Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Escape {Lakes}

While my family never had one regular vacation spot where would we trek every year, some of my fondest memories of summer revolve around time spent at various lakes.

When I was growing up, not only were my best friend, Jenni, and I close, but so were our parents, and thus my family was welcomed at their weekend getaway. Summer memories from my elementary school years are peppered with days spent at their lake house.

Country Living

The lake was only an hour's drive from our homes, but, at that age, felt much further. I was always anxious to arrive, and the car ride seemed to last an eternity.

Country Living

The house was on a small, private island, and, although it was truly only a short distance from the mainland, it always seemed an adventure to reach. We would load people and belongings into a rowboat and traverse the distance between the shores; each trip, I prayed for the boat to not tip in transit.

Thayer Allyson Gowdy

This is not a tale of the exclusive and wealthy, however, but rather of a simple family cottage that welcomed many; the home was shared by their extended family, and I fondly remember afternoons spent playing on the banks of the lake alongside my brother, Jenni, her sister, and their cousins.

House Beautiful

The island seemed enormous from a child's perspective, although, surely, like many things remembered from childhood, I imagine I'd be surprised to see it again through an adult's eyes.

Country Living

Whatever the true breadth of the land, it was large enough to encompass more than it's fair share of memories including one of the day Jenni and I were given the very grown-up privilege of taking the row boat out to circle the island alone; sadly, our experience came to a crashing halt when, not yet a quarter of the way into our trip, we lost an oar in the water and had to be rescued by our dads.

Country Living

Summers during my middle school and high school years included time spent with our extended family on lakes in Michigan and Wisconsin. The lasting images from those trips are of riding over waves, first on an inflatable tube, then later, water skis, and feeling the wind whip across my face as I was pulled behind a boat flying furiously across the water's surface.

Pia Ulin

I traded the lakes of the Midwest for those of the South when I was in college. There was a lake 15 minutes from campus, and although it was far from a glamorous retreat, my friends and I loved heading off to its murky waters. The best spots were reached via dirt roads, and it felt like we were world's away as we lay sunning ourselves on the lake's dark sandy shores.

Country Living

I moved one state over to attend graduate school, and during that following summer, there were two holiday weekends spent lakeside with my friends from school. An unseasonably chilling drizzle didn't dampen our spirits as we celebrated our friends' engagement over Memorial Day, but it did cut short our time on the water; cruising around the lake in our rented pontoon boat, while lacking the adequate gear to combat the cold rain, wasn't quite as much fun as had planned.

Our lake trip later that summer, over the 4th of July, proved much kinder, as we were greeted by beautiful, sunny skies and scorching temperatures, perfect for cooling off in the water.

Hakan Ludwigson

My memories of time spent on lakes has continued into my adult life too; E's and my house in central Texas is only a 10-minute drive from a lake where we watched a sunrise in the early days of our relationship, and since then, more frequently have viewed sunsets... have I ever mentioned I am a bit of a night owl? The lake also provided a perfect place for walks with our dogs and for an afternoon spent swimming the comfortably warm waters when my youngest brother visited us last summer.

Krakvik and D'Orazio

I know we aren't too far from a number lakes here in Houston, and I imagine it will only be a matter of time before we find ourselves making new memories in their now unfamiliar waters. Until then, I will dream of once again jumping into the refreshing water of a lake on a hot and sticky day, something that makes my list of things to love about summer.

Magnolia-licious sketch challenge for July

YAY! It's July! Time for swimming pools, BBQ's, lazy days in the sun, and a new sketch challenge from the Design Team at Magnolia-licious! This month's sketch is by the amazingly talented Jacque Beddingfield! I LOVE this sketch! I just recently got this beautiful Tilda (#341 Blowing Hearts) from Magnolia-licious, and I am in love with her. I just think she is way beyond precious.
I reversed the sketch cause I wanted Tilda to be facing the sentiment instead of away from it. I got just a wee bit irritated trying to show the true color of the layering cardstock. It's actually a very dark brown that looks awesome with the DP, but no matter what I did with my photo, it looks black.
I learned how to make these awesome flowers from my design team sister, Cheryl Rowley. She did hers with her scalloped heart Nestabilities. I don't have that set, so I just used the scalloped heart cut from the Doodlecharms cartridge with my Cricut Expression. (looks the same - that's why I didn't buy the nesties) I cut out eight for each flower and distressed the edges with chalk ink, punched a little hole on the bottom of the hearts, and then scrunched them all up. They're a lot of fun to make and I'm sure I'll be making lots of these in the future! Thanks Cheryl!

All layers are machine stitched, and the layer with Tilda is popped up from the card base. It's not very often that Tilda has ears, so I took full advantage by giving her pink pearl earrings!
The tag is another fun stamp from Magnolia-licious. I just tacked it down and ran it through my printer for the sentiment. It's double popped off the card. The DP is Basic Grey Bittersweet and the colored cardstock is Bazzill. White cardstock is cryogen white that has just a touch of sparkle to it. LOVE it!!

And a peek at the inside. That's it for today. So please be sure and visit Magnolia-licious Highlites. The other designers will be posting their cards as they get them done. We would truly love it if you would play along with us! Thanks for stopping by to see me today, and hope to see you back again soon! HUGS!

A few new pieces in the Etsy shop

I haven't done a big update to my Etsy shop for a while, so I've added three new pieces. Each one is very different, one of a kind, and fun. Enjoy!

Blue bloom


Bridal headband

These ones are all finished and ready to adorn a pretty head.

Constance & Eniko

Cesare Paciotti F/W 09.10 Ad Campaign | Constance & Eniko By Mario Sorrenti

Cesare Paciotti just released their fall/winter 09.10 ad campaign, featuring models Constance Jablonski & Eniko Mihalik as shot by Mario Sorrenti.

It's a more luxurious feel then their last F/W 08 campaign, then featuring model Bianca Balti, and which I still like better, but this is quite good as well.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Louis Vuitton Is Missing the 7 Dwarfs


Where are you guys? Dopey, Grumpy, Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy, & Sleepy!

Having seen the first ad, here are 5 more. They're kinda growing on me, I must admit. [Via]



TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2009






TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2009

Summer New Faces


Hooray for short weeks!
Just a quick announcement, but Matt and I are giving ourselves a mini-vacation this weekend. We are leaving Thursday evening and will be back Sunday. Pieces purchased on Thursday/Friday that are not made to order will ship Monday.
Random photos...


We've been working on the yard quite a bit over the past few weekends. Here's a bit of our new lawn and some shade plants including hostas and viburnum. You can't see the hydrangea in this photo, but it's pretty big and blooming already.


Our new sidewalk full sun garden. We wanted it to look a bit natural and wild, while providing color. There are a few zucchini and tomato plants here as well. Low maintenance was our goal.


The alley garden I planted with a wild flower mix that is suppose to be good for butterflies and requires minimal watering. There were already some daylilies planted by the previous owner. Lots of lovely poppies. This side of the house gets tons of weeds for some reason. I see some in this photo and it drives me nuts.


We also planted bell peppers in the sidewalk garden. Did I ever mention that our sidewalk garden is big? We haven't planted it all quite yet.


I planted a bunch of pots again this year, and this woodland-esque one is my favorite.


The loyal dog (holding a down position until "released"). We've put Indy on a new training program. Have you seen those Perfect Dog infomercials? Well, we decided to get it for Indy because the one problem we have with her is that she wasn't coming when called in some situations. Well, after watching the DVD series (per the recommendation of a vet assistant who said it was really effective), we realized we had to totally re-program Indy because the traditional method of training with treats was all wrong (according to the DVDs). It really works! I can go on and on, but just wanted to mention because until the training is finished, she has to wear the special collar and leash that you can see in this photo.
Happy Tuesday!

A Collar for Ned

I just came across these very cool Mascot dog collars and leads. I think I am going to have to order one in for Ned. Only problem will be trying to decide on which colour.....probably Navy.

A Collar for Ned

I just came across these very cool Mascot dog collars and leads. I think I am going to have to order one in for Ned. Only problem will be trying to decide on which colour.....probably Navy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

TWD's Party Cake...Confetti for Everyone!!!

The wonderful baking members of Tuesday with Dorie Baking Group delved into the Perfect Party Cake recipe chosen by Carol of mix, mix... stir, stir. The cake is a light, tight crumbed cake with a brilliant white coloring. The flavor is superb, with a lemony background flavor to be coupled with so many different flavor combinations.

Overwhelmed with the choices, along with the slight altercation with limited time to bake, fill, and frost; my choices became greatly reduced. I was going to fill the top of the cake with pretty frosting daisies. A beautiful tribute to summer time and lemons. I could not because I did not start the cake until after work last night. The frosting had me wiggling by eyebrows in a knitted sort of way.

Recipes of buttercream frosting have drifted in through my kitchen mixer and never to be made twice. I am not a buttercream frosting fan. A hot-meringue buttercream intrigued my curiosity. Heating egg whites and sugar in a double-boiler, the whites get whipped for 3 minutes. I thought my arm may fall off after the first 45 seconds. I was trying not to watch the timer count down so I switched arms. The bowl almost flew off the pot of simmering water. Okay, coordination does not run in my left arm. This was like being at the gym, telling myself that 15 seconds more is really not going to kill me. Great! I have an out -of-shape arm. Timer goes off and I get to take a break. Where's my water bottle?

Next, the mixer gets to do the rest of the work. Love the mixer! 3 sticks of butter dropping one at a time into a mixer brings in large quantities of guilt. Do I get to nibble on a small slice or be completely rebellious and eat a full-sized slice?
I had to finish making the frosting to decide just what I was going to do. Blueberries and raspberries. I had a jar of wild blueberry preserves dying to be opened and the beautiful blue color would stand out from the white of the perfect party cake. I was stingy with using buttercream as a filler on top of the wild blueberry jam, consequently, I had plenty to frost the rest of the cake with. Smooth frosting on the sides and spoon swirls on top, using dabs of extra wild blueberry jam to give a slight blue hue to the top of the cake only. Fresh blueberries were in order along with bright red raspberries to give the right summer coloring. The cake is a quick, evening masterpiece and now I think I will take it to work to share so that I stay away from over nibbling.

I love the texture, flavor, and color of the cake. This recipe has won my heart and taste buds over as a permanent go to cake recipe. For those of us that constantly try new recipes, this is a huge compliment! The frosting was yummy but I still have problems with buttercream frosting. Some of the problem stems from knowing what ingredients went into the recipe and the other is texture. The frosting is just to slippery and buttery feeling in my mouth. Great go to recipe Dorie...Thank you for sharing with the rest of us! To see the other TWD baker creations using the Perfect Party Cake, go here.

For me, I already am a faithful parchment paper user from way back for the bottom of a cake pan.

King Arthur Flour had a cake flour that I wanted to try and so I did for this recipe.

The sugar smelled delicious while rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar. Pretty little yellow flakes could be seen throughout.

I had plenty of batter for two 9" baking pans. I refuse to show the bowl that held the batter because there were a few finger markings where I may or may not have licked the leftover batter clean.

The cake had a perfect golden brown coloring when done baking.

Very easy to slice and add fillings. Overall, great recipe...LOVED IT!