Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Little Gems for the Craft Room

I'm on a roll these days with the craft room progress.  The Amy Butler fabric came in yesterday and I love it.  Its pretty bold, but since its just on throw pillows, it should be a good contrast to my plain gray couch.  I found this print on Etsy from Please Be Still Studios that seemed quite appropriate.

I also found a sewing mannequin on Craigslist this morning.  I think she needs a little work, maybe a recover job with fabric that has a little flair...and a name.  She'll definitely need a name. Since its adjustable, I'm hoping that it will actually be usuable when I start expanding my sewing endeavors into the clothing spectrum.  Speaking of which, just a side note, Hancock Fabrics has all Simplicity patterns on sale starting today and through the weekend in store for 5 for $5, limit 10. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Paper Goods on Etsy

I've already told you my undying love for Etsy.  But really, where else could you find a Boston Terrier pop card? I'm quite partial with anything that has a BT or Frenchie on it.

Crank Bunny has the cutest cards that are so unique.  Wouldn't this card be perfect for a marriage proposal? 
How about some scratch and sniff cards from Jill K's Little Shop of Ephemera?
These two are really cute b-day cards except for the fact that I hate clowns...they freak me out.


I have to admit, I'd be a little leary if I got this one in the mail...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Accident Prone + Mountain Bike=Recipe for Disaster

I bought a mountain bike about three years ago.  Its a really good bike and Clay wanted me to get one so we could go together.  We've gone out on a trail once in the time I've had this bike.  Other than that, we've ridden around the neighborhood maybe a handful of times.  Last week at my Krav Maga class, the guy that I work out with asked if I wanted to go mountain biking.  I'm an athletic person so I thought, sure, I'll go.  OMG...I have a whole new respect for off round mountain bikers.  We loaded up our bikes in his truck yesterday and went to this trail that runs on the side of Lake Travis.  He starts strapping on arm pads, gloves, etc. and I think to myself, I'm soo screwed.  I did buy a helmet but other than that, it was my body against nature and nature won.  I have never felt so uncoordinated in my life.  What a workout.  I ate dirt at least four times flying off my bike.  I lost my water bottle in one fall and sunglasses in the other.  I was on the verge of tossing my cookies, but I thought, I can't do that with no water!  It didn't help matters that it was about 100 degrees yesterday.  My head was on fire under that helmet.  I think that because I am athletic, it was frustrating not to be good at it right off the bat.  I got a gnarly scratch down the front of one leg from a meeting with a nearby cedar tree.  It looked so bad that I went directly to an estate sale on the way home to pick up a chandelier that I bought and the lady looked down and said, what happened to your leg?!? I'm sure there are bruises brewing as we speak.  I'll go again, but I think I may need to work on some smaller scale courses first.
p.s. on a side note, the chandelier is perfect for the craft room.  The material for the throw pillows will be here tmmw so I can go get coordinating paint.  I painted over the brass on the chandelier last night and gave all the crystals I good scrub down.  I can't wait for the before and after post!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Download and Print Invitations

If you need really pretty invitations, but don't want to shell out huge bucks for them, check out DownloadandPrint.com.  All the templates download into Word format so they don't necessarily have to be for the occassion that comes on it.  A wedding invite could easily be changed into a bridal shower invitation or really pretty birthday invite.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Fab Fabric

I ordered the material for throw pillows in my craft room and to recover my ironing board.  Ironing is not on my list of favorite activities, so I figure I can at least make an appealing cover for it.  I'll put up pictures of the before and after once everything is together.  Its getting there, but definitely a process.  On a side note, I love having a craft room.  Before, I would have put my sewing machine in the dining room and have my projects out until they were done. Now, I can have it all in one room and watch all the shows Clay hates while I sew (i.e. Real Housewives of New Jersey).  Bruiser and Ruby love hanging out in there too with me for some reason.  I was working on a baby blanket quilt last night and had all the squares on the floor to get them placed right.  I turn around and Bruiser is sacked out on top of them.  I guess was doing a quality control check for comfort. 
Anywhoo, I found my fabric on Fabric.com which is great because shipping is free on orders over $35.  They also have great sales on home interior fabric and as well as apparel and quilting fabric.  If you need more variety and/or a really good selection of pre-cuts for quilting, then Fat Quarter Shop is the place to go.  They have so many great fabrics and they put them together in coordinating batches.  Here are a couple of my favorites for kids:
I love sock monkeys for little boy's rooms:
This print would be great for a little girl (someday).  I'm not a big fan of baby pastels.  This set would be great with light gray walls and white bead board for an updated look in a nursery. 
This is one of my favorite Moda collections.  I'm actually using it for a certain someone's quilt right now. 
These would be really cute for aprons.  I really like the cherry prints and the whisks.  I have a pattern to make some vintage looking aprons, just haven't gotten around to doing it yet. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our Kids

Clay and I dated for quite awhile before getting married.  We've only been married for almost two months but we will have been together for seven years this fall.  Being said, the burning question is "when are you going to start having kids?"  Even at our wedding reception we got asked over and over.  Geez!  Anyway, I tell them we already have kids, they just happen to be of the four legged variety.  I think its time they graced the pages of Everyday Ellis.  I'm sure their mugs will be on here from time to time. 
Bruiser (4 yr Boston Terrier): the biggest spaz you will ever meet...really.   He is crazy but cracks me up more than any dog I've ever known.  On the other hand, when he's finally calm, he is the biggest love bug a girl could ask for.
Snuggle Time with his Daddy:
















Computer time in the morning (probably asking Clay to check my blog)






















Look at that face

Ruby or Ruby Marie if she's in trouble (2 yr old French Bulldog):  she is the polar opposite of Bruiser which makes them a perfect match.  You'd think she was on drugs most of the time because she's so chilled out.  She loves to snuggle and will flop on anyone that sits long enough on the couch.  She's a bonafide wino (wonder where she gets that from) and will stick her tongue in any unattended wine glass in a flash.  She's really smart but you wouldn't know since she's so stubborn. I love her to pieces though.

Poor thing looks like a boy.  I think she needs an obnoxiously girly collar.  She's just buff:
Not a morning person, she stays here all morning until she smells turkey bacon
The longest tongue I ever seen.  This is after a little ball chasing in the backyard
Needless to say, our little peanuts are spoiled rotten.  They love daycare and anywhere else they get spoiled (like Grammie's house).  They are now quite the pair and are inseperable.  Here they are on the way home from a long day of daycare.  Apparently, they ignore each other while they're there so its always like a little reunion in the car after I pick them up.  I guess they're too cool to play with each other in front of the other dogs.


Father's Day at the Ellis Household

Since losing my father way too early almost 8 years ago, Father's Day isn't one of my favorite days.  However, we had my family over to host our first lunch at the new house this past Sunday.  Being surrounded by family makes everything so much better, especially with a family like ours. 
My brother made the burgers which turned out delicious.  I feel so sorry for anyone grilling outside these days.  I think you could just put your meat on the back deck and it would cook!  Clay and I had gone to the farmer's market the day before and got some great heirloom tomatoes and local goodies like avocado salsa and hummus (the label should have warned against the garlic overload).  I had also put together a batch of the watermelon margaritas (from this post) which were awesome.  They are a definite keeper for the summer months.  It seemed like the food just kept coming with pasta salad, cucumber salad, and lots of fresh veggies.  The icing on the cake was the nectarine dessert that Matthew (brother) made.  The combination of ginger with the nectarines was perfect.  Here is the recipe from Chow.com:

Nectarines Baked with Pistachios and Fresh Ginger















INGREDIENTS
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for sprinkling on the fruit
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped or grated (about 2 teaspoons)
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of salt
4 good-sized nectarines, preferably freestone
About 2/3 cup white wine (dry or sweet)
Sabayon or vanilla ice cream

INSTRUCTIONS
Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
To make the pistachio-ginger filling, beat together the butter, sugar, and egg yolk.
Coarsely chop the pistachios with a chef’s knife and stir them into the butter mixture. Stir in the ginger, lemon zest, and salt.
Wash and dry the nectarines. Slice each one in half lengthwise and separate the halves by gently twisting them. Remove the pits, being careful not to tear the fruit apart. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out some of the fruit to make a larger cavity where the pit was. Depending on the size of the fruit, the opening should be about twice as large as the area that previously held the pit.

Pack about 2 teaspoons of filling into the cavities of the nectarine halves. Place them in a shallow baking dish. Pour about 1/2 inch of wine into the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the stuffed nectarines with sugar and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling has browned and the nectarines are cooked through. (If the filling browns before the fruit is cooked, drape a sheet of foil over the baking dish.)

Serve the warm baked nectarines with a few spoonfuls of the wine syrup from the bottom of the dish, and sabayon or vanilla ice cream. These can be baked a few hours in advance and rewarmed before serving.
Note: This recipe may make a little more filling than you will need, in which case store it in the refrigerator and bake it on toast for breakfast. You can also bake peaches this way; when they come out of the oven, you should be able to carefully peel off their skins.

I also lucked out.  When I went to the grocery store the night before, they had peonies on sale for $5 a bunch.  I die over pink peonies.  They are my favorite (so if Clay ever asks...).  I think the table turned out pretty great.



New Shop Find: Ruche- A Modern Boutique with a Vintage Touch

I came across this online boutique from one of those side bar ads on some other site. What a gem of a website! They have the cutest clothes ever and are pretty reasonably priced. I love vintage looking clothes and the dresses on here are to die for.

This one would be perfect with a bright gold mulit strand necklace or some turquoise statement necklace. This would be great for a summer night out on the town.

I can't get enough of clothes with floral detail these days. For some reason, I'm drawn to anything with a bloom on it.








This jacket is perfect for summer. Its a lightweight linen and would keep me warm in our freezing office without looking like I'm dressed for December.

Just a couple of other pieces that caught my eye:



And my favorite:

I think this dress would look great with my wedding shoes!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Feathery Find

I love purusing Etsy. It is so easy to get lost among all the great stuff for sale! I always start out looking for something like personalized cocktail napkins and find myself in the vintage jewelry before too long. I'm never disappointed though. Last night I came across Sweet Grass Mill which is a boutique of feather accessories. I'm in love with their feather necklaces. Here are few of their sweet products:


Friday, June 18, 2010

More Summer Cocktails

I'm pretty sure this one is right up my alley:



The Marthatini
(even Martha likes throw one back every now and then)
Ingredients
Serves 6 to 8
Ice cubes
2 cups Simple Syrup
1 cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
1/2 cup St. Germain, or other elderflower liqueur, chilled
2 cups vodka or gin, chilled
Fresh mint sprigs, for serving
Directions
Fill a large pitcher or punch bowl with ice cubes. Add simple syrup, lime or lemon juice, pomegranate juice, St. Germain, and vodka or gin; stir to combine. Place mint sprigs in martini glasses; pour over drink. Serve.
I keep seeing St. Germain in more and more drink concoctions. I think I'll have to pick some up at my next trip to Specs.

This one will be great with the lunch my brother and I are doing on Sunday:
Watermelon Margaritas (via Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 wide strips orange zest
12 ounces watermelon cubes (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup white or silver tequila
Lime wedges
Directions
In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water, and orange zest to a boil over high. Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar dissolves, 3 minutes. Let syrup cool in a bowl. In a blender, puree watermelon cubes until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids, into a pitcher (you should have about 1 cup juice). Stir in syrup, lime juice, and tequila. Fill salt-rimmed glasses with ice, then pour margarita mixture over top. Garnish with lime wedges.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And a Little Mexico to Your Next Cocktail Party

I friend of mine introduced me to Dulce Vida tequila. It is a great, smooth tequila at a very reasonable price point. Even better, I checked out their website and they have the most unique drinks to try on your own. I think these will have to make an appearance at my next cocktail party.

Dulce Vida® Neat con Naranja
Dulce Vida Añejo shot
Slice of fresh orange
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Shoot or sip a shot glass of Dulce Vida Añejo accompanied by a slice of fresh orange with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Yum, cinnamon and tequila...can't say I would have thought of that on my own!

Dulce Vida® Margarita
1 ¼ oz. Dulce Vida Blanco
½ oz. Dulce Vida Agave Nectar with ¼ oz. water
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
Sea salt rim
Chill martini glass. Fill shaker with Dulce Vida Blanco, Dulce Vida Agave Nectar, lime juice and ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Rim martini glass with sea salt and strain contents of shaker into glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel* resting on top of drink.

*How to make a flamed orange peel garnishUsing a vegetable peeler, take one whole orange and peel a 1-inch by 3-inch rectangular piece of the orange rind. The orange should be firm and fresh to insure there is plenty of oil present in the skin. To flame the oil, hold a lighted match or butane lighter in one hand; very carefully pick up the rind in the other, as if holding an eggshell. (Don't squeeze the rind, or you'll lose all the oil before you flame it.) Hold the rind by the sides - not the ends - between thumb and forefinger, skin side down, about four inches above the drink. Hold the match/lighter between the drink and the rind, closer to the rind. Snap/pinch the rind sharply, propelling the oil through the lit match and onto the surface of the drink. (Be sure to hold rind far enough from the drink to avoid getting a smoky film on the glass.) The oil expelled will ignite and bring a burnt orange aroma to the nose of the drink.

This looks like a cool trick, but if you are regular readers, you know that me and open flames don't mix well.

Dulce Vida® Roasted Jalapeño Sangrita
1 ¼ oz. Dulce Vida Reposado
1 oz. Dulce Vida Agave Grenadine (recipe below)
1 oz. fresh orange
1 oz. tomato juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. fresh grapefruit juice
⅛ tsp. chili powder
⅛ tsp. Sriracha sauce
Slice roasted jalapeño
Pinch sea salt
Pinch cinnamon
The traditional way:Pour tequila into a stemmed shot glass (chilling tequila before is optional). Combine all ingredients except tequila in a separate mixing glass, cover and chill in refrigerator, or stir with ice and strain into a separate rocks glass: this is the sangrita mix. Sip or shoot tequila and chase with sangrita mix.
As a mixed drink:Take a highball glass and rim with sea salt or a cinnamon-sea salt blend. Combine all ingredients in glass and stir. Add ice and garnish with an orange wheel and a cinnamon stick.
I like anything spicy and this one has some mad hotness

Dulce Vida® Agave Grenadine
1 cup pomegranate juice
⅔ cup Dulce Vida Agave Nectar
Bring pomegranate and agave to a boil, remove from heat. Let cool.

Jalapeño Hibiscus Martini
1 ¼ oz. Dulce Vida Reposado
1 oz. Dulce Vida Agave Hibiscus Syrup (recipe below)
¾ oz. St-Germain Elderflower liqueur
1 oz. fresh lime juice
Jalapeño slice
Lime wheel garnish
Chill martini glass. Muddle a thin slice of jalapeño into a mixing glass, pressing down on jalapeño no more than 2 to 3 times. (The more you muddle, the more heat you will get.) Fill mixing glass with Dulce Vida Reposado, agave hibiscus syrup, St. Germain, fresh lime juice and ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. If desired, rim martini glass with sea salt and turbinado sugar blend and strain contents of shaker into glass. Garnish with a thin lime wheel floating on top of drink.
Any of these cocktails would pair perfectly with (from Food and Wine):
Tequila -Flamed Shrimp Tostadas
(make a smaller version on individual round Tostada chips for an appetizer portion)
Ingredients
1 Hass avocado, mashed
1/4 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup drained canned black beans
2 scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 pound medium shrimp— shelled, deveined and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons silver tequila
1/2 canned chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
24 large round tortilla chips
Directions
In a bowl, mash the avocado, pineapple, beans, scallions and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add to the skillet along with the garlic and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the shrimp are almost cooked through, about 2 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the tequila. Tilt the pan slightly over the burner to ignite the tequila and cook until the flames subside. (Alternatively, remove the pan from the heat and ignite with a match, then return to the heat.) Stir in the chipotle, butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of lime juice, swirling until the butter is melted and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the avocado mixture onto the tortilla chips and top with the shrimp. Drizzle some of the tequila sauce on top and serve right away.
Make Ahead
The avocado mixture can be refrigerated for up to 1 hour.
This one came from a co-workers roommate:
Mexican Caviar- great with tortilla chips or spiced pita crisps
2 cans of Rotel
2 cans of chopped green chilis
2 cans of chopped black olives
2 bushels of freshly chopped green onions
1 bushel of freshly chopped cilantro (you may not have to use it all be careful)
2 freshly diced avacados
2 tbls of olive oil
1 freshly squeezed lime
season with Garlic powder

Add the avocado last then followed by the olive oil and lime juice to preserve the color.