Fun Fridays: Fun With the Fishes
My apologies for not being "here" last night — my mother-in-law arrived for a last-minute visit (she'd not seen our home yet). Today, after a much-needed visited to our kinesiologist, we took her to the National Aviary; if you've never been there, it's a fun place to visit, and today was the perfect day to do so. Still, we're back (after we took her to dinner at one of Pittsburgh's yummiest restaurants, Atria's) on our own tonight, the Oktoberfest meal at Atria's being quite heavy, so here I am.

These koi necklaces from Sunny Rising Leather caught my eye at Etsy today, and they were irresistible. Definitely different, each koi is hand-tooled and painted from leather by artist Allisunny. The work on these fish is so lifelike and beautiful - it's realistic and gracefully done, don't you think?

The black koi double strand necklace boasts not just a black koi, but tourmaline and czech glass beads, all suspended from a double strand of sterling silver chain. $72. We've also got the strawberry dessert koi with white beads, hanging on a double strand of vintage brass chain. With her peachy-red tones, this fish comes very close to the real-life colours of a koi. $68. (Of the two, I must admit that the black is my favourite.)

I hope everyone has a marvellous weekend!

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Change of Mood, Change of Bag

Fall approacheth, ladies. Monday is October 1. Most of us can get away with summer-wear and behaviour in September, because it's still warm (even hot - it was over 90 here yesterday), muggy, and the nights luxuriously comfortable enough that we can sleep with the windows open and just a sheet on the bed.

Sadly, this will not last much longer. I give us another week or so of this, then a cold snap, then Indian summer, then - winter. *sigh*

While I personally bemoan summer's desertion, there are benefits - like the rich colours and patterns fashion adopts from nature. This reversible tote, for instance: it's made of a deep chocolate canvas, and hand-screen printed with goldenrod-toned flowers on one side and starbursts on the other. Turquoise topstitching lends a little extra punch (fall needn't mean drab, after all), and the cut of this bag is wonderful - you'll be able to wear it over your shoulder, even over a jacket, while you lug a pumpkin or apples and cider up to the cash register.

The bag is, again, reversible, so you can wear whichever print catches your fancy, and it's a good-sized tote, too, at 11.5 inches wide and 14 inches tall. $45 and handmade with love by Kaybu, where you'll find several other totes, pretty reversible headbands, and screen-printed tees.


Deal of the Week

Linda Trent has been making and selling her beautiful, artistic jewelry for some time, and it's a pleasure to peruse her site just to see what she's been up to. From her mountainside home in California, she brings us these simple brushed silver drop earrings. As she suggests, these are classics that will go with everything, and I don't doubt her for a moment when she says you'll be reaching for them regularly, like your favourite jeans, most snuggly sweater, or the familiar ease of your "I'm just bumming around the house tonight with my favourite book and a mug of hot cocoa/cup of ice cream/preferred wine" jammies.

For $40, you're going to get a lot of mileage out of these earrings - and since it's Linda's 10th anniversary and she's giving away $25 gift certificates with every order this week, good toward your next purchase from her shop. Thus, you're really getting these earrings for just $15. Quite a deal, don't you think?

Now, if you like something at Linda's, I highly suggest you buy it right away, having loved and lost things I've seen on her site before because I figured I'd wait (or give hints to my dear husband). Fortunately, she's always coming up with beautiful new designs, so you're certain to find something else you like just as much, if not more.


Pretty Pleated-Hem Skirt

My apologies to the blogger who initially mentioned this skirt as an item she loved today - if it's you, drop me a line and I'll amend the situation immediately. In the meantime, we can all still enjoy this sweet, perfect for autumn skirt from Beth Whitcomb. Available in waist sizes from 25 - 31 inches (sizes 0 to 12, but size descriptions other than actual numbers are painfully arbitrary, don't you think?), this $32 cotton-blend skirt has a very pretty and feminine pleat ruffle along the hem. It's fitted in the hips and flares out just a bit at the bottom, which flatters just about every figure.

Topped off by a snuggly sweater or cami with a jacket or fitted cardigan, this skirt can go just about anywhere, from the office to the cider mill to date night.

Have a wonderful evening!


Fun Fridays: It's That Time of Year Again

Last night, darling Hubby came home with a surprise - tickets to see my beloved Red Wings play a preseason game versus the hapless PIttsburgh Penguins this weekend. Hockey is not his favourite sport - he's a baseball and football man - so I truly appreciate the sacrifice he's made for me (he'll watch a little horse racing with me on big race days as well). Therefore, I thought it would be quite apropos to feature something octopus-themed, as octopi and the mighty Wings have a history going way back. Had I known we were going sooner, I'd have made another octopi to toss onto the ice in Pittsburgh - it's not unusual to see cephalopods hitting the ice even at away games.

This cute octopus pendant seems to fit the bill, as he's holding a heart out to you, doing his best to charm you into making him your very own. One-of-a-kind and hand-sculpted, he dangles from your neck — or your rearview mirror, cubicle wall, over the sink, or wherever you like — via a ball chain. $28 from Texas' own Lucy Blue Studio.

I can't guarantee I won't be doing more octopus-themed nights, because I really am a Wings fan. ;)

Have a marvellous weekend!

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Origami Earrings

These origami earrings from LeeLoo Studio are perfect for everyday wear if classic diamonds, pearls, or hoops just aren't for you. Pretty but with a hint of funky, they'll spice up your wardrobe without being too flashy or getting in your way (chandelier earrings are beautiful, but not exactly practical for running to the supermarket, taking the kids to school/football/ballet/piano/swim, or prepping for a major meeting). Handmade with origami paper affixed to sterling silver posts with clear resin, they're $20 a pair, and entirely customizable - there are 18 different design choices! LeeLoo will make a ring, pendant, or brooch to match your choice of style or colour.

There is a lot of wonderful jewelry at Lee Loo Studio, all made with silver, gold, precious and semiprecious stones, and other unique materials. This limited-edition leaf pendant is one of my favourites, and this cute tricolour geometric circle ring reminds me of my little sister. :)

Have a wonderful evening! Is it just me, or did this week fly by?

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Autumn Exotic

Isn't this a beautiful bag? The orange and blue are a great combination (very popular right now, too), but I especially like the combination of stripes with that exotic, rather ethnic print on top. This $23 bag, handmade by Jillyd Bags, is 7.5" high, 11.25" wide and has sturdy shoulder straps that will be sure to withstand whatever you put inside this divided-pocket bag. In addition to the great colours and prints, the clean, simple lines of this bag are so lovely - and when it comes to bold prints like these, simple lines in the finished product are essential. It closes with a magnetic snap, so all of your goodies are kept inside safe and sound but without a tie or flap that would distract from the chic modernity of this bag.

For those of you in my home state of Michigan, Jillyd Bags will be at a craft show this Saturday in Zeeland, Michigan, at Zeeland Christian School from 9-3. (Y'all know I love supporting hometown folks.)

At $23, it's a real steal, and Jillyd has many gorgeous bags in her shop for all tastes and at really affordable prices for such pretty bags, too. Happy browsing!

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Peacoat Perfection
Well, you simply can't look me in the eye and tell me this isn't one of the prettiest wool peacoats you ever did see, can you? This vintage coat is an original from the 60s, made by Peabody House in London. Colour aside, I just adore the gorgeous cut of the snuggly-looking outerwear: the way it sort of flares along the seam, a very femininely tailored look, and of course that fabulous collar. The big buttons follow the seamline, drawing your eye to what is a very sleek-looking, elegant coat - one with a sparkle of whimsy thanks to its yellow plaid.

I'd say this would fit a small to medium lass - it has 36"-36" bust and waist measurements, is 40" long, and the sleeves are 24". It is another auction from eBay seller Kashute: the auction ends Monday, the 24th, and the bidding starts at $49.99. Good luck!

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Etsy Star!

The Intuitive Garden is today's featured Etsy artist (in fact, it may be all this week), and one quick spin through her shop easily tells you why this honour has been bestowed upon the artist. From the initial idea and drawing to the final steps of physical creation, everything at Intuitive Garden is clearly fashioned with passion, and beautifully so at that.

This Lovey Dovey pendant necklace falls somewhere between whimsical and lovely, with a bright red heart floating above the head of a dove's silhouette. The pendant itself is actually made from a photograph printed onto durable, "nearly indestructible" plastic and hangs from an 18" sterling silver-plated snake chain. I like the subtle texture of the pendant - kind of sandy, if that makes any sense; it adds interest and depth to the piece. Very sweet and charming, don't you think? Great for everyday wear or as a gift to a friend - or, if you're a gentleman with an interest in a wonderful lady, this might be a fine way to express your feelings.

$17 at The Intuitive Garden.

Have a wonderful night!

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Fun Fridays: Roar Into The Weekend

Another upcycled goodie for you this Friday, and one with major cute factor besides. This vintage skirt has been jazzed up with a handmade, upcycled-fabric lion's head applique for a funky fabulousness you're going to love wearing (side note: how cute would this be if it had Remmy's face on it? I may do that, just to freak out the family). Additionally, the colours - a rich brown, the golden lion face, the peachy-orange nose and navy mane - are great for fall. The cut and drape is very flattering, and you can add a belt if you'd like, too.

Wouldn't this skirt look wonderful paired with a pair of brown tall boots and a snuggly turtleneck, or maybe a fitted long-sleeved tee? Even a camisole - perhaps the gold, the peach, or a light tan, like the lion's button eyes - topped with a fitted denim jacket. That would be darling.

The skirt is from Aorta and just $28. It fits a 28"-32" waist and 40" hips, and it's definitely one of a kind.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Pretty Rich - For Just $10

Oh, this is beautiful, isn't it? Little Red Birdie offers this lovely and sophisticated zipper pouch, made from a re-purposed skirt. At 7.25 x 4, it's perfect for storing your makeup kit, your cash & driver's license as a wallet, to hold business cards or special jewelry on a trip, and of course - the first thing I thought of when I spied it - a clutch for a formal gathering. The colours are rich and the embroidery makes it so feminine and sweet - and for just $10, what's not to love?


We're In! And, of course, pretty stuff.
Well, I'm a few days late, but we're pretty much settled into our new home. The upstairs isn't done - we need to put up another coat of mud then primer before painting - but thankfully, all of that heavy furniture is up there, courtesy of the movers I convinced Hubby to hire (Two Men and a Truck, if you're curious, and they did a marvellous job and were fun to boot). Remmy has settled in quite well, and he particularly enjoys following me down into the basement, an area of the home which holds great interest for him. So much so, in fact, that upon emerging from the cool cavern below, his famously white paws are nearly black with dust from all the exploring!

My studio is also nearly wrapped up. The Behr Honeydew paint has gotten rave reviews from everyone, the movers included, but best of all it makes me feel refreshed, cheerful, and creative. Much better than the back corner of an apartment!

The second bedroom is still a shambles - boxes, artwork waiting for walls to be painted and chosen, my bow and arrows carefully tucked into a corner - but things are beginning to look normal. Bonus? We got a 10% off coupon from Home Depot and Lowe's just for changing our address. That's going to help with the paint (earlier, HD gave us a 20% off $200 or more, and that saved us a real bundle on the drywall and related supplies, believe me). I'm not so stuck-up that 10% isn't worth taking advantage of, thank you. Particularly when we need about...ohhhh...ten to fifteen gallons of paint.

So, on to the cute, which is the reason we're all here, right? It's difficult for me to adjust to the idea of autumn. Summer is always too short, especially in the North where I'm from (Detroit) and the northeast...er...well, the climate we're in now here in beautiful West Virginia (it is SO pretty here). Also, the bright and sherbet-y colours of summer have always been my favourites to wear and decorate with. Granted, hockey season is about to start, as is the 2008 Triple Crown trail, but cold isn't my thing.

Still, fall is when we pull out the snuggly sweaters, tailored jackets, the fabulous boots, and the rich jewel tones begin to make their appearances once again. Trees return to a sun-dappled riot of warm colours and I can't help but love it even if it does mean I'll be spending the next six or seven months with frozen bone marrow.

So let's ease into it, shall we? You might have to indulge me in my affection for turquoise and lime and pink, but I'll do my best to start taking note of pretty, fall- and winter-friendly treats (a swishy skirt can be instant winter wear with the right foot and legwear).

Tonight I bring you this colourful shirred skirt from Creativegrrl. It certainly has the fall colours thing going, with golds, greens, yellows, tans, reds and a smattering of pink on an orange background. There's goldenrod trim at the ruffled waist, and it's not hard to imagine the many colours of sweater you can top this with for fall and winter - and in these colours, it's fine for summer wear, too. For winter, you may want to match this up with a black or dark chocolate sweater and boots. Frankly, some will say orange is inappropriate for winter, but winter's depressing and gloomy enough without restricting ourselves to the "approved" dark colours. Ugh. (Be an individual. Everyone will be secretly in awe of you.)

This cutie is listed as saying it will fit a "medium-large size body"; with the shirred waistline, that's probably about right, and it should fit marvellously. The creator has started making and selling these shirred skirts because she loves skirts, loves comfy clothes, and like most of us hates when clothing shrinks or isn't so forgiving after a weekend with friends and lots of delicious food. $28.

Again, I think this is a wonderfully versatile and pretty skirt that offers many options for wearing in addition to being well-priced and very comfy looking. Fashion is so often entirely unreasonable; it's nice to see reasonable clothing that's fashionable, too.

Have a great night, everyone!


Moving In, Moving On...
The move-in to our new home is in full swing now, with Hubby an Dad putting up the drywall in our upper-story master bedroom. The ceiling took longer than they'd expected, so they're a bit behind, but I'll bet they can get it all done tomorrow. Mom and I decided on the colour for the living room as well as the front and garage doors; we also managed to narrow down the choices for the kitchen to three (finding a turquoise paint is much harder than you'd think). My studio is bright and happy in Behr's Honeydew, the hallway is lovely in its accidental colour - one that turned out to be a rather fabulous retro-toned pale green - and frankly, I'm kind of in stasis mode waiting for the movers to take the furniture over.

Our newly aquired vintage Sunbeam Mixmaster Deluxe (eBay!) is in a place of honour in the kitchen, its chrome gleaming happily away, and I can't wait to run it through its paces - we're giving my little sister her birthday gift when she arrives, or perhaps Saturday night (Friday is officially Moving Day, please pray for my sanity!), so I may whip up a pie for her in an attempt to find an excuse to use the new toy. Of course, I'll be whipping up big batches of cupcakes for our neighbors - we've met about half a dozen already, all of them very nice, friendly people. We're definitely moving into a wonderful neighborhood!

One place we're having issues with regarding decor and, in particular, wall colours, is indeed the under-construction master bedroom. I threw myself upon the mercies of Rachel over at Hue, and she's offered some really great ideas, and her readers have some good ones, too. The picture you see here is our bedroom as it stands now (well, stood...some things are already at the house). The whole scoop - the mood and feel we're going for and so forth - is at Hue. Feel free to throw in your suggestions as well, and be sure to bookmark Rachel's site- maybe I'm a bit more fascinated than most, as I worked at an ad agency prior to Pittsburgh and still dabble in marketing, but it's always a fun and often revealing blog. :)

I hope you're all having a great week!