Friday, August 30, 2013


I may or may not have previously made know that I have a dishware fetish  obsession  habit  love. Seriously.  I have five different sets of dishware:  winter, spring, summer, fall (which will roll out on Labor Day), outdoor and good china. Fortunately, my husband supports my habit and changing tastes; or maybe it's unfortunate since his willingness makes it easy for me to change.  Unfortunately, all my current settings have been retired - well, my spring dishes may still be current.  Also, unfortunately, they are all chipping and breaking which means finding replacements is difficult, if not pricey.

On the plus side, my new inspiration will provide years of gifts!  Also on the plus side, I usually sell off the remaining and in good condition pieces to fund my latest love.

Enter my newest idea.  Fiesta ware.  I've long loved it, but was collecting other pieces and couldn't figure out how to work it into my cupboards.  Then while shopping for school shoes, I was struck. . .the idea was genius.  I almost danced in the shoe aisle.  Though this would surely have caused my sons great angst - maybe I should have danced, a mother needs to embarrass a child every now and then - it's one of our joys. 
Anyway, my idea:  I'll start replacing my current collections with solid colors and mix and match.  I could barely contain myself.  Bonus - upon drooling looking over the Fiesta website they come with a 2-year warranty and are USA made!

Now to tell loving-hubby my idea...

I mean how great would this Beet Hummus look in a Lemongrass colored bowl?  The hummus, found on the Apron Strings I Cooked That board on Pinterest is awesome by the way.  I cooked up beets I snagged at the farmer's market.  Yum!  And the color is insane.
Or serving up Sunday breakfast pancakes along with my newly canned Peach Jam (also on Pinterest) on these Paprika lovelies.
Oh my.

It's cool and cloudy. . .for now.  High 90's are expected to be here, again, and I have our weekly Friday dinner to get cooked.  So I need to head to the kitchen to mix up dessert before the kitchen becomes a raging inferno.

We have no plans for the Labor Day weekend - usually we spend it at the soccer fields.  I have too many ideas of things to do spinning in my head to select just one, which is usually my down fall as I end up doing nothing at all.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mini Album Tutorial

Today, I bring you Sous Chef Kristin Perez, aka Queen of the Altered Items from your Apron Strings Kits.  Kind of a long title and probably won't fit on her business cards.  She'd never get it all out when she answers the phone either.  And her siggy line - forget about it.  Still, though, she rocks the altered items with her kits.  Kristin has put together the following tutorial for a mini album, using the October Afternoon Farm Girl line from the August Bigger than a Breadbox kit.  I love minis and their instant gratification.  Enjoy.

I was beyond excited to see October Afternoon's Farm Girl line in the August Bigger Than A Bread Box kit! I have been wanting this paper since I first saw the sneak peeks and I knew that if I was patient Lori would put it in a kit! And she did!

I have a confession - I hoard collect October Afternoon and did not want this so, so cute paper to go in an album to not be seen everyday soooo I made a mini album!

I gathered my supplies - the August kit, a 70 cent board book (sorry Cinderella and your glamour!), and a chipboard mason jar from a previous Apron Strings kit (the April Bigger than a Breadbox kit). Also glue, a filing set, small scissors and a pencil.

I started by tracing the book on my card stock. The book fit on the cardstock twice but that would not give me enough pages to cover all of Cinderella's glamour so. . . 

I traced half of the book on the bottom of the cardstock and the other half in between the two whole pages at the top.

I glued these together and created a fun page with a curvy border.

I adhered a ribbon around the book first then layered paper, chipboard, tin pins and stickers to the front.  Note - because this book was not intended for scrapbooking - adding paper and photos makes it tight at the spine and makes it so it won't close all the way (the reason for the ribbon.)

I used Scor Tape and a UHU glue stick to adhere the paper to the front of the book. ModPodge did not work really well for this - it made for a soggy mess! I usually find something to scrape my book after it's adhered to make sure the paper is really stuck on there (I used a Basic Grey rub on tool - a brayer would also work)

After the paper is glued, cut off the excess (for this book you will have excess because there is the curved shape at the top) I just use scissors for this - the cutting doesn't have to be perfect you will fix any jagged edges in the next step:

Sand down the edges so they are smooth - I used the Basic Grey sanding tools. (A simple emery board works well too.)

Cover the inside pages and back cover with paper. On the inside pages leave a little space at the spine so the book won't have trouble closing.

When all your pages are glued and sanded cut a piece for the spine that is as long as the book and maybe 3 inches or so wide (depending on your book). Wrap around the spine and adhere (I used two sided tape.)

Ink edges of all the pages with distress ink. This will cover up any spots you sanded too much as well as add some extra color.

Then embellish! I had the most fun with the titles - using the tin pins, tickets and seed packets to make for fun titles.

Thank you for stopping by to see my picture heavy post today. And I want to say thank you to Amory (my seven year old) who took the pictures of my hands working (and my messy desk!)


No, THANK YOU, Kristin for the great tutorial.  I too loved this line - but then I'm kind of addicted to a fan of October Afternoon.  We'll have to compare "collections" some time. ;)

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Colorado Peaches. . .The Wait is Over

A couple weekends ago we went to the Lafayette Peach Festival - our first because we had no soccer to be to!  We went early to beat the heat and the people. . .neither of which was avoided by our early arrival.  We wandered the various street vendors while sucking down fresh peach smoothies and fresh, still-hot, peach crisp ala mode.  Ah, the breakfast of champions.  We did a little bouncy castle bouncing - well the 4 y.o. did.  We did the standing in the sun and sweating.  We did a little shopping.  We saw a pack of bassets, okay I did, which always makes my day.  We loaded up on peaches - and the 20+ pounds per flat made us grateful for the close parking we snagged.

If you love peaches - and I do, my second favorite fruit next to cherries - then you wait all year for the peaches to come to town.  In a vain attempt to grab that flavor you try to buy the ones at the grocery store, but you're disappointed every time.  The closest you get is white nectarines.  But when you bite that first fresh Colorado peach you realize there is no substitute. Trucked down from Palisades, on the Western Slope, the size of soft balls (seriously, soft balls), filled with such juicy goodness they melt in your mouth.  And sun ripened sweetness...Oh my.

We picked up two flats - we pretty much ate one whole flat.  The other I tried my best to save that late summer sweetness by canning up four quarts for when the winter wind comes rolling in and I want that "the peaches are here" memory.  I've never canned peaches, I usually just slice and freeze, so it'll be interesting to see how they taste.

I also cooked up a small batch of Peach Freezer Jam.  Another no frill recipe that hopefully captures the paradise flavor.

So we've plowed through two flats and we're still wanting.  The discussion is on for making the four hour trip to the western slope to grab some more!

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Garden

You all recall my garden odyssey, right?  If not, the shorthand version. . .it started with putting tomatoes in the barrels on the side of the house instead of the annuals we usually planted.  The following year we moved to convert the lower terrace from grass to dirt.  We planted strawberries, a couple veggies and berries (that were just left in their pots and jammed in the dirt in hopes of their survival until the next spring.)  This year I was struck with inspiration of container gardening as a way to keep the critters from eating my produce and the dog from trampling it.  After some waiting the containers were placed, filled, seeded and the berries, having survived, moved to their "homes."  

Flash forward to now and it's quite the happy little space.  I love looking out my window down into that area.  Tomatoes are growing (I think, I keep forgetting to look), strawberries are coming in like crazy, carrots have popped up in happy little rows, beats tops are getting bigger, cucumber blooms are off the charts, herbs need to be cut back and dried so they'll continue to sprout, and the berries - well, it's early in the life of the bushes to have much of anything, but the bushes are satisfied little campers.  And there are a couple barrels that I have not a clue what's in there.


It's funny how when you grow your own stuff how you either a) wish yours was ready to be picked to use in such-and-such recipe or b) you wish you were growing it.

I'm looking forward to harvesting what's coming up - whether the food ripens before the first frost remains to be seen.  Next year will be fun as we will actually be able to plant at the beginning of the growing season and be able to plant a larger variety.  Me...who hates to garden and pull weeds and, most importantly, sweat...has thoughts of potatoes, rhubarb, lavender, corn, lettuce, zucchini, beans and peas skipping around in my head.

Happy Tuesday,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Are You Subscribed to Apron Strings?

There are so many great reasons and pluses for being an autoship member to Apron Strings. Budget-friendly prices for getting the newest goodies shipped to your door, support of designers working with the kits, and only the kits (no surprises finding out they used add-ons or extras in the layout you love), skips, flips and subs to monthly choices, add-ons when you want them, and gentle "pushes" here on the blog to get you creating . . . to name just a few.

To prove my point. . .check this out.

Jillibean's Happy Camper, found in the Bigger than a Breadbox kit.  This is just a tiny nibble of the five layouts and five cards created using just the items found in this portion of the Bigger kit.

 Created by Guest Chef Deanna Deaton

Created by Sous Chef Kristin Perez

Join Apron Strings today and start down the road of Completed Pages and Handmade Cards.

Bright Shoes

Part of the joy of school uniforms is that you don't have the hassle, pleading, head-shaking and outright confusion of the choices made by kids who should know their mother enough to know that's not gonna fly in this house.  At the very least, the though of their father's aghast look, and subsequently having to explain why he should let them wear that, should stop them, even if my own you've-got-to-be-kidding-me look does not.

Of the four kids, only one of them is currently in a uniform; the Kindergartner is not required to wear a uniform until 1st grade and the 16 and 14 y.o. are in public high school where apparently there are few rules to govern clothing choices (yes, there are days where I sit and think, "How do you drop off your daughter wearing THAT?!)  

Coming from the world of school uniforms the only "personality" that was allowed was in their shoe choices - usually sneakers.  Sneakers have been inching farther and farther way from the black and white world.  This year, the colors literally exploded into mind-boggling combinations of colors and shades.  My 14 y.o. has always preferred bright colors in his apparel, and he looks good in them.  My 12 y.o. has always just thrown on whatever works, or more like whatever he grabs.  He cares not about colors and patterns and combinations thereof (for him, this is where uniforms are a good thing.)

After looking at a couple stores at the brightest shoes available these were the boys' selections.  It's funny, in this photo, if I didn't know who got what shoes, I'd be hard pressed to tell them apart.  In the sea of uniforms leaving school in the afternoon, all I have to do is look at the feet for my 12 y.o. to track him down.  And when my 14 y.o. stepped out of the car on his first day, his shoes practically glowed - and I'm pretty sure he was happy about that.

Oh, and their choices passed dad with praises, even, on the "cool" colors.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day of School 2013

The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of dropping off, picking up, dropping off some more and more picking up.

Monday was the first day of school for the three boys; my daughter's first day was Tuesday.  My morning started with wrangling people up and down and out.  First, drop the 14 y.o. boy off at High School (HIGH SCHOOL!) for his Freshman orientation at 7:25.  Back across town to drop off the 12 y.o. at 8:00 for his first half day as a 7th grader.  Squeezed in several errands until it was time to take the Kindergartner to school at 10:15.  Another couple errands and back across town to grab the 12 y.o. and the 4 y.o. from their early release at noon.  A few hours at home to get lunches and whatnot and back to the High School to get the 14 y.o.  This schedule would repeat itself for the next two days, but include the 16 y.o. on Tuesday and this morning.  Today was our first regular schedule for everyone - full days, lunches, regular class lengths.  It seems so odd, to again, have all the kids in school - all day.

At the end of these last couple school days the 16 y.o. is taking her last driving classes in prep for her licensing test tomorrow.  T.O.M.O.R.R.O.W!  I expect I'll be sending her and her brother off next Monday to navigate the roads between home and school.  Roads which are also filled with teen drivers trying to get to school.  I think I need a heart pill.

Happy Wednesday,

Friday, August 16, 2013

I Love Summer (What the...??)

Well, let's not go too far with the summer love-fest.  I don't L.O.V.E summer.  I'm just enjoying this summer.  This right now summer.  These past couple weeks summer.  To be clear, summer is still my least favorite season.  It's not climbing the ranks . . . at all.

However, these past couple weeks the monsoons have hung around much longer.  We've had, dare I say, pleasant temperatures - like the 70's and 80's kind.  Like I needed a jacket in the evening and had to wear socks a few mornings.  We've had afternoon clouds.  Afternoon showers.  Small, cool breezes.  We haven't had the a/c on.  We haven't had the whole house fan on.  I can turn around and not be drenched in sweat by that small movement.  I can even turn on my oven and feel happy to be in the kitchen.

It's also making my new container garden happy-happy.  Which in turn makes me happy.  The strawberries, which were lacking in blooms are now crazy full of them.  Carrots will likely take until fall to come in, but no worries.  Cucumbers are overflowing their barrel and I'm gonna need to figure out what to do with them outside of throwing them in a salad.  Basil, Cilantro, Parsley are huge and used almost daily.  The blueberries and blackberries aren't old enough to produce a lot of fruit, so those are just getting picked and eaten, but next year we might have enough to throw on Sunday-morning pancakes.  There are a couple barrels that I have no clue what's in them (hubby and daughter did the planting) but lots of happy new greenery are sprouting in them.  I haven't check the tomatoes, but they're growing and I catch a glimpse of blooms every now and then.

All that upcoming freshness makes me wish I could harvest a few items for tonight's dinner, but will just have to wait until next year.  On the menu, Pioneer Woman's Gazpacho with Shrimp, unless I find a screamin' deal on crab (not likely here in no-ocean-in-sight Colorado) and a nice loaf of crusty bread, which I should probably get started.  Dessert hasn't been decided yet. . .maybe just a nice chocolate sheet cake.  Simple.  Good.  And something to celebrate the enjoyment of fresh summer produce.
Now what's not to like about that?

Happy Friday.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Soccer Freedom

This is the first time in more than a decade we don't have anyone playing soccer.  We enjoyed a full July where we didn't have to wet down practice jerseys in cold water to combat the heat.  Or freeze water bottles for practices.  Or slather ourselves in sun screen to stand in the sweltering sun during pre-season tournaments.  Or have laundry room filled with crusty, dirty, smelly soccer gear.

It's the first time in over a decade we aren't juggling practice times, or planning routes and schedules to make overlapping game times (sometimes I think the military could learn a thing or two from families with kids in sports!)  Or tripping over bags and cleats dropped in the hallway...again.  Or discussing new strategies or tweaking footwork over family meals.  Or calling the weekend tournament out of town a "family vacation."

It's the first time in over a decade I won't get to see my kids become different people when their cleats hit the field.  I won't see them transform into these athletes who rarely show fear when taking on the opponent.  Who face down an oncoming player with determination on their faces.  Who can go after a ball with such intent.  Who show such elation at a big pass, assist or their own shot on goal, let alone the pure joy when that ball slides down the inside of the net.  Who can identify their own hard work and improved skills.

It's the first time in over a decade where soccer isn't coming first and we're able to enjoy other things as a family.

Happy Thursday,