Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tree Papercut Silhouettes

This first one is more traditional in color, but I kept it a little more modern by making the white kind of pearly rather than flat.

This silhouette is placed over a watercolor doodle I did. I think if I keep doing papercuts, this is the direction I will go.
The next two are winter trees--I chose the blue-gray and silver because I thought it was more elegant and winter-themed, but I think I might do a couple more in gold and green and red for Christmas.

These are the last papercut silhouettes for a little while people, I'll give it a rest! These are also available on Etsy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dove Papercut Silhouettes

I thought these would be really cute as a present for a new baby or as a wedding present, depending on the colors.

They would be really easily personalized. For instance, on the pink ones, I could cut out the new baby girl's name above the baby bird, and then her birthday by the flower.

Yellow and gray is my favorite color combination at the moment...

For a bride and groom, it could be in their wedding colors, or in silver and blue.

Ok, are ya'll getting sick of papercuts yet?? I'm not!

I put these up in my Etsy shop last night! I am still so giddy that I have a shop, now I just have to sell that pathetic?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Experimenting with Papercuts and Silhouettes

I have been playing around with the idea of papercuts and silhouettes, and finally got to experiment with the medium over the past few days.

Here are a few of my first attempts:

These are all available for purchase on my Etsy shop, and keep an eye out for more in the coming days...I am having fun! Right now I am working on some fall trees and leaves, and some Christmas ones.

I would also love to do commissions for people (couples, children, dogs) if anyone wants to place an order!

Any other ideas I should consider for subject matter?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Etsy Shop is Up and Open!

Drumroll please.......


My Etsy shop is now up and open for business! It currently has mostly photography, but also some prints of my art, up for sale!

Please go check it out, and if the spirit moves you, you can purchase a piece of my work to display. Or hide in your closet. Whatever floats your boat!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Switching Out Our Kitchen Faucet

For those of you who have been to Brett's and my house, you probably already have had a frustrating encounter with our faucet. For those of you who haven't, here is the dillyo:

When we first moved in, it leaked. drip. drip. drip.

Brett tried to take it apart and tighted and replace things, and was partially successful. It dripped when it wasn't positioned precisely at 7:35 on its axis.

This was apparently so annoying to our neighbors Bill and Amy, that they donated a faucet to eliminate the problem!

Here you can see the old faucet in place, and the new one waiting to be installed.

The first VERY important step to installing a new faucet is to TURN OFF THE WATER at the source under the sink. Otherwise your sink will imitate a fire hydrant being flushed when you take the hardware out. No one wants a flooded kitchen!

The next step is to take the directions out of the box, and scoff at them. Thanks for the visual B!

Here is a picture of the type of wrench you use to undo the joints. You put one on either side of the joint, then turn them in opposite directions to loosen the parts. You want to do this in reverse when you put the new one in. It helps you get EXTRA force in there so the new one won't leak.

Here is Brett mumbling "righty tighty, lefty loosy..."

A panoramic view of the disaster area that was our kitchen! Another very important step is to clear everything out from under your sink so that you can put your head in there. Just please don't confuse your sink with your oven. Watch where you put your head people!

Brett proudly displays his trophy... the old faucet. YAY! And the kitchen is not flooded!
Then you essentially do the whole thing in reverse, and VOILA! Below Brett demonstrates our brand new (to us) faucet!

Look at that water flowing freely into the sink! I am pleased to announce that our faucet no longer leaks if not positioned at 7:35. When turned on, we get water pressure that spurts from the faucet with reckless abandon. When turned off, the water ceases promptly!

Ahhh its the little things in life!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Beautiful Bargain Pillow from West Elm

I was browsing in West Elm with my friend Natalie a few weekends ago, when I came across this beautiful pillow. I thought it would be at least $50.00, but I looked at the price tag at it was only $19.00! I passed it up but had to go back a few days later to pick it up. I am in love with my new bargain.

Here it is in my family room chair.

Has anyone else passed something up, but gone back later to get it?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Making Basil Pesto from Scratch

So I think I missed my calling as a basil farmer. Please see, me covered in basil, below:

Brett said, "Oh, while you aren't working, why don't you harvest some of our basil and freeze some pesto for us." WELL I DID!

Basil Pesto Recipe Ingredients:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or other hard italian cheese such as asiago)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste (1/2 tsp of each)
*toasted pine nuts--I don't add these in if I am freezing the pesto, only if eating right away*

1. Pulse basil leaves in food processor until minced
2. Add olive oil and pulse until well-mixed
3. Add cheese, garlic, and salt and pepper.
4. Run food processor until very well mixed and texture is like a loose paste
5. If eating immediately, toast pine nuts until golden brown and mix into paste by hand. If freezing, leave this step until you are going to eat the pesto
6. If freezing, spoon pesto into ice cube trays or mini muffin tins and freeze.
7. Once frozen, remove from small containers into large freezer safe bags for ease of storage
8. When ready to thaw, remove desired amount from freezer and sit near a hot burner or on the oven while it heats.

I know its mid-October, but no one told our basil plants--they are still going strong, and--no joke--were taller than me before I took my scissors to them!

Above are the ingredients you need to make your own pesto: olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and most importantly basil leaves! ALSO, not necessarily an ingredient but just as important is a food processor. Unless you have totally badass knife skills, infinite patience, and a few days to chop.

This is a picture of the basil leaves I took off of the plants I collected in the first photograph. I spent HOURS pulling the leaves off those suckers, and the stems and flowers made their way to the compost pile.

Load some leaves into the food processor, PUT THE LID ON,

And hit the pulse button as many times as necessary to get the leaves chopped up into small pieces like in the photo below, then add the olive oil.
Below is a photo of the cheese added to the mixture of basil and oil.

I went a little overboard and made about THREE QUARTS of pesto--but I didn't want all that beautiful basil to go to waste. And like my mom says, "you will really love the summery smell of the fresh basil when its a dark and blustery winter night." well put!

I had some assistance from Brett when he came home from work, scooping the pesto into my mini muffin tins for freezing.

Finally, here is a photo of the pesto incorporated into pasta and fresh vegetables:

Bon Appetit!

It is also delicious on slices of french bread as part of a bruschetta, on a white pizza with mozerella and toppings, and mixed into cream cheese as a spread. Does anyone have any really great creative uses for pesto?? Please share!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hike to Humpback Rock

Last weekend Brett, Lolly, and I headed out the Blue Ridge Mountains to hike Humpback Rocks. It was about an hour drive from Richmond, and the leaves were juuuuuust starting to turn (apparently if we had gone at the height of leaf season it would have been really crowded!).

The hike is at Mile Marker 6 on the Parkway. There are 2 areas at Humpback: one is a little walk around an old-fashioned farm, and the other is the hike that takes you to the top.

The sign at the trailhead says its a forty minute hike up the trail to Humpback Rocks, but its more like 40 minutes on the way up, and then much faster on the way down! Its a steep climb: about 800 feet in elevation over eight-tenths of a mile. It's a steep little hike!

The first part is wide terraced gravel steps. Pretty boring, but a nice little workout. WARNING for anyone who is hiking with a puppy: this is where the squirrels hang out, so get a good grip on your leash!

Then you encounter the beautiful handmade steps pictured above, and the hike starts to get interesting.

You go up and Up and UP, taking switchbacks and carved rock stairways until you are SO POOPED, and then finally... reach the top! To the west is the Shenandoah Valley, to the east are the rolling hills of Virginia's piedmont, and north and south you can see the Blue Ridge. You can also see Waynesboro and Charlottesville, as well as the parking lot from which you came and the winding Parkway.
At the top, we cracked open a bottle of sparkling Spanish white and feasted on GORP that was not actually good old rasins and peanuts but instead dark chocolate chips, almonds, and blueberries.

Lolly loved her first hike--she pretended she was a mountain goat for the most part. We were very impressed by here surefootedness! Of course she got some water and buscuits at the top.

Also very cool were the hundreds of names carved into the rocks--I wondered how old some of them were? Are we talking 1800s here? Or are they a century's worth of UVA kids declaring their love for each other and the beautiful view? At first I was a little annoyed that people would carve their names into the rock and mar the natural beauty, but then I started thinking about all the history and how I was sharing the view with so many people before me.Then we headed back down, down, down the mountain...

Through the squirrel gauntlet... our leash wrapped around a few unsuspecting trees...

And then drove to nearby Crozet, Virginia for the legendary Pizza!

We had heard about it because its in just about every regional guidebook and heard that celebrities such as Mohammad Ali, Sissy Spacek, and Dave Mathews make special trips for the pizza when they come through. We ordered a large cheese pizza and were not disappointed. Worth mentioning is that the place does not accept credit cards. They had a quite long list of toppings, but Brett was feeling like a purist. I was totally fascinated by the bulletin board of photographs from Crozet Pizza lovers around the world--there were pictures dating back from the 1970s to today, from the geographic north pole to Borneo to Crozet France, of people wearing their Crozet Pizza tshirts. Now that's devotion people!

We made a pact that we are going on more hikes, at least 2 per year now. In our 6 years together we have gone on 5 "real' hikes (it took quite a discussion to determine what "real" meant): Humpback Rocks, Old Rag, Franconia Notch in New Hampshire, Audra Park in WV, and Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica.

Any suggestions where we should go in the spring? Anyone want to join us? :-)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Trend--Happy Mod Owls

I know that sometimes owls can be creepy, but I have noticed lately that cute little owls are popping up all over the place! So I decided to compile the cutest examples of this trend that I could find for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy!

Toikka via Bed Bath & Beyond

via Pier One
Doorstop via Anthropologie

Clock via Etsy

Plushie Pillow via Etsy

Throw pillow via Etsy

Wall Decal via Etsy

Coasters via Etsy

Coin Bank via Target

Trivet via Target

Bookends via UnicaHome

Switch Cover via Anthropologie

THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE! Sake Pot via Anthropologie

Creamer Pitcher via Urban Outfitters

Door Knocker via Urban Outfitters

Candle via Urban Outfitters

Throw Pillow via CB2

Has anyone embraced this trend? I think I might just have to pick up a cute little owl of my own...