Thursday, December 30, 2010

chattanooga choo choo (er, airplane)

after trudging off to work this morning in 20 inches of slow that is rapidly turning into a city full of slush, i'm headed off to chattanooga for a nice, long weekend with sam. plans include a lot of thrifting, sleeping in, and free hbo - in other words, a very quiet, low-key new year. we do have reservations at one of the fanciest restaurants in chattanooga (i'm not sure what to make of that sentence,) and i look forward to weather warm (enough) to get away with tights with no long johns underneath, and open-toed shoes.

in case i don't have internet access from the hotel room (heaven forbid!,) have a great weekend and a phenomenal new year, everyone. i don't have the presence of mind just yet to get sappy about 2010, but it has been a truly fantastic year, and i want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. i've been up and down on this thing and it means a lot to me that you've stuck with me.

my comfy traveling outfit:

sweater: picked up at a renegade craft fair a couple years ago
pants: super on sale rodebjers that i finally just sewed skinny a couple of days ago. i don't wear wide leg pants.
shoes: madewell
necklace: thrifted

oh yes and!! to leave you on this delightful note, in honor of the new year, with my thanks to the beautiful and befreckled linsey of the indo projects - some caviar and champagne. . .

. . . handstitched out of sequins.

all these things and more, right here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

it's the holiday season

that andy williams christmas song, a favorite of sam's, has been stuck in my head for about a week and a half now and is driving me absolutely insane.

i wanted to be festive for the holidays, so i pulled out this vintage silk blouse that has been in my mending pile for weeks and finally sewed on the couple of buttons it was missing and paired it with this j crew skirt that's another favorite. these tights happened to be in my stocking (stockings in my stocking!) and matched the outfit perfectly, so i added them, plus some beads i thrifted on christmas eve, and voila! christmas outfit 2010.

blouse: vintage, etsy
skirt: j crew
tights: HUE - gift from sam's mom
booties: madewell
beads: thrifted

now to figure out my new year's outfit. i have a dress i was planning on wearing, but i think it's going to be reasonably warm in tennessee and i have been looking for an excuse to pull out the lorick tutu i bought awhile ago. . . i think some dress-up is in order.

stay warm!

xo audrey

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

snowy day #2

as i'm sure everyone has heard by now, new york is covered in snow. from what i understand, manhattan was in somewhat better shape today - but brooklyn (or at least, what i've seen of it, which is very little, since i've only trudged about 4 blocks to walgreens and back in the last 2 and a half days) is absolutely buried, with many bus lines cancelled, including my sole way to get to work. so the last two days have been spent pent up in my apartment, making soup (italian wedding soup, which is so, so good on a cold, trapped day,) posting a few things in my etsy store, doing a bit of sewing, and doing entirely too much window shopping online. it seems that absolutely ever online shop you've ever heard of has a massive sale going on right now, so i'm going to purge some of my major lusts on here in hopes that it cures the aching in my heart. (i'm a dork. also i think cabin fever is making me lose my mind a little.)

darling dress in tweed, drop waist pin tuck dress, laser scallop dress, embellished collar shift dress mina silky bow dress, & bow front mini shift dress

all from which has free shipping both ways. which is making it really, really hard to close these tabs.

hope everyone's having a lovely week, and had a great christmas! i got some great thrifting done, ate a ton of pierogies, and came home flush with leftovers and stocking stuffers. now i'm looking forward to new years; sam and i will be in chattanooga, tennessee for the weekend (strangely enough,) so if any of you have any suggestions of thrift spots, i'd love the tip!

sleep tight & warm, everyone!

Monday, December 27, 2010

shop update

hallo! just wanted to let you all know that i have, at last, added some items to my etsy shop; doing a bit of closet-cleaning, and getting rid of some much-adored items that either don't fit or don't fit in anymore, including this amazing skirt, this beautiful lace top, and a few more. much, much more to come.

hope you all had a lovely holiday! i'm snowed in to my apartment right now (and have my fingers crossed for another snow day tomorrow so i have time for a proper post.)

xo audrey

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

holiday cheer

aloha! i spent a good part of this weekend laid up with a nasty cold (thank heavens for sudafed,) which gave me ample time (and sudafed-fueled energy) to whip up some holiday treats.

chocolate brigadeiros (i put whiskey in mine,) vanilla bean pralines, peanut butter rice krispie bars (the recipe is actually from the bakery where i work!), gingerbread spice cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream, toasted almond and raspberry jam macarons, and eggnog snickerdoodles.

now i have a lovely assortment to bring to sam's family for christmas this weekend.

happy holidays, everyone!

xo audrey

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

seeing spots - a DIY

it is no secret that i am obsessed with tights. they are one of the few things i really love about winter, a so-called accessory that basically take the place of pants for me for a couple months of the year (when paired with a good pair of seamless thermal long underwear.) i've spoke of my admiration for bebaroque before, and today i decided it has been way too long since i posted a DIY on here. which, i guess, brings me to thing two i love about this time of year - being cooped up in the apartment leads to forced creativity. i've thought for awhile i'd like to try my hand at a pair of modified tights, and i thought this would be an easy way to test out the idea.


one pair of tights (i used some old ones of my mom's, passed down to me a couple years ago; i know they've held up for 15 years or so, so they have to be pretty resilient to the elements)
some embossing powder
an embossing heat tool (a hot hair dryer might work. . . i haven't tested it, though, so i make no promises.)
stamps or an embossing pen

i'm a major craft nerd, so i have all this stuff just lying around my apartment, leftover from my major card-making days. my original idea was to try some stamps, but when i looked through mine they all seemed way too card-specific: a christmas tree, a star of david, the words "you're invited," (which would just be wrong on tights, i think.) i may try to scout some cool stamps and try again on another pair soon.

start by finding something to pull the tights over - something approximately the size and shape of your leg. i put a lot of my pantry ingredients in big glass jars, so i had a nice long one that was pretty much the exact shape of my thigh. stretch one tight leg over this, paying attention to how far down you pull it, and making sure to draw on the front side of the tights.

so, i just used an embossing pen and drew a really simple design down them - vertical stripes, about 3 or 4 at a time. draw it over a few times, then stop, pour some embossing powder over the ink, and snap the tights a couple of times to free the extra powder - make sure you do all this with a piece of paper underneath, so you can save and reuse the reserve. i swear i've had the same little jar of embossing powder since i was about 12.

continue until you've got it as long as you want, doing a few inches at once, stopping, adding powder, loosening the extra and using the heat tool to emboss it. be careful not to leave the heat stationary on one part of the tights - they are pretty resilient (at least, mine were,) but they'll burn little holes if you give them too much.

and voila! clearly a first-time effort, and far from perfect, but i'm pretty happy with the results. very hand-drawn, to be sure, but the possibilities seem endless. i want to try stamps, and sewing on them - maybe this weekend if it stays this cold.

worn with

marc my marc jacobs tunic, nordstrom's (courtesy of stylefind*)
shorts: mary meyer
tights: DIY'd
shoes: nine west
necklace: blueberi (small store in DUMBO)

(* stylefind is a new site that is kind of gilt group meets net-a-porter: a wonderful selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories, carefully chosen by the editors of instyle. they also offer a daily exclusive discount, and collect special offers from around the web for you to check in one place: what online stores are offering free shipping, discounts, etc. a highly recommend from me.)

i have another idea for a DIY i want to try later this week, so stay tuned!

stay warm out there!

xo audrey

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

little angel, little devils

hello everyone! i let my weekend sneak into this week and am playing a bit of catch up - sam and i were in california this past weekend for my grandma's funeral. . . and to meet my nephew, pete! pretty amazing the way the circle of life lassos you sometimes. i think everyone in my family found quite a bit of comfort in this newest member of our family - he is such a cutie pie, and so patient with a grabby family passing him around. i snapped a few photos of him just before we left (unfortunately, after i'd slept on my updo and right before i got on an airplane.)

in truth, i have always kept my distance from babies, especially little ones. of course i ooh and awww when i see them, but i am so clumsy and inexperienced with them it seems best to stay away. well, i can honestly say that i don't have the baby bug myself, but i am one enthusiastic aunt. or as emily would like me to call myself, tante audrey.

and to go along with this little cutie, i made mini deviled eggs today! we'd picked up some quail eggs a week or two ago, and they were nearing their expiration date - so i decided to whip up some deviled eggs with them to see how they turn out. i like deviled eggs in full size, but more than one bite is just too much of them for me. these babies are dangerously perfect - about the size of a popcorn kernel, and with soooo much more flavor than a regular chicken egg. i highly recommend them.

need - 12 quail eggs
about 2 - 3 T mayonnaise (i used about 1 T mayo and 2 T artichoke garlic cream, a spread that i needed to use up in the fridge.)
1/2 t dry mustard
1 t paprika, plus more for sprinkling
sea salt

i highly recommend this paprika. my sister got me a bunch of spices for christmas (and i immediately broke into them like an impatient 7 year old) and the paprika she included is soooo good - lots of flavor, very smokey and earthy and amazing. far better than any i've gotten at a grocery store.

so - put the eggs in a pot with half vinegar (any kind - i used white wine) and half water. (the vinegar helps the shell peel off a bit easier.) once the water boils, time 5 minutes, then take the eggs out and put them in an ice bath; once cool, peel, slice in half, and empty the yolks into a bowl. add the above ingredients (reserve some salt to sprinkle atop) and mix until smooth; it helps if you have a little piping bag, since the whites are so tiny and delicate. pipe into the shells, sprinkle with paprika and salt, and bam! a great holiday party appetizer - adorable and packed full of flavor. and vegetarian!

xo audrey

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

rollin' in dough

i have used this recipe dozens of times and probably mentioned it here nearly as many. finally: galette dough.

i've made galettes for years, and until a few months ago i used a pretty straightforward recipe, quite similar to a standard pie crust dough. then, more recently, we started making seasonal fruit galettes at work, and i discovered with the same few ingredients (butter, salt, flour, and water) you can get a very different, absolutely heavenly flakey crust. here it is:

2 sticks of butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and placed in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (until quite hard and cold)
240 g AP flour
100 g cake flour
1/2 cup water, with 1 t salt dissolved in it and placed in the freezer to cool

you'll need some table room to work on. clear a space as large as you can on a kitchen table or counter.

dust your work space with the slightest bit of ap flour to work on. sprinkle the butter on top in a small pile; dump the 2 flours on top of that, and get out your rolling pin. you'll also want some kind of scraper to gather the dough. roll it out and scrape it back together until the butter has all been flattened into little pieces and the dough looks very shaggy, like the first picture on the left.

one you've gotten it all nice and shaggy, gather it up, make a well in the center, and pour in the water that's been chilling in the freezer. use your scraper to cut the water into the dough a bit before using your rolling pin to begin to roll the dough out into a long rectangle (as in the above photo.) use extra flour on your rolling pin to keep it from sticking, and on your table as needed. once you've got it all together, as a cohesive dough, even out the sides and then simply fold it up as you would a letter - 2 folds, in three sections. then turn it to the side, and roll it out again, the exact same way - long rectangle, then folded into thirds. roll out once more, fold it up, and wrap it in plastic and let it chill for at least an hour.

once you're ready to use the dough, roll it out into a big rectangle, with the dough about 1/4 inch thick. all the folds you've put in there give it amazing, flaky layers - it's almost like puff pastry, but without all the work and waiting between turns. simply cut up any fruit that's in season, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on top (if it's something like an apple or pear) or else just some sugar, and bake at 350 until browned. simply incredible. i use it for savory galettes as well.

a wonderful and unforeseen consequence of a surprise half birthday party? friends unable to attend offer to buy you drinks! for no reason except that you didn't see them a night you hadn't even known to expect them! for such an occasion, i wear:

blouse: j crew
brooch: picked up at a little shop in red hook (for a DOLLAR!)
skirt: american apparel
belt: thrifted
tights: bought off a guy in the street (yes, but they were in untampered with packaging, i swear!)
shoes: oak nyc

wearing these shoes while i still can, before the first snow comes. i tremble in fear.

have a lovely night, all!

xo audrey

homerunballerina's gift guide, part III

and, after much ado, part 3 of my gift guide - the girl who loves to accessorize. this time of year, with all the bundling up that's necessary to stay warm, a good pair of tights, gloves, or some cute jewels can punch up an otherwise purely utilitarian outfit. some of my favorites:

any tights from hansel from basel. ($18-$42)

i've mentioned bebaroque before - they make the most astonishingly beautiful tights on the planet. each one is a work of art. i only own one pair - at the moment - but after this photo research, i may have to acquire a few more. ($38-$211)

a "fur" stole: this or that. ($75 or $232)

super adorable clothesline necklace. $98

i've loved erica weiner's necklaces since i spotted them at the renegade craft fair in chicago, years ago. this one is my favorite (for now.) $50

with all those necklaces, you'll need a place to hang them. i currently use a crappy row of hooks that were left, nailed to a board, in an old apartment; damn, i'd prefer this.

i just ordered a pair of these and i'm desperate for them to arrive. $35

okay. a couple more left, and i'll have to hurry - christmas is a-comin'!

xo audrey