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Archive for May, 2011

Man, is it me or are the weeks flying by?  I feel like every other day I’m saying “here are this week’s treasuries…”

So, without further ado, here they are!

What a great theme, right? I wanna cottage by the sea…

A breathtaking collection with another beautiful theme!  That snug-as-a-bug baby almost makes me pine forone…almost, but not quite ;)


This has to be one of my favorite treasuries of all time; great colors, great composition.  I love it all!

Here’s a fun, whimsical collection inspired by Alice in Wonderland…brilliant!

A lovely collection of fellow artist’s mini art cards (aka ACEO/ATC’s); I actually did a trade with the artist at the bottom left with the girl on the livewire – she’s a fantastic artist!

Thanks for checking out the lovely handmade and eco-friendly goods out there; thanks to these curators for including my goodies!

Have a great week everyone.

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I felt it only fitting to share these pictures on this day of remembrance, taken from the Santa Fe National Cemetary.  I was blown away by the sheer volume of soldier headstones, especially the seemingly thousands of Unknown Soldiers.  It was a humbling and profound experience.


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I’ll admit, I’m not a big pasta salad fan, unless it’s heavily coated in mayo.  Oil based pasta salads are usually not my thing…except for this one that I crave once the weather turns warm.

Now we’re not taking part in any big BBQ or picnic (David is working, we don’t have family near by and we generally keep to ourselves save a few good friends), but the closest person to family for me in this state is my friend Pegtrekked out to the mountains to spend the day with me.  And the expected rainy/cloud day turned into a gloriously warm and sunny day and we noshed on this on the deck while enjoying the weather.

Now, I’ll admit, this is certainly not the cheapest pasta salad out there.  With bell peppers costing more than a drive-thru meal (and don’t even get me started on the cost of pine nuts – like $5 for a teeny-tiny bag that holds maybe a 1/4 cup).  And a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil is about the cost of a steak…okay, now I’ve totally scared you away from making this right?  But really, it is quite delectable and super easy to make.

The secret to making this salad work is the roasting of the veggies.  How is it that a simple heating process can extract such unique flavors otherwise hidden?  Roasted veggies are my new favorite thing.

I really can’t remember if I saw this recipe somewhere and just morphed it into my own or if it was something I just created.  I really can’t remember its origin and trying to google it has come up empty so, perhaps it was the latter?

This is great as a vegetarian dish or as a side and in addition to gobbling it up with other goodies today, we plan to have more later in the week with some grilled chicken (and let me just tell you that my hands down favorite method to grilling super flavorful and moist chicken is the way my mom always did it -  marinating it in Wishbone Italian dressing overnight and that’s it!).

Okay, enough chit-chat, here are the goods:

Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb. bowtie pasta
  • 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil with herbs, with oil reserved
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. pine nuts (I prefer 1/2 c. but couldn’t justify paying $10!)
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow or orange pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Chop up onions and peppers and lay on baking sheet lined with foil or in a glass casserole dish.  Pour oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes onto veggies and add a dash of sea salt.

Night lighting here...sorry...but don't those colors look so vibrant!

Make sure onions and peppers are coated well and bake at 475 for 30 minutes.  While veggies roast, cook the pasta.  Once cooked and drained, place pasta in a large bowl and add the sun-dried tomatoes with residual oil and toss well.

When veggies are done roasting, add to pasta and top with pine nuts.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Best if made the night before and served the next day (so flavors can meld) and either cold or at room temp.  Yum.

I’ll be working tomorrow but if you’re off, hope you have a wonderful day – hopefully grilling and picnic-ing with family and friends!

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My (sort of) commute

One of the things I love most about working from home is the commute, or lack thereof.  It’s usually shuffling from the upstairs to my downstairs studio in my PJ’s and slippers.  I know, don’t hate.

Now I’ve done my fair share of commuting.  Our location in the mountains meant that at the very least, my round trip commute was 1.5 hours.  That was the best.  But when I was a regional manager and touring stores in Colorado (when I wasn’t in another state, that is) the furthest store was 2.5 hours away – ONE WAY.  And there was no staying over, so I’d trek all the way out to that faraway location then alllll the way back.

Certainly not eco-friendly, but part of the job requirements.  And granted I only trekked out to that particular store once a month or two, however all of the rest of the stores were all a 2 hour+ round trip.  And that commuting was after spending several hours going through 100+ daily emails in the early a.m., a good 8+ hours at the store and more work when I got back home.  Most days were an easy 12-16 hours or more of work.  Bleh.

I’m really glad that’s over with.  But I do make a small commute every other day to the post office which is a pleasant 3 mile drive away.  And I love the 3 postal workers that work there.  We all know each other by name, catch up on the latest bear break-in or wildfire story and I even buy my local eggs from one of the staff members there.  They are what we call “good folk.”

I get a little agoraphoic sometimes (that is opposite of cabin fever) and prefer not to leave the house at all if I don’t have to.  But because our mailbox is a 1/2 mile away from our house and it’s a general congregation for all the mailboxes for residents in this little community, it’s not safe to leave packages there for pick-up by the mail carrier.  So every other day, I make the trek to the post office and once I get out, I’m always glad I was forced to.  The ride is really beautiful.

So let me take you along on my commute!

This is our steep driveway (p.s. this is mountain living so don’t expect pretty landscaping!)

Here is the hairpin turn out of our driveway…our road is pretty parallel to our driveway.

Here is going up our very steep, one-lane road (or goat trail as one of my neighbor says)

And more switchbacks (this all being on a 1500 foot stretch of road…it’s normal for us, but can be a lil’ intimidating to visitors!)

And now we’re on the main road…ah, pavement…

There are quite a few ranches on this road…it’s quite pretty and we often spot horses, cows and nearly daily – deer.

To the left is a beautiful aspen grove, which has yet to bloom but is just gorgeous in the summer and especially the fall.

Here’s the main highway through the mountain from the metro Denver area…I only need to be on this for about 500 feet before turning off for the post office

I didn’t take a pic at the post office, but here are more pics from the ride back (and it was a glorious 70 degrees on this particular day)



And back down the goat trail…

And this is why we bought the house (unfortunately my lil’ point and shoot doesn’t capture the white capped mountains in the back)

And one final swoop

You might think it quirky that I made this a post, but I always appreciate learning about the daily lives of my favorite bloggers instead of just the pretty posed things they feature.  I like the ordinary details (though I’m aware that I don’t have an ordinary commute or view and for that I’m grateful!).

Hope your weekend is off to a good start ;)

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So I’ve made the decision to put my goodies shop on hiatus for the summer.  It was necessary break I needed so that I could focus on my art shop and get it to a place where I’m satisfied (I still have a ton of options that need to be listed as well as things that still need to be scanned).

As such, you won’t be seeing any cute stickers or gift tags this summer, but I’m hoping to resume that in the fall once my art shop is in a better place.  Anyways, here are some of the newer options I’ve created lately in case you’re interested.

Thanks for taking a peek at what I’m up to.  Hope you have a great holiday weekend!

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So I started my collage-a-day ACEO plan…although it’s more like 10 ACEO collages in a week because the truth is that even I don’t want to sit down and paint everyday.  I typically like to have marathon painting/collaging sessions once a week (twice a week if time allows).

So I sat down to work with some old photos I’ve been stocking up on and went to it.  I tried to add my signature to each piece by adding a stamp to each image, a tiny heart somewhere on the piece and flowers in the hair.  It’s just my thing I guess.  And some of these are a little sassy (read: nude-ish)…you’ve probably figured out by now that it’s also my thing.  Part sweet, part sassy.

Anyway, I’m really happy with how these came out and it was super fun (not to mention I got these 10 done in about 1.5 hours, so it’s really gratifying to have that many collages down in a short amount of time; now I understand the appeal of creating ACEO/mini-art cards!).

I’m giving away 5 of these.  Interested in a piece of original mini-art?  Leave a comment below telling me which one is your favorite!  I’ll use the random number generator program from Random.org, pick 5 winners and will contact those folks for a mailing address by this weekend.  Pretty simple right?  If you want to know when more giveaways are happening, then subscribe to my blog!

UPDATE: drawing is now closed…since not too many folks commented, everyone will get one, yay!  I’ll be in touch

Last week when I was working on my cake and coffee pieces, I shared one of my cupcake pieces…here are two more:

Ah yes, there’s the sweet to my sass ;)

So I’m pretty excited about a big leap I took this week: I ordered UPCs for my line!  This is not a minor expense mind you,  but I’m really hoping to start selling some of my goods (i.e. bookmarks, magnets, note cards) in boutiques and stores this year and having a bar code on your products is often the first step in the door (most won’t talk to you until you do so), so I’m hoping that acquiring UPCs will help to put my intentions out to the universe.  Of course there’s lots of legwork to be done and “pounding the pavement” as they say, but I’m excited to have taken this first step.

My art shop is doing so much better than I could have ever anticipated in this short amount of time (and I’m picking up more wholesale interest) so I’m thinking I’ll eventually gear down my goodies and supplies shop so I can focus solely on my art shop.  Not only is it my busiest shop, but also the one that brings me the most satisfaction by far.  We’ll see where it takes me…

Thanks for following me along on this incredible journey during this past year…how my life has changed and I’m so very grateful. ♥

Okay enough with being sappy…gotta keep up the sweet and sassy persona after all!

Thanks everyone :)

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It that time of the week for some handmade, eco-friendly goodness.

Here’s the shakedown on the half-dozen for this week:

Now this is a clever collection and all eco-friendly!  Love that patchwork tote

Oh, yes, I love my coffee!

Now this is what I call a sunny disposition!

Ooh, you know I love me some cake!  That pin-up apron is crazy cute!

Now this is a well thought out, well composed treasury…beautiful color combination!  Those poppies are just dreamy and I can’t stop looking at that eco-chic scarf (her whole shop is full of these yummy upcycled creations!)

Now this is a silly, whimsical, fun collection put together by a lovely customer of mine; lavender marshmallows anyone?

Click on any image to see in more depth or to see items individually.  Thanks for checking out this week’s goods!

As always, thanks for supporting handmade and eco-friendly! xo

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It’s actually starting to feel like spring here and even though it’s only 40 degrees right now, the air has a different feel to it.  You can tell it’s going to be a glorious day.  So I thought it fitting to showcase some fave cruiser bike photos…enjoy.

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That first week after vacation is always tricky, getting back into the swing of things.  And while I did a good job of lining up posts during my vacation, I’ve been playing catch up this entire week.  Not to mention that the fundraising campaign I’m working on with FORCE yielded 3 decent sized orders that I’ve been cranking out, seemingly non-stop.  It’s all for a good cause I remind myself.

Anyhow, I didn’t have anything to update you on yesterday for a Friday shop update and Saturdays are usually good for sharing what’s going on in the family.  So here’s our week told in photos…

Someone had an upset tummy and let’s just say, she made a mess of herself and needed a bath.  She shivers pretty bad after a bath, yet won’t let us near her with a hair dryer, so we just wrap her up like yoda…part old/frail, part sad and pathetic looking – all hilariously cute in my book.  But I’m her mama…of course I’m gonna think that!


And someone’s arthritis has really increased so we went to pick up her meds at the vet’s office…to the tune of $200 (say what?!).  That’s alright; this sweet girl is worth every cent.

Mmm...treats!

Zoe is Zoe, in need of Ritalin one moment and all sorts of sweet, cuddly squishiness the next.

She is the pain in our arse and the one that makes us laugh the most.  Can’t imagine our family without her.

This is the stash of books I loaned from the library and brought to the cabin last week.  Every once in a while we’ll pick a book to read out-loud to one another.  Some may think it corny, but it’s a bonding experience, we enjoy sharing a book together and it forces us to turn off the TV at night and spend time together.

The book we started reading to each other last week, The Bucolic Plague, is a memoir about the Beekman Boys (now a reality TV show on Planet Green) who as a Manhattan couple fall in love with the “bucolic” idea of a farm in upstate New York but soon learn that trying to run a farm on the weekends while maintaining full-time jobs in NYC nearly breaks them.  It’s a great read, lighthearted but touching and tugs on my someday-want-a-hobby-farm heartstrings.

Since returning, we’re also favoring games and quiet time with music on instead of the TV on at night…trying to maintain our own bucolic bliss of being at the quiet cabin at RMNP.

And get this…we actually got some rain this week!  I know many of you (my entire family in New England in fact) are bemoaning the rain as it has been coming down for far too long.  But up here, we maybe get one or two full-on rainy days a YEAR.  I used to hate the rain living on the East Coast, now I love its arrival because of its rarity.  The rain that does show up here typically arrives in brief showers then quickly surrenders to the Colorado sun.  Great for seasonal affective disorder, not so great for drought conditions.

Speaking of drought, our well ran dry 3 times right before we left for our vacation.  Talk about no bueno.  When the last spell lasted more than 2 days, we knew that we probably had a pump issue and sure enough we did.  Our yahoo builder (and yahoo intended as “moron” not as in celebratory yahoo) did not install a shut-off system with our pump so when the well went dry, the motor kept going.  And finally it burned out.  And to the tune of $2K.  Ouch.  Lots of folks are asking why so much…well the pump itself was only about $1K but with the shut-off mechanism that we did have them install on top of the many hours of labor that it takes to remove 600+ feet of pipes to get to our very deep well…and you quickly add-on another thousand. *sigh*  Home ownership is starting to weigh heavy on us.

And the rain eventually turned to more snow!  We’ll take it!

Oh and speaking of home ownership…nothing like getting served legal papers by a neighbor you don’t even know!  You know you’re in for no good when you get a big packet in the mail with the return address being a double last name like Hoosier and Hoosier (no, that’s not their name…sheesh, all I need is a claim of defamation now!).

We were suspicious of them when they moved in and installed 6+ foot fences around their entire property, added 4 100+ lb angry, salivating, viciously barking dogs, blocked all the windows with blinds always turned down or aluminum foil so you can’t see in at all and double padlocked the fences surrounding their house.  Quite a switch from the sunny disposition of the young Hawaiian family that once lived there.

Thing about legal documents is the legal-ease contained within.  You find yourself reading it over a dozen times and still don’t quite understand the claim.  Good news is that we’re not being singled out, but everyone on our entire road is named and it affects passage on our road (which has no outlet so we have to pass this neighbor to get to our house).  Should be interesting indeed.

On a totally different topic, I did a fridge clean-out which usually isn’t newsworthy, but because I hate food waste, I really try challenge myself to use up food in unique ways before it goes south.  Here’s what I was able to accomplish in a four-hour cooking marathon:

  • With the leftover bones/skin of the small roaster I cooked earlier in the week, I added a couple of bags of frozen veggie skins and cooked up a big ol’ pot of chicken broth
  • With the softening watermelon/cantaloupe that was no longer interesting to eat, I chopped up in cubes and froze to add flavor and thickness/frothiness to fruit smoothies down the road

  • With the wilting spinach I had in my veggie drawer, I made a quiche
  • With the browning mushrooms I bought in bulk during a great sale a couple weeks back, I made another quiche and a marsala sauce to go with chicken

  • With a head of cauliflower that was starting to spot, I trimmed the edges and roasted it with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper…wow,  yum!
  • And finally with the leftover pastrami we had that was getting a bit past due what I was comfortable eating, I added it to ground meat that I top the dog’s kibble with (they all seemed to enjoy that!)

The only thing I had to toss from the fridge was a small container of leftover chili that I just didn’t get to in time.  Overall, it was looking like a lot more was going to get tossed, so I was happy to save the rest and reincarnate them into new recipes.

Oh and look at that lovely bouquet of flowers.  I love fresh cut flowers, but they don’t fit into our budget so I rarely splurge on them.  And though David is plenty romantic, he’s not one to bring home flowers…unless he’s begging for forgiveness trying to win me over.  We had an um…”disagreement” about my business and my feelings were hurt.  Marriages are not perfect (although ours is pretty darn close) and even us lovebirds have our moments.  But all is good in the household and he no longer is in the dog house allowed me to share this story.  Love you honey!  Mean it!

Life, like this past week, ebbs and flows and it’s all a matter of balance and taking things in stride.  Hope your week is in balance as well ;)

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Shower caps, you might ask?  Though they make look reminiscent of them, these are actually reusable bowl covers.

I hate using plastic wrap and will usually opt to use aluminum foil since it’s a recyclable option.  Even so, aluminum foil is usually a one-time use product (though I’ve been known to save and reuse aluminum foil if it isn’t soiled with food) and having to recycle it still taxes resources.

Enter reusable bowl covers made of fabric but lined with a waterproof fabric on the inside with makes for easy clean-up/reuse.

These are super easy/very convenient to use and I’m ready to order more so that I can nearly eliminate my use for plastic food wrap and foil.

Normally I would promote the buyer whom I purchased from, but these took 5+ weeks to receive and customer service was much less than I would offer if a customer of mine had to wait that long for an item, so instead I’ll leave you with this link of a search query of reusable bowl covers on Etsy – there are many crafters that make these.

Most range from $15-$30 for 3-4 covers and while that may seem a little costly, remember that these are for long term use and can dramatically reduce your use of eco-unfriendly plastic wrap; sometimes you have to shell out a little cash to do make the right environmental choice.

I think mama Earth is worth it, don’t you?  Every little eco-friendly step you make counts!

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