Apple Picking and an Apple Pie

By October 30, 2014 Food, Photography

Red Barn

Last weekend we both went with our roommates to check out Doe Creek Farm. Doe Creek Farm is a beautiful pick-your-own apple orchard and event venue in Pembroke, VA. They just celebrated their grand re-opening this season. We’re so excited to finally have a place like this nearby. They have dwarf apple trees, wine, and seriously stunning mountain views.

Apple Sign

Katie Apple Zoomed Out

Katie, one of Tara’s roommates, with the first apple she picked.

Apple trees

KatherineSarah

Sarah and Katherine in the orchard.

White House

Roommates

Tara and her roommates, Katie and Nina.

Landscape

After picking about 7 lbs of apples each, Tara and her roommate, Katie, decided to make an apple pie. They used Grandam Ople’s Apple Pie recipe. This apple pie recipe is especially awesome because it involves a much different process for assembling the pie. You can find the details in the recipe, but it basically involves assembling your crust and apples into the pie pan without any filling. Then, you cook all the filling ingredients on the stove top and pour them into the pie through the lattice crust. The filling caramelizes on top of the crust and is absolutely amazing! For the crust, we saved ourselves a little time by using store-bought crust. This is a pretty liberating choice and saves so much time.

Raw Pie

Cooked PIe

So delicious! So far, we’ve made two pies, baked brie with apples, apple sauce, and muffins. Have you made any awesome apple recipes this season? We’d love to hear about it!
 

Screen Printed Halloween Cards

By October 24, 2014 Design

Blog Halloween Cards

To continue our collection of handmade holiday cards, we made some cute, minimalist designs for Halloween. Tara designed the ghost card and printed with white ink on black paper. Katherine designed the Mexican Calavera card and did a two color print with one set in purple and blue and another set in yellow and black. Below are a few pictures of our process.

measuring

katherine_printing

tara_printing

boo_progress

ink

Calaveras

Ghost

The Mountain Creative - Halloween Cards

Interested in having a card for yourself? Send us your mailing address in an e-mail and we’ll be happy to send you one! Happy Halloween!
 

DIY Exotic Bird Halloween Costumes

By October 14, 2014 DIY, Photography

Pheonix_Details

We’re so excited to finally share this DIY! We made these costumes for Halloween last year (before our blog was even born). After much deliberation on finding a costume that would be both creative and original, we came up with the idea to be exotic birds. Our group decided to be a swan, a blue macaw, a flamingo, and a phoenix (worn above by our friend Liz). For the costumes, we DIYed masks and wings and just wore clothes that matched the colors of our birds. We went to Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabric, and the Dollar Store to gather our supplies. If you use these sources, along with existing clothes, you can definitely make this costume on a budget.

our_masks

Mask_Supplies2

Mask Supplies:
-mask
-elastic string
-glitter
-feathers
-Mod Podge
-pencil
-paint brushes
 
We started by looking up pictures of our birds. After getting familiar with your bird, draw a simplified version of it’s face onto the mask with a pencil. Try focusing on the distinctive features, like stripes or colors. Then apply the Mod Podge with a paintbrush onto the masks where you want a single color of glitter. Pour the glitter on the Mod Podged area, tap the mask against the table to remove excess glitter, allow to dry fully, and repeat for each area of color. You can always touch up with a fine paintbrush and glitter or your fingers afterwards.
Mask_Modgepodge1

Mask_Glitter_Pour

Mask_Modgepodge

Mask_Glitter

Mask_Detail2

After the mask is covered in glitter and dry, it is time to add the feathers. We found our “feathers” at Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric (we bought them as they appear in the photos, these are not made out of loose feathers). Use a hot glue gun to attach them to the masks. The black swan feathers are attached to the inside of the mask while the blue macaw feathers are attached to the front. Finally, cut elastic to the size of your head and tie it to the small holes on the edge of the masks to make them wearable.

masks_row

wings

Wings Supplies:
-4 boas
-wings
-hot glue gun
 
We picked up wings and boas from the Dollar Store. We highly recommend buying these things here – boas and wings can be super overpriced from your average party or costume store. Wrap a boa around each of the 4 sections of the wings. One person can hold the boa in place, while another person uses a glue gun to adhere it to the wings. After we had the majority of the boa attached we would selectively glue spots with extra feathers to cover what was bare.
 
These costumes were surprisingly easy to make and we were very happy with the outcome. Here are some pictures from our night!

Masks_Table2

Masks_Table

Group

Birds
We hope you all have a fun Halloween!
 

Hello October

By October 1, 2014 Photography

Happy fall, friends! Here in Virginia, we’re in that funny in-between stage where it’s 50 degrees some days and 75 degrees others. Despite the varying temperature, we’ve been admiring the colorful trees that have started to show off. We’re both making an effort to spend more time outside and take more pictures this fall. The second photo was even featured on Poppytalk’s Fall Colours Instagram challenge!

Squash

Converse and leaves

Apples

Blacksburg Town Hall

Boots and leaves

Bikes

Fall sunset

DIY Ombré Vegetable Dyed Fabrics

By September 26, 2014 Decor, DIY

Fabrics Group Close Up

We have been super interested in vegetable dyeing fabrics for quite a while. Since the warm days are fleeting, we decided now was the time to try this project. This one is definitely longer and more involved than the other projects we’ve done, but it’s totally exciting and worth it. Before we started, we did a lot of research to decide how we wanted to approach this DIY. We found Free People and WikiHow to be particularly helpful. We used beets and red onions to get a lovely magenta color and turmeric for a golden yellow. Let’s get started!

 

Supplies
-62 oz white vinegar
-water
-3 red beets
-2 red onion peels
-1/8 cup turmeric
-strainer
-cheese cloth
-2 large quart sized tupperware
-fabrics for dyeing (we used these tea towels)
-3 very large kitchen pots
-2 large bins for dyeing
-hangers with clips (1 for each piece of fabric you dye)
-a place to hang the fabrics as they dry – they will be dripping! A small tree outside would work well.

 

Dyes on Stove

Beets and Onions

1. Chop your beets, peel your onions (you want to keep just the outermost layer of dry, colorful purple skin), measure out the turmeric. In one pot, bring 1/8 cup turmeric and 4 cups water to a boil. In another large pot, place the beets and onion skins in 4 cups water. This should be a 2 to 1 ratio of water to veggies. Bring both pots to a boil, let simmer for one hour.
2. Simultaneously, in your last large pot, place 2 cups vinegar, 8 cups water, and your fabric. Bring this mixture to a boil and let simmer for one hour. Rinse the fabrics in cold water and set aside.
3. Allow the dyes to cool a bit, pour the beet dye through a strainer and into the tupperware, discarding the beets and onion skins. Pour the turmeric dye through a cheese cloth and into the tupperware to remove the powder. *We did not have a cheese cloth so we skipped this step. It just means your fabrics will have a bit more residue that you will need to wash off later.
4. Let the dyes sit overnight in the refrigerator to achieve a more vibrant color.

 

Dyes

Wringing out Fabric

5. Find a large area to work where you won’t be worried about mess. If you have a yard, that would be a great place. We used Katherine’s balcony.
6. Pour the dyes into your large bins. The bigger your bin, the easier it will be to get straight lines when dipping the fabric.
7. Based on the size of your bins, fold your first piece of fabric in half or thirds lenghthwise, and clip it onto a hanger. You should be able to lay the fabric completely flat in the bin, without scrunching it up. The fabric should be wet before placing it in dye.

Pink Dipped Bottom

8. Slowly dip your fabric into the bin, leaving as much white as you want untouched. We chose to leave about 1/4 of the tea towel white. When you feel you have enough of the fabric submerged in the dye, use your finger to gently press along the fabric, creating an even line across the whole fabric for the start of your ombré. Don’t worry, the fabric will bleed and this will still make a very subtle transition. As you dip it in, allow the fabric to fold in the bin so you maintain control and prevent bunching.

Orange Fabric Technique

9. Here comes the fun part! You can sit or stand, but you will need to slowly dip the fabric up and down to create the natural ombré look, without having stark lines separating the areas of color. Start by slowly dipping almost all the way to the top line of dye, repeat this one or two times. Next, start dipping to the middle of the fabric. Spend at least 5+ minutes dipping here (lifting up and down, slowly submerging the fabric). Move on to just dipping in the bottom portion. Spend at least 5+ minutes dipping this section. Each time you dip, the fabric will hit in a slightly different spot, creating a seamless gradient of color.

10. When you finish, hang the fabric to dry. It will be dripping! Repeat this process with each of your fabrics.

Orange Dipping Close Up

Orange Fabric Full

Pink Dipping Hands

Orange Close Up

11. When you’re finished dyeing and your fabrics have dried, you can soak them in vinegar and salt to continue the setting process.

12. After they have set for another few hours, rinse them in cold water and line dry. In the future, your fabrics can be washed with cold water and mild soap, and dried in the dryer.

Fabrics Group Overhead

Fabrics Folded

Fabrics Hanging

Yellow on Chair

All in all, we really enjoyed experimenting with vegetable dyes. You could make absolutely anything from napkins, place-mats, clothes and tea towels to wall hangings. Both the onion beet mixture and the turmeric dye make incredibly vibrant and beautiful colors! While they certainly look gorgeous at first, certain dyes hold up better than others. We found the beet dye washed out to create a very dusty rose color (much different than the magenta it started as), but the turmeric maintained its vibrant gold even after washing. These may not hold up as well over time as chemical dyes. Good luck!

Tomato Cucumber Salad

By September 19, 2014 Food

In Blacksburg, Va, we are lucky enough to enjoy our local farmers market twice weekly, year-round. I’ve found that Wednesday is the perfect day for me to stop by on my walk home from class. On my last visit, I picked up some beautiful heirloom tomatoes, a bag of spinach, two pears, and one very large cucumber.

Farmers market finds

I was most excited to make something with my heirloom tomatoes. Farmers have grown heirloom tomatoes for generations, predating the use of modern genetic breeding to develop tomatoes with disease resistance and uniformity. Many consider heirloom tomatoes to appear more natural and to have a better flavor.
 
I decided that instead of making a Caprese salad, my usual tomato side dish, I would switch things up and make a light, refreshing tomato cucumber salad.

Tomato stack

Heirloom tomatoes

First, I cut the tomatoes into wedges, sliced the cucumber, and diced one quarter of red onion. Then I tore apart two sprigs of basil and added about 1/2 cup of feta. For the dressing, I combined extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and red wine vinegar. Finally, I seasoned with salt and pepper.

Tomato cucumber salad

Salad close-up

It hit the spot! I guess you can’t go wrong when you’re simply tossing a salad. Have any favorite tomato dishes you’d like to share?
-Katherine

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