Happy Holidays - 2016

Happy Holidays, everyone!

And happy first day of winter!! This year flew by so quickly. I can't believe we are 4 days away from Christmas - eep!! For the holidays Dan and I decided to jump on holiday card bandwagon. I think they turned out pretty darn cute! Trying to run to take the photos before the timer went off was a bit of a challenge in my apartment - but pretty hilarious. I have attached a few outtakes below, but we opted for silly.

Any fun plans this holiday season? Dan and I will be spending the Christmas with both families, and then we are headed on a mini road trip to Athens Ohio. Along the way we plan to stop at the American Sign Museum - and I couldn't be more excited! Look forward to a post devoted entirely to that when I get back. Aaaand for New Years we are headed to Milwaukee for the night to ring in the new year with friends. I have to say, 2016 may have had some serious ups and downs - especially at the start, but overall it was pretty darn great. I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store! (A new home aaand possibly a puppy!?)

Wishing you all a safe and bright holiday season - and a very happy new year!

See you all in 2017 :]

Mid-Century Modern Gingerbread House Tutorial

Oh hey! Remember me? I have been such a flake with blogging, but let's move forward - shall we? Since February a lot has changed in my world - but definitely for the better! I focused on family, friends, healing - and unexpectedly found love along the way. I will fill you all in with details soon - I don't want to overwhelm you on my first day back.

Today I am excited to kick off the holiday season with a fun little tutorial for you all. This past weekend Dan (the cute new man in my life) and I decided to build our dream home out of gingerbread. Both of us have a slight obsession with all things mid-century modern, so it wasn't hard to chose what architectural style to run with for the house.

Diving in head first - we watched a few YouTube videos, deemed ourselves experts and jumped right in.

Items you will need (in no particular order):

  1. A few boxes of gingerbread mix - we used three boxes of the Trader Joe's brand. I saw that Toll House sells sheets, unfortunately, they were out of it when we went to the store. Any gingerbread cookie mix/recipe, however, will do.
  2. A carton of eggs - for the ginger bread and icing.
  3. A package of powdered sugar.
  4. Food dye.
  5. Colored hard candies - we used butterscotch candies - but lollipops or Life Savers would be good too.
  6. Drafting supplies - sheets of paper, x-acto knife (or scissors), ruler and pen or pencil for creating your template.
  7. Icing Decorating tips and sandwich bags (or icing bags).
  8. Toothpicks, kebob sticks - etc. to help with fine details in the frosting.
  9. Mixing bowls.
  10. Hammer for hard candies.
  11. Wax Paper.
  12. Rolling pin (or smooth drinking glass or bottle will do.)

 

Step 1: Mix gingerbread cookies if your purchased a mix (or are making them from scratch) and place the dough in the refrigerator to set.

Step 2: Create and cut out your template.

Dan and I flipped through some of his architecture books for reference material and settled on this simplified design above.

For this particular model the front and back of the house was 14 inches wide, 4 inches high on the smaller ends and 7 inches tall at the point in the middle. The small side walls were 4" x 4", and the roof sides were 6" x 9".

Step 3: Roll out your dough on wax paper on top of a baking sheet. Roll the dough until it is roughly a quarter of an inch thick. Once you have it even, place your template on top and cut out. Repeat this step twice for all the sides/pieces. You will end up with 6 pieces total to work with.

Step 4: Smash that candy!! This was a fun step. Take your hard candies and place it in a few baggies (my bags would get small tears from the hammer so it helps to double or triple up). Then take your hammer and smash the pieces on a hard surface. We chose butterscotch candies for the windows because we wanted it to give off a warm looking glow. If you would like to go for a stained glass look use multi-colored Life Savers or lollipops.

Step 5: Fill the window cut outs with the broken candy pieces. 

Step 6: Bake your gingerbread. Our recipe called for 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. While the gingerbread was baking I peeked in every few minutes to make sure the candy wouldn't burn. If the candy starts bubbling (mine did) turn the oven temperature down to 250-300 and keep checking until the gingerbread is thoroughly cooked - it took roughly 15-20 minutes altogether. 

Ovens vary quite a bit, so for step 6 please just keep an eye on it.

Step 7: Bake the rest of your gingerbread cutouts and set aside to cool.

INTERMISSION - At this point we went to bed and decided to tackle icing everything the following day.

Step 8: Create your royal icing. I used this recipe here, but I used it as a general guideline. I wasn't planning on eating the gingerbread house so I eliminated using vanilla and eyeballed the amount of egg whites and powdered sugar. For me it took nearly a full bag of powdered sugar and 5 egg whites.

Step 9: Once your icing is ready to go split some of it up in to smaller bowls in order to add your food coloring. I used green, red and yellow coloring for portions of the design - the majority I left white.

Step 10: Release your inner artist! I started with outlining the windows with white icing to clean up their shape. I used a sandwich bag with a frosting tip at this point to pipe icing. From there I took a kebob stick and pulled down some of the icing to create icicles. I then added a door, wreath, tree and flamingo with a santa hat for good measure. I pulled inspiration from books and Pinterest. When the icing came out more of a pink color rather than red the yard flamingo idea just came to me.

Step 11: Once you have iced everything to your liking and everything has dried, it is time for assembly. I started with adding one of the smaller sides to the front of the house. Add the icing to where the sides will meet and hold for a few minutes until the icing sets. Repeat for all sides and roof - for this part it really helps to have someone helping you hold pieces while items dry.

Meet Dan - my cute gingerbread construction worker.

Step 12: Add frosting to your base or add other additional features to the front and back yard. We baked a gingerbread cake from the same gingerbread mix, which created a soft base for the gingerbread house to sit on. From there I iced everything and added some powdered sugar to create a snowy effect. Feel free to add some trees, shrubs, a car, water feature, pool - etc. (get crazy with it!) At this point we were pretty burnt out so we threw in the towel.

Once your gingerbread house is complete - sit back and enjoy!! I still can't believe how well it turned out. It is my mini gingerbread dream home. If you decide to make a mid-century modern gingerbread house - or any gingerbread house - please email me your photos!

I had so much fun creating this house and tutorial - keep your eye out for more fun projects in the future!

11 little things

Hi all! Happy Monday. Hope you had a great weekend. I spent my weekend tidying up, running errands, drinking some fancy drinks and taking in a play - all in all, a pretty a-ok weekend!

The drinks below are what my girlfriend and I tried the other night at The Sixth. The perfume bottle spritzed rose water on to your drink, while the drink next to it had smoke filling the bottom bowl so when you lifted the top glass to take a sip you were surrounded by camp fire scent. The rainbow drinks are a Trix cereal flavored concoction that I need to try to replicate at a future cocktail party. Yum :]

Today I thought it may be fun to catch new readers up to speed with a little "About Me" post. 11 random facts (because 11 is my lucky number) - so here it goes...

1. I started out college at Loyola for pre-pharmacy and only lasted a semester. Only ever taking art classes and applying everywhere else to art school should have been a clue. But having dissected cadavers in Anatomy and watching endless episodes of CSI told me that the medical field would be more exciting...except for the fact that I was going to school to count pills. Ha, a lot was wrong with that scenario.

2. I collect vintage kitchenware (see previous post) and designer toys, and hope to open a brick and mortar vintage shop some day.

3. It may take a cocktail or two, but I LOVE to shake my groove thang and boogie oogie oogie until I just can't boogie no more.

4. I am a pescatarian…who also occasionally eats bacon >_<. Everyone has their vices.

5. Oldies are my jams - I have an impossible time keeping up with today's hits.

6. I have generalized anxiety and it has been something I have really struggled with since college and unfortunately didn’t seek help for until recently. 

(Side note - when you are having an episode you know your fears and concerns may be irrational, but you are stuck in a loop of downward thinking - sometimes for weeks on end. Having people tell you to “snap out of it” only makes it worse. If you know someone who has generalized anxiety, please just hug them - or tell them it will be ok and give them a bit of space and time to catch their breath. It is hard to cope with sometimes because I feel like I am alienating those I love - but please be patient. It is also frustrating because half the time I don’t know what set it off or what is causing it - you just sort of have to ride it out.)

7. I talk to my dog on the regular, and sing silly songs to and about her whenever I am happy.

8. I am terrified of heights, and have been contemplating jumping out of a plane recently to get over it. That may or may not make things a million times worse though…

9. I binge watch romantic comedies and may have a distorted view of reality now :-P

10. I am a hopeless romantic^ and I really hope to find my best friend and partner in crime to grow old with. I also really want to be a mom.

11. I hope to end up on the east or west coast some day. I miss the ocean.

Have a good day, everyone!

Mini Kitchen Tour

Hi all! How's it going? I am excited to share today's post with you. If you are new to my blog you may not know that I have a teensy addiction to thrifting, and most importantly - vintage kitchenware. I started thrifting sometime in high school, but started to refine my thrift search some time in college. I found myself drawn to the retro prints and colors found on vintage Pyrex, Catherine Holm, Fire King, etc. Admittedly I wasn't a whiz in the kitchen when I first started collecting (still working on it), but I started hunting down various kitchenware items from the 50's and 60's. I was on a mission to make my retro kitchen dreams come true!

Fast forward to today. For the first time I am living on my own and have free reign on the overall design of my apartment - it's pretty exciting! Obviously, I started with the kitchen.

All of the items were either thrifted, found at estate sales or flea markets - with the exception of most of the Catherine Holm pieces (which my awesome mother has won on eBay and gifted to me over the years.) Catherine Holm is so tricky to find in the wild, especially out here in the midwest. I have only happened upon it twice, both times on the east coast.

I am beyond ready to host a cocktail party! It's just too bad my apartment can only comfortably hold 6 people or so. I removed the cabinet doors on one side of my kitchen in order to show of my collection, I really think it helps liven the place up. Oh, also - some of my toys felt like getting in on the action for this photoshoot. I am still debating whether they will stay put or move elsewhere once I get other areas settled. The kitchen is definitely my favorite spot - so far. I am still working on the rest of it and hope to share that with you all soon.

Have a beautiful weekend lovelies!

Poppin collars

Hi guys! How's it going? Getting back in to blogging has been a bit of a challenge for me - I feel like I am just rambling in to the void, but it has also been nice to write again. I am living on my own for the first time (sans room mates) and it definitely takes some time getting used to it. I also find myself coming up with horrible ways I could possibly injure myself, or ya know, die (such as choking on some zoodles) and not having anyone there to help or know. Yeesh! The life alert seems a lot more sensible now. Haha. It really has been a transition though. My kitchen, living room, bedroom, office and closet are one in the same. College dorm 2.0 over here! All of that aside, it has also been nice to have a personal space to make my own and not have anyone to clean up after, or have to worry about a room mate burning the place down - yeah, that nearly happened >_<

Today I bring you an adorable dress from Capsule Vintage! As soon as I saw the collar and bow I was sold. It is such a cute look and perfect for work. On cold days I can bump up the warmth factor with a petticoat. (Oh, and please excuse the fitbit in these photos - I was in the middle of a challenge this weekend and every step counts!)

Outfit: Dress - Capsule Vintage, Purse - Vintage Doone y& Burke, Shoes - DSW and Tights - Betsey Johnson.

Do any of you have tips for taking photos indoors? I tried using natural light, but the clouds kept getting in the way so that each photo was different. I also over exposed on these... whoops! Photography is something I definitely want to improve on this year. Yet another thing to add to the to-do list.

I also hope to switch up my wardrobe shots once it gets a bit warmer out, but I am also slightly hesitant to take photos on the streets of Chicago by myself. Hopefully I can bribe a few friends because I have some fun spots planned to shoot at.

Anywho, have a good day everyone!