Home Decor with a Personal Twist

A really easy way to decorate your home is with artwork and a really fun, cheap way is to visit one of the many painting shops that have popped up everywhere recently.  I have now been to three different places that provide this service and for the most part they are a great evening out.  Generally the gist is that they provide all of the supplies for painting (canvas, brushes, paint, apron) and usually there are alcoholic beverages involved which helps get the creative juices flowing and reduce your artists’ anxiety.  They have an example in front and the artist does a painting along with everyone as they explain how to go about doing the selected painting.  Of course if you are brave you are welcome to change your own painting how you want or paint something completely different.

If you are located in the Denver area I would highly recommend Canvas and Cocktails.  I have been there twice and both times it was a blast.  You get one free glass of wine to get you started and the staff is really upbeat, positive and helpful when you have questions.

http://www.canvasandcocktails.com

I went there for the first time with my husband and we did this painting together.  We like to do it that way because we don’t want two of the same painting in our house.

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We have found that we each have our strengths when it comes to painting and we take turns to accommodate those strengths.  Jack is good at the details in the paintings and I am better a planning the painting out on a larger scale and doing blending.  We have talked to other couples and some people think they wouldn’t be able to paint together.

 

This painting I did myself at another small business in the Denver area.  It was a nice place because she booked smaller groups and provided more one-on-one instruction.  Also, because of the small group she was able to give instructions to different paintings at the same time.  So everyone was able to pick different paintings and have the same amount of instruction.  Unfortunately she is not in business anymore.

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Another way to do this is to just look online at the paintings that are available at the canvas painting shops and do it your self at home.  That is how I did this painting.  One nice thing about hand picking the painting you are going to do at home is that you can match it to the color palete or theme for the room that you want to hang it in.   I had this one in my office at the school I used to work for and one of my students told me that she was going to steal it she liked it so much!  Luckily she didn’t follow through with that.

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Some tips for diy:

-Start with the background and move forward from there with more and more details.

-Pick something simple if you have little or no experience.

-Don’t obsess over the smallest details.  Don’t consume yourself with “mistakes”, you will find they vanish as you finish.

-Stop every once and a while and step back and look at the painting from farther away.  That is how you will look at it most of the time anyway.

-If you don’t like what you have done you can always start over new. Just let it dry and paint it white and try again.

-If you are unsure about doing it without instruction go to a shop for a trial run.  My husband didn’t think he could paint and now he loves painting and the only instructions he has ever had was at painting shops.

Another fun way to celebrate a big event is to get a big group of friends and family to go paint together.  That was one of the things I did for my bachelorette party on my wedding weekend. This was the painting we did at Canvas and Cocktails that day:

 

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Canvas and Cocktails

As you can see, everyone’s turns out a little different.

 

Here are two more that Jack and I did together at a local Seattle company that I would not recommend.  They gave us a hard time about wanting to paint together even though we told them ahead of time that we had planned on doing it that way.  We didn’t want two of the same painting for our house.  Also the canvases they provide are very small.  I do like how both of them turned out though.

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-Callie Ham

Getting Back on the Wagon

Falling-off-the-wagon

During my posting hiatus I had somewhat of a workout hiatus as well.  I took about a month break surrounding our purchase of the new house.  But during that time I was very active with packing and moving.  After a period of not working out sometimes it can be difficult to begin again.  For me, knowing that I have an event I am committed to helps me stay motivated and make the time to train because when that day comes if I have not trained it will be a lot less enjoyable.  If I don’t have an event coming up I can’t seem to find the time or motivation to consistently work out.  I have found what I need to do to stay on the wagon.  When I don’t have an end goal or event I tend to find myself in the gym wondering what I am doing.  I ask myself what is the point?  I usually get on a elipical machine for 30-45 minutes do some lifting but I never stick with it because I don’t know what I am working toward.  It feels monotonus and like a chore to get the work out finished rather than a journey to an end goal.  I have been back on the wagon doing my triathlon training now consistently for about 3 weeks.  The triathlon is less than a month away and I am feeling really good about it!   What keeps you on the work out wagon?

Current weight:  139

-Callie Ham

 

Lindberg Lingonberry Cocktail

Yesterday was my husband and my anniversary so I thought I would post the recipe for the signature cocktail we had at our wedding.  It is named after my mother’s maiden name, which is fitting because she is Swedish and the cocktail has a Swedish twist.

Recipe:

  • 6 parts Citrus Vodka
  • 4 parts Lingonberry Drink Concentrate
  • 1 part Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
  • 12 parts Water

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As I have said before I recommend Svedka vodka.  My husband prefers the flavor (I can’t tell the difference) and it is reasonably priced.  The Lingonberry Drink Concentrate can be bought at your local IKEA.  Do we see the Swedish theme?  It was also perfect for the wedding because the ingredients matched our wedding colors (yellow and red).

When we made it for the wedding there was a whopping 5 gallons that was all drank, before we finished with the photos I might add, and Jack used the power drill and a stirring rod he made to mix it.

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Cheers!

-Callie Ham

Back online…

I took a short hiatus from posting due to various happenings in my real life.  Here is a quick update with everything that happened since my last post.

In the beginning of April we had a visitor in town.

While Kate was here went to a waterfall, visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, went to the top of the space needle for lunch and listened to some live music.

Kate

Throughout April my husband and I began our search for a house to buy.  Which included several meetings with a loan officer, weekends filled with looking at potential dwellings and many conversations amoungst ourselves discussing if we would be able to handle the financial burden that homeownership brings.

In May we had visitors in town for one weekend.  We rode on a farris wheel, visited Pike’s Place market, and ate really yummy food.  Surprisingly we only took 1 photo the whole weekend they were here.  It happens to be very appropriate since it depicts how our friend feels about infants.

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We went to a Rodrigo y Gabriela concert at the historical Paramount Theatre.

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We went to Oklahoma for a wedding another weekend.  While we were there we had a chance to visit one of the many Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives featured on Guy Fieri’s show in Oklahoma City and we visited the Oklahoma City bombing memorial.

http://www.cattlemensrestaurant.com

And at the end of the month we moved into our new house.

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We commemorated the event by popping a bottle of champagne on the roof and lighting a floating candle lantern and watching it drift off.

June consisted of quickly getting settled into our new house (mostly).  There is still more boxes to unpack and rooms to organize.

We had another visitor 2 weeks after we closed on our house.  While Jaron was here we went on a hike, and saw humpback whales!

Whale

And I finished up my school year and settled into my summer off.

-Callie Ham

Recommended Sugar Intake

A while ago I was listening to NPR and heard a story about the negative effects of having a high sugar diet.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/03/271130613/sweet-tooth-gone-bad-why-22-teaspoons-of-sugar-per-day-is-deadly

According to the story women should have 6 teaspoons and men should have 9 teaspoons, but generally it is best to stay under 10 teaspoons a day.  It became complicated because on all food labels sugar is measured in grams instead of teaspoons.  So, I had to figure out how many grams of sugar are in a teaspoon.  There are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon.  So basically it is best to stay under 40 grams of sugar in a day.

I have kept track for the past 18 days if I have stayed under the recommended number and without changing any habits I stayed under in 12.  It was really easy to go over the amount with one soda, dessert or a combination of snacks.  With that being said, so far it seems that my instincts guide me well when it comes to eating mostly healthy.

Current weight: 139

Lemon Vodka Drop

Last weekend my husband and I were having some new friends over and I was really excited to try out my new bundt pan so I found a great recipe on Pinterest.  One of the ingredients was limoncello and I got to thinking about creating a new mixed drink with limoncello and Lemon Vodka Drop was the result!

Ingredients:

  • Sprite
  • Limoncello
  • Citron Vodka

Directions:

1. Fill your glass mostly full with ice cubes.

2. Mostly cover your ice cubes with vodka.  I use Svedka because it is affordable but high quality.

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3. Add a splash of limoncello.

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4. Fill the glass the rest of the way with sprite.

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4. Enjoy!

The drink does go wonderfully with the cake as well.  Here is the link to the recipe:   http://vikalinka.com/2013/10/24/raspberry-limoncello-cake-with-mascarpone/

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-Callie Ham

Garlic Infused Grapeseed Oil

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Years ago I bought garlic grape seed oil at a winery and loved using it to cook.  I have been on the hunt for another bottle since running out and have been unsuccessful in countless grocery stores and specialty shops.

A few months ago I decided to go ahead and try to make my own.  I bought a small bottle of grape seed oil (8.45 fl. oz.) and coarsely chopped 4-5 garlic cloves and shoved them in the space remaining in the new bottle.  I left it to sit for 2 and a half months and tried it for the first time this morning.  It worked out wonderfully.  When you cook with this oil the garlic gives the kitchen a wonderful smell and it gives your food a mild garlic flavor.

The grape seed oil has a high smoking temperature so you can use it for almost anything.  This morning I used it to heat up some sausage links and then added some butter to the pan to cook eggs over medium.  It is also really good for roasting vegetables, sautéing fish or for dipping crusty bread in with some cracked pepper added of course.

-Callie Ham

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