Wednesday, November 30, 2011

advent calendars

DIY advent calendar from the marion house book
I love the idea of counting down the days to Christmas with a creative and unique advent calendar. Such a wonderful way to get in the mood for the holiday season. Gone are the days of your grandma's embroidered advent calendar, where you moved the mitten from one square to the next. Create a calendar that suites your home/style, and spice things up with some twine, kraft paper, washi tape, tinsel, clothespins...And make each day just a bit more special with a hand-wrapped treat that you can open with your children or loved ones. What? December 1 is tomorrow? Better get to craftin'...  

hanger + tinsel + hot pink tags + kraft paper gifts = advent beauty from FRYD + DESIGN
DIY from The Little Red House. Perfect for someone like me who may have waited until the last minute.
Advent tree. Brilliant. Censational Girl

Monday, November 28, 2011

carrot cake

Photos by Frances Moulin
I like carrot cake. But Monsieur Moulin loves carrot cake. So every year on his birthday, I make his mom's famous carrot cake. And it's delicious. The fall flavors blend seamlessly together - cinnamon, pecans, carrots, cream cheese icing (no? not a fall flavor? well, it goes beautifully with fall flavors...) I displayed the two-layered goodness last night (pictured here, on my favorite cake stand), and we dug in as if we hadn't already had tons of pumpkin and pecan pie this weekend. And my husband may have had another piece for breakfast. Bonnie Moulin's Carrot Cake recipe is below, and you need not make adjustments - it's perfect as-is.
1 ¼ cups oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots (start working out now…)
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 ½ sticks butter
8 oz cream cheese (the real stuff)
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
3 oz cream
-        combine oil and sugar. mix well
-        mix together remaining dry ingredients
-        sift half of the dry ingredients into sugar mixture and blend. sift in remaining dry ingredients, alternating with eggs – one at a time
-        add carrots and mix well. mix in pecans
-        pour evenly into two lightly oiled round pans
-        bake in oven at 325° for 1 hr. 10 min
-        cool in pans upright. remove from pans and frost with cream cheese icing

Thursday, November 24, 2011

giving thanks

I don’t think we do this enough. It’s often difficult to appreciate the little, day-to-day blessings we receive when we’re continually stressed about work, deadlines, loved ones, babies, etc. But Thanksgiving – one day out of the entire year – allows us all to take a break, breathe in the cool air and let those around you know that you are thankful. For them. For life. For love. For friendship. This year has certainly had its ups and downs for me personally, but I thank my lucky stars for my husband, home, pups, family, friends, health and job. This Thanksgiving, take a moment to pause, reflect and give thanks for the people – and the little things – that make your life happy.

Thanksgiving pie topper on Oh Happy Day
 Friendsgiving party printables on The Sweetest Occasion

Monday, November 21, 2011

seam binding ribbon

Seam binding ribbon. Photo by Frances Moulin
Seam binding ribbon was traditionally used to bind the edges of fabric to keep it from fraying or unraveling. But lately, crafters have been taking it to new heights (myself included). Seam binding ribbon comes in so many beautiful colors, and its flowy and delicate nature allows us to use it for gifts, scrapbooking, tags, garland and more. I buy my seam binding ribbon from a charming boutique in McKinney, Texas called Smitten, but you can find it on Etsy shops like Inspire Lovely, The Gilded Bee and AR Creations. You can also find beautiful silk ribbon (equally as elegant) on BHLDN. I encourage you to go forth and create something unique and inspiring with seam binding ribbon - and let me know how it turns out!       

Used as gift wrap on The Gilded Bee

 Wrapped around a soft bouquet. Photography by Cameron Ingalls as seen on Style Me Pretty
A precious cake skirt by Martha. She also has a DIY for a matching ribbon chandelier.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

french music

Villefranche, France. Photo by Frances Moulin
There's something about it. The passion, the language, the unknown. If you're looking for something inspiring to listen to while painting, cleaning, traveling or reading, may I recommend something French. During our honeymoon, Monsieur Moulin and I were on the French Riveira (le sigh), and we stopped in a record store to see what we could find (for my audio guy who is obsessed with all things music). There, we found one of our favorite treasures from the trip - an album by Ben L'Oncle Soul. It was life-changing, really. And ever since, when I hear French music, I pretend I have a flat in the heart of Paris. A girl can dream, can't she?

The La Vie en Rose album is also exremely beautiful and romantic. It transports you to another place and time.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

my cowboy boots

Photo by Frances Moulin
Two years ago for my birthday, Monsieur Moulin took me to the western wear store to buy my very first pair of real cowboy boots – a country-western staple for any girl living in Texas. And what started as a novelty I only thought I would don for country music concerts and the rodeo turned out to be a major go-to in my wardrobe. I lovingly wear them with jeans, dresses, shorts, skirts...I even wore them in my engagement photos (see below). Every girl needs a pair of kickers – and not a wild or frilly pair. A real, solid, authentic pair. The kind you can scoop cow manuer in.
Photo by Kim Springer (my sister!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

beautiful gift wrap

There's something magical about carefully-wrapped, beautifully-adorned gifts. The kind where the packaging is almost as special as what's inside. Personally, I always have every intention of wrapping all of my gifts with glitter, twine and a multitude of embellishments, but unfortunately I often find myself waiting until the last minute to put the finishing touches on my gifts. (Admission: I may or may not have wrapped a wedding present on the floorboard of the car.) However, the new, creative me is going to strive to wrap any upcoming gifts with love, care and attention. I so hope they turn out like these...

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts via Melanie Falick Books, featured on Oh Happy Day
Miu Miu Style Wrapping by Ambrosia Creative

Martha thinks of everything
And to my dear friends who may decide to hold me to this goal - don't be surprised if your gift has a bit of floorboard fuzz in the tape...

Monday, November 14, 2011

the fact that I have a blog

Wall Decal by Shanna Murray
It's no secret to those who know me that I'm not the most tech-savvy person. My digital footprint until now has been virtually non-existent (Facebook, what?), and when I finally caved and bought an iPhone, I cracked the screen and shattered the back within weeks. But I'm giving this whole blog thing a chance. You see, I've been making a lot of changes in my life. After five years in the corporate world and the slow and subtle loss of my creative self, I've been taking plunges to find the old me - the one who reads and paints and creates and finds joy in the little things in life. This is where my blog comes into play.

You know that feeling when you're driving and the weather is beautiful and the best song comes on the radio and you just find yourself smiling? Or when you walk into a craft store with no particular motive and you simply peruse the aisles of beautiful ribbon, paper and embellishments? Or when your loved one sends you flowers just because? I hope this blog gives you that feeling. It's not meant to challenge your mind or change the world. Its sole purpose is to bring a smile to your face and make you appreciate the little things in life. Enjoy, my friends!