Peach Sangria

By August 21, 2014 Food

Blue Ridge Mountains

What started as a Sunday search for some summertime berry picking ended in some very sparse peach picking. Apparently, mid-August is crazy late in the berry picking season in central Virginia and every single place we called had been closed for weeks! We decided that we should just pick some peaches instead, but were almost unable to do that. One of the orchards we wanted to visit was also closed for the season, and the others cautioned us because there were so few peaches left! We were pretty determined, so we headed out to Chiles Peach Orchard in Crozet, VA anyway. We had a wonderful time walking up and down the rows of peach trees, even if there were far fewer peaches than normal. We were able to do pretty well and came away with a handful of beautiful donut peaches. They were sweet and delicious and definitely did not disappoint.

Orchard Sign

Red Wagon

Peach Tree

Katherine Picking

Dead Peach

Orchard View

Tara Walking

Once we got finished picking, we decided that making sangria would be a fun use for our little peach collection. We picked up some other berries and fruits and got to work.

 

Peach Sangria Ingredients
-3 ripe donut peaches
-1 mango
-1 pint of blueberries
-1/2 lemon
-Several sprigs of mint
-1 bottle Reisling
-approx. 2 cups seltzer water (depending on how strong you would like the Sangria to be)

 

The instructions are pretty simple. Wash all your fruit and berries, dice them, slice them, and put them in your pitcher. Add the bottle of wine and then add the seltzer. Cover the Sangria and let it sit overnight. Enjoy! We chose to make our batch a little less strong so it was super light and crisp and the perfect summer drink! The lemon and mint in particular gave the sangria a refreshing and flavorful twist. Let us know if you get a chance to make any fresh Sangria before the summer ends.

Washing Peaches

Washed Peaches

Mango Chopping

Lemon and Mint

Seltzer Water

Peach Sangria Top

Peach Sangria Cups

Peach Sangria Side

A Relaxing Summertime Playlist

By August 11, 2014 Music

Rainy Mountains

It’s a rainy, cool summer day here in Virginia. We wanted to share some mellow summertime songs to go with the mood. We hope you enjoy. Let us know which songs are your favorites or if you have anything to add.

 

DIY Colorblock Beeswax Citronella Candles

By July 28, 2014 Decor, DIY

We decided to make these candles on a whim while walking through Michael’s looking for inspiration (we find ourselves here a lot…). We knew we wanted to experiment with candles but wanted to try something that we hadn’t seen before. Welcome DIY Colorblock Beeswax Citronella Candles! We were drawn to these tiny flower pots and decided to add some citronella (a natural mosquito and bug repellent), making them the ideal outdoor candle.

Outdoors

Preparing the Paint

Painted Pots

Painted Pots

Painted Pots

Supplies:
-6 small flower pots
-outdoor paint
-painter’s tape (as we learned from not having any, electrical tape will do in a pinch! and if you remember from our geometric coasters, masking tape will work as well)
-paint brushes
-1lb organic beeswax
-candle wicks
-around 1/2 tsp of citronella essential oil
 

We started by painting the pots. Place the painter’s tape on the flower pots where you would like your block of color to end. Press down firmly. Tip: try ripping the tape lengthwise to create a narrower piece. This will help get it to lie flat on the round object. Once you’ve done this, paint the colors to your liking. We chose simple black and white as a contrast to the organic looking ceramic pots. If you try something different, show us! Let these dry and then peel off the tape.

Process

Now for the candles! We used a very makeshift double boiling technique to melt the beeswax (as if you were melting chocolate). This worked for Tara in the past with soy wax, but the beeswax really stuck to the pot! If you try this method, you might want to use an old bowl or an actual candle making pot. It took us about 5 minutes for the wax to melt fully. Next we added a few drops of the citronella essential oil (amounting to about 1/4 tsp). Although it smells very powerful at the time, the smell fades dramatically once the candles cool. We recommend adding about twice this amount.
 
Next comes the fun part! We used the metal base of the wicks to cover the hole on the bottom of the flower pot. This worked surprisingly well. Katherine held the wick steady while Tara poured in the hot wax. Then we held the wick in place with pencils or scotch tape. This was not the best method in the universe. Open to tips please! We found the wax started to crack around the wick after it cooled. We guess it’s from the wick moving around too much. Any ideas? After your candles cool, they are ready to go! The citronella should ward of the mosquitoes while you hang out on the patio.

Candles on the patio

Black and White Candles

Homemade Fruit and Veggie Chips

By July 15, 2014 Food

With summer in full swing, we’ve been craving fresh fruits and vegetables. We decided it was the perfect time to try our hands at making fruit and veggie chips. These turned out pretty well and were an awesome snack to take to work the next day. We definitely have some room for improvement but are excited to share our process with you! Here’s how we did it.

Apples with Cinnamon

Baked Apple Chips

The Fruit: Apple Chips
3 apples (we used golden delicious and fuji)
Cinnamon Sugar (2 parts sugar & 1 part cinnamon)

Directions: We don’t have a mandolin so we sliced everything by hand and did our best to get the slices as thin as possible. This is the hardest part! We placed the apples evenly on a baking sheet and sprinkled each side with the cinnamon sugar. Then we baked these at 250 degrees for around an hour, flipping halfway. The edges will start to curl up when they are finished. Use a metal spatula to remove them and place them on a cooling rack. These will still be more soft than crunchy, but are so delicious and really pretty!
Chopping Beets

Lemon with Beet Juice

Baked Beet Chips

The Root: Beet Chips
3 beets
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 clove of minced garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Slice the beets as thin as possible. Add the beets to the bowl and mix them until they are fully coated in the oil mixture. Allow them to marinate for 15 minutes or more if you’ve got the time. Place them evenly spaced on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, flipping halfway through. They will start to look darker and shrivel up a bit when they are done. Place them on a paper towel to dry out (think bacon here).

Fresh Kale

Baked Kale Chips

The Leaf: Kale Chips
1 bunch kale
Generous pouring of olive oil
Paprika
Cumin
Chili Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper

Directions: Of course! We could never forget our friend kale. We love kale. Wash and dry your kale. Chop (aka tear) it into bite size pieces, removing the stems and spread out evenly on a baking sheet. We didn’t use any strict measurements here but instead just kind of eye-balled it. First we poured some olive oil over the kale and shook the pan around until it was evenly coated. Then we just went to town on the spices! Bake at 300 degrees for around 30 minutes. Pro Tip: Be careful with the cayenne pepper- it comes out pretty fast and makes for a spicy snack.
There you have it! Our novice attempt at veggie chip making! We welcome your feedback and tips if you have any. Happy snacking, friends.

AIGA 50

By July 11, 2014 Design

aiga black

If you’re a designer, you may be familiar with AIGA but, if you’re not, we think you really should be! AIGA is a “professional association for design that’s committed to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force.” They have over 68 chapters and 25,000 members. We both joined the Virginia Tech student chapter our sophomore year and Tara will be serving as Co-President in the fall. One of the greatest perks of our memberships, is access to the job listings that are available on the AIGA website. It is an awesome resource! They also hold tons of interesting events in cities across the country. Being in DC for the summer, we decided to attend AIGA DC’s biennial design competition and exhibition called AIGA 50 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. It was a lovely night with incredible design entries and tasty appetizers and cocktails. Below you can flip through their publication of the winners.

 

We definitely recommend exploring their website to see if they have a chapter near you! In addition to job listings and cool events, your membership gives you access to many contests and (student) scholarships. This past spring, Tara and two of her classmates worked on designing a website for AIGA Virginia Tech that we can share with you when it’s live in the fall!