This week we're sharing little pieces of inspiration from our lives. I love turning to the to the ever so talented, Sara Lowman, to give me a little inspiration for my space.  Whenever I'm feeling a little stuck and just don't know how to make even a simple shelf look the way I had imagined, I turn to Sara for a little help. Sara can take an ordinary looking space into something so beautiful and serene that you can hardly believe that you lived any other way.
 
Enjoy! 
 
Stephania 
 

Tie Up Your Room with a Little Trim

by Sara Lowman

I thought I’d share a detail that I sometimes work with because it might help some of you looking to make curtains work with your room scheme. I had a client who loved a fabric that we wanted to use for curtains, and while it was beautiful, we needed a way to tie it into the rest of the room. 

I’m not one for frills or unnecessary decorative details, but I thought that by adding a tape (basically a gros-grain ribbon), it would help to bring the scheme together. By adding the tape to the leading edge or the bottom edge of the curtains (or both), it makes them feel a little bit more special and allows you to be more creative with your fabric choices. I think we were successful, and I hope you do too. 

Room Scheme: 

RoomSchemeFabrics2

To bring more color to the curtains, we added Gros-Grain (aka a tape):
Grosgrain2

I like to add the tape to the leading edge and bottom of the curtains:
CurtainDetail with Grosgrain2

It’s a little detail that really helps to bring a room together. In this case, we used curtains in place of closet doors to add softness and a textile layer to the room: 
ClosetDoorwithCurtains2

 

Thursday, 07 March 2013 14:13

Weekly Roundup!

Written by Helen

Happy Friday!

How was everybody's week? Mine was swamped with so many midterms, papers and appointments--however all my hard work is paying off as I'm currently en route to sunny (hopefully!) Florida for my last college spring break with my best friends! Indiana is covered in a grimey layer of dirty snow and looking greyer than ever all-around, so a change of scenary is just what the doctor ordered!

Check out everything we did this week + fun little things found from the blogosphere and have a fantastic weekend whatever you get into!

xox

helen

This Week We Posted:

Take Your Pony-tail from Average to Amazing!

Steph shared the cutest dress-up pony-tail fit for any day-time occasion!

Ultimate Comfort Food: Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup

'Nuff said. This is a classic for any time of year but especially when it's super gross outside and you need a little comfort in the form of gooey cheese

TND: Meeting the Family

Don't miss this Mocha Brownie Pie Steph's making for her sister&boyfriend this week! Looks absolutely amazing

 

This Week They Posted:

Martha Stewart: DIY Ombre Scarf

scarf-model-mld108754 vert

This is a great Spring craft idea!!

 

Circle of Moms: Shrimp & Asparagus Quinoa with Goat Cheese

live photo16810040 l

This is just making my mouth water! I love finding new things to do with quinoa

Anthropologie: Zimmermann Vase Bikini

Picture 8

How fun is this bikini? I'm loving the pattern and shape

House And Hold.Com: Fancified Oreos

Thin-Mints--White-Chocolate-Peppermint-Mocha-Cookies-91

Treat yo'self! These white chocolate and peppermint mocha-dunked oreos sound like a perfectly devine (& easy)

Wednesday, 06 March 2013 19:07

TND: Meeting the Family

Written by stephania
Today my darling sister, Hillary and her boyfriend, Brian, are coming to Brooklyn for a little visit. This is a big visit because she is finally meeting two very important additions to our lives.  The first is this little stinker right here.
 
riley-3months--2215
 
Our little niece, Miss Riley Madeline. The second is to meet my boyfriend, Dave (I won't embarrass him with a photo....yet).
 
We've got a packed weekend planned beginning with dinner at one my favorite haunts, Back Forty, a trip to the Whitney to see this exhibit on Saturday, and brunch at Dino to eat some ricotta pancakes.  And somewhere in between there Hillary and I will find plenty of time to try and one up each other with embarrassing stories. Do you do that with your sisters? We somehow almost always regress to the ages of 12 and 10 or maybe 8 and 6 if we're really feelin' sassy. We give each other grief with same three stories we've had up our sleeves for years and yet they never seem to get old. Beware if you're ever at the dinner table with all 6 of us with our parents. We zing each other back and forth until finally someone crosses the line (usually with an embarrassing makeout story) and we all exclaim "ewwww! Gross!" and the poor guest either does his best to laugh it off or just takes a big gulp of wine (along with our bickering, wine is in never ending supply at our house). We're a big family with everyone in everyone else's business, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
 
To celebrate my sister's arrival, I thought that I would make one of her personal favorite Thursdays recipes, Mocha Brownie Pie.
 
Enjoy! 
 
xoxo,
 
stephania
 

Mocha Brownie Pie

by stephania stanley (adapted from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook; 2000

mocah-brownie-pie-2-9431

What You Need:

  • 1/2 package of fudge brownie mix
  • 1 package of chocolate instant pudding
  • 4 tsps instant coffee granules (or 4 tsps of extra strong brewed coffee)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 large eggs whites
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups of whipped cream
  • semi-sweet chocolate bars or cubes for curling topping (optional)
  • pie crust 

Note:Feel free to experiment a little with the garnish. I used peppermint chocolate to garnish to add a little something to the sweet whipped cream. 

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl combine brownie mix, 1 tsp of vanilla, and egg whites.  Stir to mix.  If you are using the instant coffee granules, combine 2 tsps of coffee granules and 2 tsps of hot water in a small bowl.  Stir until granules have dissolved and add to the brownie mixture.  If you are using the strong coffee, simply add two tsps of the coffee to the brownie mixture.  Stir until smooth.  Pour mixture into pie crust and bake for 25 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean).  Remove from heat and place in the fridge.

While the brownie layer is baking, use an electric mixer to beat the milk,  1 tsp coffee (granules or brewed), vanilla, and pudding mix in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Next fold 1 1/2 cups of whipped cream into the pudding mixture.  After the brownie layer has cooled down to at least room temperature, gently spread spoon the pudding mixture over the brownie layer.  Combine the last tsp of coffee (granules add to one tsp of hot water or simply add brewed) and fold into the last 1 1/2 cups of whipped cream.  Gently spoon the coffee whipped cream onto the pudding layer.  If desired, use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls from the chocolate bars.  Finish the pie by garnishing with chocolate curls.  Serve immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to serve.  

At first I was hesitating about posting one of winter's all-time comfort foods because it is March, after all. But, since it's dreary and kind of snowy here today, this is actually the perfect meal for today! I can't wait to get home to make this for myself tonight. There is nothing more comforting than the ultimate kid food-- grilled cheese and tomato soup-- just tailored a little to suit our grown up tastes.

Enjoy! xoxo.

colleen

 Grownup Grilled Cheesegrilled_cheeseIMG_1219
by Colleen Reilly and Stephania Stanley

What you need: 

  • Fresh sour dough bread, cut into eight slices
  • 4 thin slices of cheddar cheese
  • 4 thin slices of Pawlett cheese (or another raw cow’s milk cheese)
  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • 4 tbsp butter
 

What to do:

Spread ½ tablespoon of butter onto one side of each slice of bread.  Divvy up each type of cheese onto the unbuttered sides of four different slices of bread.  Complete each sandwich with the top slice of bread making sure the buttered side is on the outside.  In a large skillet cook each sandwich over medium low heat.  Flip after five minutes, or until golden brown.  If the bread is browning before the cheese has begun to melt, lower the heat some more so that the outsides cook a bit slower.  Remove from heat when both sides of the sandwich are golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Repeat for all four sandwiches.

 

Soothing Tomato and Basil Soup
by Colleen Reilly

tomato_soupIMG_1293

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups low-sodium veggie broth
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 3 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained (or a combo of canned tomatoes and fresh ones, chopped)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, sliced thin

What to do:

Heat oil in a large sacepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 45 seconds, stirring continuously. Add broth, salt, red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Stir and bring to a boil.  Simmer over low heat about 20 minutes. Stir in half the basil. 

Using a measuring cup or a ladle, place half the soup in a blender and process until smooth. Pour blended soup into a large bowl and repeat blending with the other half of the soup, and add to the bowl.  Serve soup into individual bowls and garnish with remaining basil leaves.  Serves 4.

 

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Grilled Cheese With Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Cooking With Elise: Inside-Out Grilled Cheese With Bacon
Red or Green?: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Red or Green-Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Weelicious: Kentucky Hot Brown Panini
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Cheddar, Apple and Arugula Sandwich
The Sensitive Epicure: Individual Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese (Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)
Devour: Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Thursday Night Dinner: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
The Heritage Cook: Open Faced Grilled Halloumi Sandwiches
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Muhammara Grilled Cheese
Daily*Dishin: Grilled Jarlsberg and Black Forest Ham With a Surprise
FN Dish: Grilled Cheese Goes Beyond Cheese

Monday, 04 March 2013 21:22

Take your Ponytail from Average to Amazing!

Written by megan kramer

Take your Ponytail from Average to Amazing!

By Megan Kramer

steph-twist-ponytail-2

 

 

 

As you have probably learned by now, I love hairstyles that take only a few mintues, but make you look like you actually tried to do something with you hair.  When you wear your hair in a simple pony, it's fine, but let's face it, no one is trying to figure our how you managed to do it.  With this style, it's pretty much just tying little sections around your ponytail.  So if you can do a pony and tie a knot, you can do this!  It's so simple, but cute enough that you could wear it out or to work.  You can even wear it to the gym and look cute without looking like you have  "over-done" your hair for the gym!

I saw a similar look on a girl at the grocery store.  She was 2 people in front of me, so naturally I started at her hair for probably a solid minute beyond what is socially acceptable (see what I do for you guys), then when home and tried things until something worked.  If you have another way to do it though, I would love to hear!

What you need:             

  • 2 hair ties

What you do:

Start by putting your hair into a ponytail.  Then from the back underneath of the pony, grab 2 thin sections- make them the two longest pieces you can.  Now wrap them around to the front of the pony and tie them in a knot.  Now bring them around the back again and cross them, then back to the front and tie another knot.  Repeat these steps until you run out of hair.  You won't make it to the end of the pony, but you can always add a tiny bit of hair from the back of the pony to the 2 little sections when you cross in the back.  This will give you more hair to work with.  I kind of like it as just a half wrap though; so play around and see what you like best!

Xo,

Megan

 

Sunday, 03 March 2013 17:46

Weekly Roundup!

Written by Helen

Happy Sunday!

Hopefully everyone had a great weekend. I spent most of my time studying, but was able to get out of the house last night for some much needed time with my friends! This past week was all about “Our Favorite Things.” Here’s what we posted & some other goodies from the world wide web that you might enjoy, too!

Xox

Helen

This Week We Posted:

 

Jana’s Interview with April of Smithy Jewelry

Jana introduced us to a jewelry maker who has the most adorable stuff! If you missed it, there’s a fantastic earring giveaway at the end that you should definitely enter!

 

Our Favorite Things: Louisville

Lauryn shared her favorite spots in Louisville and posted a recipe for potato bread rolls that look to-die-for!!

 

Winter Shortcake Stuffed with Jam and Whipped Cream

Steph posted a sweet treat that I’m currently craving just looking at the picture!

 

TND: Favorite Things

Colleen shared her favorite Quiche dish & some beautiful jewelry she made!

 

This Week They Posted:

Martha Stewart: DIY Beaded Bags

beaded-bags-2-md109232 vert

Martha Stewart does it again! This would be a good DIY to try over Spring Break perhaps?

Junior High Foodie: Girl Scout Cookies

samoas

Oh man this is dangerous… make your own Girl Scout cookies! Samoas are my weakness.

Zara: Wooden Block Wedges

wooden wedges

Spring is calling my name when I look at these beautiful wedges!

A Cup of Jo: Half-Up Braided Crown

braid-tutorial-hair-cupofjo-

I love a good hair tutorial, and this is a beautiful look that also looks incredibly do-able!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013 20:14

TND: Favorite Things

Written by colleen
Happy Thursday, friends! This week has actually flown by for me, and I am so excited for TND (Thursday Night Dinner) with the girls tonight. Since it's "Favorite Things" here at Thursdays this week, we're making one of our favorites: Quiche. Below we have a recipe for one of our favorite versions of quiche, but feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand. And, if you are of the meat-eating persuasion, by all means, add some bacon or ham or whatever floats your boat. Also, I've been really into making simple little jewelry sets lately and there's a photo of an example below.

Enjoy. xoxo.

colleen

 favorite thing: quiche
by Colleen Reilly, Emily Ross, and Stephania Stanley

What you need:QuicheIMG_6100-Edit

  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 3 tbsp skim milk
  • 3-4 oz brie cheese, sliced into 1/8” pieces
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ cup medium sized onion, diced
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp tarragon
  • 1 frozen piecrust

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 350˚ F and remove the piecrust from the freezer.  In a medium sized frying pan, heat ½ tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions to the pan and sauté for three minutes.  Next add the mushrooms and sauté for another five minutes.  Remove from heat.  Now take out a large frying pan and heat the remaining olive oil over medium high heat.  Toss the spinach into the pan and sprinkle water with your fingers a couple of times over the spinach.  Mix the spinach around with a wooden spoon and cover with lid.  Mix the spinach every couple minutes.  It should be good to go in about ten minutes.

Now take out a large mixing bowl and lightly beat the eggs and egg whites together.  Add the milk and stir together.  Next toss the spinach and mushroom/onion mixture into the mixing bowl and stir.  Now its time for the spices! Add the Italian seasoning and tarragon and whisk all the ingredients together.  Pour the egg mixture into the piecrust.  Next lay the slices of Brie over the egg mixture.  You want to form an asterisk shape with the cheese.

Place the quiche into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Cover with foil and then bake the quiche for another 20 minutes or until the egg is cooked.

Serves 4-6 depending on hunger level and side dishes.

 

 favorite thing: simple drop jewelry

 

pink set


       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      I've been making lots of very simple little drop earring and necklace sets like this one. I don't really know much about making jewelry at all, and I learned by poking around the internet-- there are tons of tutorials on youtube and blogs, etc. Just google "jewelry making" and you'll be set! Get makin'.
       
       
       
       
       
      Wednesday, 27 February 2013 08:28

      Winter Shortcake Stuffed with Jam and Whipped Cream

      Written by stephania

      Happy Wednesday!

      This week we're all about Our Favorite Things. We love supporting local boutiques, farmers markets, butchers, and most especially bakeries. In fact I love our little artisan bakeries so much that I did an entire roundup of my favorites a couple of years ago. In the last year or so, I've really grown to love biscuits. As simple as they are, I really look forward to heating up a butter biscuit from my favorite local bakery, Bittersweet, smothering it with jam and pairing it with a mug of French pressed coffee. For this week's Food Network post, I wanted to find a recipe  that I would realistically want to make during the work week, wasn't too unhealthy, and was just sweet enough to satisfy my relentless morning sweet tooth. After spending a little time on the magical World Wide Web, I found it - Biscuits stuffed with strawberry jam and whipped cream.

      Enjoy!

       
      stephania 
       

      Winter Shortcake Stuffed with Jam & Whipped Cream
      adapted from Bon Appetit; January 2013

       

      What you need:           biscuitsfinalIMG 2742

      • 2 Cups of BA Biscuit Mix 
      • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and sliced into 1/2" thick pieces
      • 3/4 cup buttermilk
      • 3/4 cup dried figs, thinly sliced
      • 1 tsp orange zest
      • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
      • 2 tbs raw sugar
      • 3/4 cup jam
      • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream, whipped
      • all-purpose flour, for dusting surface

      What you do:

        Preheat oven to 425°F .  Combine biscuit mixture and butter into a food processor, until it's similar to coarse meal. Transfer to bowl. Add buttermilk. Stir to mix. Add figs and zest. Stir to combine. Flour a flat working surface. Transfer dough to floured surface and kneed for 4-5 times. Dust your rolling pin with flour and roll out dough until it's approximately a 7" square and about 3/4" thick. Slice dough in half. Slice each half into 4 rectangles. 

        Transfer shortcakes to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and then sprinkle with raw sugar. 

        Bake shortcakes for 13 - 15 minutes or until just golden brown. Let them cool for 15 minutes. Slice each piece in half and and fill with jam and whipped cream. 

         

        What's Gaby Cooking: Cheddar-Bacon Buttermilk Biscuits
        Jeanette's Healthy Living: My Mom's Beijing Biscuits "Shao Bing"
        The Cultural Dish: Pineapple Biscuits
        And Love It Too: Coconut Flour Country Biscuits
        Red or Green?: Green Chile and Olive Oil Biscuits
        Napa Farmhouse 1885: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Drop Biscuits With Cheddar and Garlic
        Made By Michelle: Swiss Chard and Feta Fritters
        Devour: The Best Mix-Ins for Your Biscuits
        Virtually Homemade: Strawberry-Tangerine Shortcakes With Bisquick Drop Biscuits
        Daily*Dishin: Quick Cream Biscuits and Slow Bacon Jam
        The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits
        Thursday Night Dinner: Winter Shortcake Stuffed With Jam and Whipped Cream
        FN Dish: 15 Takes on Biscuits

            Monday, 25 February 2013 20:48

            Our Favorite Things: Louisville

            Written by lauryn
            When tasked with finding my favorite local things, I've found that it's pretty difficult to narrow down succintly. As a relative newbie to the city, I've found that Louisville has a long list of incredible, inspiring locally-grown businesses that serve amazing food, sell gorgeous things and host interesting events. Below is my short-list. If you live in Louisville, I hope you've had the chance to visit all of these places. If you've never been here, Lonely Planet (and CNN) listed Louisville as the #1 US tourist destination of 2013... Better get on it!
             
            x
            Lauryn
             

            My top Louisville spots

            Favorite local clothing boutique: CARGO.

            Holli, one of the friendliest, most fashionable women I've ever met, obviously had a clear vision when she opened up this boutique just last year. Inside a cute bungalow off Frankfort Avenue, her shop houses a colorful, unique, very smartly curated collection, ranging from comfy T-shirts to sparkly NYE dresses, with plenty of shoes and accesories to complete a look. Holli considers it her personal mission to help you find looks that fit your body and your style. You'll find yourself going there just as much for the sweet conversation as the incredible fashion finds.

             

            Favorite restaurant: RYE

            If you know me even vaguely, you knew this already. I definitely talk about it a lot :)  My husband and I relocated to Louisville from Brooklyn in early 2011 to open this restaurant. As Chef, he creates truly inventive, delicious dishes and a regularly evolving menu. The restaurant's amazing staff also serves up rad cocktails and, of course, plenty of bourbon and rye. Bonus this week: It's "502 Restaurant Week," and RYE is participating. Yum!  (Scroll down to see a recipe for RYE's addictive Sally Lunn rolls.)

             

            Favorite coffee shop: Please and Thank You

            Über-creative married duo Brooke and Jason opened up their cheekily-named coffee shop/ record store in 2011 in an up-and-coming neighborhood, NuLu. The area has since become a mainstay with the in-the-know Louisville crowd, as more and more people discover the many gems along East Market Street, such as P&TY.  Brooke's chocolate chip cookies are the best ever (EVER), and they even have a listening booth to make sure you're selecting the right vinyl record before you buy. If you love good coffee, fantastic music and delicious treats, this is a do-not-miss.

             

            Favorite antique store: The Deal

            Now, this was a tough one. From Goss Avenue Antiques to Crazy Daisy Antique Mall to a million mom-and-pops, there is no shortage of antique sweet spots in this city. I'm partial to this cozy shop, which offers a selection of mostly mid-century modern furniture and decor.

             

            Favorite activity: it's a tie.

            I'll just list them all! Kentucky Oaks and Derby, duh (the only sporting event on my agenda --sorry, basketball nuts); a day of bourbon-tasting; attending raucous events and quietly browsing the art at 21C Museum in downtown Louisville; browsing the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC); riding bikes in heavenly Olmstead-designed Cherokee Park; exploring Bernheim Arboretum with our dog; Spring/Fall festivals and hiking at Foxhollow Farm; summer concerts on the river's edge; weekend getaways at Nolin Lake; scenic drives through horse-country.

             

            RYE's Sally Lunn rollssallylunnrolls2

            by Chef Tyler Morris

            What you need:           

            Tyler recommends buying a food scale (they're cheap!) to measure grams accurately.

            Yields 1 dozen.

            For the dough:

            • one Idaho potato
            • 2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
            • 60 grams granulated sugar
            • 300 grams all-purpose flour
            • 120 grams butter
            • 325 grams whole milk
            • 2 whole eggs
            • 2 egg yolks
            • 350 grams hi-gluten flour
            • 15 grams malden sea salt

            For egg wash and finishing:

            • 1 whole egg
            • 2 egg yolks
            • 2 oz. of melted butter
            • malden sea salt (a pinch on each roll)

             

            What you do:

              Dough:

              Boil the potato in a pot until tender (20-30 min). When cooled, peel and mash. Measure 150 grams of the mashed potato to use; save the rest.

              Whisk together the all-purpose flour, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

              Melt butter and add milk; blend in potato. Make sure it's luke-warm, not hot.

              Whisk liquids into yeast mixer. Make sure it's not hotter than 115 degrees, or you'll risk killing the yeast! Let sit for 15 minutes.

              Mix in the eggs, hi-gluten flour and salt. If you have a mixer, use your dough hook for 2 minutes.

              Scrape the dough into a bowl that's been oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let it proof for 30 minutes.

              Scrape the dough onto an oiled surface and weigh into 50 gram balls.

              Place the dough balls onto a parchment paper lined sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let them proof for another 30 minutes.

              Egg Wash:

              Mix 1 egg and 2 egg yolks and 2 oz. melted butter. Gently brush on roll tops and finish with a pinch of Malden sea salt.

              To finish:

              Bake in 400 degree convection oven until golden brown (14 minutes).

              Enjoy warm with a dollop of butter.

               

                  Monday, 25 February 2013 10:51

                  Jana's Interview with April Laird of Smithy Jewelry!

                  Written by Helen

                  Happy Monday!

                  You know when you discover a cool new store, restaurant, designer or band, and you just can't wait to be the first to share the exciting new find with all of your friends?  Well, that's me, right now, sharing an amazing new jewelry designer with you.  April Laird is the owner of newly launched Smithy Jewelry, and her work is my favorite new thing.  In fact, my husband recently commissioned her to make a gorgeous locket for me for mother's day, and I rarely take it off.  Smithy jewelry is based in Los Angeles, but you can check out the store online at:

                  www.smithyjewelry.com.  LA locals can find Smithy Jewelry at Una Mae's Los Angeles in Los Feliz and audrey k in Burbank.

                  GIVEAWAY ALERT!  Smithy Jewelry is giving a free pair of earrings out to one lucky Thursdays reader.  Details follow the interview below.

                  xo

                  Jana

                  April Laird of Smithy Jewelry, Los Angeles

                  interview by Jana Bonderman

                  photos by Sabrina Hill

                  aprilsmithy

                  When did you first start designing jewelry?

                   I suppose I officially began designing about two years ago when I ended up with a bunch of funky old vintage buttons and such from a local thrift store and wanted to repurpose them into jewelry for myself and my friends. I've been making jewelry since I was probably 13 or 14 though.

                  smithymaterials

                  How did Smithy come to be, and how did you come up with the name?

                  I've always loved jewelry and making things with my hands, especially gifts for others. As a teenager, I started to modify jewelry I already had to my personal taste, and added anything else I could to my collection. I read a ton of DIY articles in teen magazines and such to get ideas - it's always been a hobby of mine.
                  The name "Smithy Jewelry" actually comes from my Grandfather, who was a great inspiration and role model for me. He was a successful businessman and tinkerer, as well as a sponsor for young adults, which I did not even know about until I was older. He was always my biggest cheerleader! The name comes from his nickname in the army when he was stationed overseas during WWII. John L. Smith (no joke) became "Smithy" to all his fellow troops. I am so proud that my company name honors his memory as well as the metal smith profession in general. It's almost a play on words, haha.


                  What inspires you and what inspires Smithy?

                  The styles I most model my jewelry after are Art Deco and Art Nouveau. I am fascinated by anything from the 1900s-1920s, but I really get inspired by everything around me. That might be a cliche, but it's true. I rarely get more excited about a project as when a friend suggests something interesting to add that I might not have thought about. Feedback is key!


                  Are there certain materials that you prefer to work with?  why?

                  Currently, I think brass and bronze are my favorite materials to work with. Antique finished metals are relatively inexpensive as well, compared to other materials. As an infant business, it's important to keep costs reasonable before you can afford to invest more into higher quality materials. It's serendipitous that brass and bronze are perfect for my aesthetic and style. I also really love wire wrapping and incorporating pretty stampings and beads into my work.
                  clocksjewel

                  If Smithy were a person, living or dead, who would it be?  What if Smithy was an ice cream flavor?

                   
                  I like to describe a "Smithy" girl as one who is sophisticated, classy, and romantic. The suffragettes of the 1910s-20s perhaps embody that idea most, for me. If Smithy was a person, she would be headstrong, intelligent, empowered, beautiful; a dreamer. If she was an ice cream flavor? Hmm, maybe Peaches and Cream?
                   

                  What are your other hobbies and interests?

                  Sometimes I think I have too many hobbies/interests, haha. Working in the art department for network television lends itself to all kinds of fun hands on projects. I like building things, woodworking, DIY projects, and crafts. I sing background vocals in a twelve piece pop rock band, here in LA. It's a blast! I am also a classically trained cellist. I love to travel, but am especially enchanted by the British Isles. I support rescued animals and have two adorable rescued pups, myself. I am also a big time yogi. Seldom are there more proud moments for me then when I achieve a new challenging pose.  I definitely try to keep busy. 
                   

                  What are your plans for the future?

                   
                  I don't quite know what's ahead for Smithy Jewelry, but the support and encouragement I have experienced so far is invaluable. Beginning a small business is no small task, and I am still very much in the learning curve. My collection is growing little by little and I'll be taking some metal smithing and fabrication classes this Spring, which I'm very excited about. By this time next year, I hope to have the ability to expand my collection by hand casting my own elements and designs instead of buying as many components. 

                   

                  Giveaway:

                  artdecobrazenartdecobrazen2
                   
                  "I LOVE my Art Deco Brazen Drop Earrings. They're one of my top sellers and I wear a pair myself, all the time. They are a great modern homage to the Art Deco era, and they go with everything! I've never experienced so many comments before, even from strangers." -April
                   
                  Like free stuff? How about a FREE pair of earrings from Smithy Jewelry? Enter for a chance to win a shiny new pair of April's Art Deco Brazen Drop Earrings!  Here are the details:
                   
                  Visit Smithy's Etsy shop at www.smithyjewelry.com and pick your favorite piece. Then, head on over to their Facebook page, "like" it, and add a comment telling April what you picked and why. The winner will be chosen based on the most thoughtful and insightful comment. On Friday, March 15th, Smithy will announce the winner on their FB page and ship out next day! It's that easy. :)
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