January 14, 2013

USPS price increase / TTT coupon code

just a quick note to let you know that USPS will be increasing their pricing effective january 27. shipping prices in the shop will have to be adjusted accordingly, so if you've got an eye on something, you might want to snag it now! to help you get that done, use coupon code beatusps for 15% off on orders placed through january 23 (to ship by january 26).

January 8, 2013

new wreaths for the new year

two newbies in the shop!

20-inch Pastoral Grapevine Wreath

HHDE day 31: arrivederci 2012!

* read the original HHDE post here. follow along and post your daily endeavors in the comments! {click photos to enlarge}

we filled the time between xmas and NYE with a trip to the vet for poor spider-dog's uti, bacterial infection, and loose tooth and a trip to the hospital for The Mistero's very-badly-sprained-but-not-broken ankle, scraped shin, and pulled neck muscle from a fall on the icy stairs outside our apartment. these were two hands-on projects that i hadn't planned or looked forward to.

The Mistero waiting (uncomfortably) for the diagnosis
Spider doing her best to keep The Mistero off his feet by laying on his crutches

despite all the doom-and-gloom news to end the year, we managed to pull together a fine meal and pop a few souvenir bottles of gruet from our visit there last february. but, because we weren't fully-functioning, we had to forgo our usual homemade fried chicken recipe from one of my/our favorite cookbooks of all time, ad hoc at home, and instead ordered take-out chicken. i made mac-n-cheese, and my go-to is always martha stewart's recipe, which i have now made so many times that i have my own adaptation on it. maybe i will get around to posting my recipe for it one of these days. we also made whipped sweet potatoes and kale salad. the biscuits came with the chicken and our friend brought a very tasty chocolate mousse cake, which we shared right at midnight after a few rounds of games.
NYE dinner
chocolate mousse cake

i hope you all had a safe, happy, and healthy NYE! cheers to 2013!

January 3, 2013

HHDE days 24-25: xmas!!

* read the original HHDE post here. follow along and post your daily endeavors in the comments! {click photos to enlarge}

The Mistero's family has a xmas eve tradition involving men and boys braving the cold dawn on an early morning visit to the fish market and cheese shop, with breakfast to follow. so i usually use that time to uphold my own xmas-time tradition of reading "holidays on ice" by david sedaris. i even have an old copy of the book inscribed and autographed by mr. sedaris himself!

since our recent tradition has been to host on xmas day, i also got started with some table-seating tree-branch crafts and setting the table:

here's how the final table setting looked on xmas day, before the food went down and the guests arrived:

our recently-minted xmas tradition also involves making homemade bagels on xmas morning (hence the advance table setting). my bread bible is "artisan bread everyday" by peter reinhart. this also gives me HHDE cred for starting the dough on day 23, for which there is no blog entry.

homemade sesame, poppyseed, and everything bagels

since our xmas day festivities are a potluck affair, we (for once) decided to go easy on ourselves and make a one-pot dish. i hadn't had chicken marbella until our neighbor made it for us last year, and if you haven't had it, you should make it lickedy-split – it is an easy and delicious crowd pleaser! another favorite dish i keep making is salad with roasted butternut squash, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and shaved parmigiano reggiano. this time i also added roasted beets, red onion, and a little bit of bacon (yum!). sometimes i add farro or quinoa, too, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

we had the "log" going all day, keeping everyone warm and toasty on what turned out to be a beautifully snowy xmas day. hope you all had a very merry holiday!

HHDE day 21: making arty photos and lady friends

* read the original HHDE post here. follow along and post your daily endeavors in the comments! {click photos to enlarge}

hello again, forlorn readers! my apologies for the hiatus, but the last two weeks have been more hellish than happy. in addition to the usual holiday rush, we've had a number of family illnesses and issues arise, neither of which leaves time for documenting or writing about the things you have had time to make!

nonetheless, i'm back with a few remaining tidbits from HHDE ...

i was very fortunate to have been invited to a holiday/solstice party on the 21st at the exclusive woman's athletic club. not only does it have a ritzy n. michigan avenue address, but the club still resides in its 1929 home, with gorgeous decorative details. this was the second time i had been to a party in the silver room; but this time i documented some of the details.

ceiling light fixture in stairwell

metallic flora and fauna wallpaper