas with plates of cookies and crazy hats on. We spotted this guy over Thanksgiving in a German shop in the Houston area and had to have him. Creepy? A little. But he’s carving a pig for heavens’ sake! 4.) I actually added this ornament last year, after my husband completed the Bike MS 150 Ride from Tulsa to Oklahoma City via Route 66.
Image via A House in the Hills
OK, OK – I’ve gotten sentimental enough…as a last look, there’s this…love this easy style for a holiday dinner. Surely I can pull it off?
Growing up, my favorite thing to open on Christmas morning was the stocking. I loved pulling out what fun, little trinkets Santa found to fill it. So, now as a parent, I love buying stocking stuffers! If it were up to me, each child would need more than one stocking, so I have to rein it in every year. I try to find things that are fun and different and if possible, useful. Here are some of my favorite things I’ve found out and about this year…
1. Snow Time instant snow at Snow Goose, Tulsa 2. Constructible Drinking Straw, MoMA Store 3. Robot Travel Puzzle at Kiddlestix, Tulsa 4. Monster Bobble Head Kit, Snow Goose 5. Lego Headlight, Kiddlestix 6. LED Shoelaces, Hearthsong 7. Yellow Owl Workshop tic-tac-toe Kit, J. Crew 8. Hero Hacky Sack, Backwoods 9. Rosette Headband, GAP 10. Natural Crayons, Moolka 11. Paintball Stripe Socks, Little Miss Matched
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