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Rainy Day Green Pea Soup

Here’s one of my favorite it’s-a-rainy-day-and-I-am-low-on-groceries recipe: Green pea soup with toasted baguette slices. It’s a healthy, low fat, non-dairy recipe from Ellie Krieger, one of my favorite Food Network chefs. 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 large onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups) 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon (I subbed …

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Sewn return address on envelopes and matching custom photo stamps

We customized the envelopes for our wedding invitations using a couple of easy tricks: Sewing our return address on the back of our envelopes and adding custom photo stamps from PhotoStamps.com. Supplies: A7 size (5 1/4″x 7 1/4″) chocolate envelopes 8 1/2 x 11 luxe cream 210g text paper (or other heavy paper) Yellow thread …

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Planting seeds and herbs for the garden

After a brutal Chicago winter I’m aching for spring. So today I planted vegetable, herb and flower seeds for our back deck garden. Now I’ve tried planting seeds many times before with mixed results …I’ve learned that using professional seed-starting germinating mix rather than regular soil makes a big difference. Give it a try. Supplies: …

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Monday Inspiration: Lace tape

Friday was my last day at work. So this week, inspiration’s coming on a Monday 😉 I love this lace tape over at Willow. Owner Amy Doehla seems to find the most unique things. Typically I’ve purchased “finished” home accessories there yet this two-inch-wide lace tape has oodles of crafting possibilities, from unique birthday wrappings …

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Entertaining ideas from PenCarlson

Our wedding photographers, Kiri and Brett of PenCarlson Photography, hosted a bright and cheery open house on Sunday for their new Chicago photography studio. Height is always good with buffets but I’ve never seen anything like these innovative ‘flowers enclosed in glass cylinder’ food risers. This detail would work particularly well for weddings or showers …

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Yummy Individual Chicken Pot Pie Recipe in Ramekins for St. Patrick’s Day

This easy chicken pot pie recipe is my favorite way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I started making this homemade chicken pot pie recipe as a St. Patrick’s Day dinner tradition but it tasted so good that I ended up adding it into our winter dinner rotation. I like making individual mini chicken pot pies …

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Friday Inspiration: Tape Vases at Anthropologie

So my friend Renee and I decided to browse through Anthropologie after having afternoon tea at Julius Meinl. It’s no surprise to anyone that Anthropologie has some of the most crafty, creative, seasonal store decorations out there. But this one made me giggle. I remember back in Girl Scouts making ‘vases’ from bell jars, masking …

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Engagement Party Alphabet Cookies

We co-hosted a couple’s BBQ last July to celebrate the engagement of my friend Heather (H) and her fiance Noah (N). Our co-hostess Michelle Platts scored by bringing these festive romantic sugar cookies that she baked with her daughter Vivian. I think this is such a cute idea not only for engagement parties and couple’s …

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Custom photo books from Blurb.com

My first custom Blurb.com hardcover book arrived in the mail and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. My coworker Mandy first told me about Blurb.com’s powerful, professional bookmaking software publishing service. While I’ve used Shutterfly’s custom books in the past I was intrigued by Blurb’s promise of bookstore-quality books and affordable …

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Baby stuffed animals

New mom and fashion maven Rachel Pluto made these adorable animals for her newborn daughter Maya. Taking a cue from Dwell’s baby animals that retail $105 for three, Rachel handcrafted these adorable reversible giraffe and elephant stuffed animals out of fabric that complemented her Chicago loft nursery. Humble Rachel says, “I kind of just winged …

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Sewn invitations

Here are our sewn fabric wedding invitations that were featured in the The Knot’s 2007-2008 Fall/Winter National Magazine and “Amazing Wedding Cakes” on WeTV. After searching fabric stores, websites and even ebay, the poppy fabric I found inspired everything – these sewn wedding invitations in particular. We received so many compliments from guests who said …

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Friday Inspiration: Garfield Park Conservatory

When it’s February in Chicago and 17 degrees, warm humidity seems 120 long days away. Little did I know it’s plentiful and free right now …and only a short 10 minute drive from my house. Today my friend Liz took me to Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, IL. Constructed in 1905, this indoor world is …

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Hearty Soups for Cold Winter Days

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Shane and I took a cooking class at Sur La Table. While the classes there aren’t as hands-on as our beloved, defunct Calphalon Culinary Center Cooking Classes, the personable instructor was full of ad libbed tips and Shane got a spiffy Le Creuset 6.75-qt. Enameled Oval Dutch Oven soup pot. Our …

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