December 14, 2008

Christmas Bokeh


Awhile back I had a post about bokeh. I pulled out the camera on this nice sunday afternoon and played around with some christmas bokeh. It was a lot of fun to mess around with different shapes and composition. A good rainy afternoon activity.


November 22, 2008

Out Walking




I was walking home from the gym this afternoon and picked up some beautiful things. I'm pretty sure I looked like a third grader stopping every few feet and crouching down to look at something on the ground. But I brought home a handful of things and took pictures and loved them. Fall is beautiful!

November 18, 2008

Fall Pesto

I just realized I never published this post, so it's a little late but still great!

Today was the last day of my town's farmers market so to celebrate (mourn would be more accurate) I bought a couple big bunches of basil and made enough pesto to freeze. I felt very "Little House on the Prairie" as I was setting away stores for winter. I think pesto may have the best smell of anything so I decided to spread the love and share the recipe with you.

Ingredients:
6 cups loose basil (don't pack it in)
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 C pine nuts (although I did a few batches with pecans that turned out fine)
1/2 C parmesan cheese
2 cloves fresh garlic
kosher salt
2 t black pepper
3/4 C olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients, reserving 1/4 c of olive oil. Blend in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding the remaining olive oil while blending.

This is great on pasta with fresh tomatoes and feta cheese. It is also fabulous on pizza with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

November 15, 2008


I was looking through my old pictures and ran across this one. It brightened my day so I thought it my brighten yours.

November 5, 2008

Make Your Own Hobby Horse/ Stick Pony: Tutorial


My son was a cowboy for Halloween and instead of using all my resources (time, materials, imagination, etc,.) for something that would just end up in the costume box for the rest of time I decided to make a hobby horse instead of chaps or holsters. Every cowboy needs his horse, after all. I looked online and couldn't find a pattern (that is, I couldn't find a free one) but I scoured the internet and found a bunch of pictures of homemade hobby horses and thought, "I can do that!" So I did. And it was super easy. You can do it too.

First:

Cut two horse head shaped pieces out of the fabric of your choice. I used a cream colored flannel left-over from a failed baby quilt.

Second:
Cut pieces for the eyes out of felt. Obviously you can do whatever shape you like. This is what I chose.

Third:
Let your son place the eyes where he wants.
Fourth:
Place the eyes on the horse heads and sew around each individual piece.
Fifth:
Cut out pieces for ears. Two from the head fabric, two from a contrasting fabric, two from a heavy interfacing. I used fusible fleece. Fuse the interfacing to the contrasting fabric.

Sixth:Place the two right sides of the fabric pieces together and sew around the edges, leaving the bottom open. I would double-stitch it because you stuff it pretty tight and it pulls on the seams a bit.

Seventh:
Place right sides of ears together sew around the edge, leaving bottom open. Turn right side out, iron the seams, and stitch 1/4 inch around the edges. Create a pleat at the bottom of each ear and sew across to set it. (wow, did that make any sense?- just do what you can to make your ears look like the picture)

Eighth:Place the ear where you want to attach it to the head and make a mark that is the width of the ear. Then make a slit along it and place the ear about 3/4 of an inch inside the slit. Turn it wrong side out and then pin the ear in place. So it looks like this. You should have three layers of fabric (the head, the ear, the head piece again). Stitch along the edge-backstitching at each end, firmly attaching the ear in place so it looks like this when you turn it:
Once you have the eyes and ears on, it's time to add the mane. I got an embroidery needle and pulled yarn through the fabric and then knotted it. There probably is something faster, but I certainly didn't figure it out.
Once the mane is done it is time to stuff. Stuff the head about half full (about to where the neck begins) and then prepare the stick. I crumpled a piece of felt and then draped another piece of felt over it and tied it on the end of the stick like so:This prevents the stick from poking through and tearing the fabric. Once that is done, place the stick in the head, put the stuffing around it until it is packed as tightly as you want and you are ready to finish it.
Get a hot glue gun. There is nothing like a hot glue gun when it is late at night and you need a stick horse for Halloween the next day. put a ring of glue on the stick and gather the fabric and press it onto the glue. Then get ribbon, strips of fabric, whatever and wrap the thing like crazy. then hot glue the end of the ribbon and voila! Your almost done!


Get ribbon, or binding, or whatever you want to use for reigns and a bridle and glue it in place. It honestly is as easy as that.

October 26, 2008

Light


It has been overcast and rainy for a few days and last night the sun FINALLY came out!

October 19, 2008

Counting...

one...
two...
five!

Over at shuttersisters.com today they talked about capturing the beautifully mundane things. Is there anything more mundane than counting, and is there anything more beautiful than watching a child figure out the world?

October 12, 2008

Happy Halloween!


This was the simplest thing to make but it was fun and turned out pretty cute. I actually think it is a great base for something even greater but I lack the creativity and ambition to do much more. I just printed the outline of the lettersin a really light grey on the patterned paper. Then I cut those out and mounted them on black cardstock. At that point I just cut around the letters, punched holes in each one and strung them on an orange ribbon. I like that it is festive, not creepy like so many of the halloween decorations, and takes up a big wall so it makes my whole house seems ready for halloween.

October 9, 2008

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna



"How 'bout some more zucchini?" That's what my two year old asked at dinner when I made this. It's a keeper.It actually was a refreshing take on traditional lasagna. The texture of the spaghetti squash made it very fresh tasting.

Ingredients:
1 medium large spaghetti squash
1/2 lb hamburger
1/2 onion
1 zucchini
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup cheese
1 1/2 t Italian seasoning
2 t parsley
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 1/2 t black pepper
2 cloves garlic

Start by cooking the spaghetti squash until tender. (about 8 minutes in the microwave, 30 mintues in the oven). Seed it and scrape out the squash. Saute the hamburger, garlic and onion, add the drained diced tomatoes (I pureed one of them before I added it). Add Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Let simmer until most of the juice is gone. Add the diced zucchini for the last five minutes. In another bowl mix the cottage cheese with the parsley and black pepper. In an 8X8 baking dish put a layer of spaghetti squash. Add half the sauce. Next layer the cottage cheese mixture (all of it). After that put on 3/4 c of cheese (I used chedder). Add another layer of spaghetti squash. Top with the rest of the tomato sauce and the rest of the cheese. I topped mine with fresh mozzerella because I had to get rid of it.. Bake about 20 mintues at 350 until cheese is melted and it is bubbly.

September 24, 2008

Something a Little Brighter

Wow. I can't get enough of this girl.

September 23, 2008

The other day I was dropping off my husband and happened to glance out the side window as we were passing some train tracks. This view caught me off guard. We were in the middle of a neighborhood that was next to an industrial zone, so I really wasn't expecting such a beautiful scene. The next Saturday I set my alarm for 6:30 so I could capture it in the morning light. What a gem in the middle of everything.

September 2, 2008

The Backwoods of Virginia


We were driving to a lake the other day and passed this house.  My husband knows that I love old decrepit houses so he pulled over and watched the kids while I snapped some pictures.  I look at this house and wonder who lived here?  What stories have played out here?  If you look closely you see that it can't be more than 2o feet by 15 feet big.  What you see is what you get. Wow.  

August 23, 2008

IFA


The town where I grew up has experienced explosive growth since I moved away to go to college.  Whenever I go back I am amazed by all the change but there is always one constant- IFA.  I asked my siblings what image personifies our town and we all agree that it is this farm store.  I'm afraid more luxury SUV's than beat-up trucks pass it now but it will always remain the iconic image.  

July 1, 2008

Sweet Potatoes with Mango Salsa


I got this recipe from my mother-in-law and it has become a favorite at our house.

Ingredients: (for four people)

Salsa:

1 C diced tomatoes
1 C diced Mango
1/2 C green onion
1/3 C cilantro

Chicken:

4 chicken breasts, cubed
a few T Cajun or Creole seasoning
Olive oil

4 Sweet Potatoes

Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven until soft (about 45 minutes at 350). Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the salsa and set aside. Saute the chicken in some olive oil, add seasoning.

Put chicken on top of the sweet potato and top with the salsa.

These are not exact measurements and you can adjust them to your personal taste.

June 21, 2008

Heart Bokeh


I was looking on shuttersisters a few weeks (maybe months?) ago and saw this cool link. By making a little contraption to put over your lens you can control the shape of the blurry parts of your photo. I certainly haven't figured out the best technique to do it great, but it's kind of a fun thing to mess around with. In this photo, if you look closely you can see little heart-shapes in the background.

June 14, 2008

Cheap-o Hairbow


So I just had a baby girl and after having a boy I have been so excited to put hairbows on her. But I'm living in Utah for the summer and anything cute is way over my budget. And the current style here looks like moms put wedding bouquets on their babies' heads-- a little too big for my taste. So, I went to the craft store and bought some stretchy lace and sewed a cute little ribbon on it. I love it and have a few yards of lace left over to make more hairbows in different colors.

June 2, 2008

True Love


My brother and his wife.  They looked so good I couldn't resist taking  a picture. 

May 23, 2008

Snake Cake

I'm embarassed to even post this. My husband's birthday was last week and when I asked him what he wanted for dessert he said bread pudding, not my absolute favorite, but good. The next day he changed his mind and said he wanted chocolate lava cake which I love! Then, the next day he informed me he had changed his mind yet again and wanted Snake Cake with the sugar letters on top.  What?! Snake cake, serisously? He had a sudden burst of nostalgia and wanted snake cake like his mom used to make him.  When he was four.  I reluctantly agreed and made him this cheesy, ugly, nasty snake cake.  Happy Birthday!

May 21, 2008

Flowers





I love fresh flowers more than most things.  Even though my husband is in grad school and money is tight, I would gladly forego a bag of chips and use that grocery money on some cheap grocery store flowers.  They just make me happy. 

 I am loving the beautiful spring lilacs and other spring flowers in bloom right now.  Today I cut a few lilacs and put them in an arrangement with some blooms from our snowball bush. ( I guarantee that isn't the technical name, but that's what I call them) Anyway, here are some pictures my husband took of them before my son jumped on the arrangement and ruined it.  

May 15, 2008

Tucson Quilt



I had an aunt that lived in Tucson, AZ growing up and when she was having babies they wouldn't make baby blankets with batting because it was too hot.  Instead, they just sewed two pieces of cotton together.  When a friend of mine found out she was going to move to Tucson when her baby was born I was thrilled that I could sew her a Tucson quilt because it is so simple! I simply put two pieces of cotton right sides together and sewed up all four sides, leaving five inches open to turn. Then I turned it inside out and did a zig-zag stitch around the whole thing, closing the five inch hole.  How easy is that! It isn't even necessary to tie it or anything!  

May 4, 2008

Babymoon


I haven't posted in awhile because I have been busy with my best creation yet! I had a sweet baby girl on April 9th and have gladly spent some quality time with her and her older brother. But I'm feeling better and getting more energy, so expect some more posts very soon- the babymoon is over!

April 14, 2008

Chocolate Bowls



Okay, this is so easy and makes very impressive looking bowls. And they taste good, to boot. This is all you are going to need: 8 ounces chocolate chips and some five inch balloons. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or however you want (microwave, etc.). I recommend Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips, but that is just my preference. Put some wax paper on a cookie sheet and put four dollops of chocolate (about 1/2 teaspoon) on it (this will become the flat part of the bowl). Blow up four balloons and dip them in the chocolate, you can use a spoon to spread it on if you need to. Place one balloon on each dollop of chocolate and put the balloons in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden. After it has hardened gently deflate the balloons (pinch the top and use scissors to cut a small hole) and peel out of the bowl. Fill with ice-cream, berries, or whatever sounds good.

April 1, 2008

Baby Quilt


I'm due to have a baby in a week, so I haven't been really on top of things. But I did get around to making her a little quilt this last week. I grew up tying quilts at church functions and always thought you had to have professional quilting frames to tie quilts. I don't own any so I never dared tie quilts myself. I fell in love with this fabric so decided to give tying a quilt a try at home.

After I sewed the top and bottom pieces I put them right sides together on the floor with a piece of batting on top. After I got it all smooth and nice I pinned everything together like crazy and sewed around all four sides, leaving a one foot gap to pull it right side out. After sewing around and trimming the edges I pulled it right side out and put it flat on the ground again. I made sure everything was completely smooth and layed right then I put safety pins through all three layers in the places I wanted ties to go. That way I was able to pick up the quilt and not worry about it getting all weird and uneven when I tied it because everything was lined up where I wanted it to go. I would never try this approach with a big quilt but it worked wonderfully with a small one. After it was all tied I just sewed around the edge. It is completely unprofessional but turned out good enough for me.

March 21, 2008

Quesadillas


It seems like the hardest part of cooking dinner is simply choosing what to make. So here is a little dinner inspiration for you. We have been eating a LOT of quesadillas recently and have come up with some good combinations. For the ones pictured I sauteed some zucchini in a little olive oil with a pinch of cumin and some red pepper flakes. I put a corn tortilla on the griddle, put on a little grated cheese, added the zucchini, a spoonful of black beans, and a few leaves of spinach (they wilt while cooking, delicious), followed by more cheese and the top tortilla. Flip halfway through and they're done. These are always a good "get rid of vegetables in your fridge" meal. And of course they are always good with some meat. I prefer them made with corn tortillas rather than flour tortillas because they crisp up a little better and corn tortillas are much better for you (0 grams of fat vs. up to 10 per tortilla).