Sunday, May 31, 2009

Before & After Front Steps

The husband and I decided to tackle a home improvement project this weekend: giving our front steps a makeover. Our steps were painted grey and it just never looked right to us. We decided to try black and are very happy with the results.

Check out the before...

Yucky, dirty grey steps...goodbye!

And after - classic black.

The finishing touch - a Smith & Hawken doormat - thank you Target!

I still think we need to put something on the ledges. I suggested lion statues, but the husband doesn't agree. Any ideas for us? In the meantime I need to tend to my first sunburn of the season. One of those that just seemed to come out of nowhere. Ouch! Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cricket's Friday Etsy Finds

Remember last week when I promised the fur babes they could each do a blog post? It's Cricket's turn this week and she has some good suggestions after observing Country Mouse and I sewing all last weekend...

For the aching neck after hours at the sewing machine or cutting table...

Neck Wrap and Eye Pillow with Removable Covers by Earth Angel Studios

A lovely scented candle to keep calm and carry on with sewing...

Twelve Trees Soy 6oz Candle in Lavender from madebymavis

And you simply must have a divine place to lay your head to rest at night...

The Second Empire Petbed, Geisha by Your Highness Petbeds

I hope you enjoyed Cricket's Etsy finds and have a wonderful weekend! We have plans for some yard work and other home improvement projects, we'll see what we can accomplish! What about you, what do you have planned?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Finnish Breakfast

I think breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It might have something to with the fact that I usually don't have to think real hard to decide what to make. During the work week I eat two waffles every morning (they must be Eggos, no other will do). That's been my habit ever since I was a little kid. I even remember the day that my mom stopped cutting up my waffles for me and made me do it myself. I know, it's strange, I can't help it. It's a serious tragedy if we are out of waffles. My husband knows better than to eat the last one. So there's a little bit of my quirky side for you.

Anyway, I had promised to share my great aunt's Finnish Pancake - Pannu Kakku (sounds something like PAN-nu KOK-ku, but I'm no expert even though I am half Finnish) recipe we made this weekend. She had given me the recipe as part of my wedding shower gift over a year and a half ago so it was about time I made this.

Pannu Kakku
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)

1 Cup Flour

2 large eggs
2 T sugar
1/4 Cup butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Add butter to 9 x 13 pan and melt in oven. Mix other ingredients together and pour into pan. Bake until puffy and brown (about 25 minutes). Sprinkle some sugar on top. Serve with fruit topping, cinnamon sugar, syrup, whatever you think is tasty on a pancake!

She writes that my grandma and great grandma used to make this with fresh milk from the farm. Isn't it fun to look at some of the old recipes and pictures and imagine them back in the day? This is a really easy breakfast meal. And especially tasty with fresh fruit. I think it would be delicious with some baked cinnamon apples from the Apple Festival that we try to get to every year. Let me know what you serve with it if you decide to try it out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Whirlwind Weekend

Wow, did the weekend go by fast or what? The past few days were a whirlwind with Country Mouse at my house. We spent the entire weekend sewing items for the shop and a few orders we needed to complete. Each sewing marathon we have, we seem to work faster and produce more. I am always amazed by what we accomplish when working together. We both had sore backs and necks by the end of the marathon. Country Mouse described the feeling in her neck as "a red-hot poker" sticking her in the neck. So I should welcome being back at the boring desk job this week to rest my body. But I really would rather be sewing.

We did manage to make time to eat a few meals and I'll share those pictures and recipes with you soon. But for now I'll leave you with a sneak peak of our new fabric - Wildwood by Erin McMorris. I adore this collection hope to get more of it. What do you think of these lovlies?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Weekend Plans

I am SO looking forward to the weekend. My sweet office boss is letting us leave the desk job 2 hours early today, so at about 2pm I'll be free!! I'm so excited!!! Country Mouse should arrive shortly after 3pm and then let the sewing marathon begin! I'm so excited! Wait did I say that already? Here is how I envision the weekend:

Friday: give Country Mouse her Mother's Day gift, open my purchases (owl mirror and mouse) from HelloVictory which Country Mouse so kindly picked up for me yesterday, make a game plan for which sewing projects to tackle first, and finally relax with some dinner and wine. I plan to use this dressing from fresh365 for a salad and as a marinade for some chicken to go with it.

Saturday: Start the day with a full pot of coffee. Country Mouse needs her fuel to get going in the morning as do I. Also going to try to make a Pannu Kakku (a Finnish baked pancake). If this turns out, I'll share the recipe with you from my dear great aunt. After completing the custom orders to have them ready for the mail, we'll take a little walk with the dogs. Some of us need exercise to gain control over the winter weight, not naming anyone specifically... Then its cut out, sew, iron, sew...and more until we are too hungry to operate effectively. Eat a quick dinner, finish up the projects and plan for the next days projects.

Sunday will be much like Saturday, but we'll be even more serious about what we can get accomplished because the weekend is running out! Oh no! Hurry up!

Monday: Country Mouse will pack up all her bins with less fabric to take home than what she came with and we'll say goodbye :( Then I'll start snapping pictures of all the new goodies to get them ready for the shop. The husband will arrive home from the BWCA man trip where they stay in cabins with no electricity and sit out in boats trying to catch the big one all day. We will most likely have walleye for dinner if all went well. And I'll have to listen to all the fishing stories and he'll have to listen to all the sewing stories.

Now do you understand why I'm so excited?! What are your plans for the long weekend? I hope you all have a great one!

image by: City Chic

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sadie's Etsy Finds

I told the fur babies about this blog and they begged me to let them have their own. I explained to them that their dad would be really upset if all of his girls were on the computer all of the time. And there just aren't enough computers for all of us to share. So we came up with a compromise: Etsy finds. Each fur babe will put together a Etsy finds post. They are satisfied with that. For now. Sadie gets to go first.

Sadie heard about Country Mouse's morning the other week. So she thought this would be the perfect thing for the cat. Maybe then she would leave the birds alone.

three de'cat'pitated heads are better than one toy set by spellwell

And since she doesn't get to snuggle in
bed unless she has recently had a bath, she wants me to order some of this...

Herbal Dog Shampoo Bar by Good Clean Dog

She felt quite bad about head-butting me in the face the other day while I was petting her sister, Cricket, so she said I should get some goodies for myself. I didn't end up with a black eye like my husband did when she head-butted him.
Even so, I would like a sweet treat. Something from Whimsy and Spice. I've heard such wonderful things about their goodies and I've been meaning to try them one of these days. Do you have a favorite food store on Etsy?

Rose and Black Pepper Thumbprints by Whimsy and Spice

Sadie hopes you enjoy her finds. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the cookies arrive in time for the weekend, but I should have planned a little farther ahead. Do you have big plans for the long weekend? Country Mouse and I are getting together for a sewing marathon. I'm still planning out the details, but it will include lots of sewing, good food, and maybe even a small home project. We'll see what we have time for.

images by: spellwell, Good Clean Dog, Whimsy and Spice

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hello Victory!

I came across the most wonderful vintage shop the other day and wanted to share! The lovely shop is Hello Victory on Etsy. Don't you just love the name? After snooping around her profile I see she has already been mentioned on some major blogs including decor8, so I don't know why on earth I had not hearted her yet. And to top it off she is located in Northern Minnesota where I grew up! Our hockey teams were actually rivals. But we are grown ups and I think we can be friends now, right Kate? I covet many, many items in her shop including...

this lovely pink hairdryer would be a gorgeous display in a girlie room

how about this cutesy party decor for a little one's big day?

I'd love a little company from this guy on my desk, might just make my office day job tolerable

and last but certainly not least, a little mouse. Can he come live at my house please?

Seriously, where does she find these treasures??? I would like to know. For those who can't wait to see what is added next to the shop, visit the Hello Victory blog.

Don't her photos show just how stylish vintage can be? I'm inspired to map out some sales for a treasure hunt one of these upcoming weekends. Anyone else? My husband has not learned to appreciate how much fun my weekend treasure hunts can be. Like the time there was this terrific estate sale down the block form us and I figured I could easily walk back any purchase I made. I ended up with a whole trash bag full of vintage fabrics and could hardly handle walking back home. Some people drove by and laughed at my bag lady self, but I kept smiling about my treasures. My husband on the other hand wanted to get me in the house ASAP so the neighbors wouldn't see the true bag lady treasure hunter I am.

If you don't have time to treasure hunt this weekend, be sure to head on over to Hello Victory and check out her shop treasures. Happy treasure hunting to all and to all a great weekend! Jamie

images by Hello Victory

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

psst...Sale in One of my Favorite Shops

It's just about summertime and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to add some inspiring garden prints to your home...

Don't these just make you want to get out there and plant something? If you are like me and not blessed with a green thumb but really enjoy the beauty of flowers, try adding some of these gorgeous prints to your home. Surrounding myself with images of beautiful flowers will improve my gardening skills, right?

Head on over to one of my favorite Etsy shops - My Fine Garden by SLGdesigns - for her 1 year anniversary sale on these prints and more! A full week of 25% off in her lovely shop when you mention "1 year" in the notes to seller and then wait for your revised invoice! See the details her blog. Happy shopping (and gardening)!

images by slgdesigns

Monday, May 11, 2009

Get Excited and Make Things...Like Ironing Board Covers

Remember these fabrics? Well those plus more turned into these...

Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, Anna Maria Horner, Alexander Henry, Heather Bailey, who else??

and Tina Givens, Momo ... I think I got them all!

It's my goal to add one or two every day to the shop. If you see one you simply must have, let me know and I'll put your name on it.

See the sign? Don't you love it? Get Excited and Make Things. Perfect for the crafty type. Designed by Moleitau on flickr. You can print your own for free over at Miss B's Blah Blah Blagh. She even makes it available it five eye candy colors! She has lots of other free downloads so be sure to look around while you're there.

So what are you waiting for? Get excited and make things! I would if I wasn't stuck at my day job today :( Bummer. Happy crafting to you! Jamie

images by CityChicCountryMouse

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dear Mom, Happy Mother's Day!

Dear Mom, I just want to thank you for everything you have done and continue to do. I couldn't possibly list everything! But I will say you made some really awesome cakes for my birthdays. Remember these...

I wish I was there to spend the day with you! Love you! Jamie

Friday, May 8, 2009

Weekend Trails and Happy Tails

I am thankful that spring has finally arrived. Minnesota winters can be long and harsh and seem never-ending at times. I tend to want to hibernate during that dark, cold, icy season. But Spring has finally staked its place and I'm venturing out from my cozy den. Now that it is warmer, one of my favorite things to do on the weekends with my husband is to take our fur babies for a walk through the neighborhood nature preserve.

This is the view of Sadie enjoying some much needed freedom. I have a love/hate relationship with her right now. Some days she is "my husband's dog" (like when she chewed up my electric blanket) and on her good days she is my snuggle bug.

Cricket on the other hand is too smart to ever dare misbehave. She is seriously one of the smartest dogs. I know I'm biased, but she is. She understands most everything I tell her. I'm just waiting for her to burst out talking to me one of these days.

A little sniff here, a little sniff there...

And oh wow! We saw an Egret flying around and land way up there!

Oh little mallard, we didn't mean to give you a scare. We won't bother you, we'll just stare.

Did you enjoy our little nature walk? I hope you have a wonderful time on the trail you choose to venture down this weekend! xoxo, Jamie

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

School is Out for the Summer

When I was in school, I used to be so happy when it came to an end and I was free for the summer. Well, I don't feel that way now. Remember when I told you about the blogging course I was taking? Our last official day was Monday and I am a bit sad that it is over. It went by so fast! I learned an incredible amount and still need time for it all to sink in. But for now I'd like to share some of the amazing new blogs I discovered via the course.

1. Fresh365 - This is my new online recipe book! Even if you don't cook, visit her blog for the fabulous food photos. I tried the Orange Ginger Dressing with arugula greens and mandarin oranges. good. I am going to try it as a marinade next. Another yummy one is the Brie Quesadillas with Mango and Walnuts. Lately I had been in somewhat of a rut in the kitchen, planning the same old boring meals and struggling to think of something new and tasty. Do you ever feel that way? Her blog has inspired me to cook with some new ingredients and experiment a little.

2. Studio G is motivating me to get our landscaping plans in order for the summer. Her blog is fantastic resource and inspiration for those of you who love the beauty of the outdoors. She even has little baby keets! The greenhouses are open and I can't wait to apply some of her expertise to my yard. It is badly in need of some love after this winter and the dogs chasing after each other like maniacs. I am in need of some dog friendly landscaping and hearty plants.

3. jennifer squires has some of the most impressive fine art photography of flowers I have seen. You may have come across her Etsy Shop or maybe this lovely photo. Just perfect for perfect for Mother's Day, dont you think? She truly has the ability to capture the beauty that is everyday life.

And I also want to thank my small group members for their helpful comments:

There are sooo many more! Like I said, I am still letting it all sink in so there may be more that I write about. Enjoy these ones in the meantime.

images: 1.Fresh365, 2.CityChic, 3.jennifer squires

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Morning in the Life of Country Mouse

I received an email from Country Mouse this morning and thought I would share it with you. This is a good example of the different lifestyles we have. Warning: do not read if you are in the process of eating or drinking or you may a) be grossed out or b) burst out laughing and spew food/drink all over. I warned you!

Country Mouse says:
Well, my day so far: Went to let the dogs out in my big mama pink bathrobe that my thoughtful but clueless husband gave me for Christmas. My showdog Lady clamps onto a decapitated bird (robin?) that the cat thoughtfully placed at the front door. As I'm screaming "drop it" while people are driving by on their way to work here comes Mindy all covered with burrs from her morning romp through the woods. I was unable to pry the jaws of steel open so Lady got her breakfast (which I'm sure will be regurgitated shortly). After holding Mindy down and picking dozens of burrs off of her we all came in and I'm having coffee and the fur babes are all sleeping after wolfing down breakfast. Anyway....

Too bad we didn't have a video to go along with that. But here's a picture of "showdog" Lady after a swim at the lake. She is a King Charles Cavalier that we adopted from relatives who rescued her along with many others from an unfortunate home.

I hope your day is off to a good start! Have a wonderful weekend! Oh and THANK YOU to everyone who read our post in The Storque! Your comments make us smile :)