January 31, 2011

Dear Miss Monday

You're here once again. I'd like you to put a cherry on top please.

Miss Monday you've still got me pondering what you should be titled for my blog. Why must you make me work so hard? You're filled with all the tasks I don't particularly like but try to check off my weekly list. The sooner the better if you know what I mean?

I'm one of those gals that works from least favorite task to favorite task. Save the BEST for last! How about you? Do you avoid the crumby stuff or do you just do it to get it over with?

Mondays are full of list making, calendar checking, laundry, floors, bathrooms, windows, vacuuming, invoicing and much, much more. Somewhere in there I manage to fit in meal times, diaper changes, menu planning etc., etc., etc....

Miss Monday please share with us some of your redeeming qualities. Ah... you're the start of the work week. Yes you are. A fresh new start and a brand new day, a time to set in motion and establish the kind of week we'd like it to be.

Is it true how you start something is how you'll finish it?

Miss Monday, Are you telling me I should start out on a positive note, with a clear plan for my household, family and business? To establish the mood and tone for my family from the very start?

Well, I can't promise anything but I will do my best!

There you have it folks. Miss Monday is trying to tell us to keep a positive attitude. I guess she's not all that bad.

Has she convinced you?

She leaves me without my final daily blog theme - or maybe she hasn't. Maybe Dear Miss Monday is the title. I'll let you know next week if it sticks.

I must share that although I spent a good portion of my day washing hardwood floors on my hands and knees I did get a cherry on top today. My new camera was delivered via FEDEx. What a relief it was to pop in my old memory card and be able to download the handful of photo's I was able to capture before my G9 locked up. So I've at least got a few of my two year old's birthday celebration.

I was able to find the three cake stands at Marshalls. I had been searching for a while for three stackables. I wanted to be able to use one by itself, two or three depending on what I was serving. They happen to be perfect for cupcakes and cupcakes happen to be perfect for a two-year old's birthday celebration!

Look at all those precious faces... they are the reason I do everything that I do. Even the Monday work.

If you're at all interested the frosting recipe that I used on these ghiradelli chocolate cupcakes can be found here. With very little sugar and a light, creamy texture it's definitely a must try. I think you'll love it!

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

January 29, 2011

My Mac Pro and I

We're headed down to the Apple Genius Bar once more. This time they have the new graphics card that will replace my faulty graphics card. Say a little prayer that my trusty, side-kick is repaired and back up and running at full capacity.

I guess I'll be feeling like a brand new woman when Mac is repaired and I have my new camera in hand.

Technology, you can't live with it, you can't live without it. It's truly a love, hate thing.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

January 28, 2011

Friday - Food Bites To Wet Your Appetite

Well today has just gotten away from me. It's my handsome, hubby's birthday today and I've been working on a homemade German Chocolate Cake for the last three hours using this recipe. It truly is a labor of L-O-V-E and he is so worth every minute of standing on my feet, tending to the cake batter, simple syrup, coconut-pecan filling and chocolate icing. Doesn't that combination sound absolutely decadent? Happy Birthday honey!

While this is not a cake you'd make on a weekly basis it's definitely a winner for special occasions. If I had my camera I'd take a picture for all to see. At some point next week I should be back to myself with my new camera on its way.

On Friday's I fully intend to share something with my fellow foodies that makes your taste buds pop.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

January 27, 2011

The Thursday Thread

Hello to you on this Thursday. The children have a snow day. We got about 3 inches where we live.
If school was called off every time we got a few inches of snow where I grew up we would have had about 4 months of school a year. I suppose it's better to be safe than sorry.

In an effort to organize my blog, but mostly to organize my thoughts, I've come up with some catchy little titles for each day of the working week. While I will try my best to keep my post topics as close to the subject titles I can't promise I won't veer every once in a while. Thursday's I will share anything that has to do with fibers such as sewing, fabrics, crocheting and possibly even paper goods. I may even throw in a little bit of fashion from time to time.

I'm still without a camera, but not for long, I just ordered a replacement and it should arrive by Monday. The best news is the memory card will work in the new camera so I can download the photo's I was able to capture of my baby girl on her second birthday before the camera froze. I'm so relieved! Until I'm able to take photo's I thought I'd share some lovely little etsy finds with my readers. These are items my children could use and I bet your kids could too!

Oh, I just got my calligraphy pens in the mail today. You know the ones that I won a couple days ago. I'm thrilled! I cannot wait to try them out. I may just be posting a little bit of calligraphy work in the future.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

January 26, 2011

winsome wednesday

Winsome |ˈwinsəm|
attractive or appealing in appearance or character

I love the word "winsome". While a lot like the word handsome it has a much more feminine ring to it. Don't you think? I chose it as one of the words to describe my blog and I'm pulling it out again for my Wednesday posts.

Today I'll be sharing a restoration project with you.

The above is obviously the before shot. Below is the after. It's very winsome.

This debonair secretary was in my parents basement for years. When my mom asked me if I wanted it I jumped at the chance. My brother hauled it down from MI when he brought the barn board. This furnishing needed some T.L.C. There was a hole in the side and so that entire panel needed to be replaced. We asked a neighbor who is a carpenter and woodworker by trade if he would do the repairs for a fee and he agreed.

Once the furniture was back in our hands I decided I wanted to paint it. Since it's such a sturdy piece it probably should have been sanded down and stained but I didn't want anymore brown in my home so a shade of blue it was to be. My intention was to use layers of color in shades of blue and grey along with a sanding block to make it look more coastal cottage but the pottery glaze blue is starting to grow on me. So I sit undecided. Until I make my decision I thought I'd share it with my readers.

What do you think?

I know it's original intention is for filing mail and office supplies but don't you think it would be great storage for board games in the bottom half and kids art supplies in the top? Function, function, function... with three kids all furniture in our home must have a purpose.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

January 25, 2011

Thyme in the Garden - Photo Submission

I'm going to be organizing my blogging schedule or at least trying, so please be patient while I work it all out. I've done my best to come up with some clever titles for the five working days of each week. If I blog on the weekends that will be a bonus. :~) Tuesdays will feature "Thyme in the Garden".

Did you know that Seventh Generation has a disinfecting cleaning product with the main ingredient being Thyme oil? Yeah! Isn't that cool? I just read that on the bottle this morning. Herbs are beneficial in so many ways.

Today I uploaded one of my floral photo's of a purple hyacinth bean vine taken summer 2010 to the "Pioneer Woman" Flower Photo Assignment Flickr Group. Whew, that was a mouthful! We'll see if the photo makes it onto her site.

The Purple Hyacinth Bean Vine is one of the easiest vines to grow. It's very aggressive and can climb well over 15 feet so it needs to have a very sturdy support system. If it has abundant sunlight it really fills out nicely. The flowers are shades of lavender and magenta. The seed pods are the color of eggplant.

You must plant responsibly with this variety of Hyacinth because it is so aggressive and doesn't require special soil blends to do well. At the end of each growing season make sure to cut the growth all the way back to the ground and gather up all the seed pods. I save many of the seeds for the following growing season and dispose of the rest.

In the springtime I will be featuring a seed packet giveaway of this plant as well as another vine.

So stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Jenny K.

January 24, 2011

I'm A Winner!

Most days I don't feel like a winner but today I really am!

I won a $25 gift card from this blog.

I got the news this morning. I needed to hear something positive after my camera locked up and quit working last night. It was my babies birthday and that makes it even worse. So when I found out that I could go shopping and it wasn't going to cost me anything it brought a smile to this momma's face. 

With the gift card I purchased the following items:

I have been wanting to learn calligraphy for a while now.

What don't I want to learn to do? That list is probably much shorter.

I've been seeing some really beautiful, hand-addressed, invitations in some of my favorite publications and thought I'd really love to be able to send thank you's, birthday cards and Christmas cards that had the same flair and style. Well now I get my chance. There are two calligraphy pens and some ink cartridge refills being shipped to me as I type this. That makes me happy!

As far as the camera goes, I've got options. I can send it away for a $149 repair + s/h, I can buy a refurbished camera as part of the repair/replace program or I can buy something completely new.

I've had sparks of interest in some really, really expensive cameras but I'm just not ready to take the plunge and neither is my pocket book.

While feeling sick inside and a bit like a fish out of water without my handy little image capturing tool there's got to be a bright spot at the end of this. Right? Something good has to come out of this pitfall! I must choose to make lemonade out of lemons.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Come back for lemonade.

Jenny K.

January 21, 2011

handmade afghan

It's finally COMPLETE! I've been working on this afghan for more than a year-and-a-half. I went for several months not working on it at all and sometimes I'd only crochet one row in an evening. Although in my defense a 68" row proved to be quite a feat when my small children were climbing all over me.

I taught myself how to crochet a little less than two years ago utilizing YouTube and a couple books. One of the books a good friend gave to me after she saw my plea, filled with frustration, in a Facebook post. Thanks Kim! It really helped a lot.

My first project was a scarf for my handsome, hubby. Although, he never wears it and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because it hangs down to his knees. I got a little carried away and apparently was having to much fun. I should have stopped sooner. It also could be because the yarn is a multi-color in orange, gold and taupe. Not my fault, I told him to pick out the yarn he liked while we were at the craft store and that's what he chose.

Then there was a scarf and matching hat for my oldest. She did wear them last year. I haven't seen her pull them out this year. I even crocheted a little flower that I attached to the hat. I love crocheted flowers and I'd like to do more of them. I thought about adding some to this afghan but it needs to be gender neutral so I opted out. My third project is the feature of today's blog. Doing a piece this large really helped me get my stitches uniform. So there is a method to my madness.

My skill level is now intermediate and I'm ready to move onto project #4. I will be using yarn made from bamboo. Doesn't that sound cool? It's so soft and the colors are sublime. While it will be much smaller in scale it will be done with just as much love.

Handmade gifts are wonderful to receive and even more fun to give. I really hope the benefactors of this blanket get lots of use out of it. I purposely made it ginormous so it could be used on a bed or while curling up on a sofa to watch a movie.

I will be wrapping it up and mailing it off in the coming week to some well deserving loved ones.

The finished afghan measures 68 inches x 68 inches. I didn't plan for a square but it's what it ended up being and I think that's pretty great!

Here's a tip for someone just starting out with the art of crocheting. Pick up one of these Pocket Guides. I wish I had in the beginning. I would have caught on to all the crochet speak in the YouTube videos much quicker and my frustrations could have been quelled from the start.

Crocheting is easier to pick up than knitting. My sister-in-law tried to show me the basic knitting stitch while visiting over Thanksgiving. Thanks Melissa! I haven't tried since then but I do plan to test the waters soon.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Now I'm off to prepare dinner.

Jenny K.

January 20, 2011

expensive cheese week and other ramblings

You know the days you have when nothing seems to go right? or at least that's how you perceive it! I so badly want all my hard work and efforts to culminate into something bigger. I get tired of the tedious, mundane tasks that surround me on a daily basis and I'd like to be able to focus on the things that I can complete with finesse and check off my list. Sadly dishes, laundry, bathrooms, windows and the like can never be crossed off my list. Which is most likely why I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I've got a half-dozen almost finished projects of which I'd like to blog about but until they're complete I must wait.

This post is titled "Expensive Cheese Week" because I tried a new recipe that required 3 different types of cheese. It was good but definitely not good enough to take the time, effort and money to make again. It will be filed under "I tried this but probably won't take the time to make it again".

I had some chorizo sausage that I needed to use up and when I saw the Bobby Flay Throwdown last week I was inspired to step out on a limb. The limb of "maybe the kids will eat this". Like I said it's okay but it's a pricey, time consuming dish that didn't give me the "oh my goodness I want some more of that" feeling.

However, this recipe is worth making again and it is why I had leftover chorizo in the first place.

For those of you that do not know, chorizo is a spicy Spanish pork sausage. Best in my opinion when mixed with another meat like flank steak.

I also have some gruyere that I will use on this amazing dish tomorrow night. I know it's amazing because my friend made it for "Hot Momma's Night Out" this past Friday and it's definitely worth the expensive cheese.

Tonight will be a simple meal of fish, baked potato, salad and raspberry jello. The jello is per the request of my three year old.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Jenny K.

January 19, 2011

free valentine printables


It's a Wonderful Wednesday and I wanted to share some free Valentine's Day printables.

Click on the word "printables" above the graphic and it will take you to a page where you will be able to print out your own set of Valentine Postcards. Once printed go ahead and follow the dotted line to cut them out. I recommend using a nice heavy card stock to get the best results. Go ahead and tuck these in your childrens school lunch or your husbands briefcase either on Valentine's Day or days even weeks before.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Jenny K.

January 17, 2011

what needs to be done

So it's January 17, 2011... no I did not make any big resolutions to lose poundage although I need too. I'm starting to notice my backside broadening and my middle section thickening. YUK!

I blame all the holiday treats and cold weather. I would typically take my kids outside everyday to play but it's been to cold and when it's cold and there's no snow heading outdoors loses it's luster for me.

I made the decision to go buy a new pair of running shoes and once again challenge my body.


Well, I can't afford to buy a horse and board it at a local farm. Riding would be my first choice of exercise if I could pick anything.

I don't like counting calories and fat grams.

I enjoy baking and I do like to indulge in some of what I make.

I've got several friends and neighbors that run and they seem to really enjoy the adrenaline rush and the health benefits.

I need to do something that really makes me sweat and at the same time relieves tension and stress.

I've got a class reunion this coming summer. No one wants to attend a class reunion on the chubby side. Am I right?

The positives:
Really inexpensive way to get into shape and get my heart pumping.

The residence center has treadmills that I can use and considering it's so cold outside that will be where I do most of my running until the weather warms up.

I'd like to enjoy my food rather than stressing about every bite.

The negatives:
Running is hard on the joints.

Well there you have it. The positives outweigh the negatives.

Now to figure out where the energy to do this will come from and how to fit this into my weekly schedule.

Do any of you have a great exercise routine that you follow?

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Jenny K.

January 16, 2011

handmade gifts

I put these little goody boxes together as gifts for some of our neighbors on Christmas Eve. I spent the majority of my day baking and dipping food items in chocolate. This was one of three deliveries this past holiday season. I really do enjoy giving to others so naturally when a friend of mine posted the following on Facebook I knew I had to take part in the challenge.

[Pay it forward 2011. I promise to send (or deliver) something handmade to the 1st 5 people who leave a comment. They must in turn post this and send something they made to the 1st 5 people who comment on their status. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011. You don't get to specify what I send you.]

I immediately had five wonderful ladies that responded. Now to try and figure out what to make these women. I asked them to tell me what their favorite colors are and send me their addresses. I don't want these handmade gifts to be something ordinary. I want it to be something special, clever, thoughtfully considered and most of all something they would want and maybe even need. That's a lot of pressure isn't it? They in turn had to re-post this on Facebook and are also making handmade gifts for others. What a great way to start out the new year! Don't you think?

Any ideas from my fellow bloggers out there? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

January 15, 2011

Treasure Hunt Party & Puzzle Keepsake Part 2

1. I'll start with the treasure hunt birthday party invitation. I recommend this for ages 8 -13.

Here are my thoughts on creating an invitation to wet the appetites of the potential party goers.

Get a visual, in your minds eye, of the aerial view of your neighborhood or place where you reside. Pick out the most recognizable landmarks and take digital photo's of each one. Draw out your map, add street names, and photo's along with all pertinent party information such as date, time, rsvp and contact information. My husband and I got clever and started the invite out with a little riddle.

Try your best to make it look like a real treasure map. If you don't have access to some great stock photography for backgrounds try printing it out on craft paper. When you've got the prints done go ahead and crumple them up and maybe even burn the edges to give it a really worn look.

2. You must create your puzzle next. Because this was a birthday party I saw it fitting to create two photo puzzles of the birthday girl. One for each team. This puzzle has 9 pieces and you will have to have eight clues. Give each team their first clue and puzzle piece to start the treasure hunt.

Like I said in the previous post you can take the puzzle line art and drop it right over the photo. Those will be your cut lines when you get it back from the printer.

Download the free puzzle line art here.

3. Each team will need a map of the community. This map is pretty close to identical to the invitation.

4. Now consider each of the riddles that will be packaged with the puzzle pieces. These riddles will need to be concise and make the kids wheels turn. I featured four of our clues below. My handsome hubby is really a great writer and he came up with the majority of these. He can write poetry, songs and riddles. I love that about him. It's really a great strength and I hope he pursues it further one day.

Now make sure to package the puzzle piece in a cellophane bag with the clue attached using ribbon. Then you get to hide them around your community.

The first team to return to home base and assemble their puzzle wins. Here's where the prizes come in handy. I didn't want anyone to feel left out and ended up giving both teams the same thing. I noticed the disappointment on the winning teams face. If I did this a second time I would definitely reward the winning team with the prize and then have little goody bags ready to hand out to everyone.

5. After all the fun and games celebrate with a cook out, cake and ice cream!

6. Finally send a thank you to all of your fabulous guests!

Now, to Create a Keepsake Using the Puzzle:
I wish I had photo's of all the steps but it's fairly simple so hopefully my written instructions will suffice.

Save the puzzle pieces. Find a 1/2 inch thick piece of cardboard. I used some packing material from a desk we had purchased. You'll need to use a sharp box cutter for cardboard this thick. If you don't already have some Mod Podge pick up a bottle. Follow the instructions on the bottle and let the artwork dry for the recommended time.

Shop for some 1/2 inch thick ribbon, color of your choice.  I used an inexpensive, double-sided, satin ribbon and then layered black, rick-rack over that. Use a hot glue gun to get the ribbon to stick to the cardboard. Make sure the ribbon is long enough so it drapes nicely when tied.

To hang the finished product I picked up a couple pieces of cabinet hardware at my local home improvement store and bought a package of hanger bolts. Hanger bolts allowed me to attach the cabinet hardware directly to the drywall. This is what they look like.
Put your own twist on this fun party idea and then embellish your puzzles however you like.

I linked this party idea up here.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections! 

Jenny K.

January 14, 2011

handcrafted puzzle & a birthday party idea

This fun and simple project will leave you with some great artwork for your child's bedroom. This entire concept started with a birthday party, treasure hunt. I'll give you a small bit of information today and complete the tutelage tomorrow.

First up... I took some fun photo's of my birthday girl with her pets, did a little Photoshop work and then drew out a puzzle template in Illustrator. (I will share the free template tomorrow.) I overlaid the puzzle onto the photo using Photoshop and then sent them off for printing. You need to use a source that can do large scale prints. When the prints were complete I glued them onto a heavy, heavy card stock with spray adhesive, once dried I cut the puzzle apart using a very sharp xacto knife.

Before they became artwork they were treasure hunt, game pieces. The individual puzzle pieces were packaged in color coded, cellophane bags and had a clue attached. The bags were hidden all over our neighborhood. I divided the party guests into two teams. Each were responsible for finding their own puzzle pieces as quickly as possible and then returning to home base to assemble the puzzle. The first team to return and put their puzzle together were the winners.

I'll give you more details on creating the handcrafted wall art as well as birthday party pointers tomorrow. Until then here are a couple more photo's of the finished wall hangings.

These are part of the decor in the burlap and barn board room. They make great keepsakes for my daughter and bring back fond memories of when she was only eight years old.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.
Jenny K.

January 12, 2011

planning and considering for spring 2011 planting

My grandmother was always told by others that she had a green thumb. Her plants always looked so beautiful, lush and healthy. Well, she divulged her secret. She said, "Talk to your plants."

Are you laughing? There just might be some truth to my grandmother's statement. There are actually scientific studies taking place on how sound changes the molecular structure of water. Which in turn could possibly change the molecular structure of your food. What do you think about that?

Sing a sweet melody to your plants this year.

On that note... You're probably thinking it's much to soon to even think about a garden. Maybe so, but every year I try to do a better job at whatever I undertake than I did the previous year. A better garden will require some careful planning. Also, each year I take the successes and the failures from gardening years before and build upon that. I know which tomatoes have high yields, which flavors I prefer, which are better for salsa and which ones we love for tomato sandwiches, fried green tomatoes or roasted tomatoes. Are you getting hungry?

I really love heirloom plants. An heirloom plant, heirloom variety, or heirloom vegetable is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Heirlooms are gaining popularity due to more and more interest in the backyard garden.

I've or I should say WE have (my hubby is a very integral part of this whole gardening thing) planted Brandy Pink, Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripey, Chocolate Cherry, Roma,Yellow Pear and a few more.

The Brandy Pink has a very high yield and keeps producing well into the fall here in Virginia. I honestly thought the tomatoes would never stop coming. Because they're so plentiful they are a fantastic tomato for salsa, roasting tomatoes and fried green tomatoes.

Purple Cherokee is a beautiful dark, dense fruit. Perfect for tomato sandwiches. The one drawback to this tomato is that the skin does crack as it ripens on the vine.

Mr. Stripey is a huge yellow tomato, sometimes reaching upwards of 2 pounds. It has orange striping that appears once it's ready to pick. This is another tomato that makes a wonderful sandwich. I also like adding it to a fresh, chunky salsa for a pop of color.

Chocolate Cherry has a very high yield. Small dark fruit, great for salads, bruschetta or for snacking.

There are so many tomato varieties out there and I'd love to try them all but we've got very limited space where we currently live and the HOA restricts a lot of what we are able to do. However, this year our development is in the planning stages of possibly adding a community garden. As I understand we have the opportunity to do a buy-in. For the price we would get our own small plot. This would definitely be value added space for us and something I'm frankly really looking forward to. I will be able to expand my vegetable rows. Not many of you get excited about that but for my fellow gardening lovers you know what I'm talking about.

I'm still a country girl at heart. I grew up stacking hay bales and wood, cleaning out a barn and a chicken coop, picking apples and wild raspberries, riding horses and playing in the woods. So I guess that's why there is just something so therapeutic about getting my hands dirty, tending to and training plants and then harvesting the fruit. You should try it you just might share my affection. 

Where to buy your plants and seeds:
The best place to do so is from a local farm, grower or nursery. They already know what does well in your region and climate. If you're new to gardening a local farm can help take some of the confusion out of the mix for you.

If you're feeling a little fiesty and want to take on the gardening world one plant variety at a time with little to no advice here are a couple catalogs that may come in handy.

I've ordered grape vines from this company for my mom for the last couple of years. Check out their site here. They have a couple really great little greenhouses available for small spaces. I just may be ordering one of those this year so I can start some of my own heirloom tomato seeds rather than buying starter plants.

Another site to check out is the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at www.rareseeds.com.

They've got a wonderful collection of heirloom tomato seeds and I want to try 3 or 4 new species this coming growing season.

Happy Planning!

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Jenny K.

January 11, 2011

some of my favorite things

I decided that I would share some of my current favorite things with you today.

First up...
This Chobani® Greek Yogurt is absolutely hands down the BEST yogurt I've eaten. It's thick, rich and creamy. I've tried other brands of greek yogurt and let me just say you can't go wrong with this brand. The raspberry happens to be my favorite flavor. Read more at the Chobani site.

I really enjoy this Tazo® Chai Tea. This spicy blend is my favorite alternative to a cup of hot cocoa in the cold weather months. Tazo® also has a really cool website.

I've got one of these KitchenAid® workhorses. I use it several times a week. Mine happens to be silver but isn't this copper version just beautiful? If you don't have one in your kitchen you must put it on your list. You can buy one here.

Moving on from the kitchen to the closet...
These riding boots by Steven Madden are so sharp. I don't own them but I would like to. Find them here.

Then there are these whimsical, silver stamped necklaces. Both of which I'd like to own. They are original designs by Lisa Leonard. They would be a great Valentine gift, don't you think? I keep hinting to my hubby but no luck yet. If you visit Lisa Leonard's website and enter your email address she'll send you a 15% off coupon.

Maybe I'll share some more of my favorites at a later date.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Jenny K.

January 10, 2011

I've got slipcovers on my mind


Well I'm glad you asked. The arm of the love seat in my family room has a tear in it that seems to be getting larger and larger. When I asked how the love seat got torn no one seems to have an answer.


Now some would say, "Just go buy a new sofa." I like that idea as well, however, I have small children and if I know them there will be more tears in the future or at the very least stains. So to spend $3,000 - $5,000 on new furniture while our kids are still young just does not seem like a wise way to spend money. Especially since there are other rooms that need furnishing and feathering.

I've done some online searching for slipcovers and haven't come across much that would look great in my family room. So I decided to pick up a how-to book. "Quick & Easy Slipcovers" is the one I purchased. If you're interested you can check it out here. Something tells me there's nothing quick and easy about this endeavor. For starters the book states that you need to make a pattern out of muslin first and sew that up to make sure you have a good fit. Then take it apart and use it as a pattern for the real fabric. Does anyone out there in blog land think that sounds quick?

Now I don't know when I'll get to this project. It's one in a very long list of to-do's. But it is necessary and the sooner the better or I may not have any fabric covering that arm. The kids seem to enjoy picking at it just like they enjoy picking at little imperfections on my painted walls.

Rest assured I will post a finished slipcover photo when I complete the project. Pray that it doesn't bring me to much frustration and tears.

Oh... did I mention the love seat has a matching full size sofa that will need to be covered as well? Two large pieces of furniture. Yikes!

On a more positive note, I'm almost finished with the project featured in the top left quadrant of the photo below. I posted this pic on my blog in fall 2010 and had hoped to finish it by November but that did not happen. It is ginormous, it is a gift for someone/someone's I love dearly and I really can't wait to package it beautifully and send it off. Photo's of the finished project to come.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Jenny K.

January 7, 2011

building a beautiful, functional home office

My husband bought the beautiful desk pictured above as a Christmas gift for me this past year. I was in need of a work surface in my office that I could use for multiple tasks. One of which is setting up my sewing machine on occasion rather than having to use the kitchen table. This lovely piece of furniture came from Ballard Designs. Well of course now I need a chair that is worthy to sit next to this desk.

I started an online search. Of course the only thing I was able to find at the time that came close to what I liked was a custom design starting at $2200.00! Yikes... I don't know about you but $2200.00 just is not in the budget for an office chair. To be honest there is not a budget for an office chair right now. But a girl can dream.

At the turn of the new year Ballard Designs sent me a thank you note along with a 15% discount code and the newest catalog. My husband calls coupons and discount codes "a trick". I call them "a little boost". Wouldn't you know this lovely white washed chair with camel colored leather was right before my eyes. YUMMY! Doesn't it make you think of a mocha cupcake topped with homemade, whipped cream frosting and a drizzle of salted caramel?

I guess I have a craving for something sweet.

My office walls are already painted Pottery Glaze Blue by Valspar® and there is a hammered silver lamp sitting on a chocolate colored side table. Brown, silk draperies and an amazing turquoise and brown area rug adorn the space.

My handsome, handy man told me he would construct built-in bookcases with a white wash finish around the archway that leads into our family room. That's the reason for a white desk. I've been envisioning white built-ins for a long time now. We'll also look into having an electrician install ceiling lighting. I want to put in a glamorous chandelier. The office was originally supposed to be the formal living room but I needed an office and who uses formal living rooms anymore?

This post makes me feel a bit like Candice Olson from "Divine Design". She pulls out all of her swatch books and flooring samples, breezes through them and voila she's got an amazing space designed and fit for royalty. Oh the fun she must have with those nice, design budgets and contractors at her beck-and-call. Again... a girl can dream!

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

January 6, 2011

my go-to-meal

Baked Tilapia on a Bed of Wilted Spinach with a side of Jasmine Rice

This is my go to meal, well after my husband created it. He's the cook in the house. He'll play with different seasoning combos and jot down little notes that I find in the spice cabinet. One of those notes has a little poem that he was writing for me on the back. He never finished it. I keep asking him when he's going to finish. He's never given me an answer. Awe... It just dawned on me... maybe he was writing the poem about the fish. I sure hope not!

Well back to the fish... when I don't want a big mess in the kitchen and I don't have a lot of time for prep work and it needs to be a healthy meal this is my go to. I throw the fish right in the oven in the frozen state. It turns out perfect after 50-60 minutes of baking at 350°.

I buy frozen Tilapia from Sam's Club. They're individually wrapped and that makes it so nice for portioning meals. This Durkee Grill Creations Citrus Grill Seasoning is wonderful for whitefish it to was purchased at Sam's and I need some more as you can see.

1. Roll out a large sheet of foil. It needs to be large enough to meet in the middle and seal tightly.

2. Drizzle olive oil on the foil, sprinkle some Citrus Grill seasoning onto that and then evenly space the frozen fish. However many pieces you need to feed your family. Then rub each piece of fish with more olive oil, sprinkle on more Citrus Grill seasoning and then put a pat of butter on each piece.

3. Seal up the foil packet really well. Bake at 350° for about 50 minutes.

4. When the fish has 25 minutes left go ahead and start your rice. Any type of rice you like. My favorite happens to be Jasmine. Now this is my husbands own recipe for seasoning rice. It is so yummy and the kids just gobble it up. Since he came up with this creation it is the only way I season rice. Prepare the rice as the package directs but make sure to drop a chicken bullion cube into the water while it's coming to a boil.

When the rice has finished it's cooking process add (seasoning portions for 1 cup of rice):
4 tbsp. of butter
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chives

5. When the fish has 10 minutes left get out a large saute pan and set heat on low to medium low, drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom. Dump in a bag of baby spinach or two depending on how many you're feeding. Sprinkle a little more of the citrus grill seasoning on the leaves. Let them warm for about 5 minutes, constantly turning the leaves with a pair of tongs.

Note: A bag of spinach once wilted doesn't look like much. That's why I say you may need two bags. I'm feeding a tween, a couple little ones and two adults. One bag was plenty for us.

Now plate this meal up and watch your kids clean their plates.

Do you have a healthy go-to-meal to share?

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

January 5, 2011

trendy blog award

This award was passed to me from a wonderful friend of mine. She's a fantastic writer, an amazing mother, a home cook that puts me to shame and a very creative and crafty gal! She's weathered quite a bit in the past couple of years and has still managed to stay so positive and uplifting. Follow her blog you won't be disappointed. Thanks Stephanie, it's an honor to be called friend by you!


Now the name of the game is to list 10 blogs that I follow and tell why I love them. If they so choose they can pass the trendy blog award on down the line. Grab the blog button here.

Some new blogs that I've really been enjoying are:

Kendi Everyday: Beautiful, practical, fashion trends presented so nicely. Follow her blog here. I especially enjoyed this New Year's post.

Geninne's Art Blog: This woman does what she loves everyday from an amazing at home studio in Mexico. I adore all of her artwork. Check out her blog here.

Give Some Happy: What a wonderful idea. Spread happiness wherever you are. I've been asked to do a guest blog post sometime in the beginning of the new year. What a nice gesture on Brandi's part. Thanks Brandi! Follow Give Some Happy here.

House of Turquoise: I just love turquoise and all the shades that surround this lovely hue. My office is a testament to my adoration. This site showcases home design using my favorite color.

Some tried and true blog favorites:

Second Sister: Visit her blog and you'll see why.

Happy Little Studio: Just the best scrapbooking gal I know. Amazing ability to create lavish layouts and chronicle her families life while doing it. She's a beautiful woman inside and out and she never ceases to amaze me with her creativity and love for what she does! I'm blessed to know her and call her friend! Follow her blog here.

Gussy Sews: Just love her adorable personality and zest for her sewing business. Check her out here.

Some local friends with great blogs:

Places Called Home: My good friend Leah is a Realtor and she blogs about all things local as well as tips to enhance your homes value and spruce things up in general. Check her out here. If you need a great realtor she's the gal to call!

Preppy Carpetbagger: Here's a woman with a great sense of style, an appreciation for restoring an historical home and a personality suitable for hosting a talk show if she would so choose. Check her out here.

Greenhearts Farm: Local farm with community at heart. She's an amazing cook and recipe creator. When I first met her she gave me a jar of her plum preserves. They were wonderful. She sells her items at local farmers markets and does do some deliveries from what I can tell. Check her out here.

Whew... well that's a wrap. I know you will enjoy all of these blogs. I do.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

January 4, 2011

graphic design

Something I enjoy doing, what I was educated to do, and thankfully I'm able to do from the comfort of my home office. Sometimes it's not the easiest thing with small children but considering all things I manage pretty well.

I haven't posted anything to my blog in a while because I've been busy working on client projects and they do take priority over my homespun, crafty ventures and baking fun.

Here is a logo that I just finished up designing. It is for a cleaning company that will be pursuing more corporate accounts and they wanted to make sure their marketing pieces reflected that corporate side. They are an absolutely fantastic group of people with great work ethic and honesty to boot.

I assisted Watkins not only in the design of their new logo but also with the "Just Add" and the tag line. I really enjoy working with words and finding the right combination to suit my clients needs.

Watkins Cleaning has been a true joy to design for. You will see this logo on their vehicles and uniforms in the New Year. Their website will be coming soon. I'm really excited about that.

The following artwork is only a portion of a print piece that will be handed out to legislators next week. It highlights the number of founded child abuse cases in our area making the case for much needed funding for Healthy Families Rappahannock Area. I've been working with HFRA for many years now and it is always a pleasure to do design work for this organization.

Up next... a logo for a local photographer. She has a great photo journalistic style and a passion for capturing beauty from behind her lens. Can't wait to make her smile with the final logo options.

I'm also working on a couple of CD projects for a phenomenal worship leader and musician.

And there's more! Maybe I'll share that at another time.

If you find yourself in need of a logo or print material or even a small website don't hesitate to contact me. I'll be more than happy to put an estimate together for you.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.
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