June 26, 2011

How Many Squash Does One Family Need?

We have it in abundance! Yellow Squash that is and a few zucchini. This is one of many pickings to date. We bought a chest freezer for the sole purpose of storing veggies & fruits. Someone told me to slice the squash and put it into freezer bags. I sure hope it works and it doesn't ruin them.

Squash bugs have infested our zucchini so the handsome hubby pulled them out of the raised bed, cleaned up that area and we're going to put in some bean seeds. We've already got beans planted in one section and had a nice, big helping of them last night with dinner but if you've ever planted beans you know you need quite a few to harvest enough at one time for a meal.

Next year I want to plant one yellow squash and one zucchini then a variety of other squash and/or melons. I'll chalk this up as a learning experience. No one family needs hundreds of yellow squash.

I've mentioned in prior posts that we planted
"Lemon Yellow Heirloom Cucumbers".
We've harvested seven of them thus far and they are tasty!
Aren't they the cutest little cucumbers you ever did see? They're not as big as a traditional cucumber but their mild flavor and lemon yellow peel make up for that. I've read that you can pickle these. If I am able to harvest a bunch at once I just may give it a whirl.

I will definitely plant these again next year.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

June 21, 2011

Summer Dressing

Sewing Project Challenge

I've challenged myself to make eight different items for eight different children and they must all coordinate. I've got a tight deadline and I'm not sure I'll be able to meet my own deadline. I've put it out into blog land so follow along to see what I come up with.

This is going to be a mini collection of sorts and without further ado I present to you
Item No. 1
A toddler dress made with a light, chambray denim
and an airy, gray and white floral, linen print.

Are you challenging yourself this summer? Are you going to learn something new? Are you building a business, launching a blog or setting out to read an entire library of novels? Whatever your goals I sure hope you attain them and enjoy your summer.

Linked up here & at TT&J.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

p.s. I also plan to amp up my blog and my new Etsy shop and demo some of my handmade fare at the local farmer's market. Oh and throw in a couple family vacations. My list is definitely big. Can I do it all along with everything else I do? Probably not but I'm sure going to try.

June 14, 2011

Beach Cruisers & Handmade Basket Liners

If my family lived near Cape Cod I would move there in a heartbeat. We visited for a short time the early part of last summer for a beautiful wedding. I fell in love with the cottage style homes and landscaping with an abundance of hydrangeas growing in every yard. The foliage and trees reminded me of the place I grew up but still right on the ocean where you get the waves and the breeze. In my mind the Cape set a tone for a simpler way of life, a slower pace if you will. Maybe it's because I equate the beach with vacation and not having to rush, rush, rush. To top it off I've been swooning over the homes that Erin from House of Turquoise has been featuring and they all have the color scheme and decor I've been licking my lips over.

I said all of that to introduce you to one of my latest projects and I sure hope it makes you smile. My husband and I recently acquired a couple of beach cruisers. L-O-V-E them!!! They're a lot of fun to ride around our little development. I ride mine down to the garden and I wanted a basket so I could carry my fresh pickings back with me. Now I think I just might need a crate for the back of the bike. I'm getting so many squash and zucchini and this is just the beginning of harvest season. Anyways, back to the subject at hand. I picked up this great basket at Tarjay but it wasn't complete. I had to put my own stamp on this lovely little find. I developed my own pattern, picked out the fabrics I wanted to use from my existing stash and then embellished it with pennants strung along a thin red ribbon. There's even a strip of pockets along the inside of the liner for my cellphone and keys. The fabric patterns and colors are so fun and when I'm riding my bike I feel much younger than I am and it conjures up fond childhood memories. You should try it.

So I've been agonizing over whether or not to start up an Etsy Shop and start selling these lovely little liners. Then in true form I over think E-V-E-R-Y detail because that's how I am. What if I invest the time in this start-up and nothing comes of the venture? Is there a big enough market for my designs? What if no one likes them? How will I handle fabric choices? Will I even have the time to make these for others? Is this really what I am supposed to do? Is it the right decision? Should I focus purely on graphic design? Oh my word it's like a broken record that plays in my head and haunts me with every idea I have and instead of launching forward, I freeze. Then frustration comes. Frustration with myself for not proceeding forward and missing a possible opportunity.

"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." This scripture applies to following Christ and being on the fence, not following wholeheartedly. It can also apply to every decision you have in life. If there is constant indecision it leaves you in a state of paralysis. Is there anything in your life that you haven't moved on because of fear or indecision?

What's stopping me? I've got a wonderfully supportive, handsome, husband. I had to throw the handsome part in there. After all, it's true! There won't be huge start up fees with an Etsy Shop.

I'm pretty sure you will be seeing an online store with my name on it in the very near future. So if you want a basket liner for your very own beach cruiser let me know.

Good news... as of this morning (06-15) I opened my very own Etsy Shop. I've only got one item listed and it's the basket liner but if you love her as much as I do maybe you'll want one too!

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Linked up at TT&J.

Jenny K.

p.s. While I typed up this post my wee one covered herself in Desitin. I cleaned her up. Then she went on to emptying the end table packed full of blankets all over the living room. If that wasn't enough she sat in the kitchen sink and emptied dish soap all over herself

I need a vacation. What are the chances that I would get whisked away to Cape Cod for a long weekend without children?

June 10, 2011

Fiesta Stuffed Zucchini Boats

If you've been reading my blog as of late you know that I've got a raised bed garden as part of the community garden in our development. You also know that I've got zucchini, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers and more planted. The zucchini and squash are quick to produce a wielding amount of fruit and so I've been cooking and baking with them. We've done grilled squash and zucchini, zucchini bread and the latest is a creation of my own using what I had on hand. After all isn't that the beauty of a summer garden? Prepping healthy, simple, fresh meals using what you've got on hand. I've also got a secret ingredient. Well, it won't be much of a secret after I post this to the internet.

What recipes have you created using freshly picked produce and what you've got on hand in your pantry?

6, 6-8" zucchini cut lengthwise and hollowed out so they look like little boats
1 medium size onion finely chopped
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c. prepared rice (I like jasmine rice)
1 tbsp.  Bangarang Seasoning Blend from Greenhearts Farm
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
2 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 c. cheddar cheese
1/4 c. Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°

2. Prep your zucchini boats and line them up in a large baking dish

3. Saute onion in olive oil in large pan for about 5 minutes

4. Add diced tomatoes and allow to cook down for an additional 5 minutes

5. Add in the rice, then the black beans and the Bangarang Seasoning and simmer for a couple minutes

6. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a bit then mix in cilantro and lime juice

7. Fill zucchini boats with mixture, top with cheddar cheese followed by a sprinkle of bread crumbs

8. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes

Now go visit my friends Greenhearts Farm website and buy some Bangarang seasoning. YUMMY!

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

June 8, 2011

The Luck of The Irish

I'm sharing a logo design that I just finished up for a good friend of mine. She's Irish in case you hadn't guessed. Stephanie is superbly funny and dazzling in every way. Making jokes about her Irish heritage and a good bottle of wine all the time. A fantastic photographer with an amazing eye, she will make you and your family feel comfortable and at ease. Those of you with rambunctious children know how important it is to have a photographer with great patience and so does Stephanie. She's got five children of her own and knows how to capture the moment.

In the beginning I asked my photographer friend to send me a couple logo's that she was particularly fond of for any reason at all. She sent things that definitely had a feminine edge to them and they were also robin egg blue and chocolate brown.

When I sat down to create I was thinking about chocolate, so I ate some. Then the kids saw me eating the chocolate and they ate some. It was good and creamy, enough said.

Back to the subject at hand - the logo - and the things that set Stephanie apart. There's a lot, but the one that resonated with me was her Irish heritage, and her witty humor. That thought led to the "Luck 'o The Irish" saying, which then led me to think about items that are deemed lucky. The lightbulb went on - the four leaf clover and if rendered just right could appear as the aperture in the lens of a camera. Hence the four leaf clover/aperture icon. Green would have been much to expected and I don't think she's particularly fond of the shade. The font choice is fanciful and friendly just like her. Check out Stephanie McFarland Photography and set up a session. You will not be disappointed. Then treat yourself to some chocolate. My guess is you'll want some now. Then bring Stephanie some chocolate the day of your photo session. She's going to want some too.

I had a lot of fun working on this logo and she was so appreciative of my efforts. Next up, I will be designing her business card.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

June 6, 2011

Why Not?

Make a Garden Flag out of your leftover fabric.
This was quite simple to make. I used the leftover fabric from my pillow cover project. I backed the flag with the floral pattern and the front is the solid quilted fabric. I then used some scraps to cut out the letter "K" and the flowers. I also had some leftover apple green ric-rac that looks like a small wave of grass running along the bottom. Do you have any leftover fabric in your stash that could be put to use making a custom garden flag? I bet you do.

I added the flag to the landscape right between two hydrangea bushes to the right of the porch. They're beginning to bloom and the colors go so well with the flag and the pillow covers. I love hydrangeas. I have three of the limelight variety on the side of the house. I would like to add a couple of the pink blush hydrangeas somewhere in the yard but I'm running out of space. I can't ever bring myself to cut the blooms and bring them indoors. They add so much beauty to the yard.

Here are a couple photo's of the pillows in use. I love having a bistro set on the porch. It's shaded in the morning so it's a nice spot for a simple breakfast and a cup of coffee.

The narrow pillows are being used on my rocking chairs.
I'd love to find two small indoor/outdoor area rugs in a neutral shade to use underneath the rockers and the bistro set. I think it would give the space a more polished appearance.

Four window boxes reside on the ground level. Two rest on the porch rails and two are mounted to the outside windows. If I had a little more foresight when I purchased these boxes. I would have purchased 5 more for the upper-floor windows. That would be really pricey but would also make a huge impact.

These are the petunia's and the coleus-versa that I grew. I added Calibrochoa (sp?) and Verbena to the mix. Next year I'm definitely looking for these seeds to start in my little green house. I love how beautiful they are combined with the petunia's and coleus.

The corsican mint looks fantastic spilling over the edge of this once painted terra cotta pot. I actually prefer the worn paint look so I'm going to keep it this way.

I've got a few of these orange lilies planted to the left of the porch and they give a great pop of color while in bloom. They also multiply each year with a few additional stalks. Definitely worth adding to the landscape.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

Linking up here on this beautiful Monday.

June 3, 2011

Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Ground Cherries & More

Here's a quick little garden update before I head out the door to register my son for preschool in the fall, pick up my daughter's glasses, exchange some flowers that died on me, buy some finishing wax, purchase some pinking shears and a 10" tube pan, pick up a prescription and go to a doctor appointment. (there's probably more that I'm forgetting) What does your Friday look like?

So this is what a ground cherry looks like -  a little paper lantern. Isn't it adorable? I guess you know they're ready to pick when the husk turns brown and papery. Can't wait!

Even though my eggplant is being chewed alive by bugs it's still beginning to flower. Yummy. I wonder if those little black spikes on the stock around the blossom protect the fruit? - or at the very least send out a warning notice.

Yellow Goldbar Squash soon to be harvested.

Zucchini soon to be harvested. I think we're going to have squash and zucchini coming out of our ears.

The tomatoes are flowering but no fruit yet. They are heirlooms and they typically take longer.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

June 1, 2011

Summer Is Here

...and it has me dreaming of a slower pace. I'm missing my family, my roots, my heritage. Summer has me longing for days by the lake and nights by a campfire listening to the wolves howl in the distance.  Not many people would put wolves and dreaming of summer in the same sentence but I grew up in the U.P. of Michigan and wolves howling in the back field, not far from the campfire is a reality. With summers arrival I'm also dreaming of my childhood and riding horses through acres and acres of woods with no one in sight for miles. What memories does summer evoke for you?

I won't tell you how old I am. A lady never tells her age. Right? Right! You'd think that by my age I would have "My Style" nailed down. Having this blog is really showing me who I am through patterns in my photography and writing. Looking at my posts, the things I enjoy, the things I do well and the women I'm connecting with. Now there's this thing called Pinterest and it is helping me tweak it all. It's fabulous! It's an invite only site. I sent all 5 of my invites out to creative friends of mine. I sure hope they take advantage.

There are so many gorgeous, inspirational ideas and my mind is in a state of overload. Just look at this gorgeous way to display sweet treats for a celebration.
Now I just need to acquire an antique truck. Well, I can at least add it to my Pinterest account.
Photo via Pinterest but originally a Heather Bullard image.

How about this ethereal, arbor entryway to get you into the swing of summer entertaining.
Photo via Pinterest 

Okay so once you've set the mood what will you serve? I'll tell you what you can serve it in, mason jars. Check out these ideas.

Cake Jars photo and the how-to found here.

Look at this great idea for sipping lemonade.

or a simple, yet beautiful way to display your summer cuttings. I adore the limes in the bottom of the jars.

I've got my own "Summer Project" that I'll be sharing with all of you very soon. It's complete I just need to take some photo's so stay tuned.

I hope you enjoy all of these Pinterest finds as much as I have.
Happy Summer to you!!!

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!
Jenny K.
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