Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wild Plums

Hello everyone!

Its harvest time right here in my own backyard today! I have a wild plum tree that resides in my back yard, well, it's actually the neighbors tree. The stalk is in their yard, and the branches are in mine! Lucky for me! Besides, the house next door is empty, so there is no one to share the bounty with anymore.

 And it is just bursting with big delicious organic purple plums! Just Good 'ol Mother Natures gifts. I couldn't believe how many there are this year, so I have been picking and bagging, and sharing this harvest with my lucky neighbors today.

There is just no way we can possibly eat them all.... So I must share!!!

I have been nibbling on these for a week or so, so delicious and fresh. Perfect in the morning with bananas.....

Look at how pretty they are when the sun hits them just so....

The neighbors bulging bag of plums. They were all so grateful to receive them, but I was the grateful one to give them....

I would have liked to have presented them to my neighbors in a pretty little package, but was running short on time today, so they just went into a plastic grocery bag. I don't think they minded, but I always think about that sort of thing.... It's my disorder. I cannot just send a plain package in the mail either, I have to embellish it somehow. I know it's silly, but that's just me....

A perfect little late night snack ... I even ate them for dinner 2 times this last week, with some cheese and  a few slices of ham and crackers.

I found a great little recipe for Plum Jam on Chef in You's website

Prep Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Yield: Around 3 pint sized jars


 About 5 cups of plums, chopped and pitted

 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice

 1 packet powdered fruit pectin

 1 cup honey ( depends on the sweetness of the plums. Increase/decrease as per taste. I have used honey for enhancing the nutrition. You can use sugar instead)

 1/2 cup water


Mix the plums, pectin and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pan and cook in medium heat
The plums will start liquefying slowly.
While slightly mushy, add 1/2 cup water, stir well and cook until it comes to a boil.
Remove the foam that forms on the top. Another tip to make the foam go away easily would be to add a little butter.
Add the honey or sugar, mix and cook for another 10-15 minutes until it all starts coming together as one thick syrup consistency.
Alternatively with soapy water, clean the Jam can well, along with the lid. Lightly dry it and then drop them in a big pot of water. Bring them to a boil. Make sure your jars are submerged well.
Lift them carefully (don't burn your hands) and lightly dry them with paper towels. They should feel hot since it will make sure that the bottle does not break when your pour the jam inside. Slowly pour the jam into the Jar up to about 1/2-1/8 inch on top. Leftovers in the pan are a dream! why? Your fingers will tell you ;-)
Close the lid tightly and invert the bottle to help the Jam set well for about 5 minutes.
Now slowly place it, straight up, inside the hot boiling water and leave it for another 5-8 minutes. This is done/necessary cos if skipped the Jam will spoil. If you live in higher altitudes, then leave them for about 10min. Too much boiling can make the plums too soft.
Remove them, let it cool. Refrigerate them. Enjoy them with your toasts or any other recipe you like :) All this may sound like a long process, but believe me, once done the satisfaction that it gives every time you scoop a spoonful is unparalleled!
 I really should take the time to do this, what a treat at Christmas time to have some plum preserves at hand! Or even some plum chutney for Thanksgiving would be nice too!
On Martha Stewart's website There are some delicious recipes for plums too! Like this lovely Tapioca Pudding with Glazed Plums... Yum!

Or these easy Grilled Plum Kebabs with Vanilla Ice Cream... a tasty little desert that can be completed in only minutes! 

Well, who knew there were so many things that one could do with plums!

There are just so many great recipes you can find online now, with wonderful photos, which I love!

I shall have fun trying some of these recipes, and finding more delicious ways to use up all these little beauties from the nature gods.

Enjoy the Day and be thankful for the all little things that make you smile....

Xo ~Susan


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Giving Flight & Giving Back 1st Anniversary Blog Hop

One year ago this month I was working at a dead end job that was paying the bills, but was physically making me ill to go there each day. It was sucking the life out of me... Such negativity on a daily basis. I was suffocating, It was aweful, I'm sure you could imagine....

I had always been creative, but wasn't sure of what I needed to do in order to achieve my dreams of being recognised like all those wonderful artists that have their beautiful artwork grace the pages of Somerset magazines, and art shows, and seemed to be so happy being able to do what they love and share their gifts with the world.

A friend recognised my eagerness to make a drastic change in my life,and sent me a link to Kelly Rae Roberts e-course. I had never taken an e-course, nor was I anywhere close believing I was a true artist.I just knew that when I was creating, it was as if my soul would sing.

This was an amazing gift that was right in front of me, it was as if the universe was hearing my pleas and my quest for answers and it flew right into my lap...everything was telling me that this is what I needed to do. I decided I NEEDED to take the e-course with Kelly Rae Roberts on Taking Flight, Giving your creative Business Wings, and I can honestly say that my life has been ever changed since.

From the course we received personal attention and mentoring from Kelly Rae Roberts, a PDF to keep forever and a private Flying Lessons "Fly Tribe" Face Book Group.
Hundreds of creatives took this course and the outcome that has come from this amazing group of women has been amazing beyond words. We have supported one another through our creative journeys and personal circumstances. A sisterhood and a bond that will never be broken. A place that is safe and positive and uplifting. I just can't say enough to express the gratitude I have for my Fly Tribe.

Wonderful things have happened for me since taking this course. I have given myself the title of "Artist" and I believe in myself and of the goodness that is inside of everyone of us....

  I have achieved goals that I did not think were possible a year ago. I ditched that crummy job. I have practiced Kindness and positive thinking daily, I have had my name published in the pages of those magazines I greatly admired, I have had artist interviews, and been the featured artist on numerous blogs and websites, and have been given the confidence of putting myself, and my work out there. I an involved with many art swap groups, and have met the most amazing people, I opened up an Etsy shop, where I SELL my artsie creations, and started my blog. Doors that were once closed are opening up and I am loving this journey that I am on.

In celebrating my gratitude, and thankfulness for the gifts that I have received this past year, and, with the help and support of my  "Fly Tribe", we have been on a mission to "Give Back."

Some of the ways that I have achieved this personal act of giving is to create Mail Art post cards that will be delivered to Rehab and Long Term Care Hospital Residents in San Francisco. I couldn't imagine the struggles that these beautiful souls encounter on a daily basis, and to be able to add some color to their world and lift their spirit with art, is a wonderful feeling.  This is an ongoing project, and if you are so inclined to send some art their way, you can find the link Here.

Another fantastic group I am involved with for "Giving Back", is a Face Book group called Art Abandonment. Little works of Art are being abandoned in various places throughout our neighborhoods and public establishments as gifts. There is a site address for the recipient to leave a message, if they are so inclined to do so, saying that they received the gift and how they felt about it. There is something so exciting about this act of giving, because you don't want anyone to see you leaving your gift. Fun and Exciting, Kindness and Compassion at it's fullest. You can join this open group Here.

Another way WE are "Giving Back" is just so exciting!!! I can hardly wait to share this one!!!


As our Fly Tribe has all joined hands and taken flight, we wanted to do something BIG!!!  A way to Thank our mentor for giving us such strength, guidance and confidence, creating our tribe, and giving us wings...

 Kelly Rae Roberts is offering this Taking Flight e-course for the LAST time. This course starts September 17th, 2012.  A link to her course is Here.

We have achieved an amazing accomplishment and are proud to announce that WE have raised tuition for 8 courses to this amazing life changing class. And the generous Kelly Rae Roberts herself, is MATCHING the tuition for 8 more students!!! That's 16 Free CLASSES that the lucky winners will receive so far !!!! Winners will be selected by submission letters explaining their Wish to take flight. There is also a donation link if you so desire to add to the contributions to help someone achieve their creative dream!!! Kelly will announce the winners on August 29th,2012 on her blog. Best of luck to the winners!

This is just so amazing to be part of this generous movement and I am just so, very thankful, to have found such an outstanding group of positive and inspirational spirits...

Hop over to see some of the other outstanding acts of kindness as others are sharing the ways they are "Giving Back" too!

Here's the LINK to the hop!!!

~Susan Xo

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crown Me

Hello again! These summer weeks are rolling by faster and faster... I feel I am behind a bit keeping up with my blog. Thank You for having patience with me:)

We have tons of projects going on around here, and lots of swaps to do too!! Busy Busy!!

I wanted to share a quick post today of some crowns I recently completed. The concept came from a roll of chicken wire I had out back, and wondered what I could create with it... And then BOOM it hit me Crowns!!!

 I added tons of vintage paper flowers, vintage millinery,vintage buttons, found treasures and crepe paper. I had a box of Christmas stuff, and decided to use some of the finding from the box as embellishments. I love the mixture of the aged silver and gold together, and a dash of creamy white. That color palette holds magic for me... I Love it!!!

For this crown, I created for a Fall Faerie Crown Swap... It was fun pulling out the oranges and velvet leaves for this one...

 Mosses, berries,sparkling copper and velvet leaves, butterflies, feathers, and a  fall faerie are embellished on the front and sides... I hope they like it!

This one was really fun to make!!!

A Queenie Crown... I love this little crown! Again with the same color palette of whites,silvers and golds, because I just love the silver and whites together...

White dipped roses in German Glass Glitter, silver leaves,white feather clusters,vintage tinsel, and a Happiness banner created from vintage sheet music. I backed the butterfly with a coordinating paper, since you can see it from the back.

I added the Queen at the top, using the same German Glass Glitter around the edges, and German Scrap at the top, I then attached it with a gold pipe cleaner...

Oh so fun!!! I hope you enjoyed my little crowns today... You can find some of these listed in my Etsy Shoppe too! www.etsy.com/shop/flutterbeforeyou  here's the link for you:)

Until next time, much love to you and yours....


Thursday, August 2, 2012

ATC Love

Happy Thursday everyone! Today is going to be a Great day, can't you just feel it? The sun is out, the birds are singing and I have been able to have a few days for artsie fun in the studio. I can't think of anything better! well... OK maybe some delicious chocolate, but anyway...you get my point. Ha! Ha!

I thought I would share a few ATC's and artsy bits with you today... These little ATC's I created for a private swap... I just lOve these Cupi Dolls!

 So much fun to make ATC's, little mini works of art. An ATC if your not familiar with the term, is an Artist Trading Card. They measure usually 2 1/3" x 3 1/2". They are made specifically for trading with other artists. Not for sale. Some people make ACEO's that they do sell.

For me creating art to give to someone, helps me be a better artist. I am always mindful of what I am creating, and think of how that person will feel when they receive my gift. It makes me try a little harder knowing, that the art they receive from me, is a reflection of a little piece of me and my love for creativity.

I just love faeries and sprites. They are one of my favorite things to create. I love the whimsy and the fantasy of my magical made up world!!!

This was a fun little replica of a book ATC I created, Oh so fun!!

 These are just a few I wanted to share with you. If your ever up for doing a swap, just let me know. I love trading!!!

Wishing you Happiness for the rest of your day.... until next time....Much love.