DIY Fall Wreath

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Fall is my favorite season. I’ve been daydreaming about halloween costumes since… Well, since last Halloween. Why don’t we have more holidays on which we get to wear costumes?!

Anyways, I finally took my spring wreath down. Heck, it looked good for summertime too, so I just left it up. My friend Julia, who I mentioned in my post about camping at my favorite state park, helped me make this wreath (as well as the one from springtime). I love sitting around with a wonderful friend and crafting and catching up.

I was shopping at a dollar store with my sister and my nieces and there was a huuuuge selection of fake flowers (and halloween decorations, yahooo!). So my niece Sophia and I set about finding the perfect combination of flowers for a wreath. I think I spent about ten dollars on the flowers, which was fine with me. I can reuse the flowers for another project if I should decide, or I can just hang this wreath up again and again. I enjoy projects that I can disassemble and make into something new again.

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Supplies

  • Variety of fake flowers in corresponding colors
  • Twig wreath (I got mine at JoAnn Fabrics)
  • Wire cutters

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If your flowers aren’t already singles and have connected stems, cut them so that they are separate from each other. You want about 5-6 inches of stem remaining.

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Wind stems into twig wreath, filling the front side of the wreath with different colors. I like to try to keep mine from looking too much like there is a set pattern, so I just fill it in and readjust and then fill in any open spaces.

Trim any excess stems that are sticking out.

Hang on the door (or a wall or mantle) and enjoy!

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Have you started decorating for fall/halloween yet?!

 

 

Garden Progress

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This might be one of my final garden progress posts for the summer. The weather is starting to get cool, and I also have to put a load of black dirt in this space. We didn’t do it this spring because, well, there just wasn’t time to deal with it. So, this summer I’ve been working with some pretty sad soil, but hey, things grew. I did record my progress and lessons learned in my garden journal. I’ve had very few problems. Potato bugs, cruddy soil, millions of mosquitoes, and deer that ate off the tops of several kinds of plants, but other than that, I’ve eaten so very many wonderful veggies from my garden. For that I feel truly blessed and grateful.

Moving on, things that are still growing… Ground cherries, in the above picture. Have you ever had them?

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Planted some fall radishes… hopefully I can get some out of the ground before we’ve got to put in the black dirt. I miss garden fresh radishes! My spring radishes burned up pretty early on in the summer.

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Fall peas, hopefully.

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My cruciferous vegetable forest. My brussels sprouts are trimmed and I’m realllllllly hoping I can at least get some baby sprouts, but I really doubt it. My broccoli is producing, though.

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My kohlrabis are almost done. I took this before the deer came through and ate the tops off of all of the beets. Ahhhhhh. What can I do?!

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Still some carrots in the ground…

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The cucumbers are dying off.

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I loooove how thickly the pole beans and cucumbers grew in together.

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A deer ate about a foot off of the top of the beans. I am pretty sure I know which deer it was, too. I’ve seen her in there before.

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My sunflowers. These sunflowers are just so amazing. One is about six feet tall. I’ve never grown sunflowers before. They’re so neat!

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The tomatoes are so sad this year. Still producing, but sad.

Anyways, did any of you guys have a garden this year? What items grew best in your garden?

 

 

 

DIY Vanilla Citrus Essential Oil Room Spray

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When I decided to make this room spray, I had no idea just how much I was going to love it….. I just started pouring oils into the bottle like a mad scientist. To be honest, I’ve even sprayed it on myself a few times before leaving the house. I think it’s the perfect combination of sweet, earthy, and fresh!

I am amazed at the ingredients that are put into conventional room sprays. There are soooo many ingredients in them that I can’t identify (Dialkyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate? Polyacrylate?), and therefore, I’d rather not spray them in my house and breathe them in.  Besides, I seriously think this stuff smells better than any conventional sprays I’ve smelled.

Supplies

  • 4 oz. mister bottle
  • 30 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 15 drops tangerine essential oil
  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops sandalwood essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • filtered water

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Anybody else make their own room sprays? What essential oil scents do you like best?

Vegan GF Biscuits and Gravy

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As soon as the weather switches from summer into fall, all I want to eat are carbs, carbs, carbs, carbs. Anybody else have this problem? This certainly hit of the bill of a carb loaded, classic brunch option. I could’ve served it with a side of steamed greens, buuuut I was too lazy this particular morning. It’s unusual at this point that I have a day off.. So getting to make brunch is a wonderful treat.

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BISCUITS
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups gluten free flour blend
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp cold coconut oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Add cold coconut oil and use fingers or a pastry cutter to combine the two until only small pieces remain and it looks like sand.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir gently while pouring in the almond milk mixture 1/4 cup at a time. You may not need all of it. Stir until just slightly combined – it will be sticky.
  5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, dust the top with a bit of flour and then very gently turn the dough over on itself 5-6 times – hardly kneading.
  6. Form into a 1-inch thick disc, handling as little as possible.
  7. Use a 1-inch thick dough cutter or a similar-shape object with sharp edges and push straight down through the dough, then slightly twist. Repeat and place biscuits on a baking sheet in two rows, making sure they just touch – this will help them rise uniformly. Gently reform the dough and cut out one or two more biscuits – you should have 7-8.
  8. Next brush the tops with a bit more of melted coconut oil and gently press a small divot in the center using two fingers. This will also help them rise evenly, so the middle won’t form a dome.
  9. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until fluffy and slightly golden brown. Serve immediately. Let remaining biscuits cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or bag.

 

GRAVY

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 Tbsp gluten free flour blend
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp oil

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil in medium sized skillet.
  2. Saute onions until translucent.
  3. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute until tender.
  4. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  5. Whisk flour into almond milk. Pour into skillet and stir quickly.
  6. Stir until well combined and begins to thicken.
  7. Remove from heat once thickened to a gravy and serve over biscuits.

 

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Don’t forget the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck!!

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Wedding Photography: Mollie and Ryan

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My life is sooooo busy right now. It’s wedding season, I’m quitting one job and starting 1, possibly two new jobs… I’m gaining more clients for my photography business… And I have a commissioned painting in progress. Plus, I’m starting to wrap up the garden for the season and maintain some semblance of a social life. I am thrilled with all of the amazing opportunities I have going on, but I will be glad when things get a little simpler and I get to slow down again. I haven’t had time to read, and barely make time for yoga right now, despite the fact that yoga is what would make me feel best right now. My blog has taken the sideline to all this mayhem, but I’ve got some exciting recipes and diy projects scheduled, so things will get back to normal soon.

Without further ado, here are a few shots from one of my weddings this summer. Mollie and Ryan were amazing… It’s interesting to see how couples interact, and the two of them had this quiet, humbling love between them.

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Bridesmaids movie inspired! This was one of the bridesmaids ideas, and I think it’s got the perfect amount of sass, no?

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The mosquitoes were sooooooooo awful this day. I couldn’t believe they were willing to walk back into the woods.. But, I did learn a little trick to keep the bugs off temporarily without having to stink like bug spray. Dryer sheets! For some reason, if you rub yourself with dryer sheets, they don’t bite as much! I keep some in my camera bag now.

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My favorite picture of almost any couple is usually one in which they’re laughing.

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There were cross-shaped windows in a set of doors that lead into the church, so I had Mollie and Ryan positioned outside the doors and shot from inside to get this neat little framed shot.

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Gotta love dancing children. They’re one of my favorite parts of shooting receptions.

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She’s stunning, isn’t she?!!?

 

Shot for Bella Rose Photography and Videography, Saint Cloud, MN.

Camping Adventures at Glendalough State Park

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Recently I had a weekend off (doesn’t happen often during wedding season)! I decided it would be the perfect weekend to take one of my very best friends, Julia, out on a camping adventure. She’ll be the first to tell you that she’s not super outdoorsy, which just added to the experience in my opinion. In fact, she told me that she hated camping!! Sooooo, of course I had to show her how great camping could be.  We only camped for one night, but the weather was perfect and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Along the way, I took Julia to one of my favorite spots in the state, Inspiration Peak, which I also wrote about here. It’s beautiful and you can see for miles and miles. It’s a tough hike to the top… but it’s well worth being out of breath when you get there. We just don’t have a lot of high points around the area, so it’s really something special to be this far above sea level.

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Still at the peak…. We sat a little way off from where most of the other tourists were and enjoyed the view in peace.

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When we got to Glendalough State Park, we did a little hiking.. There’s a large, wonderful prairie right near the camping area.

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We set up camp and relaxed and ate a snack. We packed a ridiculous amount of food, but it served us well. I think we ate a good majority of it… There’s nothing like meals over a fire!

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Cast iron pan on a fire.. perfect. There is no better way to cook! For supper the first day, we had black bean and garden veggie burritos, corn on the cob, and green beans with tomatoes. Then after hiking again, we wrapped pears in foil and baked them until they were tender and the sugars caramelized. They were possibly the most delicious thing I have EVER eaten! Really. In the morning, I got up before Julia, put on my winter coat (yes, it was necessary!!) and built up a fire. I got some coffee brewing and set a cup in the tent next to Julia. She doesn’t run very efficiently without a little coffee fuel. For breakfast, we had fried polenta cakes with maple and onion baked beans. I ate until I couldn’t eat any more. Then we went canoeing…. upstream, against the wind…. It took us about 2 and a half hours to get from one point to the other. I didn’t take any pictures though, because I wasn’t about to risk bringing  my camera on a canoe.

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The view from the prairie near our campsite. It was spectacular. Soooo beautiful at sunset!

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We made a small friend… I took this picture without a zoom lens. I literally got this close to the little creature!! Soooooo darn cute. Look at those little hands! I forgot a bag of sunflower seeds out on the table when we went hiking and when I came back, the bag was torn open and there were sunflower seed shells everywhere.

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When we sat down at the end of the evening, we both were so exhausted and relaxed that when we first started talking about going to bed, we realized it was barely after 7 o clock. I think we did make it till about 10, though.

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Sunsets on the prairie. Thanks Glendalough State Park for the wondrous weekend. And, thanks Julia, for giving camping another chance!

Portrait Photography: Rachel’s Senior Photos

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I recently had the chance to take senior portraits for a gorgeous young lady. It’s wonderful clients like her that make my job that much more wonderful. You know those folks whose smile comes so naturally, that even after hours of posing for photos, they still look truly happy? That’s Rachel.

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Thanks, Rachel (and Cindy and Bob!) for the opportunity to take these photos for you. It truly was my pleasure.IMG_7804IMG_7975IMG_7805-2