family recipes




During this time of year, perhaps more than any other, there grows in me a certain gratefulness for the things passed down to me by previous generations. I am thankful for the traits, characteristics and funny preferences, and for stories and histories told by grandparents and parents alike. I become more aware of what makes my family unique, and I am grateful to be a part of it, even with our dysfunctions and foibles.

This year, my mom taught me one of her aunt’s recipes. My great aunt Annie was quite a woman, and reading the recipe written in her own hand, hearing snippets of her story, and spending a bit of time in the kitchen together with my mom baking her famous pound cake made me realize how much history lies within family recipes. Chances are, Thanksgiving means a meal including a dish such as “Grandma’s famous gravy”, or “Mom’s stuffing”. These recipes and dishes become a part of our history, and even our identity as a family. Perhaps you know just what I’m talking about, and right off the top of your head can think of your family recipes. If so, I’d love to hear what they are. If you don’t have any family recipes, and if you feel like this piece of your family history is lacking, I encourage you to begin the tradition. Find something special to make this year, and make it each year hereafter. Pass down the recipe to your nieces and nephews and sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters.

In the spirit of sharing family recipes, here is the recipe for Aunt Annie’s pound cake. It is rich and heavy and delicious, and even if you don’t usually like pound cake, chances are, you’ll love Aunt Annie’s.

3 sticks margarine (do not use butter!)
8 oz. cream cheese
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 cups sifted flour
6 eggs
(have all ingredients at room temperature)

Cream margarine, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat well. Add eggs one at a time, slowly add flour after each egg. Beat until smooth. Spoon into a greased and floured 9 in. tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hour.

remembering to be grateful {freebie}



Time for a fun little DIY printable! I wanted to create something special for you guys partly as a “thank you” for being wonderful and faithful readers, and partly because I hope these cards will help you to pause and reflect on the things you are grateful for. I made these over the weekend, starting with a blank piece of paper and my favorite Sharpie marker. Scribbles and lines and doodles turned into a simple circular design that I scanned in and added text to.

I printed a whole stack for my own Thanksgiving celebration later this week using a heavy, textured, cream-colored paper. I then cut each circular card by hand with a scissor. In the center of each plate, I will place one “i am grateful for” card, then give each guest a pencil for jotting down a simple list of their own. Perhaps you would like to do the same? Download your free printable file HERE, and enjoy!

weekend in the (photo) studio





Happy Monday, my dears! I’m back from a nice weekend, and here to share a few snippets of it with you. While some of the tasks I tackled were seemingly mundane, I had a lovely time doing these very simple things. I bought a new shower curtain, baked muffins, finished building my headboard, ate a burrito at Chipotle, watched Inception, and slept in/stayed in because of an ice storm. I enjoyed all of it, but the real highlight was spending Saturday with my good friend, Laurie Ashbach of in{side}out blog, Arise Designs, and Vine & Branches Gallery (she’s also a Button Club member!), in a photo studio downtown.

We were there with one purpose–to prep, prop, style and shoot some of Laurie’s beautiful, original jewelery designs. We worked with stylist Nicole Uphoff and photographer Dan Delaney in the studio space of Delaney Photo, which is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you may remember this shoot that I did there awhile back. Working with this team to capture photos of Laurie’s designs was really a privilege–they are the best of the best. We spent nearly seven hours together working to capture six images. Hours into the day, we were still buzzing with creative energy and enthusiasm. Days like Saturday make me pause and recognize how grateful I am to have a job I love.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I can hardly believe it. This month has been crazy/busy, and I realize that the posting around here has been a bit light. I hope to change that in the coming weeks. My brain is ready to explode with ideas for you…crafts to work on, recipes to bake, thoughts to ponder, and experiences to share…all jammed into the next month or so! This week is going to be all about thankfulness, and I’m kicking it off tomorrow with a really fun printable for you to download and use for your Thanksgiving celebration, so stay tuned!

from my desk


Hello friends. I meant to put up a post yesterday for you, but I was running to and fro across the city for meetings and errands. I woke early, intending to spend time on emails and blogging, but the hour got away from me. It happens sometimes. I am making an effort to change that, however. Speaking of which, let’s talk about watches. I’ve been thinking of getting a new one for awhile, specifically a white watch. They seem to be an “in” thing these days, and while I’m not usually a trend-follower, I love the idea of a crisp white watch that will go with anything. I’ve been eying this Fossil version, and actually almost scooped it up at a duty free/tax free shop in the Bahamas. In the end, however, I decided I didn’t want to drop $100 on a watch that I probably won’t wear for very long. Trends are funny like that, you know? Suddenly they fade and I will be left starting at this gaudy piece of white metal on my arm. I know it will happen. So, I did what any woman would do–I headed to my local Tar-zhay Boutique to look for an acceptable knock-off. One that probably won’t last more than six months, but also won’t throw my budget for a loop. It took me about 18 seconds to find this gem by Merona for $12.99. My husband thinks it looks goofy, and my brother-in-law says it looks like a kids watch, but I don’t care. I love my big white watch with the fake multi-function dials!



I’m going to keep the “random” theme going from Tuesday, so hang in there with me. My desk tends to be a disaster, but I do my best to corral the clutter. Here is my system. I have three of the Stockholm Flat Files from Container Store, and I love them. Whenever I have a pile of papers and magazines on my desk, I quickly sort and put them into these boxes. The “to sort” box mostly contains random stuff that I need to deal with at a later time (i.e. perfect for the procrastinator in me). The “to read” box has magazines and catalogs I want to browse, and I pull it out and head down to the couch whenever I have a free evening and some time to spare. The “to file” box obviously has items that I need to file away. I like to bulk that task and only do it about once a month. Next to my three boxes, I have a small cardboard container, which I use for the most urgent items that need to be dealt with right away. These are letters that I need to respond to, bills I need to pay, and the like. The cardboard box is surprisingly part of the packaging from my iPad! Reusing and recycling at it’s best, right??



Speaking of which, let me just say I love the iPad. I was a huge critic of it when it first came out, and pretty much had nothing good to say about it. Now I’m eating my words. I sold my old Powerbook laptop, and replaced it with iPad, which I mostly use for travel and personal entertainment at home. It works great for emails and blogging, checking out stuff online, music, movies, and every other form of entertainment that you can imagine. I also check my Twitter and play my music on it during the day, to keep my iMac running faster. Since I’m usually running Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Bridge, iCal, Firefox, Things and Mail all at once, every little bit helps. I don’t have many apps on the iPad yet, so if you know of any must-haves, tell me! Oh, and that little black donut you see above is a Cable Turtle, also from Container Store. It works amazingly well, and helps keeps cords in order.

That’s all the randomness I have for you today! Be back soon, my dears…

minne-snow-ta, and other things




Hello from the cold and snowy state of Minne-snow-ta! For my local readers, this news is old news, but for everyone else it may come as a shock that we got a nice dumping of snow over the weekend. I was up north at the time, and actually thought I might be delayed in my return home. Though I ended up making the trip back as planned, the thought of hunkering down in front of the fireplace in my parents’ cozy log cabin for a couple extra days didn’t sound too bad.

I’m going to use this post as a bit of a brain-dump, and let you in on some of the other things that have been floating around my head lately. Hopefully there will be future posts about several of these topics in the weeks to come:

[1] Lately. Yesterday and today I’ve been playing catch-up with freelance projects. Lately, I’ve been busy with several blog designs. I think designing blogs might be my favorite type of project. The process of designing a blog for someone else is dynamic, challenging and FUN! I love getting to know other bloggers, and helping them create a space that is totally unique to them. When I’m not working on freelance, I’m usually in front of the computer answering emails, working on new ideas for my shop, marketing the business, or chasing my tail in circles in the world known as “social media”. I’m not entirely sure what to say on that topic, but it’s been on my mind lately. As I mentioned in this post, I want to simplify my life so that I can keep the main things the main things, and let go of the extras. Not sure what that looks like yet, but the phrase that I keep repeating to myself is “less is more”.

[2] Listening. While we were hunting this past weekend, my dad and I did quite a bit of listening. Over time, I learned the sounds of the forest, and was able to distinguish the various chirps and rustles that filled the air. I was amazed at how noisy the “quiet” forest really was! It got me thinking… how can I be a better listener in my daily life? What would I hear if I stopped the chatter, turned down the noise in my life and just listened? How can I make more time to listen to friends and family? How can I make more time to listen for God’s quiet voice?

[3] Thankfulness. As I mentioned in the recent Button Club post, we have much to be thankful for. I want to put more effort into celebrating the real reason for Thanksgiving this year, and I want to do my best to help you do the same. Expect the theme around here next week to be centered on thankfulness. I’ll have some fun things to share, so be sure to stop by every day!

[3] Balance. I am an all or nothing sort of girl. I am not good at balancing several things at once, nor am I good at living life in moderation. I tend to be at my best when I am pouring myself 100% into one thing. Focused, concentrated effort towards a single goal is something that comes easy for me. Which is great–when I have a single goal to focus on. Not so great when I am trying to be a wife, daughter, friend, and business owner who stays fit, happy, and healthy while keeping a clean home, an organized life, social commitments, and her sanity. I fear that I need to learn balance in order to survive.

[4] Baking, cooking and crafting. The holidays are around the corner, and all I can think of is creating. I’m in the mood to make this year, and I’m hoping to cook, bake and craft my way to a whole pile of homemade gifts. I’ve got recipes to share, packaging ideas to show off, and a few DIY projects up my sleeve that you just might be able to use for your own gifts.

[5] Making a list and checking it twice. I’m not talking about Christmas, either. I’m referring to my bucket list projects. After the Summer Bucket List, I started my Fall List, which is almost done. Now winter is around the corner, and I think I might just make one for this cold and snowy season as well! I actually love the idea of having a seasonal list going at all times. I think it forces me to be intentional about celebrating the unique aspects of each season. Also, I am in the process of creating a master Bucket List, or, as they are more often called these days, a life list. I need to keep working on this one, so I’m not sure when I’ll be revealing it, but I promise to share when it’s ready.

All for now my dears! The next several weeks will probably be busy ones around here, so be sure to stay tuned. Now, I’m off to tackle the rest of my day. I have just a couple hours left before a very full evening… be back tomorrow!

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