Friday, March 30, 2012

weekend plans

Friday is finally here!  Yaaayy!  Here are a few outtakes from our St. Patty's day that turned into a cookout and moving party for Allison into her new house.  Plus our advice to you for the upcoming weekend.  Make it a great one!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

DIY Stove Refresh

One day after I had mentioned to my mom that I hated the color of my stove (the ubiquitous appliance shade of bisque), she told me that my grandmother had spray-painted all of her appliances avocado green when she was a kid.  I (my father and brother-in-law) put cork floors in my kitchen a couple weeks ago, so while my appliances were outside Kat and I decided to do some painting.
 First thing, we scrubbed it down, took off any removable parts, and taped up the parts I wanted to remain black.  We just put craft paper under the stove top and taped off the connections.  We originally used brown lunch bags to cover the area where the knobs go, but I found that after a couple coats the paint would soak through.  I'd recommend craft paper here too.
 We used a high-heat spray paint for the first three coats of paint, waiting about an hour in between each coat.  After the first two coats, I ran over the whole stove with steel wool and cleaned it again.
 I then applied several thin coats of the regular white gloss enamel spray paint.  I used a fine sand paper in between every coat to remove any inconsitencies, pools, or rough spots.  I did this step over several days, as the gloss takes longer to dry.  I let it sit 24 hours after the final coat before moving it inside.
I can't even begin to say how great this project looks.  My kitchen looks so much better with all white cabinetry and appliances.  I've used both the stove top and oven several times.  It cleans great with my all-purpose cleaner which I'll be showing you how to make tomorrow.  If you need a quick and inexpensive refresh in your kitchen, painting your appliances is an unexpected way to do it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DIY: Feather Earrings from Leather Scraps

This week as we share our ideas for refreshing and renewing your home, wardrobe, and life; I wanted to share an easy d.i.y. that would repurpose some leather scraps that were given to me.  I am not a fan of buying leather new so it is not often that I incorporate it into my own style, except for the occasional vintage find, but I was given a few boxes of fabric samples and scraps and these metallic leather pieces were just begging to be turned into a project.  

I made these simple feather earrings in just minutes and loved them so much I immediately made two more pairs.  All you need for this project is a few pieces of leather scraps (I used silver, gold, and brown), sharp sewing scissors, needle and thread, sterling silver earring findings, and a pen for drawing out your designs.
 I used the dark brown for the back layer of my feathers and added a smaller metallic piece on top, so the first step was to draw out the larger layer of the feather that will become the back.  I simply drew mine on to the back of my leather scrap then cut that out and traced it to have a matching piece for the other earring.  Next I traced the back layer onto the metallic leather and used that template to draw in a smaller, similar design for the top layer.  Cut that out, trace it, and cut out a second for the other earring.

Next I cut slits up both sides of all four pieces, making the shapes more feather like.  Cut some slits more open than others so you can pull out small pieces of the leather to give openings like a natural feather.  Then, place the smaller layer on top of the larger one and begin sewing a line down the middle.  Start this by threading up through the bottom, pulling your needle up through both layers, then back down out the bottom.  Pull the thread through almost to the end and tie a knot to secure.  Continue stitching down the length of the feather but don't worry about getting your line to be too straight or perfect, it looks more natural if it has some movement to it. 
The last step to making your earrings is to use your needle to poke a hole slightly below the top of the feather layers and thread your earring post through it so the feathers slightly dangle from the hook.  I used sterling silver because my ears are somewhat sensitive, but feel free to use any metal you like.  
Here's another pair I made with gold on top and used my sewing machine to quickly attach the two layers:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ready, Set, Clean

With the new season upon us, we're all ready for the renewal that comes along with spring.  I've been sorting through my clothes, waking up flower beds, opening up windows, and shaking off some winter sleepiness the past few weeks.  For a lot of people, this is also the time for famous Spring Clean.  This year we're not only cleaning up our homes but also cleaning up our cleaning act.  Over the next couple weeks I'll be posting tutorials of how I make my own cleaning supplies with all-natural ingredients you can find around your home.  Today I'm giving you a shopping list of items you'll want to make your own.  Several of them were used in the DIY laundry detergent, so you may already have them.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Gallon jug of white distilled vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Washing Powder
  • Borax
  • Liquid castille or all-natural dishwashing soap (I go unscented here)
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Grapefruit Essential Oil
  • A couple of spray-bottles
  • Jars or other containers
We're also lucky to have my great sister around to design some labels for our cleaning supplies.  Keep in touch this week for an all-purpose spray that I use on everything, the best tub-scrub around, floor cleaner, window wash, and some disinfecting tricks that let you leave the bleach behind.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Styled 3 Ways: Liz

Last week we started our Styled 3 Ways series. If you missed that post you can see it here. Kat, Liz and myself definitely have similar styles and staples in our wardrobes. We all love our Levis, and our favorite pairs of boots. But the way we style ourselves tends to often be very personal and unique. Kat is more fashion forward and on trend with modern style and pretty much the best at accessorizing. Liz is much more of a whimsical flower child, decked out with flowing skirts and great feather earrings. I am pretty classic and kind of obsessed with vintage, so my style has been pretty consistent over the past few years. It is safe to bet I have the most 50's dresses and gingham garments out of the bunch.

With all that being said, we thought it would be fun to take a vintage piece out of my collection each month and pass it around the group to see what we all come up with. This month I chose a cute vintage skirt from the 80's. It has a nice high elastic waist, slim skirt and great big pockets. It is a beautiful shade of bright turquoise perfect for spring.

Here's Liz's styling for the week:

Here's what Liz wore: sweater:  forever 21/ earrings:  reciprocities/  shoes:  dansko/  purse:  un original americain

Stay tuned Kat will be sharing the third and final style with you next week!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Community Dinner

One of our weekly traditions is getting together every Tuesday for community dinner.  We move houses every week and everyone takes turns cooking.  This week we were at my house so I decided to make kabobs.  We had italian sausage, chicken, shrimp, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and pineapple.  With a huge salad and some rice, everyone was well-fed.  One of the most fun parts about this meal was using the huge smoker we found on the side of the road as our grill.  It held twice as much as my regular grill can.  Community and sharing are a big part of our lives.  What traditions do you have with your friends?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekly Collection: Springboard

This week we've shared the ways we've been welcoming the arrival of Spring through our fashion, homes, food, and gardening plans.  And because we are all about collecting the best of the season here on Collect & Carry, I wanted to pay some tribute to all of the other great Spring posts I've seen around the web lately.  So I put together a group of some colorful, simple craft tutorials, hairstyles, and accessories inspired by the warmer weather and longer days.  Hopefully these will inspire you to embrace the season and do a little crafting of your own this weekend!

Clockwise from top left; neon dip-dyed eggs via ohjoy!, a pretty sidesweep via topshop, a sweet chambray collar via claudine&compagnie, diy rubber stamp envelope liners via ohsobeautifulpaper, sticks and string via emmadime, and papier mache eggs via a subtle revelry.

What are your favorite Spring craft, hair, fashion, home, garden, or food ideas?  Let us know in the comments and link us to your own projects for the season!

Plus, a few more great Spring links from around the web:
-fill all of your cravings with this too good to be true Spring 2012 issue of Sweet Paul Magazine (seriously, it's amazing)
-more lovely egg art on that's happy
-a perfect floral dish towel by lisa rupp
-beautiful, affordable spring totes from fabric & handle, via mint design blog
-surround yourself in a fresh palette with these abstract works by siiso

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Planting the Seed

Over the years, we've all had multiple types of gardens at our places of residence.  One of my first was 5x8 median in the parking lot of a bike shop I lived above.  After a night of dreaming with a neighbor about what a great herb and flower plot it would be, I came home from work the next day to a lawn gnome and bottle of wine outside my door.  I was inspired, and that garden grew herbs, flowers, and a strange squash that came out of some compost I hadn't let get hot enough.  Years later I can swing by and the perennials are established and beautiful.  For Kat and Justin's house warming gift I put in a 6x12 semi-raised vegetable bed that we've planted every year since.  Allison has carried wooden wine crates that she turned into planters to several homes, and they've provided her with both herbs and vegetables in their time.

This year we're all expanding our gardens a little more.  For Allison it will be brand-new gardens in her brand-new home, for me it will be adding new beds to my current set-up, and for Kat and Justin it will be adding more variety to their planting list.  We chose to start our seeds at home and to split our seed order among the three of us as well as two other friends.  A seed packet will generally produce many more plants than a single gardener needs.

Our focus is on having locally-sourced, chemical-free, native and heirloom varieties of plants.  After some research, we chose to go with Asheville, NC based Sow True Seed.  This year we're planting a variety of vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, and cutting flowers.  None of those categories are mutually exclusive, as many plants fall into more than one category.  

To make our seed selection, we each decided what would be best for our individual needs and wants, and them put them all together to be inspired by each others selections.  I'm am so excited to see these seeds grow into plants, and become nourishment to our bodies, homes, spirits, and yards.  Check back in to see how our newest foray into gardening goes.

*Sow True Seed is a company that we researched and made a conscious decision to use.  They were great to work with and their customer service was charming.  This is not a sponsored post, and unless someone from Sow True happens to read this blog, they probably don't know we wrote about them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Styled 3 Ways: Allison

Kat, Liz and myself definitely have similar styles and staples in our wardrobes. We all love our Levis, and our favorite pairs of boots. But the way we style ourselves tends to often be very personal and unique. Kat is more fashion forward and on trend with modern style and pretty much the best at accessorizing. Liz is much more of a whimsical flower child, decked out with flowing skirts and great feather earrings. I am pretty classic and kind of obsessed with vintage, so my style has been pretty consistent over the past few years. It is safe to bet I have the most 50's dresses and gingham garments out of the bunch.

With all that being said, we thought it would be fun to take a vintage piece out of my collection each month and pass it around the group to see what we all come up with. This month I chose a cute vintage skirt from the 80's. It has a nice high elastic waist, slim skirt and great big pockets. It is a beautiful shade of bright turquoise perfect for spring.

Here's the first round of photos from my styling:

Here's what I wore with this skirt: my favorite thrifted piece of all time a vintage Wrangler 3/4 sleeve jacket, a heather gray tank top (not thrifted), grey wedges, a bright yellow skinny belt, and enormous yellow carry-all bag (all thrifted) and a small chain necklace that was picked up at an antique store.

Stay tuned Liz and Kat will be sharing their style with you in the next couple weeks!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

To celebrate the equinox and the first day of an amazing season, we thought we'd share some of what's already growing in our yards, and some of what we'll be adding as we get closer to our planting date (though this weather is making me think our last frost may have been a month ago).

From the top:  Star Magnolia, Dogwood, Periwinkle, Quince, and Forsythia, all found in our yards.  Stay tuned for some more plant action later today!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Brights

The warmer weather over the past week has given us reason to push aside all of the neutrals in our closet and start seeking out some brighter apparel.  Even if you're not quite ready for a two-piece, it is a great time to start incorporating some colorful pieces into your wardrobe.  I am all about mixing and matching pieces this season; so pair a bright polka-dotted skirt with the boots that have already been a staple in your clothing mix, throw a cheerful floral tank over your favorite jeans, or start small with a hot pink pair of earrings to spruce up those winter neutrals.  If you're in the need for a wardrobe pick-me-up, I've rounded up some of the best and brightest clothing finds around the web so you can easily and affordably spice up your spring palette.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

DIY: Golden Toes

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!  All week we've been posting our favorite foods, styling, and crafts from our brunch in honor of the holiday and I have one last DIY to share today.  This one came about because I wanted to add a touch of gold to a pair of old flats for our brunch and just happened to find this old, scuffed up green pair in the back of my closet.  Perfect!  You could do this with any color ballet flats, just clean them up a little before adding your metallic touches. 

Painting the toes of your shoes is quick and easy and only takes these three items: gold spray paint, painters tape, a few plastic grocery store bags.  To get started place a line of tape down where you want the paint to end on the toes of your shoes.  I let my tape line slightly curve around the toe and wrapped all the way to the sole.  Then wrap the entire rest of the shoe with one of the plastic bags to protect it from getting painted and tape this down to your previous tape line, so only the toe of the shoe is showing.  Take outside and apply a couple of coats of your gold spray paint, allowing each coat to fully dry.  You could add a clear coat on top for added protection.  Now put on something fancy and show of your new twinkle toes!

Friday, March 16, 2012

DIY: Peter Pan Collar with a free Printable

Every neck should be decked this St. Patty’s day with this sweet DIY gold glitter peter pan collar. I have seen quite a few peter pan collars floating around the web, so I thought I would make one and share a printable pattern with you.  Adapt this clever craft to any color, style, or celebration and be in style all year long!  Here is what you'll need to get started:
  • Collect & Carry Collar Template (download here)
  • Paper to print template on to and/or a heavier cardstock to trace on to
  • OR plain cards stock, gold glitter, and spray adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Small metal brad
  • Hole Punch
  • Matching Ribbon (about 18" long, trim to desired bow length)
Ok, now you're ready to get started.  Following the photo tutorial below, here is what you need to do:

  • Either print the template onto copy paper and cut out to trace on to the back of your favorite color cardstock (we used gold glitter) or print it straight on to the front of a patterned paper or stock.

  • Add a small "x" mark (as seen on template) at the bottom and top of both halves of the traced template- marking where you will punch holes for the brad attachment and the ribbon.
  • Cut out both halves of the traced template and punch holes in the top and bottom of each- according to your "x" marks. 

  • Connect the top of each template half (this is the pointed end) by attaching your metal brad through the two.
  • Run a ribbon through the bottom hole of one half (going through the top) and back up the the bottom hole of the second half.
  • Tie the ribbon to your desired fit for your collar.
  • Place over your favorite festive crew neck sweater or dress and enjoy your new accessory!
Wear this fun collar for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day and show your style and class in the leprechaun's favorite metallic!  Let us know how you style your new collar by commenting below or sharing your photos!

*template design and photos by Allison for Collect & Carry.

Sweet for the Weekend

Spring weather got you itching for a little gardening project? Sweet potato vine is easy to grow and can be planted outside or inside as a houseplant. Find a sweet potato that has little purple shoots coming off of it. Pop one off and place it in water. It will start to grow roots in a day or two and leaves in a couple weeks. Once it has a couple sets of leaves, you can pop it into some soil and watch it take off!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Honey, Please

This is by far our favorite dipping sauce for fruit.  It's healthy and delicious to boot.  All you need is a container of vanilla Greek yogurt, honey, and an organic orange.  Use an organic orange, because you need the zest which comes from the peel, so you don't want to deal with herbicides and pesticides that are really hard to get off your food.

Put your yogurt into your serving dish and mix in a tablespoon of honey.  Using a dipper or the back of a spoon, drizzle a little more honey onto the top of the yogurt.  This can be messy, but if you're slow, you can do a patterned swirl or a central puddle.  Zest half an orange and sprinkle the zest on top.  You're ready to dip all your favorite fruits!

DIY: Return of the Pom-pom

We got burnt out on pom-poms a couple of years ago.  After a winter of pom-pom forests growing from the ceilings of every party we threw, they disappeared from our party decor.  I hadn't even really noticed until Allison showed up with this fringed pom-pom DIY.  The shape and the ombre color scheme is fresh and getting us all back in the mood for pom-poms.


Lots of tissue paper in your colors of choice (we used whites, yellows, greens, and golds)
Thin floral wire

Stack your tissue paper in the order you want your colors to go.  The more sheets you use, the fuller your pom-pom will be, but it will also be more difficult to separate.  I used around 16-18 whole sheets for this large pom-pom.  Fold your paper accordian-style in sections about 2" wide. 

Once you've folded the entire sheet of paper, wrap a piece of floral wire around the center in order to secure the pieces together.  Leave enough wire at the top to create a hook for easy hanging.

Cut fringe into each edge about 2 inches deep.  You'll have to do a few sheets at a time unless you have magical scissors and other-wordly hand-strength.

Gently separate your layers of tissue.  Go slow, and don't be discouraged if you rip a few.  We all do, and they don't usually show.  Dampening your fingers can help you to get the traction you need.

Give your pom-pom a final fluffing, and you're ready to party!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Total Juicer.

So I am pretty much obsessed with Juicing. I have to juice every morning or I feel nutritionally incompetent for the remainder of the day. I love throwing whatever I have in the fridge into the juicer to see what sort of glorious thing comes out. Sometimes its a “chugger” (must be consumed at a very high rate of speed to avoid gagging) or it’s a delicious savory treat. For our St Patty’s day brunch I made sure it would be delicious to avoid ruining our adorable table decorations.

Here’s what I used:
2 Gala Apples
1 Bartlett Pear
4 Leaves of Kale
3 Leaves of Swiss Chard

It is super important to use all organic fruits and veggies when you are juicing. The main goal is to get a burst of vitamin goodness, so you don’t want a bunch of chemicals mixed up in it. I use a champion juicer and am completely in love with it. I have used other juicers in the past, but this is by far a superior product. Juicing is a great way to pack your body full of nutrients for the day and to keep your creative mind churning up brilliant ideas!

Yay juice!

Spinach Dill Quiche

Both Kat and Allison have been meat-free for most of their lives, and we all try to eat seasonally and locally.  Because of that we all cook vegetarian or vegan with recipes that can be quickly modified for the more carnivorous of our friends and loves.  This recipe is strictly veg, but with a side of smoked salmon would satisfy some pretty hefty appetites.

  Spinach and Dill Quiche (modified from here)

Large bunch of fresh spinach, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
1 c ricotta cheese
Large handful of dill, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
A couple twists of ground black pepper
1 frozen pie crust in a baking tin

Melt your butter and saute the onions and garlic.  Add your spinach in handfuls and cook until wilted.  Drain in a colander and press out excess moisture with a clean towel or paper towel. 

Combine your eggs, ricotta, herbs and spices in a large bowl and and beat.  When the spinach mixture is cool, fold in.

Pour everything into your pie crust and cook at 375 for about an hour.  Let cool slightly.

To serve, place a plate on top of your quiche and flip upside down to remove the tin.  Lightly hold your serving dish on top and invert again.   We used a cake stand because they provide extra room on your table for other dishes and decorations.