The Blog

Happy Friday!

We’ve been busy, busy, busy over here, but when I stumbled upon this article about growing peonies by Kinfolk Magazine, I had to share. If I picked a favorite flower, it would be ranunculus, but peonies would be a veryclose second. We even had all the bouquets at our wedding made of peonies. They looked like clouds of pink molded onto green stems.

peony

Photograph by James Fitzgerald III

Can you imagine having a field like this to walk through? It makes me want to drop all this printing and run outside to plant all day (though, in Alabama, I would get serious heat stroke!). For more information about how you can grow a yard full of peonies yourself, or just to see more pretty photography, check out the article here. It has lots of great information, from ant troubles (who knew ants liked peonies?), to ideal conditions and when to plant.

Happy Friday, all!

A Baby, A Quilt, and Loads of Love

In July, some dear friends of ours celebrated the birth of their first child, Claire.

claire

To help them celebrate, we did what any letterpress-loving souls would do. We printed their announcements! But before we get to those, I thought we could take a day and revel in the beautiful photographs that Shea Halliburton took of little Claire.

claire

And the quilt! Oh, how we love that quilt. We had it made especially for Claire by Katie Bowlby, another friend who happens to be exceptionally talented. The patterned fabrics are hand-printed by Maze and Vale, one of my favorite fabric designers. Katie and I worked together to develop a design and color palette that we thought Claire and her parents would like (Claire’s gender was a surprise, so the quilt needed to be gender neutral). We were thrilled with the results.

claireThis little girl is going to be mighty spoiled, you guys.

Stay tuned for pictures of the baby announcements we designed just for Claire!

Photos: Photography By Shea  |  Quilt: Katie  |  Fabric: Maze and Vale

The August Break #1

august break 1

Day 1: Breakfast.

Breakfast during the work week is almost always something fast. I need to get up, get out, and get going. Green tea is a daily occurrence though, the ritual that I have each morning. I never fell for coffee the way my cohorts have, probably because my roommate wasn’t a coffee drinker in college and, thus, we had no reason to have a coffee maker. The delayed coffee experience has made it so that I am still able to rise without the need for a rush of caffeine. Coffee is an occasional treat or late-night road trip helper.

But the weekends. They are different. Weekends are when B and I cook ourselves a wonderful meal: eggs with stone-ground grits and homemade biscuits, strata with squash and kale, whole wheat waffles with pears, cinnamon rolls dripping with cream cheese icing. Weekend breakfasts are special rewards for the hectic pace of the week. and we look forward to them every time.

To find out more about the August Break project, click here.

ABfooter1

The August Break 2013

Hello friends! Have you heard of the August Break? No? Neither had I until recently, but I’m pretty excited by it!

august break

I’ve heard of photo-sharing challenges online before, but none has sparked my interest like August Break. It’s a photo prompt/challenge begun by Susannah Conway. In Susannah’s words, “This is all about being present and enjoying taking photos just for the hell of it.” Ohh, see? I like that! And seeing as how I’m not the greatest at updating this here blog, I figured a digital kick in the pants might be needed! 😉 So why don’t you come along with me this August as I attempt to post one photo a day following Susannah’s helpful prompts:

susannahconway_theaugustbreak_2013_hashtag1

Umba Box Surprises

A few weeks ago, we were thrilled to receive an e-mail from the kind folks over at Umba Box (soon to be known simply as Umba). If you aren’t familiar with Umba, it’s a monthly subscriptions service that sends a box of delightful handmade items to their subscribers each month. Isn’t that a wonderful idea? What a fun way to treat yourself or someone you love every month instead of just once!

heartmade lifeimage from Heartmade Life

So, Umba reached out to us. They explained that they had a last-minute opening, and would we like to contribute some cards to be included in an upcoming box? The turnaround time was super-duper quick, but we managed to provide them with some Happy Little Note cards, and are so happy that we were able to be included!

bluehappynote1So, if you’ve never heard of Umba, I encourage you to check them out. And thanks to Umba for reaching out to us! We were so happy to be included and share our work with their subscribers.

Yum! Pimiento Cheese BLTs

happyeatslogo

When we’re not working behind the press, we love to cook and try new foods. So, we thought we’d start sharing some of our recipes with you in a new series: Happy Eats! Today we thought we’d share a recipe for Pimiento Cheese BLTs. This simple recipes makes a Tupperware full of pimiento cheese that you can keep on hand throughout the week for speedy lunches and snacks (and even a burger topping or two!). The original recipe is from Southern Living magazine a few years back. We loved it so much we kept it bookmarked for those hot summer days when nothing hits the spot quite like pimiento cheese.

blt1

First, fix yourself a big batch of pimiento cheese. This recipe substitutes roasted red bell peppers for the pimientos (peppers, for those who aren’t familiar). Because we normally have a jar of roasted red bell peppers on hand, it works well for us.

After mixing up the cheese, let it chill for a few hours. See how long it takes before you pull it out of the fridge to snack on. Go on, we’ll wait.

blt3

After the cheese has chilled for a bit, brown off some bacon until it’s nice and crisp, wash some fresh leaves of romaine, and slice up a Roma (plum) tomato. This sandwich is great on any kind of bread, but we love it on Publix grocery store’s French bread rolls, which are like fancy hamburger buns. Then spread the cut sides of the bottom of the rolls with a heap of pimiento cheese, and grill them off in a nonstick skillet until the cheese is nice and melty. Then pry open the sandwich, and add the lettuce, tomatoes, and bacon.

blt2

Yummm. We served it with freshly cubed watermelon. Now go on and mix up a batch! Try it on grilled burgers, with crackers or crostini, or stuffed into pickled okra. It’s like Pringles. Once you start eating it, you just can’t stop!

Tip: Always shred the cheese by hand. We’ve learned from experience that while the food processor is fast, it won’t get the same texture as shredding it by hand on a box grater will.

Roasted Red Pepper Pimiento Cheese

Originally from Southern Living magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise (we use Hellman’s with olive oil)
  • 1/2 (12-oz.) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coarse-ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 (8-oz.) blocks sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 (8-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Stir together first 4 ingredients until well blended; stir in cheese and black pepper to taste.

To Make BLTs

  1. Prepare Roasted Red Pepper Pimiento Cheese. Refrigerate 2 hours (or longer).
  2. Meanwhile, cut 1 Roma (plum) tomato into slices, wash romaine lettuce leaves, and cook desired number of bacon slices until crispy.
  3. Cut desired number of rolls in half. Spread bottom halves of rolls with desired amount of pimiento cheese. Cover with tops of rolls.
  4. Cook in a lightly greased nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until browned on both sides and cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from skillet, and carefully remove tops of sandwiches. Top cheese with tomatoes, lettuce, and bacon. Cover with tops of rolls. Serve immediately.

Free Desktop Wallpaper – Antigua

It’s happened. We’ve come down with a sad case of vacation withdrawal. So, we thought it would be fun to commemorate our trip to Antigua with a pretty desktop wallpaper. After we finished it, we thought, “Hey, why not give it away?” So we are! You can download the free desktop wallpaper below by clicking the image. Once the larger image loads, right click on it, and hit “Save Image As…” Hope you enjoy!

happypenguinwallpaper1

Vacationing in Antigua

Last week (and into this week), Bryan and I spent some time vacationing in Antigua, West Indies. What a beautiful country! We loved our time there, and thought we’d share some of our favorite images with you.

This was truly a vacation for rest and relaxation, and we’ve been so (blessedly) busy lately that we really loved it and took advantage of our down time. Now it’s back to work!