Monday, February 24, 2014

craft space expanded

our living room is long and rectangular so we were able to nicely split it into a dining, living, and crafting area.  my craft desk from my last apartment fit perfectly into the space next to the fireplace. the nook has amazing natural light during the day, and is a great place for me to tinker away on the weekend. 

over the months it slowly became a surface for storing piles of of paper and miscellaneous junk (amazing how this always happens over time), and i found it difficult to work on projects and wound up working on the couch and dining table instead.   

bffbf pointed out that there was sufficient space to expand my space into an L shape, and at the next opportunity, we were off to ikea to get another cabinet, table top and legs.

the configuration is practically identical to the one i had in boston, and while i still struggle with keeping the surfaces clear (really, you should see my desk at work) the extra surface is definitely welcomed for my various projects, especially the ones where i use the silhouette, paper cutter, and sewing machine practically simultaneously.

based on bffbf's enthusiasm for the newly expanded desk, i suspect he may slowly try to take it over...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

my very first stitchfix: february 2014

first naturebox, now stitchfix-- i'm just trying all kinds of things aren't i?
i first heard of stitchfix a couple months ago, and since i've been grumbling for years that i need a personal stylist, i decided it was a service i should try.

to provide a brief overview, stitchfix is a personal styling service. you fill out a detailed profile online, they send you a box of five items to try on, you pick what you want to keep, send back what you want in a prepaid envelope.  you're charged a $20 styling fee for each box, but that's put toward anything you buy.  if you buy everything in the box, you get a 25% discount (you see how they get you?).  

i initially wanted to receive a box in january, but the first available date i could choose for my shipment was in february -- it seems they've been overwhelmingly popular lately!

i inadvertently "cheated" and saw the list of what i was receiving by logging into my account before i actually received the package... and then once i saw what i was getting, i started a mad hunt across google trying to find images of my items.  i know. i know.  i shouldn't have done that.

i was immediately concerned about the prices (see below) and the fact that i was receiving two pairs of pants. i had requested a pair of skinnies but i was also hoping for a dress.  anyway, i could only find images of 2 out of the 5 items online , and i was still bouncing with excitement when my package arrived.

the clothes come tissue wrapped with a personal note and style cards that give you an idea of what you can wear the pieces with.

this is what came in my box:
sweet rain isaac floral print tab-sleeve blouse - $48
carlsbad lace detailed sleeveless blouse - $58
dear john kelli slim bootcut jean - $68
kut from the kloth danny (jennifer?) 5-pocket knit pants - $78
zad kayla metal teardrop earrings - $32

the sweet rain isaac floral print tab-sleeve blouse was one of the items i managed to find an image of online, and i knew already that i was going to love it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

heart brownie roll-out cookies

as i was prepping the dough for smitten kitchen's brownie roll out cookies (you see, i was determined to make more heart shaped things for valentine's day), i reflected over my aforementioned affection for the holiday.

to be clear, thanksgiving and christmas are on top of my favorite holidays list, but i suppose you could say that valentine's day is third (or dead last considering i couldn't care less about all the other ones.  i think... mainly because none of them are 'pretty'.).

yes, it's true that i have been in a relationship for every valentine's day since 1999, but i really do mean it when i say that has nothing to do with it!  i have never had one of those swoon-worthy, over the top romantic valentine's day, and nor do i particularly want or expect them.  rather, i look to anniversaries for those moments, because those clearly have more meaning.

my fondness for this day primarily stems from childhood-- i have strong memories of decorating treat bags and eating cupcakes from PTO moms at valentine's parties at school.  every year, i went to the store with my mom and carefully picked out the cards i'd be distributing.  i remember many of them, my card selections ranged from strawberry shortcake, bears in sweaters holding a corresponding colored crayon, and cartoony dinosaurs.  this may be why, as an adult, i've tried to mimic these childish joys at the work place.  so, i printed out these free cards to pass out with these cookies. and because ilikethemSOmuch, i left a slew of them around the apartment for bffbf to find. 

these are the simplest roll out cookies i have ever made. generally speaking, i avoid cut-out cookies because typically i find the dough unwieldy even after refrigerating, and once baked, they tend to be hard and sandy, and i prefer soft and chewy.   instead, these have a semi-soft texture when you bite into them, and are quite tasty.  as you can see, i popped in some color by adding large heart sprinkles that i impulsively purchased during a recent grocery run.

i don't normally buy sprinkles. or eat them.  turns out they're disgusting.

disgusting but cute.

happy valentine's day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

paper heart garlands

i'm not particularly attached to the romantic connotations attached to valentine's day, but i am fond of the excess of pink + red, hearts, and chocolate.     

i made a couple paper heart garlands this weekend to festive-fy (not a word you say? it is now) my cube at work. the image above doesn't portray the colors that accurately, but you get the idea.  the other strand is in the front part of my cube.  

i cut out a bunch of hearts in various sizes (and some circles) with my silhouette and sewed them together using pink and white thread.  i really love meshing paper crafting and sewing.

i'm starting to notice that my current silhouette mat is already losing it's stickiness, and my blade is getting dull. they really don't last very long!

do you ever decorate your office space?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

valentine's day cards revisited

valentine's will be upon us in about a week, so i thought i'd re-post a couple card ideas from last year, in case you were feeling crafty or desperate for a freebie.

follow my tutorial here to make these stitched felt heart flat notecards.

and check out my post here regarding the free printable card below, and download it here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

naturebox [stay away from the chickpeas]

i stumbled across a groupon for naturebox a couple weeks back, and thought it'd be fun to give it a try.  the deal was $35 for a 3 month subscription, each box containing five snacks of my choosing.  pretty reasonable as it works out to less than $2.50 a bag.

the box came surprisingly quickly--  based on my account information, i thought it would be well over a month before we received our first shipment, but it turned out to be more like a week.  i was pretty excited when i saw it sitting on my doorstep.

for our first shipment, i chose the following:
flax fortune coins
chili lime pistachios
baked sweet potato fries
praline pumpkin seeds
citrus chipotle chickpeas 

but wait...  when i opened the box, i found that the praline pumpkin seeds had been replaced by oat bran dippin' stix because they were out of stock.  this put a frown on my face since i would have preferred to have been notified so i could make another choice!

i was the most excited about the citrus chipotle chickpeas, which i tried immediately...  and i found myself frowning again because they were the chalky and so NOT good.  

DID I MAKE A MISTAKE? was this going to be a box full of yucky snacks?!

luckily, within two days i had opened every package to do taste tests (i could barely exercise more patience than that) and happily discovered that i liked ALL the other ones, particularly the oat bran dippin' stix, so naturebox gets a pass for throwing that in the box in lieu of the praline pumpkin seeds (that i have requested for box two).   bffbf isn't a fan of the flax fortune coins, but i definitely am.   if given a redo, i would order any of the others again with the exception of the chickpeas.

generally speaking i'm pretty happy with this shipment.  it's always fun receiving packages and in this case, trying new things.   it's particularly nice for me to have small-ish sized snack bags in the apartment, as i'm not a particularly huge snacker-  often snacks go bad before i have a chance to polish them off, unless i have the help of bffbf (in which case they'll disappear in a matter of minutes).   i am confident that we'll be able to finish most of box one by the time we receive box two.   i also value that they're 'healthy', and i've enjoyed how they've added some variety in our work lunches.

i'm definitely looking forward to our next shipment. have you tried any routine delivery subscription services like naturebox before?


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