Wednesday, February 22, 2012

still here

I'm here to apologize for these weird posting intervals. I know I am keeping strange hours, it's just all I can muster right now. Between making sure the little munchkins at the Art's Center get on the right bus, don't eat the glue sticks, and have fun making art, not to mention work at the flower shop, my days seem completely booked. But have no fear! It won't always be this way. Sean and I actually got away from it all by heading down to Cincinnati this past Sunday. The church where we got married, St. Elizabeth's in Norwood, has an old convent on it's campus. It housed nuns all the way up through the 1990's, and now it's been renovated and turned into a sort of retreat center. Our friend Kim gave us a gift certificate to go there as an engagement present. We went and stayed for one night and it was the most restful thing I've done in years. They don't keep any clocks in the rooms so you have no schedule, no to-do list running for miles. We simply sat and read poetry and ate home-baked bread and drank tea. I felt so refreshed afterwards, and it was hard to jump back into the business of life. It did remind us of the importance of living sustainabley, and not in a manner that will just burn you out. So that's what I'm trying to do; I'm not abandoning you, I promise. -hil

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

just a little bit of bragging.

Now that the holiday is over and I don't have to hustle off and make sure other people got their flowers, I can enjoy my own. I know I posted a bit about them yesterday, but these blooms are brag-worthy. Somehow Sean managed to order me flowers from the florist at which I work without my knowledge, and they were, in my opinion, the most beautiful flowers we sent out over the past couple of days. They include some of my all-time favorites: daffodils, hypericum berry, and these beautiful roses we got in last week That my boss must have seen me drooling over. The pictures don't do them justice.
On top of all that (can you believe there's more?) Sean got our wedding invitations framed. I know what you're thinking: who even thinks of that? It's just so sweet. And it looks great up on our wall. We don't even have any wedding pictures up yet, and the invitations were an art project we collaborated on, so it was really meaningful. I know we were both proud of our work when we finished them, and it's like we both have one of our own pieces framed on the wall now. It was also a complete surprise that I never would have guessed.
Ok, ok, I'll stop my bragging now. Anything you'd like to brag about from yesterday? A sly surprise or chivalrous gesture? -hil

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5 cheers for Valentine's

Things making today great:
#1: Got this great note in the mail all the way from the Colorado Quays. Arguably one of the best Valentine's ever, considering it was decorated with German sheet music for the song "Der Mai ist gekommen." Allow me to translate the last bar: "We the folk wander outside on heavenly treasures, and stand in appreciation of the wide, wide world." Thanks, Quays. We love you huge.
#2: Got a SECOND VALENTINE (I know! so loved) in the mail from Sean's parents! It was super sweet and super practical since they enclosed a Kroger gift card for us. I was so touched. That's literally the most thoughtful gift I can think of right now. Thanks, Dan and Heidi. Happy Valentine's to you!
#3: This cute video from the Etsy blog:
#4: Sean and I went on our Valentine's date last night to our favorite hole-in-the-wall chinese restaurant. We splurged a little and got drinks, which they serve in ridiculous novelty glasses. Also included is a look at the Valentine's specials. I appreciate the wittiness of the latter.
#5: Sean got me flowers. Gosh, aren't they beautiful? And he ordered them from my shop and I had no idea until suddenly I was handed a vase in the middle of work. Thanks, sweet husband of mine. You're the best.

And now I'm off to work to ship flowers all over the place all day. Not the worst job in the world, I suppose.

Any great Valentine's plans out there today? Or maybe something wonderful has already happened? Be sure to show each other love. Happy Valentine's Day, folks.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

a few quick ideas for your Valentine

Valentine's Day is less than a week away (eep!) and if you're a procrastinator/romantic combo like me, you may be in need of a couple creative ideas. Have no fear, I'm here to help! Whether you like the simple and sweet route or you're into big romance, this just may be the ticket. Enjoy! -hil

number one: wood carving set
I know what you're thinking: maybe not the most romantic thing, but hear me out! I remember in the early days of our dating relationship, Sean and I climbed a tree that had some sentimental importance to us and carved our initials into it. Simple, but it was such a fun date. Give this kit to your sweetheart and personalize it by sewing their name into the case or just buy one knife and have it engraved. Pair it with a bottle of wine and hopefully mild weather and it makes for a very sweet Valentine's. Plus, if your boo is into it, they can take up whittling as a hobby afterward.

I'm completely smitten with this little acorn locket from ChristineDomanic on Etsy. The top unscrews to reveal a hidden canister inside. Roll up a scroll of paper extolling your Valentine's virtues or, to add a dash of excitement, put a clue inside sending her on a scavenger hunt. Now no one is looking for you to pull a Leslie Knope (how could any of us compare?) but it might be a fun way to start off the festivities. More ideas after the jump!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Etsy part deux: what's to come

Thanks to everyone for all their support and encouragement last week! It's been great having so many folks swing by the shop. The next set of pieces are ready to go, so don't be a stranger: they'll be going up in the shop over the next couple of days. But, since I love you all so much, you get to see them first here. Enjoy! -hil

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Etsy Shop: HomewardHandmade is here at last

I am extremely excited to announce that the Etsy shop has finally gone live! HomewardHandmade is now up and running, available for you to peruse as you please. You'll find one-of-a-kind headbands, hair wreaths, and combs both nature and vintage inspired. All photos in the shop are by the talented Laura Elise Cox, and all makeup by my sister Lindsey, who just launched a new blog that will share her extensive makeup how-to's and tips with the world.

I warmly invite you to visit the shop today and to swing by again next week when the rest of the items will be posted. Until then, here's a little sneak peak. Enjoy! -hil

View more shots after the jump!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Necessity really IS the Mother of Invention: how our budget helped me find a new way to brew coffee

I am so excited for February first. More excited than any Ohioan ever should be for February to come. But you have to understand: January is a very long month, and we abide by the Dave Ramsey Envelope System so our budget recycles at the beginning of each month. For the last week we've been scraping the bottom of those envelopes with nothing but white staring back at us. But today, yes today, there will be green! Don't get me wrong, I love the system. It gives me peace of mind and is helping us toward financial goals, but sometimes when the days are dwindling down and I've made pasta for dinner three days straight I get impatient. And this month we had a coffee crisis: We ran out of beans with three whole days left in the month!
I shiver at the thought of three cold mornings with no warm coffee. But then, eureka. I found a bag of coffee a friend had given us a couple months back. The only problem? It was fine ground. The only sort of coffee maker we have in our home is a french press, which requires coarse ground beans to work. And then I remembered a gift my sister Lindsey had given Sean for Christmas. It was a single cup ceramic coffee dripper. Let me tell you, it made a pretty fine cup of coffee. I had never used one myself but had seen them used when we visited the Blue Bottle Coffee Co. in Brooklyn. In fact, these things are becoming pretty popular in more specialty coffee shops. It still uses the drip coffee method, only you heat the water yourself and pour it directly over the grounds and into the cup so there are no nasty heating mechanisms to scorch it. Blue bottle actually has a great tutorial for it on their site.
Blue Bottle in Brooklyn. Photo by Will Steacy for
So thanks, Linds, for saving me from many a cold, coffee-less morning. I'm sure we'll continue to use our beloved french press for sharing coffee, but the dripper is a nice little addition to the family, especially when you're craving that mid-day cup but don't want to brew a whole pot. It's simple, easy-to-use, and makes a tasty cup of joe. -hil
p.s.- Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning for a very special preview of the Etsy shop! See you then!