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Create A Day

One creative project every day for a year

Nov-2-2012

Day 319: November Desktop Wallpaper

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Yet again, I have fallen behind on these posts. I know I say this every time, but my life is actually insane right now. Like, more busy than ever before, so you’ll have to bear with me, but I promise that this blog will be done by my birthday! At any rate, since it’s now November and I missed a couple of months, I decided to do a desktop/wallpaper pattern!

As always, I used the latest collection of Benjamin Moore colors chosen by Pottery Barn for every single color in this. A side note: I learned last night that the new CEO of Ben Moore decided to cut ties with Pottery Barn in order to finance better advertising, so while Pottery Barn will still recommend BM colors, they’re no longer officially affiliated. At any rate, I decided since all of November has us hungrily awaiting the end of the month’s Thanksgiving feast, I would use a turkey theme for this desktop. So I found a simple clip-art of a turkey and changed the colors, then changed the colors of everything else in the background. I chose to use American Typewriter as the font for “November” because, after all, Thanksgiving is an American holiday! I also added a little fall leaf to the calendar to mark when Thanksgiving day is, because I don’t know about you, but I always forget if it’s the third week of November, or what! Here’s the finished product:

As always, feel free to click on the above image to see it bigger and use it for your own computer! Here it is looking all snazzy on my desktop!

I think it turned out pretty good! I’m not sure if I’ll get turkey this Thanksgiving, but this sure makes me want some!

So, I thought I would just update you all on what’s going on in my life right now and ask you for your thoughts, prayers, positive energies, vibes or whatever you can give me! My hours at the paint store have been cut down a lot, to the point where I am forced to find a new job ASAP! I think of it as a good thing, because I really need to find something that’s better for me, health-wise, and that uses my degree more! But, I’m looking really hard trying to find something, so I’ve been traveling all over the place interviewing. I’m hoping to ┬áhave figured this all out by the end of next week, so please pray for a fast response from those I’ve interviewed with!! On top of all that, I’ve also got to figure out HOW I’ll get moved to wherever, what to do about my apartment, and until I find a job, how I’m going to pay for everything! Things are so crazy right now, but I have faith that it will all work out! So thanks to all of you… friends, family, and those who follow that I don’t even know… for being there for me!

Anna Grace

Oct-10-2012

Day 318: Fruit iPad Sketches

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the game Draw Something for phones/tablets, but it’s a really fun game sort of like Pictionary where you draw pictures for your friend to guess. It’s really addictive and hilarious and also the inspiration for this post!

I was playing a friend of mine and got the word “fruit.” Before I knew it I became inthralled in the drawing of various fruits with epic shading! She probably guessed the word way before I finished drawing, but I had so much fun that I decided to do some more drawings on my iPad without having to worry about my time in the game. I started by drawing a peach, then ended up, on a whim adding the phrase “She’s such a peach” to it. So I thought, what are some other fruit-related phrases that I could use? So I ended up with 4 drawing/phrase combos! First comes the peach…

Then I drew a slice of a lemon with “When life gives you lemons.” I think this is my least favorite…

Then I drew a couple of cherries with the phrase “Life’s a bowl of cherries.”

Finally I drew a green apple with the phrase “the apple of my eye!”

I think the apple is my favorite! I really loved playing with the layering of different shades on top of each other to get the final image! I think I’ll do some more finger doodling on my iPad :)

Anna Grace

Oct-10-2012

Day 317: Wine & Tomato Braised Chicken

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Rounding out the trio of recipes I’ve tried over the last couple weeks is the Wine & Tomato Braised Chicken I made in the slow cooker! I’ve been trying to find new recipes for the slow cooker because I can make several meals for the week in one day and just turn the cooker on and go about my day while it cooks up! I found this one and immediately knew I would love it! The recipe is up there in that link, but I’ll walk you through my experience with photos!

Here’s the sauteing of the onions in a little left over grease from the bacon…

And then with the wine and all the herbs added… it’s smelled heavenly!

In the crock-pot before cooking…

And here it is in my bowl ready for me to eat!

I couldn’t get a picture of it in the crock-pot after cooking because it kept fogging up my camera! But trust me when I say, it was a beautiful thing! And it was soooooooooo yummy! I divided it into about 8 meals and froze half of them so I can eat them later on when I’m running late to work! This was so good and easy, I definitely will be doing more crock-pot creations!

Anna Grace

Oct-10-2012

Day 316: Carrot Apple Ginger Tea Cakes from PULP!

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

As you all know, I have a juicer and I love to juice all kinds of fruits and veggies! Well I had heard that you could actually use the leftover pulp from juicing to make various baked goods! I had never done it before, but after making my roommate and I some fresh juice with carrot, apple and ginger in it, I looked around on the web for a bit and found a recipe that had exactly those ingredients in it! I didn’t have dark chocolate chips so I left them out, but I thought they were amazing anyways.

A note about baking with pulp… PLAN AHEAD BEFORE JUICING!! I didn’t think about doing this until after I had juiced, so I didn’t peel the the fruit and veggies like I should have or cut out the apple cores, so I had to pick through the pulp and pull out the bad stuff before baking… so next time I’ll plan ahead and definitely take the bad stuff out! Anyways, here’s my nicely packed and seed and skin free pulp!

I mixed all the ingredients together and the batter tasted AMAZING! Then I spooned it into the muffin tin and baked away! Here’s the finished product!

The were definitely more dense and moist than your average cake/muffin because of using the pulp, but they were so, so, so, so tasty! I brought them to work and they were a hit! Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of them outside the pan, but oh well! I think I will definitely be experimenting with pulp recipes again!

Anna Grace

Oct-10-2012

Day 315: Eggplant Casserole/Lasagna

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

So… I haven’t posted anything in awhile. I’ve had several things in the works, but haven’t had the chance to sit down and post them, so be prepared for several posts over the next few days!

Anyways… the day that the Rooms and I went to the UT Gardens and took pictures we also went to 2 farmers’ markets! At the first one we went to in Market Square I picked up a beautiful eggplant that was striped with purple and white! I’ve never cooked eggplant personally, so I scoured the web for recipes and ended up mixing a few together to create a casserole that could… sorta… be considered like lasagna… Lemme explain…

I started by lining a small baking dish with aluminum foil for easier clean-up and poured a bit of olive oil in and coated the foil. I then threw in about 1/2 tsp of garlic and scattered it all over the bottom of the dish. I topped this with a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Then I cut the eggplant into thin slices… about a 1/4″ thick?

Then I put a layer of eggplant down, then a layer of chunky tomato sauce. I had found a recipe for this where they just used canned tomatoes, and I thought why not sauce?? It makes it super soupy and hard to cut, but also AMAZING! At any rate, I then sprinkled a bit more garlic into the sauce and salt and pepper. I topped this with shredded mozzarella cheese and then pepperoni. Then another layer of eggplant…

And just kept layering it until it was full! I ended up needing to do 2 dishes because I had a very big eggplant! Here’s before baking…

And then after baking for about 30 min at 350 degrees…

SO YUMMY!!! I have to tell you that this was sooooo good, but also super filling and super duper messy! I tried to cut it into squares like a normal casserole, but it was so much sauce that it just was soupy. We switched gears and got out bowls to eat it instead of plates and served it with garlic texas toast.

I think I may have went a little overboard with the sauce, but it was yummy and made several good meals for us! Here’s my recipe without all my stupid chatter for you in case you want to make it yourself!

Eggplant Casserole/Lasagna

1 large Eggplant cut into 1/4″ slices

1 Tbsp Olive Oil (roughly)

4 tsp Garlic (roughly)

1 large jar Chunky Tomato Sauce

2 1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella

1 bag Sliced Pepperoni

Salt

Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking dish with foil then coat with olive oil. Spread about 1 tsp of garlic into bottom of dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Line dish with a layer of eggplant then top cover with a little sauce. Mix about 1 tsp of garlic into sauce layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top this with a handful of mozzarella cheese then a layer of pepperoni. Repeat the layering process of eggplant; sauce with garlic, salt, and pepper; mozzarella and pepperoni until dish is full.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 or until eggplant is soft.

I hope you like my recipe! If you want something a bit healthier, you could opt for turkey pepperoni or just put it on top not all the way through. To make it a little less soupy, try doing sauce every other layer or use canned tomatoes instead… but you’ll miss out on the sauce flavor! I opted for Ragu’s chunky garden medley.

I thought this was really, really yummy, so I hope you like it, too!

Anna Grace

Sep-25-2012

Day 314: Untitled Work in Progress

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

The other day I was flipping through one of my old notebooks and came across something written in the margins. It said, “You’re going to blab it to the world with the expression on your face.” Now, I have no idea why I wrote that down years ago, but that phrase inspired me to try and write my own song. I’ve never really written a song on my own, so I’m not sure how good it is, but it’s been interesting trying to piece lyrics, vocals and chords together. This is definitely a work in progress… I don’t even have a title for it yet! But I thought I would share where I am now.

I started by just writing phrases and ideas that I wanted to include in the lyrics. I had a specific rhythm for the verses that I knew wanted to do immediately, so I fit the words into that and then went from there! The chorus was a little bit harder, but I knew I wanted it to be much smoother/slower than the verse, so I played around a bit until I liked it. Keep in mind that when I originally wrote out these lyrics it was a night that I couldn’t sleep at like 4 am, so I couldn’t really sing them for fear of waking my roommate. I ended up doing a whispered recording of it just so I would possibly remember then rhythm the next day. Then today, I started singing it a few times a cappella and recording it until I liked the flow of it. Then I got out my ukulele and figured out a good key and chords to go with it! This recording is just a bare bones single track with very little uke (my fingers were getting really sore from playing through it so many times!!) just to sort of document my progress, but I think you can get an idea of how the song will be.

Untitled

I’m not sure how I feel about the bridge just yet, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made today. I don’t expect this to be a chart topper or anything, just something that’s purely for my amusement, but I would appreciate any feedback! I’m hoping to eventually add a full ukulele part, harmonies, drums, etc. to this, but that’s definitely a ways away. Hope you like my spur of the moment creation!

Anna Grace

Sep-12-2012

Day 313: UT Gardens Pictures

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

I happened to have today off, which is very strange for a Wednesday, so my roommate and I decided to go to the Farmer’s Market in Market Square! We caught the tail end of it and bought some great veggies, but we also found out that there was another Farmer’s Market at the UT Gardens later this afternoon! So we decided, why not go? We got there way before the market actually started, so we decided to walk around the UT Gardens. In case you don’t know, the University of Tennessee has a huge agricultural department and actually started as an agriculture school originally. So, they’ve set up these huge gardens on the Ag campus, as we call it, that showcase beautiful plants! I’ve been one other time, very briefly several years ago, but it was in November, so most of the stuff was dead. I was really blown away at how gorgeous and well kept everything was, so I ended up taking a bunch if pictures! I took them on my cell and I edited them in InstaGram (super technical, I know…) and thought I’d share them here!

One big fenced off section of the Gardens is called the Kitchen. It houses tons of different fruit, vegetables and herbs from all over the place! It had an amazing aroma and I put some mint, rosemary and thyme in my bag, so it smells great, too! This first photo is of some teeny eggplants!

Lining the outside of the fence there were a lot of sunflowers. Sunflowers have always been my favorite flower, I even designed my bedroom around them when I was little (it was very 90s complete with sponge painting…), so I had to snap a picture when I saw them! I think they were the bees’ favorite, too!

Away a little bit from the Kitchen there was this HUGE plant (bush? I couldn’t find a plaque with the name of it…) that had enormous leaves on it! As I told Bethany, you could swaddle a baby with those leaves, they we so big! The second pic below is just for size reference so you can see how huge they were compared to my hand.

Any good garden has to have roses, in my opinion, and the UT Gardens definitely lived up to that! I think this is a rose…. But I’m terrible at flower/plant recognition, so I could be wrong, so tell me in the comments what it is! At any rate, rose or not, I thought it was gorgeous!

I noticed this red arbor from several yards away and immediately wanted to take a look at it! Much to our surprise and my pleasure it surrounded a labyrinth! Here’s Bethany happy to be outside in front of the arbor.

I think this picture is my favorite from the day. I didn’t edit this at all because I thought it was perfect without any special filters! I just love how the slats of the arbor looked going in a curve!

As I mentioned, this arbor surrounded a labyrinth made of stones. I’ve walked labyrinths three other times in my life, and each time I’ve gotten a sense of calm and clarity that I can’t explain. The first labyrinth I walked was one I helped create with my youth group and one of my earliest moments of spiritual clarity and peace. The second labyrinth was in Ireland the second day I got there. I walked it in silence with my youth leader and it stands out to me as one of the closest moments I have ever had with her and the first of many moments where I really felt the presence of the holy spirit with me in Ireland. It also really prepared me for the trip ahead, I think. The last labyrinth I have walked until today it the one outside of my church back home. Shortly after it was made, I walked it in silence and found clarity about issues with my life at that moment. Today’s experience at the Labyrinth at the UT Gardens was no different. I’ve had an issue that has been laying very heavily in my heart for the past few days, and as I walked the labyrinth, I had sudden clarity about what I needed to do, and what was right for me. I really can’t explain the feeling it gave me, but it was as if my eyes opened to what I needed. I’m not a super religious person, but for me, labyrinths like this one are one of the best ways for me to find my own spiritual guidance, and now that I know this one is here, I plan to visit it more often.

This has ended up being a wordy post, but I felt the need to write out my emotions that happened in this garden today. It was really a magical day and I hope to go back!

Anna Grace

Sep-4-2012

Day 312: Just A Kiss

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

It has been a really long time since I’ve posted anything… almost a month! I’ve just gotta say I’ve been super busy with work and this move, so I’m sorry! I’ve got a few things in the works, but I just need to finish them and post them… soon!

At any rate, I was in the car with my friend a couple of weeks ago and she had Lady Antebellum’s newest album on. I know what you’re thinking… yes they are technically a country group, BUT they are soooooooo much better in tune and not so twangy, so I really like them! And I like their harmonies :) Anyways, Just A Kiss came on and I started to try and pick out the lower part while my friend sang the higher. We ended up listening to it twice! I decided then that this would be a fun song to cover, so I did!

I found the sheet music for free just by doing a simple google search. I originally was going to actually play the piano part live on the piano in GarageBand on my iPad, but it was taking forever, and there’s not really enough room for two hands! So I ended up writing it out on my computer. Then I just recorded the 2 parts and was done!

Just A Kiss

I think it turned out pretty well! I just wish the piano sounded less stiff, but I guess that happens only with a real person playing!

I’m working on a couple of gifts at the moment that are taking FOREVER! I’m hoping to finish this coming weekend, so I’ll be sure to post them when I do!

Anna Grace Smith

Aug-10-2012

Day 311: Poem

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Sometimes I like to write poems… it has been a really long time since I have written one, so I decided to give one a shot today! I’m not very happy with it, but I decided to post it anyways. There’s nothing interesting about it, I don’t think, and it’s probably a bit too personal for me to be broadasting all over the internet, but whatever. So read it or don’t. This post is definitely one of those that is more for me than anyone else… sort of stream of conciousness emotions playing out. Think of it as a work in progress…

Cliche Happiness

You stand there waiting,
Sweaty palms, heart racing,
All of those cliche things, now true.
Excitement and dread balled together,
Into a twisted, real life dream.
“Happiness is possible,”
You say to yourself,
But the words seem fake in this moment.
Positivity was never your forte.
Why get your hopes up,
Just to have them stomped on,
Like an intruding cockroach?
And yet you still hope,
Because you desire happiness,
More than anything.
And maybe,
By some miracle,
Happiness can be brought to you,
By this new person,
Walking towards you.
So you stand there,
Trying not to look over-eager,
Waiting,
And hoping,
For him to make you happy.
You smile and greet him…
Now what?

Anna Grace

Aug-8-2012

Day 310: Rainbow Connection

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

I don’t know about you all, but growing up I LOVED all of the Muppet movies and shows! I used to watch the movies on repeat when I was at my grandparents’ house! Mimom (my dad’s mom) loved, and still loves, puppets and writes a puppet skit for Vacation Bible School every year! She’s so creative :) Anyways, I decided to show my love for the Muppets today by doing a cover of Rainbow Connection!

I found an instrumental arrangement for it on Ukulele Hunt, but realized very quickly that I couldn’t play all of those notes at once! So I just recorded the melody on one track and the chords on another!

Rainbow Connection

Pretty simple, but fun! And definitely brought back memories of my childhood… :)

Anna Grace