Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Dandy Idea

We are in the midst of sprucing up our garden for the summer season. This includes planting new bushes, mulching the garden beds and designing new garden features (more about that to come!!)

In the midst of this flurry of activity, I sat down to rest on our loveseat and realized we needed some throw pillows to add comfort and some interest to our seating area. I looked at purchasing new outdoor pillows, but remembered we had some old throw pillows tucked away from last summer.
While they were a little worse for wear, I thought I’d try to spruce them up for the coming season.
The first step was to clean them. Then when they were washed and dried, I began to search for a way to embellish them. I really liked the monogram pillows I saw online, so I thought I would try and create my own.

While I don’t have an embroidery machine (gift idea...Brian are you listening Winking smile), I did have some old iron on transfer paper in my craft stash. 
After finding an image I liked, I used my photo program to flip the image horizontally and printed the image out on the transfer paper.
After printing the image, I cut out my design using an exacto knife.
Then using a hot iron, I applied the monogram to my two outdoor pillows.
The results are a set of monogrammed pillows, I can relax with on our summer evenings.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cakes I Make

Amber Whitesel
My lovely niece was married this past weekend in a beautiful barn surrounded by family and loved ones. As she was planning the wedding, she asked me to create a groom’s cake for the reception. Her fiancé now husband is a huge fan of Sony’s PlayStation 3 and so she asked that I create a PS3 groom’s cake. I thought it would be fun to create the cake…and I could never say “no” to my niece…so I immediately said yes!

One of the first things I did was to begin looking at pictures of the PlayStation console and think about how to recreate it in cake form. 

Thankfully, the console is a pretty basic shape, so I set to work on planning the decoration of the cake.

One of the key components, for me, was the game controller. I immediately thought about finding a candy mold to make the controller, but was elated when I discovered chocolate controllers for sale at With the controller set in place, I turned my attention to creating the console.

I began by baking a 9” x 13” cake and cutting out the basic shape of the console.
Then, I iced the cake with a layer of frosting
After icing the cake, I rolled out the black fondant I purchased online and placed it on top of the cake.

After smoothing the black fondant onto the cake, I cut out the “PS3” and “control strip” pieces out of white fondant using paper templates I made as a guide. After the pieces were cut out, I dampened the fondant and embellished them with silver sugar crystals.
Once I finished the cake, I added some of the leftover icing to the back of the chocolate game controller and placed it on the side of the cake.
The end result was a grooms cake that everyone loved!
Congratulations and best wishes Amber and Derek!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What does your hankerchief say about you?!

You may have noticed as you were out and about this Spring, that the pocket square is back! How do you wear yours?

Hannah Elliott takes a fun look at what your pocket square says about you in this month’s Forbes magazine! Enjoy!

Read the article here!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Knit Happens…

I love trying new knitting stitches and patterns, but it’s difficult learning a new stitch. Recently, I’ve been trying to learn how to cable knit, but being a visual person, I had problems reading the instructions in my how-to books. Plus, being a lefty…in this right hand world…doesn’t help either!!

Thankfully, I discovered a fun and helpful iPhone app called “Knitting Help.” Packed with how-to videos for everything from creating cable knits to bobbles this app is the perfect knitter’s accessory…and at only $4.99 it’s a steal!

The videos are well produced and very helpful when showing how to knit the many stitches. And even more helpful…videos on how to fix one’s mistakes!
Now, thanks to the “Knitting Help” app, I’m on my way to finishing my first cable knit scarf…

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Went To A Garden Party…

Invited to a garden party this weekend? We have invitations to attend one in a few weeks and so I’ve been wanting something with some summer flair to dress  up my jacket for the occasion.

When I thought about what I could do, I remembered the jackets I saw at Barney’s in San Francisco, and the wonderful conversation we had with Billy Bragman, the sales associate.

As he was showing us the various bespoke jackets and suits and discussing the individual designers and their cuts, I noticed that each beautiful jacket had a magnificent lapel pin. I loved the look and so set about recreating it for myself here in DC.

In true Dandy style, when I was unable to find what I was searching for in DC, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create what I was looking for.

My first step was finding a piece of jewelry that spoke to me. I searched around and finally discovered this red coral piece.
Originally designed as a pendant, I needed to figure out how to manipulate it for my own use. I didn’t want to use a pin backing, so I decided to purchase magnets and use those to attach the piece to my lapel. I found what I was looking for at the Container Store in the memo board section. These tiny magnets, used to attach notes to a metal board were perfect!
I simply attached the magnet to the back of the piece of coral and then attached it to my lapel using a small band of metal.

The result, I think, is a fun and summery look.
Keep your eye out for interesting details as you shop around and take your outfit to another level this summer!

Bonus: Since I purchased two of the coral pieces, they will also work beautifully as cuff links!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

“Acquired Taste”…an Essay by Novelist, Carol Edgarian

How does one develop personal style? As I was perusing  my issue of W magazine, I came upon an article by Carol Edgarian titled, “Acquired Taste.”

I wanted to share this article because in this wonderful piece, Ms. Edgarian reflects on the origins of personal style. She recalls the beginning of her own journey writing, “On my first trip to Florence, I saw her...her olive cashmere cape flowing behind her. She had a handsome but not beautiful face; it was a face that had seen a few of life’s turns—the lovers and the heartaches, the pull of time—and understood them.”
And as she contemplates her personal style journey, she really spoke to me as she concludes, "Style is how you see the world and how the world sees you. It isn't today and it isn't tomorrow; it isn't a dress or a car or a shoe or a comment- it's the cut of your sail as you cross this crazy, uncharted sea. Far ahead, legions of boats have already made the crossing-some grander, some more sleek-and still newer boats are always coming up behind you. Style is the manner in which you navigate your one remarkable voyage."

Please read Ms. Edgarian’s full article here. And remember no matter what the trends may be, always remain true to yourself.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Baltimore OUTloud
Check out the May 6 edition of Baltimore OUTloud where I offer a tour of the design stores in Rehoboth Beach, DE when it’s too cold to jump in the water (pg. 20).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last Minute Gifts for the Fashionable Mom

Looking for that last minute gift for mother?!

Give her quality time with todays fashion vanguard with this set of Prèt-à-porTEA teabags. 

Each morning your Fashionista can wake up with Jean-Paul Gaultier, Donatella Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, Claudia Schiffer or cell-phone wielding Naomi Campbell!
Purchase your set of stylish teabags at!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stylish Gifts for a Dandy of a Mother

Looking for that special gift that will make your mother smile? Nothing says I love you like a beautiful piece of jewelry.

This mother’s day purchase a handmade necklace or bracelet and help a great cause!

Rachel’s “Cure by Design” sells unique, handmade, glass and beaded jewelry and each purchase supports the work of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and their mission to find a cure for diabetes.
Rachel's Story
Rachel began designing and selling her collection of jewelry after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12. So far, her collection has raised over $35,000 for the JDRF Western PA Chapter.

Each bracelet comes with a sterling silver “hope” charm that symbolizes Rachel’s hope for a cure. She states, “This charm can be your symbol of “hope” for opportunities and challenges you and your family may face as well. On behalf of myself and the 23.6 million people who suffer from diabetes, thank you for your kindness and support!”

Purchase your Cure by Design jewelry below!
Cure by design. Hope. Passion.Purpose
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