Color Hunting in Alaska

I don't consider myself an artist, but I do love having opportunities to express myself creatively. I enjoy pushing myself in simple, artistic ways.  Whether it's just making something with my hands, creating a new recipe or playing with color, it helps me feel alive and energized.

We are still on our big road trip to Alaska. Our days are filled with exploring the gorgeous scenery that is at every turn. Yes, we are spending a lot of time in the car and showering a lot less, but we are creating priceless memories as a family. I know we are so privileged to have the time and the resources to do this as a family. Taking yourself away from the everyday responsibilities and schedules of life is so refreshing. It gives me time to clear my head, think and just catch my breath. And while I'm away from my studio, all my craft supplies, Pinterest, and even window shopping, I'm looking for ways to play with my creative side.

I find I'm using my phone and camera all the time to capture moments and scenes. So, as a little personal challenge, I'm giving myself little photo challenges.  Like picking a specific color to hunt for. We've definitely seen a lot of green (my favorite color). For the next couple of days, we are camping just outside Seward, Alaska.  This is a gorgeous little port town on the Kenai Peninsula with towering mountains on every side. Cobalt Blue is a color I keep playing with. We have been traveling with our new bright blue HP Pavilion 17" notebook.  It's been an awesome tool for researching campsites and points of interest, keeping in touch with our life that we've temporarily left behind and storing and sharing our loads of pictures we've been taking along the way. So, today I challenged myself to take this gorgeous shade of blue as inspiration and hunt for it in Seward, Alaska.

This new HP Pavilion notebook is more versatile and efficient with Windows 10 already loaded and ready to go. Windows 10 is just as familiar as an old friend, but even better.  You can keep all the areas of your life organized with a desktop for work and then one for home.  It has a great battery life and lots of storage. And you can only buy this specific edition on HSN.

Here's some reasons why you should consider purchases your next laptop on HSN:
  • HP Pavilion 17” notebook Intel Quad-Core 8GB Ram, 1TB Hard drive with lifetime tech support that HSN provides
  • Bang & Olufsen audio built-in
  • Windows 10 Operating system Exclusive model for HSN
  • Available in 5 Colors – Silver, White, Blue, Red, Purple
  • $699.95 with Free Shipping and Handling
  • HSN Offers Flex Pay allows customers the ability to break the laptop price into several payments. They do not need an HSN credit card for this- it is with their own card. It’s like layaway, but better because we ship you the product right away. We are planning for 6 flex payments on this Laptop so customers can ‘Get it home for under $120” 
Maybe I can challenge you to find this gorgeous color where ever you are today. If you share on social media, be sure to tag me, I'd love to see cobalt blue through your eyes.

This post is sponsored by HP and HSN.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make this blog possible. 


6 Tips for Road Tripping with Kids

If you following me on facebook or instagram you may know that we are on an epic road trip right now.  About a week and a half ago, we left our home in Southern California and drove our vintage trailer, Riley, all the way to Alaska. Our kids were troopers as we travelled over 3700 miles in 6 1/2 days.  They are not strangers to traveling and long road trips, but this was the longest trip we have ever taken.  I don't think I am an expert, but I do think I have a lot of experience traveling with kids, so I thought I'd share a few tips that help make Road Tripping with kids a little easier.

1. Snacks are #1! Being prepared with healthy choices for snacking and meal times, is sure to save you both time and money. We bought an electric cooler that plugs into the cigarette lighter for this trip. I knew I didn't want to have to mess with buying ice everyday, so this seemed like a good investment. Because we were traveling with our little trailer, we committed to cooking most of our meals.  And actually we only ate out a couple of times. But, having fruit, veggies, and cheese for snacking was really helpful. We kept Snack Catchers full of healthy treats and munchies and leak proof sippy cups full for Olivia at all times.  And by using great products like these from Munchkin, we didn't have to worry about unwanted messes and spills.  

2. Break in the middle of the day. We like to drive early in the morning and then again late into the night.  This way our kids can sleep the first couple of hours before we stop for breakfast. Then we plan a good long stop in the middle of the day so that we can stretch our legs and enjoy the sites.  We planned lunch breaks around lakes and points of interest.  Then when we'd drive late, they could fall asleep in the car and we could get a few more hours of the road behind us. Leaving at 4:30am and driving till midnight, did leave Lonnie and I with very few hours of sleep. But, coffee was our friend and we took turns driving so that the other person could rest.  

3. Be Flexible! If there is a gorgeous lake, a museum, historical site, wildlife or just an awesome donut shop - take the time to stop and play for 30 mins.  You are guaranteed to have happier travelers.  Remember the joy is in the journey. Yes, you do want to reach your destination, but some of the best memories are made along the way.

4. Keep them entertained! Ok, I know the temptation is to show movie after movie, to keep them happy and quiet. But, you can limit screen time and still have happy travelers. We are huge podcast junkies, and there are some great ones out there specifically for kids. Check out Storynory, The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, and Ted Talks Family + Kids.  Music can be a great distraction as well as classic car games like I Spy. And definitely a favorite movie when tiny travelers are feeling weary is totally fine. My kids definitely watched a few and it's totally ok.  

5. Stay Organized! This is completely for my sanity. But, if the car is a disaster, it's uncomfortable and can feel even more crowded then it is. We love the i-Hide carseat organizer from Munchkin.  It keeps the iPad tucked away, and keeps toys, sippy cups and snacks in arms reach. If everything has it's place, you feel a little more in control.

6. Bring that one special thing.  For Olivia it is her bunny and her Owl Nightlight. Be sure to pack that one thing that your kiddo has to have in order to sleep.  We don't pack any tools when we travel and camp.  Kids can be very entertained by just rocks and sticks.  But, when it comes to bed time, softies and security blankies are a must.  These items can also help you child sleep in their carseat when you are driving both early in the morning or late at night.  

This post is sponsored by Munchkin.  Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 


Oleander + Palm Studio Office

I've been in my new studio space for a couple of months now. I've shared that this space is actually two small rooms.  When you walk in the door, I've set up the first space as my office and storage space.  And then it opens into a larger space with a wall of windows (you can see more of that room here and here).  I keep this second space almost empty so that I can have space for photographing, making and hosting craft events.  But, I've finally got the office space together and I LOVE it!!!!  I can't wait to you to see the space.

I measured and planned every last inch of this office space, so that I could get the most out of it.  I wanted to keep it organized and neat, but also allow it to be a place for my creativity to be sparked.  I found the perfect desk at The Land of Nod, and so I built the room design around it. 

Here's a quick look at the space, but to see the whole room, head over to Honest to Nod today! 

So, what do you think?  I'm a using every square inch the best way possible.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions.  


DIY Bleach Pen Patterned Napkins

I've got a fun DIY for you today.  I've been itching to play with bleach pens for a while now.  I love tie dye and dip dye looks, but wanted a project that was a little less messy.  These were easy to make and I love how they turned out.

Head over to Curbly today for the full tutorial.


DIY Citrus Slice Bags

Hi there friends, long time no post.  I've had big plans of getting this post up for weeks, but traveling and Summer adventures have gotten in the way.  But, here I am finally.  We are on route to Alaska with our vintage trailer, Riley (follow along on instagram if you'd like to see more). 

I really like these little citrus slice bags that I made.  They've been going with me on all my trips and helping me stay organized.  

I do like to sew, but putting in a zipper is not my favorite.  So, I found a couple simple canvas bags at Hobby Lobby and just changed the shape of them.

Start by turning the bags inside out.  Make a circle pattern on card stock, I used a couple different bowls from my kitchen that where the same width as the bags.  Fold the circles in half and trace the shape on the bags.

Using a sewing machine, stitch along the curved line.  I also zig zag stitched along the raw edges. Then turn the bag back the right way and iron flat.

lightly sketch 4 triangle segments on the front of the bag with a pencil.  Using craft paint (I like Martha Stewart's) fill in the segments and paint the edge of the bag for the rind.  When it was completely dry, paint on a seed in each section with white paint.

And that's it, super simple, but super summery cute.

Right now I'm obsessed with Julep nail polishes.  These pretty colors go on beautifully with one coat. I can't get enough of these unique bright colors.  


5 Ways to DIY - Pillows

Happy Friday.  This week was a doozy.  Lonnie was gone all week, it was 100+ F everyday, I had a million things to accomplish and just as many things went wrong.  But, I survived.  I hope your week was less eventful then mine.

So, if you saw Monday's post, DIY Modern Stitched Pillow, then you'll know I teamed up with 4 awesome bloggers to show you 5 Ways to DIY a pillow. I love how everyone's personal style and taste came out in this project.  These talented ladies brought some great DIY inspiration!  If you are looking for a weekend project, look no further, I bet you'll want to make at least one of these pillows.

Be sure to enter the giveaway!!!! We're giving away a $250 gift card to AllModern.  

This post is sponsored by AllModern.  Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible.


Chai Ice Cream Sandwiches

We are smack in the middle of HOT Southern Cali Summer.  It's been 100+ all week and we only want to eat frozen foods. These spiced chai ice cream sandwiches definitely hit the spot.  Made with store bought ginger thin cookies, the oven didn't even have to be turned on.

There's no messing around with low fat or light options here.  Ice cream is best when is made with real whipping cream and eggs.  This, easy to make, ice cream is some of the smoothest, creamiest ice cream you'll ever make.

Spiced Chai Ice Cream Sandwiches

2 cups whipping cream (chilled)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons Trader Joe's Chai Mix (2 scoops or 6 teaspoons)
1/4 tsp. ginger

1 package of store bought ginger snaps (I love the thin Trader Joe's ones)

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to mix well.  Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer and prepare according to your specific machine.  When the ice cream is done, place in an air tight container and freeze for at least 1 hour.  Using a small scoop (mine is a cookie scoop), place a scoop in the center a cookie and the flatten with the second cookie on top.  Place them back in an airtight container and freeze until solid.  Makes about 20 ice cream sandwiches.

Ice cream is our go-to when it's hot.  I have to confess that sometimes ice cream and popcorn is our dinner in the Summer.  What's you go-to cool treat when the temperatures rise?