I was really excited when Bing asked me to partner with them to share the new Smart Search for Windows 8.1. I’ve always been a really visual person, which probably helps to explain why I’ve always worked in creative fields among other (more nerdy) things. It’s also why I love my job as an art and design blogger, but sometimes the internet doesn’t translate well for my type of folk. Smart Search is an entirely visual search that shows you a clean, graphic view of information from across the web – right up my alley. You can use it to check out the weather, get directions, or like me… find the perfect Christmas cookies!
One of my pet peeves about recipes in general is when no photo is attached. How do I know what the end result is supposed to look like?! Is this chocolatey blob accurate? Well, Smart Search eliminates that problem completely. I can now find the cookies that I’ll make to take home with me to my Grandma’s for the holidays by what looks most delicious. (All of them, obviously.)
It was no easy task, but after a major search I narrowed down the results to these eight. And I still need to take that down further, because my 89-year-old Grandma and I have an agreement that we’ll each make two kinds. (Though she’s such a cheater.) Which two get your votes?
Clockwise from top: Almond Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies by Running to the Kitchen // Amaretti by gnom gnom // Caramel Apple Cookies by Bakers Royale // Lemon Sugar Cookie Sandwiches by I Am Baker // Meringues with Rhubarb Curd and Rosehip by The Vanilla Bean Blog // Orange and Ricotta Crackle Cookies by Cook Republic // Pumpkin Shortbread by Cookies & Cups // Sweet Potato Ginger Cookies by Quick & Easy Recipes
This post was created in partnership with Bing. With a type or a swipe you can search the web, the cloud, apps, and your PC or tablet, all in one place using Bing Smart Search on Windows 8.1.
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01/ Last Supper, notebook illustrations of characters sitting down for a meal.
02/ The Gooyesh Language Institute in Iran is made entirely of letters!
03/ Door to Hell is an aptly named crater in Turkmenistan that’s been burning for 40 years.
04/ The super expressive face of Jazzy the border collie.
05/ The art of smoke bombs and fireworks.
06/ Athlete compares the vastly different body types of Olympic athletes.
07/ Sad/creepy abandoned Santa parks of the world.
08/ Bring the beach indoors with this incredible surfboard table and benches!
09/ A super fun play net creates a kids’ reading level in a library.
10/ Party cheat sheets full of infographics for holiday event planning.
This week on Design Crush:
Listen to November’s Mix #30: I’m Waiting Here.
Plenty of 2014 calendars for you to choose from in Part 2 + Part 3 of our roundups.
Get a head start on your holiday entertaining with this fantastic giveaway from B by Brandie!
Sweater weather is here and we’ve shared 12 of our favorites.
I’m not hosting this year, but here’s my imaginary Thanksgiving 2013!
These Leaf Rugs also double as blankets.
Crazy layered acrylic paintings from Yago Hortal.
It’s time to think about advent calendar prep – here are 14 that are great!
After yesterday’s imaginary Thanksgiving festivities it’s time to look a bit ahead and talk advent calendars, one of my favorite holiday traditions! Did you grow up with the daily anticipation of one? I think I’ve had every kind under the sun and moon, so we’re sharing a variety of handmade and store-bought because sometimes making your own just isn’t feasible. (Especially with Thanksgiving falling so late in the month this year!) I’m thinking of going a bit non-traditional this year with one of the candle versions, I always have one burning and love the idea it.
ROW 1: Advent Calendar – Ferm Living // Advent Calendar Votive Set – Terrain // Printable Pyramid Advent Calendar – A Subtle Revelry ROW 2: DIY Advent Calendar – Living at Home Handmade // All Shapes and Sizes Countdown Calendar – The Land of Nod // DIY Advent Calendar – Inspired to Share ROW 3: Advent in a Jar – Poppytalk // DIY Advent Pack – Lapin & Me ROW 4: Modern Advent Calendar Printable – J Hill Design // Paris Advent Calendar – Nouveau Designs // Vintage Style Advent Calendar – vontagemodernmix ROW 5: Present Countdown Calendar – The Land of Nod // Advent Candle – Blackballoon // Printable Advent Calendar – Ordinarily Aimee
It’s that time of year! Plenty of dinners with family, plenty of parties with friends, and plenty of outfits necessary to make the whole season go off without a hitch. I prefer at least one dress that’s super versatile and can be changed up in a big way with the right accessories and footwear, and a maybe a second that’s a statement on its own.
Sponsored by Zazzle.
I’ve always erred on the early side of, well, everything. And holiday cards? Well, they’re no exception. November and December are always straight-up crazy busy in my life, so the sooner I can get my cards done the better. (One year I had them addressed and waiting before Halloween! Only mildly embarrassing in retrospect.)
This year I’ve teamed up with Zazzle to create the perfect holiday card, one that covers all the bases just like I like to do. They have so many customizable options and designs available, it was easy to find something that fit my style. I could have gone with a photo card of my four pets (but they’d never sit still long enough to make that happen) or I could have gone with a shot of my tree from last year (which was exception if I do say so myself), but in the end I opted for this scripted graphic flat that features my favorite holiday phrase from my favorite Christmas song and I couldn’t be happier. I loved going through all of Zazzle‘s color and paper options and choosing just the right thing that my friends and family are sure to flip for come December!
Holidays are made for you at Zazzle. Find cards you’ll covet at http://www.zazzle.com/holiday+
PHOTO: Kourtney Roy
One of my favorite parts of the design blog world during the holidays is the veritable plethora of printable gift tags. Free printable gift tags that is, to download to your heart’s content. Here are 28 from this year alone.
Free Printable Monogram Christmas Gift Tags from Making It Lovely // Free Printable Christmas Tags from Minted Strawberry // Free Chalkboard Style Printable Gift Tags from Poppytalk // Free Printable Holiday Gift Tags from Seventeenth & Irving
I don’t care what anyone says, homemade gifts are always some of the best. (Especially when prettily packaged!) During the holidays I think it’s nice to have a little special something for those people you wouldn’t necessarily buy a gift for but are still thinking about. Here are a few of my favorites this December.
Clockwise from top left: Maple Hot Cocoa from Not Without Salt // Cinnamon Cardamom Honey from Reading My Tea Leaves // Boozy Bacon Jam from Spoon Fork Bacon // Meyer Lemon – Orange Bitters from Whole Living // Vanilla Caramel Liquer from Sabrina Sue // Infused Simple Syrups from DIY Network // Homemade Extracts from Spoon Fork Bacon // Lavender Syrup from What Katie Made
My grandmother taught me how to make pomanders – clove studded oranges – when I was in elementary school. I remember making my first one so that literally no bit of orange was peeking out between the cloves! And of course she let me. That pomander had some ribbon attached and hung in the doorway to her hallway for years to come. No, they aren’t really supposed to be around for that long, but it was nice she found it so special.
So, making a pomander is quite simple. All you need is an orange, some whole cloves, and a poking device (like a toothpick or fork). The design possibilities are endless – I like to keep mine a little more simple these days. Just poke your design into the orange rind to make inserting the cloves a little more easy and you’re off! Sometimes I like to use the back of a spoon to help push the cloves into the orange if the skin is especially thick. You can either add a ribbon like my Grandma did and hang somewhere, or pile a few in a bowl.
A few weeks after making your pomanders you’ll start to notice the fruit drying out around the areas you’ve cloved, it will discolor slightly but that doesn’t mean they’re going bad! In fact they’ll last all season and then some.