Clean Slate

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Things That Move Me + Delicious Oatmeal

So you don't have to scroll to the bottom to get to the good stuff, here is the recipe promised:

Before this oatmeal revelation courtesy of Kath Eats Real Food, I did enjoy oatmeal, just not in the same crave-it-all-day kind of way. These few little changes just blew any oatmeal I've had in the past out of the water and I needed to share pronto!

Here's my adaptation for two banana oatmeal breakfasts:

    2/3 cup rolled oats 
    2/3 cup nut milk (I chose cashew these days) 
    2/3 cup water (depending on your consistency preference) 
    1 tbsp Chia seeds 
    1 banana, sliced very thinly
      1/2 tsp. cinnamon
      Bring water and milk just about to a boil. Add in oats and Chia seeds, get it up to a good simmer and then reduce heat to low-ish. Allow oats and chia seeds to thicken for several minutes. Once they have thickened, add the banana and WHIP vigorously until the banana has blended in entirely with the oats. Cook until desired consistency is reached. Extra topping suggestions: coconut, peanut butter, or other fruit!
      Bonus tip if you happen to have apple cider in the fridge, sub that in for half the water! 

      move: to stir the emotions, feelings, or passions of

  • The past couple of months have been full of a whole variety of new. New projects, new clients, new pastimes, new focus, new weather and yet another new home. I love it all, hence the title of this blog. A clean slate often comes with new endeavors and this keeps life interesting, in our opinion. Here are some new things I've experienced and been moved by recently: 

  • Quebec City: Dylan and I joined my sister and her husband on a weekend get-a-way to Quebec City and discovered a place that we just can't wait to get back to. Surrounded by some beautiful mountains and valleys and full of so much history and people who don't let the winter get them down, the weekend couldn't have been more uplifting in the midst of winter. Highlights included an afternoon hike in Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier, a killer Moscow Mule at Chateau Frontenac, meeting this sweet donkey, Aldo, and ice skating at Plains of Abraham park. 

  • A Color Story: This is the best photo editing app I've used in a very long time. I loved VSCO, but this one takes the cake. At $8 for the full version, it's more than I typically spend on an app, but trust me, it's worth it! Here's the website to check it out. 

  • Re-visiting Personality Types! was reminded of my Myers-Briggs personality, INFJ, when a friend posted this website: Then I was led to Personality Hacker, where I was able to learn some more specific tools to manage the pain points of my personality and what traits to use to my advantage. This along with Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies Framework, has clued me into some of the serious emotions I cope with and makes me feel a bit less anxious about the fact that I may be my own boss for the rest of my life, breaking from our American norm. When I first started hearing about Gretchen's framework on her podcast, I seemed to have a lot of the qualities of an Upholder, but once I took the quiz it became clear that I was definitely a Questioner. It's interesting to delve into...  

  • Living Like Nomads: We moved into a new house to be closer to Dylan's job cutting the amount of miles he drives each day down 75% and the time away from home is much less. We're all happier about this, see sweet dog in the sun below. It's a cute 1920's house with two enclosed porches (dreaming of hammocks and meals with friends in the warmer weather), in a really nice little neighborhood on a lake with parks, beaches and tennis courts. I have a tiny little home office in addition to a spare bedroom/yoga room, though it desperately needs a coat of paint and a day of organizing.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Things That Move Me

move: to stir the emotions, feelings, or passions of

Here are a few things I've liked and loved recently:

Dylan and I are ready to share some top secret, pizza ordering/making advice. Best toppings beyond sauce and cheese: banana peppers and feta cheese. Try it and be prepared to become a believer.

The past week I've been having a Studio Sale on Instagram to clean out my workspace of random art prints and originals! Have a look, there are lots of pieces left and more coming!

This coconut pancake recipe is on my to-make list.

I set up my sewing machine Friday and made two linen pillow cases to match my beautiful Faribault Wool blanket that Dylan got me for my birthday last month. I also finally got around to making the throw pillow using my Spoonflower "Yosemite Trees and Mountains" fabric. What a great way to preserve a beautiful travel memory and remind us of everything we love when we go to bed each night.

I posted a bit of an update about my sketchbook project on my website. I'm feeling a bit lackluster about it after missing a bunch of days this month... but I know I just need to get up and start again tomorrow. Habits are hard.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Things that Move Me

move: to stir the emotions, feelings, or passions of

We've been back from our latest trip (to Peru!) nearly a month now and I promise I'll post more details about our experiences soon.

In the meantime here are a few things I've liked and loved recently:

I decided I might trade in my bread maker for a Hawaiian shaved ice machine very soon. (So much less cupboard space!)

Why didn't I post a camping cot round-up 3 years ago when I became obsessed? Remodelista beat me to it again. 

Favorite instagram feed of the moment: lizlpayne

After I mentioned The Longest Shortest Time podcast in my May 1 post did you listen? If not, go, do it now. It's moving, insightful and connects with me on some level in every episode.

Dreaming about this strawberry jam I'm going to make next week.

Really enjoying my bits of time learning different embroidery stitches. Below is my progress from the past couple of months.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Things That Move Me

move: to stir the emotions, feelings, or passions of

Orange Rhubarb Butter by Food in Jars : My garden is going strong and I had some rhubarb that I needed to do something with before we went on vacation tomorrow, so I made just a tiny little batch to spread on toast this morning. It sure did hit the spot. Even as it was cooking the rhubarb smell in our kitchen was so nostalgic. It sent me right back to chewing on stalks of it as a kid.

Kale Salads: Toasted Bread & Parmesan and one that a friend told me about:
  • Kale 
  • Pine Nuts
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
I make this at least twice a week! I chop the kale really finely, think tiny paper shreds. Then, in a bowl, I drizzle it with olive oil and toss with sea salt. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet until they are aromatic and golden. Top the kale with an abundance of cranberries and pine nuts. Some days I add a little parmesan or feta depending on what I've got. 

Mountains: We're headed to the Andes this week and I'm just about packed. If you live near mountains, I really, really envy you. Growing up in the midwest makes Dylan and I those people picking their jaws up off the ground each time we visit a place with elevation and peaks. 

My new love of embroidery has led me to Sashiko style stitching from Japan.

Reversible Placemat Tutorial. Image source: Pearl Bee

Beautiful examples of multicolor stitches. Image source: Jurgen Lehl Etc.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Things That Move Me

move: to stir the emotions, feelings, or passions of

Etiquette for the Childless Friend as mentioned on The Longest Shortest Time podcast.

Have you used Apple Cider Vinegar on your hair?

Intrigued by this Unstainable White Shirt on Kickstarter. I really want the tee, but trying so hard not to buy new.

I listened to an interview with Zelda Williams on The JV Club podcast and she seems like the smartest and coolest girl ever.

This Mexican Grilled Avocado Toast has my mouth watering!

My Instagram is going to be full of things photographed on my new white marble table top. We gave our hand-me-down coffee table an upgrade with this $35 piece that I found on Craigslist last weekend. I can't believe it just happened to fit it perfectly – it was meant to be.

Have a great weekend! The temps here in southeast Michigan are going to be in the mid-70s and I can't wait to lay in the hammock and read for hours.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Things that Move Me

move: to stir the emotions, feelings, or passions of
I'm always sending out links to various people as I read, hear or stumble upon interesting things. If you've ever worked with me or are a close friend, you've probably received an email from me that said something like, "I saw this today and thought it was amazing. Check it out." The more I think about my habit of doing this I realize that if I compiled these images, links and ideas into a blog post each week it might be a way of reaching people who appreciate similar things. So, this is the start of something. I'm not sure if it will last long, or become something bigger, but it's a small meaningful list of things that I hope will move you like they did me.

Iceland is Gloomy by Carol Devine (The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is calling me back...)

I discovered and have fallen completely into the immense amount of information and podcast interviews...

My hometown hockey rink, Pullar Stadium, has made it to the finals of the Kraft Hockeyville  contest!

I'm learning how to embroider for The 100 Day Project. I use this website a lot to explore different types of stitches. I post a new image of my progress on Instagram daily.

If you want another weekly list of links to click through, check out Herban Girl's Sunday Stuff posts. They lead me so many awesome places and I learn so much.

This AirBNB island farm retreat is at the top of my list for a west coast trip.

image from AirBNB

On a whim I purchased a Botanical Interests seed sprouter from my local nursery while picking up some top soil. I'm getting ready to enjoy my first pita topped with them! If you want a more inexpensive, DIY method with a mason jar and cheese cloth take a look at this post on Food 52 and this one. If anyone has any recommendations for online sprouting seed sources I'd love to hear!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Terrarium Instructions 2.0 (In 1 Hour or Less!)

Chances are you've stumbled upon this blog because of my first iteration of these terrariums from 2011! It was such a surreal experience seeing them gain momentum as Pinterest transitioned from a beta site to a full blown worldwide influencer. The post has brought over a million people to this site, so I thought it only fair that I give a bit of an update on my terrariums nearly three and a half years and three moves later. So here it is, Terrariums 2.0.

These are my 3.5 year old dirty, half-alive terrariums...
I hadn't repotted the terrariums at all until this point, so it's amazing anything was still alive, but there was! The first time I hadn't used horticulture charcoal because I couldn't find it. This time I ordered some from Amazon, along with small black rocks to replace the light rocks on top and really make the green plants be the focal point along with the stone collection from our travels. I've propagated quite a lot of little succulents over the years, so I didn't have to buy any new ones.

Here's a list of supplies you'll need and links to purchase some of the items on Amazon:

  • Glass Containers (my bookend fishbowls were originally from Wrapables, but I can't find them online anywhere, please comment if you track them down!)
  • Potting Soil: I used a cactus mix this time around because it's what I had handy!
  • Horticulture Charcoal
  • Succulents: I try to keep mine around 2" tall at max to start to make sure they have a little room to grow. I also only put 2-3 small ones on each side.
  • A handful of stones/pebbles for the bottom of each bowl. Mine were re-used from the last time around. I just cleaned them up before putting them back in. I also used purchased black pebbles on top to add interest and mix in with the stones from our travels.
  • Spoon: Once again I found myself using this to do most of the scooping and digging for the plants. 
The order you'll want to put the layers in is shown in the photos below: rocks, charcoal, soil, plants then decorative rocks or sculptures.

A handful of small stones or pebbles in the bottom for drainage.

2 inches of charcoal is added on top of the stones.

The amount of soil for your terrariums depends on the height of your container. I used about 4 inches.
Then in went my plants!
This is a photo of our rock collection from all of our travels: Iceland, Lake Superior, Italy, Montana, Argentina, Mongolia and more. 
The finished terrariums have found a nice sunny spot on my desk for the time being and our holding up some of my favorite books.

Monday, March 16, 2015

VIDA Scarves!

Two posts in one month! I guess that means I've either been procrastinating other things on my to-do list or I'm just feeling really ambitious.

I wanted to let you know about a recent collaboration of mine in the fashion world. I launched a collection of scarves with VIDA Voices with my surface pattern designs on them. I can't wait to receive my samples and model them myself to show you detailed shots of the beautiful quality. But until then, popover to their site and take a look at my designs. Maybe you're looking for that perfect spring accessory to liven up your wardrobe? I am definitely in need of a pick-me-up in that department. Make sure to poke around their site to hear more of their story and see more examples of their amazing products.

Check back for a giveaway as we get further into spring, but until then there are 4 days left to use the coupon code "VOICES" for 25% off your purchase. Thanks so much for all your support and kindness! 

About VIDA: VIDA Voices is a company that I'm especially proud to partner with because they are socially responsible and are incredibly mindful in their business practices. Specifically, they provide all their textile mill workers in Pakistan and India with literacy courses.

scarf pattern by two if by sea studios

Friday, March 13, 2015

Bookshelf + Chasing Paper Wallpaper DIY

It's been a while since I posted a furniture or "before & after" DIY project, but spring has sprung here in Michigan and there is nothing like a growing to-do list to get me outside. As I posted on my Instagram, 50º means throw your socks by the wayside and spray paint outside.

I bought this little bookcase for extra storage on Craigslist a couple of years ago with the intention of doing something fun with it someday like painting the inside a bold color or using some kind of material to cover it, etc. (It's little sister, Ms. Record Cabinet, got a new life a while back and you can see her enjoying the sunshine in the original post here.)

 Finally, this past fall the perfect pattern came along to spruce it up. Yep, that is kind of a pun, as you'll see further down. In case you weren't aware, I design surface patterns for various products and one of the most exciting partnerships of this past year was with the wallpaper company Chasing Paper! I designed four patterns for them and they were kind enough to send me extra samples of my favorite, Ever-so-Green, for this special project. Now, this isn't just any ol' wallpaper. It's self-adhesive, removable and reposition-able! The quality is so nice, I can't say enough good things about it and would not hesitate to cover an entire room in it.

This bookcase has become our landing strip and lives directly next to our front door so it's definitely front and center. This little refresh makes that sunny spot just a little more appealing and I just love the bright interior now. Back up... yes, we're in a new home now. In January Dylan, Nellie and I moved into a very cabin-like little house in a community between Ann Arbor and Detroit called Plymouth. We're settling into this space, which is so cozily off the beaten path and surrounded by trees and wood paneling! See the theme?

Below are some photos of the steps I took to complete this project. I decided to spray the interior of the bookcase white with Rust-oleum Paint &  Primer, first to cover the shelves and make them all clean looking and second, to create a nice smooth surface for the wallpaper to stick to. I decided to leave the exterior that retro light wood color and gave the legs a fresh coat of paint.

Then after measuring the interior spaces I wanted to cover I determined the sizes of the pieces I would need and also where the seam would be on the back piece and used a ruler and X-Acto knife to cut them. Then, one at a time, I stuck them in place. The beauty with the Chasing Paper product is that I could stick it down, peel it up, stick it down again, etc. It never lost it's stickiness!

Sidenote: no, this isn't a perfectly styled bookcase because we use all of our spaces to store things. We've only got 800 sq ft here, people, and no garage – so yes the boxes of hats and mittens need to go there. Don't judge me! :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

10 Things for 2015

As one year transitions to the next I find myself aspiring to make some changes in my life to better it. As this blog title infers we (Dylan and I) like fresh starts. We are fickle and we know it. We get restless, unsatisfied and an itch to try a new location for our home, switch our career focuses and travel frequently. And why not? Below are 10 of the things, links and ramblings included, that are part of my current clean slate.

1. Painting and Sketching : I've started a sketchbook and am documenting a painting, drawing or pattern in it every day for 365 days. You can follow along on the new Two if by Sea Studios Tumblr page or via my Instagram or Pinterest. (Hopefully the photos will be getting better once I get a new phone in a few weeks. P.S. The RENDR sketchbook's paper has amazed me so far. I can paint and draw on both sides of the paper and it doesn't bleed through.

2. Facial Massage : There's a bit of internet buzz about this right now and I've been trying to do it several times a week using a little coconut oil and a drop of tea tree oil. It feels so nice and Dylan mocks me by telling me how youthful I look while we're sitting on the sofa reading, which makes for a laugh.

3. 5 Minute Journal : The Mr. and I are both on our 5th day of this new journaling practice. So far, we're enjoying the simple addition of an extra few minutes of mindfulness each day.

4. "Ambivalence is Key to Success" (via Amy Poehler & David Simon) : Reading Yes Please right now and can't put it down... I don't want it to end. Here's my favorite part so far:

Either way, we both agreed that ambivalence is key to success. I will say it again. Ambivalence is key. You have to care about your work but not about the result. you have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look. 

Thank you, Amy. I needed that.

5. Podcasts : I've been listening to a lot of them lately while I work and while we're driving. Some of my favorites include The Unmistakeable Creative, After the Jump, The Jess Lively Show, Serial, The Splendid Table, 99% Invisible and Stuff You Should Know. Pretty much in order of enjoyment.

6. Friendships : We're planning a trip with a few of our best friends. Stay tuned.

7. Minimalism : This past year has seen a lot of purging, but we've got a ways to go. Donating and selling the nonessential has simplified choices and spaces. Downsizing to an even smaller home this week is going to take some more editing and I'm looking forward to it. Additionally, at the end of September I vowed to try my hardest to not buy any new clothes for an entire year. I can make my own, buy vintage or second-hand, or rent, but nothing new. I'm trying. Really. Hard. (I don't think underwear counts and I did have a moment of weakness after Thanksgiving when I determined I desperately needed a new pair of yoga pants without holes in them.

Unsubscribing from lots of retail email lists has helped. Pinterest doesn't help, but it does encourage me to get creative.

8. Hammocks : Seeking more opportunities to use ours and to sleep in it over night.

9. Moving to a Dirt Road : More on this later, once I unpack my camera.

10. A Slight Blog Refresh : If you're reading this on a reader, perhaps click through to to see the updates. I cleaned stuff up, but it's still in progress. It feels like a good time to start blogging more, because the ever insightful and inspiring illustrator and letterer, Jessica Hische says,
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
And blogging is one of the things I do when I procrastinate... yes, I should be working on several brand identities, my sketchbook and a couple wedding invitations right now.
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