Enjoying and drying herbs

I was sad to clean out my garden boxes last week, but I know that winter weather is just around the corner. I had a bumper crop of herbs this year and I wasn't quite sure what to do with all of them. I decided to cut bundles of them (and a few flowers) to put in Mason jars and enjoy on my windowsill. 

They have lasted for almost a week already and they still smell wonderful. So pretty too! I've been changing the water regularly so I think that has made them last longer.

I still had even more herbs which reminded me of a very old post I put together back in 2011 about drying herbs. It was fun to dig out these photos and reminisce about this project.

I took advantage of a sunny day in October to harvest the last of our herbs. I just love fresh herbs and growing our own has been a very satisfying experience. I wanted to savor every last bit of them so I decided to dry them. I’ve talked to a friend about her method and did a little online research and ended up coming up with my own approach. After cutting the herbs, I put them into bundles and tied the ends with twine.

Don’t they look pretty? They smelled so wonderful! I hung each bundle upside down in a brown lunch bag and tied it at the top. Feel free to sing a little song here…   I couldn’t resist!

Using the bag approach makes it so the herbs are drying upside down in a dark and dry environment. It’s better than hanging them from the ceiling because the bag catches any loose herbs that drop. I’ve tried this a few times throughout the summer and it works out really well. After about 2 weeks, the herbs are completely dried out and then they can be crumbled into containers to store. You can use a mortar & pestle if you want to, but I found it easiest to just rub them between my fingers. That way, I’m able to focus just on the leaves and not get the stems mixed in.

After the herbs are completely dried out, just put them in storage containers to use throughout the winter. Bonus points if you get to use a label maker. lol!

I think herbs are my favorite things to grow. They are easy to care for, look beautiful, smell wonderful, and taste so good!

Word Dream

It's no secret that I love word art apps! I have blogged about Retype and Word Swag (I use both of them all the time), but I have another new favorite to share!

I really love the Word Dream app and I have found that there are oodles of possibilities to add fun text to backgrounds and photos. It seems to only be available for Apple devices (sorry Android peeps!) and I can't find a lot of online information to share about it. Seems to be a bit of an unknown program. I've had a lot of fun with it though and I think there are several great applications for this type of app.

Like the other two apps I mentioned, Word Dream creates a variety of word art pieces using different fonts and designs. There are plenty of options to play around with.

You can also create a piece that has a transparent background. This could come in handy for pocket scrapbooking. You can import the transparent file into an app like Over and create your own pocket cards. This post explains how to do that.

There are some unique shape designs for text. There are also some pre-made backgrounds to choose from.

bird Katie the Scrapbook Lady.JPG

Sure makes it easy to be creative!

Of course, I always love adding text and designs right onto my photos. Such a great way to get titles and journaling details right on a picture.

If you use an iPhone or iPad, I think you will have a lot of fun with Word Dream!

Memory Monday 05 - Our first kitchen

When we got married in 1991, we were both full-time students in college and had very little money. We rented a basement apartment for $275 a month, including utilities. It was a pretty good deal even back then, but it was extremely small. The house was in a very nice neighborhood so we were surrounded by people who generally had quite a bit of money. It was an interesting experience for sure and we always have felt like it helped build our character as a couple. Struggling together and overcoming those struggles do a lot to bring you together (at least in the best of cases).

This kitchen certainly was a struggle for us. We would have been happy to stay in the apartment longer than the 15 months we lived there, if we could have just both fit in the kitchen at the same time. Or if we could have had a full size oven or stove. We called it the “Holly Hobbie kitchen” because it looked like a playset and not a real functioning place to prepare food. The Japanese wall hanging on the right, led to a small backroom where we put the nearly full-size refrigerator we finally had to break down and buy.

This room was sort of an extension of the impossibly small kitchen and it is where we stored my husband’s bike, our fridge, and a desk for studying. As you can see, we also used it for ironing. We did not have a washer and dryer and had to go to the Laundromat to do our wash. These were tight quarters for us, but somehow we were able to manage. We both worked long hours and went to school so we weren’t home all that much. We used to comment that we saw each other a lot more before we were married. It really seemed that way much of the time.

These two little photos of our messy kitchen and back room bring back a flood of memories. I’m amazed to remember that I tried very hard to cook nice meals in that kitchen. I remember one time that I made gingerbread in that tiny little oven and our landlord said the smell nearly drove him insane with hunger as it creeped up through the vents. It’s a good thing I took him a loaf! We loved the people we met in that area, and we had even hosted some double date game nights there. Good memories all around, but if I had to do it over again, I have to think that I would pick a little bigger place to start out. It’s easy to say that now, but at the time we were just grateful for low rent and a place to be together.

Do you have any pictures of your first kitchen? Could you describe it to someone else? I’m glad to take some time to think about these types of things on a Memory Monday.

Free images to download

Do you ever go looking for free to download images that are copyright free? I do all the time!

You might wonder why I look for free images to download when I take so many pictures of my own? There are many reasons! First of all, I'm always on the lookout for ideas and inspiration. Looking at photographs taken by others is a great way to sharpen your eye for what makes a great picture.

I also like to use these kinds of images for my own creations. I often add word art or quotes using an app like Retype or Wordswag.

Photos can be a great starting point for other projects. I used this forest photo in the waterlogue app to create a beautiful new piece of art.

One of the most useful applications is filling spaces in a collage or on a scrapbook page.

Where do I find all these images? It's important to have a good source that offers copyright free pictures that are truly free to use. My favorite site is Photos for Class because it is family friendly. Unsplash is another great one for the same reason and the pictures there are amazing! Another approach is to search the creative commons pool on Flickr. There are other sites out there, but some of them have adult images mixed in. Others try to lock you into buying memberships. Use caution when searching the web for free photos. Make sure you are really using images that are high quality and copyright free. You will find that you can do some really creative things with a lot more pictures in your stash!


Halloween photo inspiration

Halloween is a visually stunning holiday with it's orange and black color scheme. I love collecting photo ideas by searching through Flickr photos and creating collages using the Big Huge Labs mosaic tool. Here are a few of my favorites: