Friday, July 25, 2014

My final American Crafts DT gallery project

So, just to let you in on a bit of my 'real life' around here. A few weeks ago, I found out that I was not invited to be on the American Crafts design team for the next year. I knew it would be a long shot, as the team is going through a huge restructuring for the upcoming term, which I'm sure you'll find out about soon, but I can't pretend that I wasn't disappointed.

My first thoughts were that I just wasn't 'good enough.' No idea what the hell 'good enough' really means, but I thought that I just wasn't it when it came to my creative work. I also regretted not posting more- here on this blog and on my Instagram feed. Maybe if I had done more social media sharing, I would have gotten an invite?

But in the end, I have to look at it this way- I am a mother to an 18 month old who doesn't sit still for one minute. I am a wife to a recent MBA grad who has been locked in his office for the past year writing papers, on top of his 50 hour-a-week job. I am a chauffeur for my former 25-weeker, who has multiple specialist appointments every month, on top of her recent hospital stays- one in which she was on life support for 7 days.

I did the absolute best that I could do for the past 12 months. 

I learned a lot and really grew creatively. 

I was 'good enough' to make the team in the first place, so I should be extremely proud of myself.

And that keeps me going.

For my final DT gallery project, I decided to make a mini album highlighting my term, from the invitation email I received, to a blank page for my final blog post, due later this month. All of the products are listed at the bottom of the post, but if you have a specific product to ask me about, please send me an email. Creating this mini album was a cathartic release for me. I really needed to have something that I could hold in my hands that would make me proud of my past year on this team, and this is exactly what I got when I created this.

I appreciate all of the lovely comments I've already received on Instagram. Thank you so much for your support. I can't wait to see what the future holds!

'AC Design Team Mini Album' Supplies:

Daybook (366083)- Cut & Paste, Blossom Paper (366042)- Cut & Paste, 6x6 Paper Pad (366214)-Polka Dot Party, Good Stuff Clear Acrylic Stamps (366078)- Cut & Paste, Cardstock Stickers (366840)- Plus One, Adhesive Layered Prize Ribbon (683430)- Styleboard, Cardstock Stickers (331982)- Wanderlust, Flag Clips (332142)- Essentials, Alpha Stickers (332126)- Essentials, Alpha Stickers (332123)- Essentials, Accent & Phrase Stickers (366776)- Daydreamer, Puffy Stickers (366842)- Plus One, Fabric Corners (366067)- Cut & Paste, Cardstock Sticker Book (366066)- Cut & Paste, Stitched Vellum Pockets (366071)- Cut & Paste, Flair Badges (85624)- Yes Please, Epoxy Stickers (366198)- Polka Dot Party, Transparent Letter Stickers (42254)- Yes Please, Die Cut Tags (366069)- Cut & Paste, Large Tags (366206)- Polka Dot Party, Rub On Transfers (683437)- Styleboard, Label Stickers (366197)- Polka Dot Party, Stitched Title Cards (366790)- Daydreamer, Ephemera Pack (683385)- Oh Darling, Gold Patterned Washi Tape (366613)- DIY Shop, Scene Thickers (53465)- DIY Shop, Gold Punchinella Vellum (331815)- Lemonlush, Gold Stickers (683419)- Styleboard, Die-Cut Cardstock Shapes (366068)- Cut & Paste, Rub-On Transfers (366076)- Cut & Paste

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What We're Eating Wednesday: Grilled Veggie Pizza

I've decided to revitalize my "What We're Eating Wednesday" posts since food and meal planning are such a big part of my life. Today I'm sharing a Grilled Veggie Pizza, that's adapted from this Martha Stewart Living recipe.

Grilled Veggie Pizza

Flour, for dusting
1 lb. store-bought pizza dough (I use the fresh dough sold at Whole Foods)
2 tomatoes, seeded and sliced or a bunch of cherry tomatoes cut up into quarters
3 thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts separated
4 oz. log of goat cheese
A couple of handfuls of baby spinach or arugula
1 avocado
1 red bell pepper
6 asparagus stalks
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar

First, heat up your grill and throw one washed red bell pepper on over high heat. If you're anything like me, you forget about things on the grill, which in this case is a plus. You want your bell pepper to be charred on all sides, so turn it over every 10 minutes or so. You can do this step the day beforehand to make the rest of the pizza come together in a flash. After your bell pepper is blackened, stick it in a small paper bag and let it sit for 15 minutes. The steam will help the skin peel away from the flesh, which makes it super easy to peel.

Next, flour a surface and use a rolling pin to roll and stretch the pizza dough into two separate oval pizzas. Sometimes this process can take a while, especially if your dough is cold. Once you have the shapes right, sprinkle some olive oil on one side of each pizza and rub it in with your hands. Throw the oiled side down on the grill, turning it down to medium. At the same time, throw your 6 asparagus stalks, which you've sprinkled with more olive oil, on the grill as well. My pizza cooked about 7 minutes per side- once you see nice grill marks, it should be done. Take the pizza off and put it on an oiled sheet tray with the uncooked side down. Once your asparagus stalks are green and crisp-tender, take those off too.

Now you get to top your pizzas. Split the goats cheese in half and crumble each half on top of each pizza. Next, deseed and cut up your tomatoes and distribute evenly, followed by roasted red pepper strips, then asparagus pieces and white scallions. Sprinkle the top with a bit of salt and pepper and slide those babies back on the grill with the uncooked side down.

While you're waiting for those to grill off, throw some spinach or arugula into a bowl with the rest of your scallions and a diced avocado. Top with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and 2 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar and toss to distribute the dressing. Take your pizzas off the grill and you should have nice grill marks on the bottom, as well as some gooey goat's cheese on top. Divide your salad mixture between the two pizzas and voila, dinner is done.

I make my crusts quite thin, so my pizzas were big enough for lunch leftovers. Enjoy & let me know if you try out the recipe!

Monday, July 21, 2014

United Kingdom 2014: A Welsh Wedding

Last month, we went on an extended trip for a week in Paris and two weeks visiting friends and family in the U.K. I'm planning on highlighting some of the highlights from our trip here on the blog in the coming weeks.
We had originally planned to spend one week in the U.K., but when we found out a family friend was getting married the following weekend, we extended our trip by a week and planned to meet my in-laws in Wales to spend the weekend together celebrating.

The wedding took place in a beautiful church in Newport, and from there we drove out to a field outside of Fishguard where the reception was held in a marquee surrounded by green fields and teepee tents set up for the hardcore partiers. After the rain cleared, the sky was amazing, and the setting was lovely- perfect for photos. Lizzy began walking on this trip, and I was so excited to capture some wonderful photos that really show her personality blooming at 17 months (13-1/2 months adjusted). Not to mention that I love her in that J. Crew mint tutu skirt and her sparkly gold Toms.


I have so many of the photos from this event flagged. It's rare for us to be dressed up and in such a picturesque setting! I decided to scrap my favorite photo from the day right away for the American Crafts August DT gallery. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I'm still here... and I'm thinking about this blog.

After a long three week vacation in Paris and jaunting around the U.K. visiting friends and family, it has taken me much longer to get into the swing of things than I would like. My house is a wreck, my to-do list is long and all of the things that I want to do have taken a backseat, including this blog. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about blogging and how I want my blogging process to change for the future. In the past week, I had a huge, massive, gigantic creative disappointment and it has made me take a look around at my whole creative process, including how I share it, through social media and here on this blog.  I seem to have lost my voice and my purpose on this space of mine, and I'm currently trying to figure out how to get both back. I've been listening to Elise Blaha Cripe's podcasts, as she chats quite frequently about blogging, and I was struck by episode 16, where she talks about blogging with Cortnee Loren. Around six minutes into the chat Elise says,

"That's what I tell people when they get stuck with their blog, or they start not liking their blog. They're just kind of over it."

Yep. That would be me... 

"I just say, if you're over it, 'Write for the audience you want. I mean, obviously, write for yourself, but if you feel like you've hit a wall, forget about all these topics that are boring you. Go to new ones and things that are exciting you again and your audience is going to find you based on that."

I think where I went wrong with my blog was when I labeled it as a 'scrapbooking blog', so when I wasn't creating, or I couldn't share my design team work, I felt like I didn't have anything to write about. I thought that my readers also labeled my blog as a 'scrapbooking blog' and would only want to come here for scrapbooking layouts, period. I'd forgotten that in the past, the most visited posts were ones about what I cooked for dinner on Wednesday or Lizzy's premature birth at 25 weeks. What I'd like to happen here is for scrapbooking to be more like 25% of the content, with family, food (which has been scarce here lately, although clearly, I have been eating) and other life stuff making up the other 75%.

So... I'm going to take Elise's advice and just write about what interests me now. However, I'd also like to know what interests you too. In the blogs that you subscribe to, what posts do you most enjoy? Purely out of interest.

Here's to a new outlook my friend.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Elle's Studio June Kit Launch

The Elle's Studio June launch is live now and it's one you don't want to miss! Not only is the June kit available, but also a new mini kit, extras and cut files!

This kit is perfect for documenting the start of summer activities and the bright colors are sure to stand out on your layout, card or Project Life layout.

This month, I created a layout featuring the June kit and the new Shine collection, which is currently in the Elle's Studio shop.

I have to say, I am in love with the new washi tape stamp set, as well as the exclusive wood veneer this month. I colored them using water-based markers and rubbed off the color as needed with a baby wipe to make them match the tags on my layout. 

The additional products this month include a clear stamp set, an awesome 'Fun In The Sun' wood veneer and 'This Week' Snippets.

If you're a foodie like me, you definitely don't wan to miss the 'Foodie' mini collection, which includes tags, stamps & wood veneer, perfect for documenting your latest culinary triumph (or fail.)

To sweeten the deal just a bit more, Elle is offering free shipping! Make sure you use your code at checkout to stock up on the June kit and new Shine collection!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Antiquing at Marburger Farm (with a layout!)

On the first weekend of April, Simon didn't have MBA class & (miraculously) didn't have a paper to write, so we decided to check out Texas Antique Weekend at Marburger Farm. It was our first proper road trip with the three of us, although it was relatively short. The day was absolutely beautiful, and the Texas wildflowers- Bluebonnet and Indian Paintbrush- were out in full force. It took us about an hour to get to Warrenton, our first stop on the nearly seven mile stretch of straight-up antiques. To see it all would take one serious antiquer! 

Warrenton's fields along SH-237 were packed with rows of tents filled with antiques, as well as a lot of rusty junk and when we arrived, we found it a bit overwhelming. Before we went, we had heard that Marburger was the place to go for high-end furniture & antiques, but we thought we would give Warrenton a try. After a couple of hours of browsing, we realized that these vendors just didn't have what we were looking for- furniture that wasn't shabby chic or painted. 

Before we left Warrenton, we stopped for some barbecue. We then fought the bumper-to-bumper traffic to drive the two mile stretch to Marburger. 

After parking, we went into the first tent & knew right away that this was more our speed.  Each booth was laid out like a shop, and some were pretty impressively designed. In the first booth, we found the exact piece of furniture we were looking for, a Georgian mahogany chest for our front hall. It took about five minutes for us to decide to buy it, especially after the seller threw in free delivery.

We only made it to three tents at Marburger before everything shut down, but I made it a point to stop at Jenni Bowlin's booth. It was such a pleasure meeting her, she & her husband are so sweet. Her booth was pretty awesome too! 

Before heading out, we took a family selfie- one of my favorites so far this year!

On the way out, we decided that in the fall, we would skip Warrenton and go straight to Marburger. 
I already can't wait until October! Since we had such an awesome time together, I made a scrapbook page about the day for one of my June American Crafts DT gallery layouts.

American Crafts Supplies: Ticket to Ride Paper (366039)- Cut & Paste, Awesome Sauce Paper (366047)- Cut & Paste, Blossom Paper (366042)- Cut & Paste, Alpha Stickers (366064)- Cut & Paste, Acrylic Stamps (366078)- Cut & Paste, Rotary Stamp (366080), Rub-Ons (366076)- Cut & Paste, Paper Leaves (85592)- Ready Set Go, Stitched Vellum Shapes (85628)- Yes Please, Thickers (366833)- Plus One, Tag Stickers (366838)- Plus One

Other Supplies: Ephemera Cardstock Die-Cuts (Crate Paper Close Knit Collection), Stitched Layered Borders (Crate Paper Close Knit Collection), Metal Flair (Basic Grey Carte Postale Collection)

Thanks for stopping by! Have you ever been to Texas Antique Weekend? What would your ideal antique find be?