Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Totally Unoriginal [BACK TO SCHOOL} Teacher Gifts and a personal update

Hello my friends.  Wow- its been WAY too long since I've written.  If you didn't see it before, my little family moved.  We have had an awesome opportunity to help a family member out- while being helped ourselves and now we live in a beautiful house in Issaquah, WA.  We'll be working on all sorts of fun home-improvements projects to get Kyle's childhood home ready to sell over the next year- I am excited to share them with you all!

Among-st the mess of moving, [BACK TO SCHOOL] has been on my mind, even though I only have a few close to me participating in this exciting time.  I was going to take some time to round up some of my favorite [BACK TO SCHOOL] teacher gifts, but there are SO many good round-ups already out there, I figured... why reinvent the wheel!?  Right??

So, sharing from one of my favorite blogs- Lil' Luna- 15+ Back to School Gifts! (Click the image to head over to her round-up)

Think of how special your child's' new teacher will feel when receiving such a thoughtful handcrafted gift... it will get you started off on the RIGHT foot!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My First Curated Collection

I am a Looksi Square Curator.  That means, once a quarter I get to put together a collection of what I consider to be the finest of ANYTHING.  I've been loving the idea of chillin' in the evenings this autumn in the back yard, by the fire, with yummy food, drink and a beautiful atmosphere so I decided to use that as a theme for my first Curated Collection:

The look, feel, and taste of this setting is what I will be creating with this collection of other blogger's DIY posts, stay tuned until Friday!

p.s.  Our little family is in the process of a BIG move- my apologies for being more absent than I'd like for the last little bit and through the end of this month.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that we can get everything done!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How I {Ombre'} & our Late Summer Mantle

Ombre' was all the hot talk for a while there {maybe it still is?!}... but the only way I ever really got into the style was through my painted signs.  I've experimented with blending colors to create a Ombre' look with many colors now, and always LOVE how it turns out.
Here's what I do:

I start with 4 equal sized wood boards, sanded smooth with finished edges.  You could experiment with different sizes, as well!

I pour a good sized amount of paint in a paper plate.  [side note: I LOVE the paint mistake section at hardware stores!!!  Have not heard of it?!  Well, you need to find it!  Most of the time there is a shelf behind the back side of the paint mixing counter where you will find all different sizes of "paint mistakes".  They are priced amazingly and you will often find fun colors that freaked someone out and they decided not to buy.  My lovely husband is such a good sport letting me buy 1 or 2 almost every time we go to the hardware store... consequently I have a pretty fun selection of paint colors in the garage!  You need to check it out if you have not already.]  I always start with the color as it comes out of the can for the first board.

It is important to get a really good coat on the first time, because you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DUPLICATE THESE COLORS to paint a second coat.  Make sure you don't miss any spots!

Then, I add a small amount of either a light or dark base depending on if I want a darker color or lighter.  I went with a cream for this project.

Stir it around well (I use disposable foam brushes) and then paint the next board.  You want it to be a subtle change in color, but enough to notice.

Now you just repeat that process 2 more times (or however many Ombre' shades you are going for).

And you end up with this...

I usually start and end with my two mixing colors so there are two MIXED colors in the middle- but there are no RIGHT ways to do Ombre'... just have fun!

Here's what my sign looked like all put together-

And here's a shot of the back so you can see how I hold them all together.  I do have a KREG Jig- that I could use to pocket hole screw them together- but this was a just a quick project- (I usually make a sign for every mantle change- so it has to be quick).

I wanted to use this sign to pull together some beautiful finds from the Sequim Lavender Weekend we brought home for a Late Summer Mantle.  I roughed up the edges a bit and added some vinyl.  Then a tied a quick burlap bow and glued together a mini paper bunting!

Here's how it all came together- Fresh Lavender, Bunnies, unique Urns, Wine Corks and Wicker Balls- all somehow say "Celebrating Late Summer" to me!

I'd love to hear about or see How YOU Ombre'- please share with comments!

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

{Quinoa Chicken Salad}

the bunch had the opportunity to apply to blog for Bountiful Baskets... and we are SO excited!  I love to cook, but busy life often means creativity in the kitchen is slacking.  If we are selected to blog for them, it will FORCE me to start getting creative again and THAT MAKES ME EXCITED!!

Applying for the position alone has already stirred some creativity- today when I got home with my basket, I had already come up with the idea of using the uncooked single chicken breast [that has been sitting in the fridge for most of the week, with out a purpose] and the quinoa that hasn't gotten eaten up yet along with my basket contents to pull together a Chicken Salad!

Here's my list of ingredients:

  • 6 oz of Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 2 Celery Stocks 
  • 1/2 small Red Onion
  • Butter Lettuce Leaves
  • 1/2 cup Cottage Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Mrs. Dash

Here's how I made it:

First I trimmed up my Chicken Breast and cut it in half.  Laid it in a hot pan and added Salt and Pepper.  Then I added about 1/4 cup water in the bottom of the pan and covered with a lid.  I wanted the chicken to stay really moist and didn't want to add any oil to the pan, so this is a great way to achieve that!

While my chicken was cooking, I prepared my celery by washing, then tearing back the top so it breaks off and rip it backwards down the stock to peel off most of the chewy strings.

Then I cut them into long skinny strips and chopped it up fine.

I chopped up the red onion as well, but did it a little smaller (I'm not a huge fan of chomping into a LARGE piece of raw onion in any type of food).  

When the chicken was done cooking, I chopped it up into small chunks.  Then, in a bowl I combined all of the ingredients.  If your mixed salad is looking a little dry still, add another spoonful or so of Greek Yogurt.

I plucked off 4 leaves of of butter lettuce and washed and dried them.  Laid 2 leaves on top of each other and spooned about 1/2 cup of the salad mixture into the lettuce leaves.  


I hope you love this recipe as much as I did.   It made enough for me to have for 3 lunches- and the flavors developed even more each day- it got Yummier and Yummier!

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