Weekly Roundup – Friday Favorites #02

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| | | This photo that I took on Dinosaur Ridge while in Denver last week. I hate that I didn’t have my polarized filter because the sky is blown out, I had to play with the contrast, but I quite love how it came out and despite the white sky, I still love this photo.

| | | Lets start with some music. I found this band some time last year and they quickly became one of my favorites, but some how after the New Year I lost my habit of daily playlist listening and organizing (I am constantly shifting my online streaming collection around, building bigger and better playlists for all my moods. Well this week I was able to start that hobby/habit back up again and was so happy to hear this song come across my mix.  It’s the perfect song for spring’s arrival, I love it. Also how cool is it that they are from Costa Rica? I want to be from Costa Rica. Hah. Let’s hope this grooveshark embed works. Cross your fingers!

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| | | This tutorial from Design Love Fest has me wanting to washi tape every chord in my house.

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| | | This beautiful DIY comes from the lovely Kelli Murray’s blog. Gorgeous.

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| | | I am on the hunt for a new summer little black dress and I really love this one from LuLu’s. Maybe I can manipulate my Built by Wendy Dirndl Pattern, it just figuring out that wrap top really, but that seems a little difficult.

mushroom tart
| | | Some friends and I are putting together a multi-course meal made entirely of pie this weekend and I have found some seriously amazing savory pies on Martha Stewart. I am actually loving the idea of tarts. We might just have to make it a tart day instead.

| | | Last week when I was in Denver I tried these amazing mushroom and quinoa, vegan meatless meat balls at City O’ City. They blew my mind and I have been searching for something similar. I found and tried this recipe this week. It was close, but the texture wasn’t right and maybe City O’ City’s is more mushroomy and herby, although, this was a great place to start. I omitted breadcrumbs, cheese and used ground flax seed as an egg replacer, but my meatless balls were pretty crumbly so this is something I will have to work on.
| | | This incredible video of water on a wash cloth in Space! Man I love space. Haha

| | | This love ly little Etsy shop, I Make It You Make It. It’s full of adorable vintage inspired patterns for downloading printing to make at home.

| | | This book, Denver on Foot, 30 walking tours of the city, saved my life in Denver. Well not really my life, but saved my budget and saved me from getting lost. It’s full of short little walks for seeing the sites around Denver. It was the best purchase I ever made and I hope there  are more people writing books like these for their town. I had all this free time with out a car during the day and so I would just pick a walk and get to it. Best part about it, I bought it for $9.99 through my Kindle app on my tablet.

| | | There is also 15 household uses for mint from Apartment Therapy.

I leave you with one more Denver photo. This was taken at about 5:30 am Mountain time through a rooftop fence. Also I didn’t enhance it at all. Gorgeous Denver sunrise.

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Cotton Wedding Aniversary

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Tuesday was James and I’s second wedding anniversary. It’s quite the new thing for us to celebrate an event by going out places or buying gifts, we’re that weird couple who doesn’t ever celebrate Valentines day.

In the past seven and half years that we’ve been together, it was not till we got married that we decided we should do a little celebrating now and then, and plan to out have a nice time and try to do something sweet or thoughtful instead of just winging it. Don’t get me wrong winging it is great, but it became so nonchalant that holidays were the same as any other day and we could both tell that we both needed and wanted a little more from one another.

Last year we were gifted by our family a night out at the nicest restaurant town, which is also something we are not used to. So this year, after James received a gift certificate for a volunteer photography job he did, to the same lovely restaurant, we decided to make it a tradition and set up our reservations for our anniversary.

I must say that it is absolutely marvelous to treat yourself to such a night every now and then. It felt like an afternoon lounging by the pool or day at the spa, some serious enjoyment was happening.

We put on our fancy clothes, combed our hair (I even put on makeup, gasp!), bundled up in our winter coats, clasped on our helmets, and scooted (oh yeah! On a side note we are now the proud owners of an e-bike which is super fun and I’ll introduce her here in a future post!) the couple of kilometers over to the lovely River Mill restaurant in the old cotton mill.

With the new day light hour we were able to enjoy the river view over sunset and candle light. We even ordered a lovely bottle of wine and sat enjoying fruits and cheeses while our entres were being prepared by a chef. A chef!

Can you tell I don’t get out much?

For dinner I had a deliciously tender fillet of sustainable British Colombian Salmon over cheesy polenta with roasted butternut squash and kale, while James enjoyed a gorgeous chicken breast from a farm right here in Kingston. We finished everything off with a chocolate tort and a strawberry mouse and listening to soft jazz over coffee and tea.

Best of all was the time we had together. We couldn’t keep our mouths shut, except when there was delicious cheese on the table, then I am sure it was rather quiet in our little corner of the restaurant. But all the while we talked about our future projects, our goals for the month, and for the next four months. We brainstormed, critiqued, and laughed and giggled for two hours while dinning on some of the most amazing flavors and foods we’d had in a very long time. It was a fantastic time and we came home happy and full.

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I could not have asked for a better anniversary. I hope we can keep the tradition up next year! I think I am going to keep him around long enough to do this a few more times.

CleverPlumage farm feather haul

Sunday I went out with my folks to a farm in Taylorsville Georgia to collect feathers for crafting. This is an annual fall trip for me and I was excited to see what little treasures we’d find. We wander around the roaming areas of the birds with giant plastic bags gathering feathers till the golden Georgian sun began to set.

The birds are free range and include ducks, guineas, turkeys, a variety of chickens and roosters, and about 6 male and 3 female peacocks. Which of course are my favorite to find.

Today I thought I’d share a little of the behind the scenes action as to how I prepare the feathers after I’ve collected them. It’s one of those curiosities that always comes up for customers at craft fairs and I enjoy  talking about my process so what better place than the blog!

(Recently collected feathers ready for wash. Look at the variety!)

The first step is to wander aimlessly around a farm looking for feathers on the ground while trying not to disturb the nesting areas of the birds. After which I clean and preen the feathers to make sure they are up to par for my Etsy shop. I soak the feathers in a bucket of water with a cup of vinegar for about 10 minutes and swirl them around to loosen any leaves or red mud, which is my nemesis. I pick out most of the leaves during this step as well.

Then I suds those bad boys up with a couple of squeezes of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Tea Tree Oil soap, swirl and dunk them as if I was washing delicates, I let them sit a little longer to make sure all the mud is off, drain them off to get them ready to move into a clean rinse bucket that has a little hydrogen peroxide added (sometimes spray hydrogen peroxide directly on the feathers before dipping them into the water, but this time I just tried to do this step in the shade, maybe it was more piece of mind). I take them two by two, inspecting each one, and suds them up one final time before dunking them into the clean peroxide bucket that I let fill up as I move over the feathers.

After I’ve been through the whole bucket I lay them out on a screen in the sun to dry, which only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. I do this twice per bucket.

The whole process takes about 50 minutes per bucket load and the bag you see in the first picture took me two bucket loads to clean up nice and bright.

Finally, I am left with beautiful clean feathers ready for crafting into fun head pieces and jewelry. I pretty much love my job. This is the worst part about it.

 

Fall recipe Round Up

The gorgeous changing of the seasons has inspired my palate and lately I find myself craving the flavors of fall. With the abundance of pumpkins out there for sale at road side stands, farmers markets, and fall festivals I thought I’d share some very intriguing and unique pumpkin recipes I’ve found around the web.

Number one is a flavorful pumpkin humus. Number two, a to die for pumpkin spice bundt cake with creamy pumpkin glaze. Number three, a warm and creamy, veggie packed pumpkin soup. Number four, a gorgeous and hearty pumpkin chili. And number five is a grain free, dairy free take on the classic pumpkin pie.

These recipes are sure to please your taste buds and warm you up with all the flavors of fall. Mmmmm mmm! Click To Tweet!

Recipe Links:
1|2|3|4|5

Preparing for a Green Juice Feast

So I am doing it. I have been gearing my body towards a juice feast for the last three weeks. I started by eating a nice big raw breakfast for two weeks and then into a week of fresh citrus, fruit and green smoothies. Yesterday I started the “feast” by replacing breakfast and lunch with fresh squeezed green juice.

Raw foodists often use the term feasting over fasting, because you truly are feasting! It’s all about abundance and eating as much pure, beautiful goodness you can! It’s enlightening really to think about it that way and to really appreciate all the beautiful, fresh, organic, local treats you are eating all in one go. It’s like living like a god! Surrounded by beautiful ripe fruit and veggies!

Why did I choose green? To be honest, I’d be lyin’ if I said I didn’t want to loose a few pounds, but also I want improve my overall health and I think a low glycemic clean system of eating will help me get there!

To prepare for this feast I went to our local market on Saturday. I had a budget of $20 to spend and that was it. I wanted to see if it was really doable on a small budget, because just the thought of organic produce prices can scare the pants off some people. To add to this James and I do have some fresh veggies from our CSA Share (community supported agriculture) so in total that makes my weekly budget about $40. I don’t know if this is doable yet, but I am sure going to find out.

Here’s what I scored at the market (I am just going to apologize in advance for these terrible quality photos it was later in the day and I refuse to use flash photography.)

A giant head of kale with roots still intact $5
Three light green sweet peppers
One green pepper
an entire basil plant $3 (I have other plans for this other than juicing: Pesto!)
six small peaches
a good sized head of romane
six 1″ ft cucumbers
five green apples

Amazing! All are low pesticide to no pesticide and some certified organic in there too. Now how long is this going to last me? Probably 3 to 4 days as I am replacing two meals with all of these goodies, though the CSA share should help prolong things and hopefully I’ll make it to Friday for our next share.


I couldn’t wait to start on Sunday so I made a small batch for dinner Saturday night. So fresh!


Not so green because of the addition of three small purple carrots.


Even Nori approves! She actually loves greens and we often share with her fresh lettuce and spinach cause she devours it!

It’s definitely an acquired thing juicing green veggies. I had some experience with it back at Omega when a fellow staffer leant the use of her juicer to staff (Lindsay that was a godsend!) but I didn’t juice it up full time. My short term raw food goal is to be raw by the end of September and see how it affects things, from there I’ll think about my long term plan and how I can use this method to improve my life over all. This is just a little experiment, I am in no way an expert, but over the course of this month I hope to learn as much as I can about my body and the affects of a pure clean diet (by diet I mean the aspect of my lifestyle having to do with food, not a “diet.”)

Wish me luck and please if you have anything to share with me do it! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Etsy Feature Friday – The Gorgeous designs of Lauren Kemp


I just discovered the beautiful DIYed designs of Lauren Kemp on Etsy. Truth be told I found her through Uncovet and searched her out to find her shop and low and behold there she was on Etsy!

These are some of my favorite designs of hers that I seriously can’t get enough of and wish they’d jump into my closet right now! Her simple cuts and fun hand painted/stitched embellishments have really inspired me to get out the ol’ needle and thread and try my hand at some of that gorgeous embroidery work. Although it will have to wait till after Urban Craft is over as I am swamped with last minute projects leading up to the big day!

First up to bat:

Look at the gorgeous back on this one:

Fun elbow pads are always a + in my book:

This one is hand painted, love the color:

Similar embroidery design as the first image, but boy do I love the cut of this shirt:

Images from her shop, Lauren D Kemp :1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6

10 things I love – End of Summer Gypsy

I’ve had my eye on some of the pretty items since the temperatures were starting to slowly warm up and as summer comes to a close I feel myself hanging on to those small bits of warmth knowing that winter temperatures will soon be here. Although, I am excited about fall, the craft fairs, layering clothes, pretty scarves, and changing leaves, I know that autumn will only fade to gray winter days of snow boots and more practical things like 3 pairs of socks and remembering your mittens. I love winter and the holidays, but I am not yet ready to leave summer behind. That is what inspired me to put together today’s post, summer fading into fall.

1|| Gypsy Knott Wrap by Free hippie on Etsy

2|| Gypsy Celebration Flags by ArtToGo on Etsy

3|| One of a kind Vintage hand dyed slip by LipStickGypsy on Etsy

4|| Queen of Roses Jacket by Ruchki & kruchkI

5|| Bohemian Hoop Earrings by NATgirona

6|| Boar Tusk Choker by Julia Barbee

7|| Peach Rose Georgette HiLow dress by Nalini Shop

8|| Cotton Fringe Bikini Top by Motavationsnn

9|| Waterfall Body Harness by Moorea Seal

10|| Tobacco burst skinny yoga pants by Purusha People

Being a balla – Delicious and packed with nutrition Almost Raw Chocolate Truffle or the Date Ball Recipe

It’s been more than a minute since I’ve shared a recipe on the blog. This one is killer and more than staple in our home. Truly we can’t get enough of them and we eat them by the thousands! Just kidding, but I can honestly say that I have at least one of these a day. They are the perfect pick me up with their good sugars, proteins, and fats.

I first saw these when I was working at Omega in 2010. There was a follow worker there who made these in all different flavors, in bulk, without a mixer or a processor of any kind. Her flavors were delicious! I sat next to her at a craft fair once and she told me what was in them, and since then I have played around with finding my favorite.

This recipe is for these treats is in their most basic form. They are incredibly versatile. You can make these with almost any nut, any spice, and even add other fruits to the mix. What’s beautiful is the simplicity, and not to mention, that they are cheap to make, they are a nutritious. healthy snack, and the perfect something sweet to my sweet tooth!

*Almost Raw Chocolate Truffles

Tools:
Coffee grinder or food processor
Stand mixer or mixing bowl

Ingredients:
1+ cup of medjool dates, pitted
1+ cup divided raw organic shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raw organic seed or nuts
2 tbsp organic flax seeds
1+ tbsp organic coconut oil
1 tsp pure organic vanilla/almond extract
A good pinch of sea salt
A little water or coconut milk on the side

Optional Ingredient: 3 tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder. Which I endorse fully. So good!!!!

Using a coffee grinder grind flax seeds into a fine meal and add to mixing bowl. Next add seeds or nuts to the coffee grinder in small batches, pulsing until a half meal half rough grind is achieved, add to mixing bowl (I also like to grind my coconut flakes into a chunky powder, just takes a few pulses, to me it gives the candies a more fudgey consistency and if a light fluffier garnish on the outside.)
Add the cup of dates, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and pinch of salt to the mixing bowl. If making chocolate add it as well.

If using just a mixing bowl, chop up your dates before hand to make mixing easier. I also suggest mixing with your hands, for the first part, to really break up the dates. However, it will get very sticky and very messy.
Mix thoroughly and add a little water as you go till you get a nice sticky cookie dough type mixture. If using a stand mixer simply mix on three with the cookie attachment adding water as you need to.

Using a tablespoon or simply guessing roll the mix into balls and drop into a bowl with the extra coconut. Toss the balls around in the bowl to get full coverage and place in a covered Tupperware container in layers in the fridge and let set up for twenty minutes.


Plain date balls pictured here.

I use sunflower seeds because they have a lower fat content than nuts. I often double this recipe and keep extras in the fridge for afternoon snacking. I also wholly suggest adding the chocolate as it is almost like eating fudge! I am a chocolate lover, but we also enjoy a spicy chai flavored version using chai tea masala or your favorite chai spices mixed right in, these are even better the next day as the spices have had time to really meld into the mix. We also dig these plain with out any flavor or spices added, this way is James’ favorite way!


These are the chocolate, yes I only had 5 left when taking this picture. I then gobbled these down for breakfast.

The great thing about this recipe is you can’t really go wrong just keep mixing things in till you get the consistency you want. If you want a room temperature candy add more nuts and coconut for a less sticky consistency, these will hold up better in warmer temperatures.

*These are almost raw because, not being a raw foodest myself I am not sure if coconut oil and extracts are considered raw foods.

What I wore #6 – Sidewalk sale street style

These photos are from the 5th of July. My parents had just driven off into the morning towards New York state. The hardest bit of all was the goodbye. I am never ready to say goodbye as it hurts my heart to see them go.

After they left James and I went downtown to check out the sidewalk sale and take my mind off their leaving. It was a beautiful day with a lovely breeze off of the lake and Princess Street was bustling with people checking out the sale. I love this town in summer. Though very touristy all the sidewalk activities and festivals make for a great cheap way to have a date and get out of the house. There is always music, an art festival, or a parade going on. We are so lucky to have such a nice apartment right in the historic district off downtown. A mere stones throw away from all the activities.

I bought a gorgeous tapestry sheet from the Modern Primitive and a ton of books for twelve dollars at Indigo, which I will share with you down the road (bedroom tour). I don’t usually shop at the big chain book stores, but when I saw $1 and $2 dollar books of the crafty and cooking nature I had to take them home with me!

My necklaces are a mixture of Clever Plumage plus two amazing necklaces from two recent Etsy trades. The Turquoise is from Lu Designs Creations and the beaded strand is a custom necklace from Frozen Water Designs. Both ladies are excellent Etsy sellers with lovely work!

Outfit details:
White T :: thrifted :: Value Village
Skirts :: By FIRE Los Angeles :: Gift from my Momma from a Belk sale in 2009
Wedges :: 275 :: Thrifted :: Value Village

This is another outfit that cost me under $10.00!

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