Wednesday, October 29, 2014

endings and beginnings

So, it has been a little quiet around here lately.

Totally silent, in fact.

Do you ever have those weeks (or months, as the case may be) where everything just happens all at the same time?  Well, that happened to me about a month ago.  In a span of about three weeks, I volunteered to make all of the flowers for my best friend's wedding (more on that next post!), applied for a job, interviewed on the phone and in person, completed an application project, and stayed up to all hours of the night making the wedding flowers.  After many hot glue gun burns, occasional cursing, a lot of help from my mom, and a lot of tea, the flowers were finished and my mom and I went careening down the highway to Pennsylvania to deliver them.  

We had to pull over so that I could take a call, and somewhere on the side of the road in Pennsylvania, I accepted a job offer!  Then, after some cheering and lots of hugs, my mom and I were back on the road.  The flowers arrived intact, my best friend and her now-husband and I played Mario Party, and I collapsed on their couch and slept the sleep of the totally exhausted.  The wedding was wonderful-- but that deserves its own post.


tea party  
On my last day at my previous job, my coworkers threw a going-away tea party!  It was so thoughtful and sweet and I was absolutely blown away by the amount of effort that went into making this celebration happen.  

tea sandwiches cucumber 
One of my coworkers' husbands has a catering side business, and he made the most delicious cucumber and watercress tea sandwiches, as well as radish and cream cheese sandwiches and tiny peanut butter and honey sandwiches!  
cupcakes 
Another coworker, Lindsay, made mini-cupcakes!  My friend Stephanie spear-headed the party planning and she knows how much I love miniature foods-- I think tiny foods are so cute!  Steph knows me so well.   
teacup doilies 
Of course, there were teacups and doilies and lots of varieties of tea to choose from.  
white roses blue hydrangeas
My coworkers also presented me with a beautiful bouquet of white roses and blue hydrangeas-- my favorite flower!  

I was absolutely floored by the wonderful send-off from my coworkers.  In case any of you guys stumble across this, thank you so much!  I still smile every time I remember this incredible party.

As for my new job, well... I absolutely love it.  I wake up every day excited to go to work and contribute to the amazing team that I am lucky enough to be part of.  I have been in my new position for almost a month-- I can't believe how quickly the time is flying by!  

One last little note-- as you may have noticed, I've redesigned my blog!  I'd love to hear any comments about the new look!

What's new with you?  Any exciting news in your life recently?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

24 before 25, part two



Hi there!  I hope your week is going just swimmingly.  Today I am sharing the rest of my 24 Before 25 list!  If you missed the first half of the list, you can find it here.

13. Successfully grow herbs in my apartment.  I have tried this a few times, and it usually goes pretty well because I have a perfect spot for growing things.  The top of my refrigerator is out of the reach of nosy cats, and it gets plenty of sunlight.  However, the last time I was growing a rosemary plant there, I had unknowingly bought it from a garden store with a bug issue in their soil, and it contaminated all of my potted plants.  Ew.  This time, I am going to try water-rooting some basil, rosemary, lavender, and mint, then planting them in potting soil myself to avoid any unfortunate six-legged hangers-on.  

14. Spin new-to-me fibers!  I would like to branch out and try spinning some fibers that I have never spun before, like Cormo, Rambouillet, and Targhee.  I will be attending two fiber festivals in the next few months—those should be a great opportunity to start on this goal!

15. Keep flowers in my apartment more often.  Flowers sometimes seem like a frivolous purchase, but they make me so happy every time I see them in a pitcher on my kitchen table, and that has to be worth something.

16. Be less self-critical.  Like most people, I think, I sometimes find myself mentally beating myself up for something that really isn’t a big deal.  It isn’t a productive or helpful behavior, and I would never hold anyone else to the standards that I hold myself to, so I am trying to curb that kind of negative self-talk.

17. Sew more of my own clothing.  This blog is called Julie Rose Sews, for crying out loud.  I haven’t done a ton of sewing for myself since I graduated from FIT two years ago, but I have a lovely fabric stash and I work in the New York City garment district.  I’m certainly not lacking in materials—I just have to make the time.

18. Knit more from my Ravelry queue instead of looking for new patterns.  I really like everything in my queue, so it should be the first place I look when I am trying to decide what to do with a skein of yarn.  I’d like to knit through at least 10 patterns from my queue before I turn 25. 

19. Speaking of which, I would like to knit at least 15 hexipuffs a month for my Beekeeper’s Quilt so that I have some hope of finishing it soon!  This shouldn’t be too hard—I can knit about 1.5 hexipuffs a day on my commute to and from the city.  I just have to resist the temptation to put a shiny new project into my bag instead!

20. Spin at least 4 oz. a month.  Originally I had wanted to spin 8 oz. a month, but I don’t think that’s realistic given that I like to spin teeny tiny yarn.  If I spin 4 oz. a month, I will have spun through my almost my entire fiber stash by my next birthday!   Aaaaaah!  Must supplement the stash!

21. Give only handmade or vintage gifts for Christmas, whether made by me or by someone else.  I usually make most of my gifts, but this year I would like to fill in the gaps with gifts purchased on Etsy or from craft fairs or flea markets.

22. Get back to learning French before I forget all of the French that I learned in college.  I really enjoyed learning French, but it kind of fell off my radar after graduation.  According to my professor, I picked it up very quickly and easily, and I still have all of my French books. 

23. Knit/spin through my yarn/fiber stash so that nothing sits in my yarn cabinet longer than a year and a half.  I feel guilty about accumulating new yarn and fiber when I have beautiful things just waiting at home, and I do truly love everything that I already have.  My lovely yarn and fiber shouldn’t be neglected just because it’s not shiny and new.  

24.Spend more time with friends. As an introverted person living in an extraverted world, it can be hard for me to give up some of my precious alone time to go spend time with other people.  Whenever I do rally myself to go hang out with friends, I am always so glad that I did.  I am happy with being an introvert, but everyone needs to push a bit outside their comfort zone sometimes. 

Well, there you have it!  I have ten months and nine days to accomplish these goals.  Do you have any goals to achieve before your next birthday?  I would love to hear about them!

Monday, August 18, 2014

24 before 25


Hi and happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend and that you're starting the week feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  Today I'd like to share the first half of my '24 before 25' list-- a list of 24 things I would like to do before my 25th birthday!  I had originally planned to do the entire list in one post, but it would be way too long.  The second half should be posted by the end of the week. Some of these are goals with a tangible outcome, and others are more internal.  My 24th birthday was back in June, so I have about ten months to accomplish whatever I can from this list.

1. Make a quilt.  I love quilts, I think they are so cozy and comforting.  I also love vintage fabric and I have lots of little scraps that are too small to make clothing or even an accessory out of, but even the smallest scraps should have enough for at least a few quilt squares.  I'm supplementing my vintage scraps with some new fabrics in sweet, charming prints, too.

2. Get back to a regular exercise schedule.  Here is a not-so-secret secret:  I hate exercising!  I hate it!  I hate putting on ugly workout clothes, I hate being sweaty, I hate stopping whatever fun thing I'm doing to go exercise-- there are very few aspects I like.  But I feel much, much better about my health and about life in general when I'm working out (ha-- that makes it sound like I'm very hardcore about it.  Not the case.) on a regular basis.  I'm hoping to get back to doing my cheesy, 80's-tastic DVD workout twice a week and doing yoga (also from DVDs, but somehow much less cheesy due to the lack of neon spandex) three times a week.  

3. Make a wonderful Christmas present for my wonderful boyfriend.  This one is already planned out!  And he knows it's planned out!  Bwahahaha. I inherited my grandmother's affinity for not only plotting what to get or make someone for Christmas absurdly far in advance, but then alerting the recipient so that they have months and months to wonder what it will be.  

4. Continue to make my apartment into a cozy home, particularly by hanging pictures.  I have plaster walls, so I have to use the nailhead version of Command Strips to hand pictures in my hallway, where I am planning to have a gallery wall, and in my kitchen.  I am lucky enough to have picture rail molding in my bedroom and my living room, so the only tools needed for hanging anything on those walls are picture rail hooks and picture hanging wire.  

5. Knit another sweater for myself!  I never shared my finished Twigs and Willows cardigan on the blog because I just wasn't happy with how it turned out, and consequently, I never wear it.  With another year of knitting experience and a lot more knowledge, I would like to knit another sweater and fit it to my own body instead of strictly following a pattern.  I bought the yarn to knit Ink last year at Rhinebeck, and I'm wondering whether it would be too crazy to try to knit it before Rhinebeck this year, which is October 19th and 20th.  Actually, I can answer that question right now:  yes, it would be crazy, because I am currently working on a huge secret knitting project that will probably take another month to finish.  But I might still try.

6. Try more recipes from my collection of cookbooks.  I love cookbooks and I have a nice little collection of them, but I tend to get stuck in a rut of the same dozen or so recipes.  

7. Continue bullet journaling every day.  Ryder Carroll, who invented the Bullet Journal technique, describes it as "the difference between being busy and being productive," and I've definitely found that to be true.  Besides, it's just so satisfying to check off the task boxes.

8. Do more art journaling. My art journal is a place where I can express myself, gather inspiration, work through challenges, and exercise my creativity, and I really enjoy filling it with thoughts and images.  I just haven't been making time for it lately and I miss it.

9. Actually craft and cook from my 'things to make' and 'yummy' boards on Pinterest.  If I pinned it, I must have thought it would be fun or cute or tasty, so why not give it a try?

10.Blog on a regular basis.  I love to read blogs, and I love to share my inspiration and creative endeavors and life experiences with all of you.  It's one of those things that I just have to make the time to do, because I am much happier when I am blogging on a regular basis.  If I managed to blog every day when I was in school at the Fashion Institute of Technology and had virtually no free time at all, I can certainly make a go of it now when I'm working regular hours and not spending my weekends doing homework!

11. Visit the wildlife preserve near my apartment more often.  It's so inspiring to be in a quiet, natural place, especially since I go into Manhattan every weekday for work.  

12. Learn to acknowledge my own needs.  I have always been a nurturing person, and sometimes I put the needs of others before my own a little too readily and often (fellow Cancerians, I know you understand me on this one!).  I can't take care of anyone else if I'm not taking care of myself.  This certainly doesn't mean I'm planning on becoming a self-important egomaniac, of course (ick!),  but I would like to get to find a better balance.

Do you have any goals that you're working on achieving before your next birthday?  Or any time, really!  I'd love to hear about them.  I can't wait to share the rest of my list with you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

strawberry basil scones

strawberry basil scones baking food 

Hi friends!  Today I’d like to share recent baking success: Strawberry Basil Scones.

I adapted the recipe from this one, featured on Happyolks (which is a wonderfully sincere and very enjoyable blog! Definitely go check it out.  And their video for this recipe is adorable.)

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups flour
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
A pinch of freshly ground sea salt
½ cup cold butter, cut into chunks (leave this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it!)
1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces
4 Tbsp minced basil (or more, if you would like your scones on the zesty side)
½ cup milk
2 eggs
1 Tbsp white sugar

Preheat oven to 400° F.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and sea salt.  Cut in the chunks of butter using a pastry blending tool or your fingers.  Add in strawberries and basil.  In a small bowl, mix eggs and milk.  Add to flour mixture and stir together until the dough is uniformly mixed.  You might have to use your hands to get all of the flour incorporated with the egg and milk mixture. 
 
Put the mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Press it into a 1” thick circle.  Cut the circle into wedges—I cut mine into 8 wedges, but they were pretty big, so I’ll probably cut the circle into 12 wedges next time.  Brush the top with a bit more milk and sprinkle the white sugar on top.  Pop the whole thing into the freezer for 15 minutes, then bake for 20-25 minutes. (Check your scones after 20 minutes—my oven is a little on the slower side).  You can tell the scones are finished baking when a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, and the top of the scones looks matte, not shiny.

These are especially delicious warm with a bit of butter!  They can stay at room temperature for about a day in a covered dish.  After that, they should be refrigerated.  These scones also freeze very nicely, and can be thawed and warmed up for a sweet, summery snack at a moment's notice.

I hope you're having a lovely week so far!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

friday favorites v.5

Hello!  I hope you've had a great week.
Here are this week's Friday Favorites!

Sulamith Wulfing illustration
I love this detail from a 1936 illustration by Sulamith Wulfing.

pink lemonade poundcake
This pink lemonade pound cake looks delicious!  And of course, it would look so adorable displayed on a kitchen table.

madame x rad t-shirt tank top beyonce ego mona lisa t-shirt rad nicki minaj super bass
Rad is currently running a sale on a line called Fly Art.  I think the Madame X/BeyoncĂ© and
Mona Lisa/Nicki Minaj graphics are particularly clever.

a homespun house podcast
I've recently started watching a new-to-me knitting podcast, A Homespun House.  Molly is a wonderful host with a very calming voice.  Her knitwear is beautiful, and I love her granny-chic style.

purl bee hedgehogs knitting pattern
These knitted hedgies are so sweet!  I'd love to make a few just to have around the house.
I'm not crazy about that weird line of decreases on the face, though.  Must figure out a way to avoid that.

I hope you have a lovely weekend, full of all of your favorite things!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

nutella swirl banana bread

nutella swirl banana bread recipe baking

Today I'd like to share a successful baking experiment:  Nutella Swirl Banana Bread!  It's sweet without being cloying, and it is super-easy to make.  The prep time is literally ten minutes.

I based this recipe off my mom's delicious banana bread recipe, which she adapted from a cookbook put out by the Montessori school where my brother and I went to preschool.  I love the thought of passing my own version of one of my family's favorites along to you!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon (or, if you don't feel like measuring it out, a few generous shakes)
1 tsp nutmeg (not in a measuring mood?  one good shake ought to be about right.)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs
2 bananas
3 generous spoonfuls of Nutella

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. In another bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and butter. (To be perfectly honest, sometimes I just mix them in with the dry ingredients right off the bat.  It doesn't seem to do any harm.)
4. Mash the bananas and add them to the sugar, eggs and butter.
5. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together.
6. Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan.
7. Warm three generous spoonfuls of Nutella in a microwave or a saucepan-- don't boil it, you just want it to be warm enough to be easily stirred, about the consistency of hot fudge.
8. Drizzle the Nutella over the batter in the pan, then use a knife or a silicone spatula to marble it throughout the top layer of bread batter.
9. Bake for 50 minutes-- my oven is generally a little slow, so I had to leave my banana bread in for a little longer.  You'll know it's done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  
10. After the bread cools (for as long as you can stand waiting), run a knife around the edge of the loaf pan to easily pop the banana bread out.  
11. Enjoy! 

I hope you enjoy this delicious treat!  It's so exciting when an experiment turns out well.
What's baking in your kitchen lately?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

snippets

Hi!  Here's a peek into what I've been up to lately.
queen anne's lace flower
All of a sudden, Queen Anne's Lace flowers are popping up everywhere!  One of my favorite things about my commute is seeing what is growing in the gardens in my neighborhood.
 siamese cat sleeping tongue out
The Buckster fell asleep with his tongue out.  Heehee.

 tea blue cup
 It's been cool enough this week to have tea in the morning.  Yay!

 squirrel and parrot in bird cage
 I walk past this bird cage every day, and usually there is a parrot in it.  But yesterday morning, he was joined by this squirrel, who was enjoying a snack of parrot food!  The parrot didn't even seem bothered about it.  When I walked by this morning, there were two sparrows in the cage with him.  Maybe he likes the company.

 knit swatch cable white cream tan neutral crochet
I went to the knitwear and yarn trend show, SpinExpo, for work, and I loved these two swatches.  The bottom one made me want to start crocheting a blanket in these beautiful, creamy neutrals with fuzzy angora bits here and there.  So pretty!

 cat sweater
It's always a good day for a cat sweater.  One of my coworkers brought this one back from Europe, and when it wasn't used for work, she gave it to me!  It makes me smile every time I look at it.

 siamese cats cuddling snuggling
Sometimes Cocoa decides it is time to snuggle right now.  And sometimes he doesn't care too much if Bucky is in the mood for snuggling.

I hope you're having a lovely week so far!