DIY Beatrix Potter Hand-Painted Eggs

hand-painted-eggs

Once you’ve reached the age where trundling baskets around the backyard to search for hard-boiled eggs hidden just out of reach so your parents can get a hearty laugh at the impossible scramble every year has grown a bit too youthful of a sport, the egg decorating tradition still retains some nostalgia that can’t be outgrown. This is where hand-painted eggs enter the tradition-story: I love these little eggs so much. They have such a sweet, vintage look and are absurdly simple yet look super chic and precise–perfect for the *slightly* grown-up egg decorator.

The original DIY blogger before “blogger” was even a catchphrase, Martha Stewart, did a project much like these Beatrix Potter-esque eggs a few years ago, but her version seemed too complicated for my if-it-takes-more-than-an-hour-that-DIY-is-too-difficult-for-my-brain rule so I did it my own way and it turned out absolutely perfect.

You will need

  • Blown-out eggs
  • Beatrix Potter cut-outs (download the template here).
  • Paint and a brush
  • A wet cloth and a dry towel

DIY hand painted eggs

  1. After you blow-out your egg, cut a design from the template and place it on the egg. Completely soak the design with the wet cloth and then pat dry with the dry towel, making sure the edges of the design are adhered flat to the egg. It may wrinkle a bit but it’s ok as long as there’s no gaps for the paint to get under. 
  2. Paint around the design with whatever color you desire. Stroke away from the design so the paint isn’t pushed under the paper.
  3. Allow to dry and then carefully peel off the paper.
  4. You may need to do a little touch up work but unless I chose a design with a lot of intricate edges, all of my eggs turned out clean and perfect!

Aren’t they adorable? The whole project seriously takes about twenty minutes and I think they looks so expensive and un-homemade in the best of ways. Plus, if you’re careful, these guys can be re-used year after year:

DIY hand-painted eggs

diy hand painted eggs

vintage hand painted easter eggsI’m obsessed with these eggs, I think I’ve used almost every design from the template…in just as many colors…in every room of the house. Happy new traditions this Easter! You never can quite outgrow the egg-phase.

-<3 A. 

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A Valentine Breakfast

valentine breakfast

Breakfast in bed has never really had a huge appeal for me…something about balancing food in your sheets, keeping the juice from dousing your pillow, and being greeted with food at the moment you emerge from sweet slumber never quite sounds like something I want. But, a valentine breakfast doesn’t have to be served up in bed to be special. When Valentines day falls during the week, sometimes a dinner out doesn’t quite have the romantic, oh-this-is-divine feel. More like, oh my, its 9:00 P.M., we haven’t been seated, the whole world of happy couples are also waiting for a table and I have to go to work tomorrow with this late night Italian food in my tummy…yes, I love you, ok, good, goodnight. Are you beginning to see where I’m going here? Yes, WAIT UNTIL SATURDAY, have a lovely quiche heart for breakfast, and ring in another year of love the simple way. The original recipe came from good old Martha Stewart, but, I changed so many things about it in order to get the filling into my heart shapes, I’m posting my version as well:

ingredientsvalentines breakfast The original recipe called for handmade dough (no thanks, I don’t have time) but I used my trusty Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust. Roll it out super thin with a rolling pin once you pull it from the frig though, otherwise you’ll get too much crust with your quiche and you won’t taste the yummy filling. I got my heart-shaped pie-maker at Target. It’s pretty nifty, the back of it doubles as a cutter, and then you just plop in the dough pieces, fill it with whatever you want, crimp it closed, and bake:

valentine breakfast quiche Don’t overfill the hearts or else you’ll rip the crust. It didn’t seem like I was putting much filling in, but once I ate one, it was plenty of food for a filling breakfast.

filling:2 ingredients

Cook the bacon first until it’s nice and crisp. Then, in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and one egg, adding the rest of the eggs. In another bowl whisk sour cream (or you could use creme fraiche like the original recipe) and milk. I used nonfat milk to make it a bit healthier but the original recipe called for whole milk. Add the salt, pepper, and thyme to the cream and milk and then whisk them into the egg/flour. Put the zucchini ribbons in a pan, saute them for a few minutes in the leftover bacon fat, pour the egg mixture over the zucchini and scramble for 20 minutes on medium heat. Mix in the bacon bits at the end and then spoon in a little of the filling into the pie crust and sprinkle with gouda cheese. Crimp the pie crusts closed, place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 375° until golden brown.

The original recipe told me to just pour the filling into the crust without first cooking it, but I wanted to use my heart-crimper and if I had poured runny eggs into the center of those I would have had a huge mess. Plus, this way ensures your filling gets cooked. Before removing the filling from the stove to fill the hearts, taste a bit to see if its close to being cooked through.

valentine recipe

valentine breakfast hearts

Valentines is usually a day for sweets, chocolate and things, but, a girls gotta eat, right? I’m in love with these quiche hearts, there’s so much potential with them: you could change out the veggies, leave out the bacon for a completely vegetarian option, or play around with the herbs (use basil perhaps instead of thyme) to get a pretty special change from the usual, sweet valentine treat. If you’re too exhaustified on Valentines night, have a go at these breakfast beauties come the weekend, it will definitely be worth the wait.

– <3 A. 

sources: original recipe inspired by Martha stewart | coffee cup image via dianeeastman.com

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DIY Valentines Hand-stitched Placecards

diy valentines handstitched place cards

February has given me a serious DIY obsession, I really truly can’t help it. Behind Christmas preparations, Valentines-Day-decking is my holiday fave. I love it because it’s sort of an under-dog holiday, we all trundle off to work and school just like any other day, but its the only day of the year that everyone pauses a moment to put a little more thought into an everyday “I love you.” Sometimes though, there’s too much pressure for a Valentines, so, if you have nothing planned, or don’t have time to do a special dinner, why not a tea for two? These hand-stitched place-cards are the perfect thing to say “I think you’re pretty special” to whoever you’re spending your valentines with without leaving you nursing your wallet-wounds after all the love is over:

DIY Place-cards

valentines diy

You Will Need: batting, fabric scraps, embroidery thread, ribbon, thick-coated wire, embroidery needles.

Steps

valentines diy

  • Cut two 4 inch by 4 inch hearts out of whatever fabric you like (small prints are best for the monogram initial to show well)
  • Put the two RIGHT sides together and sew along the edge
  • Leave a little hole on one side so you can turn the heart right-side out again as well as a hole at the bottom for the wire to fit into later
  • Flip inside out (“right-sides” out) and iron flat

valentines diy

  • Add initials: this is the trickiest part. Only stitch through the FIRST layer of the heart otherwise you won’t be able to fill it with batting. If it’s easier for you, stitch the initial on one piece of fabric before sewing them together. I was worried I wouldn’t get my letter centered if I embroidered first though so that’s why I did it this way.

valentines diy

  • Stuff a little batting through the hole of the heart until it’s stiff
  • Stitch the side hole closed

valentines diy

  • Cut about ten inches of thick coated wire, shape into a heart and bring the long side up straight
  • Fit the long side of the wire into the heart until it looks like it will stand on it’s own

valentines diy place cards 

  • Secure the heart to the wire by adding a little ribbon tied in a bow and you’re done!

I’m pretty proud of this project. When DIY’s go well I feel so creatively charged and powerful.  I think this must be how Martha Stewart feels everyday: just popping out beautiful things all over the place. Must be nice Martha Stewart, must be nice. If you don’t feel like feeling a bit like Martha though, you can buy these place-cards over at my Etsy shop. They turned out so well I thought I should probably share my success with the masses so they’re now up for sale! Enjoy!

valentines diy place cardsvalentines-diy-place-cardsvalentines-diy-place-cards

valentines-diy-place-cards– <3 A. 

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Style Secrets from Virginia Woolf

Whatever you know of Virginia Woolf’s life and works, you probably don’t associate her with styling. Surprise, surprise: the woman knew the effects on the mind and body of a well-styled room long before Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart, or HGTV filled our lives.

In my third year of college I spent twelve rather grueling weeks studying, obsessing, and making sense out of Virginia Woolf’s writing. It was quite the journey. Out of her stream of consciousness, abstract imagery, and at times rather depressing prose, two things stuck in my mind:

1.) Maintain a room of one’s own:

In her famous lecture turned essay, Virginia Woolf wrote in A Room of One’s Own that one of the most essential things to the success of an artist, and, more specifically, a female artist, was to have a space all to oneself. At the time, Woolf wrote this to point out one of the crucial reasons she believed that women had been unable to write effectively. The nineteenth century woman who “never (had) an half hour…that they can call their own,” did not possess the means to acquire a room, or time, to herself unless “her parents were exceptionally rich or very noble.” At the mercy of her husband or some male support, the average woman, if she desired to write, had to “write in the common sitting room” where of course, “dogs will bark; people will interrupt; money must be made; health will break down.” Woolf felt that, unlike the man who might wander off to an office and shut himself away to work for hours, the women of nineteenth century homes had no such place to work, create, or imagine in.

Women no longer have such restrictions. We make our own money, own our own homes, and follow our own ambitions. Yet, with no limits to our “duties” or desires, women seem to need a room of their own for entirely different, but no less important, reasons. The modern woman is fulfilling roles the nineteenth century woman never dreamed of. By fulfilling these roles though, there is little time to escape into a place where the mind can focus on self, what is important, and what needs to be culled out of a life packed to the brim of to-do’s.

So, take Woolf’s advice: steal a workplace for yourself.

Convert a closet:

office option

Tidy a desk just for you:

Pinned Image

Or create an inspiration board:

inspiration boards

Maintain a room, a corner, a space all your own where, regardless of whether you are an artist or not, you can put life on pause lest your mind become “heaped…with bitterness and resentment” from the everyday.

2.) Whatever you do, do it like a woman.

In her criticism of a female novelist during the nineteenth century, Woolf noted that the novelist’s writing voice was muddled by her belief that she ought either to admit that “she was ‘only a woman,’” or protest “that she was ‘as good as a man.’” Contrasted to these women, she notes that only Jane Austen and Emily Bronte were successful in their craft because “they wrote as women write, not as men write.” They neither excused themselves for their writing because they were “merely” women, nor tried to adopt a false voice in order to be compared to a man. They were, in essence, essentially themselves. In speaking of women writers, Woolf expresses that “it would be a thousand pities if women wrote like men, or lived like men, or looked like men, for if two sexes are quite inadequate, considering the vastness and variety of the world, how should we manage with one only? Ought not education to bring out and fortify the differences rather than the similarities?”

Wouldn’t she be horrified at the current androgyny? Woolf stated that Jane Austen was one of the few successful female novelist during her time for, unlike other women, she did not try to learn from the “men’s sentences” that were her only examples. Instead, “Austen looked at it (the man’s sentence) and laughed at it and devised a perfectly natural, shapely sentence proper for her own use and never departed from it.”

Whatever you desire to do, take it from Virginia: do it as a woman would do it, not as a man would. Devise your own approach and never depart from it. Excuses and protests will achieve little, but give a woman a space to think and the confidence to think as herself, and there will be, as Virginia found, “no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

source: A Room of one’s own, harcourt, inc, 1989

                                                              – <3 A.