Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Review: Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts

I truly believe that I'm one of the few women of my generation who was lucky enough to have my grandmother, mother and aunt pass along the craft of sewing. I have vivid memories of them creating their own outfits for parties and even a coronation gown for me as a child. I also remember how elated I was getting my first sewing kit for Christmas along with Barbie outfit patterns and sitting (on my bed, the couch, the floor -- wherever I could find space and peace) for hours hand stitching clothes and little plastic fasteners. I gleamed with pride as I showcased my finished pieces. Next, I graduated to the plastic kiddie sewing machine, which I never mastered, but never tired of trying. Then, in middle school I fell for floss and the cross-stitch, which led me to embroidery.

So, you can imagine that last year when Martha Stewart announced her new book, Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts,  I could not contain myself. Not only do I have an affinity for sewing, but I also love almost everything Martha touches!

The book is packed with great projects for sewing novices and those who are more advanced. It starts with a thorough introduction of sewing basics, including an overview of tools, materials and fabric. Next, it moves into stitch types and techniques, before providing step by step instructions, templates and patterns for more than 150 projects. Curtains, dolls, pillows -- the list goes on and on.

My first project from the book guessed it. Embroidery! You can see my colorful bird in the first photo above. My next feat? Chair covers for some of my eBay and Country Living Fair finds. I'll post pics when I'm done.

I definitely recommend Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts for all crafters and anyone that wants to discover the joy of sewing. Do any of you own it? If so, what sewing-related projects have you been inspired to complete?

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Epitome Lifestyle!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Country Living Fair South

Some of my favorites from Country Living Fair South.

This weekend I had a chance to experience the extravaganza that is the Country Living Fair South. It was held at Stone Mountain Park just outside of Atlanta. So many great vendors and finds! Everything from hand crafted baskets, cabinetry and quilts, to custom jewelry and clothing were at attendees finger tips during the three-day event. There were onsite demos, autumn-inspired designer vignettes, and a chance to mix and mingle with the Country Living editorial staff. Thank goodness I bought the weekend pass because there is no way we could have seen everything in one day. I fell in love with a set of chairs from Bella Vita Designs and had to bring them home. This fair is definitely on my calendar for next year! I'd recommend it to anyone with an appreciation for country or shabby chic style. There is also a show in Columbus, Ohio, earlier in the year for those in the Midwest.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Design Trend Alert: Houndstooth

If you've picked up a fashion mag lately, undoubtedly you've seen houndstooth fabrics peppered throughout. While this traditional pattern is making its comeback in fashion design, its also rearing its head in interiors, but with unexpected twists. Large scale and in color, houndstooth upholstery, furniture and rugs can be just the thing you need to give you living space a visual pop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Food Obsession: Ghirardelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

When I got married a couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to get the coveted KitchenAid stand mixer I had on my registry. One of the first recipes I tried was this double chocolate cookie recipeOn the outside the cookie has a shiny crust, and the soft center melts in your mouth. Needless to say, my husband fell in love all over again and the requests for fresh batches keep coming in. The original recipe calls for walnuts, but I prefer the cookies without nuts. The recipe I used was KitchenAid specific, here is a link to a version anyone can use. Happy baking!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Picks: Alexa Chung for Madewell

{via Madewell}

A few weeks ago, Madewell launched its latest line in collaboration with style icon Alexa Chung. Her designs provide a good mix of what I like to call "edgy prep" style. Here are my four favorites from the line. These are limited editions are sure to sell out so quickly, so head to your nearest Madewell store or hop online ASAP!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Live Chat with Anthropologie's Keith Johnson on Thursday, 10/13

Join in the conversation with Anthropologie's resident art and antiques buyer for lifestyle and entertaining tips. Click here for more details.


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