Wednesday, June 30, 2010

i finished my 30 days of consecutive creativity (with only 1 missed day. but i was with one of my most creative friends that day, so it evens out.) it was fairly easy to be creative at home, but we traveled multiple times and hosted a number of guests during june, so pairing my creativity with housework, baby care, photography (which wasn't always creative) and entertaining and i'll admit there were difficult days. here's the final run down:

june 22/last day of ballet for the summer

june 23/
read all my brand new patterns and got thuper excited to sew

june 24/
post storm photo (missed the rainbow by thismuch)

june 25/made chicken, veggies, and a mix of noodles into stir fry (no photo here. but no fail, as i had to get creative with my ingredients and then we ate it.)

june 26/floral "macro" (50 mm 1.8 as i didn't have my 100mm macro along)

june 27/trifold brochure help for my aunt ("designed" in word[!])

june 28/worked on yarn hanging lamp

june 29/i hate comic sans

june 30/30days survival badge

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

week three of creativity and i found it a bit harder due to travel. this week had a few less creative days paired with some pretty goods ones, so i definitely don't feel as great about it.

june 15/laid out invitations for print

june 16/took photo of finn plus basic edit (catch lights in eyes!)

june 17/collected fabric samples for table runner

june 18/met with a creative friend? for real, this day i can't think of a specific thing because i was busy and then we drove 6 hours. i fail...

june 19/took photos of finn and his grandpa

june 20/took photos of finn and his grandma (also got some of him and his daddy)

june 21/milkshake graphic print for fun

i vow to be better this week!
andplusalso, i still owe you some ice cream/sorbet recipes and some sewing info. soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

30 days: week 2

i am only slightly late here...but my weeks of creativity in june continue to go well. and yes, i promise to blog separately about the ice creams and crafts and such that can be replicated by others. it's just that finding time to be creative is hard on it's own when you have a 15 week old, a house to keep semi-livable, and a busy summer and getting in these creativity recaps is time consuming!

june 8/working on a photobook (lol, screen shot of my desktop)

june 9/
edited a photo i took (bw conversion)

june 10/made oreo and chocolate chip cookie dough truffle balls

june 11/painted toes and creatively added (heat backed...) rhinestones and white dots

june 12/coconut cachaca sorbet

june 13/revised invitations for an anniversary party

june 14/finished anniversary invites
(they're ready for print, so i added in the off-white background for visual effect for the .jpg file - the lace holes will match in real life)

Monday, June 7, 2010

week one of my 30 days of creativity is complete! i had no trouble being creative. here's the roundup:

june 1/birth announcement poster for finn (outline added for white background)

june 2/birthday card for someone special (maybe she's not reading...)

june 3/long exposure photos using finn's baby monitor

june 4/edited photos (black & white conversions of my friends little girls)

june 5/coconut saffron ice cream

june 6/photo of my umbrella on the beach

june 7/polka dot baby gear (paci leash, toy leash, burp cloth)

i'll blog about the goods in future posts, but i wanted to be sure to post this week's creative endeavors all in one.

upon moving to our current condo, which we plan to stay in for a little while, i decided to design
a custom address stamp. with all of the recent thank you cards and upcoming events, i knew i'd be writing my return address quite a few times, otherwise. i had designed a custom monogram stamp for my wedding so i already knew i would use (they are not paying me anything to recommend them, but their turnaround time, prices, and customer service can't be beat, so i certainly don't mind giving them business!)

i wanted a simple, modern design, so i used the same little dachshund silhouette from the baby onesie thank you card. i am fond of lowercase, so of course i use tiny letters to spell out our last name and full address. i have (hopefully) blurred it out enough on the images so you don't come and stalk me at my home, but rest assured the stamp produces a perfect image.

to send to, you need to upload a .jpg file at 300 dpi so they can get a clean image to create the stamp from. i chose the size of my stamp, sent my image, and had my custom return address stamp in less than a week. plus, i paid less than $10 for it. love!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

just a few days before we had finn, we celebrated our last valentine's day as a duo. you might remember the little chocolate cheescake tarts we enjoyed for dessert. but before that, we made and ate a meal of italian risotto and crab legs. having never made risotto, i left the stirring and watching to husband after i prepped the ingredients. we used a pretty basic recipe found here.

uploading images to picasa causes them to appear even more underexposed than they are...

fennel, onion, and pea risotto (adapted from new italian recipes)
1 c arborio rice
3 + 3 tbsp e.v. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large fennel bulb, white part chopped coarsely, plus a few pieces of greens
1 1/2 c peas
1/4 c fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 c dry white wine (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)
6 c chicken stock
1/2 c pecorino romano cheese
2 tbsp butter
1/4 c fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 c grated parmigiano-reggiano

1. bring chicken stock to a slow simmer in a large sauce pan or soup pan, add in basil and fennel greens
2. in a large skillet, heat 3 tbsp olive oil to medium low, then add onions and fennel and cover
3. let the vegetables soften and release their juices for at least ten minutes then remove to a separate bowl
4. add the other 3 tbsp of olive oil to the same pan for 30 seconds, then add arborio rice, tossing in oil
5. add the onions and fennel back in
6. add white wine and let reduce by about 3/4
add a ladle or two of the barely simmering stock, stir a little, make sure risotto is completely covered with juices and simmer over low heat
8. when the liquid is absorbed and just below the top of the rice, add more stock
9. repeat these steps for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally
10. add peas and let simmer until liquid is reduce by half
11. test for tenderness; when rice reaches a "soft with a small bite" state, add cheese and butter and stir
12. allow to cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, then remove from heat

13. let the dish stand for about 5 minutes, then serve topped with a bit more grated parmigiano-reggiano and chopped parsley

and so we prepared the risotto and in the last few minutes, we steamed the crab legs. we don't, however, have a proper pot in which to steam and the result of our efforts was hilarious. once finished, they barely fit on the serving platter. the one thing we do have for crab legs are tiny little forks. we used knives rather than crackers and because i am a semi-professional crab leg eater, i can get large chunks of meat out in this fashion.

attack of the crab!

back to the risotto. fab.u.lous. the flavors were perfectly mellow, the herbs and vegetables cooked down and blended with the soft rice. and when you add cheese and butter to a slowly simmered dish, you simply cannot go wrong. we both ate large portions for dinner (mixed with warm crab meat) and were able to have fancy leftovers the next day.

i thought risotto was time consuming with constant stirring and lots of effort, but i was wrong. i can't wait to try more! i recently had lobster risotto at a local italian restaurant and can imagine myself making that in the future...and there are plenty of other flavors to test out :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

i came across this website announcing a challenge for 30 days of creativity during the month of june. i decided i could commit to that (baby and all) and am going to try and blog at the end of each week with pictures of the things i made.

i've already gotten started (since yesterday was june 1) and have got ideas ready for the next few days. i'm not participating for real, i guess, because i abhor twitter. i don't write @anyone and using the #hashtagwhateveritis bugs the hashtag right out of me. but, i'll share here and maybe inspire someone else to be creative in their daily life. feel free to join in!

baby thank yous

i promise not to turn this into a baby only blog, but i can't help but post a few baby-related items because, well, having a baby is rather consuming.

i made these thank you cards for shower gifts and other wonderful items we received along the way. finn has been so lucky and is spoiled beyond belief. i made 50 thank you cards and have one left (and it's ready to be written in and sent)!

in honor of the first born dogsons, i made a card with a simple dachshund onesie. i designed it in illustrator and used my gocco to print in aqua ink on white cardstock. while the ink was till wet i coated it with clear embossing powder and used my heat gun to emboss.

for the safety pin card, i drew a quick classic diaper pin. i again used my gocco and printed in silver ink. i embossed in the same way as the aqua ink, but the silver didn't raise as smooth and glossy. they were still adorable!

i hope the folks that received these thank you cards were pleased to see the little details. a card can hardly express how thoughtful they are and how thankful we are, but the gesture is the least we can do.

Monday, May 31, 2010

oh hai. i have been busy :) my baby just turned 3 months and i've had requests (demands?) to get my butt in gear and resume blogging. so i will do my best but i make no promises. before i continue, i'm sure you want to see finn, right?

and since we're talking about finn, i'm going to share a diy mobile i made for above his crib. if you haven't seen, this is what it looks like:

the mobile is based off of a beautiful piece i found at fawn & forest. but i was on a budget for decor items and couldn't spend quite that much on a mobile. this was an experiment and i did it without measuring or planning ahead. as a warning, keep away from baby as there is a risk of tangling from the craft line (i have mine securely hung quite far above the crib).

colored cardstock (about 5 sheets)
circle punch
paperboard disc (i spray painted mine yellow)
clear craft line

this mobile has 7 strands with 9 circle discs on each strand

1. make circles out of cardstock using punch, 63 in total (more for mistakes)
2. punch a needle hole through the center of each disc
3. cut 7 long strands of craft line and tie a small knot at one end of each
4. thread a disc along the craft line (the knot keeps it in place)
5. about 2 inches up, tie another knot, thread another disc
6. repeat process of knot + disc 9 times per strand
7. repeat threading process for all 7 strands
8. punch 7 holes into edge of paperboard disc, evenly spaced around the perimeter
9. thread each strand through a hole from the bottom and tie a knot in each at the top
10. punch 4 holes into paperboard disc at 12, 3, 6, and 9 (as on a clock)
11. cut 2 long strands of craft line of equal length and tie a knot at the end of each
12. from the bottom, thread a strand up from hole "12" and down into "6", tie a knot to secure
13. repeat from "3" to "9" (these strands should fold in half and cross over at the peak)
14. cut a strand of craft line, tie at the cross point of the two crossed hanging strands
15. hang (i used a 3m command hook to hang from the ceiling)

confused? here's a simple diagram:

as you can see, this is an inexpensive alternative. it took a while to complete because punching 60+ discs (thanks husband!) and needles holes and tying a ton of knots does require some time. but it looks great hanging in the nursery and finley loves to watch it as the air from the ceiling fan blows the discs gently.