Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Dinner Party Download

If you like podcasts, you will love The Dinner Party Download. Ok, even if you don't like podcasts or have little experience with them, you will like the arrangement of entertainment, trends, history, food, and more.

The hosts, Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam, mix up all the ingredients for a great dinner party in a 15 minute podcast. These are FREE in iTunes. The general format includes a joke, a major news story or headline from the week, a small history lesson, a cocktail recipe, an interview with an artist, a food trend, and a new song. The content is fresh and funny. The hosts have great chemistry.

The interviews always include two questions that relate to what the artist hates to be asked/is asked too frequently and the artist is asked to tell us something we don't know about him or her. These two questions always leave a feeling that you really got to know the person being interviewed and it seems more casual and intimate.

I love these podcasts so much that I have downloaded all of them and have been working through the backlog. Follow them on Twitter.

Would love to hear what you think about one of my new favorites!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Signs of spring

Spring is marked by a few important traditions in our home and in our area. One of the first things that happens in our house is the planning phase. In the dead of winter, seed catalogs begin to arrive and we start scheming.

March marks the beginning of the open houses at our favorite nursery and garden shops. This year, we had a bit of a false start with late cold weather and snow. But, this weekend meant it was time to plant!

On Saturday, we picked up rocks in the areas of our yard still bare from construction. We have been tilling and picking up rocks for weeks! Finally, we were in a good place to plant grass. In the afternoon, we decided to select the plants for flower beds and general landscaping around the house. Next weekend, we are set on getting vegetables in the garden.

This was our haul. Nearly four hours after pulling into the drive way, we finished with the planting. I will remember to stick to the list and not impulse shop for flowers - every plant geeks weakness. Impulse shopping equals a lot of extra work for a gardener.
This is the view outside my office window. I spend a lot of time at the office and this is one of our most intense times of the year. It is so relaxing to look out and see this beauty.
And, our neighbors are burning pasture. For the uninitiated, spring burning is a vital part of range management and strikingly beautiful at night. The hill behind our house has been on fire for the past few nights as different sections are covered in the controlled burn.

Spring is here!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ceramics after my heart

If you have not heard of Connie Norman, you are missing out on the work of a lovely and gifted artist. I first learned of Connie in an issue of Peaks and Plains on a flight to Denver. When I find something I love in a magazine, it usually results in some scribbled notes in a notebook and then when I have a chance, I do my favorite thing - learn all about it.

Nearly a year later - a year of wanting some of her work very badly - and following her on Facebook, I decided to e-mail and asked about some pieces. Here are two we commissioned and dearly love.

Notice the "I'M SO LUCKY" inscription around the rim. Sigh. I love the colors and the sentiment.
My favorite saying ever - "BELIEVE."

If you love her work, please go to her website and learn about this professor, artist and amazing woman. You will want some of her beautiful pieces and have you seen the salt and pepper shakers?!

Getting organized

I have posted before about one of my favorite scrapbooking materials - paper ribbon. This stuff is amazing! It can be a quick border for a page, an accent on a handmade card, or the perfect accent wrap for a gift. I cannot get enough of this stuff.

My most recent purchase from Creative Memories spring offerings - the Fabulous and Rugged collection.
The stuff is so beautiful, how could it just be in a basket with all of my other supplies? I ordered two jewelry organizers - one for necklaces and one for earrings. After looking at them for several days on my kitchen table, I decided the earring version would be a great way to display the paper ribbon.
Fun, functional, and beautiful. I am very happy with this idea.
And, did I tell you the ribbon is reversible? How could it get any better?

Hello, Spring!

The Kansas winter really seemed to take a toll on everyone. Once the days began to get longer and warmer, everyone seemed to have a renewed sense of energy. My first signs of spring are the emerging crocuses.
These beauties just showed up near the garden under the old school bell. They loved the unseasonable hot day we had on Sunday.

The purple crocuses are some of my favorites! They are my favorite color and so much fun to see around all the brown plant material. What a pop in the landscape!
These daffodils just shout spring! They were a purchase during my most recent trip to the grocery store. I always feel a little guilty purchasing flowers that I could grow myself. Daffodils have never done well for me here - I think I plant them in a spot that is too shady.

Two bouquets - a really generous handful of flowers - were only $5. It was the best money I have spent for a whole lot of spring feel good.