Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Start A New Thanksgiving Tradition


After we stuff ourselves with turkey and all the trimmings on Thanksgiving, we have an evening of crafts for Christmas. It's usually some form of ornament or a gingerbread house…it almost always results in paint on our hands and my grandmother getting strangely giggly. 
This year, we made snowmen ornaments that turned out pretty darn cute. 
We used two different sizes of white ornaments, gathered supplies that could be used for mini snowmen, like pipe cleaners, sparkly pom-poms and tiny top hats. 
Get creative and start a new tradition by making these snowmen ornaments after your big meal!
-Laurie





I love Sam the Snowman from Rudolph, so I had to make him!



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Cranberry Spritzer


I hosted a small craft gathering at our house this weekend (don't worry, you will learn about it next week) and I was in need of a festive drink. I found a couple of different recipes that sounded equally yummy...so, why not combine them?!

Martha Stewart shared some homemade soda recipes in the December issue and Shutterbean.com shared this one that I was intrigued by because of the rosemary. So, with the listed ingredients above, combine them in a sauce pan on the stove and bring it too a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. (Ok cranberries pop as they cook and it is so fun to watch! They splatter a little too so watch out!) After boiling, cool at room temperature and then strain the syrup from the chunky cranberries. Add 2-3 tablespoons of syrup to a glass with ice and poor seltzer/soda water over it and stir. Dress it up with a cute straw. Boom! Festive drink for any upcoming event! And a great way to use up any extra berries! 

P.S. save the cranberries you strain from the syrup and top your favorite brie and serve with crackers. Or be even more creative than that to serve them on your dinner table. 

-Alison

Monday, November 25, 2013

thanksGIVING




During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it is easy for us to get wrapped up in ourselves, our parties, our gifting, our decorating... While I think it is good to remember to give back at all times of the year, I think it especially important during our time of Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration. These are the times when we most want to be near our loved ones to enjoy their company in, typically, a warm home with lots of food on the table. This is the time of the year when most of us remember how many blessings we have so why not share some of our blessings with others?

Do not take me for someone who is discouraging any charitable organization but I think some of the most important ones are those that provide basic necessities for a more self-sufficient life. Organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank and Knox Area Relief Ministries (KARM) are two in my area that provide support for my fellow East Tennessee residents. Second Harvest works all year round to provide food for those in need but they work even harder to help provide holiday dinners for families as well. KARM also helps in providing meals and they also have other programs like their annual coat drive to keep people warm during the coldest times of the year. Thankfully, organizations like these make it fairly simple during the holidays to drop goods off or even to purchase them and leave them at the store you are shopping at. Second Harvest even has a site where you are able to, with the click of a button, sponsor a child, family or senior citizen in need. I don't know about you, but I often forget to give to those in my own community because I am so distracted by third world countries. There are so many in need in the communities we live in.



So, 'I am already giving to my local community,' you say? Well, there are a couple of organizations that I would recomend if you want to think beyond the borders of our country. Heifer International and Blood:Water Mission are two that I would love to throw your way. Heifer International helps those in need all over the globe by providing an animal or other tools and training to equip and empower those with almost nothing. It is just one of the coolest things to me. And the organization is found in my home state, Arkansas. Pretty cool. Blood:Water Mission is an organization that partners with African communities to help put an end to the HIV/AIDS and water crisis by providing tools to access water sources and create and sustain local HIV/AIDS clinics. If you check their site out there are tangible ways you can donate.

So what about you? What do you do in your community to show you care? I am convicted as I type about my lack of support for those in need around me. I encourage you to learn about your community's needs and the organizations that serve others around you. Find new ways to share your blessings. I plan to do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

-Alison

Friday, November 22, 2013

TGIF: Thank Goodness I Found...Tablescape Pinspiration!


We are decorating our Thanksgiving tables this weekend in preparation for the big day coming up! For this week's TGIF post, we thought we would share with you our inspirations of Thanksgiving tables capes. We love sharing simple posts because you can follow along with us on our Pinterest page, especially our TGIF board.
Be social and follow our page so that we can follow you back and see what you are inspired by! 
TGIF! 
-Alison & Laurie




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Mantle DIY Decor


We are a week away from Thanksgiving! We will be hosting Thanksgiving at our house for David's family. I am itching to start my Christmas decorating this weekend, but I really wanted to keep my mantle and dining room in Thanksgiving decor. My mom and grandmother picked up the various plaid fabrics for me and I made the pennants in about an hour. 

What You Will Need:
various plaid fabrics
fabric scissors
fabric glue
large sticker letters
heavy twine


Measure out your triangle on a half-sheet of paper, unfold to see your diamond.


Put your diamond pattern on the fabric and cut out the amount you need. I did "Gather Together." Lay out your twine, slide fabric diamonds underneath, draw a line of glue at the fold, then fold over and press fabric together along the twine line. It's ok if it's not perfect, it looks cute that way!


Once you have all of your pennants assembled on the twine, stick your letters on each letter. I used gold glittery to juxtapose the manly plaid of the fabric. 

-Laurie



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Perfect Party Morsel



This weekend I am hosting a small neighborhood gathering full of Christmas cheer. You all will hear about it next week and I hope it will encourage you to get to know your neighbors a little better and try out a (possible) new craft. I am so excited. I am also excited to spend a little time in the kitchen for a few tasty treats to help us keep our crafting energy up. While planning for my small gathering I have been thinking of what I would like to make. So I thought you might enjoy a new recipe too! I even found a new blog during my searching. Sarcastic Cooking will become a new favorite I believe. Well, I mean, it already is. Stephanie shared a baked brie recipe with a twist of cranberry, balsamic and rosemary. I really wanted to make something with brie and cranberries but wanted to do something a little different than the norm...this sounds so fun and tasty! I'll let you know what the critics say.

I'm working on a cranberry fizzy something to drink. I'll let you know what I come up with and share that once it is something worth drinking. 

      Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Frozen Cranberries, thawed
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 8 Ounce Wheel of Brie
  • 8 Ounces Puff Pastry/ Crescent Roll Dough
  • 1 Tablespoon Melted Unsalted Butter

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine cranberries, balsamic, sugar, rosemary, water, and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for ten minutes until thick.
  3. Cut the puff pastry/crescent roll dough into an 8x8-inch square. If you are using crescent roll dough, make sure to pinch all the seams together to make one cohesive piece of dough.
  4. Place the puff pastry on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Place the brie in the center of the dough. Pinch the dough up along the edges of the brie. Do not totally cover the brie. Brush all edges of the dough with the melted butter.
  6. Spoon the sauce on to the brie. Place the brie in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are lightly golden and crisp. Allow baked brie to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving and slicing.

-Alison

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Thanksgiving Pecans & Best Turkey



We had an early Thanksgiving this year with my family and my grandmother of course never fails to deliver awesome food and a beautiful tablescape. We ate so much and she really outdid herself with fabulous flowers and decorations. We each had individually packaged sugared pecans she made at our place setting. My husband already ate all of his in one sitting and I caught him trying to dig into mine. I quickly stopped his thievery and hid them. Luckily, if he finds them, I have the recipe to make some more!
PS-I have an awesome deal for you. My dear old dad sales the absolute best seasoning for Thanksgiving turkeys. We usually grill our turkeys on a Holland Grill and use the seasoning for the bird. It is the best turkey I've ever had and all you have to do is get the turkey wet and literally coat it with this seasoning. If you call 731-645-3283 and mention the Paper Pearl blog post, you can receive $2 off of the bottle that will last you beyond this Thanksgiving. It's good on any type of meat or veggies. Trust me on this…have I ever told you wrong? Now give him a call and make some of these pecans. Your family will thank you. -Laurie















Friday, November 15, 2013

TGIF…Hostess Gifts!



As holiday entertaining approaches Laurie and I thought it would be fun to find some hostess gift ideas. 

I love the thought of crafting gifts with my own hands but also know there isn't quite enough time in the day to always do that...I think our selection of homemade/handcrafted and fun pieces you will use and love but maybe never buy for yourself are awesome!

Did anyone else notice how coordinated Laurie's finds are compared to mine? Very telling of each of us. Love it. I think giving someone items they can entertain with again is a great idea. Not only does it help them restock some items you know they might use, it also insures a return invitation to enjoy the items you gifted. Win, win situation for the hostess and yourself. Every hostess needs to pamper themselves once in a while...the homemade body scrub, aromatherapy from Kate Spade and plush throw can certainly help.

Enjoy your holiday parties and be sure to thank your hostess!

-Alison and Laurie

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Favorite Simmer Pot



Simmer pots are the best way to cleanly fill your home with a scent that doesn't come from a candle. I love making them when the house starts to smell a little musty. It's clean, it's fresh and this recipe that I love is reminiscent of the holidays. For some reason, oranges remind me of Christmas. I know most people are reminded of summer and warmer weather when they slice open an orange, but not me. I remember making a cinnamon-clove-orange ball for decoration that smelled so magnificent when I was a little girl. So I recreated that scent with a simmer pot. It's so easy to do at home, especially if you have these three ingredients in your pantry. I use cinnamon sticks if I have them or a tablespoon of ground cinnamon if I don't. I typically use ground cloves as well simply because that's what I have. I try to save an orange for simmer pots when I get them, so that I can grind the orange in the disposal to smell nicer and put the peels in the pot. 
Here's what you do:
Bring a small saucepan filled with water to a boil (more if you want it to last longer, keep adding if it goes down, which it will), add in your desired ingredients, let it boil for about five more minutes, then turn to simmer and go on about your business. You'll be smelling the sweet scent in no time and won't even have to burn a candle. My husband smelled it the other day and asked if I was making something special. He was a little disappointed when he discovered he couldn't eat it. If you want more recipes, Apartment Therapy has some great options for you as well. 

-Laurie

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NYC Winter Dreaming

Winter Dreaming


I don't know about where you are, but today in Knoxville temperatures dropped drastically. Am I sad? Only because there is no snow! I am ready for cold days and possibilities of snow. In case you were wondering, as of yesterday afternoon atop Mt. LeConte in the great Smoky Mountains...15 degrees and covered in snow.

As winter comes I also reminisce on our short days in NYC and what it must be like there during the cold months. I have visited The City in December but that isn't quite the cold month. I would love to be bundled in a down coat, rush into a tiny restaurant and cozy up to a table with my love to enjoy something warm while overlooking the busy streets.

May my mood board bring you warmth and joy as we draw near to winter. I can not wait.

-Alison



Monday, November 11, 2013

Christmas Correspondence





Even though we are just past Halloween and trucking onward to Thanksgiving, Christmas is looming ever-present in the near future. It's time to start thinking about that special correspondence that is the Christmas card. I hope it is a tradition that does not go out of style, because I love receiving them and making them. I have several styles available in my Etsy store, marked down to $6 now! However, my mom requested a new style just for her this year, so I obliged. She loves blue and wanted something that was also reminiscent of the little town of Bethlehem. 
If you are interested in a custom Christmas design, please don't hesitate to get in touch at fancifulink@gmail.com. I will work within your budget and customize to your heart's desire! Make this Christmas an extra special one!
-Laurie

Thursday, November 7, 2013

First Friday: A Craftsman, An Artist


Because the blogger scheduler and I have a terrible relationship and because my new sister-in-law required the entire Friday for pre-wedding celebrations you are just now enjoying our First Friday piece. I will push aside my anger and frustration with my technological mishaps and share a new artist with you all. Enjoy!

Per-Ole Lind (P.O.) has become a new friend of ours in the last year or so and I have recently discovered his profession and creativity. He also works in an industry Laurie and I both love, print media. His Scandinavian roots lead him to a great deal of work in Europe and Asia. On top of that, a great deal of inspiration comes from Asia and his current home, Knoxville. Some of his works-in-progress are inspired by art on wood he found during one of his many stents in Asia. While he is a graphic designer by trade his creativity spills over into many areas of expression. Just the same as my interest in the work of Scott Steere, P.O. has a certain graphic element to his work I really, really enjoy.

If you are ever in town and would like to talk art, P.O. is your guy. Were I to share all of the interesting tidbits and anecdotes he shared with me during our mini photo-shoot you would be reading for days.  I will never admit to being an expert in the field nor will I ever have the lingo or jargon down...however, I feel like I learned more in the minutes I spent with P.O. and his wife, Amelia, than I have perusing any modern art museum. So much fun.

Back to P.O. He is currently working on his "Geek Series." His work is showcased on Birch Baltic Plywood. Some of the pieces are even carved into the "canvas" so to speak to create a more realistic depiction of the images. Not only can P.O. produce high end graphic design pieces, he is also a fantastic wood-worker. This series he is working on combines his love for wood and interest in painting with a little nostalgia mixed in from the subjects he is working with. These pieces are so fun!

P.O. crafted a beautiful dinning table for his home....


We are catching him mid-project; however, he was recently involved in a large-scale, community project in my very own neighborhood. The recent mural project (seen below) took a great deal of his time and creative energies (as one can imagine). But, now he is back to focusing on his ongoing projects.

Two of four - Had to include my neighborhood



I hope you enjoy some of our dialogue and some additional information about him below:

PP: When people ask you what you do what is your response? It seems like there is more than one art-form in your accomplished tool belt.

P.O: Professionally, I work as an Art Director. That usually takes a little explaining, but people get the idea, when I tell them how I design projects involving many different design elements like photography, illustration and typography and orchestrate all people involved in order to get a particular expression.

If people ask me if I do any creative work on my own, I include illustration, carpentry, photography, copy-editing and painting.

PP: Beginning your creative career, or at least considering the idea, at age 10 with photography-do you still pick up a camera from time to time? Does it have any role in your design at this point in your career?

P.O.: I always have a point-and-shooter on me. I record anything that catches my attention and archive it for inspirational purposes. If I can't shake it, I often sketch it, just to allow it to speak in a different format. At times, it ends as a painting. At times, it ends up in projects. Recently, a shot I took riding my bike in a Copenhagen park ended up on a environmental poster for the Danish Embassy in Tokyo.

PP: What sparked your interest in print media?

P.O.: I've always loved magazines. It's the ultimate cross-point between written and visual. There's no other format, where visuals and words co-relate to a similar symbiotic effect. The artwork serves a purpose.

PP: What keeps you in print media? Is there anything you enjoy as much?

P.O.: The web is in many ways fascinating and fun. Motion graphics is such a rich media. But print stands as the most consistent. Digital owns the Wow, but print has the I'm still here. How to combine the two is the question.

PP: When you are working with a client to create a new campaign or look does the process start the same with most every client or does the process differ from client to client?

P.O.: It always starts with dialogue. I tend to ask a ton of questions. If I work with a decentralized team, I provide questionnaires, to get enough to work on. At times, I work gradually with the client, providing related visuals to support my sketches to nail the atmosphere my client is looking for.

PP: Tell me about your pop art series you are currently working on.

P.O.: There's something absolutely fascinating about early personal electronics. They were, for the time highly innovative, and often expressing that in form. That in itself has a tremendous attraction. Second is the nostalgia connected to them. These objects are in a cross roads between trash and collectors items. Third, is the innocence. These objects were exceptional for their time, but still had clear limitations. The C64 took a lot of patience to work with. The Walkman could handle one cassette at a time until the batteries ran out. These objects wouldn't steal your attention in the same massive ways our smart phone does. Yet, these objects were the first slow heat that eventually boiled us in with personal electronics.

PP: Where does the inspiration for content and design come from (Pop Art)?

P.O.: I wanted to do some of the more iconic objects of the cut, without avoiding the odd pieces in the mix. When I spotted a Betamax video camera with a purple-rainbow shoulder strap, I had to get that in the mix. I have no idea, why rainbows was such a big deal on all these objects.







PP: With the most recent mural project you have completed and your upcoming Victorian project (car hoods), what is it about Victorian-style design that attracts or inspires you?

P.O.: While I lived in Japan took a lot from brush illustration, simplicity and their use of wood. Now in the US, I have discovered the potency of Victorian typography and illustration. It so clearly refers to it's craft. It's a technique intended for reproduction, in the early industrial era. The masters of this skill took it to incredible levels. Often overlooked, since it was mostly used for commercial purposes. Today, often ridiculed as old hat. With the growing interest in pre-information age expression, it's bound to find it's renaissance. It might be a fad, but craftsmanship never dies.

PP: Since moving to the southern US have you seen a change in inspiration or influence in your work? 

P.O: Absolutely. Digging into the South-Eastern typeface masters and their playful drive for innovation has been a bit of an eye-opener.

PP: What has been one of your favorite projects to work on in your career?

P.O.: I often mention the Danish Furniture Poster I did in Tokyo. It was a steep challenge to pay credit to the Danish furniture masters, while bridging the new generation of furniture visionaries.


P.O.: I've always found the Danish Masters to be a source of inspiration. They managed to bridge fine craftsmanship with industrial production, without losing the life of the object. So for me to work this project, I had to reconsider my approach. I decided to do handcrafted halftone life size portraits of the designers. It took more hours than budgeted, but the project itself was rewarding.



To learn a little more about P.O. or to see more of his work visit his website.

-Alison
 

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