December 30, 2011

2011: A Year of Loving Photography


When I think back over the past year, there aren't really any special decorating or craft projects that come to mind, rather the thing that sticks out most to me, in terms of my blog anyway, is how I've really come love photography over the last twelve months.  I can see how as the year progressed so did my photo skills...how I've learned to use my camera, work with natural light and improve my compositions, as well as my editing. When I look through some of my earlier posts, I cringe, thinking I'd love to delete them, but then figure that it's all part of the journey...right?

I've mentioned a time or two that I have a special fondness for photographing food.  It's more than a fondness actually, I really love it.  Maybe it's because I can eat the fruits of my labor when I'm all done, you can't do that with a craft project...usually anyway :)  I talked about food photo love in my Artful Blogging article, as well as in a post I did last summer called A New Little Love, which is where I showed you these first two pictures.

Coming in a close second to my love affair with food photography, are taking pictures of flowers and little vignettes, with a few shots of my house thrown in the mix.  I wish I could add snapping photos of my kids, but sadly they're not too accommodating and I usually have to resort to bribery.  I've got my fingers crossed that the coming year will be better though.

I thought I'd take a little stroll down memory lane, highlighting a few posts from 2011.  There's a link to each accompanying post in case you're a new reader or you missed something and want to check it out.







I want to thank you all for your friendship and kind comments throughout the past year.  I hope 2012 brings you only joy and blessings.  Have a safe and wonderful New Year's weekend!

xo Tricia

December 22, 2011

Christmas Cherries and Snowflakes


Hello, hello!  So happy you're here! Amidst all the hustle and bustle this week, I'm really feeling the Christmas spirit and have put together a red and white holiday post with a few snowflakes thrown in.

A few weeks ago, when my daughter turned five, one of the things I made were cherry-topped cupcakes.  They turned out so cute and it occurred to me that they'd be perfect for the holidays too.  I know cherries don't really scream Christmas since they're more of a summer fruit, but their vibrant red color sure is right for the season, especially when paired with some whites and a few fun things like pretty cake wrappers and striped straws.


I was a total cheater when I made these.  I didn't have time to whip anything up from scratch, so box cake it was.  This particular cupcake turned out so perfect I could hardly believe it!


I made some chocolate and snowflake-topped cupcakes too.  The snowflakes are so easy to make and I think they add a nice festive touch.  I used candy melts, which I found at JoAnn's, melted them in the microwave, put them into a frosting bag and using a tiny little frosting tip, piped out a few snowflake designs.  It doesn't take too long for them to harden and then you can use them to decorate your cake, tart or cupcakes. 


Well, there you go lovely people, my easy, yummy and pretty Christmas food ideas.  Oh boy, do I need to be done with the sweets for awhile...I think I see some healthier eating in store for next week :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, enjoying time with your families and celebrating the birth of our Savior.

♥  Tricia


 

December 15, 2011

Cookies and Cafe au Lait Cups


Hello to you!  Hope your week is going well.  Are you all prepared for Christmas next week?  Me...not so much.  I still have a few gifts to buy and I haven't wrapped one single thing yet.  Oh, and then there's the Christmas cards.  Ugh.

In the midst of all my preparations, I've been eating a lot.  So much so, that I went and joined the YMCA this week.  I want to eat whatever my little heart desires, in moderation of course, so I'm going to have to ramp up the exercise to make up for it.  One of the things I've been enjoying a little too much of is cookies.  I made one of my favorites last weekend, Peanut Butter Blossoms.  Mmmm, chocolate and peanut butter...a delicious combination.

And what's the perfect pairing for a sweet and tasty cookie?  Well, okay, I'm sure some of you are saying coffee, but since I don't drink that, how about hot chocolate, especially in these super cute cups?  I found them at Garnet Hill and it was pretty much love at first sight.  They're basically a big bowl with a handle.


If by chance you don't have a recipe for these yummy cookies, here's the one we like to go with...

Peanut Butter Blossoms
  • 1/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of shortening
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cup of flour
  • Chocolate candy kisses
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Blend butter, shortening and peanut butter together in a large bowl.  Add the sugars and continue to beat until it's nice and creamy.  Add vanilla, milk and egg and continue to mix.  Then add the salt, baking soda and flour.  Roll dough into balls of about 1 inch in size and then roll each ball in some sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes.  Immediately after removing from the oven press one candy kiss into the center of each cookie.

Make sure they're good, so eat about a half a dozen.  That's what I do anyway ;)

Well, I have lots to do, so hope you all have a great weekend!

xo Tricia

I'm sharing my post at:

November 04, 2011

I'm in Artful Blogging!


Even before I started my blog, one of my favorite publications was Artful Blogging.  With each new issue, I found endless inspiration and secretly thought about how wonderful and amazing it would be to someday see myself in its pages.  I'm beyond thrilled to say that my wish has came true and that that day has arrived.

This past July, I was contacted by the editor of Artful Blogging asking if I would like to be a part of an upcoming issue, to which I wholeheartedly said, "Yes!"  Well, the Winter 2012 magazine has just been published and in it you'll find eight pages of my photographs along with my article.


I wrote about all the time I've spent wondering where I'm supposed to be headed in my life...what I'm meant to be doing.  I talked about how for a long time, I thought I'd never find the answer, but slowly, bit by bit, a little thought started to seep into my head and then...I knew.


So, anyway, thank you Artful Blogging for letting me share a little bit of myself in your pretty publication.  I feel so honored...and happy.

Now, I may be a wee bit biased, but I think this issue is truly one of the most beautiful that I've ever seen them put together.  This is partly thanks to a variety of lovely ladies, including Anne at Fiona and Twig, Tracey from French Larkspur and Lynda at Lynda Naranjo Photography, who provided pages and pages of beauty and inspiration.  Ohhh my, it's just so much gorgeousness all rolled together, I know you'd all love it too. 

Thanks for stopping by today.  Hope you all have a spectacular weekend.

xo Tricia

November 02, 2011

Bruschetta... Tomatoes, Basil and Baguettes


Hello to you!  How was your Halloween?  Did you partake in some good old, scary fun and lots of yummy treats?  I was the candy hander outer at my house.  Not a fun job considering the many, many, many children in my neighborhood.  I do really enjoy seeing all the costumes though, especially on the little kids, they're always so cute.

Anyway, in addition to handing out the candy, I've been doing more than my fair share of being the candy eater too.  That's the bad thing about Halloween, there's easy access to all the things I don't normally buy.  It's a weakness, I tell you. 


I don't know what the deal is, but I've also had another craving lately...bruschetta.  Each time I make it, I gobble nearly the whole thing down along with an entire baguette...that gives you an idea of how super delicious it is.  I thought I'd share the recipe with today so that you can revel in all the yumminess too.


Bruschetta

  • 3 or 4 Roma tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, very coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 baguette
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • balsamic vinegar
Garlic Butter
  • 1/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • a little salt
  • a little pepper

To make the bruschetta topping, mix together the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Set aside.  Just a little FYI, to peel a tomato, place the tomato in very hot water for a few minutes.  When you remove it the skin will peel off easily.

To make the garlic butter, mix together, in a separate bowl, the butter, garlic, salt and pepper.  Slice the bread and top each slice with a little bit of the garlic butter.  Broil the bread for a few minutes until it is lightly browned.  Put tomato topping on bread, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and put back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese just slightly starts to melt. Removing from oven and, if you like, drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar over the top.

If you're like me, you'll eat some right away, and then...you'll eat some more :)
  

By the way, thank you so much to everyone who left me a kind, congratulatory comment on my magazine post.  It makes me feel so good that you share in my joy along with me.

Hope you have a good day!

xo Tricia

October 28, 2011

La Mia Casa Romantic Country...and Me!


Hello everyone.  I have a little secret that I'm so excited to share with you today.  This past summer, which already seems like many months ago, I received the most wonderful email from the Italian publishing group, Tatillo Editrice, asking to feature my blog and photos in one of their magazines.

My article was just published in the November issue of La Mia Casa Romantic Country and I received a copy of the magazine last week.  Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you how happy I was to get that package in the mail and see my photographs in print.  Since most of us aren't lucky enough to live in the gorgeous country of Italy and would never see the magazine in person, I thought I'd give you a peek at how the whole thing came together.


I'm so excited and honored to have been included in such a pretty publication and I want to say a big thank you to everyone at the magazine...especially Cinzia.

I have another little bit of news to share with you, but I think I'll save that for next week.  Hope you have a great weekend!

xo Tricia

October 11, 2011

A Photo Prop and Some Flowers


A few weeks ago, just before the weather started to turn towards Fall, I decided to drag one of my favorite photo props, my wicker and bamboo bike, out to the backyard for a handful of photos while enjoying the last few days of warm weather.  To brighten things up amidst all the green, I added a few flowers with an Autumnish feel...pink, orange and red zinnias and some big ole sunflowers.


As much as I love the change of seasons, I sure am going to miss all the beautiful folliage and flowers.  They're so perfect for photographs.  Starting with this bunch of flowers, I'm once again making visits to the florist to buy flowers, rather than photographing the nature found in my own yard.


I'm joining up with Texture Tuesday again this week, so I've added Kim's warm sun texture to all of my photos...mostly just to soften and change the color tone of my shots.

Hope you're all having a good week so far!

Chat later ♥ Tricia

October 06, 2011

An Outdoor Autumn Table


Hello sweet people.  How has your week been?  We've been experiencing the most beautiful, sunshiny weather around here.  A glorious Indian Summer.  I've been taking every possible chance to enjoy it while it lasts.  Today, for instance, I gathered up a few little tidbits with some autumnish flavor and set about creating an outdoor table setting.


At the center of it all was an old grain sack and this plump grey-green pumpkin.  I love it's shape.  Does anyone know what variety it is?  I wish I knew.  Anyway, I just combined it with some red pears, hydrangeas and a few little berries from my crabapple tree.


I got a little help from Mother Nature.  It was nice and breezy while I was doing all my arranging.  Leaves were blowing every which way, floating down to my table...giving it a nice natural look.


I still need to do some indoor decorating, maybe I'll focus on that next week...when it's supposed to be raining.  Enjoy your weekend!

September 22, 2011

At the Arboretum


Hello sweet people!  Well, here we are...the last official day of summer.  Boo hoo!  Knowing it's time to move on from the sights of summer towards thoughts of fall, I thought I'd put up a few photos that I took a couple of weeks ago at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  I went with my mom, sister and kids to capture a few final summer photos and have a little fun in the sun.  Really, I should say fun in the rain since it starting pouring the minute we got there...it got better as the day went on though.


The Arboretum has more than 1,100 acres of pure prettiness, with plenty of walking trails to take it all in.  I would've have loved to have gotten more pictures, but my people sometimes get annoyed if I stop for photos.  I feel like I have to be sneaky about it...when they turn their heads or start walking away I quick move into position and snap a few shots.  I'm thinking that I need to go back ALONE!


Can you spot the butterfly in this one?


Okay, feast your eyes on this!  Is this vine structure cool or what?!  It's quite large.  You can walk inside of it and it's divided up into room-like areas with windows.  I really, really, wanted a photo of the flowers looking through one of the windows, but my daughter was getting crabby with a capital C.  Yet another reason to go alone :)


I can't believe this is the only post I've done this week and I'm so behind in my visiting too.  I've been really busy with a variety of things...we refinanced our house, my daughter started preschool, the kids started back with their church classes and a little of this and that.  Hopefully, life will feel a little more normal soon.

Have a great weekend!

xo Tricia