Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Lazy Days of Summer

Summer is in full swing now, and it's hard to believe that it's already the middle of July. Perhaps you are still anticipating your summer vacation, or maybe you have just returned from a week or two of "fun in the sun." Either way, I hope that your summer is going well!

I was able to spend some time working with a new stamp that I purchased earlier this month. I've been baking quite a bit and I always enjoy sharing my creations with friends and family, and I find it quite exciting to wrap my homemade treats in unique ways. When I saw this apron stamp, I knew that I had to add it to my collection. It's perfect to use as a tag, or as shown in this photo, as an embellishment on a gift bag. The thing that is neat about this apron stamp is that the cherries aren't included on the stamp - they are on a separate stamp. It's great being able to customize the apron depending on what recipe I might be trying. I'm already thinking about other tiny stamps that could be used on the apron...pumpkins (Halloween), snowflakes (Christmas), leaves (autumn/Thanksgiving) - the possibilities are endless. And it's so relaxing to use my colored pencils to color in the the stamped image. I always enjoyed coloring as a child so it brings back happy memories.

Speaking of memories, do you have a favorite pastime or memory from summer? I can think of quite a few, but one that stands out in my mind involves the last day of school before summer vacation - usually a half-day with dismissal at lunch time. My dad, younger brother and I would ride our bicycles to McDonald's to get Happy Meals and enjoy an outdoor lunch while talking about all of the fun things that we planned to do during the summer.

Wishing you a wonderful day and hoping that you are able to find some time to enjoy the "lazy days of summer."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Weekend Fun

Another wonderful summer weekend is quickly coming to an end. The Bay Area was was treated to a good dose of sunshine and warm temperatures, at least along the Peninsula and further inland. Although I didn't go to the beach, I could see the fog lingering over the hills, so it was probably quite cool on the coast. That's the beauty of the Bay Area - a variety of micro-climates exist, so depending on the temperatures that you prefer it only takes a short drive to experience different weather.

I enjoyed my weekend. As you can see from the photo, I spent time creating some cards. I haven't been "paper crafting" as often as I used to, however it did feel good to spend part of the weekend doing something creative using rubber stamps, punches and other crafting essentials. The card featured in the photo is the perfect way to celebrate summer because it includes bright flowers, as well as some bling! I'm also working on some other cards, too, however I won't be posting photos of those cards just yet. I'll give you a hint though - I'm coming up with some card designs in honor of my favorite holiday. And what is my favorite holiday you might ask? Well, the answer to that question is here on my blog - you'll just have to explore a bit.

Beyond that, it was a quiet weekend, which suited me just fine. I met up with a friend on Friday evening, went for a jog at Sawyer Camp Trail on Saturday morning and took a yoga class on Sunday morning. I wrapped up my weekend with a healthy, home-cooked meal of salad, sauteed mushrooms and fresh red snapper. Yummo, as Rachael Ray says.

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and found plenty of time to relax and also do something fun.

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

I can hardly believe that July has already rolled around and that we are celebrating Independence Day this weekend. It's summer time!

I am fortunate to live in a neighborhood that is home to a fantastic farmer's market on Saturday mornings, held year-round. Visiting the market is part of my Saturday morning routine, especially during the summer when my favorite fruits and veggies are at their peak. This weekend I purchased some delicious strawberries and cherries, as well as some red lettuce. I enjoy having the strawberries on my cereal at breakfast and the cherries are a tasty snack during the work day. And I love salads, so the farm-fresh lettuce was a perfect choice. Additionally, my friend Kathy has a garden in her back yard and it was very nice of her to give me some beets and zucchini. I've already cooked up the beets and will be using them on my salads this week. As for the zucchini, I'm planning on chopping it up and freezing it until I can make a loaf or two of zucchini bread.

In addition to making French macarons earlier this week, I also spent some time making a batch of plum jam. This was my first attempt at making jam so I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out, but all went well and it tastes amazing. I've been enjoying it on my toast at breakfast. Without a doubt, homemade jam is the best. I ended up with quite a few jars of jam so I will be able to share it with my family and friends. Can you just imagine having some of the plum jam on a homemade scone fresh from the oven? Bliss!

In honor of the 4th of July and summer, I decided that it would be nice to have a hot dog, chips and potato salad for dinner tonight. I think my mom makes the best potato salad, however since she and my dad are celebrating the holiday in Oregon this year, I decided to make my own version. Although I didn't follow a recipe, it turned out very tasty. I couldn't resist snapping a photo of it, along with my entire meal. Happy Birthday, America!

I'll be wrapping up my vacation, and the 4th of July weekend with a concert tomorrow. I have been looking forward to this event for quite some time, especially because Colbie Caillat will be one of the many performers making an appearance. I've been wanting to see her perform live, ever since her first hit "Bubbly" was released a few years ago. Other artists include Sarah McLachlan, Heart, and Miranda Lambert.

Here's a summer quote for you to ponder:

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.
-James Dent