Today I'm. . .

::Creating a big, ole mess in the craft room. What else is new?

::Drinking coffee from my kickin’ cute cup.

::Feeling enthused and inspired after meeting with another artist yesterday.

::Wearing some cozy houndstooth leggings under a fun romper.

::Hoping to play with my art journal today.

::Enjoying the sunny weather we've had all week.

::Listing this pair of earrings. {Can you figure out what the flowers were before I used them as charms in these earrings? Don't peek at the name of them. ;)  }
Altered Scrapbook Flower Earrings

::Looking forward to date night with the hubby this evening and a weekend full of opportunity.

::Bookmarking This Ukranian photographer’s fairytale images

::Thinking over which of these flowers looks best with this mossy green altered pendant.

::Needing to do a ton of chores today including the dreaded sweeping and mopping.

::Prepping some thrifted canvases with gesso.

::Wasting time, always wasting time.

::Wondering if I can pull this pile of miscellaneous old earrings together into a piece.

::Knowing I better get started if I’m going to get anything done today.

As always, I've got a little too much going on. And, I love it! What are you doing today?

What's on Your Workdesk Wedneday (WOYWW)

I'm desperately trying to get so much done that it feels like I'm not accomplishing anything. I don't even know how that's possible. With so much going on, my desk feels a little schizophrenic at the moment.
At left is my to do list, then some beads in a muffin tin, and washi tape at the far right.
Here's a better look at some of what's going on.
I've re-filled one of my muffin tins and am SLOWLY getting some items made from it.

Then there's the pile of Valentine washi tape. . .just waiting for inspiration to strike.

As you can see, there's not much in process at the moment. Like I said, nothing's getting done. Blarg! Hopefully once I check off, 'blog post' from my to do list I can engulf myself in creating. . .oh wait, laundry first. Anyway, I'll be linking up this post with What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday at Stamping Ground.

What's covering your work area at the moment and are you getting anything done?

Easy-peasy Calzone Recipe and Meal Plan

The chaos my my Mardi Gras ball has died down for yet another year as we partied hard over the weekend. Somehow in all the fun, I didn't get a single picture. . .I have no idea how that happened except that there were no pockets in my costume to carry my phone. Now it's time to come down from that high and return to the routine.

In all the prep and excitement, I spent the last few weeks trying to use up some of what we had on hand for meals as well as making some easy dishes. I even came up with an easy dish of my own, that was a hit with the hubby.

It really was easy with just a few ingredients and little prep time.

Easy-peasy Calzones

Canned pizza dough
Marinara sauce
Your favorite calzone stuffings (I just used pepperoni)

~Heat oven to temp. recommended on dough
~Roll out dough onto baking stone or sheet, then cut it in half

~Pre-bake dough as instructed on packaging (if no instructions to pre-bake, then skip this step)
~Spread your sauce in the middle of your dough pieces, careful to avoid the edges if possible.
~Top the sauce with your favorite toppings and cheese

~Fold the dough over (in half), re-position them on your sheet, and press the edges closed with a fork.

~Bake as directed on packaging until edges crisp and top golden brown (mine required a little more baking time, but my oven undercooks everything.)


See. . .so easy!!


Now that I've used up most of the staples and freezer items, it's back to thinking a little more about my menu. Fortunately, I recently pinned a bunch of yummy-looking vegetarian recipes and that made it all the easier to get the menu made. Here's what I expect we'll be eating this week.

Breakfasts: Cereal, Smoothies, Grits/oatmeal, Yogurt w/granola, Omelets, Blueberry waffles

Lunches: Soup w/grilled cheese, Tuna noodles, PB&J, Ham and cheese panini, Cheese quesidilla, Turkey sandwiches, Bean burritos

Spicy Peanut Butter Tofu w/green beans & yellow rice
Portabella Mushroom Cheesesteaks w/sweet potato fries
Chicken cutlets w/mashed red potatoes and peas

So what's on your menu this week?

I'm linking up with

Crafty Thrift Store Haul

Despite having a crazy-busy week this week, I was able to slip out for a little while and poke around a few thrift stores. I made scores at two of the thrift shops and wanted to share my haul with you.
At the first stop, I found these baggies of crafty miscellanea (and a deck of cards).

The second haul wasn't as big, but still yielded a few fun items.
When I got home from my thrifty excursion, I really wanted to just tear into those baggies, but I had to make dinner first, sigh. So that I could thoroughly share the experience with you, I made a video of the reveal.

If you'd rather just watch it on YouTube, you can find my Crafty Thrift Store Haul at this link.

If you don't want to bother with the video at all, here's a peek at what was in each of the baggies.
The general craft baggie had beads, pipe cleaners, a paint pen, super glue, and lots of lace/ribbon.
The papercraft baggie held greeting cards, notepads, a calendar, stickers, and some odd ornaments.
The jewelry baggie was stuffed with broken and single earrings, bangles, and junk jewelry.
Baggies like the ones I found above are by far my favorite things to look for at thrift stores. I think it's the possibilities that they hold that get me so excited. What's your favorite thing to be on the lookout for when you hit the thrift and antique stores?

From the Crafty Hope Jewelry Shop

It's been a while since you've been inundated with pictures of jewelry currently available in my Crafty Hope Etsy Shop. In case you haven't had the time to pop in over there and take a look, here's just a sample of the eye candy in stock.
Keyhole Peek Necklace
It's taken me years to really find my style in jewelry-making, but looking down this list I'm really starting to see what it is. I know what I see and will probably get into that more in another post, but do you see a common theme or style in my jewelry?

Menu Plan and Recipe Review

It's BALL week, and I don't mean those usually round, sporty balls or even the ones I definitely don't want to talk about on the interwebs. Nope, it's the week of my Mardi Gras ball! Yes, Mardi Gras itself isn't for a few more weeks, but the season starts early in these parts. 

My week is full of meetings and prep and all kinds of fun that takes me out of the house and leaves my hubby alone. Alas. . . along with my man, my menu suffers. 

Breakfasts and lunches are pretty much repeats of last week, and there are only two nights I'll be home to make real meals.

Tonight we're having Chicken, potato, and leek pie.
Tomorrow I have planned (since it's his favorite and he can have leftovers) Beef Stroganoff and green beans.

Is it horrible that I'm leaving him stocked with leftovers, cereal, lunchmeat, and canned ravioli? He doesn't seem too perturbed so I guess I shouldn't fret so much. 

Despite my tardiness, I had a semi-related meeting yesterday that kept me from blogging, I'm linking up with Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

I do have one recipe review real quick.  It's for the Vegetarian Dirty Rice that I  made last week. I'll preface the whole thing with, we liked it in the end.
Sooooo. . .the making of it was a disaster. When I added the rice and turned the heat down to medium, all the liquid cooked out pretty quickly and began scorching the bottom of my pot. I added a little more veg broth and let it cook. When the 45 minutes were up, the rice was still hard. It ended up cooking for another 25 minutes with about another 2 cups of broth added before the rice ever softened up enough to eat. As well, I had to turn the stove down to low so all the broth wouldn't cook off immediately. I think that if I had turned it down to low initially instead of medium, I would have had more success. The dish didn't taste too bad in the end, despite being a little overcooked. I may try this again with that one change, low temp instead of medium. Like I said it had a great flavor, but I was just so frustrated with the whole process.

So that's it. Lots to get done this week. I hope I can pop in and share something else with you later in the week, but I'll have to wait and see how crazy it all gets around here.

Until then, Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Distraction to Delightful (a mixed media necklace)

Earlier in the week, I teased you with an image of the distractions on my desk. I finally got around to having time to focus on those distractions and wound up with something pretty wonderful, if I do say so myself. First, here's a reminder of some of the supplies that I had.
Beads, a bezel, alcohol inks, and paper

And here's the resulting necklace!

If you'd like to know how I made the altered paper piece in the bezel, here's a fairly short video I made showing most of the steps.

If you'd rather just watch it on YouTube, here's the link to the video.

I do so love playing with my supplies! If you have any questions about the process that I didn't include, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

An Ephemera Haul at the Library

If you've visited my blog a few times, you might recognize my penchant for found objects, thrifted finds, and ephemera. I've openly admitted my tendency to pick up items from the ground. I have a long list of posts under the tag thrift scores. With my new art journal obsession, I've more and more discovered the value of ephemera.

Shoot, before I was art journaling, I couldn't resist the pull of old papers. This particular compulsion swept over me completely as I was leaving the Fairhope Public Library the other day. Right in the lobby (outside the doors to the library and the book store) they have a couple of carts labeled "FREE BOOKS".

In addition to books, there are usually a few stacks of magazines and other paper materials. I always stop and take a gander at what's up for grabs. This week, I discovered a stack of ephemera and the price was so right. . .free!! I flipped through the stack hurriedly and saw that it was mostly maps. I scooped up the whole pile, balanced them on top of my library books, and precariously made my way to the car.

At home, I did a little more thorough sorting to discover a plethora of maps from National Geographic.

These seem to be dated from the 1960s-1980s and cover a variety of subjects: birds, space, water, and regions.

In addition to the NG maps, there were a few even older maps. On the outside of some of them are handwritten descriptions with a date. The earliest is dated 1906.

Lastly, there were also travel guides, old pamphlets, and road maps.

As with all the ephemera I tend to drag home, I have no idea exactly what I'll do with these treasures. However, I'm so glad I've given them a new home for the time being. Does your library or local bookstore have a free cart? What have you saved from the landfill?

Meal Plan, Despite Distractions

Once again, I've let almost a whole day get by me. That's not to say that I haven't gotten anything done, just not the tasks on my list. It was too easy to get distracted by beads and inks and paper. . . .
How could I not!?
Thankfully, I did make the menu first thing this morning.

Breakfasts: Cereal, Smoothies, Oatmeal/Cheese grits, Yogurt w/easy granola, Cheese omelets, Waffles

Lunches: Leftovers, Tuna Noodles, PB&J, Cheese quesidillas, Chicken salad sandwiches, Bean burritos, Soup w/grilled cheese

Steak w/boiled potatoes & green beans
Vegetarian Dirty Rice w/cauliflower
Taco Soup (from freezer) w/tortilla chips
Spaghetti w/salad

So far, I'm not even doing very well sticking to the menu (breakfast didn't exist and lunch was takeout.) I do know dinner will go off without a hitch, the steaks have finally defrosted (we were supposed to have them last night!) I'm linking up with Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Now to see what else I was supposed to do today. A creative life is never idle. What distracted you today?

Fairhope Roasting Company

On what was surely the coldest morning in South Alabama in many moons, members of the Southern Bloggers Jubilee met at The Fairhope Roasting Company.  As a big fan of that dark, delicious ambrosia we call coffee (seriously, a big fan), I was surprised I hadn't heard of this particular business. However no cold weather or head cold was going to keep me from checking it out.

Upon entering the building, we were greeted warmly by Hanson Eskridge and Mackenzie Chandler in a warm and cozy seating area.

They even had big coffee mugs waiting for us next to piping hot containers of their Breakfast Blend (light roast), Fairhope Blend (medium roast), and French Roast (dark).

I went straight for the dark roast, though couldn't resist trying out a little of the medium roast later in the meeting. {{Fun fact I learned while there: darker the roasts have more flavor but less caffeine. So if you're looking for flavor go dark. If you want a punch of caffeine, go for a lighter roast. Who knew?}}

After some preliminary meet and greet, Hanson gave us some information about how this new-and-unique-to-Fairhope business came to be.
In October 2009, Hanson moved to Minneapolis where he worked for Bull Run. By May of 2013 he was back in Fairhope with all his newfound knowledge but no place to turn. He launched a Facebook page and reserved the Fairhope Roasting name online as he wanted to be the first in the area. On a visit to Windmill Market, Hanson presented his coffee-roasting-business idea to several local businessmen. Within 15 minutes Hanson received a call from Mr. Carlton. By the end of August, they finalized their partnership. It took little time to find a building. Hanson hired Mackenzie to handle the tech and marketing side of things. They moved into the building on Commercial Park Dr. in October. About a month ago they had their health inspection, and it's been uphill from there.

Bags of Fairhope Roasting Company Coffee can already be found in local venues such as Windmill Market, Greer's, Rae's Kitchen, The Garage Studio, and Vine. B and B Pecan even carries some of their Toasted Pecan Blend. If you just want to grab a cuppa, Sweet Olive at the Windmill Market brews the tasty java. Of course if you're not local, you can always visit the Fairhope Roasting Company's coffee page to order you some. And y'all. . .it's good!!! I didn't even put any cream in that first cup. It was so smooth, so yummy.

After getting all the background on the origins of the company, we were invited to watch a batch of the Fairhope House Blend get roasted. This is a blend of coffee beans from Guatemala and Brazil. Here's a quick video I shot of some of the process.
As you could hear in the video, we were all quite impressed.  You would be too. . .watching beans go from a gray-green
To a luscious, soothing brown

We were even given samples of that exact roast to take home. And I must say having fresh beans that were roasted only hours before is a real treat -  one that I won't be depriving myself of any longer now that there's a great roasting company just up the street. We couldn't get into this bag of coffee fast enough this morning!

Make sure you check out the Fairhope Roasting Company's website. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Don't be afraid to pop in at the shop at 361 Commercial Park Dr., Fairhope, AL 36532. I'm sure they'd be happy to see you!

Bead Box 18 - Reveal

 Hey y'all! I'm popping in to share the completed jewelry pieces that came out of Bead Box 18 . I've actually already stocked an...