Small business diaries // Bree of Capitol Romance

an interview with bree of capitol romance // a thousand threads
For some time now, I’ve wanted to start talking to all of you about the process of starting a small business, partly because this little blog has become a small business of its own, but also because soon I’ll have another slightly bigger business to talk to you all about.

In this new series, titled “Small business diaries,” I’ll interview some of my favorite small businesses, share tips, and throw some of my very own diary entries into the mix… because a lot of the process is fun and games, but a whole lot is also not (Mark and I are trudging through some seriously un-fun stuff right now). And whether you have your own small business dreams, or you just enjoy hearing about the day to day, I want to give you the real stuff… the whole story.

The story that sometimes means working 3-4 jobs like this lovely lady here… who runs one of the coolest businesses (the coolest business?) in DC. But also the story that brings a sense of community and satisfaction like no other around… and the story we wouldn’t give up for the world.

I can’t wait for you to get to know Bree and her story below — and when you’re done, be sure to check out her amazing new workshops. I so needed one of these when I was planning my wedding — frankly I’m jealous of you brides out there who get to go.

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52 dates // 16

52 dates // a thousand threads
The date // A little drive around northern Virginia.
The places // Tarara Winery, Catoctin Creek Distillery, and Fire Works… because pizza.
The verdict // The lady likes the gin.

After a thoroughly dangerous trip to the Restoration Hardware outlet (extra 40 percent off what?) Mark and I found ourselves with a gorgeous 70 degree day and a choice… go home like responsible adults, get our chores done, and eat a healthy meal… or wander around northern Virginia for a few hours, drink some wine, sip some rye, and stuff our faces with pizza to the tune of some drunk guy at the next table with an overwhelming amount of testosterone (his words // *winning).

We took the long way around, caught each other up, made jokes that were only funny to us… then wandered on home to relax before drifting off to bed.

… because who wants to be a grown up anyway? I’d rather have the gin.

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Easter weekend // and thank you…

You guys… I’m not sure where to start, except to say that you’re wonderful and I love you all. Thank you so much for your kind, funny, heartbreaking, sincere, amazing words on my post yesterday. It’s not always easy to hit publish, but you’ve reminded me exactly why I do. So thank you, so much.

And to those of you going through a similar time, I’m always here if you need a talk or a drink or a big vat of ice cream — I wish I was closer to some of you, I’d bring you one right now. Feeling like a failure sucks a lot, but we all go through it, and it’s so much easier to pick yourself up and dust yourself off when you know you’re not alone.

Have a wonderful Easter/Passover weekend! I’d love to hear all about your plans!


Eye this bright, lovely home.

Buy something to save your lips — if they’re anything like mine, they suffer when the seasons change.

Make this sunny spring weaving for your front door or wall.

Bake some simple baked eggs (eggs, Easter… it all just makes sense).


I loved loved looooved Kate’s post about “should” vs. “must.”

Frank Bruni argues that women are stick stuck with an unequal lot that goes far beyond pay.

This dripped concrete planter is pretty brilliant.

So are these copper air plant holders.

And right now I’m seriously craving some of these.


Failure and envy and moving on

churchill quote // a thousand threads
Lately I’ve noticed, to my dismay, that every time I post a picture on Instagram, I both gain and lose one follower — like I’m stuck in some social media purgatory where the mediocre bloggers go to die. I guess I’m lucky that I’m not just losing them in droves, but it eats at me. It eats at me like the little green monster that wishes it had the talent of some and the luck of others… the same little green monster that just gets mad and doesn’t bother to look around for some perspective.

… and sometimes it eats at me so much it makes me want to erase everything I just wrote, put big black censor bars over the top and pretend I’ve got it all figured out.

Except I don’t.

… I didn’t get into any of the PhD programs I applied to.

I have a lot of excuses lined up to recite whenever someone asks: I applied to the toughest programs; I needed funding; my GPA and experience are good, but they’ll never stand up to the many applications I read every month from plucky potential interns with straight A’s and internships at the UN.

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A farmhouse dinner to welcome the spring

a farmhouse dinner for spring // a thousand threads
On Saturday evening, Mark and I were lucky enough to join a wonderful group of friends for a potluck dinner in this beautiful place.

The dinner was organized by Melissa, one of the absolute loveliest people I’ve gotten to know through blogging, and attended by friends both old and new. We gathered in a little farmhouse on 1100 acres of rolling green hills, rivers, and more wide open space than I can even begin to fathom, owned by a monastery with a long, beautiful history and farmed by Melissa’s father.

The place is quiet and beautiful and the company was warm and inviting. Mark and I brought along pie, and Rebecca brought along two delicious salads, along with (even more importantly) the most adorable guest of the evening. The table was filled with fresh farm beef and beautiful juicy tomatoes, and though our dreams of dining outdoors were dashed by the wind, the cozy dining room made for the perfect spot for conversation.

We laughed and dined well into the evening, already planning the next event by the time this one came to an end…

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DIY all-purpose cleaner

diy all-purpose cleaner // a thousand threads
Just in case you haven’t already noticed, spring is here! And that means it’s time to spring clean. But just because you want to give everything a good scrub doesn’t mean you want it to smell like you did – and that’s not even mentioning the way that harsh cleaning products can make your skin feel.

That’s why lately we’ve been experimenting with making our own cleaning products. It’s easier than you’d ever think, cheaper than buying the stuff in the store, and they work great!

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52 dates // 15

52 dates // a thousand threads
The date // Custard!
The place // Jimmie Cone
The choice // Vanilla with rainbow jimmies for her, chocolate/vanilla swirl with chocolate jimmies for him.

This weekend we saw our first 80 degree days of the year… the perfect spring kind without humidity or thundering rain. On Sunday, we wandered around our beautiful little town, bought some records, ate dinner outside, and took our first trip to Jimmie Cone (a local institution that’s packed from April to October every year).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I just don’t know how I ever lived before there was custard in my life.

And I’m so glad the cold winter is gone…

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Practice makes perfect

// a thousand threads
So I’ve wanted, needed a Wacom for something like a million years now. I just knew it would change my life, the beautiful things I would create — I was sure I was only an Amazon purchase away from pure brilliance. So I finally broke down and made it happen.

Earlier this week, the Wacom showed up on my doorstep all shiny and new, just begging for me to break it out and get the party started. So I did… and let’s just say the experience has been something like that time when I really really wanted to bust out a canvas and paint…

Even though I hadn’t picked up a paint brush since preschool.

Holy wow you guys, you don’t realize how much all of that type typing away is crushing your motor handwriting skills until you try to go all crazy with a Wacom. Cursive? What is that? So there might be a little bit of a learning curve, but hey, that’s what this space is all about, right? I’ve been learning here with all of you on a pretty steep learning curve since 2011, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed the ride as much as I have. For me, it always goes back to this Ira Glass quote. If you know what you want it to be, and you work hard, you’ll get there.

So I changed things up a little bit on my Friday links this week with the vast scribble skills I’ve acquired so far — and hey, it’s something right? Next stop, masterpiece.

Maybe I’ll get in a little more practice this weekend. Tell me, do you have any big plans?

P.S. Does this mean I also won’t have Melissa Esplin-like calligraphy skills if I pick up a pen?


Eye this lovely artists loft in Berlin.

Buy this Steven Alan quilt on sale!

Make these beautiful onion-dyed flags. (And check out the rest of Cassie’s amazing wedding DIYs while you’re there, I’m kind of obsessed.)

Bake these tasty looking buttermilk cakes.


Definitely reserving judgement until there’s more than a trailer, but I thought this commentary on the “American Blogger” controversy was very thoughtful.

Also thoughtful — this article via Cup of Jo.

Some of you out there are Wacom masters, and to you I say this. But seriously, wow Corina this typeface is beautiful.

If this works, I might die of excitement.

This camp wedding really is dreamy.


Ladder love

ladder love // a thousand threads
I can’t honestly remember a time when I didn’t want a library ladder in my life. Whether in the kitchen, the bedroom, or an actual library, none of that ever really mattered, just as long as the ladder led to something really great (amazing secret hideaway loft anyone?).

These days we don’t exactly have the kind of cavernous space a library ladder might need, but there are plenty of other ways to work a little bit of ladder into the decor. Here are a few I’ve seen and liked lately, although I’ll admit in internet time I’m probably something like 40 years behind. We’ll just call it a classic trend.

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Earl Grey tea-infused scones

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

earl grey tea-infused scones // a thousand threads
With Easter and Mother’s Day right around the corner, brunch season is officially upon us. And you won’t hear me complain. Any excuse to eat late and drink early is one I’ll take — so brunch is hands down my favorite meal. And scones, to me, are a quintessential brunch food. But these aren’t just your average scones. They’re packed with a hefty dose of Bigelow Tea‘s Earl Grey — enough to leave that pretty speckled evidence behind — and the flavor will blow your guests away. Not to mention the delicate, crispy crustiness that’s just perfect alone (maybe with a little bit of tea on the side?) or as part of a bigger, more elaborate meal.

Bigelow might be a big name, but they’ve remained a family owned, American business, with good quality, dependable tea that stays fresh thanks to Bigelow’s handy foil pouch…

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