If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there's a million ways to be, you know that there are.
--Cat Stevens

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hanging Chalkboard Welcome Sign

Little tiny "chalkboards", delicate flowers, and hand-spun rope could anything be more fun? We have had a piece of beautiful rope that we made as part of our honeymoon in Nauvoo, Illinois. For a long time I have fretted over how best to display the lovely little coil of rope, moving it form one shelf to another. Finally this January I came up with a plan and recently I finished it.

Earlier this year I saw some beautiful bunting and was inspired. Immediately I thought of the rope we received in Nauvoo . I grabbed Pat and we headed off to get supplies. Somehow we never got around to working on this beauty until recently. The thing that impressed me the most is how cheap it was to make. When we added up the cost of the supplies used we came to around 5 dollars. I will apologize now for both the quality of the photos and the lack of photos of the earlier stages of the project. I am not much of a photographer, though hopefully I can improve, and I am very much absent-minded and often forget I want to blog about something until after it is finished.
  • 1/4 sheet 3/8" cabinet grade plywood about *$8 (this project used about 1.67 sq ft making the cost of the material used about $2)
  • 1 qt. Flat black paint about $13 ( we used a little less than 1/6 of the can so the cost for this project was around $2)
  • tiny amounts of white, pink and green paint--on hand
  • Rope-free souvenir
  • Pencil
  • Paper for sketching
  • Medium grit sand paper--on hand or $1
  • Paintbrushes-on hand
My husband's family all speak almost exclusively French, so we wanted to find a way to include Bienvenue ( welcome in French) on our sign. We played with a few different ideas before deciding the best route was to print it in smaller letters underneath welcome.
The first step in this Welcome sign is to cut your plywood into 4"-6" rectangles, and drill two equally spaced holes with a 3/8" bit about 1/4" from the top of the rectangle. Use the sandpaper to sand the face and sides of the rectangles until the corners are rounded the faces are very smooth. Brush off any sawdust and paint the front and sides of each piece black. You'll want to be sure to get inside the holes so that no wood accidentally shows later on. We took about a 3 week break at this point, but there is no need for you to.
While the paint is drying or some other time, you'll want to think about the type of lettering you want to use. I decided to freehand the large letters for Welcome and Pat did the small print below. It took me about 3 hours and a lot of paper to sketch out all the letters how I wanted them. Once your paint is dry and you have decided on your lettering you have 2 choices on how to get them onto your boards. You can draw very darkly with a #2 pencil on your paper and then flip the page over and carefully rub the image onto the board, or you can freehand the letters using your sketches as a guideline. I prefer the second method, but Pat's mother who drew the flowers prefers the first method. Whichever works for you is the best method to use.
Using detail brushes carefully fill in your letters with white paint. It took us about three coats of white paint to completely cover the black. Do the same for the colors you choose for your flowers. When the paint is dry you can thread them on your rope and hang them.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Dessert Wars- Green

I have decided to join a progressive blogger competition Dessert Wars. Dessert Wars is a progressive blogger competition with a monthly winner who will go head to head at the end of the year (December) to secure the position of ULTIMATE DESSERT WARRIOR and win a grand prize package. Each month you will be challenged with a theme ingredient and/or a specific dessert to bake. For example; one month we may ask you to use lavender in a dessert, the next month it might be to bake a pie. This will leave room for you to express your own creativity. The more creatively you embrace the theme, the more likely you are to win.
I am really excited about participating in this competition; I am looking forward to all the challenges and solving them. The theme for March is green in honor of St. Patrick's Day. We were given 2 lists of green ingredients and instructed to pick at least one from each list for our dessert. I was super excited when I learned about the theme because green is my favorite color and my birthday is in March. In some weird way, I felt like it was a special birthday challenge just for me.
After looking through the ingredients and brainstorming with my husband Pat I decided the thing to do would be a trio of sorbets. Pat thought that we ought to incorporate watermelon because they are so lovely and green. I pointed out that they had red flesh and that you can't eat the green part, but in the end I agreed that we could try to use watermelon. I have never made sorbet before, and we don't have an ice cream machine. I did some research and found some lovely recipes to help get me started though. I very rarely follow recipes but I often use them as a starting point especially when trying something new.I found a delicious looking recipe for Cucumber sorbet from Healthy Green Kitchen, and a great tutorial for making sorbet from Simply Cooking To get me started.
This lovely Neopolitan Granita is what we came up with:

Cucumber Spinach Sorbet
Cucumber sorbet is lovely and refreshing but I wanted a brighter green color and a little more flavor than I could get with just cucumbers. The idea of adding a bit of spinach came to me and it worked perfectly.

3 cups cucumbers, peeled and diced
2 Tbs Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Spinach, raw coarsely chopped

Puree cucumbers, coconut milk and spinach until smooth. Add maple syrup and mix through.
Pour into a freezer-safe container with a lid.Place in freezer and freeze until solid. Remove from freezer about 15-20 mins before serving. The mixture won't really stay in nice balls because it wasn't churned until creamy. We ended up using a fork to bust the block into tiny crystals.

Watermelon Sorbet

3-4 cups Watermelon diced
2 Tbs granulated sugar
2-3 mint leaves

Puree Watermelon--strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. Return puree to blender add sugar and mix through. Add mint leaves and blend until thoroughly combined.
Place in freezer and freeze until solid. Remove from freezer about 15-20 mins before serving.

Honeydew and Rosemary Sorbet

2-3 cups diced honeydew melon
3 Tbs honey
2 Tbs coconut milk
3/4 Tbs fresh rosemary, diced

Puree honeydew, coconut milk, honey and rosemary. Place in freezer and freeze until solid. Remove from freezer about 15-20 mins before serving.
Dessert Wars
The March prize package includes:

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Hi! Welcome to my blog. My name is Amy. My mother told me that just before I was born she had a dream and in that dream she saw a bouncy active baby girl and she knew immediately that my name would be Amy Lynn, which means beloved torrent. I don't think a person could be given a more accurate name. I have been lucky to have been very loved and to love others in return, but I have the temper like the weather. One minute I am sunny and the next I might be depressed or in a rage. For a long time I thought maybe I was broken, but finally I am learning to love me despite the storms. I invite you to join me as navigate the waves life throws.