In Botanical News…

It’s a chilly grey day here, so I want to share some green planty goodness. First, my houseplant collection has a new addition, a Nepenthes (aka monkey cups plant). How crazy looking is this thing? I can never resist the urge to bring weird looking plants like this home.

monkey cups pitcher plant

I’ve had a Meyer lemon tree for years, and it has almost died on many different occasions (from under watering, under fertilizing, over fertilizing, and most recently some tiny bugs that recently destroyed all the leaves). Last winter it got a few blooms, and now almost a year later I have 2 lemons that are nearly ripe! Is this not the most pitiful looking lemon tree you’ve ever seen? It’s hard to believe, but this is what citrus success looks like for me.

indoor meyer lemon tree

Our grocery store had brussels sprouts on the stalk this week. I vaguely knew that they grew in some strange way, but I had never seen it for myself. This stalk is huge—nearly 2 feet long (yes, I measured)! If you don’t like brussels sprouts I’ll bet seeing the alien looking plants they grow on will change your mind—google it. I’m going to roast these babies up tonight and have a green, stinky feast.

brussels sprouts stalk

P.S. If you get a 2 foot long brussels sprouts stalk and decide to swing it around the room like a baseball bat, it will look something like this.

brussels sprouts stalk

Valentine’s Day Cards 2015

I’ve added some new Valentine’s Day cards to the shop, and all the oldies but goodies are available too. Love-y cards are absolutely my favorite to make.

Speaking of Valentine’s Cards… I’m bringing my card making supplies to Gather on February 7th, so we can make bunches of cards for our Valentines! I’m planning on bringing enough stuff for everyone to make at least 10 cards. If you’re interested in joining in, you can register here.

Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine's Day Cards

Subway Tile Backsplash

Happy New Year! I’m back after a nice long break. Well, a break from blogging anyway. It wasn’t really a “break”, because I was working my butt off on a bunch of projects! Exhibit A, I installed a subway tile backsplash in my kitchen.

I’ve wanted to put subway tile in my kitchen for ages, but our backsplash was painted wallpaper on top of wood paneling. You’re not supposed to hang tile on wood paneling since it expands and contracts with the weather, which can make the grout crack and the tiles pop off. I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of doing it the right way—installing cement backer board before tiling. After a lot of research I found this wonderful stuff called Tavy Thin-Skin, an adhesive and fiberglass paper combo that makes any hard surface tile-able (wood, cement, laminate, existing tile, etc…). Here’s a little video if you want to see it in action. Once I peeled off the wall paper, the thin-skin worked really well to prep our paneling for tile.

Once the walls were ready, my amazing dad and mom came over with their tile saw to help me cut and hang the tile. Using a tile saw is hard. I couldn’t even cut one in half properly! Props to my dad for his cutting skills and to my mom for her mortaring skills. I could not have taken on this project without them. (By the way, this is the tile I used. Each tile has little nubs on the sides that made it easy to space the grout lines evenly.)

subway tile kitchen backplash

(Removing the granite backsplash made all the difference in the world!)

subway tile kitchen backplash

subway tile kitchen backplash

subway tile kitchen backplash

What did you do over the holidays? Did you take it easy, or are you a glutton for punishment like me?

DIY Gift: Mug Brownie Mix

Merry Christmas everybody! I’m taking a blogging break for the next 2 weeks, but I’ll be back with new posts on January 6th. Until then I’ll be frantically working on my 30 by 31 list, because time is running out! Before I sign off for the year I want to leave you with a quick and easy DIY gift idea.

I used to bake all the time, but once I perfected my microwave mug brownie recipe it has become the only dessert I need when I’m craving something rich and decadent. It’s really that good. I love that it only makes one, so I don’t end up with a whole pan of leftover brownies laying around to tempt me. I decided to mix up a big batch of my mug brownie mix to put in jars and give as gifts.

DIY Gift: Mug Brownie Mix

DIY Gift: Mug Brownie Mix

To make a gift-able jar of mug brownie mix, whisk the following ingredients together in a big bowl. Make sure they’re combined very well.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup cocoa powder

Then scoop the mix into a jar. The mix will make approximately 10 mug brownies, and it will perfectly fit into a 3 1/2″ x 7″ canning jar, with a half a cup of mix leftover so you can make one brownie for yourself. You’ve gotta test it out, right?

Next print out the mug brownie tag I designed for you! You can download the file right here (for personal use only please). Print it on card stock, punch a hole in one corner, and tie the tag to the jar with a bit of twine.

DIY Gift: Mug Brownie Mix

DIY Gift: Mug Brownie Mix

If you want to try out this recipe to see if you like it before making a big batch of the mix, here’s the recipe to make just one mug brownie (just leave out the caramel).