Where do we begin? Church & Reception Venue

So, we’re engaged now, Right?

Good. Got that.

We’ve told our friends and family, strangers and friends of strangers. I told the world right here on my blog. It’s been 2 months and I’m still encountering people that still didn’t know we were engaged. My dentist didn’t know, my friends far away haven’t seen the ring in person. Each time someone says congrats or “let’s see it!” I get all giddy all over again and hold out my hand as if we were engaged yesterday.

It really is a great feeling. I don’t brag, I don’t just randomly hold out my ring finger to strangers. I keep it hidden sometimes, protected in my pocket. It’s hard when I talk about Ian though. The word “Fiance” is so silly sounding to me. Not that I don’t like it, or I don’t want to be his Fiance either, but we both agree that the word fiance is just an odd word. Most of the time I call him Ian to people, or I’ll say “my boyfriend”, or jokingly say “my soon-to-be hubby”. Sometimes I get messed up and say, “boyfr- oh, I guess fiancee now….” Which then makes that person say, “ohmigosh! Let’s see it!?” *Cue the warm fuzzy feeling* :)

The first thing we did was choose a time period for the date of our wedding. Well, I lied. I guess the first thing we tried to do was a guest list, but that still isn’t finalized (and I bet it won’t be for a while).

Anywhoo… we didn’t want a long engagement and Winter and summer are just too extreme weather for us. That leaves Autumn, which we both adore. Autumn was 11 months away. Practically “next year!” Which made my mom a bit nervous since I’m her first married out of 3. (Me too!) The second option was Spring…. of 2013. I pictured gardens and flowers, and Robins Egg blue lanterns, and pretty white fluffy decorations, and a gorgeous outdoor wedding somewhere with a view. BUT it’s Spring.. of 2013. That, to me, is a long engagement. That’s practically a year and a half. Nothing wrong with an engagement that long, but we didn’t want it. Meaning Fall of 2012 was the winner.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times we were told “Enjoy the engagement!” “Don’t let the planning be stressful!”, “Walk away when you disagree!”, “Enjoy it!”, Enjoy it!”

I’d nod and say, “yes yes I know”… but secretly, I was stressed from Day 1.

We needed a place! A church! and a date! I’m from NY, he lives in NJ. We didn’t even have a STATE at one point! We started just exploring places blindly.

Right around thanksgiving, we looked at a place, The Lodge at Lake Hird. A huge restored Lodge from the 1930s. Wood beams, wood floors, huge fireplace on one side, right on a lake, area on a back patio for a cocktail hour and everything. THAT was the description. It was umm… a hunting lodge. NOTHING AGAINST HUNTING LODGES, but for a wedding? Picture this: 20-something decapitated deer hanging on the walls staring at me and my guests. No thanks. (They can’t be removed, I asked.) Maybe I’d rent the place for Ian’s retirement party one day, but not a wedding. I was disappointed, and had a nice little freak out about how we won’t find a place for us that we can afford, and blah blah.

Oh yes, Budget. I won’t reveal the full extent of our budget. You can’t buy a new car with it is all I’ll say. We have two generous families (my mother is giving me half) and Ian’s family has offered any support we may need. Thank you all. <3

We're both self sufficient individuals, so accepting help and things is still new to us. I have been saving for .. oh… about 1.5 years. Ian and I have been dating for 2.5 now. Yes, I started saving before I was engaged. Right as soon as I knew, right when we started talking future plans, and possible marriage, I began a Wedding Fund bank account at the bank. I felt so adult-y!

Geez, I'm sorry… this is the longest post ever. I'll add more photos as an apology!


We choose Our Lady Queen of Peace as our Church. This is currently Ian's church, and will be mine when I move to NJ. It seemed right to choose it. It's a gorgeous church.

Right before Christmas, Ian and I checked out the venue called the Warwick Center. It has a chapel on the property (Mulder Chapel), with a reception room right underneath. (The Port Ewen Room). We had booked our church, so we choose that reception space! It’s got wonderful views of Warwick Valley in Warwick, NY! The views are really breathtaking, and these photos were from December. Just imagine with all the fall foliage!

The room in this photo is set up for another wedding (180 people!) ours will obviously look different with our designs and only 100 or so people!

Patio Space for Cocktails

thy have plans for a gazebo here, but maybe not before our wedding.

Click on the pics to see them bigger. Look at the View!

We also met with a caterer. He was fabulous. We choose a great menu, and are working out some kinks. Hope we can work with him. I’ll share the menu in my next post!

Plush Buzzard! and Thrifty Finds

So as my last post stated, I was commissioned to make a stuffed Buzzard for a friend of a friend. Here’s how it came out!

Concept drawing by yours truly. :)

Ian and I took a trip to the local thrift store the other day, here is my loot!

I am wearing this tie today as a headband, and I have better plans for it eventually.

Aren’t these coasters super sweet?? They are for my future craft room.

And last but not least, I had bought the same egg beater from a garage sale while on vacation in MA, but mine was so rusted it probably isn’t safe to touch food. Therefore, i got a new one to actually use.. and maybe I’ll hang the old up in my craft room with all my other antiques. :)

Keep an Eye out for some cool finds. :) I was mainly hunting for fabric and came home with those items a big storage container. I think I’m addicted to storage, but I barely have any! We’ll see what happens when I actually get my craft room. :)

Some Button Action this weekend

I had a lovely weekend off from home renovations. haha. :) So i decided to make some things from my vintage button collection. I had purchased many earring backs, ring bases, and hair/ brooch clips, and i wanted to put them to good use!

This is my disaster of a work area.

(i need a better space.. someday soon..)

and after mixing up some epoxy, I put together this ring. :)

I like it. a nice round brown button, with a pretty pearlized flower shaped button on top. I added some silver wire after the fact ( since the epoxy had oozed through the button holes).. thats a lesson.. add string or wire before epoxying…

It was super simple (after the epoxy set and they stayed put!) and it was really fun to make. I can’t wait to put together some more. I want more birthdays to come up so I can start making them for friends. :)

Sunday, I went to tea with Ian’s mother and sister, and my own mother and sister (for our mother’s bdays). We went to Charlotte’s Tea Room in Warwick, NY. It was so nice. if you are ever in the area, and want some nice tea in a beautiful house, (make a reservation) and stop in (and order the Big Red Sun tea, the Emperor’s New Salad, and the Cheesecake Petit fores, trust me! haha). It was a very nice time. :) OH, and I made my friend Rebecca some anchor earrings too. She asked if I wanted to take a photo, but I said nah.. but now I realize that I should’ve. Next time i see her I’ll snap one. :)

Enjoy the week!

My 2010 Blog Review

Normally I wouldnt post something so silly as a blog stats update-post-thing… But it’s really cool to see. I wonder why some posts were read more then others. I guess facebook does bring readers, haha. And Thanks Rebecca for your referrers. :)

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 91 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 111 posts. There were 438 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 311mb. That’s about 1 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was August 12th with 177 views. The most popular post that day was Dragons and Crochet Go Together, Don’t They?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were illustrationfriday.com, facebook.com, roseyrebecca.com, stumbleupon.com, and Google Reader.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for a very good coat rack, astoriadesigns, yarn, and dara grieco.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Dragons and Crochet Go Together, Don’t They? June 2010


About Me August 2009


Honey Nut Cheerio Banana Muffins May 2010


IF: Detective April 2010


IF: Expired March 2010


Obviously, in comparison to other blogs, mine is pathetically puny, but its MY tiny little blog. :) I appreciate all my readers, wherever you may be! Hope to hear from you more in 2011.

Happy New Year! Peace, Love, Happiness and Healthy living.
Happy Crafting! :)

So a Whale, a Dino and an Elephant walk into a bar…

They had a few pints, shared a few tales and after a few hours, decided to call it a night.

Whale belongs to Ian, so he stayed at work (workaholic, he’s a better worker when he’s a got a few beers in him), while the rest went home to meet up with Dino’s sister, Dina. She made them some soup, sandwiches and ice cream sundaes!

They all get along pretty well. It was a very tiring night! They soon got washed up for bed, read a few pages of the classics.. and went to sleep at a reasonable hour.

The End. :)


I’ve been working on these critters for quite a while. Made with fluffy warm fleece, some felt and embroidery thread. They are finally complete! I also now have my official plush tags! (can you see them on the photos?? I feel more professional now. hehe) The front says A Very Good Coat Rack, and the back says “designed & handmade by: Dara Grieco”, and my etsy web address. :)

These Plushy animals will be posted onto etsy (along with my jewelry) as soon as I take better & more creative pictures of them! :) Keep watching my store and add it to your etsy favorites, maybe? www.coatrackshop.etsy.com

Boye Crochet Kit!

I bought myself this:

and a whole lotta this:

and i hope one day to make myself one of these:

or one of these in my size!:

wish me luck! i’ll post up my progress. :) I’ve been waiting for my yarn to come in the mail.. trying to learn Slip stitches and single crochet stitches with ribbon doesn’t work so well! USPS tracking confirms its at my house! When i get home from work today… it’s on! This Easter weekend, i am in full grandma mode. :)

Baked Chain Pickerel in Parchment

Hi There!
So first of all i’d like to say, RIP Jerome David (J.D.) Salinger. January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010. You were a mean old man, but an amazing writer. 91 years on this earth, Farewell, chap.


On to my post. :)

This past weekend i went Ice Fishing! i need to get the photos from Ian of the actual adventure.. but until then… This will suffice:

We had a more modern look about us though. ;)

After trekking out to Lake Lookout in Waywayanda State Park:

The Yellow fish marks the spot where we set up camp. This photo is from a warmer time, obviously. There was snow all over the lake. We Augured a hole in the ice .. Not our auger.. but it looked the same.. ours was red. :) We set up a fire in a metal bucket between us for warmth. I set up the fishing lines, and we were off. We snacked on cheese, pepperoni, and hot cocoa, yum! The holes we cut out were about 10 inches deep! The ice was THAT thick. :) The water was freezing up quick so we had the jiggle the lines around to clear the ice. The second time i jiggled my line, i thought i was caught on something. Well, i was! It was a FISH! :) i reeled him in and .. i KEPT him! With intentions of cooking him. (sorry vegans and vegetarians all around the world). He was my first catch that i was able to reel-in in about 10 years!

So we put him on the ice. I heard its more humane? The extreme cold causes him to sleep? And then pass away while sleeping? not sure if thats true. I’m sorry poor fish, but you were stupid enough to bite a fluorescent pink hook in the wintertime.

Anywhoo.. we packed him in snow and took him home and looked up that he was a Chain Pickerel. Then Ian de-scaled, gutted and cleaned him. Those photos are also on his camera, oh well.

So the next day i decided to cook up my lovely fish. :)

I used:
14×14 Parchment Paper
2 heaping tbsp of butter
Handful of Capers
Juice of Half a lemon
A few pinches of Salt
A few pinches of pepper

i melted up the butter and combined in the lemon juice in a mug. Sprinkled in the salt and pepper and just drizzled it over and inside my fish. Then i topped with some capers and shoved some inside too. :)

I folded up the Parchment as best as i could. i guess twine or some kind of string that wouldn’t burn would’ve worked tied around it.. but I just folded it over as much as it could til it stayed somewhat closed.

I put the folded paper with the fish inside on a wire rack.. then i popped that bad boy in the oven on 400 degrees. :)

I could hear popping and crackling and sizzling.. :) and then in 20 minutes.. he was done. I took it out of the oven.. Nice and brown! the butter burned a bit:

When i undid the paper.. this is what i saw:

The skin stuck to the paper a bit.. but thats ok.. i had to pull the skin off anyway…

I ate the top half.. it wasnt sitting in the butter too much.. so it was a bit bland and kind of dry. That is fine by me though. :)

i flipped him over and the second half that was cooking in the lemon and butter was SO GOOD. :) tasty and moist and oh so yum!

The Bones were teeny tiny little pieces of nothing! You CAN eat them, but i still pulled them out. :)


R.I.P. You poor delicious Fish.

Pegah’s Birthday

Hi again! who am i saying hello to?

.. i wonder who actually reads this blog… anyway…

Today is my co-worker/ friend Pegah’s Birthday! :) So i decided to make her a picture in illustrator. :) I drew her neat brown boots with thick socks, long dress/skirt and her awesome scarf from Pakistan. i didnt know the design too well cause its always wrapped around her neck, but i tried. it kind of looks like a Christmas camouflage haha. She liked it very much. :) So here it is. :)