11/29/12

friday finds & faves #13

Thank goodness for fridays. Is it just me or are weeks after holidays really long?

but despite the busyness, as I sit here in bed typing, with my two favorite boys next to me, (one furrier than the other), I'm just feeling a sense of grateful for the life I have been blessed with.

this week I also loved


>> this warm salad from Gina over at Acute Designs. It has changed my opinion of brussels sprouts.

>> date night with the husband. dinner and a movie. So simple, but so wonderful

>> the movie Lincoln. It just made me want to learn so much more about American history. Also, can I get an amen for movies between Thanksgiving and Christmas? All the good ones come out now!

>> Mandy's amazing blog post that will make you feel that all can be good in the world.

>> I want to make this and I need to make this

>> and if you're looking for christmas music inspiration, here's a great list from ilene

da rules: share some of your favorite things from the web and real life with the weekly friday finds & favorites link-up hosted by Beth and me. Please link up just your blog post with your faves (not your entire blog) and link back to Beth or me somewhere on the blog. Please, also, make sure that your post is relevant (i.e. no giveaways or that sort of thing.) And, of course, be sure to go visit everyone else who links up! :)





11/28/12

recipe: potato cauliflower soup


I have always loved soup, from chicken noodle in a can to my mom's homemade turkey noodle. And apparently, I really like making it (just browse through my recent posts).

Soup is honestly the easiest thing to cook and there's something satisfying about throwing things in a pot.

Also, it's such a good excuse for dipping grilled, cheesy bread.

This is my take on a healthier potato soup. (to make up for all that bread) ;)

potato cauliflower soup

one cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs flour
2 celery stalks
2 bay leaves
4 cups broth (I used low sodium chicken) 
1 cup water
1/2 tsp thyme (fresh is best)
1/2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup lowfat milk
1 tsp black pepper
optional: carrots and additional diced potato (my husband doesn't like completely smooth soups-- he's like something in there "to chew" so I always toss some veggies in at the end.)

add olive oil to large pan on medium high heat and sautee onions and garlic until translucent.
stir in flour
add chopped cauliflower, celery, and potatoes
sautee for two minutes.
add water, broth, bay leaves, thyme and bring to a boil.
reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender
remove the bay leaves and either blend the soup in batches or use an immersion blender
stir in soy sauce, milk, and pepper.

optional: add in additional veggies and cook and top with thyme.


serve and enjoy!

xo, erika

11/26/12

oh hey.

him: plaid shirt, khakis: gap
her: lace shirt: F21 // cardi: Target // skirt: anthro // tights: ?? // shoes: thrifted

hey husband. thanks for putting up with my need to take outfit photos-- sometimes even outfit photos of you. and thanks for being just nearly as awkward as I am.

hey seattle. thanks for not being so rainy lately. I like you cold and clear.

hey friends. I feel like a failure lately. I promise I owe you good, long chats soon.

hey anna karenina. Russian literature is depressing. but your costumes were incredible.

hey immersion blender. We make beautiful soup together. I like you a lot.

hey Christmas. Don't get here too fast. I'm barely catching my breath from Halloween and Thanksgiving. I need a few long weeks to recover.

hey Tuesday. let's do this thing.


xo, erika


11/25/12

etsyRAIN wrapup


weeks upon weeks upon weeks of preparation and nervousness resulted in my first handmade show.

And overall, it was a good experience.

There were moments as I waited for my first sale that I questioned whether I had made the right decision, whether I priced things right, whether people would even like what I had.

But rather that doubt, I decided to make the decision that no matter what happened-- a few sales or a lot of sales-- that I was confident in what I make. And I love what I make, and that's more important than anything else.


After mainly selling online-- it was great to meet customers in person, to tell them about my process, to see them feel the leather or try on a tote. And it made me believe even more in what I do.

What did I learn?

- be bold. tell people about your product, chat them up! They are at a handmade show for a reason
- have clear pricing signs, and information about you and the shop
- have more than enough business cards (I ran out)
- have snacks and lots of water on hand
- have more items than you need (and start preparing months in advance!)
- talk to the other vendors! I loved meeting other people in Seattle who also sold handmade items. There was a lot of great stuff there.
- be confident. no matter what happens, believe in your product, your pricing and yourself.
- it's exhausting. I work all day and I sew late at night but for whatever reason, the two days of the fair were far more tiring than anything I had done in a loooong time.

I'm excited to apply to a few more handmade markets in the future!

Also-- like my display? Honestly, I did hardly anything. I have my parents and a family friend to thank for it. The back is pvc pipes (tutorial here) hung with cheap white Ikea drapes, the table is covered with vintage sheets and the display board is cut from an old door. Knobs from world market hang the totes.

More than anything I could not do this weekend without the support of my family, my husband and so many friends who came to visit me, who texted me and just in general believed in me. :)

xo, erika

p.s. if you missed the black friday sale, I'm having a cyber monday sale. use "CYBER15" for 15% off in the rouge & whimsy shop. Also, check out the new items like my metallic pouches and chevron wristlet.






11/22/12

best pumpkin pie


 I confess to be a big pumpkin pie lover.

With a big big caveat.

I only like homemade pumpkin pie.

But even then, the pie can't be soggy. Slimy pumpkin pie just about ruins it for me. (And probably most people.)

If you're looking for a last-minute pie recipe, can I suggest mine? It's truly a recipe that has been passed down through generations... and I promise, it's not slimy.


best pumpkin pie (makes two pies)

Crust:
2 C. flour               
5 to 8 tbs ice water
2/3 C. shortening     
1 Tsp salt
In large mixing bowl, whisk flour and salt together. 
Add shortening and mix with pastry blender till it looks like course crumbs. 
Add ice water a few tablespoons at a time mixing with a fork (or your hands) until the dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl and pull into a ball. 
Split dough in half, place in 2 sandwich bags and refrigerate for at least an hour. 
Roll out on a floured surface until about 1/4 of an inch thin and place in pie dish. Pinch edges around the dish.
Filling:
1 big can of filling, or two regular 12 oz cans
4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
2 cups milk

Mix sugar through nutmeg in a medium bowl.
Seperate egg whites from yolks and beat egg whites until they begin to form peaks.
In a large bowl, mix egg yolks with pumpkin. 
Add sugar mixture to pumpkin
Slowly stir in milk.
Fold in egg white last, do not overmix. 
Pour contents into the two pie dishes. 
Bake at 375 degrees for an hour



happy thanksgiving!
xo, erika



11/21/12

what I'm doing friday

No I'm not heading to WalMart at 3 a.m. or even Best Buy.



I've been prepping for my first big handmade show and I'll have a booth at the etsyRAIN Handmade Holiday Show.

If you're in Seattle-- close to Seattle at all-- I would love to meet you!

But if you're not within a relatively close driving distance, check out the shop Friday! (I'll have some new items in there too)


 thank you all for your consistent support :) I really appreciate it.

xo, erika

11/19/12

I'm thankful for


I've been reflecting on this past year and that word that keeps coming to mind is how much I have to be grateful for. Honestly, the list could go on and on, but I'm just focusing on a few.

 >> the husband
Honestly he puts up with so much-- especially lately. As I sew away in preparation for the Etsyrain Holiday Show, he has made dinner and cleaned up, walked the dog in the morning and at night, and basically picked up all the pieces I've dropped. He even brings me mid-sewing snacks. More than that, he is one of my biggest cheerleaders and consistently encourages me. I cannot say enough about him.

>> the family
My mom and dad built my display for the craft show and one of my brothers texts me advertising ideas for my etsy shop. I cannot say enough about my family.

>> my faith
I don't talk enough about it on here, but I am grateful for my belief in a God who loves me day in and day out. I build my life on who He is to me & who He wants me to be.

>> my house
Sometimes I get annoyed by our house. We own it and the weight of that monthly expense makes it so we can't say yes to a lot of things. Sometimes I'm bitter by the enormity of each mortgage payment, but at the same time I'm grateful that we were able to buy when we could. And despite the home's shortcomings (basement flooding last year?) I really do love our little house a lot.

>> this fur monster
When I convinced my husband that we needed to get a dog (I honestly made him steak and kept pouring him wine while we had the conversation), I had no idea what a big part of my life he would become. Nesby makes me laugh every day and without him life would be a lot more boring.

>> my blog/shop friends
I started this little thing almost two years ago without any idea where it would go but I am deeply grateful for the things I've learned and the relationships I've built. I am beyond thankful for a support system that emails me when I'm freaking out, texts me when I'm sick, or gets excited with me when I have a little shop success. I am also thankful for the community I've built here and the people who take time to say hi :)

I am also just thankful for so many little things-- food to eat, a beautiful place to live, dear friends and jobs for both the husband and I.

what are you grateful for?


xo, erika 



11/18/12

rainy day shine

raincoat: eddie bauer outlet // sweater, skirt: thrifted // tights: nordstrom rack // boots: macys 
bracelet: threads

Sometimes November in Seattle is terrible-- dark, rainy and cold and it doesn't ever feel like the sun will come out.

And sometimes life can seem that way-- dark and stormy-- with no sign of light.

And there are some people who work tirelessly to bring light to those dark areas of life.

Ashley of The Shine Project began as teaching in inner-city schools in Arizona and felt desperate to do more, to empower the students who so badly wanted to break the cycle of the life around them.

Recently Ashley launched Threads, a cause-drived business that changes the futures of these students by employing them to make bracelets and earn living wages toward college degrees. A lot of these students are first-generation college students who have huge dreams and these bracelets are a way to fuel those dreams.

It seems small, but I know that impact that Ashley is making. I've had the honor of meeting her and hearing the passion she has for these students.

If you are thinking of buying a bracelet for someone this Christmas-- or maybe want something pretty for yourself, consider buying from Threads. I love my new bracelet.

(steps off my soapbox.)

happy monday :)

xo, erika

p.s. don't forget to link up your thankful post here tomorrow! 

11/15/12

friday finds & favorites: guest editor carina

This week I asked my friend Carina to curate friday frinds. I love saying "friend" because not only do I love Carina's cheerful, inspiring blog (and cute shop), we've actually hung out-- like more than twice. And she has great taste... as you can see below:

<><><>

Hello friends! Carina here from Lovely Little Whimsy.
When Erika asked me to share with you this week, I was more than happy to oblige...
I am currently obsessed with making my Christmas wish list. Technically I am way too old
to be doing such a thing, but my husband and I came to an understanding a few years ago after
he got me an electric toothbrush.
I have about a million things I'm currently loving on etsy, but lemme share a few of my faves.




Other things I'm loving:
>> my friend's gorgeous new baby - swoon.
>> also, these words. seriously needed this week.

Can't wait to hear what you all are loving this week. So happy to be here. Happy Friday!

<><><>
I told you she had great taste... I think I need to add her list to my list. (those teacups-- like I need more, but seriously!) Oh- you all should say hi to Carina on her blog, on twitter and of course, check out her shop lovely little whimsy.

I'd love to see what you guys love this week-- share below!

xo, erika

da rules: share some of your favorite things from the web and real life with the weekly friday finds & favorites link-up hosted by Beth and me. Please link up just your blog post with your faves (not your entire blog) and link back to Beth or me somewhere on the blog. Please, also, make sure that your post is relevant (i.e. no giveaways or that sort of thing.) And, of course, be sure to go visit everyone else who links up! :)




11/14/12

lilyemme jewelry giveaway

I really love to buy jewelry on etsy-- dainty bracelets, chunky necklaces, stud earrings... you name it. And I think I really love it because it's the one "creative" thing that I haven't mastered. Sure, I made beaded bracelets in junior high, but I don't think I could ever come close to the gorgeous things you can find today.

I am so excited to introduce you to a gorgeous jewelry shop lilyemme and the designer behind the shop. Valerie lives in Seattle (yay for a local lady) and she makes stunning rings, necklaces, bracelets-- you name it.  (I'm particularly obsessed with these stacking rings)


I asked her a few questions about her shop & design process:

describe your shop:
I make modern, casual, and comfortable jewelry. I like variety; I have designs for those who like gemstones and designs for those that prefer sleek metal. When you visit my shop, I hope to make the impression that I love doing this because I really do.




how did you start making jewelry?
5 years ago when I was in college I had some free time (imagine that!) and would visit the local bead store so often that they said I should apply for a job there.  Exposure to beading led to more simpler jewelry forms using wire (which I still love and use), but I craved more.  I took a course at one of the local arts centers and once you learn metalworking, it opens so many new doors. I still take courses from different instructors to keep my knowledge fresh and learn new techniques.
favorite items in the shop?
My favorite is a pair of sterling silver "bow" earrings, named that way because the silver slightly arches like a bow and arrow kind of bow.  They are so simple and understated, but look FABULOUS for a fancy night out. The light always hits them just right. I also love my encompassed gemstone rings.  The contrasting metal colors are very cool.

what are excited for this time of year?
 I'm newly engaged and get to spend time with both of my families, which means DOUBLE HOLIDAYS! And double the food, too. It also means twice as much traveling so I will very much be looking forward to restful, relaxing times in between, which I will spend trying to read a good book with my Good Earth Spice Tea and one of my cats laying on top of said book.

Congrats Valerie on your engagement!
And even though we should be showering Valerie with gifts, she's thoughtfully sharing gifts with us. Not only does she have an exclusive discount for rouge & whimsy readers she also is giving away $40 shop credit. That could buy this, this or this


(oh and by the way-- everything in her shop is pretty much free shipping-- so with the discount code, you have yourself a pretty sweet deal.) 

say hi to valerie on her blog // twitter // facebook 
 
good luck! xo, erika

11/13/12

closet challenge: the unworn dress


There are things in my closet that I never wear. Usually there's no good reason to shun a particular sweater or dress, but still, they stay ignored. When Jen of the Arizona Russums posted that she was embarking on a closet challenge to wear all her clothes, I was intrigued. Lately I'm trying to edit what I buy and where I buy it and making the most of what's on my closet hangers feels like a good place to start.

So this week I tackled a dress I haven't worn in years. Years. In fact I think the dress came from a store that went out of business.

My mom bought it for me-- at this point I'm not even sure what the occasion was -- and I wore it a few times to a couple of weddings in college. Then I stopped wearing it. The dress is really well-made and it still fits well but for whatever reason, it's always felt hard to style. It took a few tries, and several trips down to the full-length mirror, but I think I finally came up with something I liked.

cardigan: old navy // dress: no idea // belt: thrifted // tights: nordstrom rack // shoes: macys

Secretly this is a challenge I really enjoy--but I'm nerdy like that. :)

If you did participate this time around with Jen & I, you can link your post up below! I'd love to see it!

I'm thankful for -- a link-up party!

 Every year my family has a tradition where we go around the Thanksgiving table and share what we're thankful for this year. To be honest, some certain family members don't love the activity-- but only because we usually dish up our food beforehand and listening to everyone's stories of gratitude is challenging when you're facing steaming piles of potatoes and turkey. ;)

But it's a good practice. And as much as I wish we could all gather around a HUGE Thanksgiving table and share what we're grateful for, I just don't know it's feasible. So instead Julie of Julie Ann Art, Leonora of Yellow Heart Art and I are hosting up a link-up party to share what we're most thankful about this season. Whether you're thankful for your dog, your family, or something way more complex, we want to share ours and read about yours.

Rules: 
The link-up will go live Tuesday, November 20 at midnight Eastern time and your post will show up on all three blogs.
You must link to just  your post, not your entire blog, with what you are thankful for. 
You must link back somewhere in your post to one of the link-up hosts. 

We're so excited to see what you all are thankful for! Be sure to come back here to link up, as well as read all the other posts people share. 
Grab the button below to promote the link-up on your blog.
 



xo, erika 

p.s. right now I'm still thankful for my leftover Halloween candy. Trick-or-treaters, you missed out by not stopping by :)

11/11/12

easy crockpot applesauce


I'd like to take credit for making this applesauce, but honestly I didn't do much. Most of the hard wok was done by my crockpot -- all 6 hours of work.

Good job crockpot.

Usually my crockpot is reserved for stews and meatier, dinner-y type dishes, and I was excited to use it for something a little sweeter.

My dad handed off nearly 10 pounds of apples to me (from my parents' tree) this weekend and making applesauce seemed like the perfect way to use some of them up.


Crockpot applesauce (or the best way to make your house smell amazing.)

8-10 peeled & cored apples
1/2 cup water
3-4 tbs brown sugar (less if your apples are on the sweet side, like Fuji apples)


So the worst part of it all? Peeling 10 apples. But honestly it is so worth it for the applesauce that comes warm out of the crockpot a few hours later.


Just peel, remove the cores and throw the apples in the crockpot (no need to dice or really chop up the apples at all.)

Add the sugar and water and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.


Once cooked through, mashed it all with a large spoon or fork. I liked mine a little more chunky, but if you like your applesauce smooth, I'm sure you could shuttle it to the blender. But you should definitely try it while it's warm... it's awesome.




enjoy!


xo, erika

p.s. I feel like this would be amazing with ice cream. Kind of like an apple pie without the crust.

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