Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

everybody loves parfait

Fresh & Delish

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I'm pretty sure the Donkey on Shrek said it best: "You know what else everybody likes? Parfaits. Have you ever met a person, you say, 'Let's get some parfait,' they say, 'Hell no, I don't like no parfait'? Parfaits are delicious."

Summertime is the perfect time for a parfait: a wide variety of fresh fruit is in season, plus it's refreshing and light. Next time you're at your local farmers market, pick up some fruit and make a parfait!

One of my quick and easy favorites is as follows:

Summer Parfait
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup fresh blueberries, washed
1/2 cup fresh peaches, washed and cut into cubes
pinch of cinnamon, to taste

Layer the yogurt, fruit and oats in two glass dishes. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes two servings.

Friday, July 24, 2009

diy: shelves

Wine box shelves

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If you're looking for a cheap and easy decor idea, try this on for size. These old wooden wine boxes were completely free, and I simply screwed them into my kitchen wall (insuring they were level first, of course!)

If you don't have any laying around, you can drop by your local wine merchant, wine bar or grocery store and ask if they have any wooden wine boxes they're not using. Even if they don't, most places will take your number and call you when they have some. Worth a try!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

favorite authors & poets

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite people from the literary world:
  • Rabindranath Tagore
  • O. Henry
  • William Somerset Maugham
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Mark Twain
  • Jane Austen
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Charlotte Bronte
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • Dylan Thomas
  • Louisa Mae Alcott
  • Walt Whitman
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Can you tell I was homeschooled?)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

fearless quote

Fear can be such a paralyzing thing. This quote helps me find my legs and leap.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the creative process

There's no formula for creativity. At least, none that I know of. My new ideas, designs, colors, prints and patterns just sort of ebb and flow naturally.

I will say that deadlines don't help the creative process at all... the pleasure I take in what I do is somewhat diminished by a ticking clock and high expectations.

If I feel like carving a new print, I do. If I don't, I don't.

I love how creativity has to come to you. It's a gift. You can't force it, coerce it or bribe it. When you least expect it, it sneaks up and slips into your pocket, and when you reach for your pencil... there it is.

No matter your income, social status, race, gender, age or religion... creativity is completely unbiased. Those who have it, can't help but show it. Even if they don't want to, it springs into everything they do.

There is always enough for everyone.

Do something creative today. Even if it's simply letting your mind play.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

diy: illumination

Sweet & Simple Summer Lanterns

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Looking for a cheap and easy way to spruce up your next outdoor dinner party? Try making these Sweet & Simple Summer Lanterns. They're really a breeze to make, and they look adorable dotting the branches of an old oak tree.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

emily - sister & muse

Excerpt from my little quote book

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My oldest sister, Emily, has been an eternal source of encouragement in my creative endeavors. She came up with the idea for me to start my first business at the age of nine (I sold custom gift baskets... actually helped me pay for college!) She encouraged my silly doodles and drawings, always telling me I should make cards and pursue art. Of course, this was around the time where it was no longer cool to be hanging out with your older sister and doodling, so I pretty much ditched the whole thing in favor of mascara and boys. (Sorry, Em!)

Luckily, life is a cyclical thing and my creative side has once again overpowered my need for popularity and parties.

One thing that Emily got me started on that I never let go, even during the boy-crazed early teen years, was my quote book. I've always had a passion for the written word, and Emily saw this in me. She showed me the importance of the simple things in life. She showed me that sensitivity is a beautiful thing when all I wanted was to be unavailable. She nurtured me.

We would spend long days at her little basement apartment in Bethesda, talking about art, poetry, and - yes - boys.

We'd go for walks and take pictures.

We'd cook.

We'd light candles and listen to music.

She shared her heartbreak with me (dumb college guy who lost the best thing he ever had) and I'd share my pre-teen crushes with her (Austin Steele... even his name made me weak in my knees!)

She made me feel beautiful even in my big purple glasses and hacked-off haircut. She saw the beauty inside me, and she told me about it.

She taught me self-love.

We'd watch Aud Hep movies (that's Audrey Hepburn, for you people who prefer not to abbreviate everything.)

We'd talk about our McDermitt woman hips. (It's an anomaly - our mother is thin as a rail and all of her daughters were born with very *womanly* hips. They used to be the bane of my existence, but I've made peace with them now. They're womanly. That's what I keep telling myself.)

These times together bridged the nine year gap between us and fused us together as the Sabrina Sisters. (We called ourselves that after seeing the movie Sabrina and both seeing a lot of her in ourselves.)

I'm going to go see her in two weeks (can't wait!) and hang out with my two adorable nieces, Morgan and Eve. I hope some day I can pass on some of the wisdom and encouragement to these little ladies that their mother bestowed upon me.

I love you, Seester.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

happy start to the day

Blueberry Streusel Pancakes... Yum!

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When I was growing up, breakfast was my favorite meal of the day. My mom would always have something tasty and wholesome on the table and it made waking up a little bit easier for this night owl.

I can't say that I always have something tasty and wholesome for breakfast these days... but today was a delicious exception.

I basically just dolled up some regular pancakes, but the result was taste bud nirvana and I started my day off in a very happy, tasty way!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

simple & delish

If you're looking for something quick, easy and totally yummy... try out this recipe from Real Simple.

I made it last night for dinner and the leftovers are providing me with a very tasty lunch!

diy: fridge decor

Quick & Easy Fridge Decor

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Recently I decided that my fridge could use a little face lift. Since I don't have money stored under my floorboards (per Silas Marner) I needed a cheap fix.

Enter Goodwill.

I picked up a couple old wooden picture frames, took out the glass & backing, and applied some magnetic tape to the back. Then I painted them with some paint I had lying around from some old projects. I also found a full roll of kitschy old wallpaper (for 29 cents!!) and cut out some of the designs to complete the look.

It was fun to do and the whole thing cost less than $5.

Monday, July 13, 2009

featured: love.obsess.inspire.

Today I have the privilege of being featured on Love.Obsess.Inspire. with some free printable goodies I designed!

This is my first *official* blog feature, although I've gotten some awesome shout-outs from numerous others. (Special thanks to Simply... Heddy Shea for featuring me in her WedETSYday post!)

So check out Love.Obsess.Inspire. when you get a chance - it's a great blog chock-full-o' wonderful artists and bubbling over with creativity. Oh yeah, and you can print out my free seed packets. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

diy: eco organization

diy chalkboard

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I am a total nut when it comes to organization. I guess I need to be since my studio apartment is so tiny... if it weren't tidy it would look like I lived in a closet. (Well, I guess it still sort of looks like that.)

Anyway, I was tired of writing grocery lists on endless pieces of paper, which I would inevitably either throw away before I used them or lose them completely. So, the other day I picked up a flat canvas at Michaels and some chalkboard paint, and made this little eco-friendly number.

No more paper to throw away, and it's 100% reusable!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

to market, to market...

Here's what $26 can buy you at the Farmers Market:

- one pint of Rainier cherries

- three pounds of new potatoes

- six organic heirloom tomatoes

- one handmade blueberry pie

- one large bouquet of dinner plate Dahlias

- one pint of organic blueberries

- one bunch of mint

- one bag of micro basil

- one and a half pounds of green beans

- one lovely-smelling, freshly-stocked kitchen!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

a first: strawberry jam

Reading the directions... for the millionth time.

I'm not entirely sure what possessed me to want to make my own strawberry jam, but one fine day after the Farmers Market, I decided to do just that. When I was growing up, my mom was always tending her garden and preserving the fruits (and vegetables) of her labor. I suppose at twenty-six years old, it just seemed like time for me to try my hand at the fine art of making jam.

Stirring the hot, sticky mess. Considering Smuckers instead.

While I had no idea that it would be so time consuming (and gooey) - I had a great time doing it. I sort of thought I'd get more than two jars of jam out of the deal, but then again I also didn't think it would take nearly as long as it did.

My two little jars of jam cooling upside down.

Of course, the real test will be once I actually taste the jam, but for now I'm just pleased that they remotely resemble strawberry preserves. Yay!

Monday, July 6, 2009

a taste of childhood

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies: Just like Mom used to make!!

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I used to love these cookies as a kid! I've never made them before, but I was feeling a little reminiscent of childhood lately so I looked up the recipe and whipped up a batch. The recipe says to put the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet... I do not recommend that. Luckily I learned that lesson after the first batch, so the rest of the cookies turned out great!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

ode to a cupcake

Though you may be small,
you're just the right size

Your innocent looks claim
you won't stick to my thighs

Calories don't count
if you can't mathematize

So I'll believe nutritious truths
from your sugary lies

And hope that my pants fit tomorrow.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

yummy farmers market finds

I'm going to make some honey mint green tea with this!

Homemade mini cherry pie! This lady puts great care into her work... it's delicious!

Blueberries and strawberries and cherries... Oh My!
(Trying to make jam... we'll see how that goes!)

Peppers & Heirloom Tomatoes!

And - of course - fresh flowers! Beautiful!

I went to check out the Craft Barn and met Jennifer, who makes soap with her family. I bought three yummy-smelling soaps: Japanese Grapefruit, Lemon Verbena and Fresh Lime Verbena.
(Yeah, I sort of have a thing for citrus scents!)
Anyway, her stuff is awesome! You can get some online at http://www.omysoap.com/soap.html.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

loving me: room for baths

I love baths. I always have, always will.

One of the reasons I love baths so much is because I really take the time to take time for myself. I don't just plop in a tub of water and sit there staring into space: I use a bath caddy, pour in some luxurious bubble bath, listen to Stan Getz and light candles. I keep fresh flowers in the vase by my tub (this week it's hydrangeas.) I make myself some Aveda comforting tea (love it!), put on a face masque and read a good book. By the time I extract myself from the lavish bubbles, I am ready to slip between the sheets and enjoy a night of delicious sleep.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

old friend

I live in a very tiny studio apartment which I take great care to make into a home. I love to refurbish furniture and repurpose finds from thrift stores to make it an eclectic, relaxing, creative space.

One old friend has been with me through the years, and no amount of thrift store finds or decorating trends could get me to part with it. I'm speaking of my 1932 Underwood Portable Typewriter.

My mom, who is consequently also a written word enthusiast, gave it to me when I was about 8 years old. I used to sit at it for hours and write page upon page of screen plays, tickets, announcements and letters... it was the tool that helped me translate my imagination into reality.

Today I use my Underwood daily. I use it to write invoices for my etsy shop, add a quirky touch to letters, or simply let my imagination play. I highly recommend this model to anyone in the market for an amazing lifelong companion.

Or I guess a puppy would be good, too.