i'm practically begging for it with this current project.  lots of circles.  got plans for these guys.  big plans on a small scale.  let's keep our itty bittys crossed that this will work out.  i'd hate to get arthritis for nothing.


The handmade MARKET ~ A Unique Downtown Experience with all things Handmade

This post has been updated. 
I am so glad I had a chance to attend The handmade Market this fall.  Twice a year, artisans and consumers cram into a small building in downtown to showcase a few of their handmade items.  I was suppose to be out town the weekend it went on, but our trip got pushed back a week, which allowed me the opportunity to attend.  I went to every booth checking out all the homemade goodies, and I am sharing with you a few shops that caught my eye at the market.  I was happy to find that most of the places I liked had Etsy shops.  If you have been reading for awhile now, you know my love/hate relationship with Etsy.  I took only a few photos due to shyness and fear (that shop owner would see me as a threat since I am crafty), but I am grateful to all who were so kind in letting me snap photos.  All photos, except one, are stock ones since I am a crappy photographer.  Literally.

*Please note that some shops are currently restocking their items.*

Cobblestone Hall
 Circle Prints offers modern and customized prints.  You can get 20% off your order by entering NCMARKET at checkout.  This Sunshine print is going in Owen's nursery.

Loose Tooth Studio's pictures on Etsy really do not do justice for the shop.  First off, you can't really see the detailed work that goes into each collage, nor can you really see how cute these tiny collages are.  Second, there were some items I saw at the market that are not listed in the shop, so I cannot show you the real items that caught my eye.  The studio has these adorable palm sized frames that showcase detailed collages.  The frames come in different colors as well.

  I spotted a color frame today.

Marisol Spoon let me take a picture of them.  They were so lovely and sweet.  The wife was gorgeous, and the husband had this really cool Dali Salvadoresque beard going on.  They sure did look like a super duo to me (ya know, the kind that makes you sick and wish you could be more like them).  I actually found out about Marisol Spoon from Sally, an interior designer who blogs at Abode Casa Home, back in October.  So you can just imagine Marisol Spoon's reaction when I asked them (excitedly) if I could take their picture.  Bless their sweet little hearts. 

And this one is for you, Sally. :)

Judah Ross is clothing company right here in town.  I fell in love with this skirt, though the one I saw at the market had this cool linear cloud like print (you got that, right?!?).  This is still really lovely.

I found that "cloud" skirt today as well. :) 

Sew Few makes clutches and purses.  At the market, I saw a lot of cool home decor fabrics used.  Some were vintage looking.  These are two that are currently stocked online that I liked.

Off the Map Art should actually be named Off the Hook Art.  Okay, bad joke, I know, but I really like this girl's work!  She takes maps, applies them to wood, and paints over them.  I knew I should have picked up a few prints while I was there because now I am deeply regretting it.  Most of the prints are of bikes, but since we are talking handmade, maybe the seller might be willing to make a custom piece. (She does make paintings of other subjects as well.)

In December, my husband and I are attending (fingers crossed nothing comes up) Rock & Shop Market in downtown Durham, NC.  I love Durham.  I use to live there seven years ago, and the art scene has really picked up since.  If you live nearby, you should totally go and check it out!

I announced the winner of Monda's giveaway, so you can either keep scrolling down or click here to see if YOU won.


One nasty door over Thanksgiving and WINNER announced!

We were lucky enough to have two Thanksgiving dinners (one on Thurs and one on Sat).  Some people would have shot themselves to have to spend a week with extended family.  Thank goodness I am not one of those.  Are you?   We left on Thursday to head over to my dad's girlfriend's home in VA while we were staying at my sister's in northern NC.  We had to leave Walker, our almost one year old German short-haired pointer, at my sister's house for the day. 

And this is what we came home to.  Pissed off much?
I wanted to strangle that pup.

Since this was not my home, I spent the next day repairing her door frame.  Oh yeah, he tore up the back door too.  And scratched off the paint off the front door.  And smeared blood everywhere.  I got it looking purty without having to spend too much ($32).  That dog has cost us so much money since he has been with us.

Speaking of doors, we found this little lovely hanging around the other day at our door.  No pun intended.  It's still there, and I have no plans of taking it off.  I mean, what are the odds of squishing a frog flat like this?? 

And lastly,  Owen learned how to open doors this weekend. :(

How was your Thanksgiving???

Thank you to all those who entered the giveaway for Monda's fabric.  I am sure Vanessa felt the love from you guys!

The lucky winner is

Congratulations Jojoebi!  


A Tastespotting Thanksgiving

I love Tastespotting.  I was introduced to it by a dear friend of mine several years ago.  It really is one of my go to recipe sites.  There is very little I have made that has either been a disaster or tasted bad.  Tastespotting is a visual food board and has been around before Pinterest.  You can discover so many wonderful blogs through Tastespotting. 

I love Thanksgiving because I love to eat. :)  I love homemade rolls, sweet potatoes, green bean casseroles, every dessert (well, almost) and of course stuffing!  Notice how I did not mention turkey or pumpkin pie?  Yeah, I am not a turkey eater nor do I love pumpkin pie.  I think both are gross.  I thought I would try my hand at creating a Thanksgiving dinner spread since I'm not cooking this year.  Wait. . . I never cook Thanksgiving dinners.

 Turkeys and Hams

1. Brined Roast Turkey Breast with Herb Pan Gravy
2. Lemon and Rosemary Turkey
3. Spiced Rubbed Turkey
4. 5 Ingredient Ham
5. Honey-Orange Glazed Ham
6. Glazed Ham


1. Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
2. Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots
3. Cheddar Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
4. Spicy Cranberry and Apple Compote (Recipe in English)

5. Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Herbs
6. Sausage and Sage Stuffing with Cranberries and Hazelnuts
7. Pumpkin and Sage Cornbread Stuffing
8. Yeast Rolls

1. Cranberry Meringue Pie
2. Grape and Apple Pie
3. Pecan, Pumpkin, and Cheesecake Pie
4. Almond Joy Pie
5. Frozen Peanut Butter Pie
6. Blackberry Pie

Dinner Table Decorations

This picture was posted in 2009, and I believe it is a timeless table setting for Thanksgiving.  But then again, isn't that what you expect from DwellStudio's founder, Christiane Lemieux?  I have to admit that up until the last few years, gold was never really a color I liked in home decor, but that thought has definitely changed.

And she even created a kid's table topped with activities!  How thoughtful, I love it.


Don't forget to enter Monda's giveaway!  It ends on the 27th.


Fabric Friday {Spoonflower Feature - Monda & Fabric Giveaway OPEN INTERNATIONALLY}

I am excited to share with you a wonderful designer who is giving away a yard of her fabric, your choice!  I actually stumbled upon Vanessa through Flickr.  I saw a cool print, and I asked her if she designed her own fabric.  Come to find out, she has a Spoonflower account!  Gee, I should realize by now that a lot of great designers are using Spoonflower.

Vanessa has a different kind of style.  I feel a retro vibe when browsing her designs.  They are fun, humorous, uplifting, and most definitely kid friendly.   I can definitely see some of her prints used for clothing, blankets, quilts, accessories, toys, and some furniture pieces. 

You can view all of her prints on Spoonflower.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Vanessa Waller - but I'm also called Monda (which was a childhood nickname). I'm 35 and live in Berkshire in the UK - not very far from the Queen in fact. In January this year I married my best friend (Brendan) after 14 happy years together.  Our little family includes our 2 cats, Mellie and Stevie.

When did you know you wanted to be a surface pattern designer?
My preferred subjects in school had always been art and design, so when all my friends were leaving for university, I went and did a foundation course in Art and design which covered lots of disciplines and helped me learn that I was interested in textile and pattern design. I then studied for a Design Crafts degree at Cumbria College of Art and Design, in Carlisle, which was where I met Brendan, who is also a Designer. My course was a mixture of printed textiles, multi-media textiles and ceramics. I studied from 1994-1998, and back in those days we didn't use computers at all when it came to designing. Everything was done by hand - I learnt the old school way, which I think gave me a good grounding and understanding of how to produce printed textiles. I loved screen printing, and I specialised in this during my last year, along with multi media textiles - more specifically machine embroidery.

Were there any challenging obstacles you had to overcome to get to where you are now?
After leaving Art College, I looked for a design job, but found it so difficult. We didn't use the internet back then and I had no working experience as a designer, so whilst looking for my dream job and getting countless rejections, I got a job in retail to tide me over and help pay the bills. Then, 13 years seem to pass by and I still wasn't working as a designer - although I had dabbled here and there and have kept a blog since 2007 to document my endeavours. 
In 2010, I finally made the decision to leave my job as a recruitment manager to follow my dream, and I can honestly say I haven't looked back. At that point I was working to live, not living to work.
I used my savings to pay for a 'zero to hero' adobe illustrator course so I could learn how to use the computer in order to design digitally. I'm still very much in the early days of my design career and as much as I miss the monthly salary (I'm living like a student again!) I feel so much richer for loving what I am doing on a daily basis. I can see my own work improving daily and I'm sure it won't be long before I can earn a good living from what I do.
I'm currently working from my spare room, which has been converted into an office/studio, but I'd love to have a real home studio one day - a dedicated space that's not also trying to be a guest room!

Where does your inspiration come from?

Everywhere!  Since making the decision to leave my job last year my eyes have really been opened to how pattern and print is used in the wider world.
I read a lot of blogs - the wealth of visual stimulation out there is immense.  I love books - design books but also picture/children's books, I take pictures for reference when I've seen something that catches my eye - this could be a flower, a piece of packaging, a building, a piece of fabric or clothing - countless things.  I draw ideas and doodle in my sketchbook, as well as making countless lists of things I want to achieve.

Deceased of living, whose studio would you raid?

Oh this is hard!  I can't pick just one person/designer.  I love Mary Quants bold 60's patterns and I'm also a big fan of Alexander Henry fabrics, past and present.  I would definitely raid the Paperchase studios.  I can happily spend a good few hours looking at all the stationary patterns and designs in Paperchase.  I also really love the vintage Figgjo Flint pottery/ceramic designs, so I would definitely like to go back in time and take a look around their Norwegian studios.

What is success to you?

I feel like every day is a little bit of a success at the moment and I know that this is just the beginning.  I love what I do.  My work is starting to achieve recognition and that makes me very happy.  I like to create things that will make people smile and feel happy - whether that's a piece of fabric, a greetings card, some stationery, or a soft toy.  I guess from a very practical and boring point of view, it will also feel like I have achieved success when I don't have to worry about how I will pay my bills!

Where would you like to be in the next decade?

In the future I'd love to be able to see my design work on many different surfaces, and I'd love to drink out of a mug with my designs on it, draw in a sketch book with my design on the cover, wear a dress with fabric I have designed or go into a shop and see my designs on cards and gift wrap.
My dream scenario is to live in a house in the country with a separate design studio in the grounds (where I can work with my husband), a huge garden with lots of fruit tree's, flowers, a vegetable garden, my moggies, and a few new little people additions to our family.

Thank you so much Vanessa for sharing a little piece of your life with us!
You can find Vanessa on Etsy, Spoonflower, Pinterest, Twitter @mondaloves, and her blog.

One lucky reader will win 1 yard of quilting weight fabric.  

Giveaway Rules:

Visit Vanessa's blog and leave her a comment.  Come back here and let me know you did!

Additional Entries:

1. Follow Monda on Twitter @mondaland
3.  Follow me
4. Blog, tweet, or FB about this giveaway
5. Add Monda to your Favorites on Etsy

Giveaway will close on 11/27 at 9 PM EST.  Winner will be chosen via random.org and announced 11/29. 


Free Shipping and 2 for 1 Fat Quarters @ Spoonflower

Today for 24 hours only you can receive FREE SHIPPING! 
The promotion will last from:
Thursday, Nov.17th, 2011 at 8am ESTtoFriday, Nov.18th, 2011 at 8am EST 

Time zone references for Free Shipping Day:
  • Los Angeles: Thu, Nov 17 5:00 AM - Fri 5:00 AM
  • Chicago: Thu, Nov 17 7:00 AM - Fri 7:00 AM
  • New York: Thu, Nov 17 8:00 AM - Fri 8:00 AM
  • London: Thu, Nov 17 1:00 PM - Fri 1:00 PM
  • Paris:  Thu, Nov 17 2:00 PM - Fri 2:00 PM
  • Tokyo:  Thu, Nov 17 10:00 PM- Fri 10:00 PM
  • Sydney:  Thu, Nov 17 12:00 Midnight - Fri 12:00 Midnight
  • Auckland:  Fri, Nov 18 2:00 AM - Sat 2:00 AM

Also, there will be a 2 for 1 Fat Quarter special  Monday, November 28 (8am EST) through Friday, December 2 (6pm EST).

If you missed my yummy caramel recipe the other day, you can see it here.


Guest Post ~ Homemade Caramel Sauce

Today I am guest posting over at Wayward Girls Crafts sharing an awesome fall recipe.  Caramel Sauce.  Mmmmm.  Seriously.  Go check it out because it is pure awesomeness.

Also, I announced the winner of NewMomDesigns, so check it out to see if YOU won!   I know some of you are waiting for the tutorial on my felt acorns.  I am postponing it until I hear back from a little a blog I know, so keep your fingers crossed for me that they will pick it up!  In the meantime, scroll on down and check out these yummy caramel shots then head on over to Wayward Girls Crafts to read my post!

Homemade caramel sauce is the perfect fall gift.  I gave one of these for my friend's open house.  On the top I wrote a little note, "Your new home is too sweet."  I wrapped my felt acorn ornaments around it, so she could use them for Christmas.

This would make a fun gift for a friend for any occasion or with a little note "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" for a thinking of you gesture would be a cute Get Well gift.

So read a little bit more about me and find the recipe here.

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I'm sharing this with:
CRAFTS3CraftOManiacSinging 3 Little BirdsDIY Home Sweet HomeMarvelously Messy,
Sew Stylish Boutique, Home Stories A to Z, Today's Creative Blog, Strictly Homemade, Tip Junkie,   Ginger Snap Crafts,


Room of the Day & NewMomDesigns Winner Announced

Okay, Joan, from for the love of a house, I adore your kitchen dining area. 


A HUGE thank you to all who participated in Elvina's giveaway!
The lucky winner of NewMomDesigns giveaway is

Congratulations Jamie!  Please email your information at owensolivia (at) hotmail (dot) com, so I can get you your fabric.


Bedspread Dilemma

I didn't think it would be so difficult to find a bedspread that I loved within a reasonable price.  Overstock, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, CB2, Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie, Sears, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy's, Belk, Target, Kohl's, Arhaus, Amazon, Dwell Studio, Anthropologie, Moxii.   Yeah, yeah.  Some of those I checked out were already out of my price range but I was hoping for a good sale item.  I can have dreams, right?  I am torn between making one or buying one.  I would just rather buy one to save myself some time, but there are advantages to making one myself.  What is even more difficult is I have not picked out a color scheme.  Well...
Originally, I was sticking with these colors.

My curtains are already the second color down.  They might be slightly darker.  I feel peaceful and relaxed when looking at this colorway.  If you have not checked out Design Seeds, it should be on the top of your to-do list.  Errr, second after reading my blog.
So I find myself flip flopping about the colors.

Now if I can pretend for a moment in time that money is not an issue, here are some spreads that I do love.

Check out that scalloped edge!

This one is just fun, youthful, and colorful.  Love it all.

This is actually a sheet set, but I would totally turn it into a duvet.

Dwell offers this in coral and gray, and it is fabulous!!


Amy Butler Bedding

This is a beautiful Mexican coverlet that would go well with my above mentioned colorway.

Because I can never get enough gray and chevron.

What would you do?  Is there a website or store that you like that offers a great selection of bedspreads?
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