Friday tidbits

Grape Did It - 10.24.14

What are you doing this weekend? Truett had today off so the kids & I took a long bike ride this morning, got hot chocolate and then stopped by the library. Tonight we're going to meet friends for a picnic in a new park & tomorrow I'm hoping to make these sweet roles for breakfast (with regular butter & milk, though). 

I'm raising my glass that you have a wonderful, restorative, fun weekend and I'll see you back here next week!

When we were house shopping, Bud was leaning towards a ranch. At the time, I couldn't stand the thought. But the more I look at pictures like these, the more I realize how beautiful and functional they can be.

Cool feral cat house options. Our Mama/Sparkles/Isabelle kitty needs a warm place to sleep this winter.

A behind the scenes look at Norman Rockwell. Hoping to make this exhibit.

Coveting this mud room.

Paper fox lampshade.

Love letter to Columbia

These kids are so talented and so cute (thanks, mom!).

The beautiful art of doing less.

I have long wanted a sweet potato vine draped all over my house or pots outside. Turns out it's as easy as buying a sweet potato

I kinda like watching Brad Pitt squirm.

Bunny Mellon's Oak Spring Farm. I'd love to be at that auction just to window shop, wouldn't you?

Have a great weekend & see you Monday, if I can squeeze in a post amidst getting ready for French class :)

How to host a memorable Christmas party

Grape Did It - bar cart thekitchn

This December, my girlfriend Mandy & I are going to host a swanky Christmas party! I am so excited. Mandy threw out the idea a few days ago and, since, the inspiration has been flying. (Of course, Pinterest doesn't help). 

We're trying to keep the party simple, elegant and fun. Here are some of our ideas below.

Create a self-serve bar with lush accents & a signature cocktail. The signature cocktail saves you the headache of hiring a bartender, and/or the messy potential of many people insisting they know how to make the perfect (insert complicated cocktail here). 

Instead of loading a party music playlist we're going to use...vinyl records! It'll set an old-fashioned mood and be a fun conversational piece (Mandy's mother has a collection of Christmas records - score!) It'll also let our guests play dj.

Twinkly lights. Twinkly lights. Twinkly lights. They cost about a dollar a box at dollar stores and so you can load up and hang them everywhere. That way you've got mood lighting (everyone always looks so much sexier in low light :) and tons of festive decorations all at once.

Grape Did It - Colin Cowie Weddings flowers

Big, beautiful bouquets of flowers are indeed beautiful, but they are also expensive. I'd grab a few bunches of whatever is the prettiest (also often the most plentiful and cheapest if it's in season) and do lots and lots of tiny bouquets sprinkled on the tables and surfaces around the party rooms. (Also, Nigella Lawson suggests cutting clusters of grapes and spreading them out for people to absently munch on). 

Food. Simple but looks like a million bucks. Think asparagas spears wrapped in proscuitto, a cheese board with toothpick flag labels and piles of gougeres

Grape Did It - Manger gougeres

We're also hoping to create our own invitations using a wintery picture and adding text (a bit like Truett's 4th birthday party invites).

What'd you think? Have you attended anything amazing recently and would like to share a detail or two? We'd love the suggestions! 

(images here: bar cart from thekitchn, white ranunculus from Colin Cowie Weddings, and the gorgeous gougeres from Manger by Mimi Thorisson)

The beautiful handmade bags of Nana by Sally

Grape Did It - Nana by Sally 4

Saturday - while Bud & Truett went to the field to work (Truett loves working with his daddy & looks forward to it all week) - I took June to the Soda City Farmers Market. It was a bright, sparkly fall day and as I pushed her stroller towards the market, I thought to myself, this is exactly how I used to picture motherhood before I had children ; )

Grape Did It - Nana by Sally 1

I was there for us to putter and munch on breakfasty foods, but I was also on a mini-mission. I'd long been wanting to see the bags of Nana by Sally. My girlfriend Liz has a change purse made of vintage fabric by Sally, and she said all of her other creations were just as cool and beautiful.

Grape Did It - Nana by Sally 2

They are. The one I fell madly in love with happens to be called the Soda City tote and is gorgeous. I asked her to describe what Horween leather was exactly, and she said it's a thick, durable leather that's mostly been used in men's design wear, but she loves it for it's tough construction and beautiful wear over the years.

Grape Did It - Nana by Sally 3

Grape Did It - Nana by Sally 7

All of her bags are handmade and you can even see the extra stitching in the Horween bags (they cannot be lined because the leather is too thick). 

Grape Did It - Nana by Sally 5

I know it's a splurge, but it's what I'm saving up for now. If you get a chance, go visit her etsy shop and here are a few of my other favorites: another tote (this one a bit sleeker), a fabric and leather crossbody (check out the inside!) & these envelope clutches

Grape Did It - Nana by Sally 6

Friday tidbits

Photo-9

What are you doing this weekend? I'm working on the kid's costumes (June, adding sparkle glue to her Elsa cape, above) & hoping to hit up the farmer's market tomorrow to check out this girl's amazing handmade purses

Hope you have a relaxing & fabulous weekend, whatever you do :)

Let's do some links & see you back here Monday!

I'm reading The Village Effect, by Susan Pinker. 

I would like a cocktail tower, for the record.

Speaking of, a pretty cocktail ring. 

Flock of cranes stencil pattern. I'd love to use that in the kid's room when I redesign it in the spring. 

The expectation of normalcy right after birth, is the hardest thing to deal with.

Excuses. Made me laugh. 

If you've got a bunch of kids to buy for this Christmas, wouldn't it be fun to get these cheerful yellow umbrellas & paint them each with a different theme (or name)?

I really liked Joanna's beauty uniform interview, on COJ. 

These are the two tutorials I followed (verrry loosely) to make June's Elsa cape & Truett's dragon tail, for Halloween. 

That's it! xoxo

Spooky painted pumpkin DIY tutorial

Grape Did It - finished pumpkin

I asked Summer if she'd send me pictures + the directions on how to get her super cute (& spooky) painted Halloween pumpkin. 

Happily, she agreed. Here is the DIY tutorial, in her words:

Grape Did It - pumpkin supplies

First, make sure to cover the table so your husband does not come home and pop a blood vessel if a drop of paint was spilled on your newish table.
 
Second, assemble spray paints (gold worked wonderfully; more expensive ones did do better), paintbrushes, stencils, pumpkins and small individual paints.
 
Grape Did It - white pumpkin
 
Spray paint the pumpkin. Be sure to choke on fumes.
 
While spray paint is drying (really fast), use a small brush to paint stem.
 
Grape Did It - pumpkin top
 
I painted a collar on top of the pumpkin to fill out the space but it's hard to get it completely straight, unless you're an artist, which I'm not.
 
Grape Did It - cat stencil
 
Outline the stencil with a Sharpie as best you can.
 
Grape Did It - painting cat

Fill in space with paint and small brush.
 
Grape Did It - cat touch ups
 
Use another small brush to touch up all mistakes and incomplete areas.  Again, artistes need not do this step.
 
Grape Did It - finished pumpkin

Ta-da! Easiest pumpkin painting project ever! 

Thanks, Summer! I love, love, love it. I'd like to do a trio of cat, witch & ghost. PS - an even simpler version would be to spray paint a bunch of pumpkins different colors. 

New haircut & anniversary dinner

Grape Did It - haircut

Yesterday was a sparkler. I did yoga early in the morning & then got a hair cut at Ulta (did you know they have salons?). I asked for long layers since I'd like to grow my hair back out, but was in major need of a little overhaul. 

I think it had been since I was pregnant with Truett that I went to an actual salon for a haircut. They did a wash (heavenly!), a cute cut & then a blowout. Plus, their usual haircut prices are pretty reasonable - in the $40 range. 

Also, since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I got a stripe of pink put in :) I love it. 

After what felt like an already splurgy day, we went to dinner at Saluda's where I had, hands down, the best butternut squash soup I've ever tasted. We were celebrating our 7th anniversary a day early. 

We took a few minutes at dinner to discuss some of our goals for 2015 and then how we make a good team, but why do we fight a lot? Bud concluded that, even after 7 years of marriage, you're still getting to know each other. 

xoxoxo Bud. 

Friday tidbits

Grape Did It - 10.10.14

Happy Friday! What're you up to this weekend? Tomorrow I'm getting my haircut at Ulta & supporting breast cancer research at the same time! I'm super excited to have my hair done in a real salon (um, I pretty much cut my own usually).

Then Sunday night Bud & I are planning to go out to dinner at one of our favorites spots, The Hunter Gatherer, to celebrate our seventh anniversary (which is Monday :).

Have a fantastic fall weekend & see you back here next week! Here are some good links to peruse over your weekend coffee.

An all-star cover of God Only Knows, by the Beach Boys.

Oh my goodness. My girlfriend posted one of these to facebook, hanging out in her cup of tea.

Another record year for sea turtles. I am loving The Good News Network. What a relief from modern headlines.

The south's spookiest ghosts. Which reminds me, have you read about this life-after-death study

...avocados also contain Vitamin C, a natural skin brightener. I can't wait to try this at-home face mask.

Smitten with this Stella McCartney two-piece suit (worn by Amal Alamuddin).

The correct way to serve grapes.

The world's oldest doodles :)

How to make glittered pumpkins (and up next week, I'll show you the amazing DIY from Summer on stenciled pumpkins - feeling so inspired).

And speaking of pumpkins...a sweet quote.

That's it - have a bountiful weekend. xo

Cooking for French class

Grape Did It - rock recipes

When we first began teaching after-school french lessons, we asked everyone to bring a snack. But as the class has progressed - and because if someone didn't remember theirs, we wanted them to have something to nibble - we've decided to make little snacks each Monday. 

Sometimes it's as simple as bread, butter & jam or, sometimes, we get a little fancier and host a tea party with pain-au-chocolat :) 

Now I'm often on the lookout for short & sweet recipes to serve at class on Mondays. I just found one (pictured above) for cream puffs. It sounds heavenly. 

We're also hoping to do crepes one of these days. There is something so fun about teaching the children not only through vocabulary and speech, but also from a food & culture perspective. My favorite memories from childhood always include food, especially if the dishes were from another culture. What was your favorite hands-on food as a child? 

(image and recipe via rockrecipes.com)

Do you have a favorite yoga mat?

Grape Did It - Prana

As a relative newbie to yoga, I generally use the mats provided at the studio (I go to City Yoga and I adore it). My friend Mandy let me in on a little tip - to double up on your mats - which helps cushion your knees in some of the poses. But it got me to thinking, now that I attend regularly, does an expensive yoga mat really matter, or can I get away with one from Target?

I asked Stacy, my instructor, and she said yes, it really does matter. The higher quality mats last longer and provide much better cushioning. 

Her recommendations included Prana, Jade, Manduka & Lululemon mats, and she said I should probably try a few out before making my decision. 

Do you do yoga, do you have a recommendation, or does it really matter? 

(image via prana.com)

Friday tidbits

Grape Did It - 10.3.14

What are you doing this weekend? Tomorrow the kids have a birthday party and then Sunday we're hosting a costume exchange here at our house. The idea is to bring costumes your kids have already worn and, hopefully, leave with one your child might like to wear this year. I'm excited, especially because us mamas are going to have wine + cheese while the kids squeal over outfits :)

Let's do some good links & see you back here Monday.

I adore these pricey, but oh-so-gorgeous belts from Wiley Belts.

My good friend Nancy calls it being civilized. I couldn't agree more. And along those lines, dress up when you travel

A drop in federal inmates. That's encouraging.

A sweet & simple play house from Land of Nod.

5 things to do to keep colds away. My yoga teacher also says to elevate your legs & feet (think lying on the floor with legs flush on the wall) for about 15 minutes to stimulate your immune system.

Breathtaking travel photos.

Fall windows, Anthropologie. It reminds me of window displays in New York at Christmas time.

More Active Play Equals Better Thinking Skills. YES YES YES.

Being a stay at home parent is a luxury for your spouse

If you live in Columbia, Fig Pig Pickin'.

A pretty play sailboat. (Might make for a perfect Christmas gift for a little guy or girl in your life).

That's it! Get excited because Georgia & family are in Ireland and have agreed to send me travel stories & pictures to share here on Grape Did It next week :) xoxo

PS - my fall nail color uniform & a simple, delicious weekday morning breakfast.

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About Me

My Photo Hi! I'm Hope. Welcome to my website all about: style, food, travel & parenting. I live in Columbia, SC with my husband and two bebes.

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