Monday, November 30, 2015

Zoey playing in the new blanket

My kitties love the Anthropologie quilt that I have on my bed.  My mother gifted me the one she'd used for years and even though it had seen better days, I loved it. Unfortunately the small minor holes in the blanket have been getting bigger and bigger the past few months and finally, when my foot got stuck in one of them a few nights ago, it was time to get a new one.

It just so happened that Anthropologie was having a sale weekend, 25% off everything in their store and online.  Here in Jacksonville, FL we have a store in our St. John's Town Center.  I rarely go to the Town Center because it's just so crowded, but for 25% off one of the quilts that I love so dearly, it was worth the inconvenience.  Browsing Anthro in person is such a joy.  So many pretty things.  I swear I touch every book, dishtowel, mug and decoration.  It's a sensation that you just can't get from a catalog.

Sunday I got up early, for me, and parked my car in front of the store about 30 minutes before it opened so I could get in and out quickly.  No browsing the Town Center shops for me, but I did browse Anthro - I was THERE!  It was required. And I touched everything.


I brought home my new quilt, a gorgeous print called Woodblock Floral.  Gorgeous colors, soft fabric, lightweight enough to use year round, comfort on all levels. My kitties have all their claws and I'm pretty concerned that they might rip the delicate fabric.  When putting the quilt on last night I realized I hadn't figured out a way to keep their razors off my quilt.

Steve and I have had our kitties for eight months now and they haven't shown any interest in playing with the covers when we make the bed, or chasing the sheets when they get changed, so it was unexpected when Zoey got so excited with the new bed cover!  I folded over the top, so there was a little envelope of fabric and she dashed into that space so fast I didn't have time to react!  From under the safety of the flap, she raced from one side of the bed to the other.  She poked her head in, left her tail out, put her whole body in and shook it all about!  She nuzzled into the bed and batted her eyes at me.   She was in love with the bedding as much as I was.

At one point she flew out of the envelope and on to the top of the bed and settled down just as quickly as she flew out!  Then, something caught her attention and her neck got longer than I'd ever seen.  Complete stillness in her body with the exception of that strangely long neck of hers and her ears.

I don't know what she heard, probably her sister and she was nervous Abby was going to come along and make her share the bed.

It turned out to be nothing serious and Zoey got back to business being a cat, laying down, purring softly and claiming her space.

Have a great day!

KNS Gear has a new store called KNS Card Shop.  We have taken many of my original photos and turned them into greeting cards and postcards.  You can purchase them as a single card or as multiples.  We also have a couple of postage stamps with organ donation as the theme.  Here are a few examples of our Christmas line.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Love Notes

Last year I thought it might be fun to write a little note about something special that had happened that day.   I used old business cards that were no longer current and were blank on the back and found a little basket that they fit into.  Since I was living alone at the time and I was missing Steve every moment that I wasn't with him, the notes tended to be about something sweet that he did or that we did together.

I ended up renting my place out for six weeks to a friend and I moved into Steve's guest bedroom for that time.  While by myself in my place I could find all kinds of time to write out this single sentence or two, when I moved over to Steve's, I completely failed at my special little task.

My plan was to present a year of love notes and memories to Steve for Christmas or as a New Year's Day gift.  Having stopped the writing in April, I didn't have much to present.  I gave these to him at some point near the end of the year and he has pulled out one or two cards every couple of weeks to read.  It's really sweet to watch him read the notes, but the cards prompted us to look into some kind of daily writing for both of us.

My weekly journaling page with our Couple's Journal on top

Steve originally suggested that we write a daily journal and read them to each other the following year, comparing our days. I used a weekly calendar to write my dailies and found it was perfect for me.  Steve, on the other hand, wrote faithfully for a full week or two and then it just got complicated for him.  I'm not sure why, but it wasn't working out for him like he wanted.

About a month before our wedding (June 20th) I picked up a lined journal.  I thought it might be fun for us to start a daily love note journal, like I did with the cards, but each of us writing in the same book and being able to read the notes that day.  I wanted to present the book to him on our wedding day, and hopefully document our marriage from day one. We'd start our new life together and write something lovely every day.  I think the interactive nature of this particular project made it easy to keep current.  We have missed a few days when we had low energy or weren't feeling particularly well, but I'd say we have average about 28 entries, each, per month.
We both look forward to the end of the day when it's time to reflect and pick out something funny, loving or notable.  I tried to stick to the one or two sentences like I did on the original cards I started last year, but with the bigger space to write, we both have tended to get a little wordy.

Our couple's journal

I love how it's evolved and I especially love that finally Steve has found a way to put his beautiful words on paper.

Have a great day!
Don't forget to visit our Zazzle store 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Olive Tapenade, our way

Once upon a time Steve asked me if I liked olive tapenade and when I wholeheartedly agreed, he suggested that we learn how to make it.  Life Lesson - Easy to make and so easy to eat!  Oh goodness, this is quite a treat and it lasts for a long time in the fridge.  It's just olives!

The cast of characters is a small but tasty group.  Pick up a jar or two of these olives, all whole if you can get them and pitted.  
Manzanilla olives (green olives with pimento), black olives, Kalamata olives, garlic stuffed olives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  

Truth be told, usually we just toss in an assortment of the olives and adjust the mixture in the end.  For the purposes of blogging, I thought we might try to get an exact amount.  Turns out that was a real smart idea!  A cup and a cup and a cup and a half!

I broke out my Grandma Corlett's steel measuring cups for this project.  I love how they feel in my hands and the Kalamata olives really looked beautiful in them.  I hardly need an excuse to use more kitchen items than necessary!

We put all of the olives together plus the olive oil in the big Cuisinart and pulsed them a couple of times.

We used all whole olives so that the mixture would chop up uniformly.  That was my theory in any case.  The Kalamata olives were sliced in half and they didn't seem to be any more or less pulverized than the others when all was said and done.

  We used a metal spoon to stir the mixture a bit and pulsed a few more times.  Stir and then let the mixture run a few seconds to chop up all those big fellas.

This was an action shot!

Steve likes the mixture with a lot of olive oil but if you prefer a drier mixture you can adjust the amount of oil used.

When the mixture looks like this, it's done!  We decided to do several taste tests at this point though.  You know, just in case we needed to tweak the proportions of the mixture...we didn't.

Big pieces of green olives and small bits of pimento mixed with all sizes of olives from big to miniscule.  Salty Heaven

Now go find some bread.

We only had a soft bread available tonight, but it didn't matter, I scooped up the olive tapenade and tried to balance as much on top of the bread as possible.  I walked around the kitchen while holding this piece of olivey goodness, trying to talk with my mouth full and ended up not making any sense and dropping several large blobs of olives on the floor.

I recommend eating in a more civilized manner and use a plate to catch the falling bits.  And trying to talk with your mouth full is ... typical of me, but you certainly don't have to.

A crustier bread is usually prefered but I have found that if the mood strikes, any bread will do.  I used an everything bagel the other day.  If you are planning in advance to have this dish, get a nice french baguette to have with it.

The Recipe

Olive Tapenade

1 cup Black Olives
1 cup Garlic Stuffed Olives
1 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives
1 cup Manzanilla Olives (which was a whole 5.75oz jar)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Drain olives.

Depending on the size of your food processor you may want to blend the olives together in one or two batches.  Put all the ingredients together in the food processor and pulse and blend until desired texture.

Stir and serve.

Cover and refrigerate the remaining tapenade.

Have a great day!

KNS Gear has a little Halloween Collection 
take a look, if you dare! 

Monday, July 06, 2015

ICAD June 2015

My sister found this cool summer art project and suggested it to me.  I am so glad she did!!  I don't consider myself an artist at all needless to say, this is not my forte but I have had a real good time playing.

Here's the info on ICAD - Index Card A Day from the Daisy Yellow Art website, and in every case, but one, I used a 3x5 index card.
Daisy Yellow Art
What on earth is ICAD?

Starting June 1, Create something on a 3x5" index card every day for 61 days. On the back of each card, add a number to keep track of your progress. ICAD #1, #2, etc. Whatever day you start, it is your own official ICAD #1. Motto: You do not need to catch up, just start.
Do we have to use index cards?
YES. Simple stuff. Not precious. Just a stack of cards on your desk or kitchen counter. Grab one, create, repeat. Simple materials push you to think in new ways. Index cards are without a doubt "not" the perfect substrate. But they are abundant, so we do not hesitate to pitch them when the work turns into a catastrophe! The cards should have the feel of index cards. There are many types of index cards - plain, lined, gridded, neon, cards that feel like manila folders, Rolodex-style cards with holes punched.
This is up to you. Anything goes. Make flash cards to teach yourself Russian. Paint with acrylic paints. Drip india ink. Dye with espresso. Practice origami folds. Stitch. Sketch. Doodle. Stamp. Collage. Cut up weave the pieces back together. Write Haiku poems. Document your paint collection.
Maximum size = 4" x 6"
I have posted each of my card art on the Facebook page for this years ICAD challenge, but it's a closed group, so unless I share it on my wall, too, no one I know gets to see it!  So I thought I'd divide up the challenge into the the months June and July so you'll only have about 30 photos to look through.  We were given a prompt for each day sometimes I followed the suggested prompt and other times I did my own thing. I did mostly collage because I still have most of my craft supplies boxed up in who knows what location and wasn't ready to start hunting.  Since I went and got married in the middle of June, I did miss a couple of days.   I have a description for each card and sometimes what I used to create it.

 I hope you enjoy!

June 2 - off prompt - Yesterday my Fiance and I went to apply/pick up our marriage license. While standing at the counter I saw the basket of discarded numbers from previous people. I thought it would be a fun ephemera to use for the ICAD. I attached the outer pieces with a "staple free" stapler (The black ovals are the spaces left behind - allowing the black countertop to show through) and double stick tape. The thermal paper reacted to the dry erase pens I used and I used a pink highlighter hoping it would change a bit, but it didn't. This project was a ton of fun!

June 3 - off prompt - The Eiffel Tower is part of a calendar and I added some collage elements to it. I found an old cash register tape from 2005, in my basket of tape - so I used a few snippets from that. Since there was an opening between the two pieces of the calendar, I snipped some twine and made a loop - as if it were to be hung. 

June 4 - Mailbox - This is a packing tape with postmarks all over it. I thought it was in keeping with the mailbox theme - I colored around the blank spaces with a Sharpie that was losing its ink. It made the white from the tape really pop when I did that.

June 5 - off prompt - Angel was part of a sticker I received that said "I'm no Angel," but cutting it down allowed for me to embellish around the outside. My art supplies are severely limited at the moment so the found sticker and a silver Sharpie were my tools.

June 7th -- Chicken Salad. I made so much of it the past couple of days that I decided to add it to the index card challenge. 
I shred up 2-3 cooked chicken breasts and then I usually add in a cup of celery, a cup or two of apples, a cup of grapes and a cup of pecans. Then I add enough mayo to get everything well coated. The chicken, pecans and celery soak up the mayo, so if you like it creamy - don't skimp. Add a few dashes of salt if you desire. LOVE THIS!

June 8th - carrot and lemon - I found this sticker in my International Luggage Label Stickers that was the Hotel Luna and it was the perfect carrot orange with highlights of lemon yellow. I cut out a portion of the sticker and then had to scrounge around to find the rest of the collage. I found a chopstick wrapper, a Hershey Kisses flag, a piece of an advertisement in a food magazine and finally, the display card that came with our wedding jewelry today from the Sundance Catalog.

June 9 - (off prompt) - company logos, warning labels, stickers, UPC codes, advertising, social media, and the very small print. Gathered from today's mail, groceries and art supplies.

June 10 - Eggplant and Ginger plus my own theme of Happy! Happy things and good things on my index card. My fiance received the delivery of his scooter today. We put it together and it's charging - It's a very happy day as he'll be a lot more mobile now.  I love bread bag tags, too, so I added in the ones that represented eggplant and the orange of ginger flowers. I took the picture of the outdoor viewer -- I loved how it looked like a big smiling face!

June 11 - Mango Lime - Just a simple design tonight. A Mango drink and a little bit of Real Lime with some orange and green colored pencil highlighting the background.

12 June - Antlers and Lanterns (my own prompt) - I used 4 of my original photos as collage pieces. A bingo cage, paper lanterns, a rusty gate and brick wall and a window with circle chains hanging down. I used some washi tape and cut the antlers from a paper calendar.

June 13 - Plum and Blueberry - We ate at Salt Life today and noticed that the paper that our food was served on looked like it could be perfect for plum and blueberry day. So I asked the waitress for a sheet to go. I had a bank envelope on my table and thought it might be fun to make one of those to perfectly fit an index card - so that's what I did. I used the purple colored pencil and created some rubbings on the index card - then I went over it with the same items, only tracing them with blue. I attached a tab to the index card using part of a chopstick wrapper. As you can see, the index card can be placed inside the envelope or in the pocket. 
I am LOVING doing a little art project each day. It's just so much fun.
June 14 - Salt and Pepper - My rule is that I can't go back more than one day to make up a ICAD. Thankfully I had time today to do the Salt and Pepper one because I really wanted to do an all black and white card.

June 15 - Route 66 - Magazine finds and a stamped canvas label. I found the continental US in a magazine and even though Michigan is not accurately portrayed, I used it anyway because it was the perfect size. (Being from Michigan, I like seeing all of the Great Lakes represented on US maps.)

June 16th - Wedding paper and sports theme (off prompt) - I used the cut pieces from making our wedding program and wove the background. Then I got out my collection of bread bag tags and found the green one with a little heart - so I paired it with the white for my Michigan State Spartans. Then I found the only black bread bag tag that I have and I put it next to the gold tag to represent my love's Iowa Hawkeyes. Then the blues help round it all out and mesh with the background. 

My friend Lisa mails me bag tags at least twice a year and she's the one who sent me the black one.  Thank you, thank you!  

June 17 - wabi-sabi - the impermanence of nature - the mountains and water are constantly changing and the clouds in the sky are never in the same place or shape. I used more of the scrap paper I had left over. I found this awesome security envelope pattern and couldn't wait to use it - so I used it as the clouds.

19 June - Snowglobe - I gathered up a few things from a BBQ that we had on the 19th and added in a white paper coaster I had collected a long time ago. The little plastic fish were from some cupcakes we had at the BBQ. I thought all of it put together looked like a deconstructed snowglobe. I thought I was going off prompt, but I guess not!

June 23 - Romantic theme - I was married over the weekend, so Romantic was perfect for my first day back to ICAD after our mini-vacation. I used the introduction page from our program and the blue scalloped tissue behind the card are from the pom pom decorations at the wedding.

June 24 - Geometric - I had to run to the grocery store for my prescriptions and a new pack of index cards - the index card cover with the brand and everything on it, I realized was quite geometric. Then I noticed on my paperwork for my scripts, had quite a few URL codes and these little squares and rectangle codes. The only thing I added that wasn't from today's purchases was the non-stick Scotch end of my Scotch tape, that I opened today.

June 25 - Botanic - I found this beautiful flower paper from FLOW magazine. I decided that I wanted just something sweet on the print, so I wrote, "difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations."

June 26 - my own prompt - Marriage Equality - With the Supreme Court decision made today, I felt that the only thing I could do today was celebrate the right for everyone to love whomever they want! I am a great fan of love! CHEERS! I just opened a box of Fruity Cheerios yesterday, so the box was still in the house. Perfect for my idea for today.

27 June - Academic - yesterday my husband was purging old tax folders and I snagged a few pieces that interested me - a page from an old checkbook, a check stub and some bits and pieces from his benefits pages. The academic in this case is more financial. I love that one of his checks was to Moonstruck Futon! What a great name.

June 28 - Dramatic - a wall full of layered framed pictures with a window overhead showing Christmas lights outside. I found everything for this collage in a couple Anthology magazines. (Which will no longer be published and I am sad.) This is the only card that was slightly larger than 3x5. 

29 June - iced cream - I purchased a little 8 color kids watercolor set and created my first masterpiece! It was fun

30 June - off prompt - a big cat in a strange world, collage. I used security envelopes, magazine cutouts and palm trees from a photo I took.

That's all for now!
I hope you have a great day!