30 November 2009

Banner Day! with ModernJune

Oh, happy day! It's banner day again! And I am so excited to feature a long-time Etsy 'favorite shop': ModernJune. The festivities begin at this kitschy site banner:

What a great start, right? But the cute doesn't stop there. Owner/blogger/tweeter/homeschooler and all-around cool SAHM, Virginian Kelly McCants has been sewing for 20+ years and selling on Etsy since 2006 "as a simple creative outlet for a semi-desperate housewife." Indeed! Kelly sews the things that we all use - or need to use - everyday: aprons, chalkmats, tablecloths, pillows, splat mats, and totes. And her banners - from celebratory to the 'happy holiday' varieties - are sweet and sturdy, made from oilcloth to "brave summer showers" or maybe even wisps of winter whiteness! Have a gander:

4th of July Party Banner - Bunting - Pendants   Chalk and Oilcloth Party Banners by Modern June   OIlcloth Christmas Banners by Modern June---Large
Aren't they wonderful?

In fact, as soon as I post this, I'm packing up the laptop and turning to my sewing machine. Guess who just got a package of oilcloth from Kelly? *grins sheepishly* Time to make the oilcloth stocking for the stocking competition at
the Grey Colt! Wish me luck! (Or if you're in town on 2 December, stop by the shop. Katie Coulton and her crew always host a wonderful event for charity.)

TTFN, lovelies! And make it a banner day! tIO x

PS  Want more of Kelly and ModernJune? Find her 
here: http://modernjune.com/ and at her Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/modernjune and blogging here: http://modernjune.blogspot.com/ and here: http://oilclothaddict.blogspot.com/ and on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Modern-June/119464333979 and on twitter here: @modernjune. (She knows her social media!)

29 November 2009

Deck the Halls!

We went tree-hunting today. Huzzah! We have the best time, and the best luck, finding amazing trees at Wintergreen Tree Farm in Mantua. It's a short drive (approx 20 minutes) and their acres and acres of fraser firs make it unbeatable. Wintergreen is a no-fuss operation; parking is adequate and someone meets you at your cardoor with a saw. Then, they turn you loose into the wilds. (Perhaps it's due to the fact that we have sons but watching boot-clad, wind-chapped boys trudging through the fields is pure joy for me. And don't fret; liberal application of face cream will occur at bedtime.)

I didn't take any photos whilst there - silly me. But we quickly found five contenders, each one full and dense and with a sturdy 'topper' branch to brace the star. And we were home within the hour with this beauty:

As soon as the bale was off, our younger son hugged our "this-year tree" and our older son promptly sat-down at the piano to play some carols.

'Tis the season, lovelies! Hope you and yours enjoy this "most wonderful time of the year"!

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon! tIO x

26 November 2009


I'm thankful for many things. And that I was introduced to this book when my older son was one:

squanto book cover

Buy it at your local bookshop, or online at 

Be thankful to be able to read, and support your
local chapter of

Pun intended.

Gobble, gobble.

25 November 2009

Good Gravy!

With Thanksgiving upon us, I feel the need to share: I am enamored with gravy boats, also known as saucieres. In fact, any vessel with a spout, really, will capture my attention. Here are some beauties:

Match Pewter gravy boat, available at Manor Home & Gifts 

Polka Dot Gravy Boat & Saucer
Emma Bridgewater "Polka Dot" gravy boat, available at Joanne Hudson Basics

19thC Tiffany Repousse Sterling Silver gravy boat, available through GoAntiques.com

Spode Stafford White Sauce Boat 16 ounce and Stand
Spode 'Stafford White' sauce boat and plate, available online at The Kitchen Clique

Product Image Royal White Gravy Boat
The 'Royal White Gravy Boat', available at Target stores and online

I hope these were inspiring; I can't wait to fill our 'boats' tomorrow!
That's all for now, lovelies. Enjoy your Thanksgiving! And know that I am thankful for you.

Today's conundrum: My mother, with the broken shoulder, is bringing seven pies to the meal tomorrow. Seven. Is she seriously baking from scratch today? And if so, how does one roll crust with the use of only one arm?

Future conundrum: Will this be the year that we get through
Squanto and the football game without anyone falling asleep?

PS  A 'spouted vessel' bonus for your (or perhaps just my) enjoyment:
   "Tuscan pitcher" from Southern Living at Home
MELAMINE MIXING BOWLSRed melamine mixing bowls from Nigella

Happy Thanksgiving! *tIO x

24 November 2009

Banner Day! with Lupin

Hot off the blogpresses! Today's 'banner day' is courtesy of the lovely Laura Howard, a tea-drinking, cake-eating artisan who "wants to fill the world with felt loveliness," as she states on her facebook fan page. And yes, if it wasn't obvious already, I am a fan. Elsewhere, she can be found stocking her wonderful Etsy shop, Lupin; hosting her blog, Bugs and Fishes; and tweeting here: @bugsandfishes.

Laura's post from today -
"How To: Advent Garland" - was too fabulous (and simple) to not share with you all. Please click-through the previous link for her tutorial.

Time to pile the boys into the Q7 and go 'supply hunting'. (I have to make it sound adventurous and possibly dangerous as they are boys. And I love it when they are excited about shopping - whatever the reason!)

Have a banner day!

PS: Some snaps from Laura's 
Lupin shop:

2 Christmas Pudding Ornaments   Fox, felt brooch   Little Robin ornament

I may or may not have already purchased these. Perhaps last year even. And perhaps with a sweet blue adonis butterfly brooch as well. 'Tis the season! tIO x

18 November 2009

Finding Inspiration

Have you ever flicked through a magazine and encountered "the room"? The one that ticks the boxes and makes your heart beat a bit faster? That stays in your mind for years?

Mine was featured in the November 2003 
Elle Decor, and technically is two adjacent rooms. And every time I have a design decision to make for my own home, these rooms come to mind: lacquered walls, coffered ceiling, fabric wallpaper, extended wainscoting, round table, covered chairs, painted cornicing, mouldings, and trim. And those floors.

Detail of the dining room

It almost makes me swoon. But I'm studying everything too intently to do that. The rooms were designed by the immanently talented Ellen Hamilton, president of 
Hamilton Design Associates in New York.
Even the shop front is clever and creative.

While the two rooms above hooked me, it was the designer's personality - and her shop windows originally full of Cath Kidston fabrics - that solidified my adoration. She seems thoughtful and gracious. And she carries a Bean tote:

Thank you for these gorgeous rooms, Ellen. My design fantasies are richer now - and include this beauty from you as well:

Because who doesn't want a treehouse?

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

PS: When you click-through to the Hamilton Design Associates site, be sure to read Ellen's description of the room she designed for the Hampton Designer Showhouse 2009, too. tIOx

All images in this post from Hamilton Designs Associates, 2009.

16 November 2009

Banner Day! with NottyPooch

Today's banner comes to us from the clever and crafty Etsy shop of NottyPooch:

Based in Penang, Malaysia, Huey and Wah are the two owners of NottyPooch design and own two naughty pooches, Xiao Bi and Coco, the shop's namesakes. They are also responsible for all of the cleverness and craftiness that results in their "eco recycled banner accessories and cool tshirts".

Here are some examples of their beautifully transformed banners:

Eco Recycled Banner Sleeve - MacBook / MacBook Pro 13-inch No. 3 <-- a sleeve for Macbook  
Eco Recycled Banner Casing - iPhone 3G / iPod touch / iPod No. 1 <-- an iPhone case

Eco Recycled Billboard Banner Casual Tote No. 2 <-- a casual tote  
CLEARANCE Eco Recycled Billboard Banner Long Wallet No. 6 <-- a long wallet

Clever and crafty, right? In production on Etsy since early 2008, the duo can also be found tending to their blog: 
http://www.nottypooch.com/mydogdiary/, fanning their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/nottypooch, and following (and being followed) on twitter: @nottypooch.

With their backgrounds in the fine arts, passion for life, and commitment to producing great, practical accessories in eco-friendly materials, NottyPooch provides us all with another fun "reason to be unique". Two paws up for that! And for the free international shipping!

Toddling off to the antiques shops now, lovelies, to do some recycling and eco-friendly shopping of my own. Make it a banner day!

11 November 2009

He was called "Robbie"...

...by his friends, of which he had many. Some of whom he left behind in the South Pacific in the 1940s.

My great-uncle was born 100 years ago today. It is a pleasure and an honor to remember him and his commitment to God, family, and country. He captured the joy of life as fully as anyone I have ever known - until my sons were born and he told me: "Those are a couple of pretty happy little guys!" Good genes, I replied.

Here he is, on the right, at the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. less than a year before his death:

Aug 18, 2004- Glenn Robinson (right) stands by the Ohio Pillar at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. Robinson, a Findlay, Ohio resident, was stationed overseas in New Guinea during the war.
When I saw the photo, and listened to him recount the journey to the site, I told him: "How wonderful!... But that's a pretty serious expression for you." He replied in his booming bass voice: "Well, now, it was a pretty serious thing."

My great-uncle loved to sing, and always told jokes. But I will never forget that he didn't shy away from my questions about the war, answering them thoughtfully and thoroughly. And always finishing with a recitation of the poem he loved, Rudyard Kipling's "If":

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

Thanks for remembering today; blog you again soon.

10 November 2009

Hello, "Kindle for PC (Beta)"!

(Setting: a well-lighted breakfast table, cluttered with dishes and books. In one of the chairs, our protagonist sits down in front of her laptop. She is dressed comfortably, and is non-plussed with the excited banter about Wii Ski coming from the adjoining room. She opens a tab and begins surfing.)

"Hmm...what's this?" she asks, eyebrow raised, as her amazon homepage flashes it's new banner at her. As she clicks through to find out more about what she's just seen, her mouths goes slack. She frowns slightly, then grins.

"Where did you come from?" she whispers.


OK. I'm not a playwright/screenwriter. But, I did just start using this. It's 
Kindle for PC.
Kindle for PC

And I love it.

First, let me just say: free books! Classics, required reading, and even "recommended resources" - available at the touch of a button. (sigh) A reader's dream. Second, I have an e-reader and can e-read books from my local library, too. But this technology is superior in almost all respects, both with the reader itself and the search engine. Finally, I have the added benefit of reading the amazon readers' reviews, some of which are very insightful and others of which are rather humorous.

As advertised, not all titles are available. For example, can you get 
The Complete Tales of Winnie the PoohThe Invention of Hugo Cabret, and The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler?

Well, no; not yet. But I "recommended to the publisher(s)" that they be formatted for the Kindle. The
Narnia books, Black Beauty, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and even the Federalist Papers are available though. And again for little or no cost. While sitting at a computer to read a book is not ideal for me - and won't replace holding a battered-and-beloved copy of Pride & Prejudice in my hands, it does provide another option in my quest to be never too far from the books I adore (or have to read). And I like options. So now, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin awaits. And I have miles to go before I sleep. Which reminds me: Frost is available, too.

(Still at the breakfast table, our protagonist finishes typing her post. Again, she sighs and smiles at the computer screen.)

"The homeschool will seem a bit brighter and more organized in the morning, I think."

(And she presses the 'publish post' button.)

Today's conundrum: What kind of ROI can I expect on printed books going forward into the digital information age?

Future conundrum: Where did Snapple find "even better stuff"? Or do you prefer an "Orange Whip" as I do?

After re-reading my post, it occurred to me that the books mentioned might be a bit skewed toward younger readers. I will attempt to redress this imbalance, and let you know that many of the recent prize-winning authors (and nominees) are available on Kindle, as are most recent releases, e.g. Juliet, Naked, The Help, The Lost Symbol, and Wolf Hall. Again, many of the classics, e.g. Pride & Prejudice, The Old Man and The Sea, and Shakespeare's plays are available, too. And so are the Harry Potter books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, and Cold Comfort Farm. Hope that helps! tIO

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

09 November 2009

Banner Day! with nestables

As I was scouring sites and shops for banners this week, an odd thing happened: I couldn't find any that caught my eye. I was a bit perplexed. Usually, too many things catch my eye. "I must be ill," I thought. With 'the flu' running rampant, it wouldn't be a stretch. So I carried on, as all mommies (and bloggers) do.

This morning, I circled-back to Etsy. It usually takes me awhile to peruse the amazing offerings - because so many things catch my eye. Within minutes, however, this wonderful shop popped into view:

Let's start with that wonderful shop banner; it had me at 'hello'!

Open since March 2009,
nestables isn't just a shop full of banners and bunting. There are lovely pillow covers, linen napkins, and even custom orders on offer.

And everything looks beautifully made!

Take a gander:

Enchanted Forest Fabric Bunting Banner Flags  Enchanted Forest Fabric Bunting Banner Flags  Volumes Teal Pillow Cover 12x18 Inch Anna Maria Horner  Set of 4 Yellow Birds Cloth Napkins 

Simple but gorgeous. Plus, it's another 'local-to-me', and you know how I feel about that.

Regardless where you live, however, with its fresh fabrics, eye-for-detail, and tasteful style, nestables is the perfect shop to find some feathers for your own nest.

I'm off to 'fluff-and-fold'! Remember to make it a banner day!

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

05 November 2009

Hip, hip...

Jorge! And those wonderful Yankees.
It's another "Banner Day" in the Bronx.
 New York Yankees 2009 World Series Champions Dynasty Banner

The parade through the Canyon begins at 11am on Friday.
See you there.

PS: Happy birthday, John!

03 November 2009

"12 Days of Handmade Christmas"

Before I forget, stop over at the lovely Edie's blog, lifeingrace.

Not only is her blog amazing and inspirational, but she's started the:

12 Days of Handmade Christmas

12 days of tutorials from 12 different guest bloggers. Great ideas all around!

Today is Day 3 and the project is Coasters, courtesy of 4 Reluctant Entertainers. Day 2 featured the Ragamuffin Garland by The Nester. And Darby from Fly Through Our Window started us off on Day 1 with her Dishmat tutorial.

Thread your needles, ink your stamps, and enjoy!

Chicago author strikes again...soon...in May 2010

Who is it? Jen Lancaster, that's who. Visit her blog to find out all the details and pre-order My Fair Lazy today. And, yes, I'm a fan of Ms Lancaster. Swearing and all.
MFL cover
And how great is the cover? It's awesome, that's how great.

(See my posts "Muffy, our book is here""Like totally get on your boots...or clogs", and "Pretty Funny in Plaid" for my most recent musings on Jen's 2009 release, Pretty in Plaid).

Today's conundrum: When the polls close tonight, will you be rejoicing or saving up for a trip to the casino?

Future conundrum: Would you need strong drink or coercion to sing karaoke? Or do you go willingly onto that good stage? Perhaps it is a seasonal activity, e.g. during the holiday parties, etc? (You have "Brandy(You're a Fine Girl)" on the brain now, don't you?)

And now I'm thinking of DCA Karaoke master Peter McDowell. Hi, Peter.

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

02 November 2009

Banner Day! with LoveLetterCollage

It's another Banner Day on tIO! And today's banner comes by way of Jean Cody's wonderful Etsy shop, LoveLetterCollage.

First, I was drawn-in by the medium: gorgeous prints, decorative papers, and old high school yearbooks. (Hmmm... Clever!)
I was hooked, though, when I discovered that Jean would use your own photos to create something special:
MadeWithYourPhotos - Any Words on a Custom Banner - 14 letters - wedding    MadeWithYourPhotos - Any Words on a Custom Banner - 14 letters - wedding

Sweet! (This means, of course, that I have to get my act together and sort out which photos I want to include. Decisions, decisions...)

With her clever cutting and thoughtful choices, these little banners are sure to do just as she says in her profile: "
I hope my work will bring an element of warmth into your home and provide a little nourishment for your senses."

TTFN, kids: Off to start sorting snaps!
And remember to make it a banner day!

Thanks for perusing this blog; blog you again soon!

BANNER BONUS! Also from Jean and coming later this month on


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