Thursday, March 31, 2011


I think--if you know me--you can ONLY IMAGINE how giddy with excitement I was, when my 6 year old daughter came home with her kindergarten homework assignment last week.  The directive: make a diorama!  Are you kidding?! I was SO excited!! I was pretty much borderline ELATED!! The ideas....the possibilities!! but I had to keep telling myself: this was her assignment--not mine.  As you can see, my involvement was minimal, at best--I took on more of a "managing editor" role--if you will-- or a that of a "design director."  (I swear! I only made the quilt, the pillow, the clothes and the hangers...she did the rest! : )  

The theme was la manana--morning in Spanish, so the idea was to depict an activity that she does in the morning--that is her in her pjs getting dressed (notice the area rug on the floor).  I am pretty sure that the idea (getting dressed) was all hers...Buenos Dias Todos/Good Morning Everyone is the banner that hangs above everything.

As you can see, she is so happy and pleased with how it turned out...I have to say that when I dropped her off at school that morning, I could tell she was so proud of her work.  I probably shouldn't have done as much as I did, but I think the important thing is that we did it together--it was collaborative, I promise! and we had fun doing it.  So, to me, that is the important part--now, I can't wait for her next project.  Maybe it will be something do with the solar system and we can make the planets out of papier-mache! 
: )

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DIY: Terrarium

My botanical theme continues this week with instructions on how to make your own home-made terrarium!  I have always loved the idea of collecting things and creating little worlds in jars and after being inspired by this lovely post by Two Straight Lines and this video, I decided to give it a try...

First, we gathered our supplies: 
a large one gallon glass jar that I found at Target for around $8.
Some brand new potting soil-- its important that its sterile.
Some small rocks --the ehow video called for charcoal and for the life of me, I couldn't find any--so we just added more small rocks.  Its for drainage.
2-3 small plants.  Ok, when I got to home depot, the only small plants I could find were the I thought that surely we could make due with chamomile and thyme, right?
Lastly, one scary dinosaur.  (also from Target...)

First, we added the rocks...

Then the dirt and then the plants and then the dinosaur.

Courtney over at Two Straight Lines bought the 2 Gallon jar and I thought, well, I don't really have room for that, so I will go with the small one.  Now, I think it would be nice to have a little bit more room--but it is, after all, just plants in a jar, so I think we are good.  Luca was really happy with it and he kept looking in to check on his dinosaur that he pretended was making ferocious growling roaring sounds--which was fun--for him.  : )

The one tip to making your own terrarium is DON'T OVER WATER.  It's an easy tendency, but its amazing how much condensation is generated with the lid on.  The other thing to remember is do not place in direct sunlight...but only enough light that you could easily read by.  I am definitely going to make another one of these soon--and will fine-tune it.

I really liked creating little worlds--they are very fun to peer into!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Flowers

(click on photo to see larger)

This week is going to have a little bit of a botanical theme.  Besides itching to get the seeds planted for our vegetable garden, there are the spring flowers--they are EVERYWHERE...They are so beautiful!! I can't help it--when I see Spring blooming all around me...all I want to do is take a photo.  I could easily have hundred of shots of daffodils and never tire of them.  I just love everything in bloom and because its so, so fleeting--it makes me want to photograph it all the more.  Here are some shots from last weekend:

(click on photos to see larger)

And as soon as this dogwood (from my backyard) blooms, I will share those photos as well.
Happy Spring!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Time to Start Our Garden

Its that time of year again...

We all pick packs of seeds for our favorite vegetables, round up all the supplies & play with some dirt.  All with the slight disbelief (combined with eternal optimism) that our little plants will grow.  This is my 5th attempt at a vegetable garden and this year: I am feeling ambitious.  Not all plants in our garden will start from seed--we will buy some starters in a few weeks for sure.  But there is something magical about kids watching sprouts unfurl and grow tall.  And in the end, its a sure way to get them to eat their veggies! : )


I am incredibly proud of how seriously Magdalena takes the whole process.  She is really into it and it makes me so happy to do this with her.  Luca likes it too, but he'd much rather throw the dirt in the air and try catch it with his mouth...

Friday, March 25, 2011

DIY: Your Own Labels

Since I have been making (or let me re-phrase that..attempting to make) my own skin care products--and I always end up making way more than I can use, I thought it would be fun to bottle them up and give them as gifts to my friends, family...strangers on the street...anyone who would take them...(just kidding) So, thanks to my dear sis-in-law and whole foods, I obtained some very sweet little bottles.  But the problem is: the plain bottles are so, well, plain and don't really do a good job explaining what's inside.  I don't have a color printer at home and honestly--every time I have tried to print out labels, my alignment is way off and its just becomes a big mess...Hmmm, what to do, what to do...

so...I googled: how to make custom labels...

and this is what I found:

I LOVE THESE GUYS...this is such a great service...they make labels for EVERYTHING: beer & wine bottles, all things holiday, photo labels, labels for food and crafty may not think you need them now, but just wait: when you want to give a bunch a people the same gift and want to tell them exactly what is in it, this will come in handy...I guarantee it!

Here's a little sample of what I did:

Get the recipe for the facial mist here and for the toner here.

You probably can't see it but at the bottom is the list of ingredients.  The website has many decent designs you can choose from or you can design your own. The labels can be printed on paper or they can be waterproof which is nice for bath items.  The colors are not exact, but that's ok; its close and for the price, totally worth it.  This is especially nice for weddings, birthday favors, parties, small businesses starting get the idea...

So, while its not exactly do it yourself, because someone else is doing it; it is personalized and you can design your own thing which is WAY nicer than just a plain bottle.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recipe: Quinoa

Have you heard of quinoa but just haven't a clue what to do with it?  Have you tried it once or twice--maybe you weren't all that thrilled but you're up for trying it again?  Maybe you totally love it but you've run out of fabulous recipes??  Well, if you have answered yes to any of these pressing questions, you have come to right place.  Greg and I ate a LOT of quinoa when we were doing our cleanse/detox/elimination diet back in January and have come to truly admire and respect, food stuff, BUT--what is QUINOA exactly??

A little bit about Quinoa from Wikipedia:
"Quinoa ( /ˈknwɑː/ or /kɪˈn.ə/Spanishquinua, from Quechuakinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beetsspinach, and tumbleweeds.

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source ofdietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights."

The following recipe, from Dr. Junger's Clean Detox program,  is very flavorful and satisfying.  The first time I tried this dish I was surprised at how incredibly tasty it was (and honestly, before this, I never would have refered to Quinoa as "incredibly tasty"...) There is a nice crunch from the almonds and carrots.  The unexpected sweetness from the agave and currants goes surprisingly well with the acid of the lime and the spice of the cumin which dresses this salad.  And then there is the mint...I love mint and its just perfect in this.  Sometimes it just nice to eat food that is simple and uncomplicated.  We all indulge and over-do-it from time to time and I, for one, like the idea of swinging to the other end of that spectrum once in a while...just to balance things out...

Alejandro Junger’s Recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh

- 2 cups Quinoa, cooked--its very easy, just follow directions on package.
- 1 TB parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tsp Agave Nectar
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1.  Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well to combine.
2.  Let the quinoa tabbouleh stand for at least 30 minutes… it is even better the next day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Craft: Vintage Fabric Tote Bag

My bag fetish continues...I discovered this Better Homes & Garden craft pattern (here) when I found the last tote bag I made and had to make this one too.  Pretty much any pattern involving anything "vintage" I am a sucker for--especially when its conjures up for me an old French farmer's market type bag or something you might be lucky enough to find at a Parisian flea market...this pattern happens to be SUPER easy (I only had to rip out a seam once!! : )  My camera is still in the shop so I didn't take any shots of the bag in progress but these little still life's of the material turned out ok...(except for the blurriness of the lead photo...rats!)

If you like the fabric I used and want to order some for your own bag, I got mine--from where else: the onlinefabricstore or you can go here.   I used specifically: Waverly Country House Toile Red (Product ID:666111) and Waverly Timeless Ticking - Crimson (Product ID:668085)  Its not technically vintage because I did buy it brand new...but it looks vintage and that's basically all I was going for here...

I love the way it turned out and its a great, quick pattern.  I think I will give this tote to my mother-in-law as thank you gift for all the craft/fabric store runs she has made for me over the past how many years...but--I want it to be a surprise, so let's keep it a secret, ok?!
: )

Monday, March 21, 2011

Random: So Worth Checking Out!

My day job has me working with some of the most talented photographers around the country. I consider myself lucky because I am surrounded by really cool images every day. This video collection of portraits is an excellent example of what I am talking about. Thanks to Kevin Miyazaki for documenting this and a HUGE thanks to the Wisconsin people for all that they are standing for...I definitely had tears in my eyes after watching this.

Portrait Of A Protest: Madison, Wisconsin from Kevin J. Miyazaki on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I found this beautiful illustration by Natascha Rosenberg  
at books, paper, scissors (here)
I can't get this image or what happened (and is happening)
to our poor brothers and sisters in Japan out of my mind.
Our hearts go out to them...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Craft: Superman Cape

My little boy woke up one morning recently and wanted to be Superman...I am not sure exactly where it came from because he doesn't even really know who Superman is but he knew enough to know he wanted a cape: a magic, super-power, flying kind of cape.  The small lap quilt that we tried to tie around his neck and secured with a rubber band just wasn't cutting it...

So, when presented with a challenge of a how-to, just like with about everything else...I googled..."how to make a superman cape"...and boy, did I hit the jackpot:

this is the awesomeness I found:

free superhero cape tutorial

this is what I made:

and this is what I got:

ok...can you say "Uncle John?!?"

The tutorial is seriously awesome and goes really quick.  It is actually reversible with Batman on the inside...but I couldn't quite pull that off.  

A huge special thank you to SUPER-GRANDMOM who leapt with a single bound to Joanne's and got me all the supplies.  FYI, if you have never dealt with Heat N have got to try it--its so great...just follow the directions so you don't melt your first super hero emblem to gunck that ends up burnt on your I did.

and beloved Nikon D-80 is in the shop...well, actually the lens is...the focusing ring is WORN OUT....I actually wore it out and the thing won't focus anymore, so the ring is being replaced.  I used our old point and shoot to document this...Hopefully, I will be back up in running with new lens ring in a jiffy providing the high quality photos and images that you have come to love and expect! ; ) trying a new blog manager called bloglovin:

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Craft: Green Carnations

happy st. patrick's day!

Here's a little something to ensure you do not get pinched on St. Patrick's Day.
A sweet little paper carnation boutonniere with green trimmings...
totally inspired by Family Chic!   Feels very lucky!

This is my kind of craft--easy, all the supplies were on hand and super cute...not to mention functional--in terms of not getting pinched...

supplies you'll need:

muffin/cupcake paper liners/cups
floral tape or ribbon & hot glue gun
water colors (specifically green)
pin backs or a safety pin or a straight pin


fold a bunch (4 or 5 or more or less) of liners in half and then in half again...
and then in half again; play with it so you get it narrowed down. 
twist and scrunch the bottom half so that you create a "stem" 
(don't worry about the wrinkles or scrunching them too much; 
they will be fine and will add character!)

tape or glue stem 1/2 way up from bottom. Let dry.

pull petals apart and shape into flower.

paint edges with green water color.  the muffin wrappers I used seem to have a bit of a coating on them; they weren't straight paper, so that's why I got the look I did.  It didn't become a solid green but I think it works....let it dry.

add a little bow and either hot glue a pin back to the back of the stem or use a safety pin or a (careful) straight pin.  Attach to the lapel of your favorite wee leprechaun.

Eat some potatoes & cabbage, drink whiskey, dance a jig, and enjoy your good luck!