Monday, December 31, 2007

Get it all in now

Well, it looks like the brown floral wallpaper won! Thanks to everyone for your votes. You really helped me make up my mind! I'm putting the order in today, that is, if the company is open on New Year's Eve. I think this was the paper I secretly wanted to win all along, just because I gave up on the metallic when I saw the paint sample next to it. Oh well. I do have a hallway in my house that would look lovely in metallic paper. Hmmmmmm.

In addition to wallpaper, I've also purchased shelving from West Elm. I normally stay far, far away from West Elm, not because I don't like it, but much like Pier 1 Imports, I'm addicted to it. They were having a post-Christmas sale and I got a ton of shelving for a steal. I've also just purchased my shopping bags, tissue, gift wrap and bows for the shop. I'm having a hard time deciding on little boxes, so I think I'll hold off and order them a bit later. My logo is in the works (finally), and I got in touch with someone who is doing my window graphics. When I meet with the landlord to sign the lease, I have to discuss signage with them. There are so many rules, you know.

Anyway, enough shop talk. I think we all gained at least 10 pounds over the course of this past weekend. The holidays will do that to you, I know, but this was bad. Not only did Mike and I head out at the butt-crack of dawn on Saturday morning to indulge in Panera's delicious asiago cheese bagels with cream cheese, but we also had frozen caramel coffee drinks with our breakfast. We came home and decided to cook, as we usually do, and proceeded to make extra spicy Chex mix, ice cream floats, homemade fudge, homemade chili, and the biggest, most sinful ice cream pie you've ever seen. And yes, the photo you see above is of Mike actually drinking store-bought cake frosting.

Okay, picture a pie crust made entirely out of Rice Krispie Treats. Interesting, right? Next add a layer of homemade double chocolate fudge. Then fill in the rest of the pan with vanilla ice cream and top it off with either chocolate peanut butter sauce or strawberries, depending on your taste. It was fantastic. There's a lot of work involved with this recipe and we drooled the entire time.

Overall it was a decent weekend, and I'm looking forward to Dave and Kate's New Year's bash this evening. None of us are big New Year's people. We don't usually go out, not even with each other, and we don't usually celebrate. My parents sometimes have us over for dinner (Indian food is tradition in our family), but they're both sick this year so that plan went right out the window. Once, our group of friends got together at Randi and Keith's house and we were all out the door and in bed by 11:00. Lame. None of us got together for Christmas this year, so Dave and Kate decided on a party tonight to hang out and exchange gifts. Should be fun, and oddly I'm actually looking forward to getting out of the house and socializing for once.

Now before I end this post and head outside to shovel the 10 inches of snow that dumped on us overnight, I'd like to add one more thing...

If you're considering spending money on "I Am Legend", save your pennies.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I need help!

Okay, folks, I need some help.

On the right side of this page I have a poll running to pick the best wallpaper for the back wall of the shop. I can't seem to choose between these three. Only one wall will be papered while the other three will be painted an olive green color. Below are the examples of the paper. Feel free to vote for your favorite. The metallic tile paper is my favorite but I'm not sure I like it with the green. What do you think? Vote for the one you like best and my order is going in!

Metallic Tile

Brown and Teal Herringbone

Brown Floral

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


My husband was the most wonderful shopper this holiday season. I made out like you wouldn't believe! You'd swear he took the handmade challenge too!

Here's what I got:

Three wonderful craft books:

1) Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp

2) The Crafter's Companion by Anna Torborg

The last book isn't a pattern or how-to book, but it's a quirky story of a woman who found out who she was after her husband left her and she learned how to knit. Looks neat and really funny.

I got a $100 gift certificate to Lark Tattoo for a sitting with my favorite tattoo artist, Kara. I'm calling her asap.

I got a beautiful pair of white topaz earrings that are so sparkly and shimmery that I can't stop staring at them in the mirror.

Ben hit up the Etsy sellers, too! I got a really cool business card holder for the shop from measessoms:

Three little bird plates from mordentipottery:

A beautiful necklace called "Swiftly" by gNeebo:
A pincusion that I've been wanting for ages now from one of my favorite sellers and bloggers PaperFox:
Three little tree jewelry displays for the shop from etcArts:

All in all I think he did incredibly well with the shopping, although I could spank him for spending so much money on me. I just hope he loves his gifts from me as much as I love what he gave me today.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A little pinch of mush

Not sure how many of you celebrate Christmas, but I wanted to take a brief second and wish all of you a very merry one. I've met so many new people this year, some of them through this blog, and I wanted to let everyone know how grateful I am to all of you for being such a wonderful, thoughtful, caring and helpful lot. Most of all, I want to thank my beautiful husband for being the greatest man in the world. I know that's a lot for him to carry on his shoulders sometimes, but he does a fantastic job and he never complains. He is my true love and my hero.

I hope this post finds all of you safe and happy, and I hope this holiday is the best one yet.

Friday, December 21, 2007

And so it begins


Today I made:

* A double batch of classic Chex Mix

* A double batch of hot and spicy (and boy is it hot and spicy) Chex Mix

* A triple batch of Aggression Cookies (by far the best oatmeal cookie you'll ever eat)

* A double batch of PMS Bars (for all you ladies and hormonal men out there)

* A triple batch of truffles

Tomorrow I will get up at the buttcrack of dawn and make:

* A triple batch of double chocolate chunk cookies (a la Ina)

* A double batch of jewel cookies (this recipe has been in my family for generations)

* A double batch of raspberry crumble bars

* A double batch of chocolate peppermint bars of doom (think chewy, almost fudge-like thin brownie with chunks of melty peppermint candy goodness strewn across the top)

No bread this year. And no rosemary cashews either.

I'm pooped. Boooooo.

P.S. Will someone please buy me this cake stand? Every girl needs a good cake stand in her life. Currently the number of cake stands in my possession equals a big fat zero.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I think I wet my pants

I just happened to check Eric Bachmann's website this morning with the hope of finding out that he has a new album coming out soon. What I found was even better. He's coming to The Egg in Albany and guess who just scored two second row tickets? I'm going to die. I've been hoping and wishing forever that he'd come to The Egg. The acoustics in that place are the best I've ever experienced and with such a quaint and personal atmosphere he'll fit in perfectly.

The woman at the box office thinks I'm a stalker.

I guess I am, in a way.

I've traveled all over the states just to see him play. Too many times, in fact, to remember the exact number. The excitement of him coming to my home town is just overwhelming. Tickets are currently only available to Egg members, so I signed up for a membership just so I could get first dibs on seats. They got me there. But I'm so glad they did. I was talking a mile a minute over the phone and the sales girl actually stopped and slowed her own speaking down in the hopes, I think, that I'd slow down too and maybe perhaps form complete sentences.
Merry Christmas indeed!

January 31st cannot come soon enough.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Randi's Christmas quiz of doom!

Haven't filled out any of her quizzes lately and I'm in the mood tonight...for some odd reason.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Paper, bows, ribbon, tissue, tags. Basically, the whole 9

2. Real tree or Artificial? While my heart says real, my head goes with fake. Our fake tree looks pretty damn real, but there's nothing quite like the smell of a real tree. I enjoy my in-laws' real tree every year.

3. When do you put up the tree? Under normal circumstances it goes up a week or two before Christmas, but this year it went up nice and early.

4. When do you take the tree down? Just ask Keith. December 26th. CHRISTMAS IS OVER!!!

5. Do you like eggnog? Spiked, please.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I can't recall any favorite gifts as a kid, but Dave got me a copy of Midnight Madness on VHS a few years back and it still sticks out in my mind as the best gift ever!!! Fagabeefe?!?!?!?

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My dad

9. Easiest to buy for? Ben. He's the most fun to shop for, too.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. I'm old school, yo!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Can't remember. They've all been pretty good.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I am the reason why regifting exists.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My grandmother's heirloom recipe for jewel cookies.

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.

16. Favorite Christmas song? Gabriel's Message by Sting.

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I've never traveled during the Christmas season, so I'll have to say home.

18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yup.

19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? It was always morning until I met Ben. Now we do the in-laws on Christmas Eve and my family on Christmas day.

20. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Rudeness.

21. Favorite ornament theme or color? Anything Martha Stewart (via KMart) has to offer.

22. Favorite for Christmas dinner? As long as I don't have to make onion dip AGAIN, I don't care.

23. What do you want for Christmas this year? World peace. Is that too much to ask?

quick shots...

...of the front of our house after the snow FINALLY stopped falling.

A grand total of 21 inches in our town so far.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The winter of our despair

Those of you who live in warmer parts of the world are missing the shitstorm of snow that's still blowing through these parts.

We now have well over a foot of snow...I'd say closer to two feet when you take both storms into account. It's still snowing and it's supposed to continue through the night.

The last few winters came and went with a very small snowy footprint, but this year, well, it'll be a white Christmas, that's all I'll say about it. Wow. It's incredibly pretty, and I'm wishing I took some pictures along the way to chart the progress. I'll take some "after" shots tomorrow morning. That is, if I can get out of bed. I'm anticipating being very, very sore.

Mike came over for most of the day and seeing as how we were snowed in, we took it upon ourselves to be creative. Actually, that's a lie. We wasted most of the day playing Wii. Ben gave me an early Christmas present in the form of Wii Playground and after about eight hours of playing we have the game more than half-way complete. Fun stuff. I feel somewhat gross about spending so much time in front of the television lately. I'm not a video game kind of girl...I never have been. Wii, though...I can't step away for a second.

Also, we made some homemade chai that was to die for. We cheated in a way by using chai teabags, but someday I'll purchase some cardamom pods and make legitimate homemade chai. What we created, though, was amazing and I'm posting the recipe here so everyone can make some of this warm, snuggly goodness. Ben even had some, despite its lack of caffeine, and he loved it.

Here you go:

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon of apple pie spice (or nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon)
1 tablespoon of good quality vanilla **note the Barefoot Contessa jargon**
1 tablespoon of honey
4 chai teabags
2 teaspoons of brown sugar (light or dark)

Mix it all in a small pot over medium heat until sugar and honey is melted and mixture is just about to boil. Keep stirring. Be careful NOT to boil this, though, because you don't want to scald the milk. We poured it through a strainer into the mugs because you get a lot of sediment on the bottom of the pot.

Mmmmm, this was so good. I'm a purist when it comes to chai. Most chain coffee places, and even a lot of the snooty cafe's now sell the chai mix that comes in a carton. It's so incredibly sweet and syrupy that I just can't take it. I don't think chai should be overly sweet, in my humble opinion, so this recipe makes a batch that has a sweetness to it that's not overwhelming.

All in all it was a decent weekend. I'm getting back into sewing tomorrow as I've been slipping more and more these days. My mom has commissioned me to make a few totes for gifts for her friends, and I think I'll just cut a dozen or so bags and whip them all out in one shot.

After that, I'm going to order my paper bags, boxes and tissue for the shop and then it's time to order inventory, baby. The part I've been waiting for for a looooong time now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's like crack, yo

My newest addiction, as if I needed another one:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

that time of year

We were dumped on by the most beautiful snow today. It's still snowing, actually. It's so pretty, as the first real snow of the year usually is. I was out and about today when it started coming down and my main focus was to get home, wait for the time when I absolutely had to shovel, and when that was done I planned to sit down in front of the window and watch the shimmery flakes cover the crispy brown that autumn left behind. Instead, though, my mind is plagued by the headlines of today's news.

A 17 year old Shaker student was traveling down the I-90 ramp that leads to I-787 (two of the main highways in this area) and for whatever reason, he pulled his car over to the shoulder of the road, got out, and jumped to his death on the highway below. I feel sick to my stomach. My eyes well up whenever I think about his family...what his mother must be feeling right about now. I don't know him, in fact his name hasn't been released yet, but I've had a few friends die at a very young age and it never gets any easier to accept, no matter how common it might be.

I'm both shocked and not surprised at the same time over the amount of crime/murder/suicide that occurs at this time of year. When so many people are filled with excitement and joy during the holiday season, it's easy to forget about those who are overwhelmingly depressed and filled with sadness during the winter months. Being someone who has suffered from depression for most of my life, I know how low a person can feel. So low that nothing, not even love, support or holiday merriment can ever pull you out.

I can't help but feel anything but sadness today.

Something about the monotony of shoveling the same mounds of snow over and over again seems to help...keeps me focused on other things. And for that, I'm thankful.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Those who care...

In the past 24 hours I've had some of the most interesting conversations with the following people:

Those who already have an open and working Brick and Mortar shop


People who are in the very beginning stages of planning and are looking for even the slightest bit of help.

I've been absorbing tremendous amounts of knowledge, and dispensing the information I've been gathering over the past year. Helping others who need it (especially when no one did this for me when I was getting started) must be good karma, right? And if not, I'm happy to do it just for the sake of helping others.

I just want to take the opportunity to thank and say hello to the lovely Sarah at Birch Handmade for the offer to help. She's located in Catskill and I think I might have to take a little road trip to see her shop!

This is the reason why Etsy rocks and I'm so proud to be a part of such a wonderful community.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


I think it's safe to post our Christmas card picture for this year...everyone should have gotten their cards by now...
What do you think?

Friday, December 7, 2007

A glorious day

I spent the day with two ex-coworkers in downtown Schenectady. Anyone from this area who might be reading this blog probably thinks I'm nuts because downtown Schenectady is one of the last places on earth you'd want to spend a nice day off with friends. Still, there are a few great little shops tucked in here and there and it's been a tradition of ours to visit these shops around Christmas time every year. Anyway, we had lunch at Apertivo, a great little bistro that doesn't seem to be doing so well, or so I'm told. The food was excellent, the service was impeccable and I'll definitely go back, so long as they're still in business. Schenectady is tough and I give them props for making a go in such a shitty spot.

After lunch we walked to Jay Street, once a sweet little shopping district that unfortunately succumbed to the typical grime of any neglected city. There are a few little shops still standing tall, one of which (the most important, in my humble opinion) is the Open Door bookstore. This place is the best bookstore in the area and after every annual pilgrimage I question why I/we don't visit it more often. The book selection is wonderful and the gift shop (gift shops are my weakness) has so many quirky things crammed in that you literally have to make three or four passes through to see everything. I love it there. I bought a few new Christmas ornaments for the tree and a sweet dishtowel that I plan to make into an apron to sport around the shop. Sorry the picture came out so crappy but I'm simply too lazy to take a new one, and besides, those ornaments have been on the tree for several hours now and they won't be disturbed until December 26th when the tree comes down. So there. Heh.

We left the bookstore and made our way over to Experience. I'm amazed that more people in this area don't know about Experience. To be honest, I've never been there any other time of year other than in December when they're set up for the holidays, but I make it a point to definitely go every year because this place is just so amazing and you'll never see anything like it unless you're in Disney or some shit like that. These people go all out with decorating the store, and by all out I mean ALL OUT. Every single inch of the place has been considered when they drag out the trees, garland, ornaments and lights. Much like the bookstore gift shop, you have to walk around three or four times just to catch everything, and I guarantee you after those three or four times you've still missed a ton. Amazing.

Experience marked the end of our day out, which was a good thing in hindsight because it was snowing like crazy and the roads started to get pretty slick on the ride home. I can't put into words the things I saw at this place so I'll just post a few pictures I took while I was there and let them do the talking. They frown upon people taking pictures in there so I had to sneak around like Bond snapping away with the flash off. My favorite thing, by far, is the gigantic grapevine wreath suspended from the ceiling. I'd love to have something like that in my shop. Oh, and be sure to note the "naughty Santa" set-up that Hans pointed out. I wish I had this picture in my posession when I planned this year's Christmas card.

Oh yeah! Nabua gave me a late birthday present today, too! I love this little pot so much and would love it if someone could do a sketch of the bird on top for me. I'm still playing around with ideas for a shop logo and this little guy would be perfect!

By the way, have you taken my advice and bought the jammie pants yet? Ben's been following me around the house calling me doily butt all evening. Nice.

The ultimate in comfort

Run, don't walk, to your nearest Old Navy store, or jump over to Old Navy's website and purchase these pajama pants:

I bought a pair off the sale rack yesterday and I'm already mourning the moment when I have to take them off to leave the house today. I think I'm going to buy more. They are, by far, the most comfortable thing I have ever put on my body. I love the knit look and they're just warm enough for this time of year, but not too warm where you wake up all sweaty and kicking off the covers in the middle of the night. They come in two other colors, too. A cute ballet pink and ivory.

Oh, and if you're a guy looking to do some shopping for your wife/girlfriend/friend with benefits, these make great gifts, too.
Here's the link:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

ear bling, good smells and a shopping fix

My Christmas shopping is done.

I actually finished last month. For those of you who know me, or are close enough to our little circle of friends to receive a Christmas gift from us, you know that I love to spend, spend, spend during the holiday season. I love to give gifts, I love wrapping them (for real) and I love to arrange them ever so carefully under the tree so they look picture perfect before giving them out. I'm anal, I know. So, seeing as how I'm done shopping so early in the season, I'm tremendously depressed about not having anyone left to shop for. What's a girl to do? Buy for myself, of course! I scored the most adorable pair of earrings on etsy from the wonderfully talented curlygirlglass. I can't wait to pop them in. They remind me of the really cool earrings for stretched earlobes that I drool over at the piercing place. So seeing as how I'm too chicken to actually stretch mine, I went for these:

I'm also in the process of planning my Christmas baking for this year. The people who don't get store bought gifts from us get baskets of cookies and other various baked goods. Last year's truffles were a tremendous hit so I think I'll go for those again. They're incredible easy to make, and I'll post the recipe here in case you want to give it a try. For some reason the idea of making truffles at home seemed incredibly daunting but it turns out that washing the dishes afterward was harder than the entire building process. It's one of Ina's recipes so it can't be bad. I love experimenting with the coating for the outside of them. I used powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and ground espresso beans last year and the espresso truffles were everyone's favorite. I'm trying to come up with some new coatings for this year. Any ideas? Here's the recipe:

3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon prepared coffee
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract

Chop the chocolates finely and place in a bowl.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it boils. Immediately pour the hot cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl with the chocolates. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. (If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir for a few minutes just until it melts.) Whisk in the coffee and vanilla. Cover and chill for 45 minutes to 1 hour until pliable but firm enough to scoop.

With 2 teaspoons or a 1 1/4-inch ice cream scoop, make dollops of the chocolate mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes, until firm enough to roll into rough spheres. Chill again. Truffles are best when they're allowed to set overnight in the refrigerator.

So, that's that. Other than truffles, I think I'll be making my famous PMS bars (if you're interested in this recipe, let me know and I'll post that, too), peanut brittle, cookies and some caramel corn. On the savory side I'm considering making homemade bread and perhaps I'll can some homemade tomato jam. This is another recipe I'll post if anyone wants it. I'll have to dig it out. I got it from a cooking class I took a while back and this stuff is incredible on meat, fish, veggies, and I'm willing to bet it would make a roof shingle taste pretty darn good, too. And the smell....ooh, it makes your house smell wonderful.

Oh, one more thing...I scored a really great book that's full of vintage purse patterns and I have to take them to the copy shop to have the patterns blown up 165%. What a pain in the ass. I have no idea how much this is going to cost me but I think it'll be worth it because these bags are amazing. I'll post pictures when I make them.

Monday, December 3, 2007


The 2007 Eggleston Christmas Tree!

This is not the first time this tree was assembled this year...I should probably say that. The tree originally went up on Saturday morning. I put the thing together, put the lights, garland and ornaments on and plugged it in. I. Was. HORRIFIED.

This year I tried being the good little environmentally conscious consumer that I should be and bought $40 worth of LED Christmas lights. They draw way less power, last longer and are just better in general. I was proud of my purchase and couldn't wait to see how they looked on the tree. After plugging it in I'm sorry to say that I'd rather go with the old style. This thing was so bright it looked like we had a spotlight shining in the living room. It had this eerie blue glow to it that just hurt my eyes. Everyone tried telling me that I was being silly and it looked nice, but it looked so bad I couldn't take it.

So, down came the decorations and the garland and the lights were boxed back up. I made a trip to the store in the middle of a snowstorm and bought "pearl" lights (my newest favorite thing in the world). It only took me about an hour to redo all that work, but the tree has been reassembled and I'm finally at peace.

Am I a neurotic mess? Yes. But does my living room look better now? Absolutely.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Snatched from the very lovely and talented Elis...

...simply because I'm a regular reader of her blog and I thought this little challenge was neato.

Go to Google Images, search for and post an image off the first page for each answer.

1. The age you will be on your next birthday:

2. A place you'd like to travel:
3. Your favorite place:

4. Your favorite object:

5. Your favorite food:

6. Your favorite animal:

7. Your favorite color:

8. The town in which you were born:

9. The town in which you live:

10. The name of a past pet:

11. The first name of a past love:

12. Your nickname/screenname:

13. Your first name:

14. Your middle name:

15. Your last name:

16. A bad habit of yours:

17. Your first job:

18. Your grandmother's name: