Thursday, August 30, 2012

Etsy Gift Cards: Coming This Fall

Image from Etsy

This has been a hard secret to keep, but now that the official cat is out of the bag, I couldn't wait to shout it from the top of my lungs:

Announcing Etsy Gift Cards!! Coming this fall!!

Guess we pretty much know what every gift we will ever give from here on out will include...

Full details here.

Animal Culprits

So, we caught the culprit of all our recent "plant nibblings" in action. Turns out what we thought was a bunch of birds coming and nibbling off the leaves, stems and buds off our remaining deck garden is actually this squirrel (and maybe a couple others). I was able to snap this photo of him/her just before it hopped into one of our trough planters and began nibbling. Just was I was trying to get a shot of it red-handed, Basil caught wind of what was happened and barked this little guy away!

Speaking of Basil, he seems to have happily adapted to a new habitat:

Mary and I haven't been ones to let Basil up on the furniture, but it's been an unspoken agreement between the 3 of us that he gets up on this couch when we leave the house. We've always just figured if all he is doing is hopping up there and sleeping while we are away — then we are completely fine with that. Everytime we would return home, he'd sleepily hop down off the couch before we got in the door and wouldn't get back up on the couch until the next time we left.

Well more recently, it's been like this couch in the front room is too tempting or something for him. Mary and I will be in the kitchen on our computers then all of a sudden we look up to realize he's been in there on that couch lounging for the past 20 minutes. He'll look up at us with this clueless face as to say "What? I'm on the couch? Oh, how did this happen? Are you cool with it or should I get down?"

Needless to say, we've caved. You have to admit, he does look pretty regal and cute up on that couch. To clarify, this is the only piece of furniture he is allowed on and we never join him there — we know, we're total pushovers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Apple Recipe Roundup

We're nearing apple picking season here in VA — this time last year we were planning a trip to Showalter's Orchard in the mountains of Virginia where we picked and brought home 2 bushels of apples.

Find the full post detailing our orchard trip with many more photos here.

While we think about either heading back up to Showalter's for another round of picking or choose a different destination, we wanted to share some of our favorite apple recipes for those beginning to get apples in their local markets already:

1. Homemade Apple & Raspberry Fruit Leather
We've found over the past year just how easy homemade fruit leather can be to make, not to mention healthy and a great way to use up almost over-ripening fruit! The following recipe was the first of many we've tried and was definitely kid approved:

Find the full recipe with more step by step instructions here.

Related: Raspberry Peach Fruit Leather Recipe.

2. Homemade Apple Dog Treats:
We learned how to make homemade dog treats using apples from last year's orchard trip. This was an awesome way to use up the apples we had on hand and feel great knowing exactly what was going into Basil's treats:

Find the full recipe with more step by step instructions here.  

3. Homemade Apple Vinegar:
Did you know you can made your own homemade apple vinegar with the scraps of apples? Believe me when I say this is so simple and so awesome — it just takes a little patience and know-how: 

Find the full recipe with more step by step instruction here.

Are you also looking forward to apple season or already getting apples in where you are? Have any favorite recipes using apples you'd like to share — we're always looking for new things to try?

P.S. Mary here: Tim is actually a great juggler — a skill he's also passed down to his son, Brandon. Get a peek at their juggling action back from our trip to the orchard in this video.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NYC: City Pics

I mentioned spending last week working in the city — so today I thought I'd share all the quick pics I snapped here and there along the way.

Over the past almost 3 years working remotely for Etsy, I've become quite accustomed to the view from RIC & JFK airports — I've also got a good system down for quick travel, knowing how to get everything I need for 1 week into a carry-on bag. I'm always curious how other people do it, and one of these posts I'll have to share my own tips and tricks for getting in and out of the airport in as little time as possible.

The Etsy offices are in a constant state of growth and evolution — every time I go up to work in the office, the surroundings have changed and I enjoy getting to take all the new sights in. This go round, there were large scale installations all over the space like the felt wall, living plant wall and and giant industrial light pendants hanging from the ceilings in various conference rooms:

On a more regular note, my office trips always include new and old pups to see and pet hanging out in the workspace, amazingly good local eats, and the best of friends that I also get to work with on a daily basis (I just get to see them in person when in town instead of over the internet):

As with all my trips to Brooklyn, the views never fail to take my breath away:

And the snacks available are like no other:

A funny note about NYC — you will see a little of everything and people/businesses make no excuses for it since there are just so many people and so little time in the day to get things done. For example, I woke up one morning to the sound of workmen ripping up the carpets on the hallway floor of the hotel I was staying in. Here I am waiting for the elevator that morning with other hotel guests:

By the time I got back that evening, the new wall to wall carpets had been installed and they were onto the next floor the next morning — right up in the middle of guests coming and going while they worked, haha. That's just how it is up there.

I was able to make a couple quick stops outside of work:

Oh yeah, and vintage airstream trailers parked on the street are no big thing:

Tim and I have both been dying to check out the new Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I was lucky enough to meet some great friends there for drinks while in town one evening and get a little preview:

The view above is from the 6th floor terrace lounge — this place was amazing and somewhere I'd love to come back and stay.

That's it for this trip — see you next time NYC!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend Basics

This weekend seemed to whirl right by before we could come up for air, but I guess that's just what happens when you've got a lot going on!

I actually spent the week working in the Brooklyn Etsy offices last week so was excited to get back home to spend the weekend with Tim:

Early Saturday I was able to help out with a family estate sale, where I unknowingly ran into Mr. Bazilly, one of our regular readers — we hope to see you again around town Mr. Bazilly! It was a rainy Saturday and a busy sale. Can I just say that the term "early birds" when it comes to estate sales are no joke — evidently the sale had been listed as 9:30am and my aunt said people started knocking on the door at 6am. wow.

Later Saturday, I dropped by Pearl's Cupcake Shoppe for a little afternoon treat — am thinking this might be a fun place to do a tasting for our wedding cake. Any other local Richmond bakery ideas also welcome in the comments if you have any!

Speaking of food, Tim sliced up some of these baby eggplants and made an incredible little appetizer to take over to my sister's house on Sunday:

Look for the recipe on E.A.T. this week. You can also find the recipe for these canned peppers Tim preserved over the weekend:

Tim and I headed over to my sister's house to help celebrate the 2nd and 1st birthdays of her two youngest children Benjamin and Sophia:

Silliness definitely ensued:

Basil spotted another fan cat on Sunday's morning walk through the neighborhood — they gave each-other the death stare for a good 30 seconds before we moved on. His fascination with cats never gets old. Funnily enough during this same walk, we crossed paths with another blog reader on her morning run — so hello to you that was running in the purple shirt. Thanks for saying hi in passing and we hope to meet you again soon!

I also had a little time to make and list a few new limited edition pocket knife necklaces made from vintage and antique components in the jewelry shop:

How was your weekend? Busy, rainy or both?

P.S. One of our blog sponsors, Wishy Washy Tape, is currently hosting a washi tape giveaway on their Facebook Page — check out all the details right here.

P.P.S. There's still time to enter our giveaway for a vintage pocket knife necklace from my jewelry shop. Details here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Updating the Entryway Gallery

While on the subject of progress reports, we've made a few updates to the little entryway gallery we put together back in the beginning of June. To jog your memory, here's how we left off:

The collection of frames in this entryway nook have done a great job of defining this little space — but the configuration also allowed for room to grow, which is what we've been letting it do as we add picture additions over time:

Over the past couple months, as we came across some more black and white frames, and finally got around to getting some new photos in them to hang on the wall in this growing little collection.

Here's the breakdown of the new additions:

We finally framed our favorite photo from the photo booth in the Etsy offices — having a photo of us together seems to help tie the rest of the family photos together. Plus, we just love this shot of us and now we get to look at it on a daily basis.

We had the above 8x10 shot of Brandon & Stephanie made at Thanksgiving time back when we first got Basil along with many smaller versions and sent it out with our holiday cards that year. It lived in this frame in our other house and we thought it would fit right in here — adding a little bit of Basil into the mix never hurts in our household!

The two photos above we've had for a long while! The one of the kids at the top was from about 5-6 years ago at the river down near our old house. I've always loved this shot since they are wearing knitted scarves back from when knitting big chunky scarves was my favorite thing to do.

The shot below that is of Tim, which you might be familiar with from this post. It's the original of him as a small child, excited to be in the middle of his Hungarian grandmother's backyard garden. Some things never change no matter how old we get, huh?

If you're interested, you can read up on the backgrounds of all the other shots in this post.

Antique photo prints are usually in special sizes outside of the typical framing options you can buy off the shelf today. Until we decide to get some of these photos professionally framed, I like to use a little hack to get them into the standardized frames:

I basically just fold up a piece of white computer paper to fit within the confines of the frame between the white matting and glass, then use double sided tape to secure the matting in place on the white paper. Then, I literally just place a small amount of double sided tape on the back of the photo and center it onto the framed white paper.

Put your photo/paper sandwich behind the glass and secure the frame backing, then make sure everything is somewhat centered and you're good to go. I like doing this becuase it gives a little bit of a 3-D effect to the old photo in the center since you can see the edges slightly pulling up.

I previously used this same method with another antique photo in this entry gallery of my grandparents:

Sometimes you can just make what you have work with a little creativity and testing (other times it can go terribly wrong).

It's been fun to watch this little growing entryway collection and think about how it might evolve over time. We like that while the photos range in date, and color that the black borders of the various frames act as the thread to tie everything together in this space.

Once we paint this area in the front of the house, we might just decide to take everything down and reconfigure.

Made any fast and fun little home updates lately?