Friday, August 13, 2010

Careless Obsessions

It all started in Rome, Georgia. While walking through a local high-end clothing and gifts boutique (gift card in hand!), admiring the beautiful clothing and hoping there would be something on the sale rack that would fit and be in my budget, I happened upon a treasure that became and immediate obsession.  CatStudio.  Specifically, I love their hand-embroidered pillows!  Each one is a work of art, not only because of the intricate design and rainbow of colors, but also because each pillow is crafted by hand, taking over one week to produce a single one. Beauty.  Design.  Skill.  LOVE.  Most likely, (unless by generous donation!) I will never own one of those pillows, coming in at $150 a piece, however...I do cling to the hope of one day owning a dish towel.  "Sigh" day.

Almost one year later, post-discovery, I happened upon the July 2010 edition of Martha Stewart Living titled Amazing America.  First of all, I love Martha Stewart.  Another obsession for another day. The articles divulge different dishes and goodies from all fifty states and are accompanied by gorgeous photos of the meals/items and their processes.  After page 103, the direction and "draw" of my CatStudio obsession became clear. Very clear.  It wasn't the CatStudio branding, honestly I don't appreciate most of their product line...the dish towels and glasses are cool, and of course the pillows...but that's about it. What I love are the MAPS!  In the magazine, there is an article detailing a souvenir trend that began mid-20th century.  People began screen-printing maps of each of the fifty states on different textiles; scarves, tablecloths, dish towels, etc. and selling them in souvenir shops all across the nation.

There are so many ways to display these vintage souvenirs.

Hang them on the wall.

Frame them.

Turn them into dainty pillows.

Make a them into curtains.

Cover cushions.

Heck, use them for their original purpose.

The possibilities are endless.  Seriously, check this out and you'll see what I mean!

Oh, and for some crafting with maps, click here.

Oh Obsessions!

Keep Posted,

the rave

Monday, August 2, 2010

Late Night Snack....Go Ahead, Do It!

Sometimes I get an itch.

Not the rash-y kind, but the kind that gets into your head and won't go away with the cold shoulder.  You just HAVE to scratch it.  What I mean is, sometimes, I just gotta get my bake on! I heart creaming together softened, light yellow butter and sparkley white and brown sugar crystals; that gooey mess makes my heart go pitter-patter (that's right before it relapses into depression about it's cholesterol levels).  The thought of adding an egg and a healthy helping of vanilla extract is enough to drive me to drinking...ahem, the whole bottle of extract!  Add the dry ingredients, and hopefully something in the realm of chocolate, and by the time it's coming out of the oven, golden-brown and perfect, the angels in heaven have hushed their singing to admire what is, the chocolate chip cookie.

Tonight I experimented with two tried and true, All-American favorites...the chocolate chip cookie and the cast iron skillet.  Crazy, right?  I must admit that the thought of these two obsessions coming together to create one, beautiful concoction made me drool on-the-spot.  Seriously.  

All credit must go to the legendary Martha Stewart and her notorious Cookie-A-Day emails that I receive. Every. Single. Day.  If loving sweetness is wrong, I don't wanna be right. 

Check out the recipe here.  Long live the Chocolate Chip Cookie AND the Cast Iron Skillet!

WAIT!  I almost forgot to tell you!  I added butterscotch chips in my version.  Excellent choice by-the-way.   If you're a fan of the buttery fantasy, throw them in! You won't be disappointed.

Keep Posted!

the rave

Dear July, .....Where Did You Go?

OMG.....I know I have been like a ghost for the past month (last post 7/4!) but Dustin and I have been on a moving frenzy since the beginning of this month.  If you read my last post then you saw the incredible house we have moved into. So awesome!  And it's been late nights, busy weekends, no time to spare and definitely no time to breathe ever since.  Dustin and I single handedly moved 18 car loads of stuff to our new place, no need for a moving truck this go-round, Ruby Sue the Subaru put on her big girl panties and moved everything we owned minus the kitchen sink!   We blew up Craigslist with ads for several things we couldn't take with us and we are about 5 to 6 HUNDRED dollars richer for it...thank you Craig.  On top of moving everything out, we have been busting it to get the house cleaned up for "landlord inspection" which irritatingly keeps getting put-off.  But today was the official last day of our lease, so we spent all night last night and this morning/afternoon scrubbing walls, floors, cabinets, toilets and everything else we could think of in order to make our Italian lessor happy enough to give us our deposit back.  I am pretty sure my hands and fingers are gonna need some major TLC to recover from all of the chemicals they've been immersed in.  Hey, at least the itchy rash on my hand is drying up...kind of gross...but I guess a little bit of bleach can cure just about anything :)

On top of all the insanity that has defined my life lately, I can say that there have been several bright spots through all of this. First, my Nana and Granddad happened to be in the Philadelphia area a week or so ago and stopped by for a semi-surprise visit.  We totally loved getting to see them and spend some one-on-one time with them.  They took us out to eat a one of our favorite local Italian spots, Romarco's.  They have excellent Chicken Parmigiana and they have a Wine Book that could compete with the Encyclopedia.  We love that place and we loved that we were able to share it with them.

Almost two days later my mom and step-dad acted on impulse and drove 800 miles to help Dustin and I settle in to our new place.  They couldn't have timed it better.  Not only is having to move everything you own from one location to another overwhelming but unpacking and organizing it once you get there is doubly, if not triply, as overwhelming.  Mom got to wash a lot of dishes while I was at work and Lewis scrubbed our kitchen table and chairs and gave them a shine that made them look new again.  Oh, I can't forget to mention that they were thoughtful enough to bring a few bottles of that sweet Georgia wine I've been missing.  It's hard to find something that good in these parts.  We were pretty bummed when they had to leave.  Maybe next time they'll come up and we won't have to work them so hard!

On top of transporting everything we own, Dustin and I took on a few furniture makeover projects as well.  I am so glad that he was up for it.  I usually I have the big, crazy ideas but somehow he always get roped into helping me put the plans into motion.  I love it!

Here's our Hoosier Cabinet.  I bought it at a yard sale a couple of years ago for $20.  It needed some major restoration and my dad was so wonderful to take that project on and make it look brand new.  He painted it a shade of neon green that I had picked out (and loved!) but after 2 years of that it was time for a new look.  What better time than in the middle of moving, right?  Check out the Before&After...



Next we  painted my Great-Grandmother's dresser than I have been using for over 4 years and that has been a flat black since I've had it.  It is unique because the drawers have no hardware.  The drawer has a built-in handle.  The scallop detail on the front is how you open and shut the drawer.  We thought it would be cool to bring that detail out by painting a border around each drawer facing.  I think it turned out great!

This is a terrible before picture because you can hardly see the piece.  It's in the lower part of the photo.  Just notice that it's solid black.


Oh, before I sign out I just have to show you these incredible glasses I bought at the Goodwill last week.  After 3 years of marriage and living with up to 8 people at one time, my good glasses, which began at a quantity of 8, have slimmed down to a mere 2.  I found these and it was love at first sight....especially for a buck each.  I think I have an attraction to green....

Sorry it took so long for the won't be so long next time.....

P.S. Our new place rocks!

Keep Posted!

the rave