Thursday, February 28, 2013

I ♥ Wreaths

Holidays By Hand Blog

As February draws to a close, I want to share some of my favorite hearth wreaths I have seen on doors in my neighborhood and on the Internet. I have a wreath on my front door year-round. It is such a welcoming pop of color, and so much more inviting than an unadorned door, wouldn't you agree?

Capitol Hill House
Montlake House

Montlake House Close-Up

Montlake House

Next year I think I will make this wreath out of paint chips.


I love the simplicity of this one made with rosemary. This could be used year-round.

Now this is fun - a sequined heart!

And this one adorned with vintage Christmas ornaments - too cute!

This one is just so sweet!

Better Homes & Gardens

I leave you with another look at my heart wreaths. I ♥ them so much I have one on my front door....

And one on the bench on my front porch!

Check back in March for a peak at my Spring wreath. Here's a hint!

I can't wait for Spring! Twenty one days and counting!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Valentine's Story by Sofia

Happy Valentine's Day friends! Today's post is a story written by my five-year-old Sofia. She even picked out the images - with a little help from her dad - to accompany the text. She's not always this sweet - but when she's sweet she's very sweet. And this story is a great example of her loving heart. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

Valentines, valentines, everywhere are valentines. Mommy has one, too. Can you guess who? 

It’s me, Sofia!  Mommy’s valentine is me!  My heart is full of love for Mommy.  


When I’m nice she thinks I’m sweet because I love her. Daddy loves Mommy, too.  He is also her valentine.  We all love each other and we are so happy because we all have hearts full of love.

Mommy and Daddy say they love me so much.  I tell them that I love them more.  They say that’s not possible because they love me just as much as I love them.

Happy Valentine's Day. xoxo. Amy and Sofia

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pen & Ink

I have been thinking about this post for a long time - I actually took most of the pictures over a year ago on a visit to the Bay Area. It finally seems the perfect time to share them since I took a calligraphy refresher class over the weekend which inspired me to hand letter a few (yes, only 3!) special Valentines this week.


My mom has always appreciated fine papers, fountain pens, inks and pretty handwriting. Maybe that is why she enrolled me in a calligraphy class at the Capitol Museum in Olympia when I was in the third grade, the same year I learned and loved (and excelled) at cursive handwriting. With the ubiquity of pretty fonts and lettering available via our computers, I appreciate even more the labor of love put into hand lettering.

Here I share with you some of the most beautiful calligraphy I have ever seen, by Michele Papineau of Papineau Calligraphy in the Montclair District of Oakland, California.


Another favorite place to visit in the Bay Area is Castle in the Air, a delightful little shop overflowing with fine European papers, calligraphy supplies, beautiful fountain pens (this is where we shop for my mom!), sealing wax, greeting cards and inks in every color -- all of my favorite things!

ink cartridges
ink wells
and more ink
and more pens

I leave you with a look at my practice sheet from my calligraphy class on Saturday.... Believe me, it's harder than it looks!

And a look at the very special Valentines I made.

What is your labor of love?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Things I Love in February

I've said it before, I love decorating my house for Valentine's Day - in a tasteful way, of course! I always start by hanging a wreath on my front door. This one, above, I made many years ago. This year I updated it with some new ribbon and it feels like new! I love it.

I keep this twig heart wreath on my front porch year-around and change out the ribbon seasonally.

Next, I hang this heart garland in my kitchen window. I also made this many years ago and it continues to be one of me favorites.

Volunteer Park Cafe makes the most darling Valentine's cookies. Don't you think?

And last but certainly not least, red and pink glassybaby on my mantel!


Each glassybaby is unique.  Another view of smooch, our soft creamy mauve handmade glass candle holder.
Photo: glassybaby "smooch"
What do you love in February, besides your sweetheart?!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

For the Hostess with the Mostess

Last weekend my friend, neighbor and fellow blogger, Courtney Lilly, hosted the perfect winter party at her home - Sushi and Cocktails!  I was excited to put together the perfect gift for the hostess with the mostess. Courtney loves entertaining, packaging, details, etc. as much as I do. So it was especially fun to put together a little package for her... because I knew she would appreciate the details as much as I enjoyed putting it together. And she did!

I was inspired by an article I read recently about Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist. She shared the below recipe for La Vie en Elderflower cocktail. She uses syrup that she makes from her black elder bushes, but I opted for a cute little bottle of St-Germain elderflower liqueur. I paired it with a bottle of dry rose wine and voila, the perfect hostess gift!

Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it.

And here's a look at the "ingredients" before I packaged them up.

For another hostess gift recently, I did a slightly different version of this cocktail - rose bubbly, a splash of St-Germain liqueur and a twist of lemon. Divine!