Artist Spotlight

Cannot. Wait.

Alright I left something off of my list from my post yesterday.  THE PORTLAND BAZAAR!  In it’s inaugural year, this project of Grace Bonney of Design Sponge is sure to be AMAZING.  Inspired by The Brooklyn Flea, Grace, Matt Pierce, and Greg Hennes, are pulling together 50+ local Portland artisans to showcase and sell their work at Sandbox Studio during the bazaar.  Among the mix are woodworkers, metal workers, designers, chefs, etc.  Read this description and tell me you aren’t DYING to go!

To kick off the very first Portland Bazaar, we’re holding a curated holiday fair on December 10th and 11th at Sandbox Studio in Portland, Oregon. Our goal is to celebrate the high-quality handmade work being produced in Portland’s incredible creative community. In addition to offering a curated selection of vendors in a wide range of categories — clothing, accessories, home goods, books (Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis will be at the Reading Frenzy booth to sign copies of Wildwood!), music, vintage wares, fine art, food and spirits — the Bazaar will also offer live music performances from local bands, unique demonstrations and classes, including whiskey & gin tastings and DIY workshops on how to make holiday wreaths from Portland flora taught by our own Amy Merrick (stay tuned for class times/signups)!

To complement the excitement happening inside the Bazaar, the street in front of Sandbox Studio will be closed to traffic and lined with some of Portland’s finest food trucks. We aim to provide each and every guest with not only great holiday gift options and DIY ideas but also tasty snacks and drinks.

–Copy from

What makes it even better is some of my favorite local shops are being represented!  OMFG Co., Adler & Co., Bridge & Burn, Pigeon Toe, and Reading Frenzy!

Oh my goodness gracious I just cannot wait!  And as a semi-related side note, Grace Bonney is my hero.  I would seriously LOVE to be her little minion.  Whatever she’d need me for, I’m there.  Would never happen, but a girl can dream right?!

So, in my 25 years I have received a lot of birthday cards.   Not one, and I mean not ONE holds a candle to the card that our dear friend Cody Haltom made for me this year.  Cody is an incredibly talented designer and member of Public School in Austin, TX.  You should check out his work if you haven’t already…it is much more than superimposing people’s faces on other people’s bodies so don’t get the wrong impression.

Cody, knowing how much I love my alma mater, sent me this image on the day of my birth. Please see below, the BEST birthday card I’ve ever received.  Nick Saban’s (the football coach of Alabama) face superimposed on Brad Pitt’s body.  The caption in the email said that he just knew that I was going to leave William for the Pitt/Saban combo.  All I have to say to that is…don’t tempt me…don’t tempt me! JUST kidding!

Pitt/Saban amazingness

Save Time, Get a Mail Box!

Yeah, I have no clue what this picture was meant for. I guess many years ago you had the choice whether or not you had a mailbox? I’m not sure, but I LOVE my mailbox. It’s a little on the silly side (keep in mind we’re renting so I took no part in the choosing of the mailbox), but I love that it has bluebonnets painted on it. In case you didn’t know, bluebonnets are the Texas state flower and since that is where Mr. Fancy Pants and I grew up, it warms my heart a bit.

I snapped a little picture of our mailbox! Bluebonnets. Check! Dirt. Check! Rust. Check!

The other reason I love my mailbox is what comes in it. Nothing brightens my day more than a card from a friend or a package from my mom. AND of course there is the occasional (or not so occasional) online purchase that I am waiting anxiously for. Postman (mine is a woman), UPS man, FedEx man…they’re all my friends.

This past Friday I had what I would consider an exceptionally good mail day. I’m not sure which is better–receiving a little surprise everyday or receiving them all at once. Man, both are good. The best are the unexpected arrivals. On Friday, I had 2 unexpected arrivals. Both from friends back in Austin. Made. My. Day. Here’s what arrived:

  • Lightbulb from Jessica and John (I’ll explain in a bit)
  • Gift certificate from Mary Kathryn–the genius behind Loretta Flower
  • Return address stamps that Mr. Fancy Pants designed for me
  • MSU/UA koozies designed by a precious family friend who runs Polka Dot Parties
A little something to brighten our new home!

Now seriously, how creative is this?! Jessica and John are two of the most fun and creative people I know so this clever gift did not surprise me. I still had never seen this idea before and thought it was precious. On top of being a clever idea, it’s a great gift! These vintage and Edison inspired bulbs are some of my favorites and we have them in several spots in our house! She knows me well! Now all I need is a new side table lamp to put the bulb in (Mr. Fancy Pants is rolling his eyes right about now…women can justify just about anything. It’s a gift).

Gift certificate to Canoe courtesy of our sweet friend MK

Our next surprise was a gift certificate to Canoe from our precious friend Mary Kathryn! They have some of the BEST housewares around and are a great fusion of mine and William’s styles. This was the most perfect gift for us! And such a personal touch that MK took the time to send us to someplace local. Mary Kathryn is the amazingly talented lady behind Loretta Flower (no kin to my cat). She makes some of the most beautiful floral designs you’ve ever seen. When we moved out here, I commissioned her to design some dried floral arrangements for 3 clay pots we were given as a wedding gift. They are stunning. I will be doing a whole post in the near future on Loretta Flower. So STAY TUNED!

New return address stamps from Mr. Fancy Pants himself!
I realize that blurring out our address severally hinders your seeing the stamp in its entirety but I don’t want strangers showing up at my house.

These gems also arrived on Friday. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll remember that I used Paperwink to create my return address stamp when I lived in Austin. (read about that here). When we moved, of course we could no longer use the stamp with our Austin address on it. Mr. Fancy Pants decided to give it a go with the design of our return stamps. I may be biased, but I think he hit the nail on the head. He designed two (upper left hand corner) and I couldn’t decide between them so he had both made. He threw in the Dixieland Delight stamp for grins to surprise me. I was so excited to see these when they came in. So excited in fact that Friday evening I sat on the couch for an hour and wrote about 10 cards to friends and family. One to say hello, but mostly to use my new stamps!


Last but CERTAINLY not least, the long awaited, double sided, MSU AND ALABAMA koozies arrived! I have been so anxious to get these in the mail. We are such HUGE football (let me narrow that by saying SEC) fans! Mr. Fancy Pants’ family is from MS and he went to Mississippi State. Mine is from Alabama and Arkansas and I went to Alabama for school. We’re a house divided! Ha! We’ve gone back every year for a game and we’re trying to make the UA/MSU game a tradition. Some of our best friends, Landon and Julia, live in Mississippi and are nice enough to let us stay with them when we come down. Last year we weren’t able to make the MSU/UA game but we went to the MSU/Georgia game and had a BLAST! (Here was my post on that weekend). THIS year, we’re headed down November 11th to see my Crimson Tide play the Bulldogs!

A sweet family friend of ours from Texarkana owns a company called Polka Dot Parties. She designs and sells stationary, invitations, personalized gifts…anything under the sun! When we moved up here to OR we invested in Directv so that we could host football game watching parties at our house on the weekends AND catch all of the SEC games. As a little housewarming gift, my mom had Whitney @ Polka Dot Parties make these AWESOME cups that have MSU on one side and Alabama on the other!

Reversible styrofoam cups!

And to take it one obnoxious step further, I asked Whitney if she could do the same thing with koozies. And guess what, she could! So Friday marked the arrival of the dual-sided MSU/UA koozies. We are READY TO TAILGATE now! Both William and I have friends that will be in Starkville for the game in November so it will make for fun pictures to have everyone choosing sides by their drink koozie. I have a good feeling I will be out-numbered. OH well! Please check out Polka Dot Parties‘ website. Whitney is fun, talented, and everything I’ve ever purchased from her has been amazing!

I am sure you noticed that I did not mention my Portland Power & Light or Qwest bills that also came in the mail on Friday. The doom that came with their arrival was thankfully overshadowed by the goodness that came in all of the other packages! All this to say, the surprises in the mail on Friday made my day! If anyone is interested in having a pen pal, I think I’d sure make a good one! I’m accepting applications now… 🙂

Scrabble Letter pillows by shopdirtsa on Etsy (photo from shopdirtsa on Etsy)

These beauties arrived at my doorstep this week.  I ordered some “Scrabble inspired” pillows from the talented lady behind shopdirtsa.  I have had my eyes on these for a while and I finally saved enough pennies and dimes to snag them. You can, I assume, get any letter of the alphabet that you’d like.  I got the three-pillow bundle with a “W” “S” and an “&”.


I’m not exactly sure what the fabric used is but it looks like a cross between a burlap and a textured linen (so I’m not the best with fabrics…I was an International Business major) BUT I love how simplistic, rustic, yet detailed these pillowcases are.  I haven’t purchased inserts for them yet but I’ve priced out the ones I want from IKEA and I’ll pick those up sometime before the big move.

Up close and personal

Bryants love ampersands

S is for Sally

I’m planning on putting these on our guest bed in the new house in Portland town.  I’m thinking white/off white bedding, solid colored sheets, and these beautiful pillows.  I am very excited to see what it looks like.  I’d like to give a BIG thanks to shopdirtsa for her patience with me (I emailed her asking for fabric pictures) and for sharing your amazing talents with the rest of us!  Go check out all of the things she’s making on Etsy!

I’ve pretty much fallen in love with these.  I bought Mr. Fancy Pants one for Christmas and though he hasn’t worn it yet, a nice little British man on a YouTube video taught him how to correctly tie it (quite successfully I might add). I may be a little bias, but he just looked wonderful in it!

Forage Bowtie that I purchased for Mr. Fancy Pants for Christmas

These are made by the amazing couple, Stephen and Shauna, at Something’s Hiding in Here.  Here’s what they have to say about their new line of bowties:

“why bow ties? as stephen likes to say “they’re the most practical form of neckwear”. they don’t interfere with various working methods like a dangerous, dangling neck tie. it was out of necessity for safe neck accessorizing that we created our own collection of bow ties. we call them FORAGE because gathering the perfect fabric is always quite the hunt.”

Inside of the Forage Bowtie

Each bow tie comes packaged in mason box filled with shredded kraft paper. Both functional and scores huge points on the supreme level of packaging coolness. Coolness.  Is that a word?  We’ll go with it.  Regardless, there is also a swatch of the bow tie’s fabric that can be found on the inside of the box.  Can you say amazing?

Picture Book Report

As it has been pointed out to me that nearly all of my posts this week have been about food (yikes), I am switching gears as not to continue the illusion that all I think about is food.  Ha!

Today I’m going to brag about Mr. Fancy Pants, aka William Bryant, aka my husband.  He is an extremely talented artist and is continually being asked to participate in some pretty awesome projects. One of my favorite on-going projects of his is the Picture Book Report. Picture Book Report is a project started by the amazing illustrator and maker Meg Hunt. Picture Book Report features 15 talented illustrators taking their favorite childhood books and reinterpreting them in their own way. Mr. Fancy Pants selected J.M. Barrie’s Peter & Wendy.  The project rotates between illustrators so you get a new instillation of each artist’s selection every few weeks.  Some of my favorites, other than my obvious favorite, are Meg Hunt‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Sam Bosma‘s The Hobbit, and Stephan Britt‘s The Bremen Town Musicians.

Here are my favorite illustrations so far from the Picture Book Report:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland illustrated by Meg Hunt

The Hobbit illustrated by Sam Bosma

The Bremen Town Musicians illustrated by Stephan Britt

I think another reason I am drawn to these particular projects, other than their amazing illustration and design, is their story selection.  J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (first entitled Peter & Wendy), Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and anything by The Brother’s Grimm are some of my all time childhood favorites.  Props to Meg Hunt for coming up with such an amazing idea.  And thank you for inviting Mr. Fancy Pants to participate!  Here are Mr. Fancy Pants’ submissions thus far.  His next post will be very soon so check the Picture Book Report site to catch his next instillation! (here’s a little hint!  The next illustration involves the Lost Boys!)

To quote Mr. Fancy Pants’s take on the project, “my characters have been reduced to the most refined elements and hopefully are loaded with charm.”  I love his characters and how he took them down to their rawest form.  Tinker Bell is my favorite–a bell with wings.  Classic Will Bryant humor.  I love it!

Peter Pan and Wendy Book Plate

The infamous Pan enters the nursery and the adventure begins!

The Flight!

I'm Never Ever going to grow up!

Side note on the above illustration.  This was one week’s submission for Picture Book Report.  However, it was also found and picked up by Society6 and made into a print that you can purchase here! Look at that Mr. Fancy Pants!  He’s so fancy!

Never Never Land and our first glimpse of Captain Hook!

Drum roll please…I can finally post the last part of my ‘Favorite Things’ because #4 arrived in the mail from my parents’ house in Texarkana, TX on Saturday.  Not sure what took it so long getting here, but it just prolonged the suspense!  Looking back at the other posts, coupled with this one, I didn’t want these to be in any particular order (i.e. #1 is my most favorite and #15 my least favorite of the favorites).  So, take these as the last 5 rather than the top 5.  With one exception.  #1.  It’s legit my favorite.

Here goes!  Enjoy!

5.  Official University of Alabama Football Jersey

#22 Mark Ingram the 75th winner of the Heisman Trophy and the first from the University of Alabama.

I am a proud graduate of the University of Alabama.  How I ended up there is not that exciting of a story but it was the perfect place for me for college.  I loved every minute of my 3 1/2 years there.  I grew up in Texas so I have long known a Southerners love for football.  I grew up in a household with a father that loves the Arkansas Razorbacks and loathes the University of Texas (the hatred dates back to when both schools were in the Southwestern Conference, which also included Baylor University, my parents’ alma mater, though football is not Baylor’s forte).  Slightly unrelated, I’m convinced by dad cannot fully enjoy himself when he comes to visit us solely because he knows that UT’s campus is a few miles away. Ha!  Anyway, I have always loved SEC football (and yes, it is the best conference in the nation), but I didn’t understand love for football until I went to Alabama.  Those people know their football.  When I went to school there, I didn’t bleed Crimson, didn’t know the fight song, didn’t know the players for that matter…4 minutes in Bryant-Denny Stadium changed that.  You can’t help but be a fan.  The school spirit and love for Alabama’s deep football tradition is contagious.  That was all it took.  A dear friend that I met in my first weeks at Alabama sat with me during the first game and taught me the fight song and at the end of my first game I was screaming “Rammer Jammer”.

The official jersey of the 2010 BCS National Championship

Yes, I'm legit. Merry Christmas to me from Mr. Fancy Pants! The best gift EVER!

Needless to say, I was thrilled that Alabama made it to the National Championship last season and probably would’ve given my first born child for the chance to go to the game had I had the opportunity!  Not really, but I would’ve thought about it. Mr. Fancy Pants gave me this official National Championship jersey for Christmas last year before the game.  I think I was one of 2 people in Austin, TX cheering on the Crimson Tide on the evening of the game (the other being my roommate from my freshman year of college who also lives in Austin).  This fantastic jersey is Mark Ingram’s number, 22.  Ingram was the 75th winner of the Heisman Trophy and the first winner ever from the University of Alabama.  I watched his acceptance speech in Mighty Fine Burgers in Austin, TX and yes, I cried.  The rest of the restaurant was mad–in their burnt orange.

No offense to any of my UT fan friends (Mr. Fancy Pants and I actually are Texas fans, we are from Texas you know–except when they play Alabama), but it was a great year to be an Alabama fan.  And I’m so happy to have this jersey to commemorate it!  Roll Tide Roll!

4.  Wood carving of our initials inspired by our “save the dates”

Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants' Save the Dates

One of my favorite things about Mr. Fancy Pants and my wedding was our Save the Dates.  Our dear friend, Beverly Hayman-Polen (a fellow graphic design student at Mississippi State with Mr. Fancy Pants) designed our lovely Save the Dates for us. Bev now lives in Jackson, MS with her husband Neil and is the Artistic Director for Libby Story & Company. She is amazingly talented and creative and I love what she came up with for us.  As you can tell from the picture, she drew a tree on right side of the card with a heart including our initials.  Hanging from the branch was a little brown bag that held two cards, one with the wedding date information, the other with the hotel information.  We got so many compliments on these and with good reason–just look at how amazing they are!!!  Check out Bev’s website!

Cards that fit inside the bag on our Save the Dates

Save the Dates designed by Beverly Hayman-Polen

What makes these even more special to Mr. Fancy Pants and I is a gift that was given to us by Dr. Randy Brown.  Dr. B is Mr. Fancy Pant’s best friend Ryan’s dad. Mr. Fancy Pants and Ryan grew up together and were pretty much inseparable for the majority of their adolescent life.   Some of my best memories are with those two kiddos.  William and Ryan were Eagle Scouts together, and Dr. B was Troop 16’s leader (not sure the “official name” though I probably should know).  Dr. B and his wife are very special people to Mr. Fancy Pants and I and also to Mr. Fancy Pants’s whole family.  They through a party for us and some of our friends before we got married and that night Dr. B gave us this wood carving that he did for us–inspired by our Save the Dates.

Wood carving by Dr. B inspired by our Save the Dates

Detail of the intricate wood carving

This beautiful piece of art now hangs in our home.  It is a constant reminder of our engagement, wedding, and of a very special man.  I know I’ve written about this before, but it doesn’t get more personal or special than a gift that comes from the heart. Dr. B’s wood working is incredible and we’re honored to have such a personal piece made by him to keep forever!

The back of Dr. B's wood carving-a sweet note to us.

3.  Acapulco dishes

Acapulco dish collection

I know I’ve already posted once about these dishes (to refresh your memory, click here), however, these are some of my favorite things.  My mother, grandmother, and I all share a collection of this lovely china made by Villeroy & Boch.  When Mr. Fancy Pants and I got married, I told him that I wasn’t going to be those women who has 16 sets of dishes.  Sadly, I am well on my way.  Entertaining people in our home has quickly become one of my favorite things to do, and I can honestly say that I utilize all of the dishes and serving pieces that we got for wedding gifts (not because they’re needed when entertaining, but because I’m determined to prove to Mr. Fancy Pants that they aren’t a waste of space!)

My Acapulco collection, however, are and will always be my favorite pieces.  They’re unique and colorful and I love my family’s history with them.  They might fall into that category of “what’s beautiful to one is dreadful to another”, but to my Mom, my Mimi, and I, they’re perfectly lovely.

Acapulco bowls & salad plates

2. Family pictures

Wall of Family Photos (Bryants, Sarretts, Woods, Marshes, Brabhams)

I apologize for the quality of these pictures–I’m no photographer and it’s hard to photograph photographs without getting a flash on the glass.  I failed.  Ha!

This has been one of my favorite projects that I’ve worked on since Mr. Fancy Pants and I got married.  My mom had done this in my childhood home and I thought I’d incorporate it into our home as well.  I have collected pictures from William’s and my families, printed them all in black and white, and hung them all together on our guest room wall.  I love the reminder of where we came from and some of the faces on the wall are people that Mr. Fancy Pants and I miss everyday–it’s nice to have a reminder.  I also love the obvious joining of our two families through these old photographs.  Believe it or not, these have been a huge conversation piece for us.  I thought that they’d be generally overlooked by our friends, as most don’t care to hear stories of other people’s families, but they’ve been the topic of conversation during several parties we’ve had here at the apartment.  It’s funny to hear the comments people make–they’re all generally the same which we find comical.  The first is always about the uncanny resemblance that William has to his maternal grandfather (pictured with his wife, bottom row in the middle).  My other favorite comment was by one of my girl friends.  She said, “Who is this handsome man?”.  It was a picture of my mom’s father who I never met.  And yes, he was handsome–my mom looks just like him!

Detail shot of the left side of the wall

Detail shot of the right side of the wall

I love this idea–everyone has these old pictures of their family stuck in drawers and hidden in rooms where people never go–why not put them where people can see them?  I’d like to think that Mr. Fancy Pants and my family members would be honored to be making their debut in our home!

1.  Avey Tare

Meet Mr. Avey Tare

And finally, my #1 favorite thing…granted he’s not really a thing but he’s still my favorite and it’s my list of favorite things so here he is!  The kittiest of kitties…Avey Tare!

He’s pretty much the most handsome cat ever.  Avey has more personality than we know what to do with.  He’s nice to most people…with the exception of Mr. Fancy Pants’ brother Stephen, my dad, our friend Micah, and a few others.  We have no explanation to his reasoning as it appears his least favorite people are some of our favorites.  He just has bad taste apparently.  He loves ice cream, treats, hair rubber bands, and laying on his back with his paws and legs spread out for long periods of time.  We got him in November of 2006 and he lived with Mr. Fancy Pants in Starkville, MS during college.  It was here that he met two of his favorite people in the world, Landon and Julia.  Landon taught him some pretty cool tricks which makes him even more special.  While he lived with William and Landon, he had a tendency to tinkle on things: beds, couches, chairs, etc.  It was a bad time in the lives of all involved.  We think it was his equivalent of bed wetting.  Also, when he had surgery and became a little less of a man, if you know what I mean, he got an infection which also lead to some really nasty things.  All of this earned him the nick name of Mr. Avey Bottom.  Luckily after moving to Austin he’s turned a new leaf and is back to his crazy steller self minus the peeing on things that aren’t his litter box.  Basically he’s the coolest ever.  If you’ve never met him, well you’re missing out.

This is what Mr. Fancy Pants and I call "airing it out". He does this a lot. He's not what you would call a shy being.

Avey getting ready for work. He's not good at his job. He never brings home money--if he's making it, we're not sure what he does with it because he never pays rent.

Avey at Halloween. He was a jester. He loved his costume.

Avey at Christmas with his festive holiday collar.

I’ll leave you with this last image.  I hope you enjoyed my favorite things!

Here are my two favorite boys.

Mr. Fancy Pants and Avey Tare at the park. Yes, the cat is on a least. He needs his exercise.

In order to build up the suspense of the top 5 of my favorite things…I’m going to have to make you wait another day to find out what they are.  (and I am still waiting on one of the items to arrive in the mail from my parent’s house in Texarkana, TX. Ha!)

This is the Tasha McKelvey coffee mug that I want to purchase. I love the speckled color of the pottery that it retained after it was fired.

Mixture of vases by Tasha McKelvey

In the  meantime, I have been wanting to post about the amazing work of Tasha McKelvey.  I have always loved pottery and ceramics.  Funny now that I am typing this I am realizing that I would probably really love to take a pottery class and the thought has never crossed my mind.  Regardless, ceramic bowls, plates, vases, etc. are just one of the many things I like to accumulate.  I use the word accumulate in the nicest sense–mainly considering I don’t like the word collect.  Not sure why, it just reminds me of that show on TLC called ‘Hoarders’. Living in piles and piles of unorganized stuff.  I think I am now realizing one of my worst nightmares. Frightening.

I ran across Tasha’s work on Flickr a while ago and to be honest have not yet purchased anything from her.  The reason?  I cannot decide what I want!  I have it narrowed down to about four different items but cannot make up my mind.  It’s all fabulous.

Small bowls with birds on the rim by Tasha McKelvey

I think what I like about pottery is that it is all so unique and the majority of it is handmade.  You know someone’s hands worked to create the piece.  There is something about giving someone a gift that is one of a kind that I love.  I like to think it feels more personal to the receiver of the gift as well.  What me to it the most is looking through the items that she has made, which can all be customized by material, color, style, etc., is I would consider purchasing a handmade piece for so many different people in my life.  Looking through the pictures of her work I spot things my mom would enjoy, my grandmother, mother-in-law, best friend, myself, sister-in-law, and I could keep going on and on.  As an artist, what a testament to the diversity and attractiveness of your work when it appeals to so many different audiences.

To quote the artist, this is what Tasha has to say on her website:

“My clay work is intended to be useful – this is art that is meant to be touched. In the past everything we used in the home was made by hand. Today our homes are filled with stuff stamped out by machines. When we seek out handmade art we make our surroundings a little more human.”

What an amazing sentiment.  Besides my unhealthy love for anything that can be bought at Anthropologie, which while beautiful is anything but unique or one-of-a-kind, I do try and fill mine and Mr. Fancy Pant’s house with art and objects that mean something.  One thing I have learned about myself since I have started out on my own with my own money is that I hate buying something just to buy it.  I love the search to find something that means something to me or the artist that made it.  I don’t think there is a more perfect way to decorate a home than with things that make our surroundings “a little more human”.  Props to Tasha for being an inspiration to a girl who loves art, is surrounded by art, married an artist, yet has little artistic ability.  I appreciate anyone who makes me feel a little more “unique” even if it is through something as small as my one-of-a-kind coffee mug.  I can’t wait to make my first purchase!

Yellow flowered vase by Tasha McKelvey

Set of red bowls with birds and nests on the rim

Good day!  Continuing on my count down of my favorite things, I have five more to share today.  If you’re reading, let me know what your favorite things are!  (plus, comments on my blog pretty much make my day!)

10. Sewing Box

My mother is an excellent seamstress.  She claims that she’s “out of practice” but she can sew on a button better than anyone I know (though she knows I’m better than her when it comes to making button holes on the sewing machine–her one weakness!)  For as long as I can remember, she’s kept her sewing materials in a sewing box that I can only describe as “accordion like”.  She and my dad gave me my own sewing machine as a graduation gift from college along with a cute black and white polka dotted sewing box which proceeded to literally fall apart in about two months time.  I had been on the prowl for a new sewing box for a while when I decided to check out ebay to see if I could find something similar to the amazing box my mom had always had.

Behold.  My Christmas present this past year.

Vintage sewing box

This photo shows you how the box opens. It fans out and sits about 4 feet long when it's fully opened.

You’d be amazed what all I can fit in this thing.  Granted sewing accessories typically aren’t too big, but I have all of my little tools and materials stuck inside. And I love that instead of it being one big box or bag that I have to dig through, there are several different compartments to hold everything oh so neatly.   It’s like my organizational obsession was channelled into the design of a wooden box. Genius.

9. Craspedia decorations

Craspedia in a glass vase

I saw these in a vase in the window of Anthropologie several months ago and fell in love.  First of all, yellow is my favorite color and I just thought they were great.  I took a picture of them because I had no idea what in the world they were.  I went to my trusty source of all things floral (aka my friend Julia) and just like I knew she would, she knew exactly what they were just from the picture.  Crazy impressive. Turns out that you can only buy them during certain months of the year–big bummer.  So I found this website that I thought were pretty reasonably priced as the only place I could find them in Austin was at Central Market for $2.75 per stem. Ridiculous.

I found the wonderful people of Nettleton Hollow in Brooklyn, NY (great to work with by the way) who sell 20-30 stems for $16.50.  Now that’s more like it!  Now I have these all over our apartment!  The great thing about these though is you can buy them still alive and you have to dry them yourself–something I have no idea how to do–because when they dry they loose they’re rich yellow color.  These have already been dried in a special way that makes them keep their color and they’ll last for a year or two!

Craspedia in a vase from Anthropologie--a gift from my dear friend Tiffany.

For some reason these just seem so cheery to me.  Several of my friends have seen these and ordered their own from Nettleton Hollow and each of them have done the most unique things with them.  Word to the wise however, cats like to play with the balls on the ends of the stems.  Not sure if they’re poisonous–our cat Avey is still alive and well so hopefully we’re in the clear!

8. Teddy

The first love of my life.

Ok, judge me if you will people, but yes one of my favorite things is my Teddy from when I was a little girl.  I still have a serious attachment to this thing.  I think if we were all honest with ourselves each of us would know there was a stuffed animal, doll, toy, etc. stashed away at our parents home or in the attic somewhere that once held your heart.  Don’t be ashamed.  Mine lives in my nightstand!  I will say, I no longer sleep with him so don’t be too quick to judge me.  My mom’s little sister Becky gave me this Teddy bear right after I was born.  It was my favorite thing in the world growing up.  He used to have a blue bow or necktie or something of the sort around his neck but that is long gone (and yes, it was blue. The doctors told my parents that I was a boy).

Once my dad took me to Boston with him for a medical convention of some sort and Teddy got lost in the sheets at the hotel.  We came back to the room after they’d cleaned it and Teddy was gone.  After what I’m sure was a royal fit pitched by yours truly we went down to the laundry room of the hotel to look for him.  I have never seen so many sheets in my life. He smelled like stinky hotel detergent for at least a year.  (Mr. Fancy Pants and I have a bet going as to how many people will be convinced I’m weird and never read the blog again after Teddy’s debut.  Any takers?)

7. Cowboy boots

True Texan. My boots.

Every true Texan has to have  a good pair of cowboy (or cowgirl) boots right?  I will proudly say that yes, I am one of those people that is probably a little too proud of my home state. Honestly though, who wouldn’t love a place where people dress the way they do here?  You just have to laugh at it and appreciate the cowboys for who they are.  And I will sadly say, you don’t see as many of them as you’d expect to.  I wish I had the guts to dress that way, though I don’t think boots and Wranglers count as “business formal” attire for work.  Ha!

Thus, number 7 on my list is my trusty pair of boots.  These my dad bought me in high school.  They’re a little more ‘cutesy’ with their teal threading, and definitely not as broken in as I’d like, but they suffice considering I cannot find my favorite pair of all time.  That’s another story that’s too sad to discuss.

Scratch that.  I do love my boots, but what I REALLY love is my…


Who wouldn't want cowboy boot house slippers?

Ha!  My mom gave Mr. Fancy Pants and I matching ‘his & hers’ cowboy boot house slippers for Christmas.  I am not kidding you when I say this is all William wanted from my parents for Christmas.  Not sure what his fascination with these was but he HAD to have them.  My mom bought two different sizes to make sure that when he opened them we’d have the right size because she said after the build up she just couldn’t bear them not fitting.  We might have told him they were backordered though just to mess with him…it was pretty funny.  Mr. Fancy Pants and his shoes…

Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants with our boot slippers

6. Berkley illustrations

Berkley Print collection

I know that I have already posted about our Berkley illustrations, however I can honestly say that these are some of my favorite things that Mr. Fancy Pants and I have purchased together since we have been married.  I think if you know both of us it is pretty clear that we typically don’t share the same taste in a lot of things, art included.  I attribute that to a lot of things: his love for design, my lack of knowledge about design, his love for any color that would belong in a box of neon Crayola markers, my dislike for those colors and love for the box of bold Crayola markers, his strange fascination with triangles, wolves, Native American inspired artwork, and the like, my thinking wolves are weird…I could keep going for days.

These prints however, are loved by both of us.  He loves the humor in the characters.  I love the sophistication and color palette.  I imagine few piece of artwork we own in our lifetime will ever hold as much as excitement as the anticipation of these arriving on our doorstep.  The pictures don’t do them justice. Right now they hang above our bed but I’d love to have them in a dining room one day with some modern dining room furniture.  Can’t wait.  I would encourage you to check out these talented artist’s work.  They are prints of the originals, however I cannot describe to you how detailed and beautiful these are up close.  So much so that I was hesitant to frame them because while it shows them off, it almost takes away from them.  Seriously, check out their work.

Click here to go to their Etsy shop:

Up close and personal of some of my favorites: owl, cheetah, panda, elephant

View from the side

I watched The Sound of Music the other night while Mr. Fancy Pants was out galavanting around during SxSW here in Austin.  Since then, the “Favorite Things” song has been stuck in my head!  Then, a day or two later I thought…what a great blogging topic…A few of my favorite things!  I am a firm believer that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and I am an organized person so you may not realize it at first but I hate throwing things away.  And as horrible as it is, I love my “things”.  I know becoming attached to “stuff” isn’t necessarily a good thing but no worry friends, I’ve got it under control!  Ha! So as strange as some of these may seem…here are 15 of my favorite things in no particular order…(this will be three different posts.  As not to bore you too much with each one.)

15. Kitchen Aid mixer

Sunshine Yellow Kitchen Aid Mixer

If I had been told when we were getting married, “You can pick only one wedding gift, what will it be?”  My answer would’ve easily been, “A SUNSHINE YELLOW KITCHEN AID MIXER!” (and yes, I would’ve answered an a voice that justifies the all caps).  Hershey and Denise, dear friends of my parents’ from medical school, are the precious couple who gave us this amazing gift.  You can argue with me all day long but I am convinced that cooking is more fun for me because of this mixer.  It is my favorite “kitchen gadget”.  I just love the design of these.  I would love it if Kitchen Aid would design a line of kitchen appliances inspired by vintage styles.  I’d be first in line to buy Sunshine Yellow companions for my mixer.

Up close and personal with the Kitchen Aid mixer

14. Penguin Classics Cloth-bound books


Penguin Classics Cloth-bound books

My reading obsession is no surprise by this point and time.  Someone told me the other day that will all of the reading that I do I should invest in a Kindle. My dad, who is also an avid reader, got one from us for Christmas, however after giving this purchase a lot of careful consideration I have decided that I will not invest in one for myself.  I like owning the actual books too much.  As silly as it sounds, I like the look of them sitting on my shelves asking to be read and the feeling of turning the pages when I’m reading in bed at night.  I’ll be that girl (I’m SURE joined by my friend April) if ever physical books are banned–you may be rolling your eyes and saying I’ve been reading too many progressive/futuristic stories, however you never know what people are going to come up with next–that will buy an old home that was used for the Underground Railroad or something and start stashing books away down there.  I’ll never give up my books!

My love for these cloth-bound Penguin Classics began a few months ago, a bit behind the curve may I add.  These have apparently been available for a while and sadly I knew nothing about them until they were for sale at Anthropologie. I now have all but three of the original set (two of the ones I am missing were never for sale in the US and I am scouring ebay to get my hands on a copy) and I’m not ahead of the game for the newly released second set!  I had an alert set up on Amazon to let me know if any more of these were published.  Thank you Amazon for coming through for me.

Seriously though, how beautiful are these?

Collection one of the cloth-bound Penguin Classics

Collection #1 titles:

Madame Bovary, Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Cranford, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Pride and Prejudice, Crime and Punishment, Jane Eyre, and The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Collection number two of the cloth-bound Penguin Classics

Collection #2 titles:

The Hound of the Baskervilles, Oliver Twist, Emma, The Odyssey, The Woman in White, Treasure Island, The Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Little Women, and Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

13. Pigeon Toe Ceramics pharmacy bottle vase

Pigeon Toe Ceramic Pharmacy Ceramic vase

The talented Lisa Jones of Pigeon Toe Ceramics makes some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  I have a love for anything that is the color white, traditional with a twist of modern, inventive, and/or one of a kind which is exactly how I would sum up her work.  I would own everything she creates if I could!  For you fellow Austin residents, Lisa’s work is sold here in town at one of my favorite places, Spartan.  This particular piece is part of the “raw” collection featured by Pigeon Toe. It normally sits on the shelves in Mr. Fancy Pants and my apartment but for photography’s sake it’s sitting atop our record player.  I do love how the raw, white ceramic contrasts with pretty much whatever I sit it in front of making it an eye-catching piece!

Detail shot of the pharmacy cast bottle

12. Frank print

Frank Print--design by The Decoder Ring

“If you ask me, a hot dog at the ball park is better than a steak at the Ritz.”

–Humphrey Bogart

Considering I have already posted about mine and Mr. Fancy Pant’s love, and by love I mean unhealthy obsession, with Frank here in Austin, it should be no surprise that we now have some of the artwork from the restaurant in our apartment! I’m pretty sure that I shared about the guys over at The Decoder Ring and the amazing artwork that they created that, in my opinion, completely makes the atmosphere and character of the place what it is.  That said, during one of the 300 times that we have eaten there, I asked Mr. Fancy Pants if he thought we might be able to get a print of one of the posters for our apartment.  It was almost too good to be true if you ask me.  One of the awesome guys at The Decoder Ring hooked us up and this print now proudly hangs right in the entry way of our apartment.  I love that it is the first thing that you see when you come in.  Sadly, there is not a lot of space in the hallway and the lighting doesn’t do it justice, but one day this print will have a prime spot in the first house we own.  Until then we’ll entice our friends to come over with the allure of a hot dog.

11. Electra Amsterdam

My Electra Amsterdam with Mr. Fancy Pants in the background

What a beauty.  The bike…not Mr. Fancy Pants.  Just kidding.  We like to refer to her as my “couch on wheels”.  This cruiser is the most comfortable bike I’ve ever owned.  Granted, there is not much competition in that category as I’ve only owned two bicycles in my entire life.  Frankly, no pun towards the above mentioned hot dogs, I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until late in my childhood. I won’t disclose my actual age as it’s quite embarrassing but I will say that I learned before the age of 12 (a few months before…ha) I blame the whole anti-bike era of my life to a combination of being an only child with no one to ride with, Safety Camp at St. James Episcopal School where I was the ONLY child that still had training wheels (mortifying), and one really bad experience that I am sure my mind through the years has made a whole lot worse than it actually was.  All I remember is being so hot and wanting to go inside, Mom yelling that I wasn’t going inside until I could ride by myself, really bad bike wreck that ended in a HUGE, Texas size pile of fire ants, and all I wanted was a dang popsicle.  Love you Mom, I’m sure you were a great teacher, but for once in my life, I was not a good student.

Needless to say, I’m I don’t have skillz on a bike so this cruiser is just right for me. These pictures are from one of my favorite days that Mr. Fancy Pants and I have had since we’ve been married.  We put the money down for this bike last summer when I was still unemployed.  We spent a good four weeks of the summer peddling around Hyde Park in Austin every afternoon.  The pics are from the day she came in and we picked her up and the first time I had been on a bike in a LONG time.  Good times.  Can’t wait to ride her around this summer–boy can she turn some heads!

Seafoam Electra Amsterdam

At the bike shop getting ready for me to take her home!