to give: inspiration & favorites

i imagine the web is probably lighting up with thoughts these days about how Christmas is next week. i remember distinctly when the time between the start of school, halloween, thanksgiving, & Christmas taking an eternity. my how time flies & suddenly now i’m adult & even though the calendar says it’s december 18th, i swear it was really september 1st just yesterday.

i pulled together a little round-up of some of my favorite artists & things that have been catching my eye lately. i didn’t intend it to be a Christmas gift guide, although i bet some things can still ship in time. lots of these items are available at local shops nationwide, so there’s that, too. in general, though, i just think these items are fun, different, & joy-inspiring :o) they’re made from artists & companies that believe in creative, honest, hard work, & supporting their businesses just plain feels good. these items & those you’ll find on each artist or company’s site would make great gifts any time of the year, and all of them are really fun & inspirational to follow on their blog, instagram, or social media.

i hope you enjoy perusing it as much as i did making it!

– – – – – – –

1canoe2_

images from 1canoe2

i am a diehard fan of 1canoe2’s signature style & whimsical take on every day items. their cards & prints are happy, fun, & beautiful…as are their tea towels, calendars, notebooks…the list goes on. i’m particularly smitten with their illustrated playing cards, hand-painted wanderlust globes, and recipe cards & perpetual calendars that come in berry basket-inspired wooden boxes. you can find their work in their online & etsy shops as well as tons of great places from coast to coast!

valmarie_packed-for-adventure_

image from val marie paper

this bag really, truly makes me happy at just the sight of the picture. the snorkel…the super simple font…the anticipation of a fun adventure…the fact that the bag is just big enough to throw a few things in & go…love it. val creates beautiful wedding stationary and has an etsy shop for the rest of everyday items: prayer & gratitude journals, totes, notebooks, etc.

 

chatbooks

image from chatbooks

i learned about chatbooks from crystal’s instagram* feed & was intrigued right away. at $6 for a 60 page book, free shipping, & a list of positive comments, i was sold. you can do books from your instagram feed, from pictures, or there is a way to make one as a group, too. you can even include captions if you want! to start, i made a book of instagram pictures of a certain hilarious little pug.

sota_

images from sota clothing

in college i had to come up with a business plan…and it stayed right there on paper. spencer johnson, however, turned his college project into a legit company: sota clothing. their gear is awesome; this sweatshirt & mug caught my eye right away. it’s been fun to hear that a number of friends know & are excited about them, too! virtual high fives to spencer & his crew for their creativity, branding, & furthering the love of our great state. sota gear is available in their online shop as well as a handful of local twin cities shops.

yokepenco_rosewood-oblique_

image from yoke pen company

love calligraphy & dream of getting more into it one day. a few weeks ago a calligrapher i follow on instagram posted a picture with a pen that stopped me in my tracks. the maker is christopher of yoke pen company who makes each holder as a hobby & does custom work, too!

storypeople_make-something-magic_

image from storypeople

my love for storypeople is no mystery, so finding brian’s newest book here is likely no surprise. in their words, “it’s filled with love & magic & all sorts of secret notes to help you remember the most important thing in your life…” i don’t imagine it’s a bold statement to say that we can probably all use as many of those reminders as possible. we have one of brian’s prints (that i treasure), & i’d love it if one day our walls are confetti-ed with prints & our tables & bookshelves tucked in with books, all overflowing with storypeople’s encouragement, fun, joy, & love. all sorts of wonderful items are available in their online shop as well as in stores. here in the twin cities, i’ve seen storypeople goodies at bibelot & patina.

juliesong_

images from julie song ink

julie song is an illustrator, calligrapher, & lettering artist i found through instagram, & her feed is undoubtedly one of the most swoon-worthy feeds there is. her work is exquisite – natural, organic, light, & engaging. her wedding & branding work is elegant, timeless, & classic with a few touches of fun & playful. the range of her work is mind-boggling, creating an opportunity for just about anyone to have a pretty little julie song ink ditty in their life. be sure to check out her etsy shop, too!

katiedaisy_

images from katie daisy

katie daisy’s work is just plain joyful. i’ve seen her beautiful cards, prints, & journals for years, but only recently did i learn more about her. imagine how stoked i was to learn that she graduated from MCAD! her style is bright, fun, & whimsical, drawing lots of inspiration from nature. as someone who believes words really matter, the way katie incorporates quotes & simple truths into her cards, prints, & notebooks makes her inspired work even more meaningful & soul soothing. her etsy shop is full of all the pretty goodies your heart could desire, and i also see her stuff at shops throughout the twin cities (bibelot & patina for sure).

hatchery_

image from hatchery

my introduction to hatchery was a little red box with a few pretty little jars & bottles nestled inside of it on sarah’s instagram feed. a few seconds later i was scrolling through hatchery’s feed & learned that they deliver small-batch artisan ingredients monthly to subscribers – think stitch fix for the kitchen. being a girl who reads cookbooks like novels & considers chopping therapy, i was hooked! until i can afford a subscription, i’ll encourage everyone i know to join so i can live vicariously through them :o)

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gratitude, day 28.

gratitude_xsgratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for people to list something they are grateful for each day in november, this isn’t really that. it’s sort of my mash-up of a daily writing exercise i see people do every day in october paired with practicing gratitude. it won’t be the same every day. sometimes it will be a short, quick post, and other times it will be a reflection or recipe. but most importantly, every day there will be gratitude.

today, i am grateful for a relaxed week.

thanksgiving week 2014i am super grateful that this week i was able to work remotely before thanksgiving and the long weekend. we had plans monday in minneapolis, so my office away from the office was spyhouse NE. i settled in early in the morning at a cozy table towards the back of the main room. a warm caramella, computer, notebook, and a view out the windows as the snow flakes fell. tuesday and wednesday i worked from home which was a wonderful thing.

as you might imagine, the more relaxed week has allowed for great kitchen time. there was a lot of pumpkin going on, cooking, baking, curry, pie, donuts, soup…lots of bases covered. the first recipe i want to share, though, is for shauna niequist’s pumpkin curry. laura made it a few weeks ago, and after all but licking my plate, i had been craving it in a major way. it is a simple recipe that comes together pretty quickly. i halved shauna’s recipe and improvised on a few things which i’ve noted below.

:: pumpkin curry ::
adapted from shauna niequist

pumpkin curry lgwith more people learning about food allergies, i am so thankful to have a growing collection of recipes that i can pull from that are diet and/or allergy friendly. this one is gluten free & can be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken & chicken broth. we had canned tomatoes & dried cranberries on hand, so we used those in place of the roma tomatoes and raisins. we loved both so much that we’ll probably always use them. as shauna notes, this is another dish that is even better the next day.

also – i know it’s not the most photogenic dish, but i promise it makes up for it in flavor!

ingredients

olive oil
1-1½ lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp curry powder (use what you like best, and adjust to your liking)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to your liking)
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup yellow onion, cut into strips or diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled & minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 bell pepper, cut into 1” strips
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup plain yogurt, optional
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, optional
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped, optional

instructions

  1. in a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat one tablespoon of olive oil. add chicken, curry powder, cayenne pepper, & salt, stirring to coat. cook chicken until browned, about 5-7 minutes. remove the chicken from the pan & set aside.
  2. heat another 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and add onions. cook 3-5 mins, stirring occasionally until onions soften & become translucent. stir in the garlic & ginger, cooking an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. reduce heat to medium low and add cooked chicken, broth, pumpkin puree, tomatoes, bell pepper, & dried cranberries to pan. stir to combine & taste for seasoning. adjust to your liking with additional salt, pepper, or curry if needed.
  4. allow curry to simmer until bell peppers & cranberries are soft and tender – approximately 20-30 minutes.
  5. we served the curry over rice & with a dollop of plain yogurt to cut the heat a little.

yield: 4 servings

gratitude, day 1.  ::  gratitude, day 2.  ::  gratitude, day 3.  ::  gratitude, day 4.  ::  gratitude, day 5.
gratitude, day 6.  ::  gratitude, day 7.  ::  gratitude, day 8.  ::  gratitude, day 9.  ::  gratitude, day 10.
gratitude, day 11. :: gratitude, day 12. :: gratitude, day 13. :: gratitude, day 14. :: gratitude, day 15.
gratitude, day 16. :: gratitude, day 17. :: gratitude, day 18. :: gratitude, day 19. :: gratitude, day 20.
gratitude, day 21. :: gratitude, day 22. :: gratitude, day 23. :: gratitude, day 24. :: gratitude, day 25.
gratitude, day 26. :: gratitude, day 27.

gratitude, day 22.

gratitude_xsgratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for people to list something they are grateful for each day in november, this isn’t really that. it’s sort of my mash-up of a daily writing exercise i see people do every day in october paired with practicing gratitude. it won’t be the same every day. sometimes it will be a short, quick post, and other times it will be a reflection or recipe. but most importantly, every day there will be gratitude.

today, i am grateful for jammie days & kettle corn.

movie snuggles

after a busy week, the past couple of days including a rockstar almost-three-year-old (even when he’s under the weather – poor guy!), staying in today was exactly what we all needed. we slept in, and when we woke up, we dubbed today to be pajama-jammie-jam day. we proceeded to make pancakes, play, draw , paint, nap, and watch movies. and what goes better with movies than popcorn?! this is our go-to kettle corn recipe. i hope you love it as much as we do!

:: kettle corn ::
recipe from two peas & their pod

ingredients

¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup popcorn kernels
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp sea salt

instructions

  1. melt coconut oil in a large pot with a lid.
  2. add popcorn kernels.
  3. when popcorn kernels begin to sizzle, sprinkle sugar over kernels.
  4. cover the pan, shaking it lightly. continue shaking the pan as the kernels pop.
    *hint – using pot holders helps to hold the handles & lid while you’re shaking the pot over the heat.
  5. when the popping slows to about 30 seconds between pops, take the pan off of the heat, remove lid, & sprinkle salt over popcorn. put the lid back on & shake to cover kernels while the sugar is still warm.

yield: about 10 cups

gratitude, day 1.  ::  gratitude, day 2.  ::  gratitude, day 3.  ::  gratitude, day 4.  ::  gratitude, day 5.
gratitude, day 6.  ::  gratitude, day 7.  ::  gratitude, day 8.  ::  gratitude, day 9.  ::  gratitude, day 10.
gratitude, day 11. :: gratitude, day 12. :: gratitude, day 13. :: gratitude, day 14. :: gratitude, day 15.
gratitude, day 16. :: gratitude, day 17. :: gratitude, day 18. :: gratitude, day 19. :: gratitude, day 20.
gratitude, day 21.

gratitude, day 11.

This gallery contains 25 photos.

gratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for … Continue reading

gratitude, day 9.

gratitude_xsgratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for people to list something they are grateful for each day in november, this isn’t really that. it’s sort of my mash-up of a daily writing exercise i see people do every day in october paired with practicing gratitude. it won’t be the same every day. sometimes it will be a short, quick post, and other times it will be a reflection or recipe. but most importantly, every day there will be gratitude.

today, i am grateful for sunday sabbath.

today was one of those days i talked about on the first day of these “gratitude lately” posts: full-to-the-brim with memories & goodness. we had back-to-back things happening all day, but they were totally worth it and totally life-giving. we got to spend the beginning of the day with my mom & step-dad before driving across town to have coffee with friends we love. then we all headed to church together to worship & learn with a community of people we are grateful to do life with – on sundays & many other days throughout each week. as full as it was, it was truly a sabbath day of resting with loved ones & being refreshed.

we’ve learned that sundays tend to be a little more full purely due to the transition from weekend to new week. if possible, we try to keep errands & other running around to saturdays so that we can be home sunday to make breakfast, prep lunch stuff for the week, do laundry & house work, etc. an incredibly helpful habit we’ve adopted is having dinner either completely made (thus only needing re-heating) or fully prepped (to throw in a pan or in the oven as soon as we walk in the door) before we leave for church. at least one of us is already in the kitchen doing lunch stuff anyway, so working on dinner fits easily in that rhythm. plus, a little extra work earlier in the day makes those last hours between getting home & (hopefully…) getting to bed a little less chaotic. because, let’s be honest – i have a hard time with sunday nights. i’m one of those people that agrees 100% with this:

Honestly….

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this recipe is a home run as much for making ahead of time & warming later as it is for prepping early & having dinner on the table without a whole lot of fuss. from the first time i made it this past winter, sweet potato chili has been in our meal rotation at least monthly – even in the summer!

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gratitude, day 3.

gratitude_xsgratitude is a miraculous, wonderful thing. it really does turn what we have into enough. sometimes – often, even – it reminds us that what we have is even more than we need. although it’s kind of a “thing” for people to list something they are grateful for each day in november, this isn’t really that. it’s sort of my mash-up of a daily writing exercise i see people do every day in october paired with practicing gratitude. it won’t be the same every day. sometimes it will be a short, quick post, and other times it will be a reflection or recipe. but most importantly, every day there will be gratitude.

today, i am grateful for fall’s harvest.

i have been reminded in the past month how much i adore the pumpkin & squash fall treats us to. we’ve made butternut squash soup, butternut squash pasta, and pumpkin cookies, and tonight we made pumpkin scones. the flavors are so deep, rich, and sweet. as an added benefit, they store super well, so their goodness lasts through the fall into winter. if we can spread them out that long, that is.

all of these recipes could find their way into a post this month or sometime in the future, but the one i want to share today is the butternut squash pasta. the day i made it, with the weather being a little overcast and the feeling of fall blowing in through the wind, i was craving something warm, comforting, and savory. we had gotten our very last weekly CSA box the week before, and i was coveting the butternut squash.

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inspiration & gratitude.

brave life

*original link is no longer available. if anyone knows to whom credit belongs, please let me know.

oh, time…you crazy, crazy thing. sometimes i feel you whooshing past me. thank you for the nights & weekends & hours filled to overflowing with adventures & laughter. and thank you for the just-plain-busy days and weeks of the mundane, not-so-glamorous yet necessary, every day life stuff. both are teaching me, and memories & goodness are in it all.

so, where i last left off…creativity. fears. dreams. the gap. perseverance.

inspiration is honestly everywhere. in gathering people at our house, in nature, checking out a new or visiting an old favorite restaurant or cafe, in a conversation, in sunsets and conversations…the list goes on. and, of course, there are copious gems on the inter webs, too. i’m thankful for brave, savvy creatives who have taken risks, shared their passions, and created spaces for beginners like me to look up to. here are some of my inspiration, encouragement, advice, & support go-to creatives.

cooking

  • smitten kitchen: deb’s writing is fun, witty, & approachable.
  • sprouted kitchen: sara’s recipes are fresh, healthy, & delicious.
  • molly yeh: i love molly’s blog for her lightness & silliness, stunning photography, & all-around inspiration. and a girl who did an in-depth study of the best mix-ins for funfetti cake?
  • sara kate gillingham: co-founder of the kitchn, cookbook author, & a potter, too!

life & faith

  • caroline schandel: this woman’s words pierce my heart & refresh my perspective in ways no one else’s ever have.
  • today’s letters: i could gush about this one – a daily go-to. hope-filled, life-giving, creative, encouraging. em writes most, but tim sneaks in sometimes, too. they write about everything from marriage to their backyard chickens, local coffee & good food, getting outside & the beauty of community, gratitude, raising their sweet babe, recipes – it’s a total mixed bag of goodness.
  • jen hatmaker: this post catapults me into laughter-until-i-can’t-speak with tears streaming down my face every. single. time.
  • story people: i love brian’s beautiful, simple-yet-profound work.
  • natalie creates: this woman really spans a number of categories, too: farming, creating, cooking. very down-to-earth, approachable, and fun.
  • momastery: her post earlier this month, the 5 habits every strong woman keeps, was incredible. this part in particular: “I have come to believe that a woman’s character is not just formed by the roles she plays or the job she has or where she’s from or what has happened to her. A woman’s character is most profoundly shaped by the daily habits she keeps. And this is hopeful to me, because it’s never too late to adopt a habit or two from a woman we admire.”
    part 2 jumped out at me instantly: strong women show up before they are ready. this is an area i have been desperately, intentionally seeking to grow in. i am so thankful for glennon’s thoughts on this. i love what she said about us having two roles but for some reason creating a third that we somehow put first. (although the link above works, embedding the video here isn’t working at the moment. i’ll add it as soon as i figure out what’s not right.)

paper & hand lettering

#WriteOnDesign #inspiration #HandLettering #KidPresident

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makers

  • little bit funky: i follow crystal on instagram more than her blog, but her blog is full of fun tutorials & inspiration, too.
  • amanda rydell: amanda is such a fun, local creative. she started be crafty workshops that she hosts here in minneapolis but she also travels to host them around the country, too! her instagram & blog are full of colorful, beautiful ideas & projects.
  • curly girl design: i am such a sucker for leigh’s cards. her way with words & whimsical images spark something in me.
  • the purl bee by purl soho: i mean, just one peek at their site is candy for a creative girl’s eyes! the patterns, yarns, photography…i could (and sometimes do!) get lost in the awesome tutorials & ideas!
  • fresh lemons quilts: faith’s quilts & other projects on her blog are beautiful! this is the quilt that first caught my eye (on instagram, of course), but i was quickly enamored by all of her work. definitely lots of inspiration here for this quilting-wannabe :o)
  • floret: ooooh my…erin can do things with flowers that make my mind race. she & her family plant and harvest field upon field (upon field) of the most unbelievable flowers. and her arrangements – i can’t even go there. you need to check out their website, blog, & instagram feed to soak up all of the overflowing goodness. i have never seen such stunning sweet peas, ranunculus, peonies, & dahlias. nor did i ever know there could be such a diversity of each type, color, & shade of bloom. the image below, from erin’s instagram feed, is just one example of what i’m talking about…

My view this evening. #farmerflorist #dahlias

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one thing that i am beyond excited to work with next year is lara casey’s power sheets. i learned about them last year and finally jumped in when she launched the beautiful 2015 sheets. after learning a lot this year (you know, things like being true to myself, naming fears…) and desiring to grow in goal setting & tracking – paired with being & diehard list-maker :o) – i am really, really excited to see how the power sheets will help me grow personally & creatively in making what matters most to me & our family happen.

because mondays need laughter.

if i am honest, sometimes there are “mondays.” and then there are overcast & gray, über rare “first monday after traveling 7 time zones away mondays.” whew!

but! – sunshine is on it’s way later this week, i think i’m back on a normal sleep pattern, we tried a new soup recipe last night that turned out awesome, and this little girl is adorable. laughter is a wonderful thing.

happy monday, ya’ll. let’s do this.

 

holding on to summer.

pickle profile

after a picture-perfect weekend of sunny, warm days – particularly at the end of september…in minnesota, no one wants to be the first one to say it. after all, i had just gotten myself warmed up to the idea of fall. and then we had last week in all of its glory, and this morning, we woke up to that chill in the air again. we’re not there just yet – there are sunny days still ahead, but fall is here. in a way, the burst of warm air & sunshine with everyone out & about soaking it all in actually helps the transition. i can’t quite say that i’m fully ready to turn over t-shirts for sweaters & flip-flops for boots, but i have begun the transition a little in the kitchen. we had mediterranean beef stew last week, chili with our small group a few weeks ago, and chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight.

one of my favorite parts of the summer-to-fall season transition is getting to enjoy a little of both. these days, it’s not unusual for me to have a pot of soup simmering and a pile of produce ready to preserve: canning tomatoes, basil, garlic, cucumbers, onion, raspberries. we canned 40 pounds of tomatoes so we can cozy up with warms soups & stews all fall & winter, froze jars of pesto, stashed away jars of jam to open when the first snow flies, and made four pints of a fun, new-to-me version of pickles. the recipe came in one of our CSA weekly newsletters this summer, and friends made them right away. their rave reviews had me slicing cucumbers the next weekend, and here we are. we’re suckers for our CSA’s garlic, so i couldn’t help adding it to the recipe. it didn’t disappoint, and now i can’t get enough of the garlicky, sweet, crunchy little snack.

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preserving our csa: vegetable broth.

so we get this CSA box each week. if you know me or we interact in any way, you are well aware of this ;o) each week’s box is packed with the most delicious fruit, herbs, and vegetables we sink our teeth into all year, and it is undoubtedly one of my favorite experiences of the entire year. to me, it is the epitome of summer: the play of the hot sun on warm days & cool nights creating beautiful harvests, the mouthwatering taste of the freshest, most succulent fruits & veggies, and relationships built with our kind, generous farmers. laura, adam & their staff are truly some of the most joyful people, and they are sold out with passion for all things farming & loving on their members. i’ve said it before, and i imagine i’ll say it for all of my days: we have the very best CSA, and we could not be more thankful for them.

having such an incredible bounty to work with keeps us on our toes as we make sure to take full advantage of it. that is, for anything that isn’t practically devoured on the spot. those mixed heirloom & sungold cherry tomatoes are – no joke – like candy! the carrots are what carrots should really look & taste like. i wouldn’t fathom peeling them – a little scrub, and they are good to go. then there is the garlic; we savor every clove. dustin is convinced it is the best garlic he’s ever tasted (i agree wholeheartedly but love that he’s so passionate about it). at the end of the season, we buy as much garlic as we can to last us as far into fall & winter as possible. we have growing list of go-to recipes that help us maximize every last morsel of the goodness, but there are still scraps, right? peels from cucumbers, discarded carrot tops, garlic & onion skins. it was almost painful to toss them out!

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