Friday, July 24, 2009

blackberry jelly

My first attempt at homemade jelly was a success, kind of...

My grandparents have a huge garden and have always put out a garden as long as I can remember. I picked strawberries and green beans with them as a young kid. It is such a treat to enjoy their produce all year...never realized just how much hard work it is...and they are still doing it at 70+ yrs. old ~ that is amazing to me! I work in the yard/garden for a day and can hardly move my body for 24hrs. at 28yrs. old!!!

I enjoyed picking blackberries with my Grandparents and Mom a few weeks ago. They were huge, beautiful and easily plucked off the bush...and I love tedious work like that ~ could have stayed out there for hours picking. Just this year I've become very interested in the whole process and planted my first tiny garden: tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, and herbs: lavender, sage, and basil.

I decided to use the blackberries from my Grandparents garden for jelly. It was a very messy job as you can see below ~ looked like someone had been murdered in my kitchen that night! Actually, any kitchen project for me is messy so I guess that was normal. Oh, and I was wearing white, that was a mistake.

I boiled with sure gel and reused glass jars to store in. The jelly didn't set up firm enough so, Grandma suggested me putting the jelly back on to boil longer so, that did the trick...ended up taking longer than it should have but, I'm enjoying my first jar of homemade jelly ~ especially with peanut butter :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

KSA: Kids Summer Adventure

KSA graphic design by Skyler Taylor

I took on the project of design coordinator at church for this years Kids Summer Adventure. This was definitely unlike any other design project I've ever tackled. It was very intense since they wanted over the top decorations to go with exciting plans for the week-i love over the top! I do love a good challenge too and God seems to keep tossing them to me...made it through yet another one and it was a blast but, what a huge relief to have this done knowing the kids enjoyed it so much. I'm blessed to have had the are the details.

The theme for KSA three day event was SUBMIRGED! a dive into the depths of God. Each of the three days the children learned about different areas of the world. I came up with the design ideas and hundreds of awesome serving hearts showed up to help pull it all together for the kids to experience. We spent Sunday night and Monday setting up the underwater theme along with day one area of focus, Japan. Tuesday it was kicked off and that evening we tore down Japan and set up Philipines, tore down Philipines and set up Ghana on Wednesday evening. Thursday when it was all over hundreds of high school kids showed up to help tear down and get the church back in order. I feel so blessed to have been given this opportunity to meet so many wonderful people in the church. Hundreds of people came to serve in helping pull this event together. It was such an awesome sight to see the little ones learning about God and other cultures in this space...check it out.

For the underwater theme - 'a dive into the depths of God'. We used carpet padding as rocks. Cut out red coral shapes, made fish mobiles w/ sequence as bubbles, cut out sea turtle silhouettes, used seaweed, shells, nets and built a ship wreck with treasure chest on top and Gold inside {mardi gras beads and Christmas tree tensile} The ship was built around our coffee serving station so it was on casters and moved aside for games in this large space. For the actual event we had the lights down, the room slightly foggy, bubble machines and water ripple lighting effects. Wish I could have captured that on camera :( Also, couldn't get a photo of the decompression chamber space we created - the lighting and sound made that space...which was awesome!

Japan day was so beautiful ~ I took so many pictures of these cherry blossom trees! I made the flags and a few Japanese girls in the church wrote on them-perfect. They wrote things like: Nature, Cherry Blossom, Tokyo, one of them says the title to a song the kids learned from Japan, and one says sumo

The cherry blossom trees are branches from my bradford pear tree with crepe paper cut into flower shapes glued on. Someone needs to use this idea for a wedding, serious beauty! I sketched the koi fish and they were swimming about the water {blue sheet on the floor} next to the pier. The pier was constructed on site with old barn wood-a guy in my small group put this all together-wow...just what I had envisioned! Thanks TJ!!!

This is one big loooooong string of flags which were cut out one by one for Philipines day. They are so festive and I guess they often string these up and leave them for days in the Philipines. Very fun!

Yep, we made palm trees! If you look close you can see the leaves are fringed to look like palms. The trunks are tall wooden post attached to a wooden round base and covered with craft paper...we just started twisting it around quickly and messy and it turned out great ~ gave it that layered effect. We also built huts and set up a market with a couple of the patio umbrellas.

For Ghana we hung the flag of Ghana, painted 3D stars black to match the star on the flag and hung them around the space. We kept the palms and strung clothes line and hung African patterned fabrics. We clustered baskets at the front of the room and built a huge independence arch from Ghana's independence square. Church members from each of the focus areas {Japan, Philipines and Ghana} taught the children each day. It is so great to be in a church family with so many different cultural backgrounds

The kids were sectioned off into crews and the crews into zones...the zones were marked with these awesome treasure chests. I'm so glad I was able to collect so many to use for the event...13 treasure chest in all! Each and every one was so neat...I had one plus, borrowed from friends, family, and a vintage store. I also purchased a few at thrift stores. On the final day, they were filled with candy! What an awesome treasure to find :) My belly hurt all night last night from eating soooo much candy.YUM! This entire experience was a treat too! Thanks for reading.

Vine Community Church ~ Carbondale, IL

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

{ my cats }

As you read to the right "In addition to all things creative...i love my family, my friends, and my cats" my cats ~ there are four.

Meet Simon, he spends his day running in and out, in and out, in and out. He loves the neighbors and visits them often. He has a thing with cars...if you visit us he is in or on top of your car -guaranteed, sorry. Once, he got on the school bus-pretty funny. He is handsome but of those pets that doesn't want attention from us too often but, lets others pet him. He loves everyone but, wants to be the only animal in the neighborhood so he can have all of the attention on him.
This is Sophie. She is fat and lazy...I can say that, she's a cat. She lays around alot and eats alot...she is really pretty and looks as if she's wearing a tiny tuxedo ;) This is her IKEA ratan chair... she sits on it and rolls back and forth as it is her favorite place to be-especially when the sun is shinning in at sunset. Her favorite toys are my pony tail holders...she takes them under the dining chairs and uses it as a jungle gym-jumping over/under the chair bars or paws them under doors for fun.
This is Pete. He is all boy...lays in the dirt, rolls in the dirt...prefers to be outside most of the time, loves to hunt. We call him Peter, Peter, lizard eater...or...Peter, Peter, squirrel eater.

Texas is Pete's twin. She is little-a runt and sleeps in adorable places and positions. I can always find her sleeping in the craft room. Her funny habit - she shreds paper into tiny pieces.

i n v i t a t i o n s

Above: Nephew Deacon
Last year all three of my sisters-in-law were pregnant at the same time! That was very exciting and it has been a very fun year! They all three came in the Spring and Summer of 2008. So, this year calls for lots of celebrating 1st birthdays. These are the invitations designed for the baby showers last year...

...Design inspiration came from baby bedding for the nursery - Land of Nod

Gertrude Bird is the first baby on my husbands side, she 'hatched' in April...the day after my husband's birthday, which was really neat. Her middle name, Bird, was the design inspiration for the invitations...
This card features rubber stamping-birds nest in chocolate, torn edges, patterned paper, mounted on chocolate cardstock
This cutie is my niece Kenlee...sister-in-law, Jessica's, baby girl - Photography by Erin Ivie Photography No baby shower invitation for her but, here are some other designs from the past...
Simple damask print, inked in black with vellum text overlay-single silver brad attachment, mounted on black cardstock for cousin, Kristen's bridal shower
Recent baby shower invitation design, again for Kristen :) Charcoal print on white cardstock, patterned paper-stripe, elephant and ball. Baby Isaac arrived last weekend and is so adorable :)

One of the first invitations I ever put together. It was for a fall, pumpkin themed 1st birthday. I love this design! You can't see the true color in this photo but, there is purple, orange, green, yellow and black in the patterned paper. The ribbon over the orange strip is purple and I love the combination of fonts and also, the fonts together with this single pumpkin.