Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Sketchbook for Camille - The Design Process

My sweet friend, Camille, turned 14 on Friday. She always loves and appreciates the specially lettered envelopes I create when I send mail to her family. I decided that would be a great jumping off point for putting together a special present for her. Here is what I created.
Here's the design process I went through before I settled on a design.
This shows how I figured out the spacing on the final lettering. I was not able to do the fine detail on the book due to the woven texture on the sketchbook.
Here are some of the other lettering styles I tried out. I ended up recreating them on some of the pages inside of the book.
I picked out some of the quotes that I really like that I had pinned on my Pinterest board. I added them at the tops and bottoms of pages throughout the book.
I ended the book with the quote about the chicken crossing the road. I wanted to end with a bit of humor. I hope that Camille will like it as much as I enjoyed creating it for her.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Window Displays and Day of the Dead

Ellie is going to North Carolina to go sailing so I took her shopping for a new outfit for the trip. I've always loved great window displays (yeah, geeky, I know) and there were some great ones this trip. I loved these giant jellyfish made of vellum.
I also loved the wall of logs in the Steve Madden store. They sell boots.

On the other hand, while trolling on Pinterest I found that Pottery Barn has a new line of really great Halloween and Day of the Dead items. I, of course, would love to have some of them.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Of Castle Blocks, Golden Helmets, Eating the Rainbow for Dinner & a Taco Salad Recipe

I had my young friend, Ben, over yesterday. I have some castle blocks that Ethan and I molded when he was about 10 years old. We used them to build models of ruined castles so that we could use them with the tiny role playing characters that we painted. I had hoped that Ben and I would be able to make more blocks, but I cannot figure out where the molds are. No matter. Ben and I had a great time anyway.We did not get very far, so I sent the stuff home with him. I am thankful that my so is so generous and is allowing Ben to use many of the blocks to build his own structure.
I bought the molds from Hirst Arts many years ago. They are well made and hold up well to a lot of use.

At the end of the afternoon Ben and I picked up Ellie. She had a good day. The day before her crew had three challenges to their Super Crew status and won easily. Chuck took their helmets and painted them gold. This made Ellie happy.
Ellie says that they are a great crew because they have figured out how to work together well. There are four super hard workers who build great trail and four other workers who assist; Ellie works with Santana. She says that the trail comes out much better than if each person did a part on his/her own.

After dropping Ben off at home, we headed home and decided to stop at Goozell for really tasty frozen yogurt. Ellie got Cake Batter yogurt, topping it with fruity pebbles, rainbow sprinkles, mini M&Ms, etc. She said that it was like eating a rainbow (a very sweet one, I am sure.) It was fun, but what a sugar buzz I had. It is great while it lasts, but then I crashed.

Here's what we had for dinner early in the week:

Taco Salad
Modified from the Chicken Taco Salad from The Pioneer Woman

3/4 cups Ranch Dressing (bottled Is Fine)
1/4 cup Salsa (as Spicy As You'd Like)
3 Tablespoons Finely Minced Cilantro ( left this out)

2# Ground Beef, cooked with Taco Seasoning
2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Tablespoons Seasoning (taco Seasoning, Or Your Own Mix)
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter

1 head Green Leaf Lettuce (1 Large Head Or Two Regular Heads), Shredded Thin
3 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
1/2 cup Grated Pepper Jack Cheese
2 ears Corn, Shucked (I used frozen corn that I cooked in the skillet with a bit of butter. I cooked it until it began to caremalize.)
2 whole Avocados, Diced
3 whole Green Onions, Sliced (omitted)
1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves (omitted)
Tortilla Chips Of Your Choice (flavored Or Not), Crushed Slightly

Preparation Instructions:

First, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and stirring together. Cover and refrigerate.

Next, make the chicken: Generously season both sides of the breasts. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken on both sides until deep golden brown on the outside and done in the middle, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then cut it into cubes.

Place the ears of corn in the skillet you used to cook the chicken and roll it around so that the flavorful oil/butter mixture coats the corn. Grill it on a grill pan or cook it in a separate skillet until the corn is still crisp but has color on the outside. Slice off the kernels with a sharp knife and set aside.

To assemble the salad, pile shredded lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, cheese, corn, avocado, green onion, cilantro, and crushed chips on a big platter. Drizzle the dressing all over the top, serving part on the side if you'd like.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Back to Normal

It was a wild weekend. We had the summer party on Friday. On Saturday I went to the Outdoor Art event at Meininger's Art store. I had a lot of fun playing with spray paint, paint markers, etc. It kind of made me want to make a large piece of art. Here are a few pictures from that event.
Saturday afternoon and evening Ellie and Kohlton went to the Kenny Chesney "No Shoes Nation" Tour which also featured Eric Church, who was their favorite performer of the night. It was a big 5 band deal lasting from 4:30- 11:30 p.m.

On Sunday I went to a BBQ party to benefit AVS.

It was all fun, but I am happy to have a bit of quiet now. I indulged in finishing the book that I started recently. It was The Fault in Our Starts by John Green. When I sat down, I had not intended to finish it, but I just could not help myself. It was so nice to just sit and read. It is an engaging love story about two teens who meet in a Cancer Support Group.

This is a trailer for the movie made by a fan:

Here's a very clever video made by a talented young man who was inspired by the book.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Our Summer Party - A Big Hit

My best friend, Natalie, and her family have moved to Golden.
To celebrate this, we through a summer party. I think it might have been our best party yet. We had an eclectic guest list. I think everyone had fun.

Larr helped me put up the flags and the hula hoop chandeliers that I made. I was very thank for that help. I could not have done that alone. Ellie helped with the layout and placement of lawn furniture, a place for the food, etc. She create a special place for making s'mores.
The food was great. Everyone brought something fun to eat. Ellie made a cake from watermelon and Cool Whip. I made the fruit pizza. We put the drinks in mason jars on ice in the wheel barrow. It worked out really well.
Ethan was able to get off from work early and attend the party. He had to be back at work the next morning by about 4:45 a.m., so he left at 3:00 a.m. We were worried about how safely he would drive being that he got only about 3 hours of sleep. Larr rose with him and made breakfast for Ethan. By then Ethan was bright eyed and ready to go.