Friday, September 12, 2014

my studio tour ...

I was just going through some old photos, and I realized that I never posted a full tour of my studio here on the blog.  It makes me a little to sad to look at these pictures since we have since moved to our new home.  I sure do miss that wallpaper.  I just may have to order it for my new studio. It's Schumaucher Birds and Butterflies.  I hung it up myself, strip by strip.  It was quite the labor of love, so it made it hard to leave it.
I loved the setup of my old studio.  It was just the right size to have two desks agains the wall.  One I used to make armelle jewelry, and the other desk for blogging!  It was perfect!
I stored all of my beads and items to make my armelle jewelry in the cabinet above that I got at Ikea.
And, remember my hutch that was my in-laws that I repainted?  It stored my large collection of bakers twine, books, a fabric stash and a few other fun vintage items.
I kept a few extra tolix stools in the studio in case anyone came over for a craft night! The painting is thrifted.
I blogged about my craft closet organization here, but here are a few shots of how I organized it with wooden dowels.
I know, I am a bit of a craft hoarder, I'll spare you the rest of the closet, wink.
I've talked about my floors a little bit before on the blog.  But, they are stained concrete since this was a basement room.  There is a line of concrete paint at Home Depot that you can tint to any color you want.  You just have to make sure you clean, sweep and mop out the concrete first, then use the concrete primer, then the tinted concrete paint, then a top coat of shiny cement sealer.

The dorothy draper style small dresser I had between my desk was a classified find that I repainted to store my packing supplies.
Part of my washi tape collection.  I have an obsession with tape, and when I found these little containers at Michaels to put them in, I was sold!
I will say that I do miss walking down the hall to see that view.  Sigh.  I think I'm going to have to order that wallpaper again.  Would you recreate the same room because you liked it so much?  I am still deciding on what to do in my new studio, flooring wise etc.  I think my heart is still stuck on that birds and butterflies wallpaper.  So, stay tuned.. we will see what I end up doing.

See more of my old studio here.

Also, I am looking to partner with some home decor brands coming up with some projects and rooms I am putting together in my new home.  If you are interested in a partnership, please email me at: carolinearmelle@gmail.com

{photos by me}

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

back to school feast ...

Back to school time is here, and I just love the tradition that Stephanie of Nie Nie dialogues has of having a back to school feast with a family theme for the year.

I realized that I never got around to sharing our Back to School feast we did a few years back on the blog.  This year with moving and all that, we haven't gotten around to it, but I hope to continue to do it and make it a tradition!
I was able to pull all of the items out of my party box (yes, I know.. official hoaxer status)  So, it was pretty low key pulling everything together from things I already had.  

I picked up some fresh flowers from the store, and the children chose the menu of their favorite things to eat.
The grand finale was my homemade fresh peach cream pie.  Seriously, during peach season, I live for this pie.  It's just beyond amazing I must say.  
Our family theme for the year was "Go & Do." Which is from the scripture 1 Nephi 3:7
I think a slice of lemon through the straw was a fun little touch!
Dipped wooden cutlery tutorial here.
Then, we were able to sit down as a family, discuss the upcoming theme and school year and asked each of them what they wanted to learn that year, and what we expected from them that year.  Their dad was able to give them each a Father's priesthood blessing for the school year to comfort them, and it was off to a great start!

I just love traditions, so I hope to keep this one alive!  I think traditions are so important!  I think they make people feel secure and have something to look forward too!  I hope to create many more family traditions with my little family in the future!  

What are some of your favorite family traditions?

{all photos by me}

Monday, September 8, 2014

favorite zucchini bread ...

I still find it a little funny that they call it a "bread."  I think we all know it's a cake, right?  But, whatever makes you feel better, wink.

I keep getting so many nice deliveries of zucchini from friends, and I realized I still haven't made zucchini bread this season.  This "bread" ahem, cake is a little bit healthier than your normal zucchini bread.  I cut the sugar down, and instead of vegetable oil use coconut oil.  I also added a little ground flax seed for good measure, applesauce and a little almond milk for a little extra kick.  Hope you like the not too sweet zucchini "bread!"
"Healthier" Zucchini Bread
adapted from this recipe
Makes two 8x4 inch loaves
Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon

1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini squash
1/3 cup almond milk (optional)
Directions
1. Grease and flour two 8×4 inch bread pans.  Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.
2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, nutmeg, flax seeds and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, applesauce, almond milk and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat well.  Stir in zucchini until well combined.  Half and pour into prepared pans.
4. Bake for 40-60 minutes or until tested inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then remove bread from pan and cool completely.
Store in refrigerator, also freezes well!
Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fresh Nectarine Mozzarella and Basil Salad

When fruit is in season, it tastes so amazing!  The sweetness, the juiciness, it's all perfect!

I'm partnering with Harmons Grocery to bring you some fun new posts and recipes!  Harmons Grocery is hands down my favorite grocery store in Utah!  I'm not even kidding when I say I shop there EVERYDAY.  It's no joke!  They have it all and more, and care about their customers bringing the best ingredients and quality they can get their hands on!
I went over to Harmons and picked up some amazing nectarines from Brandt's Farm.  I also grabbed some fresh mozzarella balls, and a fresh basil plant! They also have an amazing selection of high quality balsamic vinegars and olive oils!

This mozzarella nectarine salad topped with a little honey balsamic reduction and basil is out of this world!  The blend of flavors is unique and just plain knocks your socks off!  

It's so easy to make, in just a few easy steps you can create this gourmet salad in no time!

Fresh Nectarine, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad with a Honey Balsamic Reduction
Serves 4

4 ripe nectarines 
1 cup fresh basil leaves sliced into ribbons
8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls, drained
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1) Cut each nectarine into 6 to 8 wedges, then cut each wedge in half crosswise.
2) In a medium bowl, combine nectarines, mozzarella, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and toss. You can cover and refrigerate for several hours, or serve it at room temperature.
3) Top with fresh basil.
4) In a small sauce pan, combine honey and balsamic vinegar.  Bring to a boil, and stir and reduce and concentrate the mixture until it reduces by half and gets thicker.  Remove from heat, let it cool,  and drizzle over nectarine mixture when ready to serve.
Enjoy!

{all photos by me, Caroline Armelle Drake}

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

alt summit summer 2014 re-cap ...

I was so excited to be able to attend Alt Summit June 2014 last week in Salt Lake City!  This is the first summer Alt in Salt Lake, and since we always have the weirdest weather during the January Alt's, it was nice to have it in the summer!  Of course it rained the first day, but the weather was better the rest of the time!  This was my fourth time attending Alt, and I always have the best time and meet the nicest people.

Alt Summit is a design conference for bloggers and businesses hoping to work with bloggers.  It is a conference full of beautiful things, including classes and panels on how to make your blog better!

I was able to start the conference out with a dinner at Pago sponsored by The Honest Company and hosted by Small Fry Blog.
The food and company were excellent!  Menu's handwritten by my friend Aubry of Hello Maypole.
All the guests were asked to wear their summer whites.  You can read more about the dinner on the Small Fry Blog.
The next morning I attended a panel on how to pitch to brands.  (Do you spot me?)
Imagine an entire conference room full of bloggers, and you are given the chance to stand up and pitch LIVE right then and there to Bing and Wayfair for an amazing outdoor party.  Well, yes! That actually happened to me!  I pitched a party, and I won!!  I actually don't really remember what my pitch included since it was pretty nerve wracking to be on the spot like that without preparing. But, I think it went something along the lines of:  we are building our dream home that should be done soon, and it will be a birthday, anniversary, house warming/getting our lives back party. More on the party with Bing and Wayfair to come I'm sure!
Our place settings at lunch the first day complete with Oh Joy for Target mini party hats!
I always appreciate the amazing set ups that our sponsors have in the lounge areas!  Here is the cute set up by Silhouette.
And, of course I can't resist a good Smile Booth!  Bing had an amazing lounge with some beautiful real flowers installed by my friend Ashley Beyer of Tinge Floral. #ThanksBing
 The first night we all walked over to the park for a casual dinner from local food trucks.

A little trip to La Bonne Vie pastry shop in The Grand America.
Of course one of the biggest draws to Alt this year was Martha Stewart herself!  Say what you want about Martha, but she was one impressive resume.  She really is a renaissance woman, with big plans to take over the world! She talked a lot about her goals to make Martha Stewart a global company, with a lot of her sights on China.
I was lucky enough to get great seats on the front row, I felt like she was looking right at me! (can spot me in the denim dress?)  She even liked one of my Instagram photos and re-tweeted my tweet all while speaking! (wink)
Another big highlight about Alt is spending time with so many of my friends!  It's a lot of fun to be able to chat with grown-ups, and feel a little glamorous when my normal life is chasing after three kids all day!
The final evening was a beautiful courtyard garden party at The Grand America.  You definitely can't do this during the January Alt Summit.
We had a good time "testing" out the croquet set.
 Bike riding in the courtyard was also fun.  Wearing a dress was interesting.
I think Alt SLC in June was much more laid back than the normal Alt in the winter, but I think that goes with the time of year.  I am always happy I went, and that I could meet new people, work with new brands, and get to have a little fun during it all!

To see more pictures of Alt Summit, feel free to browse their Alt Flickr page.

{Photos by: Me, Justin Hackwork, Brooke Dennis, and Honest Dinner by Becky Kimball}