Bridesmaids On the Same Page

bridesmaids on the same pagebridesmaidsbridesmaids on the same pageIf you ever feel as if you need a shot of humility, start a blog. As soon as you think you’re the cleverest person alive, you’ll realize 500 other blogs have already thought your thought…and done it even better. I thought I was super clever with this idea: gathering paint-chips in the colors of the wedding and giving a set of each chip collection to each of my bridesmaids. Yeah. Its already been done apparently but I’m sharing anyway because I still think its a cool idea and I honestly hadn’t seen it done until I started to pick out my paint chips and realized The Knot, Style Me Pretty, and pretty much ever bride destination on the web had beat me to it. I think its a great way to keep all the girls on the same page, and keeps you in control even if you’re thinking of letting everyone choose their own dress. The color ranges on the cards give the girls a little wiggle room while still preserving whatever glorious picture you have in your head.

 – <3 A.

wedding season

wedding seasonwedding seasonbridal shower gift

I haven’t had a moment to even think about blogging since the Reign of Spring Quarter Terror began showering down its projects, due dates, and never-ending processional of assignments, classes, forms, and tests. Its so frustrating screaming through these months because I love this time of year and want to do so many things that never make it on the YOU HAVE TO DO THIS TO SURVIVE list. Despite all the screaming though, I couldn’t escape the fact that it is April and full-blown wedding season. I was so excited to be forced back into some creativity by a client asking if I would make an apron for the future “Mrs. O.” I love it when there’s a special purpose for my pieces. Of course, each one is unique and special to make, but when I know a little about where its future home will be and what sort of girl will be wearing it, every stitch is just that much more exciting. This client was requesting the apron for a surprise gift for a bridal shower. She asked if I could embroider the bride’s wedding date and new last name initial on the waistband and I was so happy to oblige her.

– <3 A.

Valentine Sparkling Wine Cake

valentine sparkling wine cakevalentine sparkling wine cakevalentine sparkling wine cake

For the cake

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 cup sparkling wine

  • 3 Tbsp. sour cream

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • 5 cold eggs

  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla bean; 1 bean = 2 tsp. extract)

Preheat oven to 350°. Oil and flour a bundt pan and set aside. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together sparkling wine and sour cream. Finally, in a third, large bowl, beat sugar, melted butter, and oil with a mixer until well blended. Beat in each egg one at a time and add the vanilla. Beat on medium-high for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Slowly add the flour and wine mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until well blended. Bake 50 to 55 minutes.

For the sparkling wine glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 tbsp. sparkling wine (or until the icing is a “drizzling” consistency)

Add a small amount of sparkling wine to the powdered sugar until it reaches a “drizzling” consistency and pour over the top of the completely cooled cake. You’re done!

This cake is so delicious, the sparkling wine makes it taste wonderfully fruity but gives it a flavor you can’t quite put your finger on why you love it so much–isn’t that perfection for Valentines? I try and make it every year for February 14th and I somehow found time to squeeze it in this week so I hope you enjoy!

**if you’re looking for some cute, last minute ideas for V-day, check out this DIY valentines paper topiary, these placecards, and these felt roses done three ways. Last year they were all a huge hit!!**

original recipe via BH&G Feb. 2010

– <3 A.

Apronology

apronologyapronologyapronologyapronology

Way back in December I mentioned that VMMV’s Etsy shop was going to be published and guess what? It’s here! I’m so excited to give everyone a little preview of my article in the beautiful new issue of Apronology. I got my own copy a few days before it officially hit the shelves but I was holding off from revealing my spread until everyone had the opportunity of buying it so I didn’t spill any secrets.  I was so, SO incredibly surprised when I got my issue because people, I MADE THE FRONT COVER! I’m not the gorgeous pin-up apron on the front, but the “turn to page 86 for a 1 apron 2 styles” plug on the cover is…me!

I am so honored and so excited to have made it to the front. I hope you all go out and find this magazine; Barnes and Nobles should carry it and if they don’t, ask! It’s Stampington & Company’s newest magazine and it has so many beautiful aprons that some amazing sewers create, I can’t get over that I’m among them. The editors were so wonderful to work with, I can’t gush enough about the experience. My apron is just one of so, so many gorgeous ideas, please go support this new magazine and read about all the new and wonderful ways artists are updating aprons.

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a new little badge over on my sidebar under “features.” Take a minute to check out the issue and if you don’t feel like finding the magazine in a store, use the link and order online. This article is coming at the most perfect time. I’ve been so swamped with school that I haven’t had even an hour to spend on this space and it’s been a nagging sort of disappointment. This article forced me to make VMMV a priority just long enough to share and it feels good. I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to a new month. I’m hoping to be able to pop back in to share a valentine recipe for a sparkling wine cake that is super yummy so stay faithful please in my frequent absence! I so appreciate all of you. In the meantime though, go read about aprons!

 – <3 A.

DIY Silhouette Pillow

diy silhouette pillowdiy-silhouette-pillowdiy silhouette pillowdiy silhouette pillowdiy silhouette pillowdiy silhouette pillow

Having me write a Photoshop tutorial is a bit like saying the Jabberwocky is a researched piece of scientific literature. It’s really rather silly. Photoshop and I have a very suspicious relationship. Photoshop is certain I really know nothing about it and I am certain photoshop delights in closing its windows, laughs in my face when my efforts turn out pixelated, and giggles like a high school mean girl when I can’t remember which layer is which. We’re both sort of right.

Despite all of that though, I’m doin’ it people, I’m giving all of you a photoshop tutorial and you may laugh, you may cry (I do…frequently), but the end product is pretty cute and I think that’s all that matters:

DIY silhouette pillow

  1. Take a profile picture of yourself (not for Facebook, of your actual profile) and upload into photoshop.

  2. Choose quick selection tool, select your profile (not the background) and then cut and paste the image onto a blank, white background.

  3. For the layer that contains your profile, choose layer style: color overlay: and choose black. **you may have to do a few touch-ups with the eraser tool at this point to get a clean profile. I also add a little line by the eye to create an eyelash**

  4. Print your image, cut out the black profile outline, then pin this cut-out onto your fabric and stitch around the outline of your face.

I use embroidery thread to do my stitching by hand. It seems like it would take an eternity but actually if you do a simple stitch, once you get the hang of it, it really goes rather quickly. Stitch your image on the fabric before you make it into a pillow though, once its stuffed and fluffed you wont be able to do it! I made four of these guys for my four best ladies at our annual Christmas party and, unless they were just being sweet, they loved them. The best part about them is honestly how much it really looks like the person!

– <3 A. 

DIY Resolution Calendar

resolution calendarresolution calendarThank goodness I finished this project while still in 2013 because if I believed in luck, this little resolution calendar would have spelled some serious bad luck for my new year. For a project that should have taken about an hour, it turned into a December-long hunt for an acrylic frame that could stand up on its own little leg. If you live anywhere near an Ikea though, this frame would be absolutely perfect and you will avoid all of my toils and trials to show you this idea, but since I don’t live near enough to civilization and an Ikea, I had some serious issues: including hammering out a mirror, cracking things that shouldn’t have been cracked, and figuring out gorilla glue is not nearly as super as it says.

Anyway, ignoring my catastrophe, you will need some sort of frame that can stand up on its own, a binder clip, and scrapbook papers to create a resolution for each month of the year. I’m not a resolution-person, but I love the idea of creating a monthly resolution flipbook. Your resolutions are broken up into manageable things to be changed—one a month–and you could even plan out your resolutions for months that you know you will actually accomplish whatever you have in your head. For example, my January is going to be a hideous month packed full of too many things I do not care to do including returning to work and full-time studenthood all in one week. So, my resolution I tucked in my envelope for January is to read a novel of my own choosing, just for fun. It’s simple, not overly ambitious for a month I know I will have less than zero time for anything, yet it’s a little commitment to set aside time for my brain to enjoy a few pages of sheer pleasure. For February, I’m planning on at long last figuring out a few (extremely necessary) blog details I have been too busy lazy to figure out. If I told you all what I still need to figure out most bloggers would probably scream in terror at the fact that I still don’t know these things. I know. That’s why I’m not sharing that little tidbit about myself. It terrifies me that I don’t know it either. But in February? With my little resolution flipbook? I’m going to resolve all that…

– <3 A. 

Christmas Cocktails and a Holly Ice Bowl

christmas cocktails ice bowlchristmas cocktailschristmas ice bowlchristmas cocktailsI wonder when “are you ready?” entered everyone’s vocabulary around Christmas. Besides Merry Christmas that’s the line I hear the most in December and it seriously instantly stresses me out. As soon as I hear it I have to think, am I ready? I thought I was but maybe not since they asked. They’re right, I could probably do more…maybe they’re being sarcastic because they can’t imagine anyone NOT being ready by now…or, or, maybe they’re being sarcastic because they can’t imagine anyone ACTUALLY being ready so early. I can’t stand that question. I really can’t.

I could stand a Christmas cocktail though. Check out this recipe for a Martha Stewart-style cranberry cocktail with red wine, maple syrup, vanilla bean, pink peppercorns and lemon zest! I also thought this recipe looked yummy if you like sweet drinks, and finally this guy looked pretty simple.

For the ice bowl, place holly leaves in a large bowl and then place a smaller bowl inside of it. Fill up the gap with water (the size of your inner and outer bowl and the gap it creates will determine the size of your bowl) and allow to freeze for at least 24 hours depending on how thick your bowl is. Getting the inner bowl to stay put is a bit tricky. I ended up taking some thin wire and wiring it into place as well as placing a weight into the center of the inner bowl. When you’re ready to use it, run a little warm water over the outside of the bowl if it isn’t popping out immediately. Serve ice in it or put a tea light in the middle. **if you do serve ice, keep in mind holly is poisonous so if you want to be super careful, put a piece of parchment down into the center of the bowl before you place ice into it. This will also keep the ice cubes from sticking to the ice bowl** 

I’ll admit, I’m not ready, not really. But not because I have a million things to do—even though I do–but I’m not ready for December to fly by so quickly and honestly with Thanksgiving being so late I think 2013 is kind of jipping us all a bit. That just means Christmas music and twinkle lights may have to extend a little bit further into January while I ease into the terrible beauty of a new year– sipping my pink peppercorn and cranberry cocktail perhaps.

– <3 A. 

Throwback Thursday: Christmas DIY’s

throwback thursdaychristmas diyEven though it’s rather mortifying to look back at former posts, honestly, what was I thinking some days? Last year I was rather happy with how my Christmas DIY’s turned out so in honor of Throwback Thursday, take a peek at some Anthropologie inspired monogram ornaments, an advent tree that can be started any day of the month, and some elegant pearl trees that still, a year later, are one of VMMV’s top posts viewed and repinned. I wince a bit looking at the “special effects” I thought were so cool at the time, and I wince even more because that was only a year ago. Goodness. If you did things that you’re embarrassed about when you were 12, well, you were 12 so you get a bit of a pass, but last year?? Oh well, the whole point of #tbt is to be a little embarrassed anyway…right? And regardless of how unfortunate some of my layouts were, the end products are really rather adorable.

The fact that my abilities and (hopefully) blog-formatting style have improved quite considerably in just a year makes me excited for next year and a bit concerned at what this year’s “beauties” will look like to me in another twelve months. I guess that’s why you shouldn’t place too much confidence in pretty things because in a year, hey, it may not be awfully beautiful, it might just be plain awful.

– <3 A. 

DIY Christmas Sweater Sleeve Trees: VMMV Sweater Week Part III

diy sweater sleeve trees

Even evergreens need an extra layer in December. These trees are made from the sleeves of old cable-knit sweaters! My favorite, cozy sweater finally shrank, pilled, and stretched in ways that I could no longer really be seen in public with it…however comfy it still was. It still was so wintery though, I cut off the sleeves, stitched up the seam, and made it into cozy, Christmas sweater-sleeve trees for part III of VMMV sweater week. (check out part I and II as well if you haven’t been following along!)forthetreediy sweater sleeve trees

For the tree, you’ll need construction paper, an old cable-knit sweater, and a needle and thread:

  • Start by forming a cone from heavy construction paper.
  • Then, cut the sleeve off of the sweater and make another cut down the length of the sleeve so you have a sort of blunted triangle shape.

diy sweater sleeve tree

  • Wrap the sleeve around the cone. For one cone, the wrists were wider than the arms so these sleeves went wrist first over the cone with the wrists forming the widest part. For a different sweater, the wrist was tighter so this became the tip of the cone. Play around to see how it best fits the cone and then stitch up the back of the sleeve so it fits tightly.
  • Tuck in the edge of the sleeve into the hole formed by the paper cone at the top. If the sleeve doesn’t form a nice border at the base of the tree, tuck that edge under as well and hot-glue to the inside of your cone.

sweater sleeve tree

Embellish! That’s the fun part, I added little pom-poms and a few stars made with sweater scraps. forthebasediy sweater sleeve tree

You could just leave the cones by themselves, but a little rustic base made it looked so whimsical I had to add it. You will need some short, straight sticks, rubber-bands, and floral foam:

  • Gather twigs (I used grapefruit twigs) and tie them together using a rubber-band. Make sure your twigs are fairly straight and mostly all the same length.
  • Push the tight side of the twigs into a piece of floral foam that just fits into the base of the sweater-sleeve cone. The foam needs to fit tightly so it can support the tree!

diy sweater sleeve tree

Push the twigs and foam into the base of the tree. You’ll have to play around with the twigs a bit to get an even base that will stand up straight but once you get it just right, it’s very steady!diy sweater sleeve treechristmas sweater sleeve treesdiy sweater sleeve treediy christmas sweater treessweater sleeve treediy christmas sweater sleeve trees

 I love this project. It’s so cheap, recycles something you’d otherwise probably throw out, and looks so adorable. Each one looks different depending on the sweater and the embellishments you use, and they’re so simple yet make quite the statement if you make a little grove of them…Baby, it may be cold outside, but even your evergreens can be cozy in their sweater-sleeves…Now go get a sweater a get busy!

– <3 A. 

DIY Sweater Stool: VMMV Sweater Week Part II

diy sweater stool youwillneed

  • Old sweaters
  • Stool 
  • 1/4″ elastic
  • Safety pin
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors

sweater recyclestepsdiy sweater stool steps

  1. Drape the sweater over the stool and cut around the shape of the top of your stool, leaving about an inch extra to sew a pocket for the elastic.
  2. Fold the edges over a 1/4″ and then another 1/2″ on the underside of the fabric. This is going to be the sleeve for the elastic.
  3. Sew the folded edge down to create a sleeve, leaving the ends open.
  4. Attach the safety pin to one end of the  elastic and feed through the sleeve, the fabric will start to bunch up as you pull the elastic through. Don’t let the other end of your elastic get fed into the sleeve though! I didn’t cut my elastic until I tried the sweater “beanie” back on the stool to make sure it fit.
  5. Once the elastic is completely fed through the pocket, test the sweater cover on the stool to make sure it fits, mark how long the elastic needs to be, cut and sew the ends of the elastic together, and then sew up the open ends of your sleeve.
  6. Fit the cover back over the stool and you’re done!

diy sweater stool diy sweater stoolsdiy sweater stooldiy sweater stoolsWhen windshields and roofs are frosted over every morning and the sun hides every day at 4:30, it’s high-time to make everything cozy. These stools are part II of III of Sweater Week and the best part? You can do all three projects with just two sweaters. If you don’t have any old sweaters, check Goodwill! They have some beauties for just a few dollars. I will have to admit though, I found one that I went home, washed and dried, made the mistake of trying on, and couldn’t bear the thought of scissors cutting that cozy wrap off of me so I kept it. Oops. But, if you can find one that doesn’t fit, Goodwill is a good spot to look! You could also staple the sweater pieces to whatever stool you’re recovering if you want something more permanent and skip the entire sewing part, but adding elastic to make it interchangeable depending on the season is pretty cool…uh, warm!

– <3 A.