Friday, January 27, 2012

Daily Art - Foto Friday (Week 3)

Three weeks in and I'm hitting my stride.  I'm constantly scanning my surroundings for photo ideas and even have a little list going on my phone.  I'm encouraged that I'm trying some new things and finding inspiration in new places.  I was half anticipating that it be a chore to remember to take a photo every day but I'm actually enjoying taking the time each day to find something to capture.  My week has a bit of an Asian theme, inspired by Chinese New Year.  Enjoy!

Mahjong on 365 Project Carrot Cake on 365 Project Enlightened on 365 Project Mah-Mah on 365 Project Shepherd's Delight on 365 Project Hey DJ! on 365 Project Ascent on 365 Project

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Daily Review - That Pinterest thing

Pinterest was a thing I'd heard of but had no idea what it was about.  I was feeling a little late to the game on that one.  However, my sister-in-law sent me an invite earlier this week and, now that I've had a couple of days to play around with it, well...let's just say I dig it.  :)

As you can see - I'm just starting out!

Over the years, I have amounted a huge number of browser bookmarks with things that I think were interesting or cool.  I've also let a lot of information slide, and now I wish I could remember where those things were - tutorials, recipes, tips, patterns.  Even worse was looking down the extensive list of bookmarks and trying to remember based on the name of the website, or the little title I gave it, why I bookmarked it in the first place. This is why Pinterest is my new love.

Now I can categorize, save a nice little description, but also include a picture - all using the little "pin it" button on my browser toolbar.  I can share the "pins" with my friends (and other random Pinterest members who happen across them).  I can see what other people are interested in, plus I feel like it's another venue to share my own recipes or tutorials that I may have created.  Seriously, it's not like I need another social networking venue to spend my time, but it's pretty fun, and may actually be useful (unless that's just my way of validating time spent on it!)

Follow Me on Pinterest

Monday, January 23, 2012

Daily Dish - Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake on 365 ProjectHaving mastered the pumpkin muffins that I shared last year, round 2 in my mission to learn how to bake is carrot cake.  Yes, I could have gone for something less involved, but where's the fun in that?  I'm still amazed that I actually made this, didn't burn it, or have it collapse on me.  It's not the most beautiful thing I've ever produced (i.e. I have no frosting skills) but it tastes damn good, so we'll call it a success!

I reviewed quite a few recipes online and read some of the comments/suggestions, and came up with the following recipe. Enjoy...

Carrot Cake

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans
8oz can pineapple (drained)
1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and
    flour two 9" pans.  
  2. Beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking
    powder, salt, and cinnamon until
  4. Stir in carrots, raisin and pineapple.
    (I included a couple of teaspoons of
    the pineapple juice).
  5. Fold in pecans.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes (until toothpick
    comes out clean).
  7. Cool in pan for 10 mins, then
    transfer to cooling rack to let cool
  8. Frost!  (I used a cream cheese
    frosting recipe that I also found
    online, below).


1/2 cup butter
8oz cream cheese
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Next up, I'll probably go back to something more basic. I sense an oatmeal raisin cookie in my future...once I've eaten all the carrot cake that is!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Daily Art - Foto Friday (Week 2)

Another week gone already?! This month seems to be flying by - although not sure if that's just because I've been super busy and done a lot of running around. Regardless, I'm back with Foto Friday to document my progress with the 365 Photography Project.  I feel like I'm getting into my groove with this, and really trying out some new things - both on camera and with a little bit of Photoshop magic.

Hoping you all have a fun weekend planned!

Reflect Upon on 365 Project
Front & Behind on 365 Project
From The Rooftop on 365 Project
Leroy on 365 Project
Little Tiger on 365 Project
Frond on 365 Project
Stop The Hate on 365 Project

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Daily Review - City Quilts

I was really excited to discover that the book "City Quilts" by Cherri House is now available in my local library.  When I first heard about the book, I had a suspicion that it would appeal to me and, WOW, was I right!  Prior to this, I've never opened a pattern book of any kind before and actually wanted to make every single one of the designs inside.  City Quilts for the win.

While I'm still very much a beginning quilter, I've already concluded that simple blocks with bold colors appeal the most to me right now.  Not that I don't admire more country-style quilting, but I'm an urban girl at heart.  City Quilts ties together traditional blocks with a modern twist, also adding a fabulous sense of color.  I particularly liked how she uses solid colors to highlight the designs - perfect for someone like me who gets easily confused about whether patterned fabrics look too busy together.  I very much enjoyed looking over the section within the book discussing color, including examples of various color schemes, shades and tones.  While I love the color schemes that she uses for the designs in this book, I can visualize how switching the color scheme would produce a completely different (but equally striking) effect.

The patterns themselves are very easy to follow, with clear directions and diagrams to help with block assembly and construction.  I'm sure that some of the information is probably unnecessary for more experienced quilters, but I know that I appreciate the reminders on how to do things, which way to press seams and so on.  There is actually a wealth of technique discussed in the book, which allows it to be a stand-alone guide for this particular quilting journey.  I appreciated Cherri's discussion on how she designs and gathers her inspiration.  It makes me feel like I can do the same (although I'm also sure I'm not there just yet myself!) 

So, in summary....

- I would make all of these quilts!
- This holds a lot of appeal for a beginner like me who has somewhat mastered the rotary cutter and can sew in straight lines
- Makes me think about traditional quilt blocks in a new light
- Really highlights how fancy patterned fabrics aren't necessary for a truly striking end result
- Easy to follow with nice discussion of various techniques along the way

Having gone through this book, I'm also happy to say that I've now decided how I want to quilt the top, which has been hibernating in a plastic bag since I finished piecing it together late last year.  I couldn't decide on which would be the best color thread to quilt with, or if the design I had in my head made any sense.  This book has given me the confidence to go with my instinct - let's hope it works out!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Daily Art - Foto Friday

So that you can all see what I've been up to with my Project 365 photography adventure, I'm going to try and start doing "my week in photos" each Friday.  That will be a picture from every day each week...I hope you enjoy it and would love to hear which are you favorites!

Glowing on 365 Project

Lookout on 365 Project

Road To Nowhere on 365 Project

Success! on 365 Project

Lunar on 365 Project

A Toast on 365 Project

Service Please on 365 Project

Deuce on 365 Project

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Home again!

I'm back, after weeks of neglecting this blog!  My holiday traveling is finally done with and it's good to be home.  My parents head back to England today and it was so nice to see them.  Having said that, I haven't slept in my own bed at all in the last 5 days - the thought of sleeping on my pillow, with the cat between my feet so I can't move, and husband snoring in my right ear is blissful. 

Time with my family...worth the madness!
As a result of having been driving between states, I've officially done nothing particularly crafty at all in the last couple of weeks.  I've been keeping up with my 365 Project and taking a photo every day (which I will share once I have everything caught up), but sorely neglecting my knitting, my jewelry, even my cooking.  I definitely need to get my mojo back across the board!

On that note, I leave you with a promise of lots to come....once I get some sleep that is!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Daily Art - Project 365

So after informing you all that I wasn't planning any specific resolutions for this year, yesterday my dear friend Holly suckered me into one.  Not sure if any of you have heard of Project 365, but the goal is to take a picture every single day for a year.  My first thought was "holy crap, that's quite the commitment", but then I acknowledged the fact that as an aspiring photographer (with a new camera I might add), it's something I really should do.  With any luck it will inspire my creativity and I know it'll be amazing to look back over my photos at the end of the year.  The only thing I'm already bummed about is that my first picture is from Jan 4th instead of being on the 1st - I didn't take a single picture of any kind of 3 days?!  I'm going to have to let that one go though as it wouldn't feel right to cheat and log pictures not actually taken on the days in question. 

Last night, I grabbed the camera with the intent of snapping my first picture and was completely lost for a good 10 minutes while I tried to figure out what random household object to take a photo of.  [Deuce wasn't cooperating, so there went that idea.]  That's when it struck me that photographing my 50mm lens for the start of a year long photography project seemed quite fitting...and so it begins.

I'll be providing updates on this project along the way, and you can also check out my photo feed here, through  Let me know if any of you want to join in so we can follow each other's feed!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Happy New Year! (A Recap)

Happy New Year to all of you!  I hope 2012 has started well for everybody.  :)

With the arrival of my parents from England a couple of weeks ago, it feels a little bit like all hell broke loose.  Despite being off work since Dec 21st (first day back today *sigh*), there was just so much going on!  Husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary in there somewhere (love you honey!) and then took off to Vegas for Xmas weekend with the family.  It's the first time that we had both husband's and my parents together for a holiday event, and it has to be said that it was very nice to have everybody in the same place at the same time.  We had some fun wandering around the casinos to check out their holiday displays, and also won a few bucks playing blackjack on Xmas Day.

So, here we are in a new year and I'm optimistic for wonderful things to come.  The last couple of years have been a serious roller-coaster and I'm curious to see what 2012 has in store.  Usually I write out a bunch of things that I'd like to do in the year.  In 2011, I accomplished a small handful of things and realized [sometime in November] that there was no way I'd ever get it all done!  This year, my goals are to experiment, try new things, explore and enjoy life...and I'm sure that by the end of the year, I'll have some amazing experiences and memories to cherish.