Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Year of the Dragon

(oops, this post is a day late)

Happy Chinese New Year! 2012 is the year of the dragon.

Gung Hay Fat Choi! (translation - wishing you happiness and prosperity)

Sun Leen Fai Lok! (translation - happy new year)

Chinese lion dancers performing at our wedding.

*All photos taken by our amazeballs photographer, Jason Angelini Photography.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Project: No Sew Placemats

I finally "found" placemats for our new dining table! We've been searching for linens for months now, but it has been a battle between the chairs and our new dishes. It finally dawned on me that we should forgo a tablecloth and go with placemats. That way the beautiful wood wouldn't be covered up, but still be able to protect our table top.

LOVE it!

Have you ever priced out placemats? The pretty ones are redonkulously expensive. At least I think so. Then again, I have this tendency to not buy anything that I can make myself. DIY placemats...so freaken easy!

Our almost naked table.

Let's get this tutorial started.

fabric (look for something mashine washable)
fusible interface (try to match fabric type: cotton, polyester, blend) - You could skip this step if your fabric has a nice weight to it.
self healing cutting mat
straight edge
tape measure
rotary cutter with pinking blade (pinking cut will keep fabric from fraying)
damp cloth

First up, you will need fabric. I found this 100% cotton body pillow cover at Target ($9.99 + tax) and instantly thought it would be perfect. It's bright, has a subtle pattern, neutral without being beige, and it's roughly 20" wide; placemats are 19".

Next, rip out the seams. This is a little time consuming. You could just cut the seams, but then you'll have little bits of thread to pick out. In hindsight, it would have been fine because it'll get cut off.

The zipper side tricked me. Thought the fabric was serged all the way around. It wasn't.
This fabric frayed easily, but it wasn't a problem.

After ripping out all the seams, iron all the wrinkles out. I had a piece of fabric that was 20" wide and just over 100" long. From Joann's, I picked up about 3 yards of cotton fusible interfacing ($7 after 50% off sale!). Just my luck, it was 20" wide. I had never used the stuff prior to today, but it's awesome.

Position your fabric, wrong side up. Line up the fusible interface on top (nubby side down). Put down a damp cloth on top of it all, (I had to do it in sections) apply hot iron and press firmly. Repeat, slightly overlapping until all the interace is fused. Be sure to keep your cloth damp.

In the photo below, I've ironed on half of the interface. I screwed up at the fabric store and had cut at 50" before realizing that I needed 100"; I ended up purchasing two 1.5 yard pieces.

My ironing setup. Yeah...we don't own an ironing board.
I actually, don't know how to iron. I own steamer for a reason.

If you get a bubble here and there (I definitely did), go over it with a damp cloth and the iron. Before cutting, try to iron your fabric complete flat. I rolled mine to keep the wrinkles at bay.

Now it's time to cut! Be careful, a new blade is extremely sharp. Whatever you do, do not retrace your cut. Just move over and make a new cut. Well, I guess you could, you just won't have a consistent wavy edge unless you painstakingly line it up. Mine were cut into 19"x 14" rectangles. I was able to squeeze out 7 placemats.

Finally, pat yourself on the back for a job well done and decorate your table! You could wash these first, I was too excited to. Plus, it's not like you are going to eat off of them.

Close up of pinking edge

Total cost (not counting my new cutting tools) for 7 placemats is a wopping $17.47. That's $2.50 per placemat!!! Not shabby for about 2 hours worth of work. Probably would have been just a touch faster if a) I hadn't been working on the floor, and b) I hadn't been watching tv.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fab Friday Finds

With the weather having been all crazy this winter, (i.e. warm with a lack of snow) I was hoping that I might just be able to skate by with my bald not street legal, cords almost showing tires. No dice. Old Man Winter finally showed up. I ponied up and got new shoes for my car the other day. It's probably safer for me and for other drivers on the road. You are welcome.

Let's move onto this weeks random, but awesome finds shall we? Surprisingly, one of these is free!

 via Outblush
I ♥ Winnie the Pooh. It was my favorite growing up. Hell, people were giving me Pooh stuff in my teens. Of course, my baby brother developed a love for Pooh as well and took inherited them all away from me. When the new Winnie the Pooh movie came out last year, I MADE Jake go watch it with me in the theatre. I hate movie theatres. They are expensive, dirty, and the chairs are uncomfortable. Seriously, they are not made for my 5'3" frame. But I HAD to see Pooh. Funny part: we were the only couple in there that didn't have a kid with us. Here's something you didn't know (I didn't know either): Jake thinks Pooh is a dick because he puts his friends in harms way on his search for honey. Oh bother.

via Outblush
With this whole dairy free diet, I'm trying to be good about eating foods that I would otherwise avoid. Case in point, brussel spouts. There are foods out there with crazy health benefits. I just need to find them and figure out how to use them properly.

The Handmade Home
Remember the alphafantasticals I shared? Well there's a second installment of them! Ashley is calling them nonsensical numbers. I printed the alphabets on the last of our wedding cardstock for Baby M (I had 14 sheets left, and used 13 of them). Looks like it's time to order more paper and fire up the printer.

Dear CB2, when are you going to open up a brick and morter store in the Boston area? I know you have one in NYC, I've even been there. But it's much too far of a drive just to check out a couch, and probably one you don't have on your sales floor.

We I have been searching for a couch for years. In 2008, I picked a beautiful (and super expensive) cashmere/wool coat over a sofa. In my defense, I love my coat and and wear it every winter on extremely cold days. In the last couple of years, I've been pining over the Axis sectional from Crate and Barrel, but am far too cheap to pull the trigger. Recently, we went sofa shopping. We found one or two that were close (and more couch for our money), but they just weren't as comfy as the Axis. I've also been hesitant with the chaise sectional as I worry that the chaise will be on the wrong side in future dwellings. CB2 heard by concerns and created a sectional with chaise that is configurable! Someday.

HGTV Dream Home 2012
I miss backyard bbq's with my trusty Webber grill, DIY charcoal chimney, and  my friends. In grad school, my house was part of a community that had a shared pool. My house was across the street from the pool, I don't swim, but it was the best set up a socialite could ask for. Someday, I'll have an awesome deck with a kickass grill.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fab Friday Finds

If I wasn't saving up for a laptop and a trip to Australia, I would buy these things in a heart beat. Oh, almost forgot, new set of tires, bah!

The Vintage Pearl
WANT!! Of course I wouldn't have names printed on my charm. I want to have "Don't Stop Believing" stamped onto it. I would also swap out the aqua stone for one of these clear stones. All the above is possible, without extra charges. I've already checked =) The only thing I'm not sure about is the apostrophe.

How freaken cute is this dress? I love the print. And the colors! I'm not entirely sure about the pleats. This would be super cute paired with a metallic belt and a cardigan. Unfortunately, I purchased my fair of dresses in 2009 for all these weddings that I can't justify adding another dress to my closet.

Totally digging that lamp. Caroline found them at Target. Good thing they aren't available anymore. Then again, not sure if the green would fit with our decor.

These photo clips in the shape of hangers are absolutely frivolous, but oh so cute! My last photography instructor told the class that we should print our photos and display them. A good photo is one that you can look at over and over. But that would mean that I would need to actually sit down and edit my photos AND then print them.

Speaking of photo...the Fuji Instax Mini 25 and Wide Instant Film cameras would be awesome to have. I sourced the image from Photojojo, but B&H has a much better deal on them. I have a couple of gift cards to B&H. They were a gift from a friend as a thank you for helping out with their baby shower. Anyways, I was this close -->||<-- to buying one and some film around Christmas time, but decided against it. I might need to buy new ink cartridges when I finally get around to working on our thank you cards.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Milk Bottles

I have been ENAMORED with vintage milk bottles for some time now. They would make great props for photographing cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and such.

Bake It Pretty (no longer available)

I looked high and low before finally finding 6 oz bottles sold in a set of 12 for $49.50. $49.50!!!! As badly as I have wanted these, I just could not come to terms with the price. Plus, I really don't need a dozen of them. A dozen would be great if I were throwing a kids birthday party or something, but that's not the case.

As luck would have it, while drooling over photos of a gorgeous first birthday party, I spotted similar bottles:

via HelloBee

There is something oddly familiar about those bottles...

via Costco.com

That's right...they are upcycled Starbucks Frappuccino Coffee Drink bottles. I used to love those things in college. But I can't exactly drink them nowadays. However...my family has a case of this stuff in their garage at all times. I promptly called my mom up and asked her to save me a dozen. Uh yea...I'll just carry them onto the plane next time I visit, no big deal.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


OK, I need your help; I'm torn. I have been avoiding blogging about projects related to our wedding. I think I was just exhausted after the wedding and needed a break. Now we that we have our wedding pictures, (aka, I finally got off my lazy ass) there are no more excuses. At the same time, it's 2012, is it worthwhile to blog about things that happened in the past 6 months? So I'll put it in your hands,

Do you want to see wedding recaps?

10 in 115: Update

Here is the update on my 10 in 115 list. I had put it together a couple of weeks after our wedding and was hoping to complete all 10 items by the end of the year.

  1. Finish the 2 crochet projects that I have started. I start projects, but rarely do I finish them. Usually, I just mess up towards the end and then proceed to unravel the entire thing.
    • DONE! Not only did I finish the two baby blankets, I also started and finished 2 pairs of super cute baby booties, 2 pairs of baby ballet slippers, a scarf, 2 hats, and a pair of wrist warmers. It’s ok, you can say it. Yes, I’m a freaken nut job. To be honest, it was kind of soothing.
      I totally forgot to photograph the scarf before giving it away.
      All photos by me.
  2. Make a profit off a cupcake order. I lose money on most jobs. Guess its time to get serious and raise the prices.
    • Done for myself and for charity.
      • My one and only order for Christmas put some money in my pocket.  
      • We have a bake sale at work, twice a year. I almost always bake. For the most recent sale, sold 71 Oreo cupcakes. At $2 each, that’s $142 that I contributed to charity. No one can tell me that I don’t give.
  3. Clean out my closet and take out all the old clothes that I do not wear. I still have articles of clothing I bought in Hong Kong 6 years ago that I have never worn or will ever wear.
    • FAIL. I’m pulling out one or two items here and there, but I haven’t spent the time to actually clean it out.
  4. Cook a three course meal. I haven't cooked a good meal in a long time. And to think, I used to cook every night for my roommates during my internships. 
    • Technically FAIL. I haven’t made a three course meal, but I have made 2 course meals. Friends of ours are new parents, so when we went to meet their bundle of joy, we also brought them dinner. I’ve probably made a few for us, too.
  5. Throw a dinner party. Even better, a murder mystery dinner party.
    • HooHA! I threw a fantastic 1920’s themed murder mystery potluck dinner party. I can totally check this one off the bucket list.
    • Also, we had a NYE dinner party.
  6. Clean out my car. It was looking pretty bad just before my sunroof shattered. Insurance covered the clean-up, but now that the family is gone, my car is now one large trash can. Don't believe me? There are two empty Starbucks cups in the center console storage thingy. I had to move them from the cup holders in the center console to make room for my fresh cup of coffee the other day. Yea...that's pretty bad.
    • Well, it was done unintentionally. As Jake was packing up his car for the trip down to CT for Christmas, he realized that he had a flat tire. So while I was arranging things in the trunk of my car, Jake picked up all the trash in the cabin.
  7. Explore Chicago with my BFF Jack. OK, so this is a gimme since we are planning to do this at the end of the month. I just need to buy my plane ticket and book the hotel.
    • A trip that I will remember forever. We’re already talking about our next adventure.
    • The famous Chicago dog...it was just alright.

  8. Redecorate our bedroom.
    • FAIL. I’m going to play the “broke” and “lazy” cards here.
  9. Design, create, and mail out Thank You's to our wedding guests.
    • Total FAIL! I was supposed to make these and send them out in lieu of Christmas cards. We didn’t send out Christmas cards either.
  10. Plan my trip home.
    • Looks like I’ll be visiting home two or more times this year!
      • April after our honeymoon. I’m headed to CO a few days after we get back from Bora Bora, so instead of flying back to Boston and working for those days and flying back out, I’ll fly up to Portland and hang out with my family for a few days and then head to Boulder.
      • September to start and end my sabbatical travels. My current plan is to explore Australia and New Zealand (and maybe Malaysia, Singapore, and/or Japan). We’ll see what my bank account has to say about that.
      • This just in, September is going to be full of west coast traveling. We have weddings to attend on 9/1 (OR) and 9/15 (WA)!

Not too shabby. This was more of a to-do list rather than a list of items to promote personal growth. I'll work on that this year.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

Throwing a New Years Eve party has been a Hung/Perkowski tradition since 2008. Our celebrations have gotten smaller, become more casual, and a lot less drunk over time. Better if you ask us (and our friends). Instead of trying to make the entire dinner, we potlucked it. We supplied the prime rib and asked our friends to take care of everything else. But I still couldn't contain myself and made both the roast, lasagna, veggies, AND supplied cupcakes. How about we just let the photos do the talking?

Table dressed with our new plates and silverware!

Noisemakers to make it more festive.

Prime rib roasted with a salt crust via Pioneer Woman.

I probably should have roasted it for a tad bit longer...it was a little too rare for some.
The roast is actually bigger, the rare pieces are in the oven and not in the photo.

Note: you should scrape off the salt crust before cutting into it...I had it all over my kitchen floor.

Roasted veggies (brussel sprouts, carrots, and summer squash).

Heavenly mashed potatoes. There was bacon in it. Enough said.

Single serving turkey lasagna via Can You Stay for Dinner.

Crazy awesome salad bar.

Phil's salad before nuts and dressing.

Pecan and Dutch Apple pies.

Wedding cupcakes! No seriously, those are cupcakes from our wedding.
They sent us home with 2 dozen cupcakes that I threw into a tupperware container and then froze.

Space Attack! This board game has a sound track.
That's right, we are all drinking coffee.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and wealthy new year! (Maybe that last part is just what Chinese people say to each other.)