August 26, 2012

Weekend Update

I don't know about you, but we've been kind of busy around here lately. Since when was it August?! And now it's almost September...

At the beginning of the month, I got a job! Praise the Lord (seriously). This job has been a daily reminder at how great God is and how much he cares for his children (ie you and me!). There is no way -- no way -- I would have gotten this job/opportunity had it been through my own works and efforts. Big Man upstairs really got my back!

Anyways, between the two of us working and coming home with just enough time to cook and go to bed, we haven't been doing much besides the 'usual'...until this past weekend!

Our weekend started off with Blend -- the annual lock-in at church for the high school youth ministry. We started in a few years back as a way to force introduce incoming 9th graders into the youth group. We're usually up to no good, and this year was no different. We blended things in a blender, we played broom ball in the parking lot, watched kids do Minute To Win It challenges, and watched Hunger Games. A couple hours of sweet slumber, and we were off again! To Forsyth Park we went, to do a really fun scavenger hunt using our nifty smartphones. Then it was time to feed them and send them home. Youth ministry is so much fun, but tiring too (can I get an "amen"?). Glad we can still keep up while we're young!

The aftermath of blending -- CD, banana, leftover wonton soup, golf ball...

Playing Ninja in the parking lot

After we recovered from Blend, we went out for dinner to celebrate my new job (and to reward ourselves for having just survived another youth lock-in). We went downtown and ate at one of our favorite Savannah restaurants. We just so happened to go when an awesome Gospel choir was beltin' out some Spirit-filled tunes across the street. The windows were open, the weather was beautiful, the choir was awesome, the company was great...can life get better? (I submit that it cannot!)

Then today after church, we went down to Bonna Bella for lunch with the in-laws and friends (as if this weekend wasn't already awesome). The weather once again was beyond amazing and the food was too good. It's so easy for me to forget how blessed my husband and I are and how much fun we have with his parents close by. It is always fun to get together and fellowship with one another...and celebrate milestones like anniversaries (!) where a certain father-in-law gifted his lovely bride new bling (!). They are too cute.

Check out your gorgeous bride, Rob!

Thank you, weekend, for being fantastic. If only life was made up of weekends and not weekdays!

August 18, 2012

Project Cook: Zucchini fries

Ever come across a blog post that has a picture of a really great recipe that you have to make immediately? Enter: zucchini fries. I don't even know how I came across this post, but I'm sure glad I did! We made these last week and they were so delicious (I just salivated reminiscing about it, true story).

What you need:
Zucchini cut in strips like fries
1 egg
1/2 cup of beer (we used Bud Light...and may or may not have used more than 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup of flour
Whatever seasoning we wanted (garlic powder, etc)
Vegetable oil
Salt to season/taste

While I cut the zucchini, Cait made the batter. She whisked together the egg, beer, flour, and other seasonings. In a cast-iron skillet, I heated up some oil and started coating and frying the zucchini. The beer really made the batter really light, which made the zucchini fry up crisp on the outside while still maintaining its soft texture inside.

Doesn't this look so good? I made that!

On the side, we made a spicy mayo (as the post suggested) by mixing some mayo with sriracha. I just took a couple tablespoons of mayo and mixed in sriracha until it had a kick. Dipping our zucchini fries in it was awesome! I'm making this again!

August 11, 2012

Project Do: Terrariums!

'Project Do' time! My friend Farmer Cait came over for a visit last weekend and came bearing gifts, including a cute little succulent from the farmers market. With all the hoopla nowadays over succulents and terrariums, I figured it was time I gave it a shot!

First I did some research. I used the Google machine and found a few posts that seemed somewhat helpful. West Elm's Front & Main post was pretty informative (and so cute!), but I really didn't know how to find all of the things they used (activated charcoal & billy buttons?!?). A post over at That's Quirky made a terrarium out of recycled pentagon-shaped light fixture that was pretty neat. However, the posts I found most helpful and inspiring were posts by a friend at her blog (here & here).

Armed with Home Depot giftcards from our wedding, I went shopping. I decided I would do a layer system using pebbles, moss, and cactus soil. Thankfully, Home Depot got the memo that succulents and terrariums are 'the thing' right now, and had a whole section where everything you could ever need for succulent tending and terrarium building near the front of their garden section. I lingered and contemplated how much I needed more succulents, but decided that I should probably make sure my succulent doesn't die before I subject other plants to my wrath.

Cait and I had originally planned on making a terrarium last week when she was here, but we didn't realize how much extra 'stuff' we needed. So in efforts to start the terrarium creation process, we went to Goodwill and found a lovely little glass dish to put my succulent in ($1.99 holla).

With my dish and my Home Depot purchases, I started creating. First the pebbles, then some moss, then some cactus soil. Then I made a little divet in the soil for my succulent. I decided to put some pebbles around the edge to hide the extra soil space that was there.


As I was admiring my newly created terrarium, I had an idea to make a terrarium out of an extra jam-jar goblet my mother-in-law made for our wedding. Doing the same layering system, I created a mini terrarium and I am in. love.


Farmer Cait told me that she was informed that when succulents keep growing, you can take some from the bunch you have, plant it, and it's supposed to grow more! Hooray for gifts that keep on giving! I just need to remember to check the soil moisture every few days and water as necessary!

**I haven't posted a 'Project Do' post in a while, the last time I did was in 2011 (Sewing Kit & Speedy-Carve "Thank You"). It was nice to 'do something' again!

August 7, 2012

Home cookin'

Since I can remember, I have always been waiting for the day that I get to decorate my own house and cook recipes that are running through my head. Now that I'm married, I get to do both!

Tomato-mozzarella-basil-pesto sammie & zucchini fries (recipe here)

Lately, I've really enjoyed cooking. There's something relaxing about cooking (except for that time I tried to make potstickers and they did just that...I was pissed), and I love watching my husband take the first bite and see his face of pure joy in my cooking.

Farmers Market goodies from Charleston, SC

Cooking has also taken a turn towards eating health(ier). It definitely helps that I know a farmer. I have since tried kale (and loved it) and I have eaten zucchini more times in the past few months than I have my whole life. I have also cooked veggies that scare the crap out of me (see that pattypan squash up there? I'm nervous about cooking that one). I have even taken a trip to Forsyth Farmers Market and have bought my first few dozen brown, cage free chicken eggs. Woohoo!

Chicken Veggie Udon Stirfry; Pesto pasta with roasted garlic & tomatoes

I have also been bringing some Asian zest into my husband's life; we went on a daring adventure into the ghetto downtown and found the 'secret' grocery store that has everything that I've been missing/craving. (I didn't know how 'Asian' I actually was until I moved to a place where things like dumplings and bok choy and wontons aren't available in a bajillion stores near me) We had to walk to the back of a gas station-esque grocery store to discover the plethora of familiar goods (weird) and then we had to go into industrial walk-ins to pick out our veggies (even weirder).

The older I get the more I realize that I need to be careful and mindful about what I eat. Not mindful in the 'think about the animal you're eating' kind of way, but more like the 'will this be good for my body or will I regret eating this in 5 minutes' kind of way. I always grew up eating veggies and fruits (my family is known for eating whole watermelons in one sitting) and I hope to carry on the tradition in my new family too.

What kind of eating habits have you adopted lately? Where do you like to shop for food?

August 2, 2012

Letters + Press

A couple of years ago, I became unhealthily obsessed with all things letterpress. So much so, that after what I perceived to be an uninspired year of graduate school studying social work, I almost dropped out to pursue an MFA in Book Arts at the University of Alabama (surprise mom & dad). Thankfully, I had some really good friends who, while patient and kind with me, suggested that perhaps my increased interest in letterpress was just my inner desire to want to be creative and told me to stick with what I was learning.

Then I stumbled upon my saving grace; Pyramid Atlantic in downtown Silver Spring, MD. With a mission to "build communities that give life to printmaking, papermaking, and the book arts", I got hooked. I immediately signed up for their "Introduction to the Vandercook Letterpress" class. Best. Decision. Ever. I got to learn about this old, majestic art of printing, and got to hand-set and print two 4-5 lined phrases by myself (!). During that time, I was following a guy by the name of Tyler Knott Gregson on tumblr and came across a poem of his that I loved. I was also being inspired by the words of Hafiz through my dear friend Cait (remember her?). Thus I ended up printing these two pieces of art on leftover paper from one of Pyramid Atlantic's papermaking classes:

Since then, I have slowly been browsing, window-shopping, and purchasing letterpressed things, mostly cards. I don't remember exactly when I started this hobby, but at some point I came across letterpressed paper goods that I couldn't get enough of. My first letterpressed purchase were these postcards I found while I was living in Atlanta at a cute boutique on Highland Avenue (and I still have them). Fast forward to earlier this year, when I discovered that these postcards are the handiwork of Concrete Lace (you can browse and/or shop here).

Just a few places I frequented when I was at school in Atlanta

In October of last year, I attended Washington City Paper's Crafty Bastard Arts & Crafts Fair with a friend. There I was further inspired by letterpress and saw how people have made a wonderful living staying creative and inspired all while doing art.

Through the use of the wonderful world-wide web, I was thrust into the world of all things print; enter in wonderful works of Old Try (blog & shop), Claudia Pearson (blog & Etsy shop), Ink Meets Paper (blog & Etsy shop), Parrot Design Studio (blog & Etsy shop) to name a few.

 My obsession with letterpress has corresponded with my love for cards; writing cards and sending cards. With this day-and-age of instant messaging, the "pings" of sent emails, and the commenting of Facebook walls, sometimes we forget how wonderful it is to get a handwritten note every once in a while! I am happy to report that my love for hoarding collecting letterpressed cards has also inspired me to continue the art of writing and sending notes 'just because'. 

Clockwise starting from left: Calendar by Linda & Harriett; card by Dude and Chick Stationary Sweetness,;card by Pinterette Press (all found and purchased at Mac & Murphy in Charleston, SC)

Card by egg press; Card by Wiley Valentine (all found and purchased at Mac & Murphy in Charleston, SC)

Apparently I'm not the only one who has become obsessed with all things letter & press. Ladies of Letterpress is having a Letterpress Conference August 2-5th.  Indie Craft Parade is happening September 7-9th. These are just a few examples of this exciting new expression of people wanting to learn more, be more inspired, and purchase more handmade and handcrafted things. There are even blogs devoted to paper & cards; Oh So Beautiful Paper! What a wonderful community of creative and curious people who love all things beautiful and quirky! I can't wait to explore Savannah and see the fabulous art that I'm sure is exploding out of the seams!

*Friends - any tips on where I can go to find and explore paper?