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A Weekend Full of Music

We’re heading north this weekend for the Red Ants Pants Music Festival and while it is getting easier and easier to find gluten-free food out into the world, when I travel I like to be prepared. I’ve gotten stuck, hungry and cranky, with gas station string cheese and potato chips my only options often enough to know to pack a little emergency kit of goodies.

Whether you’re gluten intolerant or not, I thought I’d share my favorite camping and traveling snacks:

* THESE cookies are a MUST — they’re healthy enough to work as breakfast in a pinch and satisfying for an afternoon treat. And very adaptable : last night I got stuck without oats, so I used flax seed meal, sorghum flour and millet flour instead (in a 1:1:1 ratio) and added a dollop of almond butter. They came out delicious.

* I’m a huge fan of beef jerky when traveling and we have the last bit of homemade venison jerky left in the freezer, so that will be coming along.

* I often forget about hard-boiled eggs when I’m home, but ALWAYS remember them when camping. Make ahead-able, packable, full of energy…perfect.

* Carrots and hummus. It seems like most of the GF energy bars out there are super sweet and when my energy is low, sweets are the last thing I want to eat. Like hard-boiled eggs, hummus is something I rarely eat at home, but LOVE on the road.

So. I’m off to the store to stock up on a few last minute goodies and then off we go.

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Treasure from the strawberry field

Saturday morning I woke early, made myself a cup of coffee and ventured out to a local you-pick farm to gather strawberries. Nestled at the end of the valley, surrounded by the foothills of the Bridger and Gallatin mountains, I filled my baskets.

Picking strawberries is like a treasure hunt — gently folding back lush foliage to find clusters of jewel-red berries nestled in the shadows. And even though my baskets overflowed, there were more and more and more glistening in the sunlight, luring me down the rows. I finally had to pull myself away, collect my bounty and head home. I froze the majority — capturing sunshine for midwinter smoothies.

But almost of their own accord, one batch of berries hopped into a pot to become jam.

It’s more of a compote than a jam — loose, full of chunky berries, and not too sweet.

I have a jar of wooden spoons on the counter next to my stove and each has its own personality — just right for certain jobs. One of the spoons came from my Grandma’s old kitchen when she moved into her current home.

Whenever I use it I think of all I’ve learned from her, of all the deliciousness that has come from her kitchen, and everything I make with it tastes better because of it. I love that it is slightly asymmetrical from stirring and that it’s just the right size and length… just right for tasting strawberry preserves, still warm, straight from the pot.

 If you’re interested:

Summer Strawberry Preserves

8 cups strawberries — de-greened, small ones left whole and larger ones quartered

3/4 cup sugar

* Combine in a non-reactive pot, stir gently, cover and let sit for 30 to 120 minutes. This gives the strawberries time to release their juices so there is no need to add any liquid and dilute the berry’s flavor. It gives you time to hang a load of laundry on the line or read a chapter in your fun-summer-reading book or play a game with your dog or child or significant other…

* Turn heat to med-low, uncover and let simmer until thick. I am notorious for forgetting about jam and mine went from about 8 cups to about 3 cups in quite a few hours (like I said, I lost track of time), but it is thick and rich and lovely. You can let yours cook until it is just right for you, but on low heat, expect to let it simmer for at least an hour or two. It is very low maintenance — I think I stirred mine twice.

* Preserve preserves in jars (you’ll want to boil the jars for 10-15 minutes to seal them), or freeze, or eat over vanilla ice cream, or in a tart, or with a spoon. This recipe can be scaled in either direction and, as always, adjusted to suit your tastes.

* * *

This year I got tired of sullying my jewel-like preserves with scrawling labels scribbled on the lids with sharpee, so I made some labels of my own. They’re in the SHOP for you as well!

September is my big preserving month, but I know it’s coming soon for many of you in warmer climates. If you are elbow deep in canning and looking for the perfect labels, look no further.



5 steps to success

Do you ever wonder how some people always seem to make things work — no matter how situations change they just seem to roll with it?

The one-word reason behind their success is EVOLUTION : The ability to adapt to a changing environment.

And the steps necessary to do this are pretty simple:

Make a plan

  •     What are you going to do and how?

Execute your plan

  •     Put it into ACTION

Evaluate your success

  • Did what you think was going to happen, happen? What didn’t happen? or What happened differently than you expected?


  • Change the original plan to address what you learned during evaluation


  • Over and over and over again.

I started this blog originally as a way of making my artwork more accessible to a wider audience.

I quickly realized how much more it is, how much I enjoy sharing my perspective with all of you and hearing yours in return. I am also so appreciative of how writing this blog has increased my awareness of the small moments in my life that make it beautiful but that are so easy to take for granted. This was a completely unexpected outcome.

Being here, sharing my world has become a responsibility that I do not take lightly, a responsibility I am honored to have. I’m trying to work on how to make it a better fit in my busy life — how to keep sharing honestly and creatively without over-filling my time or neglecting other responsibilities.

Up to this point I’ve written very organically without planning too much — writing a post when something pops into my head. As the business grows and my graduate project continues and the sun shines, there are more and more claims to my time. I’m having a harder time feeling good about what and how often (or not) I post.

So I’m getting organized. I’ve evaluated and now I’m modifying my original plan.

I also have so much I want to share that I don’t feel like it all will fit into this blog without making it burst at the seams.

SO. Here’s the plan:

  • I will continue to post 2-3 times a week on artists that inspire me, my weekly adventures in Montana, on fun projects and recipes that you might enjoy and on my creative endevors.


  • On the sidebar to your right you will notice there is a newsletter signup form. If you are interested in receiving a monthly update — the best blog posts from the month, new work that I’ve listed in my shop, upcoming news, interesting tidbits, a photo or two of Montana life and an occasional coupon or free download, sign up!


  • And finally, I have gotten some comments and emails lately about creativity, about how to start projects and  how to stay motivated. These are all topics that I run into frequently in my own life and my thoughts have been percolating over the past year as I exercise my creative muscles more and more. I’m interested in your ideas and I’d like to have a place here to address these subjects more directly and more indeptly.

To talk about process and inspiration.

To push and stretch ourselves.

So, I’m starting a second newsletter that focuses on tapping into your own creativity.

It will be a place to read my thoughts on the subject and share your own, to get inspired, to get tips and tasks and a free gift or two. If you’re interested, sign up below:

Subscribe to the Paper Route Designs Creativity Bonanza Newsletter!

Do you lead an artful life?

I shamefully can’t remember where I saw this:

But I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately: that creativity is so much more than being able to draw and that choices and intention are powerful tools in creating (CREATING!) the life you want to lead.

My thoughts are shaping into a new project that I’m eager to share with you…

But I’d love to hear your thoughts: Do you think that you’re creative? Do you, or others, tell you that you are not? Do you make choices, aware of how they contribute to the artfulness of your life?

Tell me what you think, and in return, I’ll fill you in on my plans!

Happy Friday! I hope it is sunny where you are and that you have lovely plans for the weekend.



The root of my work

It began in the spring, with a flower. Actually many flowers.

Every summer day that I take my dogs into the wilds we are surrounded by a sea of blooms of every shape and color. It would be impossible to NOT be inspired in some way… and so I began.

First with these three. Enchanted by their form – the shapes composing each very different flower, the positive and negative spaces in each photograph – I challenged myself to capture in paper the shapes that so appeal to me in life :

Encouraged by the challenge and fun of the first three I tackled more of the meadow, watching my skill and confidence grow as I went  :

And now I have even more to offer you!

Now available in the shop: Montana Meadow silhouette prints in four styles, each with its own unique story.

AND for a limited time, four Montana Meadow original papercuts. With the originals you are able to clearly see that each flower is cut by hand from one piece of black paper — capturing the delicacy and intricacies of the blooms. Tissue paper is used behind the image to create a colorful stained-glass effect and each is mounted with complementing colors.


Prints and originals are signed and dated and ready to move into your home!

Surrounding yourself with art is one of the best ways to turn a house into a home and to create a sanctuary that you can thrive in.

Treat yourself!

For more photos and information, click HERE, or on the shop tab at the top of the page.

Friday morning funnies

Since I missed this weeks Monday Morning post, I thought I’d liven up your Friday with this New Yorker cartoon caption contestant (try saying THAT five times fast!). It tickled me.

Dan Wineman, found via The Mavenist (also fun reading!)

It is, of course, taking me SO much longer to get all my new work into my etsy shop than I expected. I’m working away and in the meantime, have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Finding treasures in the forest

Every year I envy my dogs drinking the spring runoff . Bright, cold water that I imagine tastes like pine and soil and growth. Like spring.

They look at me smiling through the shafts of sunlight, water dripping from their chin.

Monday morning we went up a trail I haven’t visited in years. Alone in the woods, with only the sounds of birds, bright against the rushing creek.

After a steep climb we came around a bend to find an ephemeral spring bubbling from the earth. Filtered by its passage through rock and gravel, it tasted of summits and snow. Of distance. Of spring.

It is good to remember that treasures take many forms. That by merely having eyes open to the world around you can bring unexpected gifts.