Monday, August 30, 2010

For the Babies on My Christmas List...

In anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, I've been thinking about Christmas shopping quite a bit lately. I usually buy my first gift in July, get a good head start, and then feel so proud of all the check marks on my list that I decide to give myself a break sometime in November. Of course, I get a little too carried away with the break, and find myself still stressing at the last minute over the difficult ones--like my dad. What do you get for someone who continually returns every gift ever given to him? Oh wait-except for the one year I finally decided to take the oft-heard parental advice which goes something like this: "don't buy me anything!", or this: "please don't spend a lot of money!" In my attempt to prove once and for all why children just can't take this advice, I somehow managed to give my dad the best present ever. The Keene State College "Greek Week" shirt that I was freely handed in passing at some fair in the Student Center, which I then took home and cut the sleeves in an exaggeratedly jagged fashion to mock the ritualistic sleeve-cutting and shirt-mutilating that my dad is so well-known for...that shirt has graced his hairy back about 313 times this year. (I figure he washes it about once a week). Just goes to show you the lengths a parent will go to prove they are always right.

I digress, as usual. Back to Christmas...My mom implanted her love of Christmas in all of us girls at an early age. I love pretty much everything about the holidays...the music which starts on September first (don't think Josh is as much of a fan of this one, but I have to carry the torch into our branch of the family tree!), picking out a Christmas outfit (which mom no longer funds, so lately the outfit is procured from a closet rather than a mall or magazine...), finding the perfect tree at my uncle's farm stand (but mostly eating the donuts inside the stand while we wait for the horse-drawn wagon), and decorating and admiring the tree every time I pass by it (and fully expecting whoever my main "Santa" is that year-Josh listen up- to be aware that I'd really like at least half of my gifts to be bought at a toy store, and the other half at Borders). That's not to mention Christmas Eve or Christmas Day--but it's 1:30 am, so I won't go there. All I will say is my one and only complaint concerning the holiday is the retirement of several key actors--namely, all--in the annual Christmas plays that no member of the audience ever understood. (How were we supposed to know that the 50+ crowd wasn't familiar with the American Girl series?)

I can't wait to watch Lillie open gifts this year and spend her first real Christmas in New Hampshire. (I say first "real" Christmas in NH because the one she spent screaming at the top of her lungs when she was 3 weeks old doesn't count.) And it will be even more fun because there will be another new baby, and a second on the way! Although Jenni isn't due until next spring, our oldest sister Erin is due on October 2nd (her husband's birthday!). Having babies on the brain tonight (don't get too excited, Mom), I have been looking around for Christmas gift ideas for both. Here are some adorable items I found on Etsy:

This hat can be found here from Little Chick Knits on Etsy

These last four hats can all be found here from KinleyAsh on Etsy

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pink or Blue Giveaway

I was going to do a clutch for my first giveaway, but in honor of the new Baby Holmes, I'm going to do a Pink or Blue Giveaway! The winner can choose between the two colors and an optional ring tie for a 10"x10" pillow which can be used as an accent in a baby or child's room, or as a ring bearer pillow. The blue Daisy Buchanan pillow is shown as a ring bearer pillow in the pictures below. The lighting wasn't so great when I was taking pictures of the pink pillow, so it looks a little washed out and less pink than in real life.
The Daisy Buchanan in Cotton Candy Pink Silk Dupioni

The Daisy Buchanan in Icy Blue Silk Dupioni

How to Enter:

1) Simply make a comment on the post - 1 Entry (1 comment per day)

2) Become a follower - 2 Entries (Just write "follower" and enter it twice, as two separate comments. If you are already a follower, you can do the same thing.)

3) Mention this giveaway on your own blog and include a link to our giveaway - 2 Entries (Again, as two separate comments. The total number of comments are entered into a random generator, which is why the comments need to be made separately.)

Good luck! The winner will be announced one week from tomorrow, on Friday, September 3rd. Don't forget to check back afterwards for the first clutch giveaway on The Penny Candy Blog!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our Story...How We Met

As I have been checking out other blogs lately, it occurred to me that the ones I liked to read are a bit more personal. My own "about me" section doesn't even mention my name. I tried to start it off with "Hi, my name is Jamie, and I am 24 years old..." but it just wouldn't come out that way. So I thought I'd post something a little more personal today. I won't write my life story, because although I can't even spontaneously think of a single legitimately exciting thing that has ever happened in the course of the last two and a half decades, I'd somehow manage to use up the first 1000 words on birth through kindergarten. So, instead, I'll just paste the story of how Josh and I met, which I wrote but never used for our wedding website on The Knot, because, true to my usual form, I forgot about the website and never completed it.

Josh and I at the tree swing on my parents' property where he proposed. [Photo by Pizzuti Studios]

Our Story
Josh and Jamie met on Myspace in 2005 when Josh emailed Jamie to inquire as to whether or not Pat Crotty was her father. Resisting the impulse to pull the shades and check the locks, Jamie's curiosity drove her to respond, admitting that yes, Pat Crotty was her father, and how did Josh come about this information? Such was the beginning of their friendship...As it turned out, Josh knew of Jamie's family through numerous mutual basketball associations, including Sir Cumference (known to some as Mr. Arakelion), Socks (a ref with whom Jamie once clashed over the issue of one particular wet whistle), and many others. They also discovered that they had many non-basketball-related acquaintances in common, including the Browns, who went to church with the Crottys and had lived on the same road as the Drukes back when Taber Brown was to Forrest Gump as Mary-Kate is to Ashley. Finally, their e-relationship came to a pivotal point when Josh invited Jamie to attend a movie that Sunday night. Fearing those met on the web--and pretty much fearing life in general (Jamie has been known to run and hide when the doorbell rings)--Jamie was, unsurprisingly, more than a bit wary of Josh's invitation. Instead, Jamie invited Josh to bring a friend to her house, secluded on a hill in the forest of Westmoreland, to watch a movie on Sunday afternoon when her parents and brother would be away at an AAU tournament. It wasn't until much later that, upon reflection and the chiding of several wiser minds, Jamie realized it could have ended very badly (much worse than the well-lit movie theater parking lot). Fortunately, Josh was not a creepy psychopath, and he arrived with his friend Justin a fashionable five minutes late to watch the movie. Months later, Josh and Justin admitted that they had actually been on target to appear at the Crotty residence ten minutes early, but had taken the scenic route (which is to say they continued past our driveway for several minutes before taking a u-turn when the danger of committing the terrible faux pas had expired). Meanwhile, Jamie and her sister Dana sat crouched on the stairway, with a view of the driveway. Upon the surprisingly swift parking job, the two girls dove to the hallway floor in order to avoid exposing their own less-than-socially-acceptable behavior through the nearby windows which they had previously been gawking. Hence, Jamie opened the door to greet them (after the doorbell had been rung and the appropriate sixty seconds had passed) with a large red mark on her chin due to a blow dealt by Dana's flying foot in their scramble for the floor. (When necessary, Dana actually can move pretty fast). The first half hour was passed by Jamie randomly breaking the excruciating silences with involuntary laughter while they stood awkwardly in the kitchen, unable to explain her periodic guffaws, lest she admit the scene in the moments prior to the boys' entrance. Someone finally suggested that they watch the movie, and Josh and Justin demolished whatever cool points they had racked up by arriving five minutes late when they retrieved from the car a collection of DVDs rivaling Blockbuster's as options they had brought along. Actually, forget that--the cool points had long since evaporated in the atomic bomb of cologne that went off when Jamie first opened the door. Finally, after another half hour of "I don't care"s and "No seriously, one of you pick"s, someone suggested Man on Fire. The next two hours and twenty-six minutes were nearly as painful as the forced conversation in the kitchen, due to the fact that Jamie had imbibed more water than she was able to hold, having had nothing else to do with her hands whilst standing in the kitchen trying to form intelligent conversation with complete strangers. Never having been the camel her friend Christine was, Jamie made frequent trips to the restroom. However, having once heard her mother's friend tinkling at their house in Maryland at the impressionable age of six or so, Jamie had forever had a fear of micturating while in close proximity to guests. That being the case, Jamie felt the need to announce each time she left the room that she was going upstairs to use the restroom instead of using the one off the living room--and to clarify that she had drank an excessive amount of water, so they didn't think she had some sort of bladder problem. This occurred three times during the course of the film. For the remainder of the showing (when Jamie was actually seated), she and Dana nestled into one corner of the L-shaped couch, and Josh and Justin sat clustered at the opposite end closest to the downstairs bathroom which Jamie refused to use. During the sole "romantic" scene, which featured a husband and wife kissing in their bedroom, Jamie erupted into giggles again, leaving Josh and Justin to puzzle over her maturity level. After the movie ended, the group stayed seated in the living room, with the two pairs separated by the length of the couch (leaving a fly on the wall to question the maturity level of all four). Though Justin and Dana locked in Most Valuable Conversationalists early on, Jamie and Josh occasionally tossed up a short phrase or a grunt. When he did manage to add to an exchange, Josh determinedly avoided Jamie's gaze. Also notable is the fact that Josh managed to blush about 98 percent of the time that he was there. But perhaps the most memorable was the point at which Josh made a comment about playing a lot of golf when he was older. Justin responded, "Yeah, if the wife lets you." And, like a ten-year-old boy, Josh quickly retorted that he was never getting married. Jamie thought, I bet I could change his mind...Okay, maybe she didn't really. But four years later, on June sixth at six o'clock in the evening, Josh is going to have to retract that statement...

[Photo by Pizzuti Studios]

....And that was just the first day we met. Aren't you glad I decided not to write my life story?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Favorites

It's Friday!! Along with the remainder of western civilization, I can't wait for the weekends. Josh quite pertly asked me last night, "Isn't every day kind of like the weekend for you?" Of course, for the sake of my dignity, I had to at least attempt a rebuttal, but quite honestly, my real reason for loving the weekends has nothing to do with a lightened workload or a chance to sleep in, as with most. (Not that I'm admitting there is anything to his theory..) It is because I get to spend two whole days with my better half. (No, really. It's unanimous-even my parents think so, which says a lot for Josh but not so much for me!) And because I'm in such a darn good mood, I'm posting my favorite things about this week, which in my opinion was pretty awesome due to (and in no particular order):

1) My iTunes finally allowing me to download Taylor Swift's new single, "Mine"
2) A certain boy I like making a surprise visit in the middle of his workday not once, but twice, this week. (He occasionally has to go right by our house on drives to job sites, and apparently I make a tempting detour!)
3) The Dunkin Donuts medium hazelnut iced coffee with cream and sugar that was in his hand both times (I happen to think that the surprise visits and the delivery of the coffee itself can each hold their own weight and therefore be separately categorized).
4) The cheddar and avocado panini I made every day that I was home this week (which tallies up at four, in case you are counting and cringing, Jenni).
5) Going to the Red Chair, Bowerbird & Friends, and White Home Market with mom today and getting two lamps, a burlap sack, a bucket, a gardening tool box, a birdcage, an old mantel top which will hopefully have a new life as a shelf, a mirror, and a coffee table. It was nice to spend the day with Moosie, but mainly I'm glad I brought her because of her strong show of shopping support: "Oh, yes, that's nice...Get it! Just get it!" (I think her instinctive reassurance and peppy spirit derive from her early history as a Walpole Chickadee..."Are you in it? Well, I guess! Walpole Bitty Boys, YES, YES, YES!"). Of course, I can't make crucial decisions concerning $20 sconces alone, so a dose of Little Heidi--lose the poms, keep the "Yes, Yes, Yes!"--was just what I needed. Particularly when Josh asks for the total, so I can claim she talked me into everything. ;)

Anyway, I started taking pictures tonight, but quickly lost sunlight and gave up. Also, the Forester wouldn't hold all of my finds; my coffee table will be spending the night at White Home Market and the mirror in "Bay 1" of the parents' garage. So this is all I have pictures of at the moment:

And last but certainly not least, #6....I got a bunch of pictures of our summer with Lillie from Jenni today. Josh and I looked at the pictures together tonight and plotted to abduct could anyone not want to, with that infectious grin and those cheeks?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Clutch-Inspired Look #4: Champagne for the Bride

The Cream Silk Dupioni Montgomery Clutch, embellished with a champagne burnt-edge flower, inspires this bridal look. The outfit--from the J.Crew dress in "seashore biege" down to the frayed tulle flowers on the heels--is airy, sweet, and romantic, just like the champagne to toast the happy couple. Personally, I think I owe one to a certain retailer: here's to J.Crew, whom I have used to excess in these "Clutch-Inspired Looks", and will probably continue to because I adore pretty much everything they have to offer.

[Gown: J.Crew, Clutch: Dear Lillie, Necklace: Dear Lillie, Heels: Zappos]

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kenney-Heiser Wedding

This March, I received an email from a girl named Sarah on Etsy. She requested a custom order including bridesmaid clutches, boutonnieres, a ring bearer pillow, and a few other small items. At the time, I was beginning to decline custom requests simply because they usually tend to involve much more time, effort, and stress than a regular order. (This is coming from a person who finds the simultaneous boiling of water for pasta and heating of pre-made spaghetti sauce stressful.) But for some reason, I decided to work with her on the custom order. And I am glad that I did. Sarah turned out to be so easy-going; she was a breeze to work with. She met her husband Jeremiah at Denver Seminary during their graduate studies and they got married this June. When she sent me pictures from the wedding just two short weeks after the big day, I was not only suitably impressed, (I haven't even framed a single picture of my own wedding from last June yet!) but I was also thrilled to see them. It was so rewarding to view some of our items in an actual wedding, and I loved getting to take a peek at their special day. Here are some of the pictures that she sent me:
[Photography: Andrea Skinner]

The bridal party with their clutches...

The wedding party...

The groomsmen with their boutonnieres...

The beautiful bride along with a bridesmaid...

Congratulations Mr. And Mrs. Heiser! I hope you are basking in newlywed bliss!

I also have to thank Sarah for inspiring me to design my own clutches. Because it was so frustrating trying to find the perfect clutches to add the rosettes to, I started thinking about making my own clutches. (Previously I had been embellishing clutch bodies that I bought wholesale). Now I have the freedom to use whatever colors I wish (providing I can find the fabric!), and I can use fun prints for the lining! Here is a new bridal clutch I listed on Etsy today:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Clutch-Inspired Look #3: Brown and Gray

Here is a look inspired by the Montgomery Clutch in Plaid, now available on Etsy:
Cardigan, Shell, and Lizard Belt: Banana Republic, Braided Chain-and-Pearl Bracelet: J.Crew, Montgomery Clutch in Plaid: Dear Lillie, Pinstriped Trouser: J.Crew

Friday, August 13, 2010

Clutch-Inspired Look #2: Black and Tangerine

Here is another look put together to go with our new Montgomery Clutch, this time in Black Silk Dupioni.

[Pittore Dress - Anthropologie, Esmé Heels - J.Crew, Crystal Trinity Ring - J.Crew, Montgomery Clutch - Dear Lillie]

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Clutch-Inspired Look #1: Coral and Citrine

Here is the Montgomery Clutch in Coral Print, along with a corresponding outfit I thought would look nice. (Although I am not exactly the family fashionista, as Josh would be quick to verify. Having worn a total of about 10 articles of clothing this summer in various combinations, I may not be the ideal person to turn to for clothing-related advice). I like this look because although I had a bridesmaid in mind, it could work just as easily for a guest at a wedding, rehearsal dinner, or a number of other events. Jenni will be doing a Giveaway for the Montgomery Clutch on Saturday.

[Dress - J.Crew, Crystal Drops Necklace - J.Crew, Carsisi Ring - J.Crew, Montgomery Clutch in Coral Print - Dear Lillie]

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

323 and Tea

Three hundred and twenty-three days until my life returns to its ideal state. Three hundred and twenty-three days until 22 pounds of delightfully impish fun reclaims her throne at Moose Mountain. Three hundred and twenty-three days until I reinstate my schedule of waking up at previously unheard-of times in the morning just to drive over to MM to ooh and aah over new vocabulary or hand gestures. Three hundred and twenty-three whole days until next July.

In lieu of burying myself in bed and wallowing in self-pity for days on end, I thought perhaps I should adopt a propulsive mindset. In order to ward off depression induced by withdrawal symptoms, reminiscing is strictly forbidden. Instead of wondering what I will do without my daily dose of Lillie-kisses, I am choosing to muse on upcoming summers.

One thing that we never got the chance to do this summer was have a tea party for Lillie. We mentioned having one at the beginning of Jenni and Lillie's stay, but it was quickly cast aside by more pressing obligations like having dance parties on the deck and watching Barbie in the Princess and the Pauper a few hundred times. "You're no status-quo calico--" Oops. No reminiscing, despite how easily Barbie embeds her lyrics into your head. Here are some pictures I came across of a gorgeous tea party set up for a photo shoot by Simply Bloom Photography:

And of course, we have to be properly attired! I love these over-the-top dresses from Victorian Maiden. I think I would have done anything for one of these when I was in my prime tea-party age.

Of course, if Lillie's current utilization of her two Disney Princess Barbies as hand grenades is any indication of things to come, she may not be quite as excited about the tea party as we would desire her to be. Something tells me we will be sitting with our tea and cakes, pinkies poised and at the ready, while she finishes a game of wiffle ball with the boys (on a field specifically designed to benefit Jason's left-handed swing). But hey, I can dream. And even if these visions of teacups and ruffles forever abide only in my head, I'll still be counting down the days.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Penny Candy Blog

In a perfect world, I would introduce The Penny Candy Blog with a post outlining TPCB's general itinerary. I would describe my blogging intent or focus. But in a perfect world, I would also be able to finish a thought about dinner without pondering dessert.

Unfortunately, this world and my own brain are both hopelessly flawed, and I cannot escape my inability to pin down an idea or formulate a plan long enough to decide what the specific emphasis of my blog will be. What I do know is I love to look at pretty things--and I am easily distracted by them. Just ask my hubby Josh what it is like to attempt a conversation with me while I peruse a decorating magazine. It is physically impossible for me to perform two functions at once, however mundane. The other day I found my cell phone in a kitchen cupboard because I was trying to text while preparing a cheddar and avacado panini.

With my erratic nature in mind, I gave the blog an open-ended name (as much as I hated open-ended exam questions in college. Give me guidelines, and I guarantee you an A+; give me freedom, and I promise you I will ask a million questions, make a thousand false starts, and travel in a complete cognitive circle). I don't know what will end up being the main focus of my blog, or if I will ever have one, but I know one thing, and that is myself. I absolutely adore weddings-from the obvious elements like The Dress down to details like boutonnieres and gift boxes. It is also no secret that I wish I were still twelve years old. My childhood was about as idyllic as one's can be. Oh, to wake up in the middle of a summer morning in a cottage that has been in the family for three generations of sandy feet, popcorn shrimp, and Garside's ice cream. To return to an era when my day began with Cocoa Pebbles and unfolded leisurely, when the height of my responsibility was to have the laundry folded by dinnertime. Not that my life is so rough right now-Josh does let me purchase Cocoa Puffs at the grocery store when I forgo the donut section. I just truly loved my childhood. Simply put by Ann Brashares, "Some people had gifts that made them great at being kids." Or maybe it is the reverse: rather than possessing a talent at being a child, I lack essential life skills that make adulthood possible. Either way, I hold that I was much more suited to being a child than I am now to being an adult, and I will always remember sixlets, salt water taffy, and penny candy stores, along with all the rest of the trappings of my childhood, with great fondness.
As children, weren't we thrilled by a broken sand dollar? Mesmerized by a field of dancing fireflies? Spellbound by a fairytale? I was so deliriously happy at the discovery of a much-anticipated baby doll under the tree when I was six years old that I actually threw up. Nowadays, I may not bounce on my bed when Josh brings me home a pint of Ben and Jerry's, but I just might burst into song over a cup of coffee with the perfect balance of cream and sugar. (I tailored the lyrics of Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better" to fit the special occasions when Josh makes my coffee on the weekends).
I can't predict much, but I can say that I aim to take a cue from the simple splendor of my much-reminisced childhood and appreciate the beauty around me, whether that beauty lies in a wedding centerpiece or a piece of penny candy.

Photo 1, Left: Brancoprata Photography
Photo 1, Right: Amelie Alice Photography
Photo 2: Amelie Alice Photography
Photo 3: ?
Photo 4: Angela Marie Photography