Thursday, August 28, 2014

How To: Make Cardamom Peach Freezer Jam

My mother in law brought us fresh peaches from Apple Annie's Orchard a few weeks ago. I had no idea peaches even grew in Arizona!

They were delicious and I wanted to preserve their fresh flavor. The best way I knew how to do this is to make jam and freeze it. I looked up Recipe Girl's Peach Freezer Jam and used it as a guideline. If you know me at all you know, I'm not good with following directions.

Here is what I did to create my Cardamom Peach Freezer Jam.

Par-boil peaches by tossing them in boiling water for 3 minutes. You'll know they are done when they float to the top and the skins crack. Scoop the peaches out and place them in a bowl of ice water. 

The skins will then easily peel off. Discard peels, cut peaching in half opposite from the peach crease. This allows the pit to pop out easily.  Discard pits.

Pulse in a food processor or blender to get smallish peach chunks. I like bits of fruit in my jam, if you'd like a smoother jam blend into a puree.

In a 2qt sauce pan combine peaches with apple juice. I used a juice box since we hardly have juice in the fridge.  Once it is boiling add the pectin. I prefer powdered pectin, it seems to jell better and it's great for small batches like these. 

After you add the pectin, let it boil, add the sugar and spices and get foamy. It's a beautiful orange color and extremely hot.

Ladle into serialized jars or plastic containers to freeze in. Remember to leave space at the top for expansion and a jar in the fridge to eat right away.  This is so delicious I could eat it right out of the jar! 

Cardamom Peach Freezer Jam

3/4 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons pectin
5-6 peaches = 3 cups puree
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom 
dash cinnamon
5, 8oz freezer jars - glass or plastic with lids

Heat juice over medium high heat until boiling. Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Boil for 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups of peach puree, sugar, cardamom and cinnamon. Bring back to a boil and maintain at a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Transfer and divide between jars, leaving 1/2 inch space at top. Leave at room temperature until cool. Then freeze or refrigerate. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Apple Chip Monday

Monday's are always my day to get everything in order. I do food prep, laundry, and house cleaning. Today I'm making a bigger effort to not throw food away that can still be used in other ways. Apple chips it is. Using a mandolin and a food dehydrator these take about 5 minutes to slice up and 2 hrs to dehydrate. Easy Peasy.

The bad news... we eat these WAY to fast. They'll be gone by Wednesday.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Art of Being You: Interviews with Creative Women

I am so excited to introduce you to a new series on the blog, the Art of Being You. The women I will be interviewing are wonderous and the lineup will knock you out of the park. There are so many incredible women who work and make and create beautiful things, I was curious to know how they manage it. How do you? It's not easy to be creative. Despite of what "non-creative" people might say. It can be a struggle to figure out how you fit and where you imagination yourself to be. I know you've been there too.

Every Tuesday starting September 2, I'll be introducing you to some amazing women and ask them about their start, where they've been and where they expect to go next with their art and creative lives!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Settling In

What a summer this has been so far! Our cross the country and have settled in (almost) and wow, school has already started here. Pretty much the shortest summer on record for my boys, but they seem to be happy to have new friends and a routine.

I'm settling into my creative grove again and can't wait to get started on some projects! First I'm getting a grip on my editorial calendar and hope to have a pretty printable for you too!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

5 Things I Learned at Alt Summit

Things in my life have settled a bit since I came home from the whirlwind of Alt Summit and the whole moving across the country thing. Yes, my whole world is still in boxes and in storage, but at least it is sunny and I get to hangout with my cool family in Arizona... in person none-the-less!

I had plans of doing a recap of my favorite business cards from Alt with links to all of the incredible women who I met while exchanging them... but they are also in a box. In storage. However, I've had plenty of time and 2,700 miles to think about all I learned at Alt. I can sum it up in 5 key points.

1. Be your best self.

Don't try to be a fake overdressed version of yourself. You will feel more confident if you are happy to be here, mingling with other creative women and a few fellas. There was lots of concerns about the fashion at Alt and what to pack. I wore clothes that made me feel confident, fit well (some I had made or altered), were dressier than my average jeans and t-shirt wardrobe and I fit right in.

It's not just what you wear, but also the attitude you pack with it. I discovered that while everyone else was doing the same, being their best self, it was an incredible positive, helpful, creative bath of loveliness that I wanted to soak up every minute.

At the Melting Pot sponsored by Silhouette America all flamingo and pink and really pretty.
2. Take the Lead By not waiting for others to introduce themselves I did myself a big favor! No one likes to walk into a room full of strangers. What I discovered though was when I took the lead to introduce myself "Hi, I'm Shannon. I don't believe we've met yet..." I was connected with all these people who really were friends I hadn't met yet. Like Gilit for example who runs The Bannerie. This gal is terrific and as soon as we swapped cards it was hilarious. "Oh, you are Eva Blake's Makery! I'm The Bannerie!!" This scenario happened again and again. I honestly thought no one would have a clue who I was, and some didn't, but the few who connected my face and name and company together it was magic.  
3. You Got This

We all struggle with self doubt, right? I know for sure I do. I often ask myself if I have any idea what I'm doing. I've worked hard, done a lot of homework, but I'm still sorting out the details of where and how I will go next every day. What I learned while at Alt, from the panels and speakers is that I do know what I'm doing, I just need to keep doing it and proving that I can do it! 

All of the classes I attended where incredibly helpful. Ideas and social media tips I hadn't considered are eventually going to make it into my blog future, but after looking over my notes, most of them weren't brand new thoughts. There is something fantastic about hearing those thoughts come from someone else that just confirms it and gives you the "yes" you've been looking for. 

Martha Stewart at Alt Summit Summer on Friday interviewed by Design Mom's Gabrielle Blair

 4. Share Your Story

Not just during the interview with Martha Stewart, and Joy Cho's keynote address but all through out the conference this running theme kept cropping up for me. Share your story. Sometime's we don't think our story is special, because...well... it's ours. You live it everyday, over and over. It doesn't feel special.

Then you share it.

In a very impromptu moment on the street outside the Grand America after walking back from a chilly picnic in the park I handed my card to a group of women. Mastering the Art of Being Me on top and Eva Blake's Makery on the bottom.

No big deal. I'd been doing that all week.

Then a women with tears in her eyes said, "That is so perfect. 'Mastering the Art of Being Me" that is so great." With total sincerity she hugged me. This was a life confirming moment for me. My inner and outer struggle with myself was perfect and great. "Yes it is", I thought. Yes it is.

I then told this little huddle of women what Mastering the Art of Being Me means to me and how I cam to embrace this with full purpose of heart. It was unbelievable to me to see all of them looking at me, nodding, and understanding that as creatives this is what we are all trying to achieve.


5. Have Fun

It is remarkable to me how easily I found my business self and my authentic self meld together at Alt. The last night was a stunning outdoor garden party. I was sad to see it all coming to an end. I found myself with beautiful supportive friends. It was tempting to want to live there, in the garden of a gorgeous hotel, lovely people dressed in florals and pastels talking about what they love.

I laughed and smiled until I felt like all those sweet smile lines on my face would be permanent.

All photos courtesy of Justin Hackworth and Brooke Dennis

Friday, June 13, 2014

MOVE IT - Less is More

I'm packing up and cleaning house! So for TODAY 6/13 and TOMORROW 6/14 only you can save BIG so I can move less across the country. I'd call that a win win. Just use the coupon code MOVEIT to save 50% in both the Mastering the Art of Being Me shop and at Eva Blake's Makery. What a steal!

All items will be shipped on Monday June 16th, patterns are PDF instant downloads.

The shop will be closed for a week or so while we travel and settle in.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

What I'm Taking to Alt

Confession: I am not a fashion blogger, nor am I really that fashionable…but I'm headed out to Alt Summit next week…

and 3 days after I get home my family will be moving across the country from New Hampshire to Arizona. So needless to say this adventure to Alt is going to require some serious outfit planning (and commitment) because everything I own, including most of my clothing is going to be in a box. Oh, and I'll be out west looking for a place to live for the 5 days before Alt.

Hence, the need for a plan!

I made this sketches with my new Wacom tablet to give me an excuse to get used to drawing with it. These looks may change slightly, when I finally get down to tossing it all in a suit case but it's a good start.

I arrive in SLC in the morning and I hate to fly in skirts since I always freeze in the airport or end up sitting on the floor, so I'll be flying in black skinnies with this sheer cream polka-dotted blouse (both from Target) Once I get there I'll be about town with my BFF from high school and then heading to the hotel to change for the sponsor dinners. 

I managed to get a spot at the Silhouette dinner! Super excited for that! I'll be wearing my favorite teal dress in linen with pin tuck pleats at the hem. Since I drew up this sketch I bought a great pair of Franco  Sarto platforms to wear with it. Hooray since they are sandals and more comfortable than the heals.

Wednesday is full of classes and business-ness I'll be sporting my new fancy denim pencil skirt which I just tailored down from a size 16 to an 8. Can't go wrong when it was on sale for $2.97! I'll probably pair it with my favorite pretty tshirt from Target. They hang nicely and are made from amazing jersey knit. 

The dinner that night is supposed to be casual and food-truck central. I made this terrific teal floral dress, but I'm undecided if I want to wear it that night or the next day, instead of the orange and teal combo below. Either way I'll be sporting another pair of wedge sandals because I could walk for ages in them.
I've pretty much decided not to wear this orange skirt. It's a faux wrap skirt, but it flutters open a lot when I walk. So I'm leaning towards wearing the black skinnies again with this top. I've also nixed the black strappy healed sandals. (Are you sensing a theme? I love teal and I have a thing with comfy shoes. I just don't want them to look like "mom shoes" My husband has serious issues with "mom shoes")

For the last night Garden Party I'll be wearing my favorite all time Heather Bailey fabric printed with enormous pink garden roses. It's retro and unbelievably comfortable and pretty. 

Of course I won't be leaving home with out goodies and business cards! I'll be handing out these (don't worry the new Art of Being Me cards are here and my name is spelled correctly!) I'll have Eva Blake's Makery cards and mini i {heart} handmade cross stitches to work on.

What are you wearing to Alt? If you see me please come introduce yourself! I'd love to meet you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I'm going to ALT!

I received the biggest surprise this week. I'm going to Alt Summit SLC Summer session! I still can't believe this is all happening but I think we can pull it off! (my husband is amazing)

image from altitude summit

I've wanted to go to Alt for a while and now I'M GOING!! I can't wait to meet up with so many creatives. I feel fortunate to have just finished Blogging Your Way with Holly Becker which is really helped me refresh my blog and did you see I even have a logo! Today I ordered my new business cards and I'm planning on some sweet goodie bags to hand out as I meet people, please introduce yourself!

Oh, and when I get home I'll have 72 hours to finish packing my family up and into boxes for our big cross country move this summer. The month of June is going to be big crazy and fun! Let's do it!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Every Mother Counts

I became a mother in March. Or at least that is when I knew I was pregnant. I thought about the little baby who would always be a part of me for the next 9 months. On December 15, 2006 (right on cue) I met that little Mr. who would forever make me a mother. 
He needed me.
It's an incredible feeling to realize he will always need me. Perhaps not always in the same way as he grows over time and both of our lives change, but he will always need me to be his mother. Regardless of whatever happens in life, this one thing will never change. Words cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity that boy has given me to guide and love and encourage to grow. He was the first and by having the courage to be first he accepted (subconsciously) the responsibility to teach me what it meant to be a mother.
Being a mother is astounding, trying, challenging, exhausting, and exhilarating. It's 98% amazing when I really think about it… and 2% groundhogs day. Yes, the routine can become mundane but if I look hard enough there is astounding beauty in the process. 
The interspersed "thank you", "I love you" and the hugs that tug so hard at my heart strings. The snuggles and laughter and stories and endless curious questions. Yes, I will help shape his world, but really he has completely transformed mine.
So excited for the first day of school… I thought he was going to explode!
Thank you Mr. for changing my life.

#Alt Summit believes every mother counts 

Friday, May 09, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is one of my favorite things. I'm not kidding! I love to purge out the ill-fitting clothing, toys, and stuff that just accumulates over the year. I've also been sorting through the studio pulling together bundles of items that are terrific individually but I don't have enough quantity to create Makery Kits.

So I created some Grab Bags for you! 

Included in every bag is over $30 worth of goodies. Starting at $15+ WHAT A DEAL! Check them out here and here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blissful Blogging

For the next four weeks I'll be taking Holly Becker of decor8 Blogging Your Way course. I've been a long time admirer of Holly's work. She spends time thinking about what she says and posts simple, but obviously well thought out pictures. I am so excited to take a fresh look at my blog and they way and why I am doing it. My assignment for week 1 is to answer these questions.

I started thinking about some of the things I love in my home. Since I spend so much of my time here raising my family and creating my art as well. I find myself reflected in the things I surround myself with. This of course excludes the kids room, which is strewn with Legos and little boy imagination. The rest of the house has reminders to be thoughtful, intentional and inspired.

I started my blog with the intention to post pictures of my creative work. Several posts over the years have been personal, maybe too personal. I tend to not blog about my family much. I don't often blog about my process, maybe its the pressure to only post finished projects. The rate that I finish things is much slower than a professional DIY-er or artist. I've been trying to focus more on the artist part of my work.

While I've been thinking about these questions it's brought up questions of my own. 

Why is it important to me to share what I create and how I feel about it?
     (I could just make, enjoy and give things away…but I feel this desire to share it with others.)
Who even reads this blog? Does it matter if no one reads it?
     (If you are reading this, bless you! Please, tell me why you think you read my blog when there are thousands to choose from.)
What would happen if I stopped blogging? What would happen if I spent more time on it?
What do I think about organizing my posts more? Could a sense of regularity help or hinder my blog?
How do I find more time? (Ha! How does anyone?!) A better question would be…
How do I organize my time better to make room for my need to share?

What do I want from this experience?
What do I want to share with others?

Why do you blog? Have you thought about it? 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

As of late…then off to play!

As of late I've been posting the majority of my images on Instagram. (You really should think about following me there.)

I started painting again! It's been too long since I picked up a brush. These 2" square blocks have 12 classic quilt blocks painted on them. I just can't help but rearrange them over and over again on my desktop. Perhaps they will inspire a new quilt design. You can pick up a set for yourself (or choose custom color combinations!) over at my shop

I'm still plowing away at a new quilt design. Sometimes I over complicate things, only to simplify them in the end. There will be some "unsewing" to do to get it right, then I will show the finished top and release the pattern soon.

The kids are out of school this week, so we are off on a much needed vacation. The Spring Fever 25% off sale over at Eva Blake's Makery is going on this week. All orders will ship Monday.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Fever SALE

EVERYTHING is finally turning green! 
(It seems like winter lasted ages this year.)

So to celebrate EVERYTHING in my shop is on SALE! Hooray!

Sale runs through 4/25/14

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Sad Sewing News

If you haven't heard, Sewing Summit is Saying Goodbye. I'm pretty sad about this. I had a terrific time last year and met so many incredible women who had a burning passion for fabric! It was truly a kindred weekend for me.

I do understand that things like this often come to and end for one reason or another. I'm still bummed I missed the Creative Connection event that Where Women Create put together. There is just something so appealing about being with all those others who love to make things, like at the Makers Summit.

I suppose I'll have to keep an eye out for another smashing event, possibly Quilt Con. I definitely have my sights set on Alt.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Tv & Me?!

Back in February I was contacted by NH Chronicle to see if they could come shoot a segment on Eva Blake's Makery! It was terrific fun to pull together and create with all my friends!

It finally aired this past Wednesday and was lovely. You can watch it here.