Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Illustrated Home

Found via Design*Sponge, artist Holly-Anne Rolf takes return address stamps to the next level, creating gorgeous custom-made stamps based on the design of your own home. Simply send a photograph to Holly at info@hollyshouses.co.uk and she will draw an illustration of your property, make it into a rubber stamp and send it back to you, along with a black ink pad.

I love the idea of the stampable illustrated home. You can use it to create custom stationery paper and envelopes with a few blank pieces and colored inkpads. Or use the stamp to decorate wrapping and tissue paper, transfer it to your business cards, create gift tags and bookplates, or stamp labels for bottles and jars of homemade goods. For no extra cost you can add an address line below the illustration if you want one purely for correspondence.

The stamps may seem a bit pricey (just over $100), but this is one-of-a-kind art that is sure to have meaning. I can think of no more elegant way for the house-proud to express themselves. So go ahead, put your stamp on it.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Oscar Party Style from Twig & Thistle

Today we head back to Twig & Thistle for their second installment of Oscar Party inspiration. Movie-theater style candy, adorable ballots for voting, and bags of Redvines—it's a movie-lover's dream come true.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Oscar Style

The Oscars are coming up on March 7th, and with two great hosts (Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin) and 10 movies up for Best Picture, I'm definitely planning to watch. To help you get ready for the red carpet event, check out the darling designs from this Oscar party on Twig and Thistle. Thanks to T&T you can download the invitations, envelope liners, and popcorn bags with even more to come tomorrow. Tune in then for more!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Curiosity Killed My Cash: Browsing The Curiosity Shoppe

Being naturally nosy, I just clicked over to The Curiosity Shoppe to see what goodies they had in store. It's a quirky site full of home and office goods, accessories, and craft kits to help you get your own projects started. My personal favorite are these porcelain dishes made to look like brightly colored take-out boxes. This designer take on doggy-bag-style from Brooklyn artist Lorena Barrezueta is tempting me to empty my pockets in order to get my hands on a set.

Up top: Nosh ($45), Directly Above: Double Dip ($45)

Other honorable mentions?


These super cute apple jackets by artist Jacqueline Dufresne ($20). I'm not sure if this knitted cozy keeps your apple from bruising, but I certainly admire this fashionable fruit.

5 Porcelain Keys — I'm not sure what I'd do with them (use them in a table-setting, create a mobile or chandelier, or simply hang them for well decor?) but I think they're awfully neat.

Check out more for yourself at the Curiosity Shoppe online.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Host-It Notes Loves Post-It Notes

Here's a fun little DIY project I spotted over at Mollie Johanson's blog, Wild Olive. Print your own sticky notes with a fun heart design! To get started, head to Wild Olive for instructions, then download the PDF template here. If this inspires you to make your own design, I'd love to see what you come up with!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Friday Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Google Friend Connect follower Tracy, who won Friday's giveaway of the Julie & Julia DVD! For those who missed out, best of luck in this week's contest.

xx,
Host-It Notes


Sweet Everythings from Scissors.Paper.Cake

Here on Host-It Notes I try not to feature anything unobtainable, but I'm so in love with with the work this little Australian company is doing I absolutely have to share. The only sad part is they are too far away for me to get any for myself.

Scissors.Paper.Cake is a collaboration between Naomi from Hello Naomi (custom cakes, cupcakes and cookies) and Nathalie from Imprintables (invitations).

Their gallery is amazing. Here are images from their "Candy Shop" party but they have so much more eye-popping party goodness to share.

Consider this a bit of inspiration for your next party. It doesn't get much sweeter than this!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Online Find: Shop Haven Vintage

A little tooling around on the web just led me to my new favorite shop, Haven Vintage on Etsy. If we haven't discussed this before, Etsy is a terrific website that brings together handmade goods, vintage finds and more. Users start their own online shops, usually from their homes, to share their creations and obsessions with like-minded shoppers. It's a great collection of independent businesses, and I love to support Etsy sellers.

Run by an interior decorator, Haven is a collection of estate sale and flea market finds that are truly the cream of the crop! On the first page alone I found 6 items I wanted. Above is a collection of Haven goodies I'm coveting. Click here to make them your own. In the meantime, let's take another look at that cakestand!

Vintage Westmorland Milk Glass Cake Plate with Pedestal, $58


Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Giveaway: Julie & Julia

I imagine Julia Child was the ultimate hostess. Warm, funny, genuine and always making you an outrageously tasty meal. This movie (based on a book, based on a blog) is a treat. Don't have a copy of Julie & Julia? Well, I need one and so do you.

That's why for this week's Friday Giveaway I'll be sending someone a copy of Julie & Julia on DVD. Drool over the food, but don't forget to admire Meryl's fabulous fashion when playing Julia. The heels, the 50s dresses, the pearls. She's adorable! Wrap an apron around me and call me done—I've found my fashion guru.

To enter in this giveaway become a Host-It Notes follower via Google Friend Connect (check the lower right of the homepage), or email me at hostess@host-itnotes.com. Followers are automatically entered to win in each and every Friday Giveaway. Contest closes at midnight (PST) on Monday the 22nd and I'll announce the winner here on Tuesday. Good luck!

PS. this reminds me...the book it's based on (by Julie Powell) is terrific! It's a guilty pleasure of mine. Stay tuned for a future giveaway of the book.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boozy Baked Goods

Now being delivered to homes in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens (what, no love for the Bronx?), these booze-soaked batches of bakery goodness are the brainchild of David Barrick at Butch Bakery—a man who was tired of pink, frilly cupcakes and thought it was time for this girly treat to "man up!" Soaked in alcohol, topped with patterns like camo and woodgrain, and given names like "Tail Gate" and "Beer Run," these cupcakes appeal to the dudes but remain sweet as ever, making them, as they put it, "Butch Meets Buttercream." Sampler boxes start at $16 for four (remember, they get delivered to your door!). Check it out at www.butchbakery.com. I know I'll be dialing up some the next time I'm in Manhattan.

Many thanks to my friend (and reader) Mari for pointing out these terrific cupcakes!

Photos by Carolyn Dobbe via ButchBakery.com


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Peanut Party for Poppy

My dear friend Poppy is expecting her first child this March. She lives in another state, so sadly I wasn't able to attend her baby shower. But oh how I wish I could have! Even better, I would have loved to throw her one. The proud parents-to-be have nicknamed the baby "Peanut." Wouldn't a lovely "Little Peanut" party be terrific?

There are so many food options: chicken skewers dipped in peanut sauce, broccoli peanut salad, and desserts like peanut butter cookies or fudge, or cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, and, of course, Circus Peanuts. For me, I think I'd serve PBJ bites (make a sandwich, remove crusts and cut into bite-sized squares) with shot glasses of milk to wash them down.

PBJ Cupcakes: Recipe and photos at MarthaStewart.com

Favors would be peanuts in the shell, naturally, served up in the cheeky little "Happiness is a Peanut" bags above from HeyYoYo.

Be sure to serve non-peanut dishes to help balance the flavors, and ask about peanut allergies prior to the party!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Budget Beauties

Just a few pretties to share with you today. I styled this look for a post over at Bay Area Bride Guide this week and can't help but show it here. All of the items on the table are my finds from unusual places like flea markets and hole-in-the-wall shops in Chinatown. The milk bottles were $1 each at a local flea market. The tall vase in the back is actually a 99-cent placemat wrapped around a cocktail shaker I raised off the table. And the white vases on the right are sake servers I bought for just a few dollars at a restaurant supply store. All were topped with blooms I got for a steal at the San Francisco Flower Mart. Befriend a local florist and find out where she shops—if the market is open to the public at any point you can save a bundle buying directly from the source.

I hope these inspire you the next time you set the table. Several short items and single flowers can make a bigger impact than a traditional, spendy bouquet. Hit up your local restaurant supply stores and flea markets and get creative. Then send me the pics to share, of course!


Monday, February 15, 2010

The Gold Standard in Cookies

I've been watching Olympic coverage this weekend and belatedly wishing I'd planned a little viewing party. If I did I could have served this champion dessert. Found on the kitchn, a cookie cutter in the shape of Olympics rings (Ann Clark, $3.99) makes these Olympic-sized Nanaimo bars. Nanaimo bars are a popular Canadian treat that uses cocoa powder, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, chopped almonds and custard or pudding powder to make a decadent layered bar cookie. Click here for the recipe and instructions over at the kitchn. Now that's a winning idea, eh?


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Must-Read Magazine: Nonpareil's First Issue

Many thanks to Creature Comforts for bringing Nonpareil, a new online magazine for brides, to my attention. I know, Host-It Notes isn't a wedding blog, but I do look to them on occasion for design inspiration. The bridal world is an industry that's continually looking to new and beautiful centerpieces and favors.

In Nonpareil's first issue they have a timely focus on Decor on a Dime, with this gorgeous tablescape for under $95 (the lampshades were only $1 a piece, which they then covered in fabric or spay-painted in metallics!) and a slew of centerpiece ideas for $45 and under.

Additionally they have felt flowers, cookies, and a terrific template for a favor box and six ways to decorate it.

Check it out for yourself. My only complaint? They show an absolutely stunning pink vintage glass cake stand with no instructions on where I can get one for myself! Nonpareil Magazine, I beseech you—I need that cake stand in my life!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Are You Running Hot or Cold this Valentine's Day?

After living on both the East and West Coasts, I have readers and friends spread out all over the US these days. Ideas that appeal to my snowed-in friend in D.C. might not work for my Phoenix, AZ pal. So here are two polar opposites for your Valentine's Day inspiration.

Heat Things Up: Got a guest to impress but, baby, it's cold outside? Every sleepover is better with these hotwater bottles to warm your feet. You can find one online at Spoon Sisters in red or white. Make it your gift to your Valentine, or just keep one on hand to fight drafts and keep future guests cozy and warm.

Chill Out: Keep your cool with these heartfelt ice cream sandwiches from Martha Stewart online. Grab a heart shaped cookie cutter and some softened strawberry ice cream and make this sweet treat. For the recipe click here, and, if you like this, check out additional heart-shaped food ideas from Martha & Co. here!


More Valentine's Day Romance: Fabric Pom Poms

There's an air of old school romance about these pom poms. Found via Once Wed, a terrific wedding website, these lovely fabric poms are by the creative folks at Dolci Odille Letterpress + Design. Who needs a chandelier when you can light candles on the table and create dimension by hanging a few of these poms from above?

Combine circles of fabric, chinese lanterns and hot glue to make these romantic ruffles. For a tutorial on these DIY fabric poms click here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Missed Connections and New Collections

Lately I've been missing things, particularly transportation. Living in San Francisco means you rarely need to have a car unless you are planning on heading east. But mass transit doesn't always have my best interest in mind. Or does it? Two recent missed connections led me to my new favorite things.

First I missed my Caltrain when headed home from Wedding University at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto. With an hour to kill I of course went shopping rather than writing an article with a looming deadline. Enter this Victoriana globe vase from Rosanna, Inc. which I found at little store called Paperwhirl, just blocks away from the station. I snapped it up and filled it with some gorgeous mums, and it's kicked off a milk glass collecting obsession for me (more to come).

Next to it, topping my tiny cakestand, is a fat and fabulous cookie I bought to soothe my frustration after missing a bus just days later when heading home from the flower market. I spotted it at Cups and Cakes, a bakery that's a real kick. They have cupcakes in flavors like Viva Las Vegas—a banana bacon cupcake with peanut buttercream frosting topped with a banana chip and a little crumbled bacon. In the cupcake world it's The King. Or what about Pucker Up Pink Lemonade, Killer Carrot, and Pancake Breakfast? I opted for oatmeal cookies sandwiched together with a layer of cooled melted chocolate and vanilla buttercream frosting. The combination is mood-alteringly delicious.

Which leads me to think, next time you're making frosting, why not make a little extra and sandwich a few cookies together on your own? Roll the edges in mini chocolate chips or M&Ms and you've got something special.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day Centerpieces

If you are planning on entertaining at home this Valentine's Day, it is time to start dreaming up a look for your table. I'm feeling less than enthused about the always-anticipated red roses and pinks. Instead, here are a few simple, romantic centerpiece ideas to inspire you. If you have favorites of your own please share!

This tablescape by designer Annie Selke is made from blossoms and mismatched stemware. I found it on Rachael Ray online, where she has a surprisingly expansive collection of centerpiece ideas. Check out these centerpiece slideshows.

Via InStyle Weddings: tall glass cylinders are filled with water and submerged flowers or branches {photo by Charles Schiller, via Instyleweddings.com}.

Want something that really conveys the holiday but still a little out of the ordinary? Place a vase within a larger glass cylinder of approximately the same height. Fill the inner vase with flowers, and pour jumbo Conversation Hearts in the space between the two vases. Martha Stewart online executes this perfectly as seen here:

Or skip the flowers all together: Take a large shallow bowl or tray and place a few white pillar candles of varying heights in it. Surround them with a bed of Conversation Hearts instead of traditional pebbles. Candles in a bed of rose petals are also particularly romantic.

I'd love to see what you come up with. Send pictures of your own creations to hostess@host-itnotes.com and I'll share them on the site!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Than Words: Edible Valentines

I made a great new blog discovery this week. Found via Party Perfect, Givers Log is a lovely blog all about gift giving...which is right up my alley! This charming website is filled with gift ideas, wrapping suggestions, gift etiquette, and more.

Givers Log author Amber is a clever girl with some truly inspirational ideas. Take these edible Valentines for example. She baked and frosted small cakes to be topped with wafer paper, an edible, odorless and relatively flavorless rice paper. She then got out a calligraphy pen and some food coloring and wrote a love letter to wrap around her cake. Isn't it romantic? You can get full details and instructions here for your own sweet declaration of love.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Friday Giveaway Winner

Congrats to knycks1, the winner of our Friday Giveaway, chosen in a random drawing. Enjoy your LOVE Stamp Kit! We'll have another contest for a new prize in a few weeks. Until then, happy reading!


Valentine's Day Ephemera from Suzee Que

You may remember this post on free downloadable vintage labels from Suzee Que. Now we're headed back to her site for some gorgeous Valentine's Day themed art. (For personal use, not commercial use, folks.) I'd recommend checking this and all of her other sets out. You'll love what you find!

I (heart) this spinner—create a paper arrow and attach with a brad and you have a beautiful interactive card or favor for a friend.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Giveaway: Love Stamp Kit

There's an all new Friday Giveaway today, just in time for Valentine's Day. Up for grabs is this super cute LOVE STAMP KIT (Chronicle Books). It includes 16 heart-shaped rubber stamps with lovey-dovey sayings plus a 2-color ink pad.

To enter to win become a follower via Google Friend Connect (scroll down on the homepage, bottom right) or send an email to hostess@host-itnotes.com. The winning name will be drawn randomly. Google Friend Connect Followers are automatically entered into this and future giveaways. I'm going to end this contest at midnight on Sunday so I can get this in the mail to the winner asap!

Love ya!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Whoo" Will Be Your Valentine?: Night Owl Paper Goods

I've been keeping an eye out for the sweetest cards around for Valentine's Day, not just for my husband but for friends as well. Everyone should get a Valentine! My latest favorites come from Night Owl Paper Goods. Their cards are kitschy and fun—actually their motto "modern yet folksy" captures their style perfectly.

Many of their cards are actually made of wood (and I don't mean wood turned into paper pulp), making them unique little works of art, as well as the perfect Valentine's Day stationery. I like them because they are a message and a gift all at once. Check out a few of my favorite styles, priced at just under $5 (on sale from $6 for the holiday).

There's other fish in the sea, but you otter be with me? Now that's my kind of wordplay!


This is just a small sample of what they have over at Night Owl Paper Goods, and they carry more than just love cards. And while you are there, scoop up one (or more) of their adorable "jotters," a.k.a mini-notepads.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vintage Stamp Garlands from d.Sharp

Found via Poppytalk—I'm completely enamored with these beautiful stamp garlands from d.Sharp ($75). Made with vintage British issued stamps, each stamp is cut and scored by hand and adjustable on the line. Each garland is unique. Garlands come in long single strands or multiple strands to cover the number of tiers you need. I feel like these are brilliant as is, or wonderful inspiration for making little flag garlands of your own!


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