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Posted by on May 29, 2013 | 0 comments

Groomsmen Gift Ideas for Your Best Men

Groomsmen Gift Ideas for Your Best Men

The high wedding season is upon us. To inspire those of you looking for gifts of appreciation for your go-to guys, we thought we’d feature some popular and unique groomsmen gifts that our friend and family have received over the years. Cufflinks are the gift that may first come to mind when you think of a groomsmen gift. Common they may be, but they are still a great option. John says he wears his all the time. You also can’t go wrong with a nice bottle of bourbon, or top-shelf tequila, as my husband says he was more than happy to receive from an old friend. One of John’s good friends came up with a personalized gift that John cherishes. Knowing how passionate John is about Civil War history, his friend found an atlas from the Civil War era and map from a famous battle to mat and frame. Giving a groomsman a knife is quite common and in this case, John’s friend, a hunter of wild boar (seriously),...

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Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 | 5 comments

Creating a Wedding Anniversary Gift with Maps

Creating a Wedding Anniversary Gift with Maps

This past weekend my husband Matt and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. For a gift, I wanted to make him something meaningful and got the idea to use city maps from an old atlas to mark landmark moments in our relationship. I found an Umbra frame with three openings that looked perfect for the project. The only other supplies I needed were photos of us from the old days, a pencil, ruler, scissors, and a black Sharpie — things we already had around the house. Our story starts in Seattle, where we met through a mutual friend in the “music scene” way back in 1995 and started dating soon after. Here we are about to go to the famous Seattle music festival, Bumbershoot. So, for Seattle, I wrote our initials (LS from my maiden name + MD) in a heart. Our story continues a few years later, in 2000, in Chicago, where we got married on March 17 at the justice of the peace at Daley plaza. We...

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Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 | 1 comment

DIY Gift Basket for the Perennial Party Hosts

DIY Gift Basket for the Perennial Party Hosts

The other week I shared one the favorite gifts that I received over the holidays, but here’s my favorite gift that I gave to someone else. Can’t go wrong with a gift basket, right? Perfect for any time of year and for any gift-giving occasion. This is my “entertainer” basket, given to my brother-in-law Scott and his wife Catherine, perennial party hosts. Their house in Alexandria’s west end has an amazing basement bar and party room. The contents of this basket are mostly DIYed, but I threw in a little non-DIY too (can’t do everything). First I made three of my favorite multi-purpose spreads — olive tapenade, roasted red pepper puree, and balsamic fig jam. Each one is delicious eaten straight out of the jar or, more appropriately, as an appetizer. Spreads plus breads plus cheese equals a tasty happy hour snack. I don’t follow an exact recipe, but here’s how I made each one. Olive tapenade: Puree one jar of pitted kalamata olives in food processor with 1 T olive oil, a squeeze...

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 | 0 comments

A Del Ray Shower for a Del Ray Baby

A Del Ray Shower for a Del Ray Baby

Our neighbors Laura and John (whose home we featured here) are expecting their first child, a girl, in February. So of course all the ladies on the block wanted to throw Laura a shower to celebrate her upcoming bundle of joy. And Leslie and I were more than thrilled to DIY some special gifts for the baby too. The hostesses (Leslie, Newsha and Amanda) decided to have the shower at a local restaurant, instead of someone’s home. They chose Del Ray Cafe for its delicious food and comfortable atmosphere. Of course it did not disappoint. We sat upstairs at a large farm table tucked in the back corner, enough room for all eight of us. When we arrived, a special surprise awaited Laura — a gorgeous bouquet of flowers Amanda had arranged to be delivered to the restaurant. And on the other side of the table, these pom pom “flowers” Leslie made. Laura can use these in the baby’s nursery or repurpose them into a mobile or garland. As we...

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Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 | 1 comment

Shop Local: Gifts from Del Ray Home Studios

Shop Local: Gifts from Del Ray Home Studios

In addition to the fabulous retail stores in the neighborhood, these artisans are ready to make you the perfect just-in-time holiday gift in their home studios. Sue’s Textiles We toured Sue Henry’s studio in Del Ray last summer to see and admire her hand-carved linoleum wood blocks up close and watch her demo her textile printing process. When she took up sewing in addition to textile art, Sue started creating as she puts it, “objects and functional art people can admire every day.” You can order her homewares, like a set of these vibrant chrysanthemum placemats, from her Etsy shop. If you are local, you can arrange to pick up your order from her house to save shipping costs and time. Be sure to read her item descriptions on Etsy that include charming aphorisms like: A single petal from the chrysanthemum flower placed at the bottom of your wine glass will encourage a long and happy life! Handmade and Bound Journals Journals, photo albums, wine travel, guest books, agendas, you name it, Katie...

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