Saturday, January 29, 2011

Surprise Kindle

I won an Amazon Kindle! I can't believe it! My post-holiday work party was last night and some of the fun involved entering raffles for prizes. I would have been happy winning a few free car washes. I certainly didn't expect to win my very own Kindle! 

To be honest, I didn't know much about them, except that you read "electronic" books on them. What a cool device, to say the least! The 6 inch screen looks just like the pages of a book. It works by accessing Wi-Fi (which we have) and you can browse book selections, magazines, blogs and other publications via I already have an account, so the setup was very easy. 

Photo from 
Look how slim and lightweight it is? For some reason I thought they were larger. This will easily fit into my purse. I may just need to sew a cute little case for it. 

Photo from 
About as thin as a pencil! 

My first electronic book selection? The King James Bible. Call me old fashioned, but it never ceases to amaze me to find another way to read the Word of God. Page one, of Genesis 1, right there on the screen. Wirelessly. For 99 cents. How cool is that? My next book? The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, by Kevin Malarkey. I heard about this book and was curious to read it. Amazon conveniently lets to sample books before you buy. I was hooked after a few pages. I purchased it and within minutes the entire book was there for me to read. 

Now I see what all the fuss it about. I'm excited to get back into reading with my new Kindle! Thank you, Daymon, for my fantastic prize! I feel like a winner. You can learn more and purchase your own Kindle here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goodie Bag Gifts

This is a gift project I did over Christmas that I forgot about. I couldn't reveal it until I gave them to the recipients, who were some of my close friends and co-workers. 

The idea started back in the summer, when Christy and I were perusing the Joann-Fabrics clearance aisle, when we saw these adorable little flower and button embellished felt zipper pouches, for a mere 97 cents each AND I had a coupon. After some thought and convincing from Christy, I scooped up 11 of them. They would make a cute Christmas gift some how.

I started thinking about what I could put in these little pouches that would be both useful and fun to receive. Maybe they could have a "purse kit" theme. Some hand lotion for the winter months. I love this one by St. Ives. It has a very light oatmeal and shea fragrance and really helps sooth dry hands.

I don't know about you, but I seem to always be looking for a nail file. I found some stylish multi-packs of mini nail files. Perfect to keep in your purse.

I'm also usually looking for a tissue. Ask my husband. He'll tell you that he's never met anyone that uses as many tissues as I do. I try to keep these mini packs of Kleenex in my purse at all times. 

Chocolate. Every now and then you just need a piece of chocolate. These Ghirardelli squares, filled with mint, peanut butter, peppermint, or caramel are soooo good. I put a couple of those in.

I don't recommend carrying this next item around in your purse, necessarily. Maybe if you really need to take the edge off.....kidding! These are for the coffee and caramel lovers. Vincent VanGogh Double espresso and Dutch caramel flavored mini vodka. Yes, I said vodka. For a special holiday beverage treat. Or those really rough mornings when coffee ain't cutting it. Kidding again! They're small enough to fit in the bag. They have artsy packaging. And they taste good. It made sense at the time. Don't judge me.

Get some festive clear cellophane holiday bags and wrap everything up with a twist tie or ribbon. The bags I used came with a punch-out ornament tags. 

Place the goodie bag inside the cosmetic bag and you have a cute little gift!

I kept one for myself and use it to store my ipod and charger. This would make a great Valentines Day gift too! You could fill it with candy, your loved ones favorite gum or mints, maybe a gift card or some jewelry. Think outside the standard gift box or bag when presenting a gift. I did get asked if I made the cosmetic bag, and I wish that I could have said yes. I just didn't have the time to sew that many. You certainly could make your own and it would be an even more personalized gift!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..." This is admittedly one of the cheesiest images I have ever photoshopped together, but I had to do it. I can't say "a few of my favorite things" without thinking of the Sound of Music. Who doesn't? "Brown paper packages tied up with strings..."

That is a vivid rose with raindrops, that grew in our backyard. It's probably Pantone 485. And that's cute little Lacey and deer-in-the-headlights Chancho, as kittens. Why do they have to turn into full grown cats? They're so cute when they're little. They are still my favorite felines. Which brings me back to the topic at hand. 

I have a few favorite things in my life at the moment. My husband spoiled me for Christmas and gave me some amazing gifts. I also found some some cool stuff when I was shopping. In case you're interested in the goodies I'm diggin' right now, here are a few of my faves. This feels like show and tell.
"Pretty" perfume by Elizabeth Arden. This was on my Christmas wish list and Andrew got it for me. I love perfume. But I'm very selective. This one is feminine, a light floral and fruity combination. Delicate and pretty. True to it's name.

The perfume came with not ONE but TWO free gifts! A super soft pink ruffly robe....

and this bright red stylish travel bag. If it was smaller, I would use it for a purse. So cute!

I was very surprised, shocked really, that my husband got me an ipod nano touch! A pink one at that (my favorite color), which he had to special order AND had engraved. I couldn't believe it.

I talked about maybe getting one in the future but he tracked it down for me for Christmas. Is he sweet or what? With 16 GB, it holds songs, photos and you can listen to the radio. I am amazed by how incredibly small and light it is. I'm glad it has a clip or else I'm pretty sure I would have lost it by now.

As if that weren't enough (I told you he completely spoiled me), he also got us this fabulous machine:

HP Photosmart Premium Wireless Print/Fax/Scan/Copy/Card Reader. The only thing it doesn't do is cook your food. The photo printing quality is fantastic. I love having a scanner, copier and digital card reader. I was in disbelief when I opened it. We researched some printers and decided to keep an eye on the sales. I'm so thankful that he made the final decision and picked one out that would be best for us. What a blessing! Thank you Andrew. You outdid yourself. You must really like me.

Andrew's Mom gave me a special piece of milk glass, that belonged to her Mom, whom I wish I could have met. It has a grape leaf design. I cherish this little ruffled bowl.

These soft and comfy slippers are the best. I have not jumped on the Ugg bandwagon and I don't plan to. Ever. These are Luv American brand and I found them at Vanity Fair in Pennsylvania. I almost didn't buy them, but I'm glad I did. My feet thank me. They have a durable sole. The button is what really sold me.

Shiny black rubber rain boots, also from Vanity Fair, by Capelli New York. Maybe you think these things are ridiculous. They are a little ridiculous. But they're also fabulous. They can trudge through rain, sleet and snow. Perfect for upstate New York. And they have a pink lining. You can find similar boots here.
Speaking of pink, I found a pink silicone case for my Verizon Ally Phone. We bought cheap-o snap on phone covers from one of those kiosk's at the mall. They lasted about three weeks, then wouldn't stay on. This one is great because it's made of grippy material and stays put. And it's hot pink.

I went on a field trip to Trader Joe's with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law when we were in Pennsylvania. I was like a kid in a candy store. Each time I have the chance, I like checking out their products and packaging. I really like this citrus facial cleanser, free of parabens, petroleum and no animal byproducts. The packaging and design is really nice. Packaging sells, I tell ya. 

 Photo courtesy of Eat Drink and Beware
I am now addicted to Trader Joe's Lite Kettle Corn. These handy portion control bags have just the right combination of salty and sweet. I think I may need to put in an order to my parents and in-laws to keep me supplied.

Ed-a-ma-me. Have you had edamame? I can't get enough of these bright green soy beans. I get them every time we go to our favorite Japanese restaurant and I keep them in the freezer to make at home. When they are still in the shell (you don't eat the shell) it's called edamame. When they are shelled, it's called mukimame. Mu-ki-ma-me. They are SO good. A perfect appetizer or snack. Sprinkle a little salt on them. Yum. Anyone else obsessed with edamame?

There you have it. These are a few of my fav-or-ite things. How about you? Do you have any cool stuff that's at the top of your list right now? Thanks for letting me share some of my favorites and brag on my husband. I'm so thankful for Andrew and that I get to share my life with him. He's so good to me. Even when I'm a brat. Now that's love.

I am one lucky (blessed) girl. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wool Mittens Featured at Flexible Dreams

Amy, at Flexible Dreams is featuring my wool mittens from sweaters project today. How exciting! Check out her post.

I was recently admiring her blog, filled with tons of great projects, such as these adorable applique onsies. I am particularly fond of anything with the letter "S".

I feel like a made a new friend today. Thanks Amy! Happy repurposeing!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

I decided to make some cookies with ingredients I had on hand. I modified a recipe from, which was for cherry chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with almonds. I didn't have cherries or almonds, but I did have dried cranberries. I like the tartness of the cranberries with the sweetness of the chocolate chips. A sweet treat!

1 cup all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks positioned in center and top third of oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper (or if you're like me, and never have parchment paper, I used wax paper).

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl until well blended. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in oats, then chocolate chips, then cranberries.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart (do not chill dough). Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes, then switch and rotate baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden, about 5-6 minutes longer. Keep checking to make sure they are not getting too brown, just golden. Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheets (cookies will firm as they cool). Makes 2 dozen.

Chickpea and Sweet Red Pepper Salad with Lemon Dressing

I've been on the lookout for some healthy new recipes. I found this refreshing salad over at Picky Palate. If you like chickpeas (A.K.A. garbanzo beans) as much as I do, you'll love it. I used a mix of arugula and baby spinach. The dressing is simple and delicious. You can keep the mixed chickpeas, red peppers and dressing in a container in the refrigerator and put it over greens whenever you like. 

2 15 oz cans garbanzo beans, drained
1 Cup chopped roasted red pepper, drained
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 fresh lemon squeezed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 bag of fresh arugula (or greens of choice)

Place garbanzo beans and chopped red peppers into a mixing bowl.  Place olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over garbanzo beans and toss to coat.  Spoon over a bed of fresh arugula leaves and toss.  Serve room temperature or chilled.
4 servings

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you so very much. I'm sending you a great big virtual birthday hug. Did you get it? 

Here's another one just in case.
Sarah xoxo

Upstate Refreshment Services Logo Design

I have been excitedly working on some freelance design projects. I designed a logo for Upstate Refreshment Services, a food and beverage vending company. The goal was to communicate "fresh" and "refreshment" with a modern feel. I wanted to come up with a graphic to accompany the typography. The abstract shape could symbolize a variety of vending options, such as a coffee cup, a bowl, perhaps a potato chip or snack.

Here is the business card. I kept the logo in white space and placed the contact information in blue across the bottom third of the card for contrast. This was a fun project. I'm happy with how it turned out. The logo will be included on their new website when it's up and running.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Before & After Home: Guest Room

Since I can't reveal photos of my nieces new room yet, here's a look at our guest room, which is pretty much a replica of my teen bedroom from the house I grew up in. I took my furniture with me when I got married (thanks Dad and Mom!) and it has been in our guest room ever since. I still remember when I got that daybed. It has a trundle bed underneath, which is about the coolest thing ever. One overnight guest? Here's your bed. Two overnight guests? Here's your secret bed hiding underneath.

The previous owners had twins, a boy and a girl, and their shared room was green and yellow, with a white chair rail. Here is a look at the BEFORE:

It is a long narrow room, with two windows and a pretty big closet, which makes furniture arranging a little challenging. We kept the chair rail and painted the room periwinkle on top and lilac on the bottom. I like color, what can I say? We also added closet doors. Two years ago. Which still need to be painted white. And the knobs need to be installed. On my to do list... Here is the room AFTER:

Isn't it cozy? Reminds me of my old bedroom. So much so, that it's hard to tell the difference in photos! MY OLD ROOM:

Same three framed photos above the bed. Same pillows and duvet. Almost the same wall color. Is that weird? Ah, memories. Makes me want to put on an over-sized flannel shirt with some baggy jeans and make a mix tape. A lot of time was spent hanging out in my room, listening to the radio, talking on the phone, reading and always making stuff. 

Who can spot the photo of my husband and I when we were just dating? Hard to believe that was about 6 years ago!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tween Room Makeover Bargain Finds

As soon as I got the green light from my sister, I started looking for items to include in my nieces bedroom makeover. My mission: to find great accessories and furniture for the lowest possible price, that coordinated with the comforter pictured above (and the existing carpet, but that's a whole other story). Did I mention we are working with a budget? The goal is to spend as little as possible. I rise to the challenge of searching for bargains and getting a deal!

The Roxy brand comforter set (pictured above) is where we started. I like to select a main piece to build a room around. If something is multicolored or has a printed design, the other elements in the room should be less-busy and compliment the main piece with similar, like or neutral colors. But not be "matchy-matchy." Our favorite phrase. Lisa purchased the bed set on-line from, and I believe she saved $40. It was the biggest investment for the room, but it's the main piece and will (hopefully) last Emma into her teens. Emma wanted green and pink in her room, and these polka dots fit the bill for being colorful, yet not too foo-foo-girly.

Now for some accessories. I found this adorable brown pillow with a big pink bow at Kirkland's Home, on clearance for $3.18. That's right. 

Also at Kirkland's Home, this stylish vanilla scented initial candle, in pink and green, for $3.99. 

A green picture frame from Marshall's, on clearance for $3. 

A hot pink trash can from Marshall's, on clearance for $4.  

A cool piece of initial wall art for $6.

A pair of wall canvases, on clearance for $8. This isn't a great photo, and they're still all wrapped up until we decide if we're keeping them, but aren't they cute? My niece likes dogs, and the pink and brown would tie in nicely. Gotta love Marshall's.

I found these cute little metal containers in three sizes at Goodwill. They had tons of them and they were brand new. I love the scalloped edge. They were marked $1, but when I cashed out, they ended up being 50 cents!

The only problem: they were yellow. So I spray painted them white. Presto change-o! 

I can picture these cans being filled with pens, pencils and markers, sitting on Emma's future desk. Perfect for organizing art supplies! 

Are you ready for the best bargain of them all? My sister found this 9 drawer white dresser, on Craigslist, located just 10 minutes away, for...drum roll please...TWENTY DOLLARS. I couldn't believe it. We had both been stalking Craigslist looking for a dresser like this. She gets mad props for this one. Do people still say "mad props"? I am old. I get mad props for agreeing to go pick it up with her. At night. In the rain. Then shortly after, the Lifetime movie "The Craigslist Killer" came out. Made us think twice about our night time furniture pick-up adventure. We were FINE. I know God wanted us to have that lovely $20 dresser, so He kept us safe. I have bought and sold many-an-item on Craigslist, so I don't have any complaints. 

We also scored a tall narrow white bookcase off Craigslist for another $20 buckaroos and a white wicker trunk for $25. Sorry, no photos of either. You'll just have to wait for the big reveal. 

I put together a basic floor plan so my sister could see the furniture arrangement I had in mind. We actually did a test run and moved things around to see if it would even work. Here is the plan:

There is still a bit of work to do:
• Paint existing desk from the basement white OR find and purchase a white desk 
• Paint bedroom walls 
• Purchase storage baskets and bins

I can't say when exactly the room will be done, because we're doing a little as we go. And it depends on when they can paint. I'll keep you posted. I think the fun part is looking for accessories and envisioning it all coming together. I'm as anxious as you are to see the end result!