Last summer, my husband got a grill for his birthday, a gift from my parents. It was the first summer in our own house and not an apartment, so it was the perfect addition to our new backyard. My husband says it's the best gift he's ever gotten. He's never used it. I, on the other hand, have used it a ton- we ran the tank out halfway through the summer. He says it's the gift that keeps on giving.
In one of my grill adventures, I tried to make grilled pizza. If you've ever had it, it's wonderful. If you've ever tried to make it, it's hard. You have to be somewhat quick and time everything just right, and I'm not the best at that I guess. So one of my failed attempts at grilled pizza margherita (tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzerella) turned into pasta margherita. I had everything cut and ready to go, and since I didn't have a crust to put it all on, I needed something else fast. Enter the pasta.
Pasta Margherita (with no specific amounts)
Fresh garlic cloves, chopped
Tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
Basil leaves, torn or cut into small strips
Fresh mozzerella, cut into pieces
Angel hair pasta
Boil pasta according to package directions. Heat a skillet on medium high, spray with cooking spray. Sautee the garlic for a few minutes until lightly brown. Add the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for a minute until tomatoes are slightly brown and wilted. Place the cooked pasta into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Add the garlic and tomato mixture, basil, and mozzerella and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
That's it! It is so easy and so tasty. You can add as much or as little of each ingredient as you like. I am a garlic-heavy cook, so I add an obscene amount of garlic to this. We have it with grilled chicken (I couldn't wait for summer any longer) but it makes for a great vegeterian dish if that is what you are in the mood for. Add a salad and some bread and you've got a fast, complete meal.
She is a two and a half year old standard poodle, though she is small for her breed. We rescued her when she was 10 months, finding her on petfinder.com (Don't click that link unless you want to get a dog! The cute faces and sad eyes will get you!). This was her photo:
And so, with that, my husband determined that this was our dog. We love her. Adore is probably closer to it. The entire extended family thinks she is just the sweetest dog, so it's not just us. Here are some things about Casey:
1. She does not like to get wet, but will patiently have a bath. I think she secretly likes the attention. When she gets done, she runs around like a complete idiot in a maneuver best described as "the after-bath stupids".
2. She is a complete bed hog. The very few times she has been allowed to sleep with us, we have found that she gets right up close to you, and if you try and move over to give yourself space, she scoots over too. Thus, pushing you off the bed and taking it over for herself. Very clever.
3. She gets car sick on back roads, but made it all the way to Florida like this:
Anyway, when we first got her, she had this very nasty, dirty pink sparkle collar on. I am not a pink sparkle kind of gal, so we got her a basic black one, figuring it wouldn't end up looking dirty.
This project has been on my to-do list for a long time, and I finally decided it was time to revamp. I knew I had some fabric I could use to cover up the old black collar. The one she has now is just gingham print sewed onto a pink collar. If Old Navy could do it, so could I. So I took the black collar apart except for the end hook:
I decided this would be a good print for her- not too girly, but still girly enough. This fabric was originally going to be an apron. Did I mention that I'm not the best sewer? I'm also not the most motivated.
I cut a strip of the fabric, ironed back the edges and sewed it down with the sewing machine. All went well, except for when I went to put it back together. First, I forgot how the parts went back on, so I had to look at the old collar for help. Not a big deal. But in sewing the double-layer at the end which holds the whole thing together, I broke the sewing machine needle (oops) and had to do it by hand. Also not a big deal, but not the most professional looking either. It's ok, though. She's a dog, and she's nice enough not to say anything about it.
First the surprise: they are not flat cards at all, but folded cards! This is a little more of a challenge because even if I wanted to make some kind of a tag out of them (though they're a little too big), I couldn't because there is a fold.
So I figured I'd better start by doing something to cover up some of the white. If I were a handy and talented graphic designer, I suppose I could come up with something cute and/or clever and just print it. But I'm not, so.....tracing it is! Do you remember being in elementary school and having those oak tag tracers that you would use to make shapes? That's exactly what I did.
Cut with scissors. Yes, by hand.
Adhere layer to front of card.
So at that point I was feeling really excited and proud of my clever self. It was so quick and easy to cover up the white scallop card with a blue scallop layer, and I didn't even need a punch! Then I realized I needed something to go on top of it. Most all of my creations are layered paper designs, so in staying true to that, I needed another layer. So I figured I'd just try and cut out a smaller scallop by hand. I traced the card again and this time, cut inside the outline to make a smaller shape.
Hmm...not exactly Etsy quality.
Got some high-level math involved. Finding the center point....
Slightly better, but still not perfect.
And that is the point at which I am right now. I have something in mind to do to use for the middle scallop that I think is going to work perfectly (no, I didn't go out and buy a punch!), I just haven't had a chance to get to it yet. One thing for sure is that I won't be happy with it unless it looks pretty much perfect- I have somewhat of a perfectionistic streak- so if that doesn't turn out, I'll just scrap it and try something else. Stay tuned for Part Two, which will hopefully be the finished product!
I have an update on that giveaway I mentioned yesterday. I offered a set of my magnetic book clips to The Bargain Babe (my blog's first ever shop interview), who is celebrating 100 followers on her blog. It's my first ever giveaway, so if you'd like to check it out and enter to win you can do so here. (And they're listed in my shop here.)
You can win these!
Well, kind of. I admit, I took it a few times. I liked to see what it came up with for me. The first time through, I just went through what they gave me and made my picks. I didn't realize that at the top was a link that said, "Nothing You Like? Refresh All Items." Uh, oh. This gave me license to refresh, and refresh, and refresh until I was totally happy. It probably took me at least 10 minutes to get through it one time (it can take you like 30 seconds to get through it if you don't refresh).
Results? I found some really neat items, but it took awhile for the taste test to produce a list that was really me. Here's what I learned about me: I'm really, really picky, but I already knew that. I like scarves. I like knitted things. I like paper goods. I like neutrals and pretty shades of blue, teal, and aqua. I like bread. I like bags. However, I would know that about myself just from looking at my own favorites list that I am very slowly curating. Today's daily treasury shows the results of my "best" taste test results.
What I want to know is, who gets to be featured in the taste test? There are so many sellers and items- does everyone get a fair shake at being featured? Could one of my items become a taste test participant? Now that would be fun.
So, I'm asking for suggestions. What should I do with this? Anyone? Oh, and bear in mind that I don't have a scallop punch, which makes things a little more challenging.
Daffodils starting to poke out of the ground!
With all the grass exposed, that's where she stands.
Fell in a puddle. We went through three pairs of pants yesterday.
Yes, that is a one foot-tall John Deere wheelbarrow.
I wanted to add a tag line to the bottom, and with all of the "More Ideas Than Time" images running through my head, figured humor would be the way to go, and that that line would be true of anyone who would actually use my cards. I started with green, but then thought that people might want another color so I ended up making them in four colors.
That night I posted this new banner (the one hubs wasn't fond of):
So in the morning, to make it less wordy, I cut it down (very slightly):
I liked this one a lot! I knew it was a little blank, but I thought it was somewhat charming. So I posted to one of my teams to ask for opinions, and it all came up the same- too plain! Ahhh! Hubs was right! No!!! So I went to work and took one of his suggestions (sigh). I did a layered paper banner that is the same as my avatar, because it was also suggested that my avatar should stay the same. But I like that- I did like my avatar. Here is new banner take three:
But it's squashy looking! So here is take four:
Hmm...I think I like it! But let me just try it with the other words just in case...
I did kind of like this one, but then I thought it might be too much with the words and the colors and all. So I stuck with number four, which is now displayed in my shop. You thoughts and comments on the matter are, of course, always appreciated.
Now, on to more important things. I've got some new things listed up that I am so proud of. About two weeks ago I posted a preview of some gift tags I was going to list, and they turned out like this:
I loved the double-sided paper, and really wanted to make some book clips out of them. So I started- layering the floral side up on a turquoise card and a bright pink card. And then I got stuck. I wanted to add in the butterflies but didn't like it with the flowers. So they sat. In the meantime, I made these reversible book clips out of boy-themed paper, with one design on the front and another on the back, so they can be used either way.
I think the came out very spring-y. If you want to check them out further, they are listed here.
I wanted to try and get a few more things listed, but it always ends up taking longer than I thought. I'm going to have to try and get those done later today.
Which leads me to my last thought- do list or renew? Is it better to list something new or renew something old? I haven't to this point renewed anything I've made. I know a lot of people do so on a daily basis, even, but considering all of my items are under $10, those little 20 cents add up quickly on the price of the item itself. I was really considering it for my save the dates, table favors, and graduation announcements, though, since those are perpetual items. I'm still trying to decide if it's worth it for me to do that. I suppose I could give it a try once. As for some of the other items, I don't know if it's worth it to renew them, or if it is just better to add new product to my shop. Either way you get bumped to the top of the search list, so why not have more to offer?
My husband, who is, by all accounts, wonderful, does not like it. He immediately said, "You should take it down and put the old one back. There's too many words." He thinks there should be a photo of my work. Or, if I really want to keep the words, then use a different font and less words. I know he wants to help and really does want my shop to look good, but I really like it! I feel like it's closer to all the stuff I've been seeing about branding lately. I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think. I am still trying to decide if I should also change my avatar. I like showing off one of my bookmarks, but I think it would be nice for it to just say "by the book paper", too. However, someone did say to me, "Your avatar is interesting. It made me want to click on it." I may just keep thinking on that one for awhile. [P.S.- since writing this, I made another banner change based on team feedback, but you can check it out and comment anyway :)]