Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pay It Forward

All the gratuitous chocolate and whipped cream is because it's just too delicious a treat to not share it with you...

I'd also like to share another type of giveaway (I know! again! already!). Linnea, of The Secret Life of Linnea, left a comment on my last giveaway about a type of exchange she had going on. It's a 'pay it forward' one, and I was lucky enough to be the last one able to join in on Linnea's. Now I'd like to see if any of you would like to join, too. Here's the deal:

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this Paying It Forward exchange. I don't know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, which is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog (if you have one)."

Hurry, hurry! Space is limited. ;)

Also, I won a giveaway that was happening at Doe-C-Doe! You can check out all the fabulous things I won by looking here. Thank you, G!

Odds and Ends

First of all, Happy Easter to you all! I wanted to write that day, but the day flew by and it never happened. 

We had brunch with family and friends at my parents' house, and we all had an egg hunt. I dyed the eggs, and I'm pleased with how they turned out. :) Many of you may know this, but when you draw on the egg with a crayon before dying it, the dye doesn't stick to the crayon's waxy residue.  We also tried something new, where we wrapped rubber bands around some eggs before dying them (I read about it in Real Simple). It had a cool effect, but sometimes the rubber bands would slip off. Gotta work on my technique... We used both brown and white eggs, because they gave us an even more beautiful range of colors. This is probably my favorite this year:
I also have an addendum to this post. Simone, of Linden Grove, is a relatively new blogger, too, and I realized she hadn't yet been tagged. So head over to her blog and see what seven things she'll come up with!

I have to apologize for not writing too much recently. Things got crazy busy 'round here! In addition to working more and to deadlines coming up, I'm leaving in a week for a wonderful, long trip to Europe. We'll be gone almost four weeks (for most of April) so I'm just warning you right now, there may be a posting drought on my end of things! But I'll try to post once more before we take off so I can say goodbye. (And if you have left me a comment, and I haven't left you one in return, it's cause I haven't had time to do your blog justice. I promise, it will happen!)

Ok, ok. I know you all just want to know who won the giveaway! I wanted to do something like this and this, from DottyCookie's blog, but didn't have the time. Maybe for the next giveaway! Instead, I just wrote everyone's name down on slips of paper, folded them in half, and popped them in a bowl.

And the winner is...
Angela! Congratulations!

I realized that the only thing that I don't like about doing giveaways is that I wanted ALL of you to win! Because I feel bad that I can't send that pack of cards to each and every one of you, I would like to offer you something else instead. On our trip, I will be going to Iceland, France, and Italy. If you wrote a comment on my giveaway post, and you would like a postcard from our trip, then shoot me an email with your mailing address and your country of preference. And then watch the post in April! 

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Ok, I know what you're thinking. A giveaway? But it's not even your tenth post, let alone your one hundredth.

But the thing is, I have really been enjoying being a part of the craft blogging community, and I have received such a warm welcome from everyone. And I just want to say:

to all of you. So I decided to do that with a giveaway. Here's a set of 10 thank you cards:

Hand stamped by me:

Each envelope has a flower detail:

And it's all tied up with a pretty pink ribbon:

To be entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post and let me know something that you've been thankful for since you started blogging.  

If you want to, feel free (but not obligated) to mention the giveaway on your blog with a link. Or, if you want to increase your own chances, better not mention it! I will do the drawing one week from today (so Thursday, March 27th) probably around 4 or 5 pm MN time.

Thank you all again so much for visiting my page, welcoming me warmly, and leaving me such sweet comments.  This looks like the beginning of a long and wonderful friendship.  :)  

Friday, March 14, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

First of all, I would just like to thank all of you who responded to my last post. Reading your comments has been very helpful, so I appreciate that you took the time to help me out. I will respond to each of you individually, as well, but I just wanted to put that out there now in case I don't get to it right away.

Flowers for you...just because:

Secondly, I've been tagged! The lovely G over at Doe-C-Doe tagged me, and this is historic as it is my first tag. There may come a day - who knows? - when I will not appreciate a tag, but as of right now I find it all very exciting.

So, I need to list seven random things about myself. I have to admit, I've read the lists on other blogs and thought about what I myself would put down, but now that the time has actually come I can't seem to think of anything. We'll see what I can come up with:

1. I am slightly obsessive-compulsive (my husband might argue that it's more than slightly). I feel as though it's mostly small things, and I don't think it affects me adversely. I would say my obsessive-compulsiveness ranges from useful to unobtrusive. example: I recently realized that I MUST pepper my food before I salt it. I do not like to put the salt on first. In fact, it didn't occur to me until the other day that you could put the salt on first, when I saw B salt his food while I had the pepper. I thought to myself, 'But he hasn't peppered it yet!' Then I realized that maybe that wasn't an issue for him.

2. I never go anywhere without my camera. And extra batteries and memory cards.

3. I play the drums. Er... I am learning to play the drums. Some day I hope to be good enough that I can leave it at 'I play the drums.'

4. I am an avid reader of children's books. I'm getting my Master's in elementary education, so I like to claim it's a 'professional interest,' but to be honest with you I was crazy about kids' books long before I started in on my chosen profession.

5. I love to sing, but I have been told my whole life that I am bad at it. The only person who has ever told me that I sing well is my husband. My mom says that love must be deaf as well as blind. Ha.

6. I grew up without a TV. Now we have a TV in our house, but purely as a screen for DVDs. I never actually watch TV at home (we do, however, enjoy getting certain TV shows on Netflix).

7. Seeing as how I am currently not making oodles of money, I can't afford too many 'luxuries,' but the one that I cave into is pedicures. They are wonderful. It's so much more than polish on your toes, and if you haven't had one before, I highly recommend it.

Now I am supposed to tag people, but I think this has already been done on the blogs I read regularly. So, if you have commented on my blog at any point, and you either haven't done this before or you want to do it again, consider yourself tagged.

On a different note, if you are looking for cool, free things on the internet, you should check out the pdfs that G has for you at Doe-C-Doe.
I always make my own cards instead of buying them at the store. Sometimes this is a problem as I don't remember soon enough and I end up scrambling to make one at the last minute. Now I have my solution - G's vintage fabric cards. If I can't make my own, at least I can have a beautiful one made by another crafter!
Last Saturday I was going over to my friend's house and I had her birthday present all ready to go, but I realized I hadn't made a card yet. I was already running late, so I just cut out one of G's cards that I had printed earlier (luckily!) and I took that:

My friend M loved it! She commented on what a beautiful card it was, and asked where I had gotten it (and that's a big compliment, cause M makes some of the most beautiful hand made cards I've ever seen!).

So, if you need a birthday or thank you card...check these out!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Have a Question...

...for my multitude of readers! (haha) Do you have problems uploading photos with Blogger? Because I do. And it is really, I mean REALLY frustrating. I would probably have had a post up here every single day since I started blogging, except that I don't have time to deal with uploading photos! When I do upload them, it's from my computer. I notice a lot of you have a Flickr account. Does it work better to upload the photos from Flickr? I don't have an account, but I could create one. I do, however, have a Photobucket account. Does it work to upload photos from there? Do any of you do that? Any ideas, suggestions, or just plain old commiseration would be appreciated!

The other day when I was uploading photos, I crocheted while I was at the computer. I thought 'well, it may take forever to get these photos up, but at least I'm being productive!' I got all the way around the four sides of the blanket back to where I had started before I realized I had somehow managed to crochet backwards. (Does that make any sense?) Without realizing it, I had twisted my yarn and crocheted in the opposite direction that I'd been working in all along. So, not only did it take forever to upload the photos, but I had to pull out all the work I'd just done. Here's the pile I had left for all my hard work:

Bleh. Ok, you sat through my rant. You deserve a treat. Brownies, anyone? I made some Saturday to take to our friends' house, where we went for dinner.

I realize it may seem obsessive to give you another recipe from Nigella Lawson two posts in a row. Especially from exactly the same cookbook.

But what can I say? I am obsessed with this cookbook! I love it.

Yet again, a ridiculously simple recipe, you're practically guaranteed to have all the ingredients in your house without making a special trip to the store, and you end up with gooey, chocolatey goodness. Can't really complain about that.

The pan, all ready to go in the oven.

And I'd show you a picture of the final product, but unfortunately, this is all that's left:

Flourless Chocolate Brownies

8 oz semisweet chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts [I left these out, cause I'm not a huge fan of nuts in my brownies. DON'T leave out the almonds, though! They sorta take the place of the flour.]

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

2. Add the sugar and vanilla to the pan off the heat, and let it cool a little.

3. Beat the eggs into the pan with the ground almonds and walnut pieces. Turn into a 9-inch square pan or, most sensibly, use a foil one. [Or, most sensibly in my case, an 8-inch pan, since that was all I had. If you do that, you'll just need to cook them slightly longer.]

4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squidgy-bellied squares. [Ooh, I think 'squidgy-bellied squares' is only the best brownie description I have ever heard!]

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Craft Day!

My mom and I get together with some friends every once in awhile for craft day. We try to do it about once a month, but you know how it goes...

We all meet at one of our houses and sit together for an afternoon enjoying lovely snacks and lively conversation while we work on whatever crafty project we're in the middle of.

Recently, a few friends and I decided to start doing a craft day together on a regular basis. Every time we would meet up to craft together, we'd get more chatting done than crafting. So we thought if we saw each other more often we'd get more of our projects done. :) Not every one can meet every week, but so far we've done a good job of keeping up a regular craft day.

At our last craft day, we enjoyed pink champagne:

And homemade pomegranate ice cream:

You want the recipe, don't you?

I found the recipe for the pomegranate ice cream in Nigella Lawson's book Nigella Express. It is heavenly, and sooo easy to make.

No-Churn Pomegranate Ice Cream

2 pomegranates
1 lime
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream

1. Juice the pomegranates and the lime, straining the juices into a bowl. You will have approximately 3/4 cup of pomegranate juice. Reserve the pomegranate seeds for garnish.

2. Add the powdered sugar and whisk to dissolve.

3. Whisk in the cream and keep whisking until soft peaks form in the pale pink cream.

4. Spoon and smooth the ice cream into a rigid plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Scatter with pomegranate seeds when you eat it.

Serves 8

Seriously. That's it. I do step three in my KitchenAid mixer and it is really fast. And an extra bonus is that it looks just like the pictures in the cookbook! I feel like the only time that happens for me is with Nigella. Gotta love her.

And just for fun - we're a week into March already, and our backyard still looks like this:

I've lived in Minnesota basically my whole life, and every year I still expect March to be spring. Oh well.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Here Goes...

I've been reading craft blogs for awhile now, and in every one that I've read I've seen the same thing: the online crafting community is a sweet and generous group of people.  I experienced it first-hand myself, before even having a blog - G over at Doe-C-Doe not only gave me the encouragement I needed to start my blog, but she sent me a link to the Crafty Blog School, which taught me everything I needed to know! (Thank you, G!)

Well, I might as well just jump right in and share a WIP: 

Way back in 2006 (oh dear, has it really been that long?) we had a new addition to our extended family.  I bought this yarn to crochet a baby blanket for his Christmas present, and though I worked on it very diligently, it wasn't ready in time. 

Baby got a different present, and I stopped working on the blanket. Well, now Baby's 2nd Christmas has come and gone, and I finally picked it back up again!  And I am almost done!  But Baby's kinda old now, so I may save this blanket for the next little one to come along. 


Not too bad for the first thing I've ever crocheted, eh?