Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Design a Day Challenge: Day 8

I've been absolutely obsessed with the color combination aqua, yellow, and gray. Seriously, in case you didn't know just how obsessed I am with these wonderful hues, I even made this treasury today on Etsy:

So as you can see-- I love, love, LOVE these colors!

For today's design, I went with aqua, yellow, and gray (go figure!) and made a simple yet contemporary save the date.

I'm a simple kind of person-- I don't like too much frill. So this design seems to exemplify just that. Simple yet contemporary. No frills, just perfectly simple!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sleepy Heads

In event you wondered why I was able to get through another day of my Design a Day Challenge, this will answer that question for you. This was my peaceful afternoon after a hardy party this morning:

Yes. I sure do love a sleeping cat and dog. :)

Design a Day Challenge: Day 7

I wanted to make a greeting card for today's design, but wasn't quite sure where that would lead me. As I began brainstorming, I remembered that I had wanted to dabble in making bilingual or multilingual cards. After making this custom order Father's Day card, I realized that there actually is a market for it.

And then the more I thought about it, even my own family is bilingual speaking both French and English-- it just makes sense. Everyone likes to send and receive snail mail so why not do something in several languages?

So the end result is this simple card that says "hi." But the fun part is that it says it in may different ways as well.

Not only are the languages super fun, but so are the colors! And just for fun, I decided to offer either a blue or green envelope to go with-- I liked both so much I couldn't decide so I thought I'd leave that open ended. So all of this talk about languages around the world. I want to know: What languages do you speak?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Design a Day Challenge: Day 6

Day six has arrived and I never thought I'd have time to design something and take all of the photos for the cards! Why, might you ask? Well because of this guy:

That's Finley-- or Finn as I call him for short. He's our cute, little kitten we just brought home yesterday. He's about 12 weeks old and he's one pretty awesome little guy. This morning was absolutely crazy with Lilah, our 2 year old Chocolate Lab, and Finn playing. But once they were both settled down for long afternoon naps I had plenty of time to design-- and even bake!
So here is what I came up with today. I had some beautiful blush colored cards sitting around for several months that were begging me to do something with them. Add some cream, brown, and teal colored paper in layers and you end up with some very soft and girly looking note cards. I am not much of a girly girl, but I thought these turned out beautifully!

Something about these really do remind me of a little girl-- it has to be the color scheme! I'd love to know what you think!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Design a Day Challenge: Day 5

Today's design is one that makes me think of one part crafty quilt and one part vintage postage stamps. Maybe that's because the design features a small patchwork of colors across the header of the note cards and they're punched out stamp style. I again used white linen flat note cards for these guys (are you surprised?) and used some gray satin ribbon to dived off the header. The center patterned paper features a gray/silver accent that has some sparkle of its own-- goes along with the satin ribbon nicely!

The stamp design itself made me want to design these as postcards to pop in the mail, but instead I paired them with a light gray linen envelope for fear that they would get messed up in the mail. Thus the header design rather than a full out patchwork that I had originally intended.

For now, I'll be working on tomorrow's design. I have a busy week ahead, including introducing a new member into our household (more on that later) and a visit from my parents next weekend. This will definitely be challenge to keep up with my design-- here's to hoping I can stick with it! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and your weekend! I'll be gearing up for week two of summer break! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Design a Day Challenge: Day 4

On the fourth day, I went for the mod look. Flat stationery note cards (can you tell that I've got the itch for the flat white linen note cards these days?) with yellow and gray lines and bubbles. A clean look with one of my favorite color combinations! I kind of want to reserve a set for myself!

While I usually make the first batch of stationery for myself or as a give away to a friend, I've been instead using fun little names I've created on my own. I hope you love my made up names for my new stationery designs as well-- they are almost just as fun to come up with! So far Elizabeth Keen and Kristen Fox are two very lucky ladies to have such classy stationery, if I must say so myself! If you have any fabulous names to suggest for my upcoming designs, I'd be more than happy to hear them!

And I promise, eventually I'll get out of the use-white-linen-card-stock-for-all-of-my-new-designs phase. I have something in mind for some blush colored cards I recently acquired. And no, this time these aren't my new faves-- that's still reserved for the cute aqua button notes. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Design a Day Challenge: Day 3

My Design a Day Challenge is certainly underway and giving me plenty to work on. The whole idea of this challenge was to get myself out of a creative rut. Most definitely easier said than done! I sat down at my table to work on some cards when I noticed a super fantastic color combination right in front of me-- aqua, yellow, and gray. The inspiration for these note cards just literally fell into my lap! So I decided to make these flat note cards with a mish-mash of the supplies that happened to be out. An aqua button, gray satin ribbon, some white baker's twine, and some yellow and gray patterned paper were made into a crafty yet stylishly simple header for some flat white linen note cards. Paired with light gray linen envelopes, these may be some of my favorites at the moment! (See, I told you I always call things my new fave!) Hope you like these just as much as I do!

What creative inspiration have you had fall into your lap lately?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm Getting Ahead of Myself... I wanted to share what is to come in the next few days.

Design a Day Challenge: Day 2

I love one of fun and often bright trends that has been out and about these days-- chevrons. So for day two of my challenge, I whipped up some bright ombre style chevrons with colors that were almost waiting for a summer day like today. A light gray and classic font in capitals finished these flat stationery note cards off.


I think I've found a new fave (but don't I always say that?). What sorts of chevrons and stripes have you been craving these days?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Design a Day Challenge: Day 1

My challenge is underway and going well so far! But that is to be expected for the first day! :) In reality, I've designed more than one thing a day, knowing that there will probably be a day here or there in which I'll be out of town or time slips by quickly enough without me being able to get something done.

The first design is one that was inspired by my browsing on Pinterest. So many creative things happening out there and they all collide on Pinterest! I decided to make these cute popsicle save the dates in lots of bright colors. I used white font to keep them light and summery, attached a popsicle stick to the back to give them the full effect, and finally converted them into magnets using some magnet tape. The end product is this fresh design, perfect for a summer outdoor wedding!

Punch List

1. By now I am sure you can tell that I'm ecstatic that summer vacay has arrived! I think teachers enjoy it more than any student ever could!

2. My goal this week is to try three new recipes. So far I've made one, with the next coming today. Monday night I cooked up these fantastic taco stuffed shells that were ridiculously tasty!

3. Two summers ago, a few co-workers and I had a photography challenge called The Daily Dose Picture Post. The four of us decided that in order to keep our photography skills fresh we would use our summer vacation to post one photo a day until the beginning of school. This challenge inspired me to do the same sort of thing, but this time with design. Today marks the first day of my Design a Day Challenge I wrote about yesterday, so stay tuned later today for the first design I've got in store to share!

4. With the arrival of our first time homebuyer's tax credit, we have looked to our trusty list of items to purchase or save for. Aside for saving money for travel and other various things, the first item was a new set of cookware. Say hello to my new set of Le Creuset pots and pans (and I splurged and got bakeware too!) in Caribbean blue!

5. There is nothing more refreshing and tasty on a summer morning than iced coffee! I've been enjoying quite a few of those over the past few days.

6. I've started my summer reading and the first book I will be reading is Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. One of my students read this YA book and was in love with it so I'm taking his recommendation! What are you reading this summer?

7. I call this little list "Punch List" because I'm constantly making punch lists of my own. Summer is a great time for all of those catch up projects. Next in store-- rehabbing a couple sets of plantation shutters I found at the architectural salvage yard.

8. Speaking of projects, our cedar fence is coming along quite nicely!

9. I'm trying to get back into my yoga routine. This summer is all about relaxing, but not getting too lazy!

10. The latest thing I've been trying to convince Andrew on for our back yard is to take out the lower deck and install Moroccan cement tiles in its place for a beautiful outdoor courtyard feel. We'll see how that goes over with architect Andrew.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Design Challenge & a Sneak Peak

Day two of summer vacation is under way and I've already been productive in the design department. So far, I've come up with two unique summer designs-- one a day. And quite frankly, they may be some of my best to date. So, motivated by a previous summer challenge of a photo a day for the entire summer, I am going to embark on a similar mission. Ideally, I'd love to have a new design every day for the summer, but I realize that I may be a bit over ambitious. So I will start with a design a day for the next 30 days. I will post the results on this lovely blog so keep me motivated and encouraged! I am envisioning wonderful summer designs with lots of color to come! I'll start with my first post tomorrow so I'll leave you with a quick sneak peak!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Grilled Jerk Chicken Focaccia Sandwiches

As you've probably figured out by now, I love summer food! So much fun to make all sorts of refreshing meals from the fresh fruits and veggies that summer has to offer. Not to mention all of the amazing options for grilling. Once beautiful weather has shown its face in my neighborhood, the grill gets used about three times a week. One of my favorite items for the summer is a Jerk Chicken Focaccia sandwich, something I've based upon the same fabulous sandwich my mom serves at her bakery.

This is the perfect summer sandwich! Last weekend, with such warm weather, I just had to make it again! This is a sandwich that has been shared with friends, has made its way to Wolf Trap with a bottle of wine during a Crowded House concert, and makes me reminiscent of enjoying food and good company during lunch at my mother's bakery. The flavors are absolutely amazing. While I only will leave you with the recipe for the focaccia and the chicken today, I often serve this sandwich with a fresh mango and pineapple salsa-- perfect complimentary flavors! Perhaps that will be for next time. For now, enjoy the recipes!

Focaccia with Red Onion and Rosemary

1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
half of a red onion
several sprigs of fresh rosemary

1) Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and let stand for several minutes until the yeast begins to bubble.

2) Add 1 3/4 cups of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the yeast mixture. Stir until fulling combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Add remaining flour as needed. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.

3) Cut dough into two equal pieces and shape each piece into flat circles. Place the shaped dough on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

4) Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

5) Poke indentations in the shaped dough with your fingertips. Brush remaining olive oil on the dough, placed sliced red onion rings evenly over the dough, and sprinkle with rosemary and kosher salt. Bake at 475 for 12 minutes or until golden.

Jerk Chicken Marinade

Combine the following ingredients and let 3-4 chicken breasts marinade. I usually start the marinade in the morning or the night before.

1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon sage
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup onion, finely chopped

 Bake or grill the chicken, basting frequently with the remaining marinade. When the chicken has been cooked through, slice the chicken into small pieces. Slice the focaccia to prepare for sandwiches. I usually lay the sliced chicken on a bed of mixed baby greens for the final sandwich. Enjoy!

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