I love getting things in the mail, especially when I forget I've ordered them. I've been working hard to gut my apartment and get a new workspace and office set up. The graphic design program I'm in requires a lot of work at home with pencils, ink pens, t-squares, etc. Having an organized art closet and clean work space has become necessary…otherwise I notice my stress level rise and my grades drop. It's a work in progress, as our house is currently completely torn apart.

That being said, I ordered some pretty pencils from Maoilisa in hopes of inspiring my goal of starting (and keeping) a weekly sketch book of ideas that pop up in my head. It's a simple thing I could do in the midst of the chaos of moving furniture and such.

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Maolisa specializes in Washi paper handwrapped pencils. I've alwasy been drawn to Japanese botanical art, so these pencils were the perfect thing to add a little charm to my table top. I'm hoping they help spur on some good ideas in my sketchbook too!

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Here's to the simple things! 🙂

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I finally had a little time to decorate our Christmas tree (we picked out a really small one for simplicity). I decided that I wanted to keep the colors very basic…but also go more "all out" than just putting the few mis-matched ornaments on the tree like I have every year before. I settled on crafting together some affordable white and gold ornament as a DIY project.

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What you'll need (if you'd like to make some too):

1. Plastic Clear Ball Ornaments that come apart at the center…and pop back together. Any craft store should carry these.

2. Gloss Opaque or Pearl Finish Acrylic Paint (I like Martha Stewart's glass paints as well)

3. Spray Paint (glossy finish is best)

4. Pine Cones

5. Wooden or Plastic Ornaments in various flat shapes for painting on

6. Florist or Crafters Wire

7. Paintbrush

8. Scrap fabric to tear in strips (to tie to a wire to use as a garland)

I shopped at: Michael's Craft Store, Dollar Tree, & Joanns Fabrics…all of which are having many holiday sales!

Here's how I did it!

 

 

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Happy Holidays everyone! How did you decorate your tree this year? I'd love to hear a description in the comment section below!

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I've always wanted to make my own dried cranberry snacks. I thought about doing that today…but lost the gumption. All I really wanted to do was photograph them.

 

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Then I got to doodling them and came up with a simple little painting….

 

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Which then turned into gift tag practice. My printer is currently a mess and I don't have any good paper on hand…but it was fun to print out test tags on our simple printer just to see how they'd look.

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Not too shabby…we'll see if I can come up with some fun seasonal projects and take these a little further beyond rough draft stage. What do you think? Any good cranberry inspired projects or recipes you can let me in on?

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You are most likely busy at work or simply settling into the long list of things at home. No matter how you spend your week, I know it's probably a busy one. That in mind, I just want to re-state how much I appreciate you stopping by my neck of the woods for a bit. It means a lot.


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Photo: JARFLY Dinnerware

I just wanted to pop in and quickly share some of our new arrivals over at JARFLY Vintage Rentals. Wedding season just recently wrapped up…which leaves me missing it already but also a bit relieved to have some time to re-group. This is generally also about the time that brides start contacting me to see if I'd be interested in buying some of their wedding decor and treasures they used on their big day. I purchased a pretty amazing plate collection from a lovely person named Veva just over this last weekend. I adore her taste and it was a very welcome addition.

 

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Photo: JARFLY Modern Vase Collection by Chive

In addition to collecting vintage, a focus of mine during this upcoming off-season is to collect vases and other table top pieces at wholesale from talented artisans (like Chive above). People will often want to buy from me….obviously that's not really what I do….however it's great to be able to refer them to the artist for purchase. The vases above are a part of the simplistic modern style that I'm collecting in addition to antiques. I have to do it slowly and carefully, but it's been fun.

 


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Tall milkglass bud vases
Photo: Milkglass Collection

It's hard to say for sure, but I think the milkglass may be my favorite item we offer for rent. Milkglass rentals were down a bit this summer…which I think is sad because they are so easily used in both outdoor and indoor weddings with their brilliant white tone and ability to pop floral so effortlessly. If you have an event on the horizon I'd highly recommend it for rustic, classic elegance, modern or bohemian styling. 

Thanks for letting me gush a little bit about JARFLY Rentals! It's a small business but big in heart and I have a very specific vision for it's future. Until then I'm simply honored to work with the lovely people of Portland, OR. I hope the week sets out well for you all….more from me later this week, I have some halloween-ish DIYfun in store! Don't worry, it will be free of glitter and pipe cleaners.


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PS: Some very sweet brides left me the most amazing reviews on wedding wire. If you rented from us this summer and would like to review our services, please click HERE.

The Autumn season has me in the mood to bake. I attribute this to my desire to find peace with food in my life, as I've fallen prey the the cycle that many women do…which is dieting and worrying about my weight. I'm no expert, but what better way to gain a sense of gratitude and appreciation for food than spending time in the kitchen creating.

While my blog has not often been a hot spot for recipes, that may just be changing as it's becoming a real joy and fun hobby in my life over the last month…though I had better luck with this recipe than I did baking a cake last week. If you didn't get a chance to read about that mis-adventure…see here

I'm rather excited about today's post because I actually made up this recipe. I was inspired by the Asian Pears I picked with my Mom the other day in her backyard. So, I became a bit of an inventor teasing and toying with other recipes I've used before….I hope you enjoy it!

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Pear bowl
Ingredients:

Muffin:

(Will make 5-8 muffins depending on the size of the tray you use)

1 Apple (I used Ambrosia)

1/4 cup tapicoa flour

1/4 oat flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup sweet sorgum flour

1 cup (packed) brown sugar

1 tsp xantham gum

1  tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground clove

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

Dash of whole milk (think 2 tbsp or less)

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp softened un-salted butter

Gooey Cinnamon Paste (for center & pear slice for topping):

1 1/2  tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground clove

1/4 cup bakers sugar

1 tsp brown rice flour

1 tsp sweet sorgum flour

1/2 tsp xantham gum

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

5-8 slices of Asian Pear (any crunchy pear will do)

 

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Directions:

(Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees)

1. Mix the dry ingredients (all flours, baking soda, xantham gum, salt & spices) together at low speed. 

2. One by one, add the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, butter and water.

3. Mix well at medium-high speed until butter chunks are gone and mixture is smooth.

4. Peel and core the apple. Cut off 1/4 (or 1-2 slices, depending on apple size) of it and puree in a food processor (or even a blender can work if you have a good one). 

5. Add the apple puree to the muffin mix. Remember, we don't want the mixture to get TOO moist, so add the apple puree slowly. We are really just flavoring the mix with the apple and it doesn't take much. Mix well.

6. Add a dash of whole milk if the mix seems to need a little more moisture. If not, you can exclude it (especially if you are lactose intolerant).

7. Grease a muffin pan or ebelskiver skillet

8. Pour the muffin mix into each section…being careful to leave a little room at the top (they puff up while baking)

9. Place in oven at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes

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While the muffins are cooking…..

1. Mix together all the ingredients for the "Gooey Cinnamon Paste" in a small bowl (by hand is fine). 

2. Slice up 1-2 Asian Pears. No need to peel them unless you want to.

After 10-15 minutes….

2. Pull out the muffins from the oven. Let them cool 5-10 mins. Get out a small cooking funnel.

3. After the muffins have cooled a few minutes, push the funnel 1/2 way down into a muffin (be careful not to go all the way to the bottom of the muffin). Then pour the "gooey cinnamon paste" into the funnel until it has filled to the top of the muffin. The idea is that you fill the center of the muffin with the cinnamon paste like a little "cup". Follow those steps with each muffin.

4. Take the Sliced pears (use extra small slices if using a large pear) and lightly glaze them with the left over "gooey cinnamon paste". If you have none left, simply sprinkle them with a little cinnamon and sugar.

5. Place a pear slice on top of each muffin…covering up the gooey center hole you just made.

6. Put the muffins back in the oven at 375 degrees for another 5 minutes.

7. After 5 minutes have past, remove from the oven and let cool for 25-35 minutes. The the muffins should then easily remove from the tray.

8. Enjoy!

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This recipe turned out really well and tasted very good. I was so excited something I made up actually worked. Remember, perfection is "fatal" as I read in a quote the other day….so if yours doesn't turn out how you'd like first time…no worries! I'd also like to state that I love photography and very much enjoyed "styling" the photos above, but it did take me awhile to do so.

I had a great conversation with my friend Lindsay from Rosemarried the other day…we talked about the fact that sometimes the yummiest food isn't pretty. Don't worry too much about yours looking like it does above. I don't have a fancy kitchen, supplies, or prop cabinent. I just used what I had and enjoyed making it look as pretty as I knew how. But even that isn't necessary…and it did take awhile to style it and involved many practice shots.

Remember that whatever you create has value and no matter how many pretty blog recipes you see…even if they make it look easy…it's NOT.  Pretty food isn't for everyone, but good food is certainly for eating. I think that's universal.

I hope you enjoy this recipe…and better yet enjoy some good time in the kitchen this fall.

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