Monday, September 1, 2014

PB&J Smoothie

PB&J smoothie top


The title is a bit of a monomer as there is no actually jelly in this smoothie, it's just what this particular smoothie combo tastes like. I've put peanut butter in my smoothies before, but found a new product this weekend that makes it even easier - powdered peanut butter. Who knew?

powdered PB

powdered PB-back
I'm sure others have seen this before, but I hadn't. It caught my eye on the top shelf of the PB selection and I just had to give it a try. I wasn't even thinking of it for smoothies at the time, but when I got home, a light bulb went off, and I had to give it a go.

It was perfect! The flavor is amazing and the easy of use can't be beat. I'm going to try it in baking, too. Ooh! And in oatmeal. So many possibilities!

A note about blending: I splurged on a Vitamix blender for myself last Christmas and absolutely love it. I bought it directly from the company website as they offer reconditioned models and were running a sale on shipping. I got mine for $299 which is still a lot of money, but considerably less than new. Keep an eye out on the site for sales, and be open to getting a reconditioned one. It's an incredible blender.


PB&J smoothie
PB&J Smoothie
Please note that I don't measure anything when I make a smoothie. Dump and go is my motto - or something like that. It's a "little of this, little of that" method and generally whatever looks or sounds good at the time. I always have frozen fruit available. I don't like to use ice in my smoothies, so frozen fruit is the way to go. 

All measurements approximate. Add water as needed if it's too thick.

3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tsp Powdered Peanut Butter
1/2 frozen banana
3/4 cup/handful frozen strawberries
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional if you're not into cinnamon, but it tastes really good and is good for you!)
1/4 cup water (additional as needed, especially with a less powerful blender)

Optional
-Scoop protein powder
-sweetener, to taste
-big handful of spinach - you won't taste it, but it will add a ton of nutrition. Be warned-the color of your smoothie will look terrible. Purple + green = not pleasant 

Add all ingredients to blender, liquids first (although I add water last, so...)
Start on low speed, but quickly crank to high, and blend about 30 seconds (with powerful blender) or as long as it takes to get it smooth. 

Pour and enjoy! The combination of fruit and peanut butter makes you feel like a kid again, just like a PB&J sammich. Mmmmm... 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

How To Make a Tri-Fold Art Display

tri-fold panel

As promised, albeit much later than I anticipated, here is my "How To" on the tri-fold art display Dwight and I made for our first At Walk show back in May.

We researched a lot of ideas but landed on this as it was a great way to make use of ready-made parts.

menards-frame panels-500px
We bought three of these free standing storage rack frames. They were a good height saved us from making a frame.
menards-frame-closeup-500px

We needed two pieces of pegboard for each frame because they come in 4' x 4' or 2' x 4' sizes but we needed 6' of board to completely cover the frames, so we bought six 2' x 4' sheets.
Panel assembly-parts

Next up: Hardware
Two hinges per connection = 4 hinges, plus plastic feet for the ends (6 total) and lots of 1" wood screws, which we already had on hand.

Finally, some black spray paint. We bought flat black paint and primer in one. I don't remember how many cans we ended up using, but it had to have been at least four. Obviously, you can use any color-and finish- you like!

First up, we sanded the frames. They were ROUGH. They weren't perfect after, but at least we didn't have to worry about getting maimed by giant splinters!
Panel assembly-sanding

Next we cut the pegboard so that we would have some place to screw them in. That is, we had to make sure that the pegboard could be fully supported by a crossmember.
Panel assembly-pegboard

We attached the pegboard to the frames, centering them as closely as we could. Because these frames are meant to hold a 24" board between the supports, the pegboard did not go from edge to edge. It's noticeable when the pieces are raw, but after they're painted, it's not a big deal. This also means that there are no screws along the sides, only horizontally along the cross members.
Panel assembly-pegboard-Dwight

We stood them on end, lining them up to make sure they would fold the right way, then added the hinges.
Panel assembly-hinges
Panel assembly-unpainted

Finally, it's painting time. My least favorite part. We have a well-worn tarp that has seen countless spray-painted projects and bares the scars! We grabbed the paint and had at it, trying to avoid being down wind, and hoping our hands wouldn't cramp up.
Panel assembly-ready to paint-Dwight
Panel assembly-1st coat paint
Panel assembly-1st coat paint-front

After it was completely painted and dry, Dwight added the plastic feet to protect whatever surface these would be on, and they make it much easier to move the screen around once it's up. (You can see them in the very first photo on this post.)

It works great indoors. We haven't tested it outside. I suspect it needs some bracing or strategically placed weights should there be any wind. While it looks fantastic and holds a lot of art, front and back, it does have a few drawback, size being the biggest. It's 6' tall and about 28" wide. Dwight has an Element and we're able to get it in there with the passenger seat all the way forward. Unless you have a similar vehicle or a truck, this is just too big to be hauling from show to show.

We ended up finding a much better solution for us, which I'll share in my next post. Ooooh, cliffhanger!


Supply list and costs
All of this is from Menards:

  • Frames – $11.99 ea x 3 = $35.97
  • Pegboard – $3.99 ea x 6 = $23.94
  • 3" hinges – $2.48 x 2 (2 per pack) = $4.96
  • Spray paint – $3.37 ea x 4 = $13.48
  • 6 plastic feet (can't find receipt)
  • Screws (we already had these)


Friday, July 11, 2014

Seen on my walk

Looks like someone is getting married tomorrow.



In one section of my walk, there are empty, heavily wooded areas on either side of the road. Our neighborhood has a very high water table, including some wetlands, which is why these spaces aren't developed. Reminds me of the lush scenery in The Hunger Games. Clearly someone is using this area as a dumping ground for their yard waste.


And finally, the Queen Anne's lace is in full bloom around here.


Just a few of the things going on in my 'hood.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Weekend in Pictures

I could get used to three day weekends. Really, really used to them! Here's a glimpse of some of the things I saw and did this weekend.

eggs

We had friends over for dinner Saturday night. They brought us these gorgeous eggs. Now I want to keep chickens even more. Dwight is opposed, but I'll win him over whenever we move to our dream home in the country. We had a few of them for breakfast the next morning. Delicious!

annuals

Just before breakfast, though, we made a quick trip to Lowe's to pick up annuals. We hoped to get mulch, but they were out. Oops. We got just one flat of annuals this year, and I also picked up some herbs - Greek oregano, spicy globe basil, and sweet mint. Gotta have my fresh mojitos this summer!

herbs

Dwight grabbed a large container of catmint. Have to think of the kitties, too!

catmint

Dwight mentioned that he saw some poison ivy in a flower bed at the front of our yard, so I grabbed the poison ivy killer and searched it out. Wasn't hard to find; there was a ton of it, all in this bed filled with snowdrops (still going strong, even this late in the season).

snowdrops

I had a run in with poison ivy last year, and I didn't want a repeat. It wasn't bad, just a bit on my right wrist and forearm - but it was enough. KILL THE IVY!

poison ivy

Our yard is very shady. Like, ridiculously so. It makes growing a variety of plants a challenge, to say the least. However, it does make our back yard look like a park, so I sort of fall in love with it this time each year. I mean, come on. How can I not appreciate THIS?

back woods

backyard

I have to admit, we can grow the crap out of hostas, ferns, and bleeding hearts, so that's something.

pink bleeding hearts

The hydrangeas and rhododendrons  seem to like it, too, despite getting seriously zapped this winter. The snow up to the keester and super frigid temps meant losing one decorative tree, and our hydrangeas and roses to the ground. Stupid winter. Pfft.

white bleeding hearts

Our tree peony only had two blooms on it this year, and I almost missed them! Fortunately, I did manage to get a photo before the petals fell.

tree peony

Aside from lots of yard work, I also did some artsy stuff. I worked on (and finished) a 12" x 12" panting of a parrot tulip (finished photo yet to come).

tulip painting1
tulip painting2

And I started a new thing - paper beads. Kind of digging them!

paper beads



p.s. All photos were taken with my iPod Touch. I'm kind of in love with that thing. Don't tell Dwight.

On second thought, it's OK. I'm pretty sure he knows. He has one too, and I think he's got a crush on his, so we have mutual understanding.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Giveaway! Original Painting by Yours Truly


I made this almost exactly two years ago. It's FULL to texture and some of my favorite colors. I used a map for the balloon, modeling past and stamps for texture, masking tape, and some stencils. It was so much fun to make.




I still really like it, but I feel like it wants and needs a new home. Someone else to inspire. So I've decided to give it away to one of my readers. Sound good? All you have to do is leave a comment here - leave me your email address - and I'll pick a winner at random. No jumping through hoops for extra entries, just keeping it simple.


If you feel inspired, tell me what your big dream is, but no pressure. If you want to keep it secret, I get that. Just leave a comment by a week from today - Friday, May 30 - and I'll pick a winner.

p.s. this is an 8" x10" canvas

BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS! It's the only way I can contact you if you win!

If you don't feel comfortable leaving your address in the comments, 
email me with the info after you post your comment.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Elkhart Art Walk May 2014

Art walk door poster

Technically this was my second art show. My first was two years ago when I entered two painting in a juried show and one was accepted. That was very cool. This? Well, the Art Walk was another beast entirely. I've been wanting to do more shows, specifically more art fair types of shows, with booths and tents and the whole nine yards. I finally got my act together and made the commitment by applying to two. (I haven't heard back on the second one yet - stay tuned!)

setup-complete-outside

I was sure I hadn't been chosen for the May 14 Art Walk because I assumed I would have heard something earlier, but on April 27, I got the email:

Dear Kelly --

I am so pleased that you will be part of the upcoming Wed. May 14 ArtWalk.


Eep! I was in. Then mild panic set in. So much to do! I need display panels! A set up! SOMETHING! I took some deep breaths, reminded myself that this is supposed to be FUN, and got to work planning and making lists.

K paintings-varnishing-driveway-500px

I didn't realize when I submitted my application that Dwight wanted to participate, too. Oops. Thankfully the organizers were fine with it and we got to work putting hangers on the paintings, spray painting old, second hand frames, buying new frames, and figuring out what kind of panels we could make in a short amount of time. After a scouting trip to Menards and lots of searching online, we devised our own folding screen and we were set!*

Panel assembly-pegboard-Dwight

Dwight-paintingprep-driveway-500px

adding hangers

The purpose of the Art Walks is to spotlight local art talent and create a sort of salon experience for them and the community. To do that, downtown businesses graciously open their doors and display windows for the artist. Each artist is assigned to a participating business and the artists coordinate with the owners to set up their art displays.

setup-complete


Dwight and I were first assigned to a restaurant in the middle of changing to a different restaurant, but construction was behind. It wasn't going to work. But we lucked out, and were reassigned two doors down at Matzke Florist. What a score! The owners and employees were amazing, and the store was filled with gorgeous flowers that smelled heavenly.

setup-column bag easel

We arrived the Thursday before the event to set up. Because this is a way to promote artists, displays are set up early and left up about a week after the walk so that people can check out the art for two full weeks, not just on the night of the Art Walk. So cool!

Artwalk-sidewindow

We made trip after trip into the shop — paintings, the homemade screen, easels, and even some little columns we happened to have — and got everything set up.

Setup-Car-labels

Art walk-folding table

The day of the walk, we got a call that the florist was going to rearrange the art so that we would get the entire front window. When we set up the week before, they had the display set up for Mother's Day, seeing as that's a pretty big deal for a florist (!) and had taken it down, letting us have the coveted space. The did it all themselves. How incredible is that? They did a wonderful job and really showed off the art, Dwight's in particular, since his paintings are larger and so striking.

Artwalk-frontwindow

The weather did NOT cooperate, but the people of Elkhart did not let that deter them.

weather

Art walk signs

We had a surprisingly good turnout, and the three hours went quickly. And we sold THREE paintings! I sold one and Dwight sold two.

Artwalk-display1-sold


Both being introverts, however, meant that Dwight and I were seriously pooped afterwards, but had a great time. In fact, we're planning on doing it again for the next Art Walk in July. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather!




*Blog post coming soon for a "HOW-TO" on making the folding screen.--- You can find it HERE!
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