16 Apr

trooper

 

“Here the whole world (stars, water, air,
And field, and forest, as they were
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hopes that she,
Re-born from holy poverty,
In lenten lands, hereafter may
Resume them on her Easter Day.”

(Epitaph for Joy Gresham)
― C.S. Lewis, C. S. Lewis: Life, Works, and Legacy, Volume 1, an Examined Life

Feels like Spring.

14 Apr

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Things are growing, stirring, changing…green

Birds are singing (the symphony begins hours before daylight)

Sidewalk chalk

friends come out, neighbors come out

scooter…bandaids….water bottles

Itching to go to Zook’s for flowers

Ritas

Roots

Shorts

park hopping

Duck feeding at the Fulton

Long drives

Strasburg Creamery, Winery, Bakery

First picnic on deck with boys (tacos and Sprite)

Mommy let’s bar be cue!

Note to self: learn how to

Summer dreaming…day dreaming

List making

Spring

 

 

You & Your Wedding feature

9 Apr

 Honored to be one of 8 designers chosen to be interviewed in the 8 Jan/Feb 2014 issue of You & Your Wedding. published in the UK 11/28/13.

I was asked to forecast fashion/wedding trends for 2014..I predicted bold, geometrics and neon brights..had no idea pastels were going to make a come back???

WEDDING

 

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Quick post Tuesday:: Macarons with Uncle Michael

8 Apr

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Basic French Macarons

(Adapted from Pop sugar)

NOTES

The basic meringue-style French macaron is merely the springboard for your wildest color and flavor combinations. Try adding a teaspoon of Dutch-process cocoa and red gel food coloring for a red velvet macaron, or a 1/4 teaspoon rose extract and pink gel food coloring for rose. Always add the dry flavorings to the almond meal/powdered sugar mixture and the extracts/gel color to the meringue.
INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup almond meal or ground almonds
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature and preferably aged up to 3 days
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 280ºF, and position 2 racks in the lower section of the oven. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. If you have time, draw 1-inch circles on the back of each sheet, spacing the circles at least 1/2-inch apart.
If your almond meal is very coarse, grind it with the powdered sugar in a food processor until fine. Sift the almond meal-powdered sugar mixture twice through a mesh sieve.
Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer), and begin to beat on medium-high. When the eggs are frothy, gradually add granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until glossy and stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters. Gently stir in the vanilla extract. Be careful to not overbeat the meringue (e.g., the meringue takes on a clumpy texture).
Add half of the sifted almond mixture, and gently fold it into the meringue using a flexible silicone spatula. Lift from the bottom, up around the sides, and toward the middle, being careful to not overagitate the meringue and lose too much air. Once the almond mixture is predominantly incorporated, add the second half and repeat the folding motion.
When the almond mixture is just incorporated, you will need to transform the batter into the appropriate texture. Using the flat of the spatula, “punch” down into the center of the batter, then scrape more batter from the sides to the center, and punch again. You will need to repeat this 10-15 times (or more, depending on your arm strength and the beginning texture of your batter) until the batter slowly and continuously drips back into the bowl when you scoop it up with the spatula. Think of the consistency of molten lava. For the best results, punch the batter a few times, check the consistency, then punch a few more times, etc. Do not make the batter too runny or the macarons won’t rise as they should, and you could end up with oil stains on the surface.
Pour batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 0.4-inch tip. In a pinch, you can also use a gallon-size Ziploc bag: just snip a teeny bit from one of the bottom corners. Twist and clip the top of the bag to avoid overflow. On your prepared baking sheets, pipe out 1-inch rounds in the circles you drew (remember to draw the circles on the back side of your parchment to avoid ink or pencil stains on your macarons!).
Holding the baking sheet in both hands, rap each baking sheet firmly on the counter two or three times. This smooths out the tops and helps form the “pied” or frilly foot on the bottoms of the macarons. Allow the piped macarons to dry, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. The macarons should form a very thin, smooth crust where, if you tap it lightly with your finger, the batter will not stick to your finger. If after 15 minutes, the batter is still sticky, let it dry longer. This may take up to an hour on humid days.
Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, open the oven to allow any excess humidity to escape. Halfway through, swap oven racks and rotate the sheets for even baking. The macarons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are just hard. Take care to not underbake (insides will still be mushy) or overbake (tops will begin to brown). Remove them from the oven, and cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
When fully cooled, assemble the macarons with your choice of filling. The assembled macarons can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Yield About 4 dozen macaron halves (about 2 dozen complete macarons)

Irresistible Mercy

3 Apr

I’ve not felt motivated to write for some time now…not until today. I’m not a good writer, I know this.

I am, however, stubborn and I do things despite my lack of ability.

This post is for someone who has literally been the hands and feet of God to me in my almost 6months of suffering. Everyday..every single day my eyes have been lifted towards the heavens because of you, I know it! I have a premonition that my season of uncertainty will be ending soon, and the next season of life will begin for us, the boys and me. Not sure which way this will go, God knows my heart’s desire and in that I have hope (does not disappoint, right.)

This trial has brought  moments of excruciating pain, deep sadness, countless tears.  I’m thankful for it though. I’ve felt a peace that truly can’t be described, I’ve seen my children thrive through the storm, I’ve also seen them suffer and hurt…gaps were torn for God to fill, that only God could fill. We’ve come through a dark winter and the hope of spring is on the rise. I understand the value of suffering. I appreciate the gift. I was counted worthy to suffer.

Trials allow for so much good to flow, blessings to pass, joy to surface, it does surface. Suffering is a gateway that God uses in a supernatural way for others, it’s always for others…and it should be. I knew my spiritual limitations before and now I know that God can can work in unlimited ways through hardship. Trials should be welcomed.

Thank you for using your gift. Thank you for praying ceaselessly, thank you for so much more. I hope. I have hope.

Saturday night was especially difficult. Ben was vomiting, Zack was coming down with the stomach bug. After they fell asleep I got a phone call which ignited fear in my bones…more like terror and panic. I felt scared and alone, my mind was slipping into the darkness (the peace and rest I had experienced all the days prior was gone) I got another phone call, it was from my mom…it brought comfort. ..I had rest…when we woke up… the boys and I were well. Thank you for praying when you were prompted.

God is unravelling this mystery in a specific way, in His time and I’m really excited to see where it leads.

tree

“For there is hope for a tree,
If it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that its tender shoots will not cease.
Though its root may grow old in the earth,
And its stump may die in the ground,
Yet at the scent of water it will bud
And bring forth branches like a plant.” Job 14:7-9

Thank you for being the scent of water, leading me to the source in this dry desert land.

Mollie Makes paper hearts!

28 Feb

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It came…jammed in my mailbox….took a good effort to pull it out…sweetness is always wrapped in brown paper… right!

My colorful paper hearts are featured on pg. 56 of Mollie Makes Weddings..the book issue. Mollie Makes is Published by Anova, a London based company.They sent me a complimentary copy..I thought it rather luvvly-jubbly(insert Brit accent)

What I enjoyed most about this featured was the fact that I was the one who took the photo. I remember exactly what I was doing when I snapped it. I was getting Zachary ready for school while simultaneously feeding Ben. It was a snap in time..and I was doing what I love in between loving on my family. Did not think the snap would make its way across the pond and in UK bookstores.

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I think it shall be added to my coffee table book assortment.

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Although Erik is no longer working with me, he was happy to see the feature.

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Video

Lover of the Light

21 Feb

Stretch out my life
And pick the seams out
Take what you like
But close my ears and eyes
Watch me stumble over and over

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. ps 42.1

Snow? No!

5 Feb

I really HATE snow..I hate it!

Especially this winter.

Worry, salt, ice, slip, new car battery, snow removal, stuck in the house, carwash, dirt, slush, no school, grocery lines, what ifs!!!

I wouldn’t miss a flake  if it ceased to exist!

Yes… it’s pretty for about a hot second before everything turns slushy/brown-grey!

Yesterday I about had it with the stuff…….but being the optimist that I am

 I came up with a list of 3 things I can try to appreciate about snow:

1) It brings out the creativity in others..Neighbors made a pretty cool igloo.

2) Ben is a snow lover…”Mommy watch me climb mount snow!”

3) We are forced to get active in creative ways.. indoors (thankful for after school bowling….plasma cars, treadmill and a basement)

This was yesterday …. I’m ready for Spring.

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Little moments like these.

4 Feb

“Mom, I made you a snack.”

He brought it up to me in bed.

He saw me lying down and thought that I was not feeling well.

He made his mama a snack!

It’s these moments, life giving moments..heart floods..love received.

So artistically arranged..careful 9year old boy hands..presh..

I ate the fudge pop first.

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He saw how much his efforts were cherished

…and…

came up with coffee

(made it himself/thanks keurig)

…topped with whipped cream…

Love.Love.Love.too much Love.

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Sugar Rush!

3 Feb

Sugar Rush!

You have to look close (bottom left) …our pink gingham pinwheel is part of this gorgeous Candy Bar photo shoot {Today’s Bride Mag}

Bride’s dress: Liz Fields 9206 Engagement ring: Scott Kay Earrings: Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection Fascinator: White Toronto Bridesmaid’s dress: Colours 11 by Kenneth Winston Style # 5090 Necklace and earrings: Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection Sweet table: Sweet Something Designs Pinwheel: Paper Polaroid, Etsy Card holders: Candid photo/art display, Umbra

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