Month : March 2011

up next – a photo wall

At the start of 2011, I made a list of home projects to tackle. The list has evolved and changed a bit since then, but I'm still trying to get some things crossed off since my first (and only) burst of productivity back in January.

For the month of April, my focus is to get started on a photo wall. I've been going through pictures and keeping a folder of my very favorites from the past few years. Lots of good memories. I also want to incorporate a couple of framed non-photo items – a monogram or a quote or two. I have a couple of frames on hand already, but I don't want them too "matchy" so acquiring them all will be a little bit of a process. I also don't want to break the bank on this project, so I'm hoping I can score some clearance finds here and there and maybe have some luck at Goodwill. I am still deciding WHERE this photo wall will take shape, but until then, I'm getting inspired by these fun walls…

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Photo Credit

Love the display of this oversized colorful photo.

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I have no idea where I found this – and googling the file name doesn't bring up anything…but isn't this cool?! LOVE it.

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Love me some Tara Whitney photography and her photo walls rock.

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I could forego the frames altogether and print photos canvases, as they've done here at the studio of Drescher Photo & Design (check them out if you are in the IC area and need a photog – they are amazing!) It would be a bit more pricey, but it seems like I'm always getting coupons from my favorite printers. It would be fun to mix black and white with color photos like they've done here.

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I had originally envisioned white mats with black frames, but I like the freshness of all white as shown here on Young House Love – also love the less traditional, asymetrical arrangement.

So many fun directions to go in…we'll see what evolves! 🙂

summer goal: calligraphy

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Every summer, I set out to accomplish a goal. A couple of years ago it was to try cake decorating. Last year it was to try and refinish a piece of furniture. This year, I want to try my hand (pun intended) at calligraphy. I love fonts and designing things on the computer, but I've become so reliant on my computer that my own handwriting leaves a lot to be desired. In such a digital world, the art of fine handwriting is becoming a lost art and I'd love to ressurect it a bit for my own purposes.

I've always loved the look of calligraphy – all different kinds. I still have the envelope our pastor mailed our marriage certificate to us in, just because it has our names in gorgeous calligraphy on the outside. And how beautiful is that envelope above? Loooove it. And even if I am never good enough to write out an ENTIRE address….I would be happy to settle for a single word or two for a fun project like this one.

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Not sure yet if I'm going to buy a book, a DVD, or take a class, although there's a great one offered here, that a friend pointed out to me. Anyone interested in going with me? 🙂

seeing green…

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No, I'm not seeing green OUTSIDE around here (a last-minute snowfall occurred last night…grr!). So instead, I'm working INSIDE to channel some Spring in our living room.

I've wanted to tackle this project for a while, and assuming Mother Nature will play nice and provide me some warm weekends in the near future, I'm hoping I can get this accomplished soon.

While I'm waiting for painting-friendly temperatures, I've been checking out hardware for this little makeover. Behold, the "knob aisle" at Hobby Lobby….

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I liked these at first glance, but it's funny how different worlds collide. The same day I saw these, I came across this Young House Love post about monster eye knobs. Hmm…maybe not after all.

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I still like a classic black hammered look…

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…but I could also see something totally funky. (Damn you, iPhone for never focusing when I want to take on-the-fly, up close shots).

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So then I headed over to the other mecca of all things knob-related…Anthropologie.

It's so hard to narrow down. I love them all!

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…and this one isn't right for this project, but I'm determined to find a spot for it. Love it!

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Hoping to be back soon (ish) with pics of the final product!

 

 

 

success.

 
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A little over a year ago, I discovered the wonders of hiding pureed vegetables in favorite dishes. While Page will eat his share of greens, cauliflower is not on his list of "okay" veggies. I, on the other hand LOVE cauliflower, and who can't use the fiber and vitamin C?

Anyway, I started with this recipe and it was definitely tasty. But tonight, I tried a new version…and it's official. I have replaced my old "hide the cauliflower in the macaroni" recipe with a new "OMG this is AMAZINGLY cheesy and still 'light' macaroni AND it has hidden cauliflower?! Unbelievable!" version.

Dramatic? Yes. But true? YES.

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I originally tore this recipe out of Food Network Magazine a few months ago, but it has since appeared on their website. The online version is available here. I pretty much stuck to the recipe, although our muenster cheese is the reduced fat kind from Trader Joes. And I was a teeny bit short on sharp cheddar, so I added a bit of shredded sharp WHITE cheddar.

Will this really serve 6 people? I would say yes, provided you serve it with a salad or something light on the side. It definitely makes quite a bit!

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Soooo cheesy (and there's almost a whole head of cauliflower in there!). Even though he had figured out my hide-the-veggie scheme, Page not only dug in, but got up for seconds! Success! 🙂

once a girl scout…always a girl scout.

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Ah the days of being a Brownie. I remember being SO proud to fill up my sash with patches from different accomplishments and it was ALL about a trip to JCPenney at the start of each school year to pick out some new accessory to wear to school on meeting day. Our troop (88! I still remember!) was all about our uniforms. 🙂

Sadly, there are no girl scouts in my life right now, and recently I saw all kinds of facebook posts about girl scout cookies being delivered. Insert jealous open-mouthed face here. Hello?! Someone hook me up!

If you know of a girl scout in the Des Moines area, please send her my way come cookie time next year. I am more than happy to buy a stash off of her! Until then, however…I’m making my own Thin Mints! (Ooh don’t those two little words just make your mouth water?)

While there are several recipes floating around out there on the internet, I went with this version.

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2 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp peppermint extract, divided
16 ounces semisweet chocolate

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer, adding egg and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, then reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and beat until combined.

Roll dough into two, 10-inch logs. Wrap in parchment and refrigerate for a min of 2 hours. Heat oven to 350°F. Slice dough crosswise into 1/8-inch thick coins, and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 11 minutes.

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Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely and set aside baking sheets to cool. While cookies cool, place chocolate in a double boiler, or in my case, I used a glass mixing bowl over a saucepan of barely-boiling water.

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Stir occasionally until glossy and smooth. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract and reduce heat to low so that coating will retain its consistency.

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I wish there was a “scratch ‘n’ sniff” feature on blogs….because at this point the chocolate and peppermint extract was smelling aMAZing…..

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Drop cookies into the melted chocolate mixture one at a time, and use tongs to coat each one, shaking gently to remove any excess coating. Place coated cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate or freeze until set.

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I must have been too liberal with the chocolate coating, because I was running pretty low by the time the last tray came out of the oven. So instead of completely coating the last batch, I drizzled what was left over them. Still PLENTY chocolatey! 🙂 To store these, stick them in an airtight container in the freezer.

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ENJOY!! 🙂

Linking up today with BeColorful’s Motivated Monday:

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big changes in the works…

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Here's a very small sneak peek at a big project in the works. As I hinted at earlier, Everything Yellow is getting a bit of a makeover…and a new name! I'm really looking forward to simplifying and streamlining my personal blogging and my Liz Ink & Paper work. It's been a busy past few weeks and for a bit, the remodel was placed on the back burner. Thanks to Page's "gentle" reminders to get going (he had some rare free time so I had to jump at the chance!), I got down to work this weekend and created all kinds of ideas for him to work with.

It's been a while since Page and I have collaborated on a project and it has been so much fun to do so again. It's funny, we have both learned so much since the last time we worked together – he is pushing me to try some new things and think outside of the box. He has so many great ideas I would never have even thought of. The dude is GOOD! 🙂 It does help the process along that he doesn't have to dream up the concepts – I just keep plugging away at artwork and layouts and I yell for his input every couple of hours to see if I'm asking for anything impossible. Then the real magic will happen…I'll hand my art files over to him and he'll do his wizard coding thing and it will all become a real, live website! (It still amazes me).

I've never done much artwork for web, outside of a handful of blog banners – there's a whole new world of design perspective out there! I've been playing with designing funky search bars, buttons, and customized social media icons. Such a fun new creativity push and it's awesome to feel that rush when you know you're learning something brand new.

And of course I have to plug for the better half of this operation…if you're looking for an AMAZING web designer, contact the guru himself at page@pagesmithdesign.com.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the big reveal!! 🙂

the cure for shin splints.

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After several months of recurring shin splints, I’ve figured out the solution. It’s simple. Really.

Just mix lots of ice sessions with lots of rest, a ton of stretches and strengthening exercises, books on changing your running form, different shoes, countless toe taps and heel walks, special inserts, an occasional dose of Ibuprofen, subtract the track, add a treadmill, add incline to reduce stress, wear way-too-expensive compression socks, and go at a snail’s pace gradually adding speeding and distance. Repeat. Repeat. Then repeat some more. Expect results no sooner than six weeks, minimum.

See? Simple. 😉

No, it hasn’t been easy or fast at ALL, but after a lot of trial and error, I’m happy to report that finally, after weeks and weeks of repeating week 1 of Couch to 5K, I finally kicked the shin splints, hopefully for good!

Switching from track to treadmill made a huge difference, as did the shoes. I think what finally did it though was the massive amounts of stretching and strengthening, and trying out this concept called PATIENCE (not something I was ever blessed with naturally). I will say that while they are crazy expensive, these socks feel AMAZING to run in or wear after a run, and I think they’ve played a role in keeping new splints at bay. Worth every penny.

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I’ve set my sights on a 5k again for this year and I refuse to walk a single step of it! I’m at the end of week 3 in the 9-week program, running the equivalent of a mile a day right now. Still have a long way to go to hit 3.1 but it feels great to be able to make any kind of progress finally, pain-free! I realize a 5k is a simple warm up for most die hard runners, but for me, I will be celebrating all-out. This has been something I’ve wanted to do for so long, and after I’d heard “you just might not be able to ever run”, I’m beyond psyched that I can after all!

Next up…going from clean white shoes and treadmill running to taking my runs outside…can you feel it? Spring really is going to come after all! 🙂