Archive | October, 2011

giveaways are fun

I’ve been doing monthly giveaways for a little over a year now and I still love both putting them together and giving them away.  Well, actually, sometimes it is hard to part with all of the good stuff, but for the most part I love giving them away.

The October giveaway was one of my favorites. Thanks to all of you who entered and shared your favorite fall tradition. Isn’t it the best time of the year?

The winner of the October collection is :

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Congratulations! Please send me a note with your mailing address and I’ll send your package right out.

Surprise of all surprises, I actually have the November Giveaway put together.

Here she is:

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1. fruit poster 2. bundle of wheat 3. autumn flower pin {tutorial coming} 4. set of six note cards with lined envelopes 5. vintage plate 6. give thanks picture in frame 7. fruit gift topper 8. mittens from Noonday Collection {see below} 9. pear art print 5 x 7

Renee from Noonday Collection sent these adorable mittens to be included this month and I could not be more charmed by them {this is one of those instances where parting with them will be hard}.

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Noonday Collection is an amazing company that supports artisans working their way out of poverty. All items are fair-trade and locally made, so you can feel good about supporting a great cause through each purchase. Take a peek at all they have to offer – maybe something special for Christmas?

Okay : now to have a chance to win the giveaway :

click-here

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office desk

A few weeks ago I showed you my new office desk in it’s raw state.

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At that point I was thinking I would add a skirt. But once it was sanded

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primed

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painted {two coats of Sherwin Williams Cashmere paint in Rushing River}

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given a band of white grosgrain ribbon

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and some silver nail head trim

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I ended up really liking its modern simplicity.

So here she is now living happily in my office.

jdc office from doors

jdc office

I needed more storage {and display space} and so I installed three rows of shelves. I put them up myself. Into studs. I am quite proud.

IMG_4157 IMG_4158jdc office desk with nailhead trim

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jdc office rolled paper flowers

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{one of my all time favorite photos from our first trip to New York}

jdc office ribbons

{a current display of neutral ribbons}

jdc office boxes

{boxes of envelopes at the ready}

Now do you want to see my next project?

jdc chair

It is time to reupholster this handsome chair I have neglected for over five years.

jdc chair

It actually needs to be re-padded and tied too. I have never reupholstered anything, so this one might be ambitious for a beginner, but I’ll give it a try one of these days.

Questions about my office? Here are the past posts:

office {part one}

office {specifics}

office {rearranged}

painted wallpaper {tutorial}

painted wallpaper {clarified}

enjoy!

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q & a a day

I bought myself a new book last week.  It is for sure a new favorite.

Q & A a day

The book is called Q & A a day and has a year’s worth of questions to answer for five consecutive years. I love the concept. As my real life friends will tell you, there is almost nothing I enjoy more than asking random-make-you-squirm-a-little questions. This book is so up my alley.

Plus, just look at the inside cover:

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Beautiful. Graphic. Gray.

I thought I’d share with you a few of the pages to get your mind spinning on some good questions to ask yourself or to start a conversation with a friend.  And just for fun, I will share my current answer.

Here it goes:

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I am a crier, so this one isn’t too hard for me to recall. I teared up when the kids said the Pledge of Allegiance at the boys’ school yesterday.  It wasn’t a full-on cry, but I’ll admit to a tear dropping. Don’t laugh at me : I was having a moment of gratitude for our country and of nostalgia for good old-fashioned tradition.

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I have no patience for whining. Especially when it is performed expertly by a soon-to-turn-four year-old little boy. He is a pro. This mama is not buying it.

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I just ordered one of these from Allora Handmade and am pretty sure it will be my new favorite.

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The last movie I saw in the theater was The Help. Loved it. Loved the book more, but the movie was great too.

The next movie I hope to see in the theater is Dolphin Tale. Seriously.

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I made dinner for my super cute cousin and her super cute boyfriend last night. We ate this. Yum.

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This one could be it.  It’s one of my all-time favorites.

And here is the question for today. Yikes : it’s a personal one.

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Considering I’ve grown four babies in this body, I’m pretty amazed that 1. I can still walk and 2. I have only a layer of flabby skin to show for it {ugh : it’s the worst}.

Considering that we have a trip to Hawaii in the early planning stages for next spring, I’d say I better get to work on said flabby skin!

That was fun.

Hope you like the book. You can get a copy here. It would make a terrific Christmas gift.

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While I was taking photos for this post, this is what was going on around me.

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Many times I am asked how I do what I do with four kids and here is one way. I take photos on the kitchen table while they are all coloring.  Believe me, it was a rare occurrence, but a happy moment I wanted to document.

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want to be a member?

If you are new here, or if you haven’t heard : I now offer a monthly membership of printable paper goods called

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Each month, I create a seasonal assortment of calendars, chore charts, note cards and art prints to help keep you organized all month long {and look cute doing so}.  I also create a video tutorial of a project with the printable templates included. I like doing those. I always feel a little silly talking to the camera, but it is fun to get to interact {sort-of} in person for a change.

Anyway, I just wanted to introduce you to JDC | monthly and invite you to join us.

Here’s what we did in September:

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And October has been a good month, too.

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{The monogram art prints were a big hit and are perfect for gift-giving this Holiday season}.

Next month’s goodies are whimsical and cozy and ready for you to download.

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So many of you have had wonderful things to say about JDC |monthly. Here are a few samplings of your sweet words:

“I must tell you-I adore your JDC Monthly collection! It is beautiful, useful, and helping me decorate my space” – Rachael

“Oh My Goodness!
These sweet notes, labels, calendars etc : make me deliriously happy!
How Wonderful of you to share your designs! How talented.
Thank you so so much.
I see a great organized month ahead :woo hoo!” – Cheri

“To anyone out there on the fence, sign up for JDC monlthy. I’m working on my September schedule this weekend {stuck indoors, hurricane is coming} and it looks so pretty. I love all of the goodies you get and they are easy peasy to print out. So go ahead and treat yourself today!” -Nancy

Such nice things to hear. I adore creating each new month and it is especially rewarding when I hear that so many are finding them useful, enjoyable and simple.

So, if you would like to be part of JDC | monthly, of course we’d love to have you!

The subscription is $7.99 per month {first month is free} and is super easy to sign up for : just click the button below:

the details

Included each month:

monthly calendar . weekly calendar . chore charts . dinnertime chart . grocery & shopping lists . note cards . mailing labels . an original art print {exclusively for JDC | monthly members} . a video tutorial with templates for the project shown

You will be sent a link to watch the video and access all of the pdf files. Download and print, or save them to your computer for a rainy day.

JDC | monthly members will also receive 50% off all printables in the shop.

fine print

When you sign up you will be directed to the current month’s link immediately. Billing is done on a 30 day cycle {so if you join on the 15th, you will be billed the following month on the 15th}. On the 22nd of each month, you will receive an email with the link to download the collection of pdfs, as well as the video tutorial.

If you decide JDC | monthly is not for you, you are free to cancel at any time.

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So, what do you say : want to try it out? Click below to sign up.

P.S. If you are already a member, your November link was emailed to you on the 22nd. If you need any help, please let me know!

P.P.S. The sweater I am wearing in the project video for November is from Old Navy.

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refrigerators

Let’s talk about refrigerators for a minute.

This is what ours looks like:

refrigerator with pictures

In a world where stainless is the preferred choice, ours is white.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

Have you ever noticed that refrigerators in magazines are always bare? They don’t have random photos, calendars, invitations, school work & artwork stuck haphazardly to them. At least not in the photos.

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I think Ryan would prefer a cleared off refrigerator. But I rather like the odd assortment of paper goods stuck to ours. It tells me there is life going on in this house.

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It is a place to show off my kids’ spelling tests. To display their crazy artwork {a black pumpkin on fire? Not sure what’s going on there :}.

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It makes an easy spot to put a few favorite photos, to test out a new art print and to stay organized with our weekly calendar.

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And where else do you stick cute invitations?

If I could build my dream kitchen it would probably look a lot like this one:

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{via}

I love a restaurant style glass door refrigerator.

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{via}

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{via}

But for now, we have a white fridge covered in little pieces of our life.

And that’s pretty beautiful, too.

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lots of stuff to share {of very little significance}

Time for a random chat session. In case you have missed our last coffee dates, you can catch up here and here.  And this is another pretty random post. And this one too. {I see a theme :}

So here’s what I have to share today:

We’ll start with the biggest news in our household. Our No. 1 lost his first tooth.

tooth

Keep in mind that he is 7 1/2 and in second grade. Probably the only second grader who had not lost a tooth until yesterday. Bless this late bloomer’s heart.  The tooth fairy left him $5. I remember getting a quarter when I lost my tooth : my, how times have changed.

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My cousin got married this weekend and it was beautiful. I can’t wait to share the photos.

fall flowers

She sent us home with flowers from the reception. I am enjoying the fall color they add to the living room.

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Ryan and I went to the cutest restaurant for my birthday.

r and e

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I want to move in.

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Plus they have a really great logo.

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Did you notice how tan I am in the photo?

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That’s because I decided to try spray tanning. The last time I did it was for my wedding and I had drip marks down my back. Awesome.  I heard that the technology has changed since then so I figured it was worth a shot.

Let’s just say that it might have been overkill.

When I picked up the boys from the bus that afternoon, all of their friends stared at me and asked why I was so tan.  You know it doesn’t look natural when little boys start making fun of you.  Doubly awesome.

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Have you seen these new ingenious inventions?

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Baby food in a pouch. No spoon needed.  Whoever came up with this is one smart cookie.

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My little ones like to do this:

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It makes a mess, but keeps them busy for hours. Or maybe more like minutes, but those minutes are precious.

P.S. #3 prefers to not wear a shirt. Even when it is freezing out. He is crazy.

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I’m pretty sensitive to smells and generally scented candles give me headaches {walking into a candle store is like torture to me}, but I found this one and actually enjoy it.

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It is the Florence scent by Tocca.

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I pinned this rick rack rosette on my things to make pinterest board and decided to make one for Audrey.  Then I clumped in another flower, a loop of velvet ribbon and a couple of feathers. Love how it turned out.

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Speaking of ribbon, I found this cute scalloped ribbon at my paper store last week. Also love.

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They have lots of other cute styles too.

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Check out the retailers tab to find a store near you.

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Anything else? Hmm :

I went to costco yesterday and I really appreciate how big their parking lots are.  I don’t, however, appreciate how much money I spend there.

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I think these prints are really lovely.

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Have you seen this video? Cutest thing ever.

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My friend Nina has helped turn the video into a book that I can’t wait to add to Audrey’s library.

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You can order one here, or like the kiki & coco facebook page to be entered to win a copy.

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And that about wraps it up.

Thanks for listening to my rambling thoughts.

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the pumpkin patch

Last week we went on a field trip with No. 3’s preschool class to the local pumpkin patch. 

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#3 is in a class with two of his best buddies {who happen to have mommies who are two of my best buddies, with older siblings who are some of #2’s best buddies} so we all went along to join in on the fun.

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We went on a hayride :

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{K.C. and the kids}

We played in the corn room :

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{what kid wouldn’t like jumping into a huge room full of dried corn kernels?!}

We took a ride on a cattle train :

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Walked through the corn maze :

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Did a little bit of learning :

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{did you know that for every silk tassel on an ear of corn, there is a kernel inside receiving it’s nutrients from it? Fascinating stuff can be learned at the farm on a preschool field trip.}

And, of course, we chose some pumpkins :

choosing pumpkins londan pumpkin

When we reached the top of the hill after selecting our pumpkins, we saw this :

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I really wish a photo would be able to capture the beauty of Mt. Rainier on a sunny day. It is pretty spectacular.

Which got me thinking : I had just returned from Florida where I was pretty impressed with the climate, the sandy beaches, the southern hospitality.  So impressed, I started questioning why we live where we do.

And yet, there I stood surrounded by beauty of a different kind. The air was crisp, the leaves were turning, the ground was muddy and the mountain was out.  It made me realize for a moment that I really do love Washington state. It may rain a lot {did you notice my new rain boots? My first pair since I was a kid : it was about time!}, it may not have the most ideal climate, but it sure is beautiful in it’s own evergreen kind of way. 

So lesson learned. I will appreciate where I live and enjoy the beautiful autumn season we enjoy here.

And I’ll probably drink a few pumpkin spice lattes while I’m at it.

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it’s official …

eggnog

: the holiday season has arrived.

I’ve found in my limited research that people are either lovers or haters of egg nog.

Me?  I’m a lover.  I like mine cut with a little nonfat milk. Makes me think it is somehow good for me – you know, the whole ‘milk, it does a body good’ thing.

You?

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matchy, matchy

I’m not sure if this happens to you, but I find that most days Audrey and I end up wearing matching outfits. Well, maybe not matching but definitely coordinating.  I suppose it makes sense as I am the dresser of both of us as well as the purchaser of clothes and so whatever I am in the mood for, we both end up wearing.

This is not really a what I wore post {I’ll be doing one of those soon}, but I’ve been snapping photos for the past few months when I’ve looked down and realized I am matching my daughter.

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1. this is us at Alki beach on the lowest tide day of the summer. It was a total bust. But at least we looked nautical in our navy & white.

2. me: gray & white dress from Walmart {who knew?!} and red shoes, Audrey in a cute dress made by my mom.

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3. I’ve been into yellow lately. I like this shirt {from Old Navy} and love her ruffled cardigan {target} that she has almost outgrown.

4. More blue, white & denim which is a theme in most of our clothes.

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5. dusty lavender – a new color for me, but I like it. And Audrey has on a sweet little eyelet dress with lavender clip. Seriously, not intentional.

6. This photo makes me laugh  : we look like we are posing for an 1800’s oil painting.  More navy, a little bit of brown and embellished cardigans.

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And these are our feet yesterday. Matching animal print shoes.

I never thought I’d be one of those mamas who wore the mother-daughter matching ensembles : but I guess I sort of am.

Does this happen to you?

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art with my no.2 {tutorial}

My #2 stayed home from kindergarten yesterday with a barky cough so it was the perfect chance to spend some time with him doing an art project. It was a fun one and easy for even the littlest artists.

leaf-art

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:

:: paper, finger paint & glitter

:: leaf shapes {I used these, printed on thick paper and cut to use them as a pattern}

:: picture frame

:: paper to use as background

STEP ONE: finger paint to your heart’s content

finger paint paper

We use this washable finger paint. The colors mix well and it lives up to its name as washable. I appreciate that.

crayola fingerpaint

Baby girl loves to paint. I love her smib that keeps the paint off her clothes.

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STEP TWO: pour on the glitter.

glitter over watercolor

STEP THREE: make leaf patterns.

leaf patterns

I googled leaf template and found this image. Then I printed on heavy paper, cut them out and we traced on the back of the painted paper.

trace leaf pattern

Then cut out the leaves.

cut out leaves

STEP FOUR: glue leaves to background paper

glue leaves

STEP FIVE: place picture into frame

fingerpaint leaf project

Look at my proud, sick boy and his art.

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Such a great project for us to do together.

I have wanted to do this for a while after seeing these from Sarah Jane Studios:

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I think I will still use the idea for the playroom {someday}. You can download the templates for the sparrow, elephant and seal here.  It is such a great way to use your children’s art in a unique way.

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florida

This past weekend I took a whirlwind vacation to the gulf coast. My college girls like to get together once a year, trading off between where each of us currently live. This year one of our friends has just moved to Niceville, Florida {yes, it is nice} so we decided a little getaway to the sunny beach seemed perfect.

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I had never been to Florida and I was most excited about seeing what a southern beach looked like.

I was not disappointed. It is gorgeous.

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The water is clear and warm, the sand is white and fine : it really is quite tropical.

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My best friend brought her littlest, who took a nice little nap on the beach while the mommies played in the ocean.

On Saturday, we unexpectedly took a day trip to the cutest town I’ve ever seen {Seaside, Fl}.

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We spent some time at the beach :

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: as well as some time peeking through the little shops.

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in the store

My favorite store was The Art of Simple – a bright and cheery shop with a great mix of art, shells and fancy soaps and candles.  Plus, the owners were so enjoyable to chat with.

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I wish it did not take me an entire day to travel from the Pacific Northwest to Northwest Florida or I would be back as often as possible.  If you live closer than I do and need a beach getaway, click here to learn more about Seaside. I think you’ll love it, too.

I am now back home where wearing sweaters and drinking Pumpkin Spice lattes takes the place of sipping pina coladas, playing on white sandy beaches and wearing swimsuits and flip flops.   It is crazy how vastly different the weather and geography is in different parts of the same country.  And I’ll tell you what : I’m not too far from being convinced you southern ladies have the better deal. Y’all are pretty friendly, too.

{p.s. I purposefully left my computer at home so that I could just enjoy my girls, so if you are waiting for an email response, I promise it is coming! I’m catching up today :}

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october giveaway

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This giveaway package is so up my alley – linen things, old things, graphic things, pretty things. What could be better?

Here is a close-up of what is included this month:

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1. wool felt headband {see below for details} 2. dessert plate 3. two yards of the most perfect mustard ribbon 4. vintage playing cards {1-5} 5. cocktail ring {see below} 6. vintage clothespins 7. rolled flower pin 8. vintage webster’s dictionary 9. heart print {5 x 7} 10. Young Love buck print {see below}

Love it all. I have no idea what you’ll do with those clothespins, but I just couldn’t resist their natural wood goodness.

Let me highlight a few of the items.

Like this adorable headband. IMG_3798-1

It is really the most beautifully handmade item I’ve ever seen. The little flower clip can be removed to wear alone, and the headband with its scalloped edges is so darling. Once my Audrey stops pulling everything out of her hair, she will definitely get one of these.

You can see more great handmade hair accessories from Square Lemon {here}.

Then there is this fancy, schmancy ring.

stella and dot ring

My friend Wendy sells Stella and Dot Jewelry and I’m a little sad about having to let this ring go. Isn’t it sparkly and perfect for fall? You can see lots more fun jewelry like it {here}.

And the buck print from Vol. 25 is so great. I love all of her stuff {like this print that now hangs in my kitchen}.

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You can see more of Jessica’s art work {here}.

This time to enter the giveaway, I’d love to hear about your favorite autumn tradition. Think about it for a second then click below to enter.

enter

{comments are turned off on this post to avoid confusion}

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I’m having my cake

Today is my birthday. And according to Wikipedia, it is the birthday of 698,999 other Americans too. October 5th {the most common birthdate} happens to fall 40 weeks after New Years Eve, so I guess it makes sense that all that lovin’ on New Years turns into babes 10 months later. 

I don’t really like to make a big deal about my own birthday, but I do like carrot cake and so I decided to make myself one.  I’m going to try not to eat the whole thing {it really is that good}.

The recipe is below {from Ina Garten – my fave}, and the ingredients made for a cute photo.

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But the very best part is the finished product.

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carrot cake slice

carrot cake

My auntie made this recipe last week for my cousin’s bridal shower and it is truly the most delicious carrot cake I have ever had.  My version turned out pretty well too.  If you are a carrot cake lover, add this one to you must-try-list.

Carrot and Pineapple Cake {Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved}

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 pound carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
For the frosting:
  • 3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

For the cake:

Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well.

Divide the batter equally between the 2 pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.

For the frosting:

Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

Place 1 layer, flat-side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

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