Archive for Favorite Things

Finding your unique fashion style


Recently, someone asked me a question about fashion and about how one might develop their own sense of fashion. It was definitely a question that got me thinking about my love of fabric and design. It only took a moment for me to realize that I was already implementing a very effective tool for developing a sense of individual fashion and expression. fashion album.


Now, many of you are probably thinking that cutting out clothing, shoes, and snippets of anything else inspiring could be a huge waste of time, but hear me out! How many of you have looked through a magazine and found yourself earmarking pages or saying, “I would love to have a ______ like that”?


A fashion album could easily be called an inspiration album. I find myself cutting out pieces of furniture because I love the lines. I snip wallpaper because I love the pattern. Many elements can be used to recognize your personal fashion sense; whether it be in the realm of clothing or home decor. I mean people pay to have a n “expert” discover these things for them – save the money and take a journey into yourself.


I will cut out pieces from magazines over months and slip them into my photo pages. Over time I come to find I have an entire outfit – and typically not the outfit originally published in the magazine. I will find a pair of shoes in October’s issue, a pair of pants in August and a shirt in July; as you can see in my example pages above and below.


It’s pretty apparent that I have a love for vintage designs. However, it is SO obvious when you flip through my album that I am pretty bohemian and eclectic as well. And while I am very familiar with my own style choices, there are times that even I will learn something about myself by looking through it. A couple weeks ago I realized that I probably had six or more shirts and jackets that donned the same collar style. After realizing that I evaluated why I liked the rounded collar so much. It’s feminine, it’s soft, it’s set further out to the sides so that the buttons can still be seen in all their glory. Simple things, but they are revealing.


Being that I am learning more and more about sewing, my hope is that I will one day be able to find similar patterns and/or design my own based on these pieces. It’s also like playing paper dolls as an adult! However, in most instances I cut the heads away so as not to compare myself to the models and to focus on the pieces themselves.

So, get clipping! I am eager to hear what you learn about yourself.


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Vintage children’s book’s illustrations














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Hey Willy, See the Pyramids by Maira Kalman


If you are a fan of children’s books, you should definitely check out Maira Kalman’s world. We bought this book at a library box sale (fill a box with as many books as you can fit for a grand total of $2). The artwork is wonderful and if it doesn’t inspire your children to write/illustrate, it will inspire you!



The dialogue is quirky, as if someone were taking notes of the random thoughts that decorate our consciousness throughout the day. The illustrations are reminiscent of people in my family…and a circus act at the same time. Hmmm, probably the kind of things one shouldn’t admit so nonchalantly!


The author has created many wonderful pieces of art with words to boot. I added What Pete Ate to my wishlist. So what’s your favorite children’s book author?


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Beans grow on orchids?

Typically I am not a huge fan of store-bought flowers. I love wildflower arrangements but am not a huge “bouquet of roses” fan. I would rather spend time soaking up their sweetness in a garden, and plucking a few pretties for home to remind me of moments spent in their living presence. However, when my hubby brings home an armful of orchids, I can’t help but gush over them. I love selecting the perfect vase, perfect vantage point, and accompanying pieces for each bunch that seem to exude their own personality. The following arrangement found its home in the corner of our family room in a pitcher that never fails to make me think of warm milk splashing into a bowl of Irish oatmeal. Such pleasantries…


Did you know that there are upwards of 17,000 species of orchids in the world (and that is a conservative estimate)?! In fact, the orchid family is the largest family of flowering plants in the world. We are not just talking about variations of color, but the variations of design/shape are amazing. You would never think flowers like some of these even existed! I see God’s handiwork every time I look at an orchid and I think how satisfying it must have been to create so delicate and beautiful a flower. It is as if I can see His hand reaching down and painting the intricate patterns on their petals.

Feast your eyes on some beautiful photos that have resulted through the work of Howard Schatz (first photo on the left) and Greg Allikas (all other photos).


Strangely enough, such a beautiful flower received its name on account of its resemblance to what is known in Greek as the “orchis”. The fashion in which the flower unfolds, typically being a single petal unfolding atop two lateral petals, form the appearance of the aforementioned shape. And while this is all so fascinating, the most interesting tidbit gathered today was the knowledge that the vanilla bean is the fruit of an orchid.


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Maryana Vollstedt, will you be my grandma?



If you have ever owned, borrowed, eaten a recipe from, checked out from the library, or even read a rave review on one of her cookbooks, you may get the same warm and fuzzy feeling I do when I see her name. I came across The Big Book of Casseroles a few weeks ago in the library while trying to find some great recipes to make in large batches and freeze for later meals. I’ve cooked about 5 recipes from this collection and haven’t come across a disappointment – she is amazing! These are the kind of ingredients you actually already have in your home – and the kind of quantity that always leaves room for another guest at the table. These are the kind of tastes and smells that elicit fond memories of dinner at grandma’s house.


I am so excited to try Maryana Vollstedt’s entire line of cookbooks including:


Pacific Fresh ©1995
What’s for Dinner? © 1997
The Big Book of Soups and Stews © 2001
The Big Book of Breakfast © 2003
The Big Book of Potluck © 2003
The Big Book of Easy Suppers © 2005
Meatloaf © 2006
The Big Book of Chicken to be released spring 2008


Thanks to my darling hubby and to my mom for giving me a birth day, I am now the elated owner of this casserole classic. So if you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop on by! With 250 recipes, I’m sure to be cooking one or pulling one out of the freezer that’ll tickle your tastebuds.

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