I mentioned in the last post that I put together a recipe book for the family for Christmas. It was one of my most favorite projects. I always looking for new ways to share family history stories in a way that people will actually read them. Creating scrapbooks was one way, but the recipe book was an idea that just came to me in the middle of the night. So much of our family revolves around food and future generations should know these food-based stories. Like the one time my mom decided to forgo the traditional Easter dinner of ham and cheesy potatoes to do an authentic Jesus dinner with fish, figs, and dates. It did not go over well. Or the time my dad "invented" asparagus tacos. Or the procsuitto pasta that my sister made that was so good and eaten so fast that my dad exclaimed, "What did you put in this? Crack?!" You can read more about the book in the introduction pages (including where I got the title) and see some example recipes below. I encourage you all to try compiling your own!
What recipes are famous in your family?
I, Rachel, have a problem. I am a sentimentalist with an obsession for record keeping and memory preserving. Usually it's journaling, or scrapbooking, but lately it's been drawing. It all started a couple of years ago when I decided to draw maps of the places we visited when we traveled to London and Paris, which I originally drew for my mom's birthday, but also gave to my sister and cousin. Then I drew an illustrated cookbook of our family favorite recipes and the stories behind them for the entire family for Christmas. I also eventually want to have a gallery wall of places I've been or lived. The problem is that I can only draw so many things for myself and family before my sister is going to open my next birthday present to her and say, "Oh great, another drawing. Gee thanks."
But I can't help myself! I love to draw things that have meaning. I cheer when I figure out the perfect whimsical touch to add to make the illustration personal, like an inside joke. So save my sister from another drawn present. Let me help you preserve a memory!
I opened up a gift shop extension of Citrus and Mint in a separate store on Etsy (see it HERE). This personal use store focuses on custom illustrations and personalization. I will be adding many products, but the core listing is where you can get a custom illustration of your favorite place. It can be where you got married, where the proposal took place, your favorite hangout, where you met, your first house, your current house, your childhood home, your childhood hangout, etc. It doesn't have to be romantic. Fuel my obsession and get something cute out of it!
I will also be adding lots of LDS temples because I am LDS and I have lots of friends who were married in temples. These are perfect for baptism, young womens, primary, wedding, anniversary, or birthday gifts. I started with the Salt Lake temple because it seems to be the most popular, and the Sacramento temple because it is where I got married. I'll probably do the Newport Beach temple next or the Washington D.C. one, but I can be swayed :).
P.S. I will still be adding things to the CU shop, I just separated them to avoid confusion. Everything in the new shop is for personal use only.
Our Kansas City rental house was probably the smallest house I've ever seen. It was surprising that the neighborhood, which was probably built during the suburban boom of the 1950s, was so well maintained and friendly for how small the houses were. I may have regretted choosing such a small house during the seemingly never ending winter of 2012-13, but I never regretted picking a place with such a large fenced backyard. The backyard was well loved by all, especially Ellie. Not only did she have lots of space to run around and explore, but we also had lots of fun wildlife. We had a resident wild bunny, who we named Winston, living under the deck. We also had a family of snakes that lived under there too. I was not so excited about those visitors. Especially when they had babies and there were snakes everywhere...shudder.
The landlord chose to plant a grapevine in the backyard. You wouldn't have guessed by looking at the tunnel of bare sticks that sat there from November to May that the vine would suddenly wake up and flourish during the summer, producing millions of Concord grapes. At first we were excited about the possibility of saving some cash on produce grocery costs, but then we tried one and became instantly less excited. The skins were very thick and bitter, the seeds made up half the grape, and the fruit wasn't tasted like dirt. It seemed like such a waste to just let them grow and rot on the vine so we looked up some recipes and decided to try our hand at canning some Concord grape jelly.
Looking back, we probably should have done some more research before we started the arduous project. I found someone who own a de-skinner, de-seeder, juicer and bartered some cookies, or free babysitting for letting us borrow it for a weekend. Then we went out to pick grapes in the sweltering September heat and humidity (note Ellie's extremely curly hair). It was probably Ellie's favorite part. She was so "helpful" by counting the grapes and transferring grapes from one bowl to another. When we felt like we had about a billion grapes (and poison ivy like itchy rashes from the vine), I started the de-skinning, de-seeding, juicing process, which was equal parts cool and disgusting. One billion grapes and several hours later, we had a whopping 6 tiny cups of juice. Kind of disappointing. We then added what seemed like a gallon of sugar and boiled and then followed the jam canning instructions.
We let it set while John eagerly made some of his famous waffles so that we could try a taste of our hard work. It looked like jelly, smelled like jelly, but when we went to spread some on our waffles, it didn't quite spread like jelly. More like a sticky purple goopy mess. No worries, we thought, we aren't too picky about looks as long as it tastes good. I opened my mouth for the first delicious bite and...mmm, liquid purple sugar goop without a hint of grape flavor. Not our best creation, and sort of disgusting. John, being the ultra practical and frugal person that he is, kept the jars and ate grape goopy waffles for a month straight. For me, that first bite was my last, and also my last time making Concord grape jelly.
It's December 2005.
I'm squished on a couch next to a really cute guy in some random guys' apartment while his roommates move around the furniture so that they can clear a space to have a spontaneous gymnastics contest (i.e. showing off to the girls in the room). "Sometimes I think I'm the only sane one in this place" the cute guy says to me. I looked at him, and at that moment I had a very specific thought that had nothing to do with what was going on or what he just said. "This is a guy that I could marry."
It was a very random thought. I was surprised at myself. I probably turned red out of embarrassment even though he had no idea what I just thought. I had just met him. I didn't know anything about him beyond our small talk conversation that night. I was only there because randomly the heating bar in my apartment oven exploded in half and I had to bring dessert to a meeting that night. My roommate was dating his roommate and said that I could finish baking the dessert in his oven. I didn't know him. But for some reason I felt like I knew. Something was telling me that this guy was different than the guys I dated. This guy could be the one. I wasn't even a fan of "the one" theory or "love at first sight" but there I was.
It took a year for the cute guy to figure out what I felt in the beginning, but that first thought became a self fulfilling prophecy. On a beautiful snowy night after getting stuck in the snow and having to call his roommates and enlist the help of several random guys nearby to get us out, he took me up to our place at the top step of my old apartment King Henry #311, and knelt down. I don't remember what he said, mostly because I was crying, and extremely nervous that the current residents were going to come out and spoil the moment. He was the perfect guy, it was the perfect place, and the perfect question. I said yes.
I look back many times in amazement that we even came together. So many coicidences had to happen for us to meet but for however tiny and outdated apartment #311 was, I'm forever grateful for it.
Photo taken at "our place" where I lived when we first met, where we said good bye every night, where he remembered that I first said I love you (something I cannot recall), and where he proposed. What babies we were!
Today is the birthday of one of my favorite people on earth, my Grandma Carol. I owe her not only for raising my incredible mom, but also for teaching me everything she knows about art! She studied art in college and is a watercolor artist by profession.
My cousin and I were the oldest grandkids, so we got extra spoiled. During the summer, we would fly to grandma's house all by ourselves and spend a couple of weeks with her painting and reading at the beach, oh and eating lots of Brown Cow ice cream.
She taught me that there wasn't just blue; there's cerulean, cobalt, and ultramarine. Or that people didn't just have to be skin colored, trees weren't just green, and water wasn't just blue. She made us practice really looking at nature and people with an artistic eye. She always encouraged our creativity and still tells me that even the best artists create 50 versions of something before they come up with something they like. She still enters art into shows and wins! Here's examples of her fabulous work (or at least those I could get off of her facebook page, sadly all of my paintings of hers are still packed in storage).
My cousin and I collecting shells during one of those summer visits.
I was lucky to have my grandma travel with my mom and I to France where we visited Monet's house in Giverny. This is her version of Monet's Lilies.
A couple of years ago she was a missionary with my grandpa in the Philippines for two years. I love that she didn't stop painting even then and spent time teaching others her tricks!
Now her passion for art continues to the next generation. This is a painting that she did of my daughter (watercolor is her favorite medium too). The painting was selected to travel all over the state for the Utah Watercolor Society.
Happy Birthday Grandma Carol! xoxoxo
Etsy keeps sending me these emails with business tips and reminders to update my about page (a new feature on Etsy). It's supposed to help potential customers see the behind the scenes of your creation process and workspace. I looked at a few examples and oh boy, some people really work in beautiful places with beautiful supplies and sure look beautiful while doing it. I finally decided to accept Etsy's challenge and create an about page with the behind the scenes to Citrus and Mint. But I decided that if it was really going to show my true self and process to attract customers, it is not going to be beautiful. Cause it certainly isn't. One day I hope to have my office look like the one above, but for now, this is real life at Citrus and Mint.
If you can't read the captions, here they are:
-pillow place by my husband to prevent me from slouching. Doesn't work.
-Fake leather peeling off the computer chair.
-Poster board barrier to keep the baby from pulling the cords. Doesn't work either).
-Fancy "desk" made of two filing cabinets and a piece of plywood.
-Monitor raised on old college textbooks.
-A non-Mac desktop, yes they do still exist.
A close up of the beautiful "natural" finish on our desk and my red computer glasses. These were actually my first pair of glasses. You know someone's a true fan of color when they pick out red for everyday glasses! The one and only nickname I've ever had was "Mrs. Red Glasses" given to me by one of my middle school students because he couldn't ever remember my name.
Oh and don't forget my pantless "helpers". What do your creative spaces look like? Please tell me that I'm not alone in this!
Hi! I'm Rachel and welcome to Citrus and Mint! Here you will find unique hand drawn illustrations for yourself or someone you love.