January 31, 2011

Good Design: Power Charging Chair

plug in chair

I'm was so excited to see the addition of charge chairs at my local airport. Finally, the airport has realized that happy passengers are those that can charge their laptops and iPads before jumping on a flight. The only addition I would make would be a side table or flip table to set the charging device, but beggar's can't be choosers here.

I also want to give a shout out to La Guardia Airport which has stepped up their game and as part of recent renovations around Concourse A has added a hip seating and charging area (pictures to come). I applaud the smart airports that have figured out that passengers that don't have to spend their time searching for an outlet and a seat near it, are happier customers.

January 27, 2011

Judging a classic book by its cover

Jane Eyre, Penguin Classics edition
There's something about period films that I just can't get enough of. Show me some historical costumes and hairstyles, throw in accents and a few sweeping landscapes, and I'm there. In advance of the upcoming release of Jane Eyre, I decided it was time to finally read the Charlotte Bronte classic. (It was never required reading for me in school, and as a book-lover and avid reader, I'm a bit ashamed of the fact that I just never got around to reading it.)

Because I love books, I couldn't settle for just any old paperback copy in healthy supply on the shelves of my local used bookstore. Instead, I sprang for this (surprisingly affordable) edition from Penguin Classics. The grey cloth binding. The embossed red leaves. The red ribbon bookmark (which my cat loves to stalk, by the way). I just couldn't resist it. And I'm thoroughly enjoying the story, too.

Time to start saving my pennies for more classics in this collection.

January 17, 2011

Cute Grey Pillows

I love pillows because they are the ultimate accessory. Not only can you swap them out seasonally to change a room but they can usually be found at a very reasonable price so you don't feel like you're tied to pillows like you are with a couch or chair. The other great fact about pillows is that they ALWAYS go on sale (eventually). I saw these cute, modern pillows in the last Crate & Barrel catalog that came to the house and I think they're so fun. It feels good to think about spring and swapping out the winter colors for something lighter and brighter.

January 15, 2011

Cold, Grey Day = Ginger Creams

ginger creme cookies

What do you do when you're stuck inside due to weather? I always go with cookies and when this last wave of cold weather hit, I decided it was time to pull a childhood favorite, Ginger Creams. I love that this vintage recipe from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book can still be a treat 100 years later. My modified version below uses pumpkin pie spice which contained all of the required spices (and saved me a trip to the market).

Ginger Creams
1/3 c. shortening
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 c. molasses
1/2 c. water
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp. half and half
water to thin as needed

Mix the wet ingredients with the sugar in a mixer or with a hand blender, sift the dry ingredients and add them in. Chill the dough for at least an hour. Scoop into 1Tbs balls on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes and ice when slightly warm.

January 14, 2011

The Perfect Gift: Grey Clutch Bag

Felted grey clutch

I'm always looking for new knitting projects with a lot of bang for my buck -- just a smidge of a challenge with potentially fabulous results. After finding Leigh Radford's book One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit or Crochet    at my local library, I decided to get my own copy so I could play around with the projects and patterns inside to my heart's content.

"The Clutch You'll Never Give Up" has quickly become one of my favorite patterns in the book. The clutches knit up oh-so-quickly in 100% wool, and after a quick turn in a hot-water washing cycle, they're felted and perfectly shaped and ready for just a few embellishments before being gifted to my friends. This version in light grey may be my favorite yet. It has a new home with my friend Sarah, who likes it just as much as I do. See? The perfect gift.

January 13, 2011

Baby Burp Cloths

homemade burp cloths
I happen to have a lot of friends and co-workers having babies right now, as does my sister Elizabeth so we started our own little sweatshops of burp cloths using a pattern from the Homemade by Jill blog.They are fairly inexpensive and a stack of four is always an easy go-to baby shower gift. Based on the thank you cards I've received, the new moms and dads have found them very handy and they're big enough to just throw down for a quick diaper change at newborn stage.

January 11, 2011

Snow Creme Recipe

snow creme recipe

I'm not from the south but really love living where the winters are nice and mild. However, once is awhile a winter snow hits and everyone goes bananas. To celebrate our snowfall, my husband (who is southern) introduced me to a sweet little treat called snow creme. A great project for kids on a snowday, I would recommend setting a bowl outside before the weather hits otherwise you'll find yourself scraping the top layer off.   Recipe below.

snow creme in the making

Snow Creme Recipe
5 cups of snow
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of skim milk or half and half if you want it creamier
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (i used Penzeys Bourbon Vanilla which was incredible)

Mix all the ingredients together until it reaches the consistency of ice cream.

January 9, 2011

Decorating with Grey

dining room grey walls

So, to kick this off I want to share my recent dining room transformation. My husband and I were inspired staying at the Richmond Hill Inn in Asheville, NC in the Mt. Pisgah Room which had an incredible wall color. So, we tried to match it by memory and ended up painting 4 different Sherwin-Williams and Valspar paint swatches on the wall. Many came out too blue, but we ended up with Valspar's EB48-3 Rope which sounds tan, but really is a lovely dove grey.

We came back and decided the soft grey walls were perfect for our dining room which was previously a soft minty green.

corner cabinet glass knob

We had purchased the dining room cabinet which is from Bernhardt's Martha Stewart collection. We saw it featured in a model home and loved the glass knobs and silver leaf shelving.  It really has been a good addition to our small dining room providing storage without taking up too much space.


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