Monday, 31 March 2014

You can make it beautiful - Birthday in a Card

So your friend lives in a different city and you're kind of broke but still want to send her something for her birthday to show you miss her and you care? That's the situation I found myself in when my BFF turned 31. What was I going to do?

Well a birthday in a card of course! I made this fun image to put on the front of her card using a fun chalkboard I had. I wanted some kind of pop up inside but alas, it just wasn't to be. 

I filled a small baggy with glitter and sparkles and sequins for confetti and added in these awesome candles I got from Target. 

I bought my friend a few small things for her birthday - a face mask, a chocolate bar and some tea. Everything I think that makes a birthday awesome! Think about what your friend would enjoy on their birthday that is both flat so that it can fit in an envelope and fun!

And really that's it! Super simple but enjoyable. What would you put in a birthday in a card?

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Quick Cup of Tea by Holly

What a week! Anyone else so great for the weekend to finally be here? 

My seeds are sprouting! I didn't even notice at first and then when I did notice, well I may have squealed a bit. These sweet peas are going to be gorgeous!

The clouds have been lovely around here. I snapped this one on my break Wednesday. 

I am in love with my house plants. Seriously. And this watering can I got for Christmas. 

Spring and summer always makes me want to paint my nails and who am I to deny that? This pink went well with this fun tutu style skirt I wore. 

No post would be complete without a photo of my adorable cat Amy. Here sad is 'helping' Crystal and I make costumes for our next photo shoot. 

Here's to a relaxing and slow weekend

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

We Love Food - Some Cheese Tasting!

Since I adore cheese, I picked up some of the small "sample" cuts from the grocery store to try new flavors. Personally I love a slice with apple, or with reduced balsamic vinegar.

The extra reserve Gouda was good enough to make my knees melt. Crunchy bits, fantastic full flavor. A bit salty, and a beautiful golden color. 

The Swiss Gruyere cave aged Kaltbach was interesting and new to me. Apparently it's aged for 12 months in the sandstone caves of Kaltbach (hence the name). I found that it had a bit of a seasoned smell, like herbs, and a fruity after taste. Delicious!

Vacherin Fribourgeois comes from Fribourgeois of course, and apparently the cows only graze on Alpine grass and wild flowers. It had a nutty taste and a soft texture, but the rind smelled not so good. Don't eat that part.

The Parrano was delicious, sort of like a Gouda and hard Asiago or Parmasan all mixed together. It was a swiss, so of course there were holes. A very good, sweet and soft cheese. 

We Love Food - Chicken Salad for Summer Two Different Ways - DoubleRecipe

Tangy Dill & Cajun Chicken Salad - by Crystal

My idea of a perfect chicken salad is a bit tangy, a bit of lemon juice, and salty spicy cajun seasoning. I don't measure exactly, but I add ingredients to taste. 

  1. Chicken (legs cooked, cooled and cut)
  2. Cucumber
  3. Celery
  4. Dill pickles
  5. Red onion
  6. Yogurt
  7. Mayo
  8. Lemon juice
  9. Spices (I used lemon salt, paprika, cajun and pepper)

I spiced up the chicken legs, cooked 'em, cooled 'em and cut 'em up into pieces. (I prefer dark meat versus white) I used half yogurt, half mayo for a fresher taste and it works fantastic with the cucumber. Red onion is optional but I enjoy the taste. The rest of the ingredients I added to taste, seasoned and served it on bread and mixed greens. Lemonade is the best summer drink to pair with this salad! 

Midwestern Style Chicken Salad by Holly

My idea of a perfect chicken salad is one with a bit of kick, lots of vegetables and creamy dressing. 

1. Chicken (thighs, cooked and cooled)
2. Green onions 
3. Cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered)
4. Avocado
5. Corn
6. Black beans
7. Lettuce to taste 
8. Spices (salt, pepper and Cajun)
9. Dressing - I mixed a bit of mayo, spices and some vinegrette salad dressing with a little
almond milk to thin 

Cut the chicken and veg/fruit and mix it all up. Honestly it's so easy I don't know why I haven't made this earlier. It made a ton so I know what I'm eating this week! I bought wraps to eat this on but after I made it I quickly devoured it on some corn thins. 

How do you like your chicken salad?

Roots and Leaves - Sunflowers from Seed

At work we had a show and share where the children had to bring something about Spring and one of the little boys brought some seeds he'd planted with his mom. I loved this-so cute!

I bought some seeds last night and got out my gardening supplies. Planted them in a seedling container and placed them by my window and heater. Here's hoping they sprout soon!

Interesting facts about sunflowers:
-the Netherlands grew the tallest sunflower ever
-the scientific name for the act of the sunflower following the sun is heliotropism 
-one sunflower head has over 2000 seeds
-the sunflower originated in North America 

Sunflowers represent warmth, happiness and positivity. Who doesn't want some of that in their life?

Monday, 24 March 2014

You Can Make it Beautiful - DIY - Afterlight - The awesome photo app I am now addicted to

Found a new photo app that I am very much in love with. Afterlight - super powerful and also super easy to use. It includes all the standards such as brightness, contrast and saturation. It also includes some great options such as highlight/middletone/shadow color tones so you can get rid of unwanted yellow tones, or just make the photo more blue toned for a professional look. Afterlight even includes a temperature option that can quickly spruce up any photo. 

Afterlight also includes a huge amount of great filters to use! (Some options below)


Another cool part is the masks it allows you to make, with shapes and also letters. 
(My favorite letter below!)

The masks also include a set of neat wallpapers to use instead of plain white. At  this point you can also change the size of the mask as well, so it's a bit of a smaller C below.

Basically it's a great app, with so many options. Other things you can do are an easy vignette 
setting and grain. 

My favorite part of this app is the cool light leaks option, with more than a dozen cool light leaks you can apply to your photograph. That and the instant film options can really create a unique and beautiful photo in a bit of an artistic way.

The best part of the app is at the end, when you can save to camera roll, upload to instagram, FB etc, as well as send it as a RL postcard using Sincerely. It basically makes it super easy to share.


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Color Testing - Cherry Blossoms

Spring around here is lovely! The best part of the season is the amazing cherry blossom trees that suddenly bloom!

On my break I stopped to take these pictures. Don't the soft pink blossoms contrast nicely with the clear blue sky?

Here's a fun Küler palette inspired by the beautiful cherry blossoms. Enjoy! 

Cup of tea - Holly's Roundup

Here's a weekly round up thru photos!

This morning is for my favorite mug, star scarves and early morning touch ups.

Glaring at me because I told her that her breath smells. I'm all heart. 

Looked outside and saw this gorgeous sunset and while I was exclaiming over it, my neighbour came out to see what was happening. "The sunset is really beautiful tonight," I said but he didn't seem too impressed. His loss. 

Starting some seeds. Sunflowers and sweet peas. Possible making me crazy crazy happy. 

It's been a quiet week and I've kind of forgotten to take photos. Have a great Sunday! 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Cup of Tea - Crystal & the Museum - Sketches of totem poles and other things

Last weekend I went to the museum to sketch with an artsy friend, and we had a great time with the totem poles, the skeletons and all the stuffed animals. Here's some quick snapshots of some of the sketches I did.
It's always interesting sketching in public because people are curious about what you're drawing. They make the funniest excuses to get behind you and see what you're drawing. ("Honey, come take a look at extinguisher...") And then they just stand there....watching.....creepily......