26 July 2012

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Here is an absolutely delicious dish for a fancy night in. Light the candles, pour the wine, and put on some Italian music for a romantic (and delicious!) evening at home. Or just make it for a tasty alternative to the typical spaghetti night. Bonus, makes great leftovers!

1 lb noodles
5 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 cup diced roma tomato
¼ cup sun-dried tomato
1 Tbs basil
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup white wine
3 Tbs butter
parmesan cheese
pine nuts

1. Cook pasta according to directions on package.
2. When done, drain then toss lightly with 2 Tbs olive oil.
3. While pasta is cooking, heat 4 Tbs olive oil in skillet. Mince garlic, then add salt, pepper, and garlic to skillet.
4. Dice tomatoes and lightly chop sun dried tomatoes.
5. Add tomatoes, dried tomatoes, basil, chicken broth, and wine to skillet.
6. Bring to a boil.
7. Add butter and sauce to the cooked and drained pasta. Toss to combine.
8. Serve topped with parmesan, pine nuts, and basil.

23 July 2012

Wedding Color Theme using Photographs

When planning a wedding, it's easy to have a color scheme or theme to help narrow down the millions of options a bit. While many people choose one or two complementary colors, I found a way to ensure colors match while allowing for more than just the traditional one or two color scheme approach. Having several complementary colors helps to add depth and interest to a wedding. However, if the colors do not match well, the event can seem disorganized and amateur.

If you are not gifted with knowing what colors match, or you are simply not in the mood to spend hours and hours to come up with a palette of complimentary colors, here's a trick I implemented that worked quite nicely. 

Flip through a magazine (fashion, nature, home, doesn't really matter) or go to Google images and look for photographs that are striking to you, and contain colors that you might like at your wedding or other event. I Googled phrases like, "stormy sea" "folk art" and "autumn leaves."Try to pick images that look professionally photographed or designed.

Next, take that image you found and pick spots of color from out of the images you have picked. Try to pick a range of bold colors, pastels, and dark colors. This is not necessary, but is a good way to ensure that your color scheme is not overwhelmingly bright (think circus) or too washed-out looking.

Above is a set of colors I chose from images I found on Google. Notice how in almost all options I have a very dark color, one that is almost white, and one or two brighter colors. I used an eyedropper tool to pick exact shades from the images, and filled rectangles with each color using a free program called Inkscape. You could also use a program like Adobe Illustrator or you can also get out crayons or colored pencils (provided you have a large pack with many colors) to create a palette for future reference and planning.

Good luck!

18 July 2012

Life. What's it all about?

You heard me. What is this stuff we call breathing, eating, living? Is it just that? Is it the basic necessities in life: food, shelter, clothing? Is it all the little things that give what we call reality meaning? A smile in the grocery store, a conversation with a friend, hopes and aspirations for the future. Perhaps it is all this, but maybe not. 

My fiance and I have just signed a bunch of papers committing us to a lease, renters insurance, and a load of utilities to go with. That seems pretty scary to us. The money, yes, but also the commitment. A commitment to a year of this thing we call life, living in one place, following certain rules, and making sure to make enough to pay for it all. A promise to give a certain amount of time to make a certain amount of money and to set aside a certain amount of that money to pay for the things we have just agreed to until July 27, 2013, when we have to make another decision about how life will be for the next certain amount of time. 

Is this a logical way to go? The people who rent to us seem to think so. It is nearly impossible to get a place without a full year lease. The hassle of moving from place to place over and over makes me think keeping life in one place for a while seems pretty good. But is that what life is really about? Making decisions, promising a little of you here, and a little of you there, until all is taken up and then the sum of theses things is your life? Perhaps not in its entirely, but that's ultimately what life ends up being for each individual, a set of choices.

Makes the choices seem all the more important doesn't it? One big mistake could cost quite a bit, don't you think? The wrong commitment, or the wrong offhand comment, and all could fall apart. You could go the wrong direction and end up with a life you could only pity. But at the same time, living in fear of these choices makes it not really living at all, doesn't it? If no choices are made, then perhaps not much is accomplished. Certainly not something that one could take ownership of and feel proud about.

Perhaps life is about embracing the challenges, and making the best choices we can. Sometimes that means taking an uncertain leap. Sometimes that means signing a scary piece of paper to a lease on an awesome little studio apartment on the south side of town. But to make choices is the only way one can truly move forward and start to live. I am afraid, but I choose life.

16 July 2012

Onion Rings

Such wonderful tasty deliciousness! Just don't let your oil get to smoke point! We smoked up the house good before we got the oil (peanut) to the right heat. This recipe was adapted from this website.

1 large onion
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
oil for deep frying

 To Make:
     Pour oil into a frying pan and turn to medium-medium high. Wash and peel onions, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Separate rounds into rings. In a bowl, combine flour, seasonings, and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Dip onion rings into egg batter, then flour mixture, then egg batter again. When oil seems hot, drop one onion into the oil and see if it cooks too slowly or burns. Adjust accordingly. Fry until golden brown, turning to brown both sides. Remove to paper towels or brown paper bag to drain thoroughly. Sprinkle with a little salt before serving.


14 July 2012

Ever Mowed the Lawn with a Kitchen Knife??

Yeah, me either... until yesterday! Wondering why someone would let the lawn to such a state? In a nutshell, my roommates and I are moving out of our rental in a month, and none of has or wanted to get a lawn mower just for the summer. And of course, no one was smart enough or motivated enough to call a lawn mowing service. As you can see in this picture, this is approximately what the lawn looked like pre-chop.(Sorry, all I had was this picture, I did not think to take a picture beforehand, so this picture was for my Etsy shop.)

Since I am moving in 3 weeks and am not interested in buying more "stuff" to have to move, I used a serrated kitchen knife (bread cutter) from my kitchen for the chopping. I sawed away at the grass until clumpfulls came off in my hand. It actually worked quite well. The knife cut the handfuls of grass with relative ease, and when the 90 degrees weather got to me, I simply went into the chilly basement for a half hour or so, and made a pleasant afternoon of the whole affair.

After, it looks something like this!!!
In case your wondering, no I am not crazy. I am hoping to get the lawn to a short enough length that a lawn mower can actually do some damage. I am too embarrassed at present to hire a mowing service to this jungle nightmare. (and afraid of what the bill would be!) It will take a bit more work, but I'm getting there.

04 July 2012


Hey people! I hate it when others get all crazy about self promotion and forget to blog about what made them good to begin with, but I have to post one wee little post again about RecipeBox! If you haven't already, be sure to check it out here

It comes with about 10 free recipes that Wayne and I both love, and a bunch of easy ways to categorize and enter in recipes. In addition, sharing a recipe with friends is super easy, so your twice-baked potatoes can almost instantly be shared with your adoring fans at a party. 

It's fairly basic for now, but we will add new features now that we know that there is a need for such an app! Please check it out and let us know what you think! If there is a feature you like or dislike, let us know!

As a final note, I am sorry I sort of stopped blogging the last few weeks. I have been apartment searching, wedding planning, job hunting all at once, and it sort of saps the creative brain! Anyway, I hope to post a few in the near future about the wedding planning and decorations soon! Stay tuned!

02 July 2012

Shoes, lets try this again

I am at it again. A new shoe project is currently underway! And this time, its going to be weather worthy. Yup, that's right, I have plans for soles that will hopefully last outside and be fairly waterproof!! As you can see in the picture below, I have a thick leather sole wrapped in burlap. My plan is to apply several layers of rubber cement to the bottoms after the uppers have been attached to protect the soles and burlap from wear, and to provide some amount of grip (aided of course by the rough burlap bottoms).
Wanting to keep it simple, the uppers should have a wide enough opening to make laces or straps necessary. I have added a simple straight stitch around the opening, not only to attach the rough edge leather decoration, but also to keep the leather from stretching and ripping under stress.
As you can see, the project is midway through, and I will post more pictures on the completed pair once finished, but I thought you might like to see the progress I have made in the past couple weeks.

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