kids art: painted letters

We played with paint this weekend!

Painting is one of our favorite past times. So much so, that they even cleaned the entire playroom before we were able to began. The boys each painted the first letter of their name. Sorry the photos are so poor. My camera is out of batteries so, I took these with my cell phone.

I have to say the "paint bucket" I put together on our last crafty day made the setup for this project run very smoothly! Everything was setup in the correct order; smocks, tablecloth, letters, paint, and last brushes. This made for a much more relaxing experience for me. Yay!

nature deprived

We desert dwellers are a little nature deprived by now due to the summer's heat but, I do get a little (hot) fresh air in each day as I sit on our shady front porch waiting for the school bus to arrive. We are settling in to our new routine now that school has begun. I guess I'm daydreaming of that new ritual today since I've been indoors all weekend! Being indoors can be pretty productive some times though and this weekend I put myself to work cleaning, cooking, organizing and even squeezed in art projects with the kids and for myself! That feels good.


painting in progress, weeping willow


Painting in progress montage

Dandelion painting completed, 7-26-09

Handmade Portraits: Mimi Kirchner

This video made smile. Mimi is lovely and very inspirational. I adore her dolls. The sleeping swaddled babies are precious, the robots so cool, the strong tattooed men are clever and her school boys are so cute (partial to these I'm sure because I have a little school boy of my own). Such care is taken in creating them and so much history is behind the fabrics and the many bits and pieces that make up one of her creations.


veggie frittata

This was an easy all-in-one meal! The southwest hash browns have a kick and made the dish hearty enough for dinner, the broccoli gives it a nice crispness and the rosemary gives it a savory earthy flavor.

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups simply potatoes southwest shredded hash browns
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 4-6 oz of your choice of shredded cheese

In skillet drizzle some olive oil and add hash browns, broccoli, onions and rosemary. Cook over low-medium heat until the hash browns are golden and the vegetables tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and place into an oven safe dish approx. 8 inches. Beat eggs, water, salt and pepper; pour over hash browns mixture. Top with cheese and paprika. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until eggs are completely set.


sisters vacation

Aunties & the boys having fun in the backyard.

So much has happened recently! Since our trip to Colorado, I just feel like time has flown by. We came home and within days our first born began kindergarten. A few days after school started, my 2 sisters arrived to witness Ethan's first days at school and celebrate my birthday.

Aunties & Hudson relaxing by the pool

For my birthday we stayed at the Hotel Valley Ho in old town Scottsdale, drank John Daly's by the pool all day, and ate like queens. Both my sisters and I love to order a few things and share family style. Anyone who goes out to eat with me knows this is my favorite way of enjoying a meal! We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Arcadia Farms. This place makes you feel like you're inside a doll's house and the food is all farm fresh. We enjoyed dinner atMalee's Thai on Main, the food was great as was the service. Katie, Kelly & I were all pretty tipsy and giggled our way through dinner. A few steps from the restaurant (Kelly had REALLY high Tina Turner heels on) we stopped at The Tortilla Factory to rest our feet, have another drink and snack on chips and salsa and finished the night with a chocolate cake to go (which I enjoyed in the bathtub later that night,haha).

Hotel Valley Ho room

Hotel Valley Ho bathroom

Hotel Valley Ho pool

After our night away, my sisters had a blast hanging with their nephews for the rest of their stay! I was so sad to see them go. I hadn't felt that sad in awhile :( It sure does get harder to be away from our loved ones as we get older and understand what family means to us. My sisters are really special. It's sad knowing I won't see them again until March 2010!

In other news ...

Sara Hardin (AKA Ask Sara) found that even Martha Stewart Living suggests Soft Flex Wire by name for their beading project!

Black Mountain Jewelry Co was reminded yesterday of why they love doing jewelry repairs.

Tiffany from Green and Natural Parenting explains how taking a nature walk with kids helps improve their emotional well-being.

Craft Magazine showcases Egg Press' work and whirl video, which gives a mesmerizing view into their workshop, on their blog.


escalator animation

Fashion trends and project ideas

Are you a recessionista? No matter what your income, looking good doesn't have to weigh down your wallet. Recently, Jamie Hogsett and Sara Hardin of Soft Flex Company, went on the hunt at Kohl's and Target to see what sort of affordable fashion they could find. And of course, paired the latest fashion trends with some of Soft Flex's free jewelry projects ideas that match.

We hope to update this section a few times a year with current and affordable fashion options that pair with our current and affordable free project ideas for accessories to keep you looking hip. I created the graphics and layout for this new web feature and I hope you will take a look by clicking Fashion Trends!

rise up for the homeless and hungry

I did my first pro-bono graphic project recently. I had the honor of creating the logo design for the first major fundraising event being produced with the Phoenix Philanthropists: Rise Up for the Homeless and Hungry. This event is meant to bring awareness and action to the homeless and hunger situation in the Phoenix metro area.

The event will be a 24-25 hour marathon of standing out in the heat of the Arizona summer to bring awareness and show people what it is like to deal with the extreme summer elements here. Proceeds and food donations will benefit St. Mary's Food Bank and other donations, like clothing, will benefit Children First Academy.

I am so happy to have been able to help out. Working with Thomas, the event organizer, was a real pleasure. He knew just what he wanted to convey and is so passionate about this event and for his community, it was very humbling.

Here are some of my sketches while working on this project:

initial sketchbook ideas

3 logo options for review

The event is tentatively set for June 4th & 5th, which is the week of St. Mary's Hunger Action Day and also the kickoff week of their "Send Hunger Packing" campaign for the summer. This will also be a great kick-off event for their summer water drive. There will be entertainment throughout the event ranging from movies, bands, karaoke, vendors, educational speakers, etc. Participants will raise pledge money for their efforts. Spectators and visitors to the event can participate in raffles, drop-off donations and participate in other ways to support the cause.


pizza night!

My sisters are visiting and instead of cooking we decided on take-out pizza last night. We ordered our favorite pizza from Red, White and Brew - Eggromato. It has eggplant, fresh tomatoes, garlic & mushrooms. We paired that with a simple berry salad.

To make the simple berry salad we mixed together the following:
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Gorgonzola Cheese
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette
Mmm ... Magnifico!


cheese crisp and veggie rice

Tonight I had planned to make a recipe I received in the meatless monday e-newsletter. Zucchini Stuffed Peppers. Sounds so good! I began cooking the vegetables but, soon realized my oven door was jammed and therefore would not turn on. So I went for plan B. I switched gears and made the stuffing into veggie rice and paired it with a cheese crisp.

For the cheese crisp I used:
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 slice of american cheese
  • grated mild cheddar cheese
Place 1 tortilla in pan, add cheeses and place a second tortilla on top and lightly press together. Cook over medium high heat for a minute or two, flip over the and cook on the other side for a minute of two.

For the veggie rice I used:
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 5 carrots diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
Place butter in a skillet, add zucchini, onion and carrots. Cook for about 10 minutes. Mix in the brown rice. salt and pepper.

This actually turned out well, the only change I may try is to cook brown rice with vegetable broth instead of water to add a bit more flavor. Thank goodness we had some tortilla and cheese handy to complete the meal.

remembering colorado

Last week, Bert & I returned home from a phantastic road trip, concert series and vacation. We had so many wonderful moments! The basis for our trip was to see our favorite band Phish (back touring after a 5 yr break) at the breathtaking Red Rocks concert venue in Colorado.

Scenes from the road to Colorado:

Bert getting his drive on

Bluff, Utah

Me at a rest stop in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Entering Vail, Colorado elevation 8,000ft and hit with nasty rain!

Ski lift in Vail, Colorado

We decided to take a road trip and drive through some parts of the country we have never been to. It was a hike with 14 hour drive from Phoenix but, oh so worth it. Heading to Colorado we took the scenic route and it was just beautiful. We passed through many, many gorgeous canyons as he headed north through Arizona, into Utah and through southeast Colorado into Denver.

We enjoyed ourselves each night at the Phish shows and we jammed packed our days with tourist fun.

Friday we checked out downtown Boulder ...

Pearl Street Mall, Boulder Colorado

Lunch at Burnt Toast in Boulder, Colorado

Stopped at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse for some yummy Iced Tea!

Saturday we attended the Mock Show art exhibit ...

From the Mock Show blog:

Thanks to all the artists, volunteers and collectors who helped make the inaugural Mock Show Red Rocks such a huge success. Mock Show Red Rocks hosted the largest gathering of Phish poster art in history! Counting artists and exhibitors, their assistants and Mock Show volunteers, in conjunction with pre-purchase ticketed attendees, walk-up will call guests and invited VIPs, Mock Show welcomed over 750 in attendance Saturday, August 1st, 2009 at the Sheraton Denver West in Lakewood, Colorado.

From the four nights of fantastic Phish concerts, to all the warm, friendly folks we met in Colorado, to all the amazing artists and unbelievable work on display, what an unforgettable adventure!

Sunday we headed to Fort Collins ...

We had a lovely visit with our fellow Soft Flex employee, Jamie and Matt. We wandered the downtown area, bought some sweet eco-gifts, had lunch and a nice brew. We took a walk to check out the New Belgium Brewery but, it was a Sunday and they were closed.

Me at Fort Collins University Garden

Bert and an Andy Warhol signed soup can at Fort Collins University Garden

Jamie & I at the Belgium Brewery

Scenes from the road back to Arizona:

Lunch break at Bert's Burger Bowl in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Payson, Arizona ~ 1.5 hours left until we are home!

So nice to come home to our family and their smiling faces!

beading contest deadline is approaching fast!

Time sure does fly when you are having fun. It seems like just yesterday that Sara and I were sitting at one of our coffee meetings dreaming up the idea for this beaded jewelry contest...and now, it is finally time to get your entries in. We can't wait to see what you dream up.


See Contest Details