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Archive for February, 2011

Photo Monday

 

 

Got Zen?

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I’m not cooking this week, so I want to refer back to one of my absolute favorite recipes.

Homemade bread….thick, crusty, rustic hunk o’ bread and good with everything.

I love this recipe because its:

a)  super easy to make (no bread maker needed and no kneading either)

b) only requires 3 ingredients + water

c)  makes great toast as well and has a decent shelf life

d)  dough can be kept in fridge up to two weeks – great for having on hand and making when needed

Because of the simplicity, I have the proportions memorized.

  • 6.5 c. white, unenriched flour
  • 3 c. of 100-120 degree water
  • 1.5 tbsp. yeast
  • 1.5 tbsp. salt

Voila.  Here’s the whole rundown on process and the full recipe, which I first spotted a couple years ago in Mother Earth News. (the one above is 1/2 recipe as the full recipe makes a ton and is hard to mix/fit in my mixing bowls).

The creators of the original recipe have several awesome bread-making books, this one from which they shared the original recipe with Mother Earth News, and this one being focused on whole-wheat bread recipes if that’s more your thing.  I’ve checked both out of my local library system (after being one of dozens of holds, but it was worth the wait…seriously thinking about buying both in the future!).

The smell of fresh bread baking in your home will be intoxicating.

You will get addicted.  You will get VERY addicted.

Especially when you see how easy/cheap/environmentally friendly it is to make your own!

(and if ever you need to find, I have it listed to the right on my main page as a link under “Recipes”) —->

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doesn’t suck.  I’ll take it.

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So I don’t have anything new to show for my Friday shop update as I’m visiting with family right now, but wanted to share with you a cool trade/bartering experience I was recently involved in.

As mentioned last week, I was struggling to find reasonably priced reused cigar boxes to paint/collage and add my artwork to.  I found a woman on Etsy who wanted to swap some wooden cigar boxes in exchange for one sent to her decorated with Survivor Girl.  She explained that she was part of middle school partnership working with tween/teen girls.  She asked if I could include 10 ACEO’s (art cards) of Survivor Girl and I happily obliged.

It wasn’t until this week as I was getting ready to embellish the box that I learned more specifically that she is working on an anti-bullying program with these girls. The box would be used in the program and that girls would hand out the ACEO’s to other girls being bullied as part of their “I will survive Middle School” initiative.

*insert melting heart here*

So I set out to decorate the box with words such as courageous, brave, heal, respect, safe to match the theme of anti-bullying.  I found myself getting teary while making it.

And then I threw in not 10 but 40 ACEO’s with the offer of more if she ever needed.  Bullying is an issue near and dear to my heart.

The stories I hear every week from people who I’m selling or donating to just breaks my heart yet touches my soul on such a deep level.  What started out as an additional way to make an income has developed into something so much more than I ever could have anticipated.

I expected to get a rise out of increasing sales, but find that I get much more joy when I send free goodies to someone going through cancer or receive an email from someone saying how my art is being used to help support someone in need.  I’ve developed an incredible partnership with a non-profit (donated over $600 last year in just the last quarter to FORCE, had the opportunity to make their holiday cards and am working with them on upcoming awards and fund-raising efforts using my artwork).   And my art has been part of so many “races” for the cure and support groups.

I especially love sending my artwork, unannounced, to people I’ve never met…just to let them know that they are being thought of.  It’s one thing to know that people close to you are thinking of you, but kindness from strangers takes things to a whole new level.

I started out focusing on sales, wanting recognition, waiting for validation.  Funny thing is I have received that, but the other stuff is much more meaningful.  My art may not get licensed, may not get published, may not get any further than my lil’ Etsy shop (all original goals when I first opened up in September).

And you know what, I’m totally fine with that.

Knowing that someone’s day was made lighter, that someone felt love and healing karma from afar, that someone shared a laugh or a smile over my work…

Well that is priceless.

And for that, I am ever so grateful.

“If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart” – Arab Proverb

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Last week I was able to finish up two girls that I had started (one of them months ago).  Love it when you finish a project that’s been hanging in limbo.

The first one is somewhat of a self-portrait, minus the blue eyes (I have brown) and straight hair (I have crazy curls).  But I’m almost always in pigtails, with striped socks and mary janes and yes, I’m most definitely a quirky girl.

And years ago I moonlighted as a labor/delivery doula.  You’re probably familiar with the term, but if not, it’s someone that helps support a woman (emotionally, physically and educationally) through the birth process.  It was a fascinating experience and I witnessed 6 babies being born.  And I am admittedly very drawn to pregnant women (even though I’ve never been pregnant and don’t plan on having any babies).

It goes without saying that I think pregnant woman are beautiful, so it was just a matter of time before I made a pregnant girl.  I’m not strong on side profiles but such a profile is needed to show off a beautiful belly.

Merchandise and originals will be available in my shop soon.

And this is what my dining room table looks like after painting…it ain’t pretty…

But a necessary evil.

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I love looking at treasuries and seeing all the beautiful goods people are making by hand.  Such talent.

Here’s a look at the treasuries I was included in this last week – get your inspiration on! (click on any image to get a better look and to see individual items)

 

Love all the whimsical mixed media pieces in this treasury!

These all donate proceeds to Breast Cancer causes:

More wonderful whimsical art!

Soothing colors, lovely message…

Cafe-themed…love it!

Support for those living with cancer

Shabby-chic romantic…love, love, LOVE it!

Speaking of romance with a twist of vintage Paris…

Nothing like birds to get you in the mood for Spring…so sweet

A great eco-collection; loving that vintage stamp gift tag with map wrapping; she speaks my language!

Alright, I think I’ve shared enough…thanks for supporting and encouraging handmade! ♥

 

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Photo Monday

I talk often about my love of cold and snow, but even I get a little wishful for spring now and then.

Here’s to that…

Hope your week is off to a good start :)

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We love to eat out, but few places catch our fancy like Carrabba’s.  And my family knows that if they wish to “gift” David for any reason, a Carrabba’s gift card is the ticket since we would rarely go as it does not often fit into our budget.

We did have the opportunity to eat there recently (on one of those said GC’s – thank you family!) and this is David’s favorite soup: Sausage-Lentil

The second-to-last time we were there, he kindly asked if I could make something similar to which I gladly accepted the challenge (and then just as quickly forgot).  During our most recent trip, he gently reminded me again.

So I started searching the web for Carrabba’s knock off recipes and found one to try…

Here’s what I found on Food.com: Carrabba’s Sausage and Lentil Soup

I love that it has simple ingredients that come together in synergistic bliss.

And then I busted my second, yes second, garlic press

And this one was a sturdy OXO brand…dang, I’m tough on these…

Anyways, the soup turned out yummy!  And the smell permeating the house?  It was hard to wait an hour for it to simmer.

And then follow this simple, hearty soup with a tooth-cracking dessert like S’mores bars!

Oh dear, I’m a sucker for graham/chocolate/marshmallow combos…that sinful recipe can be found here.

Happy mealtime!  Now time to do some cardio…

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Lovely steeples of a Presbytarian church we happened upon in Denver

I got the chance to hang with my girls today…there’s 5 of us and we religiously get together once a month.  We all worked together once but now have all scattered in different directions, but we have such an incredible bond and make the effort to get together often.  We are all different, have different family statuses (some single, some married, some with kids) and range in age from 35 (me) to 52.  From the outside, some might think we’re an unlikely group, but for us it totally works.  I think of us as puzzle pieces – all unique in our individual pieces but together, we fit perfectly.

We all share a deep love, respect and genuine interest for one another and I feel so blessed to be part of such a friendship.

Sadly, one member of our group is moving to Phoenix for a great job opportunity, so we’re meeting more like twice a month to get as much time together before she moves.  However, we all have genuine (not lip-service) plans to visit her often and because her job is a traveling one bringing her back to Denver, we’ll still see her probably every other month between visits here and there.  I’m saving up money in my travel fund so that I can go visit her often.  Separation by state will not sever our bond.

If you have friends that you often say “we should get together more often” then never do, I really encourage you to make the effort and make it a ritual.  You’ll be surprised how superficial/light-hearted conversations will slowly lend way to deep personal discussions and sharing of one another’s lives.

My girls know everything about me, things that most people would never know.  They know what makes me tick, they know my dreams as well as my colorful past.  I hide nothing from them and am an open book to these girls, my confidantes…and I would trust them with my life.  They are like family.

So what’s keeping you from opening up and sharing your life with friends that you trust?

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So while it was a busy week, I spent more time catching up on tasks and wrapping up projects, rather than listing new items.  However, here’s what I did manage to get listed in my goodies shop:

And though these pieces may not look new to you, most are new to my art shop (including some touch-ups I did to Survivor Girl and Peaceful Girl):

That’s what’s going on around here…hope you have a great weekend!

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