black bean confetti salad

This Meatless Monday post comes from a book I just finished reading, Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss by Mark Hyman. I have tried a bunch of recipes from this book and wanted to share the ones I liked best. I substituted some things because it was what I had on hand and the recipe still turned out great.

Black Bean Confetti Salad

1 15 oz. can of black beans
1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained (I used fresh corn cooked and cooled)
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup scallions (I omitted this as I didn't have it in the house.  Didn't miss it)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (Again I substituted parsley and mint from my garden)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Learn about the Meatless Mondays Campaign


kids art: decoupage fun take 2

Playroom Table Makeover

About a year ago I took a simple IKEA table and decoupaged some of the my kids school artwork to the top of it, I blogged about it here.  It turned out great but, over time the paper had water damage and was torn in places so, the time has come for a makeover. Decoupage to the rescue ... again!  

 Playroom Table - Before (after removing old artwork)

If you have never decoupaged before check out how to decoupage at about.com. I thought about using my kids school work again and begun the hunt and then it occurred to me that the paintings they create on their easel is just the right paper size to cover the table.  Score!  I had one that they both did together sitting in the garage so, I thought that one was perfect.

Playroom Table - After
The boys have a fun new playroom table created with their artwork! Isn't it cool? I love taking something a bit ratty and worn and breathing new life into it.  Do you have something you had on the fritz that you made new again?  If so, I'd love to hear about it!


ced: creekside bliss

Here is a new colored pencil sketch from from my sketchbook for creative every day's bliss theme. Doesn't it look like the perfect place to lay on the grass, read, sketch and just watch the clouds go by? Ahh, I can just picture myself there enjoying the creek side bliss.  Today I am in NY for some wedding bliss followed by music bliss! One of my bestest friends is getting married on Friday and we are driving up to Albany on Saturday to meet up with some friends and have a lot of fun at the Phish concert!  May your weekend be blissful.

To see what others have been working on for the bliss theme, click here.


ced: storybook bliss

Here is another colored pencil sketch from from my sketchbook for creative every day's bliss theme.  It is based on one of my favorite storybook's, I Love You Little One by Nancy Tafuri.  I received this book at my baby shower 6 years ago and it has been a family favorite. When Ethan was an infant, I was able t recite this story to calm him down whenever he was upset. That made this story very powerful for us and I have bonded tremendously with it.

To see what others have been working on for the bliss theme, click here.


"flowers" + a giveaway

Tonight is our June meeting for the East Valley Artisans but, I'm bummed that I won't be there. I am heading to NY tomorrow morning for a friends wedding and it was just too tough for me to get there tonight.  I am there in spirit though!  Our EVA May theme exchange was flowers. I was the lucky winner of the pretty dandelion necklace by Kandes (see #6 below) and wanted to show off all the exchange pieces made last month. Everything was pretty and of course, very flowery!

1. Earrings by Melissa - The Silver Nest
2. Glass Pendant by Jeannie - Jean's Beads
3. Earrings by Jill - Jill Helms Studio
4. Earrings by Jennifer - DogMa Creations
5. Flower Pin by Renee - Renee Lareine Jewelry
6. Dandelion Necklace by  Kandes - Kandes Lee
7. Earrings by Marci - Niall9
8. Soldered Flower Necklace by Trish - Little Silver Stars
9. Flower Magnets by Kristen - Creative Stash

Don't miss the magnet set giveaway on our EVA blog ... Only 10 days left to enter! A winner will be chosen on June 27th!

East Valley Artisans is a varied mix of artists from painting to paper to sculpture and jewelry. Please support our economy, support local business, support our artists. Become a fan on Facebook!


guest blogging

Hi! I'm guest blogging on Soft Flex Company's blog today. Today's post is about being open to possibilities and uncovering hidden opportunities along the way. I will be posting there monthly about small business tips for design, marketing and motivation. Hope you will join me!


easy pesto pasta

Pesto is great.  It uses lots of basil, tastes delicious on pasta, garlic bread and sandwiches, it is super easy to make and uses ingredients you probably have on hand.  I found this Easy Pesto Recipe on allrecipes.com
 Easy Pesto
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Place almonds on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
  2. In a food processor, combine toasted almonds, garlic, basil, olive oil, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Process until a coarse paste is formed.
Learn about the Meatless Mondays Campaign


ced: bliss in bloom

Here is a colored pencil sketch "Bliss in bloom" from my sketchbook for creative every day's bliss theme.   To see what others have been working on for the bliss theme, click here


ced: wedding bliss + tutorial

This month's creative every day theme is bliss. I made this picture frame gift for my sister's 1 year wedding anniversary - ahhh wedding bliss! My sister and her husband were married on the beach in Jamacia.  I wanted to incorporate that somehow so, I decided to take a photo of Jamaica's beach and made a clipping mask in photoshop with their initials along with their wedding photo inside of a heart and their wedding date. To see what others have been working on this week for the bliss theme, click here

Want to know how I created the initials with a clipping mask in Photoshop?  It's really easy!

Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial

Step 1: Create your new file.  File > New.  I sized mine to fit my picture frame size (3.5 in x 5 in). If you will be printing the image set your resolution to 300 pixels/inch and color mode CMYK. Choose a color for the Background layer and fill it in using the Paint Bucket tool.

Step 2: Select the Type Tool and type the letter and size it to your needs. This should appear above your Background layer. I choose a lowercase j in the font Elephant and sized it to 275 pt.

Step 3: File > Place > Browse your computer for the file you want to appear within the letter and click Place. You can size the photo if desired.  Then click the Move Tool, you will asked if you want to place the file.  Click yes.  This image should appear above the letter layer.  Click on the photo layer to highlight it as shown in the picture above.

Step 4: Now you can right click on the photo layer and select Clipping Mask or you can go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask.  That's it!


kids art as gift wrap

My kids love to create and I am always looking for new ways to use their artwork instead of tossing it.  Our painting sessions on the easel create some pretty large masterpieces so, I started saving them to use for gift wrap!  I think its a fun way to show off their creativity while being resourceful. Family members, teachers, artists or just about anyone would enjoy this twist on traditional gift wrapping.


roasted veggie pasta salad

I haven't done a Meatless Monday blog in awhile and a friend recently asked me if we still have meatless meals.  We certainly do!  I think we just got a little lazy, we weren't doing it every Monday and many of the dishes were simple or dishes I have already blogged about so, I stopped writing about it.  It may be the warmer weather but, I have been craving veggie meals lately!

I made this roasted veggie pasta salad for a play date picnic recently and it was good so, I made it again for dinner.  I found this on the Taste of Home website.  This dish has all my favorite veggies: eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow peppers and onions. I omitted the squash and substituted the spiral pasta for penne since that is what I had in the house.  However, I prefer the spiral pasta, that is what I used for the picnic and it does a great job of holding onto the dressing.

See Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad Recipe

Learn about the Meatless Mondays Campaign


monthly goal meetup

JUNE?! I can't beleive it's June, school is out, summer is here and it's a new month which means it's time for the monthly goal Meet Up with Athena Dreams

Here were my May goals ...
  1. create & add copper necklaces to etsy shop - added 3 copper necklaces and 2 new earrings!
  2. blog about magnet favors & add option to etsy shop - done
  3. blog about wedding invitation designs & add samples to etsy shop - still have to do
  4. get started with quickbooks! - i started but, am unsure if this program is right for me.  I think it is way more then I need right now.  will check into more this month.
  5. continue web site freelance project - in progress
  6. continue scooby painting - in progress
  7. get to the gym at least 3x a week! - okay went 2 times, better then April but really need 3 for June!
  8. gift packaging idea & photo for etsy shop - done
  9. Oh and I redesigned my blog!  I am still working out the kinks but, I really love the new look.
And here we go into June ...
  1. add new rain drop, starfish and believe earrings made to etsy shop
  2. blog about wedding invitation designs & add samples to etsy shop
  3. guest blog at East Valley Artisans for the month
  4. Favor cards for Laraine's wedding
  5. Baby Shower Invitations for Jenny
  6. joined LinkedIn and now need to work with it a bit.
  7. continue with quick books
  8. continue web site freelance project
  9. complete scooby painting
  10. gym: monday, wednesday, thursday and saturday
Wishing everyone a creative and productive month! If you would like to join in the Meetup fun, head on over to Athena Dreams to read more about what we do and how to join in.