Friday, May 27, 2011

S T R A W B E R R Y Bruschetta!

This Memorial Day weekend is booked solid with food, celebrations, family and even a big adventure! One "must do" on my list is strawberry picking with my lovely ladies. It's become a bit of an annual tradition. Blondie has eaten her way through the patch since she was only two years old. Here's a little recipe treat you may want to slice up this weekend—it's so easy and exactly what I'll be tasting sometime on Monday!

photo credit:

Strawberry Bruschetta 

20 slices French bread, cut 1/4 inch thick 
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted 
3 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 container (8 ounces) cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar 
2-1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped or sliced 
Additional powdered sugar (optional
Mint leaves (optional

Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice bread using a serrated bread knife; place bread slices on cookie sheet. Melt butter in small microwave safe bowl (HIGH 30-45 seconds or until melted). Brush butter over bread slices. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over bread slices. Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown; remove from oven to cooling rack. 

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Hull and coarsely chop or slice strawberries. 

Spread cream cheese mixture over bread slices. Top with strawberries. Sprinkle bruschetta with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh mint leaves, if desired. Serve immediately. 

Yield: 20 servings

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring Makeover

The sun finally came out to stay! One of my favorite things is dining outside on our deck. But after the long, cold winter and rainy spring the deck is looking pretty drab. More specifically, the kitchen window box was in need of a serious makeover. I just love looking at "Before & After" project photos! They are so rewarding when you need a little fix of instant gratification.


The tulips and hyacinths that bloomed so beautifully, just in time for Easter, had to go. Though I did save them to replant for next year.  


Pink geraniums—I can even see them indoors! I chose geraniums because they've survived my level of care in the past—with great success. The other little lovelies I can't even identify because I do not have even a light green thumb. Add some fresh tomato-basil bruschetta and sangria and I'm ready for dinner alfresco! (I may have to shoot a "Way After" picture sometime in July. Though it will probably look very similar to the "Before.")

Friday, May 20, 2011

Inspiration is contagious.

The thought of writing a blog really hadn't really crossed my mind before now. Okay, after watching Julie and Julia—I considered it briefly, but didn't believe the kids would actually eat beef bourguignon.

I have been so inspired by friends who are stretching themselves to be more and documenting their lives. Subscribing to design*sponge has reminded me how important it is to look at other people's work—even if it is an entirely different medium. The inspiration generates so many new ideas.

Already, I've found that inspiration to be quite contagious. One dear friend said that after taking a hiatus from her blog, she's excited to come back to it and have a buddy to talk about the technical stuff.

I shared the site with Brownie last night, showing her how all the links connect to other pages, such as fabric on spoonflower and my very, empty Etsy shop. Her eyes lit up when she asked, "Can I make something to sell on your Etsy page?"

So, today I'll include a watercolor painting by my favorite brown-haired girl.
It is a sunset (not over the ocean, but a rolling green field). I should have had her give it a title. Expect to see more from this one—quite possibly on Etsy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

T-Mobile Dresses

T-Mobile has me hooked! But I couldn't care less about their myTouch 4-G phone. It is the pink dresses in the latest advertising campaign that have me talking! Am I the only one who is completely crazy for every pink dress worn by T-Mobile's latest spokesmodel, Carly Foulkes?

After Googling the lively, magenta-white-striped, tea dress, I discovered that I am not alone! Apparently, there has been quite a frenzy in cyberspace about who made the dress and where to find one.

According to the LA Times, the standout pink-and-white dress was a custom-made, vintage-silhouette-inspired dress designed by Debra LeClair, the stylist who worked on the campaign and photo shoot. So they are not available for purchase ANYWHERE! Marc Jacobs has a similar style, but it is black and grey—not nearly as spunky as the bubble gum pink!

As if the striped beauty weren't enough, they keep bringing out more! The polka dot number is super cute, but I think the floral sundress may be my most favorite.

Since there has been such interest online, I wonder if some Nikety knock-offs might sell on Etsy (or fit in my closet)!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This blog is a MESS!

Today I'll share one of my "typical day at the office" projects. Let me be clear, by no means did I do this project myself. I work with a great team of talented, creative people who lend their opinions and expertise. We're fortunate to work with some amazing clients with incredible experiences and products to share.

That said, above is a 64-page catalog just completed for Adventures On the Gorge—an adventure resort in Fayetteville, WV. I'm proud to say that the layout concept and execution were my work. This seems to be my niche here at the agency.

My first real design job was in book publishing. Every other month I laid out a 96-page magazine. (I still remember how many pages!) And every six months we published three new books and promoted them with a huge catalog mailing of all our offerings.

Let me say, I have come SO far in 12 years. The files I sent to the printer then were a mess. I didn't understand the printing process. The designs were adequate, but not outstanding. But I managed and learned it all as I went along.

So, I guess I need to be patient with myself as I learn this new process. This blog is a mess! The background image needs to change. The second post had a typo in the headline (anyone see that before it was corrected?). And I've probably broken all the rules of blog etiquette. I'll muddle my way through and who knows what I'll learn along the way.

Thanks for following along : ) Feedback is much appreciated.

(My favorite part is the handy, page-turning format done through Isn't it fun?)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two Worlds Collide

Honeysuckle Roses

I'm so excited—I can hardly stand it! Finally, all the design skills I learned in college and use everyday have collided with my love of fabric and sewing! I have designed a floral print called "Honeysuckle Roses" and am having it printed on an organic cotton sateen fabric. (Yardage is available for purchase through my spoonflower page below.)

Honeysuckle pink is the color of the year, and I love all things girly, floral and pink anyway. The roses are graphic and modern-looking, but overall it has a very feminine, vintage feel. Truth is, it was designed with a pair of coral-colored shoes in mind. Shoes, that I saw, and had to have despite having nothing to wear with them. Look for a dress in a month or so—my fabric order should arrive early in June!

 What would you make with Honeysuckle Roses?

Monday, May 16, 2011

And so it begins…

To further my effort to be the best possible version of myself, I've decided to start a blog. I'm not a writer nor do I usually have much to say. I know people who use more minutes on their cell phone than I actually speak each month. Even my rollover minutes have rollover minutes. So why blog?

I'd like to share my creative projects with others. Feedback from family and friends has always been a big boost for me. I swear Grandma is the biggest fan of my work and I wish I had a dollar for every time I'd been asked if I made the dress I'm wearing. I'd love to expand that to include some online friends who are working on similar projects or be noticed by some other (read: more impressive) blogs.

This is a personal challenge to be more creative every day. Between four kids and a full time job, some days just slip by. Hopefully, this will be a daily (or weekly) reminder to stick with it—just keep creating. Sometimes I get to enjoy an afternoon at my sewing machine, other days I might only have time to try a new recipe. I feel most like me, when I'm creating and I hope this blog will add some accountability. At least I'll see something accumulate for time spent.

I hope it will be an inspiration for my creative kids. Last night, Brownie painted a lovely sunset with watercolors and informed me that she would like to have an "art area" in her room. Blondie repaints her nails every night and helped sew herself a wild, floral skirt. The Boy is certainly crafty in his own way, just not in the glue-gun sense. He is always happy to test any culinary creations. C put pink streaks in her hair and is talking about going to design school. How cool is that?! I want to encourage each of them to keep creating.

It will be an excellent creative portfolio and form of record keeping. So many times I'm reminded of something I've made in the past and wish I had a photo of it. I wish I had pictures of all the little dresses I made for the girls when they were small. I've made so many bridesmaid and flowergirl dresses. My tastes and talents have transformed over the years too. I went through a doll-making phase in my teens and even made some teddy bears at one point.

So, I'm adding one more thing to my to-do list. Feedback is always appreciated.