Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Plant Printed Clay Coasters

I wrote the date on a document today and realized it's already August... August!!  This summer has just flown by.  I'm already anticipating the sadness that comes with saying goodbye to my summer garden. Every year I try and find ways to immortalize a tiny bit of what was grown that year, to remind me of that joy during cold winter months.  Last year I shared how to press flowers using books , which was a lot of fun. This year I decided to press some of the leaves and little flower heads into clay to make these simple coasters.

You will need :

- 8 oz. white polymer clay
- Several sturdy leaves and flowers, with interesting patterns (washed and dried)
- Wax paper
- Rolling pin
- Indigo blue paint and paint brush
- Felt for backing the coasters 

(Tip:  Thicker leaves and sturdy flowers without petals work best!)

Working in sections, mold a ball of clay and roll flat to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Using a round dough punch, or a thin rimmed glass like I did.  Keep the punched clay circles on wax paper and place leaves/flowers on the faces of each. 
(Tip: Think through the placement of the flower/leaf before placing because any indentation will show.  Also avoid too much touching as fingerprints will show as well.)
After placing the leaves/flowers, place a fresh sheet of wax paper over the whole group and gently roll over them with the rolling pin.  Use a gentle pressure, just enough to imprint the plant but not so much as to distort the round coaster shape.

Carefully peel off the plants and bake at 275 degrees for 15mins per 1/4 inch (20mins should do it for about 4 coasters).

Lightly brush a single coat of paint.  Let dry.  Apply a second coat of paint and while still wet, use a tissue or napkin to smudge away the paint where the shape of the leaf or flower is. If desired apply a clear coat (modpodge or clear lacquer).

When everything is fully dry you may add a circle of felt to the back of each coaster.

I love these because they remind me of the "sun prints" that my Mom helped us make as kids - the deep, deep blue and ghostly white shadows of little trinkets and bits of nature...


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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Week of Wonder

To say we had a wonderful week out on the Cape this year is an understatement...it's not often that you get a week straight of perfect weather.  We also ventured to Nantucket Island by ferry, which is a place I've dreamt of for a very long time...

Our little Airbnb cabin in Eastham was simply perfect, the kind of place that smells like warm pine every time you open the door.  We had a small covered porch off the back which made meals outdoors extra perfect.
Have you ever been in love with a place that you've never been, and then you finally arrive and it's everything you'd imagined?  This was my feeling about sweet Nantucket...
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Ten Piggies

A few weeks ago I rejoined the Etsy community with a little shop called Ten Piggies . I've been making handmade baby items as gifts for the past couple of years and decided to start selling!  It's been a lot of fun so far and I'm really excited to keep sharing new items and building my shop.  It's been interesting sourcing natural fibers, like the alpaca yarn I use for my Baby Booties , too. I had forgotten how much fun this is!  Are these white cotton pants just the cutest!?

So pop over to Ten Piggies and let me know what you think!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Grilled Peach and Nasturtium Summer Salad

Salads are one of my favorite summer meals.  They're refreshing and cool, and with all of the fresh produce becoming available from the garden and farm stands the possibilities for combinations are really endless. The addition of fruits to your favorite greens is a great way to keep things exciting and tasting wonderful. For this simple summer salad, it's the peaches and edible flowers that bring the wow-factor, adding color and surprising sweetness. The Nasturtium adds the bite and spiciness. Not only does it look beautiful, but the flavors are extra special.
Grilled Peach and Nasturtium Summer Salad

-1 Med ripe peach, halved.
- Red leaf lettuce (washed and loosely chopped) and a sprinkling of butter lettuce
-1/4 Cup chopped walnuts 
- 1/4 Cup crumbled feta cheese
- Nasturtium leaves and flowers (washed and dried)  (homegrown or purchased as "edible" only)
- Balsamic Vinegar

Grill the two peach halves, face down on an open grill for 5 - 10 minutes. Slice the grilled halves into thinner pieces and and combine with the greens, walnuts, feta, and  top nasturtium leaves and flowers.  Drizzle plate balsamic vinegar.

This is a wonderful salad to serve to guests.  It adds an air of excitement to any summer meal, whether paired with other dishes or as a stand-alone dish with a glass of crisp white wine.  

The butter and mild red-leaf lettuces partner nicely with the nasturtium to balance the spiciness, while the grilled peach brings a light sweetness.  Finished off with the earthy nuttiness of the walnuts and the saltiness of the feta, it's sure to please the palette.  I just love the way the colors come together on the plate, don't you?


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Monday, June 8, 2015

Homemade Honey & Cherry Frozen Yogurt

After the DIY Doggy "Ice Cream" recipe I shared, a lot of us commented on how WE were eating a bit of the Doggy Ice cream, it was so tasty.  I thought it might be nice to follow up with a healthy frozen yogurt recipe just for us humans!
This cold frozen treat is the perfect alternative to ice cream this summer (sometimes!), and only requires 3 healthy ingredients.

Honey Cherry Frozen Yogurt:

2 Cups pitted sweet cherries (fresh or frozen)
1 Pint whole-fat yogurt
2 Tbs organic honey

In a large bowl combine 1/2 cups of cherries (reserve remaining 1 1/2 cups), yogurt and honey. Transfer to food processor and blend until smooth.  Fold in remaining 1 1/2 cups cherries and pour into container(s) or popsicle mold for freezing.

Since we aren't using an ice cream maker for this recipe, I suggest serving when just frozen. (This method produces a more frozen, less creamy result, ice cream makers ensure creaminess, but can be a bit more involved). 

After 24hours the yogurt will freeze into a solid block (if you've used a popsicle mold then no worries here).  If this happens, transfer to fridge to lightly thaw a few hours before serving time.  I also had some fun slicing this (carefully!) with my big knife and serving it in thick slices.  Can be stored in airtight container for up to one week in freezer.

This frozen yogurt has just enough sweetness to be tasty treat, without so much sugar as to be a guilty indulgence! Yum.


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

DIY Doggy Ice cream

It's only May but the temps have been pretty high already.  When it's in the upper 80's even the dogs find a cool treat to be just the ticket. These adorable paw print frozen yogurt "ice cream" bars are super easy to make, they only require 3 ingredients - and a freezer!  Here's how you can make them in just a few minutes for your canine friends...
You will need:
-2 Ripe bananas
-2 Tbs raw, cold pressed peanuts (you can use regular peanut butter here if desired.  I love the raw, pressed    version for the dogs because it contains only peanuts with no additional salt, oil, or sugar)
-2 Cups plain unsweetened Greek yogurt
-Cookie/muffin tray , like this Paw Print Mold ( Dixie cups work great as well)

Combine bananas, yogurt, and peanut powder in a food processor. Mix until well blended and smooth.  Pour into Paw Print Mold for freezing.
Once frozen (I froze mine overnight and they were ready the next morning), wrap in wax paper to store in the freezer. Wrapping them individually allows you to pull them out one at a time during treat time.
Bug was so excited for her "ice cream" that she would barely hold still for a photo.  So yummy!  Even I liked them!  I  also like that I can break them into smaller pieces for our little dog.

*Always check with your vet before adding new foods to your dog's diet.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

DIY Mother's Day Gift :"Flower" Basket

I'm so excited that I can almost wish you all a happy "May"! What does May bring? Mother's day!  Today I'm sharing a quick, but beautiful, little spa basket for Mom's that need a little pampering this year.  I don't know about you, but I'm all about potted gardens and spring flowers right now and this sweet basket is pretending to be just that.
You will need:
-Small wooden garden box or basket
-Assorted nail polishes and manicure tools
-Wired flowers and a few sprigs of greenery
-Crinkle paper for stuffing
-Small staked plant marker
-Glue (optional)

Wrap the wire-stemmed flowers around your gift items.  You may use a dot of glue here of you find the flowers to be finicky.  
Use minimal amounts of any glue so that the flowers are easily removed and the gift item isn't damaged.

Fill your box or basket with the crinkle paper and then place the flower-topped gift items. Weave in a few sprigs of greenery. Write Mom's name or little message on the "plant marker" and you're done!

Happy crafting!  


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