Monday, February 27, 2012

Hearts & Home; Grand ReOpening Celebration and GIVEAWAY!

I am so excited to help my friend Margaret unveil her brand new, totally redone blog and website, Hearts & Home! It is SO beautiful and she has been working day and night for weeks and weeks and it is a truly fantastic transformation. Aside from a total makeover, the shop has been stocked with tons of new and exciting sewing patterns, handmade historical clothing, kitchenware, and more!

And guess what?  In honor of the Grand ReOpening, I am hosting my very first Blog Giveaway for one of Hearts & Home's most popular items: this Lila Tueller Designs Retro Groovy Bag Pattern! This makes me want to go out and buy a sewing machine and get started right away; isn't it cute??

Lila Tueller Designs Retro 'Groovy" Bag Pattern: FREE for the winner of the
Hearts & Home Grand ReOpening Giveaway!!
Now that you're done squealing with joy, let me tell you how to enter to win this awesome Giveaway Contest!

There are SEVERAL ways to enter and you can enter as many times as you like!  (Certain things will only count once, such as 'liking' the page on Facebook, obviously, but others can be repeated...) Winner will be drawn at random with a number from a random generator, and the comment which corresponds to that number will be announced here (and via email) on Monday, March 5th at 8pm CST (*last entries in by 7:30 pm please!*). Sooooo, in case you didn't get that, the more entries you have, the better your chances of winning!

Each action needs to have its own separate comment in order to be counted as an entry, so each time you do one of the following things, make sure you post a comment at the bottom of this post to let me know whatcha did, and who ya are, so that you're easy to find when you win!

Ok, here goes:

A Gazillion Ways To Enter:
'Like' Hearts and Home on Facebook (& tell us your username when you comment here)
Follow Hearts and Home on Twitter (& tell us your username when you comment here)
• Tweet, post on Facebook, your blog, or Pinterest the link to this giveaway (& tell us your username or URL)
• Tweet or post on Facebook recommending (and tag) Hearts and Home
• Tweet, post, or link in a blogpost to any Hearts and Home product or blog post (& leave your links/username when you comment here)
• Pin on Pinterest any Hearts and Home product or blog post (& link to the pin)
• Leave a comment below telling us what your favorite item from the shop is
• Leave a comment below with a word or two that you feel describes the new Hearts and Home website, or what you like about it!
• Leave a comment on your favorite Hearts and Home blog post (and let us know here too)
Sign up for the Hearts and Home newsletter (make sure your name or email is attached to your comment)
• Follow Hearts and Home on Pinterest (& tell us your username)
• Follow the Hearts and Home blog
• Leave a comment below telling us what the word "Home" means to you!
• Leave a comment below telling us what you would do with a few more hours in your day

Whew! Are you ready to win?? then get posting, linking, tweeting, blogging, pinning and commenting! (and then come back and do it all again tomorrow :)

About Hearts & Home
In the shop:

A variety of modern sewing patterns to inspire you to create what you love!  Choose from fun designs for various bags, dresses, peasant tops, and skirts. For those who don't want to sew, Hearts and Home offers high quality handmade clothing in Colonial, Pioneer, and Victorian styles with feminine, elegant details. Aprons, slips and petticoats, dresses, nightgowns, and skirts for women and girls, along with fun old-fashioned dress-up clothes for children, sweet gowns, bonnets, and bibs for babies are just a few of the many things you'll find when you visit the new Hearts and Home shop!

A wonderful array of information, inspiration, and tutorials on topics like sewing, gardening baking, and healthy living. The mission at Hearts and Home is to encourage readers to find a way to incorporate the things they love into their daily lives. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Crushing on Orange Part 2: Tangerine and Gold Styleboard (inspired by Pantone's 2012 Color of the Year)

Here's another styleboard I made to fuel my obsession with Tangerine.  I'm just crazy about orange and am having so much fun adding items to my shop which go along with this gorgeously juicy hue that Pantone named Color of the Year for 2012!

While I do have a few fabulous pieces of orange jewelry that are right on trend for Spring/Summer 2012, I also know that it's nice to spend your fashion budget on accessories that will transcend both seasonal and color trends that we all know can be out just as quickly as they became in. I'm obviously much more willing to spend a little bit more money on the things that I know I'll get a lot of wear out of!

In fact, I know my customers must feel the same way, because these types of everyday fashion basics are my bestsellers! I've incorporated my Signature Large Gold Wire Hoop Earrings and my Gold Wire Stack Bangles into the trendboard below.

Sorry, images on the photo aren't clickable, but there is a list of links to each item after this styleboard. Enjoy!

TANGERINE AND GOLD! Gold is a fabulous accessory to the bright tangerine orange that is sweeping the trends right now

Pin It

The Basics:

H&M soft jersey drape-neck top in orange (£7.99,
Current/Elliot faded distressed skinny jeans ($208,


  1. Prism New York matte metal sunglasses in rose gold ($380,
  2. Small Gold Heart Pendant Necklace ($38,
  3. Xena Belt, brown leather ($24.99,
  4. Creative Nail Design lacquer in Electric Orange (
  5. Guerlain L'Or Radiance Concentrate with Pure gold Make-Up Base (
  6. Jimmy Choo Cayla Glitter Fabric Clutch ($1,150,
  7. Two Lips Helen Bootie in Orange ($69.95,
  8. Benefit Cosmetics 24K Sexy Gold lip gloss ( 
  9. Gold Wire Bangles, set of 3 ($54,
  10. Signature Large Gold Wire Hoops, 14k gold fill ($38,

Take a look at Crushing on Orange Part 1 to see 8 fabulous ways to accessorize an everyday outfit with Tangerine!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crushing on Orange part 1: Tangerine Burst Styleboard (inspired by Pantone's 2012 Color of the Year)

I've been crushing on orange since I saw Krya Sedgwick and Katey Sagal in their beautiful bright citrusy gowns at the Golden Globes last year.  So, needless to say, I was a totally juiced to hear Pantone announce "Tangerine Tango" as the 2012 Color of the Year!

I put together a couple of styleboards representing my interpretations of how to incoporate this hot juicy color into a normal everyday look, including a few of my styles which were inspired by these gorgeous glowing ladies' looks!

Sorry, images on the photo aren't clickable, but there is a list of links to each item after this styleboard. Enjoy!

TANGERINE BURST! Eight fabulous options for that perfect Tangerine Orange pop color to accessorize a basic everyday outfit! 

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Disclaimer: It is my personal and humble opinion (- and by 'humble', I mean, 'expert' - ) that you would really only want to choose one or two of these accessories...and not so much all of them. ~We don't want you looking like Florida exploded or anything.~

The basics:

Fresh Laundry White Racerback V-Neck Tank (£69,

Accessorize with Orange:
  1. Julyanna's Chunky Orange Oval Stone Necklace ($49.95,
  2. Stella McCartney Skinny Belt ($230,
  3. Single Spike Ring in Peach ($18,
  4. Stella McCartney Falabella faux leather shoulder bag ($1,175,
  5. Jeffrey Campbell Leather Zup Wedges ($108,
  6. Tangerine Tango Orange Beaded Leather Bracelet ($36,
  7. Tangerine Indian Summer Chandelier Earrings ($102,
  8. Jennie Heart Shades in Tangerine ($18,


Pantone Color of the Year 2012:
Tangerine Tango color swatch
Kyra Sedgwick and Katey Sagal in beautiful tangerine
shades and gold accessories (Golden Globes 2011)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

5 Crafty Fun Things to Do with Mardi Gras Beads

I'm sure most of us are probably recovering from a crazy night out on Bourbon Street last night, wondering what we're going to do with the huge heap of gaudy plastic beads we're not really sure how we ended up with in the first place...right?

...Or, more realistically, we're surveying the living room, wondering how these beads managed to get strewn all over the place and why exactly teachers feel the need to give each kid twenty of these things to bring home anyway.

Now, even if you're not a huge fan of the purple, green, and gold color combo that signifies Fat Tuesday (which, incidentally I find to be a rather harsh moniker and believe that Tuesday's personal preference would be something more along the lines of "Big-Boned Tuesday" or "Tuesday with a Thyroid Problem", or even just "there's more of Tuesday to love"), don't give up on these hideous beads just yet.

I want you to consider one very important fact: you can spray paint these guys any color you want so don't worry! You don't necessarily have to be stuck with something that looks like a King Cake threw up when you're finished.

Now, without further ado, I will proceed to blow your mind with some amazing ideas I found (on Pinterest, of course...where else?) for using those ugly things and transforming them into something beautiful!

5 Crafty Fun Things to Do with Mardi Gras Beads:

1.) Melt them!

This first one is a bowl made with melted/ fused recycled Mardi Gras Beads from Green is Universal. This is so cool!  The link doesn't have an actual step-by-step tutorial, but if you watch the video you can get the gist and if you feel comfortable melting plastic in your own oven, maybe play around with it!

melted mardi gras bead bowl

This next one much has better tutorial qualities and more info regarding melting temperature, etc. FilthWizardry makes lovely Christmas tree ornaments by melting Mardi Gras Beads in muffin pans!

crafty fun things to do with mardi gras beads

2.) Make a chandelier!  

This yellow one is my favorite but unfortunately there are no how-to instructions for it.  However, the others do have step-by-step guides so it shouldn't be to hard to figure out:

yellow beaded chandelier


Style for Style offers a tutorial for this Gold Chandelier (follow the link then click on her "last chandelier makeover" link for instructions).

DIY mardi gras bead chandelier

DIY mardi gras bead chandelier


DIY mardi gras bead wreath


4.) Make Seasonal decorations 

or just general home decor. (Remember, you can paint them any color you want, so have fun!)  This is a 
guest post by Less Cake {More Frosting!} on the eighteen25 blog for some Halloween decorations!

DIY Halloween decor with mardi gras beads


5.) Make a Tray! 

This one is used as a boot rest in a mud room. (Find the tutorial by MetalAndMud here) How cool!

DIY boot tray for your mud room, using mardi gras beads!

I hope you've enjoyed these Five Fun and Crafty Ways to use Mardi Gras Beads! I'd love to hear your creative ideas too!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book-Inz Joinz the Sidebar

YES! I'm so proud of myself that I found a way to add another 'z' to the title of this post. (Whew, that took me all day!!)

Felix the Skull Cat Magnetic Bookmark by BookInz on Etsy
I'm happy to introduce you to a new sponsor today: Book-Inz!  I remember the first time I saw these nifty little contraptions a couple of years ago at the Funky Finds Spring Fling in Fort Worth, TX (and yes, they'll be back there this March, along with yours truly!)  I walked by and I had to backtrack to see what these cute & colorful little things were.

Why, they're bookmarks, of course!  Awesome, magnetic, fabric bookmarks that are like none I've ever seen before...have you??
Probably not.  Book-Inz has a patent pending on these nifty little gadgets.

They're seriously cool.  The fabric part opens up like a book; it has a magnet inside each side, so you put one on the outside of your book cover and the other on the inside of the cover.  Those magnets keep it clamped in place.  The ribbon tucks in between the pages of the book to hold your place!  No more lost pages, no more lost bookmarks, and no dog-eared pages! (And, these look pretty great on the fridge when you're in between reads).

Book-Inz come in all sorts of colors and fabrics, both patterns and solids, with coordinating color ribbons. Here are a few more of my favorites, besides Felix the Skull Cat up there!

Keep Calm & Eat a Cupcake Magnetic Bookmark by BookInz on Etsy
Pawz Magnetic Bookmark by BookInz on Etsy
Horseshoes Magnetic Bookmark by BookInz on Etsy
Book-Inz has almost 50 different patterns for you to choose from.  If you're a bookworm...or if you know a'll want to visit BookInz on Etsy to take a virtual stroll through the aisles of these amazing and unique handmade magnetic bookmarks!

Also, the Book-Inz blog and Facebook Page are great ways to keep up with what's new.  Welcome aboard, Book-Inz, I'm glad to have you as a sponsor.

If you're interested, you can learn about becoming a sponsor with Bespangled Jewelry too!Pawz Magnetic Bookmark by BookInz on Etsy

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Decadent White Chocolate Martini Recipe: Happy Valentine's Day!


1.5 oz Stoli Vanilla Vodka
1 oz Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
Chocolate Covered Strawberry for Garnish

shaken in a cocktail shaker with ice and strained into a decorated martini glass
(instructions below)

My sweetheart asked me if I would help him make a bunch of chocolate covered strawberries on Monday, for work.  Of course, I said yes, but I was too curious to not ask what they were for.  I guess I was a little surprised when he said they were for garnish on a special Valentine's Day cocktail at the restaurant! 

Why the heck did I never think of that before?? What a brilliant idea!  So I forced him to tell me what was in this special Valentiney drink besides an oversized decadently dipped garnish.  He listed off about 5 ingredients, which to me is usually too many. With cocktails, I say the simpler the better.  I love interesting and different combinations, like cucumber and tequila or anything crazy like that, but most of the time if there's a bunch of stuff in it it never seems quite right. (Plus...I don't normally keep a fully stocked dream bar at all you?)

So, I decided we could simplify the recipe and still make a delicious drink, because despite never having been a bartender, I can still impress people with my mixological prowess, and do so often. (And if 'mixological' wasn't a word before, it is now!) Instead of the strawberry purée, creme de cacao dark, half & half, Stoli Vanilla and Godiva White Chocolate concoction that the restaurant was serving, we thought we'd give it a shot with the vanilla vodka, Godiva, and strawberry purée.  It tasted funny (but I still drank most of it, don't worry).

By this point, we're about halfway through the strawberry dipping process (and a little more than half-buzzed, whoops!), and I got the brilliant idea to use the chocolate candy coating to decorate the inside of the martini glass (directions below), and just go for a simple white chocolate cocktail. It was perfectly delicious!

So, this recipe is the final version we decided was a keeper: about 1.5 ounces of Stoli Vanilla Vodka, 1 ounce of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, shaken over ice and strained into the decorated martini glass!

Make your own Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Before you get started, lay out some wax paper on the countertop or on cookie sheets to lay the dipped berries on to set.

I use Make 'N Mold Dark Chocolate Wafers and the White Chocolate version for the drizzle.  Of course, vice versa is great too!

A couple of tips:

Make sure you wash the strawberries, but pat them dry completely before you start dipping. Water causes the chocolate candy coating to separate and it looks terrible and won't set smoothly, so beware of reaching over the bowl with dripping wet hands as well.

I use a tall thin microwave safe container, so I don't have to use so many chips at once for chocolate deep enough to be able to dip the strawberries completely into in one smooth motion. A wider bowl means wasted chocolate!

Follow the directions for melting the candy chips; 30 seconds on half power or defrost setting at a time, always shaking or stirring the chips before putting them back in the microwave. Repeat as necessary until your chocolate is smooth when stirred.

A tiny amount of vegetable or canola oil mixed in to the melted chocolate will give it a slightly runnier consistency, which especially helps when you use the chocolate in a squeeze bottle for decorating. The exact amount obviously depends how many chips you are melting at a time, but trust me start very small with barely 1/8th of a teaspoon and add more in small amounts as needed.

Hold the dry clean strawberry by the leaves and dip straight down into the melted chocolate, and back out again.  Set each dipped berry on the waxed paper and don't touch them for several minutes!  

Keep dipping until all your strawberries are covered, reheating the chocolate or adding more chips as necessary along the way. 

Decorating your Strawberries and Martini Glass

If you want to decorate with a white chocolate drizzle, it's good to have a microwave safe plastic squeeze bottle with a small tip. (I bought these from Amazon: Wilton Set of 2 6-Ounce Mini Melting Decorating Squeeze Bottles).

Melt the chips in the bottle with the lid off, using a chopstick or long spoon to stir inside the bottle.  I usually only fill mine up about 1/3 at a time.  You can always add more chips if you need more!

Again, the vegetable or canola oil trick works well here, you can make this drizzling chocolate a tiny bit more runny so you can use a bit more oil.  You don't want the mixture sputtering out like an old empty bottle of mustard!

If you don't have the perfect squeeze bottle, you can always melt the chips in any microwave safe container and transfer carefully to a ziploc bag. Twist the top and snip a tiny bit off one corner with scissors and you've got a makeshift candy decorating squeeze bag!

As long as your dipped strawberries have set completely, you can start drizzling your contrasting chocolate across the top. The higher you hold the bottle, the cleaner your lines will be, provided you zigzag quite quickly.  Obviously it doesn't have to be perfect, just have fun and you'll figure it out!

For your martini glass, make sure the glass is clean and dry, and drizzle the melted chocolate all around the inside of the glass.  I made a swirly loopy pattern that kind of looked like hearts!

Allow the chocolate to set in the glass for a minute or two, then you're ready to shake and strain your delicious Decadent White Chocolate Martini into it!  

Grab one of your beautifully dipped and decorated chocolate covered strawberries and cut a diagonal slit in the bottom.  Slide it on to the side of the glass, and enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Swap Sponsor: Meet "The Tangled Web"!

I'm thrilled to announce another blog sponsor! As you can see by the neat webby button on my sidebar, my friend The Tangled Web has come on board for a swap sponsorship. 

Skeleton Santa Stocking
by TheTangledWebStore
on Etsy

The Tangled Web's Etsy shop is run by two talented women, Christi and Shirley. Between them, they keep the shop stocked with some really fun handmade knit and crochet goods as well as embroidered items like tote bags and stockings. They specialize in things that are a little bit different from the normal cutesy stuff; things that are a little bit creepy while still managing to be adorably cute. At Christmas time, my favorite was a tie between the embroidered Zombie Santa and Skeleton Santa stockings, which Christi says she couldn't keep in stock during the holiday season! 

I adore their fun pom-pom hats (and they way they photograph them on skulls makes them even that much more awesome :)

Toddlers' Black and White Pom Pom Hat
by TheTangledWebStore on Etsy

And, I'm in a lovey kind of mood since it's almost Valentine's Day (- I can barely believe it's already February!! -) so I have to show you this reversible tote bag with red hearts on it.  Flip it inside out, and you have a black tote with a colorful swirly heart embroidered appliqué! 

I Love You swirly heart reversible tote bag
by TheTangledWebStore on Etsy

I Love You swirly heart reversible tote bag (inside)
by TheTangledWebStore on Etsy
So, as you can see, The Tangled Web has a variety of products, some are 'traditionally' cute while others have a little bit more of a funky, edgy flair.  Be sure to stop by their Etsy shop and see what trouble you can get into, or drop by the blog to keep up with what's new!

If you're interested, you can learn about becoming a sponsor with Bespangled Jewelry too!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Amazing Amethyst: February's Lovely Lilac Birthstone

Violet Purple Amethyst Gemstone Necklace by bespangledjewelry on Etsy

I find amethyst to be one of the most wonderfully intriguing gemstones; it simply boggles the mind that a stone this color could come out of the ground and be so alluring and such a rich and amazing color naturally!  I mean, it's a rock for crying out loud!!

This pretty purple rock is a variety of transparent quartz and is the birthstone associated with the month of February. It comes in a wide range of purples, from a very pale almost colorless version to a deep dark purple which has been popular among royalty and religious leaders for centuries. Somewhere in the middle of this color spectrum is a soft lilac color that reminds me of a pair of strappy high heel shoes my Grandma used to wear so she could reach the 5-foot tall mark :)

Amethyst Faceted Rectangular Pillow beads
by bespangledbeads on Etsy
Among the beliefs that amethyst holds certain magical powers and the ability to open up the third eye and heighten awareness, is the assertion that amethyst quartz crystals have the ability to lessen the effects of alcohol.  In fact, the very name 'amethyst' comes from the ancient Greek word amethystos, meaning not drunken.

Now, I'm not sure why, but this seems a little funny to me...perhaps because I picture some ancient Greek dude carrying around a couple of chunks of amethyst in his toga pocket ( - I'm almost positive that togas would have pockets - ) and coming back home to his wife after a night on the town with his ancient Greek buddies, convinced that he seems much less drunk than he actually is because he's been carrying around some purple stones the whole time.

Well, I digress. Aside from the silly connotations that its nomenclature implies, amethyst is a truly amazing gemstone and I plan to continue designing pretty things with it often!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Treasury Time: Inspired by Amethyst

A beautiful collection of finds from Etsy, inspired by February's lovely birthstone, Amethyst!  Collection is courtesy of Jezebellamina and features all manner of handmade items, photography, beads, and more... in gorgeous tones of lavender, purple, violet, wisteria, and grape.

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