Friday, August 27, 2010

Lazy Friday

Okay so I'm totally a lazy and I didn't finish this weeks blog post (or at least the one I had lined up for this week). I've sort of been revamping my product line so I've been a little preoccupied by that, but instead of the post I'd planned, I'll be sharing whats hung around on my radar for this week. Let me also confess that I've spent more minutes than I should watching YouTube this week...whew somehow I feel better confessing but still not so regretful if its in fine print.

Probably my most thought about topic this week (aside from product tweaking and YouTube) has been my studio remodel. It's in desperate need of change and I am sooo ready for it! As of now the walls are white (eww) but are at least mostly covered with my paintings drawings and whatnots. I know there are people that actually do like plain white walls but I can't be counted as part of that camp. I need color! I've picked out turquoise as my wall color of choice and have red curtains lined up to divide the studio from our bedroom but have the pretty big dilemma of large heavy immovable objects on two of my walls. I've debated about just painting around them. Cause no one will know but me right? Wrong, some crazy part of my brain says "But YOU will know!" and a weird warped version of Poe's beating heart sequence from The Tell Tale Heart ensues.

So the paint issue is sort of at a stand still for now.

This leads me to my other major issue which is storage. I'll be honest. I've got a lot of stuff, and by stuff I mean all kinds of crap. Paint, brushes, canvases, sewing supplies, collected papers, books and specialty papers, yarn, beading get the idea. Most of this stuff is just sort of in what I call controlled mess zone. It looks like a pile of nonsense but if I need to I can find what I need fairly quickly. I can usually go a few days, maybe a week before I freak out and have to reorganize my mess but lately its been driving me more batty than usual.

In search of ways to better my much needed improving creative space I found these awesome resources:
Check them out, they're pretty awesome! The Inspired Room is such a great blog, not only for creative spaces but any room in the house your seeking to improve. Crafty storage is also an excellent blog, perhaps you all (and maybe me one day soon) can add an awesome room to the collection going on there. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Rarely Know Where I'm Going

I Rarely Know Where I'm Going,
but I always end up where I belong.

I know...I'm pretty sure that elicits some form of eye rolling, but it's typically true. I tend to move through things intuitively rather than with a focused rational method. I think on a high functioning level my brain knows my goal, forms a path and leads me to the destination, but I'm not always (read rarely) aware of it.
Most, if not all of my creations coming out of my workshop are that way. I start with a general idea and play with it until I'm happy. I've never been one to follow a strict guideline and seriously struggled in classes where I had to make essay outlines and things of that nature. I would just go into *blank stare at the wall for 10 minutes* mode if I had to think that far ahead.

So what's my point?

I'm a scatterbrained fool? Hopefully not, although if you were to stop me in the middle of this tirade trust me it would take a full 5 minutes for me to remember where I was.

The point is that everybody's creative process is different. Some people are laser focused and know from start to finish how something is going to work for them and some (like me) start at the beginning of an idea and feel their way through it. My best ideas come to me while I'm just letting the creative juices flow. Sometimes I start a project and realize that working on it was just a primer for something else, something way bigger and better.

I'll tell you a secret though...I DO sometimes wish I could be super focused. I kinda envision that version of myself as being something like Rachael Ray (but not annoying or scary), able to accomplish 20 different things in the span of minutes all because I didn't get distracted by something shiny.

At the end of the day though I'm still able to work up enough focus to channel my creative juices into my various projects. Most recently I've gotten obsessed with wreaths..Every year I make a wreath out of cedar clippings and random Christmas type things for the holiday season but have in the past few years also started making fall/harvest type wreath too. I made one like this from Martha Stewart's website last year which is kinda the inspiration for the wreaths that I'm making now. I'll be updating with finished picks of them as I have them and they'll be introduced to my Etsy shop shortly so keep an eye out they're pretty much the awesomeness.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


So I'm totally excited, I just received via these two books!

If you look closely you can see my traditional torn post-it note marking system. One of the first things I do when I get a cookbook is mark the recipes I have to try first. At first glance I was a little leery of Cake Keeper Cakes just because it seemed a little more like a coffee table book than an actual baking book; beautiful images and somewhat strange and unconventional layout for the recipes themselves threw me off but really was a nominal issue. Patty Pinner's Sweets: Soul Food Deserts and Memories reads more like a novel than a cook book and is completely fun and truly fascinating to read the origins of the recipes she's laid out for you.

That said there are more recipes in these two little books that I can't wait to try than in any other books in my cooking library. Don't get me wrong I cherish the copy my husband gifted me of Dori Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours, and it is in my opinion a must in a full baking armory of books. However, the types of recipes in that style of book can be time consuming and require ingredients that I may not have on the fly. Which is other huge reason I am loving these books, not only are the recipes themselves simple to achieve (yet creative and in a lot of cases elegant) most do not require much other than basic baking staple items.

I generally do A LOT of baking in the fall/winter months. So I've decided that for the coming weeks and months I'll be making (hopefully) at least one recipe from one of these books per week.This week I chose Apple-Walnut Upside Down Cake from Cake Keepers, next week I'm thinking Applesauce Sheet Cake with Walnut Cream Cheese Icing from Sweets. I guess I'm in a bit of an autumn theme...I'm soooo looking forward to fall.
P.S. Sorry about the not so great photo, my kitchen doesn't have the best lighting and it was like 9:30 pm when I took this out of the oven so I had no natural light. Still its not too bad I think :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Live What You Love

Live what you love, love what you do.

I love that line. It's so simple, just do it, just be what makes you happy, have fun and love life.
Often I think we stray from actually consciously acknowledging the things that truly make us happy, the simple things and the big things that we love.

Things like:
  • Being the proud owner of a goofy dog that hops around like a baby horse when he's happy
  • Finding a stray ice cream sandwich hiding in the freezer
  • Fireflies
  • Sharing your life adventure with your best friend and love of your life
  • Being able to channel artistic energy into tons of different avenues
  • Spazzing out to a dance song when no ones looking

You get the picture. When you go so far as to really focus on the things you love, it becomes your life.

Originally I intended to compile something of a collage of things I love but got distracted....So no collage, but I did manage to take this totally cute picture of the galloping dog for your entertainment ;) and of course I can't leave out his less goofy but smellier counterpart

the best pups around ♥

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Just Peachy

When life gives you lemons, you make lemon-aid...when a little old man gives you fresh picked peaches you darn well better find a good way to use them and not let them go to waste (finger wag, finger wag, finger wag). Lol...but seriously...a very sweet older gentleman gave me a generous armload of peaches a short time ago and I immediately thought of a recipe for peach pound cake I'd been wanting to try...but we ate them first. So with our appetite for fresh peaches growling we visited one of our local farms we are blessed to have in our area to gather more. Here's what I did with them...

Peach Pound Cake (Revised view the original recipe here)

1 c. butter (see note about substitutes)*
1-3/4 c. sugar
6 eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. low fat peach yogurt
2 1/2 c. fresh or frozen peaches
(1/2 cup of the peaches can be replaced with any other fruit you wish blueberries and raspberries are sure winners but apricots or strawberries would be excellent too)

[Note: If you're using fresh peaches you will want to peel them first. To do this drop them gently into a pot of boiling water for 30-60 seconds then put them directly into a bowl of ice water. The skins will slide right off.]

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to the batter alternately with yogurt. Fold in the peaches.
  2. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

As originally written the cake probably tastes pretty much like a standard pound cake but maybe just a touch heavy on the almond flavor. Although, almond extract is a traditional flavoring for pound cake, 1 tsp. is just too overpowering for my taste especially since peach should be prominent here. Adding fresh or frozen peaches is a great way to add some flavor and texture (and of course it looks very pretty) but if you really want peach flavor you're going to have to add something extra. That's were the peach yogurt came in. I've recently gone on a yogurt kick using it in the place of sour cream and mayo; if you haven't tried it please do you'll probably love it and it's so much better for you. I first thought I might just use plain low fat yogurt to replace the sour cream but decided I would need extra peachy-ness so I opted for peach yogurt instead. I cut back on the sugar because of the sweetness in the yogurt and because I love the combo of cinnamon and peaches in peach cobbler I added a tad here.

If you try it, I hope you enjoy and as always feel free to play with the recipe like I did, make it your own and have fun! :)

*Substitutes can be made but please be aware that the butter flavor is a prominent note in pound cake. If you do choose to substitute Margarine for butter always substitute STICK butter with STICK margarine 1 for 1, but the taste will not be the same. My preference if I use one is a blended Margarine like Land O Lakes Country Morning blend.