Saturday, January 31, 2015

Keeping It Real Friday

Even though Heather was sick she still couldn't just lay down and do nothing. After resting a few hours she felt like she had to get up and do something so she spread out on the dining room table and began to paint. Her pictures turned out great and she posted them on Instagram.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thinning out our forest and stripping our Logs to Create something New

The log before I strip it.
I just can't believe this is January and it is 58 degrees out and the sun is shining. When it is like this I just have to get out into it. I love the sun. I by no means am a sun worshiper but in the winter I savor every moment of it. I asked my son-in-law to cut some trees down for me and he said no problem just show me which ones you want.

Off we went into our lower forty to get some trees. I wanted to do some stripping for our pergola on the hill. The logs are alder and about 5-6 inches around. The fatter they are the easier it is. I love the way the logs look when they are stripped and I find it very relaxing to do it. Some times I listen to a podcast or sometimes I just listen to the birds while I am working. There were no birds today, they must know it is not yet time to be out.

The logs after stripping and the bark on the ground is great mulch.
We built a round house out of stripped logs like this. The frame is like this and then the sides are burlap and canvas. We are going to do split logs around the bottom this summer. I think we are going to split our own. This really fascinates me and can't wait to do it. Sometimes I just think I was meant to be a pioneer. I love the outdoors.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tiny Fairy Waterfalls of Seashells, Wood and Hot Glue

My mom loves Pinterest.  She has some amazing boards and she is constantly adding new things.  Well one day last week we were looking for inspiration and we started going through her board of fairy furniture and we came across this really cool tiny fountain.  We started to wonder how they did the water and I said 
"Do you think its hot glue?"
Mom said "Maybe"
then I said.  "Should we go try it?"
And off to the studio we scampered. 

Here is the results of our experiment.  After many layers of glue and some blue paint we now have some tiny fountains.  I love how they turned out.  

Keepin It Real... How the Studio Really looks during a Photo Session.

I love taking pictures.  It makes me so happy and this week I got to capture this sweet little girls 1 year old photos on her 1st birthday.  Mom and Grandma brought her out to our place with lots of outfits and accessories.  We had the studio all cleaned up and set up for her pictures.  That lasted about 10 minutes before we had stuff all over.  Quick costume changes, diaper changes, mom changes, add in a kitten and a cupcake and you get quite the experience.  We looked like a tornado had blasted through spreading pink, yellow and sparkly things everywhere.

I had the corner set up with backdrops and lights and as long as we kept throwing in new things to play with she was happy.

 Time for a little break so she makes a run for it.
Being 1 and on the move lets you give the photographer all kinds of new angles.

Thankfully she loved the doll crib we had reinforced last week.  She really loved sitting in it with all the balloons and it was way easier to keep her in the same spot.

Kitten and Cupcake are so much more fun when you are out of the spotlight.
This is the other side of the studio and you can see all the clothes, car seat, chairs and stuffed animals spread out.

Lexie was so much fun to have in the studio and we got some amazing photos and she really stayed in a great mood the whole time.

I hope you enjoy the "behind the scenes" look at how it really looks in our studio during a session.  Thank you to my Mom for having the second camera and capturing all our fun.
  Feel free to like, share and comment.

The Best Apple Pie Ever and the Easiest

My son in law says this is the best pie recipe I have and I keep making it because it is easy and it always turns out. What could be better, even the grand-kids like it, especially with ice cream.

I use a ready maid pie crust because it is quicker and I am not very patient with pie crusts but feel free to make your own if you want. I have found the IGA pie crust to be the best but Pillsbury works well also.

7 cups of sliced apple (about 5 medium apples)
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or bottled
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter

In a bowl toss the apples with the lemon juice and in another bowl add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir  this mixture then add to apples and stir all together.
You should have one pie crust in your pie pan ready to load. You should have taken your pie crust out of the refrigerator and let it sit about 30 minutes before you try and unwrap it. This works better for me.  I spray my pie plate with pam before I put the pie crust in and this seems to help take out the slices better. I also use a deep dish pie pan because it always spills out of the short pie pans.
Put your apple mixture into the pie and dot with the butter in little chunks. Then put the other pie crust on and pinch the edges. Slice holes into top and spread 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water over the top with pastry brush. It will look like to much but it really comes out looking great. Put it on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350 for another 40 -45 minutes. Let the pie cool before cutting.
Enjoy with whip cream or ice cream.

Friday, January 16, 2015

And Behind Door No.1 is.... Keepin it Real Friday the Paint, Glue, Sparkle and Tie Cupboard

Behind these doors is some more of our organized chaos.  I am not sure how all of these items came to be in one cupboard but I know they are there and I know where to look when I need my packaging tape or my spray on glitter.  Here is another glimpse into our creative world.  
I decided to share a few more pictures so you can really see what is going on.

So when you open these doors you get the combo of glues, stencils, string, paint, more glues, blank pads of paper and the overly stuffed "sticker book"

 Here is the packaging, sparkle, glue and accessory shelves

This is the glue, more glue stuff, airbrush supplies and exacto knife kit.

This is the giant book of stickers.  I took a really wide 3 ring binder and filled it with clear sleeves and then stuffed them with stickers in categories like holiday, flowers and valentines, etc. 

This is my rack inside my cupboard.  It holds all my acrylic paints, more gluing materials and stencils.  After looking at these pictures I realize we have a lot of stuff that makes things stick to other stuff....hmmmm

Thanks for taking a look into my "Keepin It Real Friday" post of our studio.
Happy Crafting and May Everything You Make Turn Out Like the Picture in Your Mind

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Winter Garden Planning

It is that time of year when I start getting seed and flower catalogs and I start dreaming about my garden. What do I want to plant this year and what will we eat? I got inspired this year by looking at the photos I had taken last year. I forgot how pretty my garden was. When I go into it I just look at all the weeding that I need to do and the picking and I forget the overall picture. It is very satisfying to walk out the door and pick what you want to go with your dinner. 

Last year was the first time my garden really kept us fed. Having it all in boxes and hay spread around really helped with the weeding. Of course my wonderful oldest son also helped a lot. He would come and visit and weed. He didn't want me bending that much. He already has me in a wheelchair and a granny panties. I keep telling him I am not that old but he feels he has to watch out for me.

  I love the gardening and the planning and looking at the catalogs. I like to buy heirloom seeds and I should probably save my own. I will get that figured out one day. I get my seeds locally so that I know what grows here. We live in a very different valley with many micro-climates I have to think about. This will be my fourth year here and I have been adding compost and hay and leaves to my garden yearly and the soil is looking really good. I have rabbits just so I can put their poop in the garden. The chicken poop goes into the compost pile. 

My only problem with the garden is getting water to it. Last year I set up 4 hoses down to it and a drip system I ran threw most of the boxes and they were on a timer. That seemed to work really well. I just had to remember to go put the water and the timer on. I have three different planting spots outside the garden and I would unhook the main hose and hook it to another one to get each of these. It is a process but it gives me time to enjoy it all and see how the plants are doing. We have a spring feed well and so far water has not been an issue, thank goodness.  I hope everyone is planning their garden and enjoying this time of quiet.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pet Portrait Photo Shoot with Doll Furniture

I love a great a find.  I always feel like I just won a contest when I score a great deal, it feels even better when I find what I am actually looking for and it is super cheap.  Last week we were at a local thrift store and I scored on some super cute doll furniture.  It wasn't tiny doll size it was like small child size doll furniture.  I got a crib, a bed and a chair.  I thought they would be great for photo shoots with little kids or say... some of my animals.  So after getting home and setting up, I enticed some of my cats and kittens to use the new furniture.  Here was the results.

Ash thought this was a purrfect place to rest

In fact Ash seems to really want to pose for the camera

Our kittens Gwynn and Buddy were not as excited about it.

Our big cat Lou just does whatever he wants and refused to stay in bed, but instead stretched out to be petted.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Studio Tour of the Creatively Happy Studio Part 1... The computer station

It was so much fun to share our "keepin it real friday" photo that we have decided to do some videos of our creative space (thanks to a fellow crafters suggestion).  So here is part 1, the computer station where I sit as I type this.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Keepin' it Real Friday ... In the Studio

I love the beautiful magazines full of studio pictures.  I love to scourer all the tiny details and see how people organize.  I even sometimes dream of owning that kind of studio, but lets face reality... at least mine.

My studio can look that good for all of 5 minutes because as soon as it is clean I think of something else to try and before I know it, every surface is full of something.  So instead of being upset about it I decided to share it with the world.  We are going to call "Keepin' It Real Friday" and I plan on showing the reality of our creative world.  The space we create, the mess we make and the outfits we wear on a day to day basis.

What I am hoping is their are others out their like my Mom and I.  The ones who dream of beautiful, clean organized space but in reality create chaos while creating something beautiful to share for the world.

So the idea struck when I had the camera and walked into this.  We have been finishing up a custom order, creating fairy furniture, testing out new props for a photo shoot and recovering from Christmas.

So here is our first post for "Keepin' It Real Friday"  Our studio at our 11 acre hobby farm.  Please feel free to share your own chaos.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Delicious Easy Butternut Squash Soup .. A Family Favorite

Today is a soup day.  You know why today is a soup day, its is because I am home alone and I love to cook during these times.  Its beautiful and sunny outside but not very warm at all.  Everyone around me seems to be sick so I feel like soup is the perfect thing to make them feel better and the perfect thing to do on a chilly winter day.

 I also love to bake during these times, my family loves to eat what I make and I find great satisfaction when they enjoy it even though I only get to watch because I am a suger free, gluten free kind of gal and I have come to terms with it.

My grandkids love my baking, will try my soup but I am pretty sure they consist on cereal right now.  We get four or five boxes in at a time and the milk doesn't even to stay in the fridge long enough to be cold it flies in the cereal bowl so fast, but thats okay because every once in awhile I make something they love and they appreciate it (kinda).

Butternut Squash Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
1 carrot chopped
2 medium potatoes cubed
1 medium butternut  cubed
 1  32  ounce container of chicken stock

Brown all ingredients in butter except broth for about 5 minutes then pour just enough broth over the vegetables to cover them. Bring to a boil then lower heat cover and cook for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Carefully transfer to a blender in small amounts and puree till all are blended. Put back into pan and add the rest of the chicken broth and heat up. Eat and enjoy with a thick slice of bread and butter or not.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

This Overnight Layered Lettuce Salad was a delicious addition to our Christmas Eve dinner.

I love being able to get things ready ahead of time when we have a lot going on so we tried this new salad that could be prepared the night ahead for our Christmas Eve dinner and it turned out delicious.

Overnight salad from Taste of Home magazine

1 medium head iceberg lettuce torn ( I used butter crunch lettuce)
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium red onion sliced thin and separated into rings
2 cups frozen peas ( about 10 0z.)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tblsp. sugar
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
12 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 avocado

1. In a 3 qt. or circular glass bowl, layer first five ingredients.
In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise and sugar; spoon over salad spreading it around to cover all.
2. Sprinkle top with cheese, bacon, cranberries and cover, then refrigerate overnight.
3. Win serving add the avocado cut up into pieces  over the whole salad.

16 servings at 1 cup each

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone, here we are looking at another year gone by to quickly. It seems the older I get the faster they go. I remember being a kid and the years moving like slugs, they couldn't go fast enough for me. Now I wish they would slow down and let me catch up. Don't you feel like you are always trying to catch up?

With what I do not know, but I am still trying.  Some days I think I wonder what I want to be when I grow up and then it hits me, Oh Yeah I am grown up and past it a few years ago. Oh well, it is all in your head anyways and I am still the young hippie I once was.

I got this really good quote today in my daily quotes and I would like to share it with you.

  "I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. Your're doing things you've never done before, and more  importantly, you're doing something."  By Neil Gaiman. I really thought this fit me.

Well now I am off to make some more fairy furniture and enjoy this beautiful sunshine we are having this morning. Happy New Year all.
My sisters and I last summer in Winthrop.

Night Before Breakfast Casserole was a Huge Success

On Christmas Eve we always have family over to stay the night and be here when everyone wakes up in the morning.  Each year I have tried a new recipe for an easy morning breakfast that I can make the night ahead.  None so far have been that delicious until this year.  I tried this new recipe from the Taste of Home Magazine and everyone loved it.  It was fairly easy to make the night before and we were able to use our farm fresh eggs for the recipe.  I think this one will be used over and over throughout the coming year.

Holiday Brunch Casserole   from Taste of Home Magazine

4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed ( used hash browns you find in the bacon section fresh and they worked fine.)
1 pound pork sausage, cooked and drained ( I used one package Jimmy Dean original)
1/2 pound bacon strips cooked and crumbled
1 medium green pepper chopped
1 green onion chopped
2 cups (8oz) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs
3 cups 2% milk
1 cup reduced-fat biscuit/baking mix ( I used Gluten free baking mix)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, sausage, bacon, green pepper and green onion; stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese.
Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
2. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk,baking mix and salt until blended; pour over top of potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
Refrigerate, covered overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove casserole from refrigerator while oven heats. Bake, uncovered, 30 -35 minutes or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean.
Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Serves 12