Monday, November 11, 2013


It's been awhile since I've blogged.  School work seems to trump hobbies unfortunately.  I needed a little creative time this weekend and decided it was time to start Christmas cards.  It's my third year making them and it seems every year I enjoy the tradition a little more.  

It's hard for me to admit this, but I had never embossed before these cards!  If I only knew what I had been missing!!  I was at the craft store shopping for my card supplies and I stopped at the embossing supplies.  Why the heck have I never done this before?!  Just what I need, one more expense at the craft store!

Supplies needed:

Empossing powder
Embossing heat gun

Now watch and learn!  This. is. so. simple!!!

Step 1 - Stamp.  Make sure you have plenty of ink so that the embossing powder will stick nicely.

Step 2 - cover with embossing powder.  I'm using clear, but you can get pretty creative with layers.  Put the excess back into the embossing powder container for later use.

Hold the heat tool a few inches from the paper (you can leave burn marks on the paper)  and evenly cover the stamp.  You can see the needles on this stamp.  They pop once they are embossed. 

Continue your design....

and we all love blurry pictures!

I added mittens to this design
and a little gold glitter to the pine cones
I also added some snow (white glitter) to the card.  I haven't decided if it was a good idea or not yet.  It's beautiful under certain light, but not so pretty under other light.  It's a little too late to decide against the idea!  

I wish I could take credit for this design because I find it to be absolutely adorable.  While trying to come up with ideas,  I googled hand made Christmas cards and a card very similar to this one came up.  Of course I put my own spin on it.  Warning - embossing is like using glitter.  It's very messy!

Friends and family - sorry to spoil the surprise!  This is the card you're getting this year!  They will be mailed shortly after Thanksgiving.  When is the appropriate time to mail Christmas cards anyway?  When does everyone else mail their cards?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Adding Depth to Any Room!

I've never given much thought to the idea of painting ceilings any color other than white.....that is until recently.  My husband and I moved into a 1908 craftsman bungalow over two years ago and we are fortunate enough to have 9.5 foot ceilings.  I finished painting every single room in our house over a year ago and promised my husband I wouldn't paint anything else for a year.  The year mark hit and I got the painters itch.

Having sat with the colors in our house for a year and through all of the seasons, I'm confident in my color choices.  As with most of us bloggers/decorators/DIY people, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our living space.  Over the year, I've continued to see blog posts and magazine articles with ceilings painted. And then I realized I have a whole ton of untouched potential in my house!  I just needed to look up!

We have beautiful box beam ceilings in our dining room and I've continued to ponder how the box beams could really pop if I painted the ceiling.  My husband went out of town and I headed to the paint store.  He's used to coming home to changes in our house - he wouldn't have married me if he wasn't OK with it. 

I used Kendall Charcoal grey on the walls.  I asked the paint store to mix 50% of the color - that way the color is slightly lighter than the walls.

Here is the before:
(excuse the ladder and painters tape - I almost forgot to take the before picture!)

And the after:

I'm not sure I would recommend this to people with low ceilings - choosing a white is probably the best option in this situation. 

Next time my husband heads out of town, I'll be painting the fireplace room ceiling!  And I'll keep going until he tells me I need to take another year off.  When that time comes, I'll find another project.

If you're If you're in a place where you're happy with the colors in your home and looking for the next project, don't forget to look up! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cilantro - the wonder herb!

People either love Cilantro, or they hate it.  There's quite a few studies out there that say the reason there are cilantro haters is due entirely to their genes.  Who knows how much truth there is to that, but it's interesting for sure!  There are so many cilantro haters, that there is actually an I Hate Cilantro website!

I happen to be one of the people who love cilantro.  And for me, it's a good thing!  Most of you know that I suffer from Lyme Disease.  I'm constantly looking for food that can help with the healing.  The more I read, the more I learn that Cilantro really is something I should consume regularly to help my body heal itself.

There are a ton of studies out there showing that cilantro cleanses the body of heavy metals.  Heavy metals aren't good for anyone, but they are especially bad for people who have any sort of inflammatory disease.  In fact, heavy metal toxicity could be part of the reason some inflammatory diseases exist - not always of course, but sometimes!

Cilantro also has more antioxidants than almost any fruit or vegetable out there!  It's a great source of fiber, magnesium and iron.  It's full of vitamin K and B vitamins.  It also helps protect against heart disease, Alzheimer's and cancer.

What else does this wonder herb do?

It helps to prevent cardiovascular damage.
Aids in detoxification
It can calm anxiety
It's extremely beneficial to those with diabetes due to it's ability to help level blood sugar
It has strong anti-fungal and antibacterial properties
Helps aid in digestion
Can kill Salmonella
Eases hormonal mood swings and reduces cramping
Helps give your liver a little boost
Helps eye diseases
Wards off urinary tract infections

The good news?  Cilantro is super easy to grow!  I have mine growing in a pretty shady area and it flourishes.  The easier the access, the more you will use it in your diet.

How can you fit more cilantro into your diet?  I regularly mix it in with an avocado and lemon juice for instant guacamole.  I also found a fantastic smoothie recipe that I've been making regularly - you'll find the recipe below.   It works well in almost any green juice/smoothie that you make.  You can throw it in with your salad - or make salad dressing. How about cilantro pesto or fish tacos? Or you could always make some Thai food!

Moral of the story?  Eat more cilantro!

Cilantro Smoothie
1 Papaya
Frozen Peaches (I used an entire bag)
2 cups of vanilla almond milk (unsweetened if you want to go sugar free)
handful of cilantro

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ants! Ants! Ants!

I've noticed quite a few ants in the garden- more than I am comfortable with.  We have such great organic soil and with all the moisture, it's tough to avoid ants all together.  However, after some extensive research, I have determined that making an ant bomb may be the best thing to do.  It's natural enough to use in your garden - or your kitchen for that matter.  Side note - even though Borax is a fairly safe way to kill ants, I would still recommend keeping it away from pets and children.

Put 4 oz of water in the jar
Add 1 tbls of Borax
Add 1 tbls of Powdered Sugar
Mix well
Add cotton balls and mix it up again making sure to cover cotton balls with the mixture
When you are done, poke holes in the lid and place in your garden (I used a hammer and nail)

It's important to keep equal parts Borax and Powdered Sugar - you can't have more Borax than powdered sugar, or the ants will avoid it completely.

You'll want to mix a new solution 2-3 days later if you still see a lot of ants.  You shouldn't have to repeat this more than once or twice before you notice a major decrease - or eradication -in the ant population.

Within 10 minutes of putting it in my garden, ants were all over it!

Take a look for yourself:

So how exactly does this work?  The ants will feed off of the mixture (because they love sugar) and they will take it back to their colony.  The entire colony starts eating the mixture and it wipes them out.  I hate the thought of killing anything, but I also hate having ants in my garden!

I have also placed one of these jars on my kitchen counter as ants have seemed to take a liking to that area.  From what I've read, it should only take a couple of days and the ants should be gone!

And if you have to buy a big container of Borax, don't worry!  You can use the rest for laundry and cleaning.

Borax is much safer than other pest control and I encourage you to research it on your own.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Garden Beds

We made it all of last year without garden beds.  The only reason we did that was so we could use the entire backyard for our wedding.  This year we decided we had to have our garden back!  Only this year it's much better!

Raised beds are so convenient and I recommend them to everyone.   If you're in Portland and looking for someone to build them, I recommend Griffons Gardens. They were very responsive, easy to work with and professional.  Not to mention the beds are very sturdy and will last for years to come.

Here is the before picture:

And the after: 
The boxes are 4x12 and 4x8.  Perfect size for lots of veggies. 

This is only 3 weeks of growth! Clearly we used starts.  We do have a few things starting from seed and they are sprouting!  Thank you Portland for the great weather we have been having!  Counting down the days until we can enjoy fresh salsa!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Photos of Jace Johnson

I had the pleasure of spending a few days with my friend in Minnesota the week after her Son was born.  He is just the sweetest little baby.  I jumped on the opportunity to take some pictures of him.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sideboard is finished!

Here is the completed sideboard!  It will work perfectly until we decide to take on the big kitchen remodel.  The color is Benjamin Moore Kennebunkport Green - HC-123

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Patchwork Cafe Curtains

I can't remember the last time I used a sewing machine - it was probably in high school home economics - which was my absolute favorite class by the way.  My good friend let me use her sewing machine to make some curtains for my kitchen.  

I had searched for the perfect grey fabric for quite some time.  I found napkins at West Elm that were absolutely perfect!  That is how I ended up with patchwork curtains.

They turned out better than I had hoped for and add the perfect touch to my kitchen!  Next project?  Painting the new sideboard!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Amazing Chocolate-Coconut Pudding

This recipe is absolutely amazing!   It's good enough to serve after a holiday meal and easy enough to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

1 cup unsweetened light coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (replace with honey or maple syrup for a healthier version)
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or block chopped
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut toasted

1) In a bowl whisk together coconut milk, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt - set aside

2) In a medium saucepan combine almond milk, brown sugar and granulated sugar.  Cook and stir over medium heat just until boiling.  Add coconut milk mixture from step 1.  Cook and stir just until the mixture returns to boiling.  Immeditely redcue heat to low; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate, let stand for 30 seconds.  Add cocounut extract and stir until smooth.

Serve warm or chilled and top with toasted coconut.

I also topped mine off with a little extra coconut milk.  It made it a little runny, but it was absolutely delicious.