Eating: Peaches

Who doesn't love a sweet, juicy peach? It's like a Southen Summer in a bowl.
image by me
Happy Friday!

Making: Money

My Etsy collective, pensandneedles, sold its first item! It has been a long (sometimes disappointing) wait since I uploaded my first item but hopefully this will get the ball rolling. My friend Laura bought 2 pieces of jewelry and a vintage skirt - and no I don't guilt my friends into buying from me, it was all her idea. Thanks Laura!

Wearing: Vintage Necklaces

I was helping my Mom sort through some old jewelry and she gave me 2 necklaces that used to belong to my great-grandmother. She thought they were too "old lady" but to me they are the perfect touch of vintage charm. The first she found was a gold pineapple. I just love how the recesses create depth with shadows. Mom also found a gold-plated oak leaf on a long gold chain. This is a nice piece on its own, but since Raleigh is the 'City of Oaks,' wearing an oak leaf gives me a sense of local pride.

Just as we were sorting the last box, Mom found a necklace that was hers as a young girl. The 'H' engraving represents her maiden name 'Hicks'. She said she had no grand plans of passing it on to me, but seeing as my married name is 'Harris' the charm was now perfect for me.

I haven't had these pieces very long but I've already gotten lots of wear out of them. Who could resist such vintage goodies?

Making: Necklace Display

While thumbing through my google reader I came across this cheap and easy DIY project, courtesy of for me, for you:

I have been looking for new, interesting jewelry display ideas and this seemed perfect for me. I went straight out to buy brass cup hooks and a wooden craft board with routed edges. I wanted the same raw aesthetic as the inspiration, so I left the board unfinished. I hung my new piece next to my vanity so I can easily get my necklaces while getting ready.

Decorating: My New Bed

We ordered our bed over a week ago and it got delivered today! I am really pleased with the bed we chose -the style is so unique, and at only $600 it's a steal for a king sized bed frame. I originally didn't want dark wood because I was afraid it would overwhelm the room, but the low and open headboard allows a lot of light and the space still feels balanced. Our new mattress is dee-lightful. We got a 4" pillow-top and it's worth every penny - which is A LOT of pennies, but we bought it during a bedding sale and saved $250.

I am in love with the new bedding. Our old comforter was orange and white and far too busy. Our new duvet is calm and serene. Our new bedroom feels much more relaxing. Even Yo-Yo enjoys the new color palette.

Coveting: Bridal Skirt

I am already married. I plan to stay married to my fella for a very, very long time. I have NO NEED for bridal wear, yet I inexplicably want to buy this for myself:

Yes - I want to buy this fluffy, fantastical, hugely impractical ballskirt and prance around my apartment. Is this the most practical ensemble for doing the dishes? No. Do I have $750 laying around on which to spend on said skirt? No.


Learning: Tab Browsing Shortcut

Danni, the writer behind oh, hello friend posted this helpful how-to for opening a new tab in your internet browser.

Some of you may be saying "Duh, I've known that forever" and if that's the case, class dismissed. However if you are only semi computer savy (like myself) stick around.

Recently I disabled the right click function on my blog to protect my content (another how-to from Danni - isn't she great?) so I thought it would be helpful to share this tip with my readers. She explains it in more detail, so head on over and learn something!

Giving: Rhymes With Purty Winner

Cydney! Congrats Cydney, although it's a shallow victory since you didn't have any competition. Which leads me to my question...

What gives guys? I know I have readers, thanks to my hit-tracker and your comments, but I only got one giveaway entry (and only 3 for my previous giveaway). So what is it? Are my prizes terrible? Is the entry period too short? Tell me (and be honest) what could make my giveaways better? If nothing changes I may have to abandon the giveaways for a while until I can think of something better.

Bring on the constructive criticism!

Watching: Inglourious Basterds

Over the weekend I watched Inglourious Basterds and I am in love with the costuming and cinematography. The plot twists, dialogue and music were everything you would expect from a Tarantino film, but the visuals were so delicious I wanted to climb inside the screen and live there... you know, except for the Nazis and whatnot.

Feast your eyes on the lovely ladies, handsome men in uniform and exquisite landscapes:

Giving: Rhymes With Purty Reminder

It's not too late to enter the giveaway!

Click here for rules and details.

Eating: Turkey Burgers

Tonight the hubby and I rolled up our sleeves and made homemade Southwest Turkey Burgers. They were juicy, flavorful and healthy. The hubby isn't a fan of eating his vegetables but the patties had bell peppers, onions and jalapenos mixed right in. The recipe created 4 patties, but we put 2 in the refrigerator. Hopefully they taste just as good in a few days. Instead of heavy fries we ate the burgers with chips and salsa. Yum!

Living: Happy Friday

I have a big weekend planned - outings and cleaning and crafts, oh my! I'll be back Monday with lots of new stuff, not to mention pick a winner for the giveaway.

Have a great weekend!*

*The hamster doesn't have anything to do with anything. I just thought it was a fun image. [Found here]

Coveting: Orange Willow

Oh my goodness, you guys. I just discovered Orange Willow and her prints have me so excited I want to whip out my tap shoes and do a little happy dance!


First of all, when I have a nursery to outfit I will have those prints of baby animals. To give you an idea of how awesome her work is, she has 90+ items in her shop and it took me way too long to narrow down the prints for this post. I adore the close ups of the faces, and the bold pop of color. I also happen to have a wee bit of a design crush on the formal animals.

As if you need more of a reason, all of her prints are marked down right now. Snatch some up!

Coveting: Patagonia Tote

Right now my shopping bags are a rag-tag bunch: a few canvas totes and thin fabric giveaways.

I have been admiring the more attractive shopping totes for a while now, but they all seem to have a major flaw. The tiny storage pouch is a separate item and will undoubtedly get lost in the shuffle no matter my level of diligence. I have 2 shopping totes from Target that fold into their own pocket but 1) I would prefer my bags to not be emblazened with logos and 2) they discontinued them months ago so I can't get more, logo or not.


Things its got going for it:

it comes in 9 lovely colors

it is "made out of lightweight, leftover fabric scraps"

it's named Carry Ya'll... how fricken awesome is that?

Yes, it's $15 for one bag. However... a lot of items can fit in a good sized fabric tote, so I would only need 2. $30 isn't a lot to pay when I know it's greenly made, greenly used and pretty darn durable (Patagonia just doesn't make flimsy stuff).

Purchase It Found Here

Giving: Rhymes With Purty

As promised, I have a new give-away for August. One lucky reader will receive my QWERTY photo.

This photo was shot with a Canon film SLR and taken at my favorite thrift store - I just love the color combination!

PRIZE: 8x10 print - your choice of glossy or matte photo paper
TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the words “PURTY” and your e-mail address and…
BONUS QUESTION: Tell me what makes you feel beautiful (or handsome)... It can be your best feature, something you do for yourself or that special thing your honey says that makes your day.
CONTEST CLOSES: Monday, August 24th at 5pm EST
THE USUAL: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winner will be selected using and announced on Tuesday August 25th. Good luck!

P.S. - If you have a business, Etsy shop or just like to make beautiful things contact me if you would be interested in sponsoring a giveaway!

P.P.S. - Feel free to link to this giveaway on your blog, facebook or twitter page!

In Focus: Friday Eye Candy

I couldn't resist whipping out my camera for this shot during an afternoon walk.
Happy Friday!

Making: Birthday Art

I have recently been seeing lots of art with inspirational or loving sentiments written in bold text. Who hasn't seen a version of this popular print floating around the blogosphere? I was inspired to make something similar as a birthday gift for the hubby. I wanted a sentimental message, but to give it a little more edge I decided to use lyrics from a rock song.

The Top Contenders:
you're my wonderwall
you are my sunshine
don't stop believing
nothing else matters
hello, i love you
pour some sugar on me
besame mucho
all you need is love

I typed them up in Photoshop, with the approximate font size and layout to examine them graphically. In the end I decided on a landscape layout and the winning quote is...

This project is so simple. To create the words I used white chipboard letters intended for scrapbooking and the background is a watercolor painting I whipped up in less than an hour. Fear not: While I am familiar with watercolors I am by no means an artist or expert. However if you are intimidated by painting this could easily be done as a collage by layering different sheets of craft paper, wrapping paper, etc. I wanted a monochromatic look so I knew creating my own design would give me the outcome I wanted.

Before I began painting I laid my letters on the paper and lightly traced the outline of the curves so the text would work with the backdrop and not against it. I freehanded 3 gentle, swooping curves that resemble mountains in the distance. Feel free to use your imagination. Any simple background would look nice against the crisp white letters.

After the paint dried I cropped and flattened my paper to give me an even working surface. I used thread and painters tape to create temporary guidelines for laying down my letters then I attached the letters with Elmer's glue. I left the guides on the paper until the glue was dry - I didn't want any letters peeling up when I handled the paper. I would recommend letting the project sit under some heavy books for about an hour to ensure a good bond.

After the glue was set all I had to do was pop my painting into a frame. It was a quick, easy, inexpensive project that is more meaningful because I made it just for my hubby.

Here's what you need to make your very own piece, including a cost breakdown:

watercolor paper - $1-$5 per sheet, depending on size, thickness and texture
white chipboard letters - $7 for 72 piece alphabet
white frame - $30
watercolors - $0 - I already had these, but a basic watercolor kit costs less than $10

metal ruler (longer than your paper)
x-acto knife and cutting surface
thread or string
painters tape
Elmer's or other water-based glue

Living: Generation Narration

I dyed my hair and posted a photo of it on my Facebook page. While talking to my mother the next day I asked if she had seen it. She replied "Oh, I never get on there. I don't really think anyone cares what my status us." This got me thinking.

Before I fill in the little white box and answer "What's on your mind?" I never stop to ask myself "Does anyone care what I am doing?" I just say what I am doing, or more often than not I post a witty refrence to music/tv/movies. I fill in that little white box and send my thoughts out into the universe with no regard to where they go. Then I realized: for most of my thought-generating life, I have always had an outlet for those random quips, quotes and updates.

It all began with AOL and AIM. Dial-up was so slow and a successful internet connection was so precious that once you were on-line you wouldn't dream of logging off. However, sometimes you needed to take a shower / go to class / make a sandwich / etc. You needed a way to tell the world "Hey, my computer is on but I'm not here." Behold the birth of the away message. Intended as simply an answering machine of sorts, meant to receive missed messages, it became a new creative platform. You could reflect your mood and comment on your activities. Even if friends had nothing to say to you, they could read your away message and get a sense of what was going on in your life. Some might call this mild stalking, I prefer to think of it as keeping in touch. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

The real beauty of the system is that AIM would save past away messages for you. At any given moment you could have an arsenal of witty messages to whip out when appropriate. For example: I could always tell when my friend was showering because his away message was "gettin so fresh and so clean, clean." Creepy that I knew he was showering? Yes. But it let me know not to involve him in any immediate plans - a must when college students are constantly doing things in the spur of the moment.

Eventually AIM died out and was replaced by Facebook. At its core you had a place to upload photos, videos and personal information, but at the top of the screen was a place for your "status." Then came Twitter which was nothing but status messages. Even Gmail, as part of its chat feature, had "available" "busy" and "away" options that include a personalized message.

Even blogging is just a more sophisticated version of the status message - you write and you publish not knowing what will come of it. It is true self-expression. When you have the freedom to say whatever you feel, without worrying who will read it or if they will like it, it is easy to unload what's on your mind.

Is it time consuming? Sometimes. Self indulgent? Probably. Does it define my generation? Absolutely.

Decorating: Pretty Packaging

For my Mom's (much belated) birthday gift I whipped up some simple yet lovely packaging. All I used was a brown paper sandwich bag, some thin green ribbon and a vintage wallpaper gift tag from Lucky Accessories. Take a look!

Updating: A Few Small Changes

So as you may or may not have noticed there are a few new features 'round these parts:

-gimmeakiss* is on on twitter

-my archives are available to browse by topic

-the new banner is quite snazzy, if I do say so myself

-i have added the "you might also like" widget to introduce you to old posts

-i have joined 30 Threads, a NC Triangle Blogroll - I am new but I am hoping it will bring some new traffic to my little blog

Ok, enough chit-chat. I know everyone would rather look at pictures, so here are a few highlights from my weekend.

The weekends are when I catch up on housework, but I managed to find time to go to a family picnic and work on a handmade birthday gift for the hubby (more on this later, but for now it's still a surprise).

Buying: King Bed

The hubby and I are thinking about purchasing a king bed which either means: (a) we're moving up in the world or (b) the hubby is sick and tired of me sleeping in the middle of the bed and hogging the sheets every night. I'd like to think it's (a) but recent evidence would suggest otherwise.

My ideal bed is:
-king sized
-light colored wood or fabric
-platform style with under-bed storage

TRAGEDY #1: Ikea doesn't even sell king beds. Apparently wanting an enormous bed on which to wallow is not 'minimal.'
TRAGEDY #2: The only platform storage models I can find are black or espresso, which I think will be too dark and heavy. In the end I would rather have looks over storage.

I've been searching through some favorite blogs to try to find inspiration photos to share with you, but nothing is quite right. I like the quirky aesthetic - lots of rich texture, vintage and handmade pieces, sort of eclectic. The bed will be the first piece of furniture we buy new - and we plan on slowly replacing most of our stuff - so we have some freedom with styles because we will eventually build the room around it. The only piece that will stay long term are a MCM style wood chair and my antique vanity (more about that later). To quote the great Stacy London "it doesn't have to match, it just has to go."

First up we have the Wood Contenders: warm, inviting and more economical.
(left to right - Rooms to Go, Crate & Barrel, Room & Board)

Next we have Team Fabric: a little more expensive, but they bring a touch of elegance and grown-up-ness.*
(clockwise from top left: Room & Board, Haverty's, Crate & Barrel, Crate & Barrel)

Last we have this guy out of left field. Metal wasn't even in the scope of my search, but I sort of love how the headboard disappers. Also it would allow for lots of light because our headboard has to go in front of the bedroom's only window.

So what do you guys think? I would love to hear your feedback.

* It's a word, I swear.

Decorating: What's Your Style

I just took this interesting quiz, courtesy of Ikea. In 9 visual-based questions, the quiz determines your ideal style and offers a few tips to acheive said style. I am 'Modern Original' - you can see the breakdown below. This surprises me because I don't enjoy rustic or overly modern aesthetics but I adore mid-century danish design (and its knock-offs... hey, I'm on a budget). But percentages aside, the description seems right on target. Maybe my style is quirkier than I though it was?Go on, give it a try. What's your style?

Living: Blog Ambush

I've been ambushed! Don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds. I was tagged by my sister-in-law and now I am supposed to write about 7 things I love then ambush 7 other blogs. I don't think I know 7 other bloggers (my S-I-L already ambushed some of my besties) so I'll tag a few friends and a few of my favorite blogs that seem friendly enough to play along.

Hmm... seven things I love. I had to think about this one a while.

1) My husband. Cliche or not, he really is my best friend. I tell him everything and he makes me laugh like no one else - and I'm sure our odd sense of humor only amuses the two of us. Oh, and I think he's a total cutie :)

2) My friends. There are a few lovely ladies in my life that I couldn't do without. Spending time with them makes my life richer. We take on projects together, we have discussions and we truly encourage each other to learn and grow... but we also love to unwind and be girly sometime too. When I met the hubby, I married into a wonderful group of friends. They have embraced me and I am honored to say they are now my friends too. On top of all that, I have been extremely fortunate in the workplace. Over the past few years I have worked in 3 offices and in each office I met new people and made new friends.

3) My family. I have a big, crazy family: 2 parents, 1 step-dad, 2 parents-in-law, 2 step-sisters, 1 sister-in-law, 4 grandparents, 4 grandparents-in-law, 5 aunts, 6 uncles and 10 first cousins - not to mention all the other in-laws, step-family and new spouses of my generation! My family covers the entire spectrum: creative, intellectual, liberal, conservative, Southern, Northern, outgoing, shy, old, young. A fairly large group lives in the Raleigh area so there is no shortage of family in my life!

4) My pets. I have 2 cats, Pop-Tart (female, 2 years) and Yo-Yo (male, 1 year). They are so quirky and hilarious - anyone that says cats don't have personalities will change their mind after meeting mine! One of my long-term goals is to become a 'crazy cat lady' - if I could provide a loving home for every stray cat in the world, believe me I would. Nothing makes me sadder than homeless/abandoned pets.

5) My photos. I don't claim to be a talented photographer, but I still enjoy documenting the world around me. I have 2 nice cameras (1 film, 1 digital) and I have taken a photography course, so I hope to keep learning about the process. I leave the big events to professionals, but I always keep my point-and-shoot in my purse in case something catches my eye!

6) My travels. I absolutely love traveling to new places. I enjoy absorbing new culture, music, art and food. For me traveling provides an opportunity for lots of reading, napping, taking pictures and reconnecting with my husband. I have a list of cities that I want to visit (national and international), and I love feeling the satisfaction of crossing items off the list.

7) My future. As happy as I am now, I know great things are just around the corner for me. Over the past decade I have worked hard to provide myself with a good future. Even if the architecture market implodes (fingers crossed it won't!) I am certain a design education will take me far in life. The hubby and I are diligently getting our ducks in a row to buy a home and someday fill it with babies, love and laughter.

And for the ambush! I chose: 2 Little Monkeys, Darling Dexter, Drawn Along, heartthrobs & villains, Old Sweet Song, The d is before the n, TRAVEL.STRING and for me, for you. As I said, these are some of my favorite blogs - check 'em out!

[EDIT: Yes, I realize this is a little silly, and reminiscent of a chain letter, but I thought it would be fun to get to know some of the bloggers I so thoroughly enjoy.]
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