Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chile-Cheese Bread

Even though the weather is getting warmer (at least for the most part), I find myself craving chili and hearty dishes. It must be all the rain because other days I'm all about the bbq. Spring sure is strange like that. For those days when you want a bowl of something comforting to warm your bones, this quick bread is the perfect compliment. For me it's kind of like a fancy biscuit with a bit more flavor. If you're turned off by spicy dishes, don't let the peppers in this recipe turn you off. Instead of being spicy, the bread is simply flavorful and...warm for lack of a better word. Quite lovely really.

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For this recipe you can use one 8×3 inch loaf pan or a standard cupcake pan like I did here. I didn't have any bell pepper on hand so I skipped it, but it's up to you.

Would I make this again? Yes.

Chile-Cheese Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups AP flour
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
4 oz (1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
3 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno chile, veined and seeded
1/2 cup finely chopped red or orange bell pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease an 8×3 inch loaf pan.

1. Sift together the flour, salt, pepper, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add the cheese and stir until it’s evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

2. Whisk the milk, oil, egg, green chiles, jalapeno, and bell pepper in another bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour the milk mixture in the center. Briefly blend with a spatula, until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is golden-brown, and springs back when touched in the center, about 45-50 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

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Source: Ella Says Opa

Monday, May 30, 2011

Make a Feather Head Piece using a Feather Duster

Making a feather fascinator is pretty straightforward. There are plenty of instructions online and lots of inspiration to be found. This particular tutorial surprised me because of the genius use of feather dusters. I never would of thought of it myself and I just love the idea.



Brilliant.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 19 and 20

A Book that changed your mind about a particular subject (non-fiction): Spinning Straw into Gold: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman's Life by Joan Gould
What’s your favorite fairy tale? Whether it’s “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hansel and Gretel,” or another story, your answer reveals something significant about you, your experiences, and your soul. In this penetrating book, Joan Gould brings to the surface the hidden meanings in fairy tales and myths, and illuminates what they can tell you about the stages in your own life. As Gould explores the transformations that women go through from youth to old age–leaving home and mother, the first experience of sexuality, the surprising ambivalence of marriage, the spiritual work required by menopause and aging–her keen observations will enrich your awareness of your inner life.

Full of archetypal figures known to us all, Spinning Straw into Gold also includes stories from the lives of ordinary women that clarify the insights to be gained from the beloved tales that have been handed down from one generation to the next.
Even though this book is only one interpretation of fairy tales, it completely changed my outlook on the entire genre. I always kind of considered fairy tales to be sexist and while I still think there are sexist elements to fairy tales, I'm much more open minded now then I once was. What I always considered to be one way is open to interpretation thanks to this book. I love it when that happens.

A Book you would recommend to an ignorant/racist/closed minded person: Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
by Julia Serano
A provocative manifesto, Whipping Girl tells the powerful story of Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist. Serano shares her experiences and observations — both pre- and post-transition — to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.

Serano's well-honed arguments stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. She exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is frivolous, weak, and passive, and how this “feminine” weakness exists only to attract and appease male desire.

In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality, Serano makes the case that today's feminists and transgender activist must work to embrace and empower femininity — in all of its wondrous forms.
A lot of books can go here, but I think this one kills two birds with one stone. In the end though, any book that challenges your current worldview is a good choice.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies with Chocolate Chips

When I saw a recipe for Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip-Bacon Cookies in my food magazine, I knew I had to give the somewhat strange combination a try. I'd been meaning to toss some bacon into my desserts, but I'd just never got around to it till last night. I ended up using a much more simple recipe that turned out to be so fricken good. While I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter and my boyfriend isn't into sweet and salty treats (blasphemy I know), but we both loved these cookies. I think it might be the combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar, but cookies themselves are so good. Add bacon and chocolate to the mix and you've got a winner.

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This recipe only has six ingredients (including the bacon and chocolate chips) and doesn't include any flour or butter. My only tip with this dish is to make sure you don't overcook your bacon. My bacon was pretty crunchy and some parts were a bit hard to chew in the cookie. Next time I'll take the bacon out of the pan a minute earlier then I normally would to see if that helps. This recipe should give you 15-16 cookies.

Would I make this again? Sorry what was that? I was too busy stuffing my face. Nom nom nom...

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies with Chocolate Chips


Ingredients:

1 cup all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and dices
handful of chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. In a skillet over medium high heat, fry up bacon until cooked through and let cool on paper towels until cool enough to dice. Dice up and set aside.

2. Grease a baking sheet with butter and set aside. In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes. Fold in cooked bacon.

3. Roll into large walnut sized balls and create a cris-cross pattern with a fork. If you’d like, roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before making the cris-cross pattern.

4. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to… your mouth.

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Source: adapted from Joy the Baker

Friday, May 27, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 16, 17 and 18

Favorite book turned movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley--a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all of that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry--and anyone who reads about him--will find unforgettable.

For it's there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him...if Harry can survive the encounter
I thought about putting Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates here, but in the end the Harry Potter movies are just too magical (if you're interested I reviewed Revolutionary Road here). I actually saw the movies before I decided to read the books. That's how great the movies are. Now, are the movies as good as the books? Of course not. But they capture the magic and awe of the books in a way that made the books come alive. The question really is how can I give any other answer?


Book turned movie and completely desecrated: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift-an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"-the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.
I did a full review of both the movie and the book here, but I was completely disappointed by the movie. While the book had this almost haunting quality about it, the movie was much more expected. The real gem of the book isn't the story. It isn't the characters or the overall idea. It's the writing. For large sections of the book there isn't even any dialogue. All of the characters around Grenouille are flat and lifeless for a specific purpose. This is the story of a murderer. Not a sympathetic man who makes mistakes or the beautiful women he hunts. We are supposed to be revolted by Grenouille and the movie didn't capture that.

A Book You can’t find on shelves anymore that you love: Company K by William March
This book was originally published in 1933. It is the first novel by William March, pen name for William Edward Campbell. Stemming directly from the author’s experiences with the U.S. Marines in France during World War I, the book consists of 113 sketches, or chapters, tracing the fictional Company K’s war exploits and providing an emotional history of the men of the company that extends beyond the boundaries of the war itself.

William Edward Campbell served courageously in France as evidenced by his chestful of medals and certificates, including the Croix de Guerre, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Navy Cross. However, without the medals and citations we would know of his bravery. For it is clear in the pages of Company K that this book was written by a man who had been to war, who had clearly seen his share of the worst of it, who had somehow survived, and who had committed himself afterward to the new bravery of sense-making embodied in the creation of major literary art. It is of that bravery that we still have the record of magnificent achievement, the brave terrible gift of Company K.
I wasn't sure how to answer this question, but Company K was the first book that came to mind. Though it can still be easily ordered, I almost never see it on bookstore shelves. I had a teacher that read parts of this book to my class and it really impacted my youth. The most moving chapter in this book for me was “The Unknown Soldier.” It is about the thoughts going througha soldier’s head as he lies dying, trapped in barb wire. Campbell is basically giving a voice to that soldier and why it is he's unknown. It's just incredible and everyone should seek it out.

Pre-School Graduation

Cross-posted

Mr. Holden graduated pre-school yesterday. His class sang a few songs and they had a little graduation ceremony. It was all very cute. Holden struggled with some things during the year, but he ended on a high note. I'm very proud of my little monster.

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The side-by-side picture is Holden on the first and last day of school. It doesn't seem like it was long ago when school started, but he looks so little on the left. It's crazy.

Now I got to find a bunch of things to do during the summer so neither of us go crazy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Music Thursday


New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

You Could Be Happy by Snow Patrol:



I've never been a fan of Snow Patrol but this song is lovely.

I'm On One by DJ Khaled (ft. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne):



Reckless Serenade by Arctic Monkeys:



Clever Creatures by The Cave Singers:



Night By Night by Chromeo (NEUS Dubstep Remix):



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Heartbreaker (what I wore) and a Hello!

Hello new readers! Imagine my surprise when I logged in this morning to see so many new subscribers. Welcome to my little corner of the interwebs and I hope you enjoy your stay!

It's been a long time since I've done a "what I wore" post. Being busy with school put it pretty low on my list of priorities, but the warm weather and a new dress made me bust out the tripod and take far too many pictures of myself. All the green outside is making me ridiculously happy. Winters aren't particularly harsh in Utah, but they sure are long.

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Dress - F21
White shirt - Walmart
Harness belt - DIY
Thigh highs - Target
Sock garters - DIY
Shoes - Payless

When I saw this dress on Forever 21's website I drove down the mall that day. Even though I don't prefer sleeveless...well sleeveless anything, the heart print and peter pan collar had me at first glance. Luckily a white shirt I got at walmart works perfectly.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 13, 14 and 15

I abandoned this book challenge back in September, but I've decided to go ahead and finish it. It's just one of those days where I want to talk about books and think about the ones I love. Not being able to read much this semester has made me a bit sentimental it seems.

Favorite childhood book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, Lois Ehlert (Illustrator)
The 26 characters in this rhythmic, rhyming baby book are a lowercase alphabet with attitude. "A told b, and b told c, 'I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree'"--which probably seemed like a good idea until the other 23 members of the gang decided to follow suit. Lois Ehlert's chunky block illustrations show the luxuriant green palm standing straight and tall on the first page, but it begins to groan and bend under its alphabetical burden. First the coconuts fall off, then ("Chicka chicka... BOOM! BOOM!") all the letters also end up in a big heap underneath. A very simple board-book version stops there, but this original text goes on to introduce the helping hands of the 26 uppercase "mamas and papas and uncles and aunts."
What's not to love about this book? I love it still.

Book that should be on hs/college required reading lists: I honestly don't know how to answer this question. People should read whatever they want. By forcing kids to read books we've deemed to be good I think a lot of teens associate reading with being a chore. I always preferred the assignment where I got to pick my own book. Yeah I'd like kids to read more diverse characters, but as long as they're reading something I'm happy.

Favorite book dealing with foreign culture: The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry by J.D. McClatchy
From Pablo Neruda to Derek Walcott to Bei Dao, this lavish anthology showcases verse by 83 of the world's greatest contemporary poets. J.D. McClatchy, editor of The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry, has selected masterpieces from four continents and two dozen languages, translated by such distinguished poets as Elizabeth Bishop, W.S. Merwin, Ted Hughes, and Seamus Heaney.
This may seem like an odd choice, but this book has really showed me so much. Though there are definitely some holes in this anthology, you can learn so much by just reading the poems and short little biographies in this book. We used this in my International lit class and it changed my opinion about poetry completely.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ribs with Big Daddy Rub

As I get older I realize there are a lot of foods I thought I didn't like until I had them cooked in a way that made me realize I actually kind of love them. (I think vegetables are this way for a lot of people.) Ribs are a good example of this. Most of the ribs I've had have been burnt with little meat. Plus I don't really like eating meat off the bone so I just avoided them the same way I avoid canned spinach. These ribs have completely changed my opinion forever though. Flavorful and meaty, these ribs had us swooning in their sweet but spicy flavor. The rub in this recipe is seriously amazing. We use it on everything now it seems (drumsticks are particularly good).

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This recipe calls for St. Louis style ribs, but since I'm not a butcher I had no idea what that meant. A quick google search and twenty minutes later I knew more about ribs then I ever thought I would. Apparently St. Louis style ribs are spare ribs that have been cut into a more uniform shape. If you can't find St. Louis style ribs, then you can simple make your own by just trimming spare ribs.

Here's a video that explains it well:



I know it can be a pain to do something like this yourself, but I did it and it's really not that hard. Spare ribs are also like a dollar a pound cheaper then St. Louis style ribs and you'll get some boneless meat in the process as well.

Would I make this again? Definitely. I can't wait to have a big bbq and bust these babies out.

This recipe also comes with an Apple Cider Buttermilk Dipping Sauce. I didn't make it myself, but you can find the recipe here if you're interested. I think I'll give it a try next time though.


Ribs with Big Daddy Rub

Ingredients:

5 pounds St. Louis style ribs
2 cups Big Daddy Rub, recipe follows
2 liters cola (recommended: Coca-Cola)
4 cups water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Rub ribs with 1 cup Big Daddy Rub until evenly coated on both sides. Allow ribs to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Place ribs in 2 large roasting pans and cover with the cola and water. Cover with foil and cook in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove ribs from oven and allow to cool. Slice ribs into individual-size pieces.

3. In a large bowl, toss ribs with another 1 cup of rub until well coated. Spread ribs out on a sheet tray and bake in the oven for an additional 20 minutes until caramelized.

Big Daddy Rub:

I cut this amount in half and I still had plenty left over.

3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons hot chili powder
2 tablespoons cayenne
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

In a medium sized bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined.

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Source: Aaron McCargo

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Music Thursday


New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

Where We Went Wrong by The Hush Sound:



What Happened to Us by Jessica Mauboy (feat Jay Sean):



This is the type of song my sister would totally be into.

Cadenza by the Dutch Uncles:



Click, Click, Click, Click by Bishop Allen:



Ring The Alarm by FU-Schnickens:



This song is old as hell but I never knew who performed it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Palettes of Great Artists

I have like a thousand posts sitting my drafts that I've ignored for far to long. Okay, maybe not a thousand but definitely too many. Here's a picture of different famous artists palettes that I thought was really interesting. It's surprising how something so simple can be so inspiring.

Palettes of great artists: (clockwise from top left) Eugene Delacroix, Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Degas, and Paul Gauguin.

You can see more here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

TwinGeeks Artz Project Week 7 Submission

Here's my latest submission for the TwinGeeks Artz Project. I made this picture last week:

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I was inspired by this photo of Bolivian street graffiti (via):

La Paz, Bolivia- “The government pisses on us and the press says it’s raining.”

It's ridiculously simple and it feels like something I would have done in high school (when I thought I was oh so clever), but I like it. I have no idea why I changed "press" for "media." I actually like "press" more but I didn't realize I'd changed it until after I was finished. I could still change it but I doubt I will. I'm pretty lazy about these sorts of things.

And as always, feel free to hop on over and see what everyone else came up with this week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Best Ever Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of those dishes that everyone seems to be particular about. For me, mustard and dill pickle are a must. I also love celery for the added crunch. So while this recipe is called "Best Ever Potato Salad," I realize it may not be the best for some people. For me though, this recipe is one of those golden recipes where you feel like you'll never make the dish any other way. Seriously, this potato salad is majorly yummy.

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The original recipe called for red bell pepper, but I swapped it out for some dill pickle. I was also weary about the Dijon mustard since I'm not a big fan, but I think it's perfect here. I don't use red potatoes either. Instead I usually use baking potatoes (Idaho or Russets). You just got to make sure you don't overcook them. In the end you'll end up with something perfect though. The sugar adds a sweet balance and the bacon adds a hint of smokiness that gives the potato salad extra deliciousness.

Would I make this again?
Oh yes. It's my go-to recipe for now on.

Best Ever Potato Salad

Ingredients:

4 cups cubed baking potatoes
10 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 large dill pickle (or 2-3 small), chopped

Directions:

1. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, being careful not to overcook. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.

3. In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, salt, and reserved bacon drippings. Whisk to combine.

4. Add the potatoes, eggs, celery, onion and pickle to the dressing and gently stir to evenly coat. Stir in the bacon.

5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

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Source: Brown Eye Baker

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Removable Shoe Elastics with Bows DIY

I have a pair of simple black patent pumps that are about half a size too big. I've tried every different technique to make them fit, but at the end of the day they just won't stay on. After seeing some shoes with elastic bands around them, I realized I'd found a simple solution. Then I saw these shoes and realized a bow was a must have:

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You can use store bought bows to make this project even easier, but you can also leave them off or use something else you like (flowers for example). This project is almost exactly like my Bow Ring tutorial, but instead of attaching the bow to a ring base you attach the bow to some elastic. I decided to use a matching material, but something contrasting could also be really interesting.

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Removable Shoe Elastics with Bows

Supplies:

Some material
Glue (I used hot glue)
Needle and thread
Elastic

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Directions:
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1. Cut out two strips of fabric. (Use a piece of painters tape as a guide if you want it to be straight.) Your bow will be half the size of the strip you cut so the length is really up to you. I prefer mine on the large side.

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2. Cut the corners off of both sides. This will get rid of some of the excess fabric and make the bow lie more smoothly. It doesn’t have to be perfect since you won’t see it. Put a small bit of glue in the center and fold both sides to meet in the middle. You’re gonna want to be careful with the amount of glue you use since hot glue is really rigid when it dries and can make it difficult to get your bow shaped properly. Then glue your folded piece to the center of your other strip of fabric.

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3. Pinch your strip into a bow shape. If you want you can place little dabs of glue into the folds on both the front and back to hold it in place. Since my bow is a bit bigger, I used a needle and thread instead. This just gives me more flexibility. Then you’ll want to run a small line of glue down the center of the smaller strip and wrap it around the bow.

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Alternatively, you could use a small hair elastic instead of the needle and thread.

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4. Cut your second strip of fabric into points or just straight lines. Whatever you want. You can even leave them off if you aren't fond of them. I tried both and I preferred them myself.

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5. Measure and cut two pieces of elastic. Sew the ends together with the needle and thread. I'd recommend also adding a little hot glue to make sure things are super secure.

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6. Glue your bows to the elastic. I found it easiest to put the elastic around my arm and glue the bow on that way. You want to make sure the elastic is stretched when you glue on your bow.

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And there you have it. Slide them over your shoes and you're good to go. No more worrying about your heels falling off! Yay!

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Free Vintage Paper Placemats Printable

I stumbled across these adorable placement printables courtesy of the Pretty Blog. I just love the whimsical feel of them.


I thought it might be nice to laminate the placemats, but I think the idea of using iron on transfers for fabric placemats or napkins is especially great.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Music Thursday


New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

When You Know by Puggy:



Opposite Of Adults by Chiddy Bang:



Lazy Eye by Silversun Pickups:



I'm pretty sure I've heard this song before, but I didn't know who it was and I'd forgotten all about it.

Look To The East by Telekinesis:



Blue Blood by Foals: