For the New Year

vintage muse modern viewshappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearhappy new yearIn Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Jo and Meg are invited to a New Year’s Eve party and with “the united exertions of the entire [March] family,” the girls finally look elegant enough to go “even though Meg’s high-heeled slippers were very tight and hurt her, though she would not own it, and Jo’s nineteen hairpins all seemed stuck straight into her head, which was not exactly comfortable.” But of course, both girls are quick to remember that despite the tight shoes and the poky pins, they would “be elegant or die” before going to the party looking plain.

I took an unexpected hiatus this week from VMMV. I’ve been meaning to post these pictures since Monday, but a double butter-cream batch and three parties in just as many days means I haven’t had even a moment to get them up. My favorite little women had our annual Christmas party and it was, as usual, the most special of nights. Somehow we all grew up and got far, far too busy but right before a new year begins we all manage to get back together, dress up, and make another New Year’s resolution to be the most elegant little women we can be. It’s a resolution just vague enough to avoid certain failure and noble enough to be worthy of a fresh start. It’s a resolution for poise under any circumstance, for being simple yet graceful, and, according to Webster, being “pleasingly ingenious on any occasion.” So, in 2014, “let us be elegant or die!” The March sisters strived to be and that’s good enough a model for me.

– <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. 

November Highlights

november highlights

| 1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6.

Someone said this week that how quickly this year has been passing is “almost comical.” I think that’s honestly the best way to put it because as it speeds by, all I can do is laugh a bit: Laugh at the disparity between what I want to do and what actually happens, between my to-do list and my done list, between my need-to-dos and my goodness-that-will-never-be-dones. But this week I’m so thankful for everything I can do, all the people who love me no matter what I do, and all the the things I’ve been given to do.

It’s officially time to play Christmas music ad nauseam, decorate every surface, shop, and wrap, and spend as much time possible in your pajamas watching Irving Berlin movies. Before that though, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and regardless of how excited everyone is for the next and best month of the year, you have to admit November was pretty wonderful. I’m excited to share my ideas for December though and to finally reveal (hopefully next week!) my big secret about VMMV for 2014.

– <3 A. 

Reel Women: Barefoot in the Park

barefoot in the park

drop earrings | delia fur circle scarf | hammered bangles | vintage snakeskin clutch | wool bow coat | velvet pillow | lasso pillow | charlotte sofa

Happy Friday to everyone and happy birthday to my wonderful, adorable mother, I love you so much! Thanks for introducing me to Barefoot in the Park and pretty much every other movie that is worth watching.

I love this movie and Jane Fonda’s character Corrie Bratter had to be my November reel woman because you love her but she simultaneously drives you crazy. Her and her uptight, newlywed husband Paul (Robert Redford) move to this insanely small apartment after they’re married that’s about 10 flights of stairs up from the street, leaks snow in from the roof, has a bedroom the size of a closet, and an eccentric neighbor who tries to flirt with Jane Fonda’s mother. Jane is terrified every fight she and her husband have spells divorce, so she’s constantly trying to make the best of their ridiculous apartment, crying inconsolably about their fights, and ending up realizing that perfect isn’t going to happen but that doesn’t mean imperfect means the end of her marriage, and she and her husband figure out sometimes it’s best to just go barefoot in the park and accept that life is what it is and whoever is in it with you, if they belong, is going to figure it out right along with you.

The holidays are coming up and sometimes it kinda feels like perfect has to happen. As if, if you don’t paint a picture with your life that resembles the inn in White Christmas or the Thanksgiving dinner in Holiday Inn that everything is going to crumble and every tradition ever created has been failed…doesn’t it sometimes feel like that? This season I’m going to try and enjoy though instead of survive. I’m not going to care if certain things do or don’t happen, if everything looks right, feels right, is right. I’m just going to go with it and if I have to, run barefoot in the park to let off a little stress. 

– <3 A. 

Remembering

vintage christmas

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I sure did. It was everything I wanted it to be excepting that it went so, so fast as usual. I tried to capture the little moments that I love best: The morning is my favorite, my family always wakes up to the same “sleigh ride” tune played at full-blast on the radio to let us know it’s ok to make a run for the stockings. Black, white, and gold polka-dot pajamas, some orange-filled, tea-lit centerpieces, my baby-cats, more chocolate-ganache and peppermint-creme phyllo cups, and a Christmas gift scavenger hunt finished off the day in pure bliss:

vintage christmas

vintage christmas

holiday centerpieces

centerpiece ideas

christmas

christmas

holiday desserts

holiday desserts

holiday desserts

holiday party

I’m still in post-Christmas recovery and I’m so NOT ready to be looking at the New Year. I’m planning a few ideas to help you celebrate the New Year’s before this week runs away from us though, so stay tuned!

– <3 A. 

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vintage christmas vintage christmas

Homemade Christmas          Picture Perfect Poses

A Homemade K.R.E.A.M. Christmas

vintage christmas

This past weekend, the four ladies who have filled my life with laughter ever since I was six years old gathered for our annual mother-daughter Christmas party. Kim, Reagan, Ellie, myself, and Mckenzie  (K.R.E.A.M.) all decided this year we were going homemade for our celebrations, and we definitely outdid ourselves with creativity. A bread exchange, handmade ornaments, hand-stitched sleep masks, chocolate-ganache and peppermint-creme phyllo cups, and a soup dinner with the ladies I love most made for a pretty fantastic day.

vintage christmas

It’s unspoken, but we all have a sort of (completely friendly) gift-wrapping competition each year. This year was a pretty close one, with the decision to give small gifts, also came the decision to be extra-crafty and everyone came up with the cutest ideas. I decided to make another advent tree for the party to hang all of my mini-gifts on. Instead of numbers though I put the ladies’ initials on each gift. It was so fun to watch them find their initials and unwrap everything, it’s sort of a unique twist on the traditional stocking stuffers:

vintage christmas

vintage christmas

vintage christmas

vintage christmasvintage christmas

christmas desserts

I love my dear friends; they inspire me everyday and confirm that just by being a little creative, you can show someone a whole lot of love. There’s still some time for creating last-minute-homemade-love for whoever you’re celebrating with this year and if you’re feeling inspired, check out “posts like this” for a few ideas. Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

– <3 A. 

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anthropologie ornament DIY Christmas pearl-tree
DIY Anthro Ornaments      DIY Pearl Tree

Plain Jane

jane austen illustrationPlain Jane: “I sincerely hope your Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings, and that your beaux will be so numerous as to prevent your feeling the loss of the three of whom we shall deprive you.”

-Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice 

Merry Christmas Eve! I shall join Jane in wishing that your Christmas “may abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings.” As far as numerous beauxs, I guess I’ll leave that up to personal preference.

Picture Perfect Poses

vintage christmas

Happy Friday everyone! I can’t believe it’s the last weekend before Christmas. If you’re in denial, sorry for breaking your bubble, but if you’re still stressing about creating the perfect, Norman Rockwell Christmas, read this to calm yourself a bit.

I’m sort of blogging on the go today, I have a train to catch so I’m keeping it simple. I found this lovely link on Olivia Palermo’s blog. I’m not the biggest Olivia Palermo fan, usually because she lives a life sooooo unrelatable to my own that the tips and things on her blog are a little bit out of reach. But her “Glam Tip, Perfect Your Picture Pose” I thought was a pretty appropriate one for just before the holidays. It’s a little vain, I know, but no one wants a perfect family picture EXCEPT for the one person who looks half asleep, askew, or pretty much just all bad. And you most certainly don’t want that person to be you. Check it out! It’s a short list of a few simple things that might just make every photo this year, card-worthy. Happy Weekend!

– <3 A. 

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vintage christmas outfit    the bishops wife


Stylin' it White Christmas          Being A Dudley

DIY Anthropologie Inspired Ornaments

anthropologie ornament

Aren’t these little “alpha-branches” cute? I stumbled across them while drooling over Anthropologie’s website. I have a serious case of Anthro-envy, because, more often than not, I really can’t afford to bring a little of Anthro into my world and besides that, my hometown doesn’t boast of a local Anthropologie. When I saw these ornaments on their gift-idea page though, I  immediately knew I had to try them as a DIY.

They were a bit more time-consuming than I thought, but, if you’ve got a little bit of patience they’re such a great, cheap, last-minute gift idea!

DIY Alpha-branches:

diy anthropology christmas ornaments

Supplies:

1.) Yarn: I wanted each ornament to stay in the 
same color family so I cut up long strands of the same color.
Also, cutting off pieces from the whole skein is so much 
easier to deal with when you get to the yarn-wrapping stage. 

2.) Floral wire.

3.) Krazy glue (or you could use hot glue or Elmer's glue instead).

4.) Thick thread.

I already had the thread and the glue so I only spent $2.00 on the yarn skein and $2.00 on the wire. Pretty cheap, yes?

Ok, so the first step is the most complicated:

anthropology diy ornaments

  • The letters are 4.5 inches tall. I decided to double my wire to give the yarn something thicker to wrap around so I pulled out 9 inches of wire and doubled it back on itself to make the longest side of my letter. Then, just work the wire into whatever shaped letter you want.
  • Next, cut out about four or five 1 inch pieces to make the little “branch” marks on the letter. Wrap one end of the “branch” securely around the letter at random intervals (around the ends and joints are the best places). I needed some needle-nose pliers to help me squish the wire down so it wouldn’t slide around.

anthropology inspired ornaments

  • Tie a piece of thread into a loop and then onto the letter BEFORE winding the yarn onto the wire.
  • I kept forgetting this step and had to do a lot of yarn-unwinding so don’t forget!

Step Three:

anthropologie inspired ornaments

Not too bad, right? You just have to work a bit with the yarn to get it to lay right. When you run to the end of a strand, tuck the end under the beginning of the new strand and glue the new strand into place. Don’t worry about matching up colors of new strands, it’s supposed to be a bit rustic:

anthropologie inspired ornaments

anthro inspired diy christmas ornaments anthro inspired diy christmas ornaments anthro inspired diy ornaments anthropologie inspired ornaments

I think they turned out pretty adorable, and for a few dollars, I brought a little piece of Anthropologie home. Hope you’re inspired!

– <3 A. 

Style Secrets from Perry Como

What does Perry Como and styling have to do with one another? Funny you should ask: in the midst of his Christmas album that I’ve been playing on repeat for the past few days, is Perry’s 1956 hit, “Love in a Home.” In the song, he talks about how tables, chairs, clocks, and lighting can tell you whether there’s love in a home just by opening the door. He should know a little bit about love too, he was married to his wife Roselle Como for 65 years.

Don’t just take it from Perry though, haven’t you ever been to a home where there’s a feeling of love and hospitality in every item that surrounds you? It’s subtle, probably often slides by unnoticed by less discerning people, but it’s a definite aura, a potent emotion that exudes from the things people choose to put into their homes. So, choose wisely, that little side-table no one sits by at parties may not be just because it’s in an out of the way corner, it may just be sending the wrong vibe. Here’s a few of my picks for things that I was feelin’ the love from:

“Love in a Home” 

You can tell,
When you open the door!
You can tell,
If there’s love in a home!
Every table and chair seems to smile,
Do come in, come and stay for a while.

joss and main
Joss and Main Omni Chair

wingback chairs

LIvenupdesign design your own wingback chairs

joss and main

Joss and Main Norcliffe Side Table

You almost feel you’ve been there once before,
By the shine and glow of the room!
And the clock seems to chime,
Come again anytime,

ikea pendant lamps

Ikea Ps maskros pendant lamp

Joss and Main pendants

Joss and Main Wiltshire pendant

pier one clocks

Pier one time and temperature clocks

You’ll be welcome wherever you roam!
You can tell when there’s love in a home

joss and main starburst mirror

joss and main starburst wall mirror

caldrea candles

Caldrea waterlilly candle

While I was reading a bit about Perry Como’s life, he had endless, adorable things to say about his beautiful wife. He often spoke of how she held the family together, how she was always there as support, encouragement, and inspiration to him as well as their three children, and despite how many of the world’s greatest talents he interacted with during the day, when he “went home to the world’s greatest woman. It was, and is, a great life.” I think Roselle, and Perry, would say that we should never underestimate the power of “Love in a Home”. What you put into it just might inspire a hit song, or, simply keep a family together for 65 years and counting.

– <3 A. 

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