Wednesday, December 26, 2012

i made a pie

the unheard of happened!  get your parkas people because hell just froze over....a little.  I BAKED A PIE! and almost from scratch!  i found the recipe in the November issue of Better Homes & Gardens - and i would gladly link to it if BHG's website wasn't so awful!  am i alone in this experience?  doesn't matter!

Update: i did finally locate a link to a very short video on how to make this pie. hope the link works cuz i never know with their site!

at many points during the process, i could have taken photos, and there were some good ones to be had, but i was too busy trying to get it right so i only have a few.
first off, i didn't take photos of the cherry compote simply because i didn't think about it.  it was the first item that i did not make completely from scratch. who knew you couldn't get cranberries in December? well, i couldn't at least.  so i had to substitute Cranberry Sauce from the can. i'll be interested to see how this taste when i make it with the real thing next time.  i was able to mix my own Cherry Valley hand picked cherries with said sauce so i felt like that was a draw.
what you see here is the apple filling. i've never cored and apple before so i took a little shortcut: using 8 Granny Smith apples, i just cut both ends off, then peeled them, then cut them in a block fashion, much like you do a pineapple. this allowed me to skip the actual coring process & that was nice since (1) i don't own an apple corer & (2) have no idea how to core an apple.
OMG this smelled soooo wonderful cooking!  apples + lemon juice + dark brown sugar + flour. D-Lish!
skipping to the almost is another shortcut i took.  i chose not to make my own crust. i figured baking a pie was way more than enough so why kill myself. if there was anything i was certain i could mess up, the crust was it! i elected to by the pre-made kind you find in the biscuit & cinnamon roll section. next time i will try the frozen pie crust as advised by one of my swimming girls!
but check that, and the next photo out will ya?  those leaves on top? oh yeah, i totally cut those out myself. since the recipe was for November and, thus, Thanksgiving, the theme was to top the pie with "leaves". hard to believe, but i don't own a single cookie cutter and, therefore, no leaf cookie cutter.  i started out cutting out leaves with a small pairing knife & then realized i should have done Christmas ornaments.  so i attempted to change gears half way through & cut out some MCM ornaments & round ornaments - wish i'd thought of the stars in time though.
and the most shocking thing of all?  this thing is not only edible, but actually pretty good!  and i have the testament of the swimming crew to back me - that's a collection of aunts, great-aunts, moms, grandmas  & great grandmas!  all that experience cannot be wrong!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

our Christmas took on a personal theme this year.  after Nacho's very generous anniversary gift last year, we promised not to buy each other big gifts for at least another 5 years.  it's been the best thing we've done because it's challenged us to get a little more creative about any small gifts.
1st up, this adorable Laura Berger print i picked up for Nacho at the One of a Kind Show Chicago a few weeks ago.  i love it & so did Nacho.
i made a promise to myself that in 2013 i would put more stuff on the walls.  stop living like a college student.   i do like it when people create personal "galleries" in their home.  also, i wanted to give Nacho something representing him & his Favorite Girl = Cookie!
i LOVE this photo!  of all the ones i've ever taken of Cookie, it is by far my favorite.  Nacho got pretty choked up over this.
while framing this i learned that i need to start shooting in a large format because this could only be printed out in 4x6 without having to "stretch" it & i didn't want to distort the photo.  i have since changed the setting on my camera.
i'd been looking at this frame at Target for some time but didn't pay attention to the fact that it was for a 5x7 photo.  i discovered that when i went to put it all together.  thank goodness for the college years - i worked in an art gallery for 3 years & did all custom framing.  so it was a simple matter of cutting a mat with a 4x6 opening for the photo & just taping it to the back of the mat that came with the frame.  in the end, i think it looks much better double matted.  
while Nacho got all choked up over that photo, i completely lost it over this one!
this is THE ONLY photo of us with Butterz at Bark in the Park.  i framed this & gave it to Nacho's mom for Christmas several years ago.  i made it very clear to him last year that it was the only thing i wanted back.  i was fine with even a copy. i didn't have to have the original but it was the only photo of Butterz that i did not have.  i was a bawling mess people!  i could not have been more floored.  and check out that frame!  that's a custom welding job by Nacho himself.  pretty impressive!
and while we got so busy this year that we did not do our usual pre-Christmas puzzles (aka 12 Days), we figured it's never too late to start.  so we broke out the puzzle this morning.
and no Christmas would be complete without a little cuddling boxer style!  Cookie cuddling of course with her favorite human!
and Baxter cuddling with his favorite bunny Jessie!
hand made or store bought, hope you had a very personal Christmas too!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


we're a little like geese when December rolls around.  we Summit County, C.  and last weekend was no different.  although it was just Nacho, Korby & I (aka family vacation).  we did our usual snowboarding rounds - Copper Mountain on Friday and Beaver Creek on Sunday.
Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek
we got really lucky at Beaver Creek & it snowed all day Sunday.  yippee!!
but we mixed it up with a little cross country skiing on Saturday at the Frisco Nordic Center.
this was a first for Nacho & Korby but i'd taken lessons back in Feb at Winterpark.  here's a little gratuitous photos since i never did post about that trip.

i liked it so much though, i have since bought my own skis & poles.  it was nice to get back into a lesson & realize i'd actually remembered more than i thought & didn't do too bad.  i'm really looking forward to this as a winter supplement to my running.  that is if we ever get any snow to speak of!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let the tradition begin!

Treat Youself Well

A little self gifting never hurt anyone!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

One of a Kind

that's the name of the show we went to yesterday at Merchandise Mart in Chicago & what a great time Nacho & i had!  i found out about it by accident (a click here, a link there) but put it on my calendar more as a reminder, not thinking i'd actually go.  Nacho saw it & did a little googling himself & was all up for it, so off we went.
the official One Of A Kind Show site phrases it better than i could ever hope to!

Chicago's Most ONEderful Time of the Year

The 12th annual One of a Kind Show and Sale Chicago® is Chicago's holiday shopping show! A refreshing alternative to traditional retail, the show is the ideal place to find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your holiday list. More than 600 talented artists from across North America will bring their imaginative, handmade creations to this year's show offering a wide range of media and categories...

and oh the things we saw & ate!  there was just so much!  okay, the easy parts first, IT WAS CROWDED!
i am not a person who likes crowds & i really had to talk myself down from the ledge when i saw all the people.  when i accepted we were gonna be here for a while & we were not going to go anywhere fast, then it was fine.
i started out by heading to the Etsy village to track down Four Eyes Handmade.  it was their Robot Uprising Venn Diagram clock that caught my attention from one of the many design blogs i follow.  Unfortunately, they no longer sell that item according to the gentleman that i spoke to at their booth.  awww so sad!
after that disappointment, i stumbled upon Laura Berger's Etsy booth.  i'm a sucker for a good print!  many many lives ago, i worked in an art gallery back in undergrad & i will never forget all the neat/cute little prints or cards that people would bring in to have framed. it taught me, art does not have to be some expensive piece hanging on a wall that you can't touch. so a memorable post card or pricey oil on canvas; if it speaks to you or about you, then that's all that matters.  i bought a couple of items - her 2013 calendar which i plan to frame so i can switch each card out, and something else (shhh, you'll see later).
i have a feeling i'll be purchasing from her again!
at that point, we decided to start from the beginning and wonder up & down each aisle - just like the grocery store!  we were in awe of the rock & metal sculptures at Chuck Adams (aka Francis Metal Works)
i mean, we see all these guys on or around our beach every day!  how cool is that?  he came up with the concept while searching for something for his own garden.  ah, the best ideas are the simplest aren't they?  and we could not leave without coming back to pick a little something up for ourselves!
we came home with 2 baby turtles from the log & the middle turtle just below the log. can't wait to put them in the garden!
next came FOOD!  1st up was River Valley Kitchens.
that Five Cheese Garlic Spread is U-N-R-E-A-L!  it's taking all i can do not to go open it now while Nacho is at hockey, eat the whole thing & claim we must have forgot it!  heads up:  i'm going to leave my husband for this jar!  and the Spicy Pickled Mushrooms....2 words:  Bloody Mary!  'nuff said!  and they sell Mushroom Kits! i am definitely trying that next year.
moving on....Gourmet Blends & here's something i never thought i'd say....Dark Chocolate Balsamic (note, this links to their Chocolate Balsamic. i did not see a link for the Dark Chocolate that i purchased).
yeah, crazy right?  well guess what i'm eating on vanilla ice cream RIGHT NOW!  this stuff is amazing!
after this it was just a sea of people & lots of wondering.  but we found some really impressive pieces.  i am no where near being able to purchase a piece from Kevin Lahvic, but boy i wish i was!  his Faces series is spectacular.
and we found ourselves going back to Kudu-lah & enjoying Kenneth's unique art.
apologies for the blurry photo here
his About says he believes in "fun and affordable" art.  it was definitely both!  while i can't say an original is quite affordable for me yet, i'd really like to own one some day.
Loft Prints had some of the most vibrant prints of anyone in the entire show (IMHO).  and his Blue Heron piece was great!  this one will be on my wall before it is all over with!
i wish i had the kitchen for his Bad Sushi series.  too funny!
there were plenty other artists that i simply did not get any info from.  just too much to take in!  and not everyone was serious.  check out this guy
Dick Cooley's specialty was spark plugs (aka Spark Plug Guy) and he did some "interesting" things with them.  don't get me wrong, he had some great items, this was just the most bizarre piece i'd seen at any show!  the man has quite the sense of humor & imagination.  really, he was impressive.
i did actually purchase one other thing for myself.  i found myself at the Chomp booth 3 times until i simply could not help myself.  her canvas bags are just so beautiful!
Dana was super super pleasant & when she didn't have anything in a cross body bag that i was looking for, i decided i couldn't stand it any longer & bought myself one of her totes instead.
i just love the simple modern prints that she designs.   i was so impressed that she does all her own prints & taught herself to sew.  how i envy that creativity!
ok so i gotta stop cuz i could go on forever about all the cool & unique things we saw.  i think my favorite part of the day was how much fun we BOTH had.  i could not believe that Nacho was the one really pushing to go (when i hadn't planned on saying anything to him).  we decided we will definitely return next year & make an overnight event of it.  and maybe by next year i will be able to buy at least one of those things i fell in love with this trip!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Okay im in a place right now in life where im not so certain technology is an improvement. My speech & interpersonal background shudders at the loss in communication skills these days. And yet i write this (1) on smart-ish phone, (2) from a commuter train, (3) while accessing data that tells me exactly how to get to where i need to go. DISSONANCE.....I can haz it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Paw-fect Stocking

har har!  get it?  "paw-fect"?  a little dog humor!  i thought that might ease the transition into another gap in posting.  didn't even notice it after that little joke did'ya?

yes, it's been a couple of weeks since posting but we were busy visiting The Fam down in Florida & then getting our Christmas on at the house!  i decided to revive an old tradition of my mom's - putting the decor up right after turkey day!  but since we were in FL for turkey, it had to wait until this past weekend.  but i am proud to say i have all my holiday goodies up & time yet to create more if i choose. yeah me!

and on that note, i spent Saturday working on a project that i actually meant to do for last year - new doggie stockings.  i had never really been a fan of the 1st two iterations of stocking for our kids & had planned to make new ones last year.  in true ME fashion, i bought all the supplies and......they sat!  so after putting up all my decorations last Friday, i was hanging the existing stockings & remembered those supplies sitting in the box.  out they came & to work i went!  i got my Pinspiration from this

my colors are a bit different - i went with a dark brown trim, but here's how it all went down!  i started by free handing the paw pattern (my printer refused to cooperate).  i'm also so cheap the type of person that likes to recyle, that i didn't want to waste another piece of paper just to get the end of the paw.  instead, i just continued cutting past the paper to create the round end.  i also cannot draw stick figures so this was probably the most stressful part for me...drawing!
 i then cut out the pad parts from brown felt.  yet more free handing & stress!
i then sewed the pads on using the embroidery floss & just making it up as i went stitch-wise!
then i created the "sandwich" that the tutorial advised.  i got a little confused here because of their wording (their "dark" fabric was my "light", etc.), but i finally got it stacked correctly.
notice the dark & light fronts & backs are stacked "back-to-back".  so the liner pieces (aka dark) are  placed rough sides together, furry side out.  then the outside (aka light) pieces are placed on each side of those with furry side out!

 then more hand stitching with the embroidery floss down one side & up the other.  without stopping or cutting the floss, then stitch across the opening side of the front, then the opening side of the back.  obviously if you just stitch across, you'll stitch it closed & that's okay if your "kids" have been bad & you have no intention of filling their stockings - hear that Baxter, no more drinking out of the toilet!!!
i finished my stockings off with a twine hanger.  i have plenty of twine laying around from gardening & just rolled the top cuff down & make-shifty sewed a twine loop in place to hang them from.
okay, i actually sewed the twine on the wrong side.  i had my other stockings leaning the other way, so i went back & sewed a 2nd loop to keep it in line with the others.  you know what that means?  i don't have to commit to hanging it one way or the other!  suprised?

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