It’s Been Awhile . . .

Our lives have been such a whirlwind the last year that this blog came in very last place.  Mike and I started this blog as a way to share our lives with family and friends and personally for me it’s a nice way to journal our lives in a non-daunting format.

With the purchase of our new home and the ever expediently growing business we run, it’s left very little time for other things in our lives.  I’m always amazed at how God changes things in our lives when we least expect them and always for the better, even if you don’t think so at first.  With this preface, the following two major changes in our lives was the work of our creator of which both I personally put a fight up against at first.

OUR HOME

The final choice of our home is interesting in the way of it’s location within Shelton.  You see, there are four sections within the City of  Shelton and the section this house resides in is the furthest away from any sort of ease of convenience and because of that, White Hills was the last area in which we were willing to purchase (at first).  We actually drove past the home we now own in our early days of looking and we both said “hmmm….nope, it’s too plain and it’s too far away from everything.  I say that loosely speaking in the sense that we’re really “only” 15 minutes from many conveniences.   Well after months of looking and the timing coming right down to the last minute to find a home because our other home had sold, we reluctantly decided to look in the “ever so far away” White Hills section of Shelton.  We drove down our street to this home that we declined so many months before and on this day it was perfect in so many ways!  Our eyes and hearts had been opened this time around and I know for me that I really didn’t know what I wanted in a home or which location I wanted until that very day we walked back onto this property.  My, can I tell you what a perfect location this home is for us!  We’ve quickly come to love living this far out from the daily hub bub, beeping car horns and loudness that comes with busy downtown areas.  Instead of pesky cars and loud noises we now have beautiful deer, wild turkey and so many species of birds to look at and listen to.  On many days, I look around and am amazed that we actually own all of this abundance.  I never thought I’d actually own “woods” and it’s gorgeous walkable woods with a running brook, gigantic Connecticut rocks, and wild ferns.  We’ve been hard at work all this year too with landscaping the land around our home.

MY PERSONAL CAREER

Thought Out Company is doing so well that it requires both Michael and I full time.  Within the last year or so I was given the “clearance” by Michael to go full time for our business but I had such a struggle in actually leaving “my” career, the thing I’ve advanced at and have done so well with for my entire adult working life.  It has always been there for me, I depended on it, it kept my head above water and supported me through thick and thin, when I was alone and had noone but myself to depend on.  It was extremely hard for me to find it in my heart to actually “want” to leave my personal career.  I had fear of what will I do if if if if…..UGH well let me tell you it took this last year for me to go through my own internal process of finding my way through this huge career move.  I woke up one day over a month ago and finally realized and actually felt in my heart that I really am an essential part of the success of our personal business and with that exact moment I knew it was time to leave the medical field “my career” and take on this exciting move to assist in the advancement and full success of our business.  And so it was still with a heavy heart that I gave my notice to Orthopaedic Surgeons and not long after my position was filled by another body and I formally went full time for Thought Out on Friday, November 19th.  Within one weeks time of this change my personal whirl wind days have already changed, I have more time for things that have gotten pushed aside for far too long (years!).  I get giddy just thinking about it all, even sitting here typing to our blog is something I haven’t had time for in the last year.  I love waking up, getting ready for work at the Thought Out office knowing that every single thing I do is to benefit our family.  It’s truly an act of God, the patience of a supporting husband, and the flexibility of my heart that has allowed this abundant change in my personal career. I owe a great deal of gratitude to my husband for allowing all of this to unfold and come to reality.  He is one of a kind and a man that will make anything happen once he’s set his mind to it.  Love that man of mine!!!

The pictures featured today are from a family walk on Oct 30th at East Village Park.  This is a great park for all of us living in the White Hills section of Shelton.  I had interrupted him during one of his outdoor wood chipping or tree planting excursions to tag along with Scottie and I to the park for some play time.  Love him for being so tolerant of my spontaneous requests.  It’s a rarity that he says no to me which makes me love him even more.

Vintage Jewelry Class

Calling all jewelry loving girls!  I’m hosting my very first class where you’ll be making your very own vintage necklace to take home and wear.  They’re easy and include everything you need to complete a beautiful eclectic necklace from the fun and funky pendants to the jump rings, clasps, and chains.

SIGN-UP DEADLINE: Monday, May 17

WHEN: Saturday, June 5 @ 1PM

WHERE: My House (Email me if you need my address)

WHAT TO BRING: Jewelry Making Kit (round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, and a side cutter).

If you don’t already own a fancy jewelry making kit you may either purchase one for $10 below or you may share my set with everyone else that selects the sharing option.  No fighting or hitting each other when sharing though :).  I hope to host more of these classes so it may be in your best interest to have one of these kits on your hip and who knows you may leave this class loving how easy it is to make your own trendy jewelry that you’ll be whipping them up in your own home.

You may select from a choice of five different necklaces all of which must be pre-purchased by Monday 5/17.  Just select the one you want, click the buy now button and you’ll be directed to PayPal where you can pay with any credit card.  The kit will be waiting for you when you arrive at my home for the class.  If you’re feeling like you’re all that, you may purchase as many kits as you’d like and show us all up in class.  Think of all the trendy outfits you have just screaming for one of these vintage pieces.  I’m so excited and can’t wait to see everyone in class!


$18 Pendant Findings Kit

$18 Resin & Woven Flowers Kit
$18 Butterfly & Abalone Drop Kit
$18 Floral Mix Kit
$18 Abalone & Velvet Kit
$10 Tool Kit

The Talmadge’s New Christmas House

Merry Christmas! I will keep the text minimal and focus on the pictures which take you throughout the portions of our home we have decorated for the celebration of Christmas.

Entrance to my studio

A peek inside the studio

My mom gave these two reindeer’s to me years ago….LOVE them!

A sleepy dog in the studio OH and the stocking you see here is the stocking Michael was brought home in when he was a baby. For those of you who don’t already know this, Michael was born on Dec 22 (A Christmas Baby).

The living area

The stockings are very near and dear to me. They are handmade from my wedding dress. One of my most cherished Christmas decorations.

Love my white winter birds

A favorite ornament handmade by mua. It has a picture of my sister and I at our grammies house. Digg the jammies and our black slippers. Quite the fashion statement!

A little outdoors brought inside

The guest bath. This stocking holds memories for me as well. This one comes from my teenage years and was handmade by someone who was connected to a near and dear friend of mine.

And lastly don’t forget to smell the flowers and enjoy Christmas for it’s true meaning. Merry Christmas to all of our dear friends and family may God Bless you today and everyday throughout the year. More pictures to come of our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebration.

Awesome Almond Biscotti

Emm YUMMO!  I decided to bake one of Mike’s favorites today and thought I’d share the recipe and a quick picture guide in biscotti making.  I dare say the finished presentation looks pretty good but not nearly as good as they taste!  The recipe originated from a patient at my office.

So preheat that hot pot (oven) of yours to 350 degrees and lets get mixing ~  These are the only ingredients you’ll need.  Looks pretty easy right?  It really is!

This is how your dough should look once you’ve finished mixing it.  Go ahead and plop it on the counter like I have and give er a little log shape like I did.  The dough should be fairly easy to handle and should NOT stick to your fingers if it does add more flour a little at a time until it’s not sticky anymore.

Now cut your log in half and make two logs out of it.  Place both logs on your pre-greased and floured cookie sheet and shape like I did into about 2″ x 10″ logs.  Your logs should look something like this.

Now stick em in the hot pot for 25-30 minutes until golden.  Umm I must say this is the FANCIEST oven I’ve ever used much less owned in my entire life!  I mean I’m really just a chick from the sticks who is undoubtedly thrilled with this loaded appliance.  Amen for gas ranges and ovens that bake evenly!

Pull your logs out and they should look something like this

Lower oven temp to 300 degrees.  Let your logs cool for 10 minutes and then slice those babies up into 1/2″ slices

Place the slices back onto the cookie sheet(s).  Place your cookie sheet(s) back into your hot pot and bake 20 minutes longer, until surface is golden and crisp.  See those two lonely floating pieces?  Well those two are the heal of one log.  I have to admit that I LOVE these little guys . . . I will eat two of them at this stage and eat the other two once they’ve been baked for their final time.

Friends and family who’ve had these little pieces of almondie heaven leave droll on my counter tops.  So if you enjoy almond flavor you must give them a try.  You’ll notice in the recipe to follow that you can change the nuts and flavoring and use the basic dough to make ANY flavor biscotti you like.

ALMOND BISCOTTI

3 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

2-4 teaspoons almond extract

1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with oil; add sugar and almond extract.  Continue beating about 5 minutes until mixture is thick and pale.  Fold in chopped almonds.

Sift flour with baking powder.  Stir into egg mixture using wooden spoon then hands, if necessary.

Shape dough into 2 logs about 2″ x 10″ each, and arrange on cookie sheet.  Using a wet spatula, flatten top, and smooth sides of logs. ***Note from Brandi:  I don’t use a wet spatula to shape my logs, I just use my hands and add a little bit of flour onto the log to give it a tiny bit of a floured surface and makes it easier to shape.

Bake 25 – 30 minutes until golden.  Remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Let logs cool on cookie sheet about 10 minutes.  Cut into 1/2″ slices using a serrated knife.  Lay slices flat on cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes longer, until surface is golden and crisp.

When done, transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool.  Store in airtight container.

Side Note:  You can change the nuts & flavoring.  Add dried orange flavored cranberries and orange extract.  Use this as a basic dough and add whatever you like.

Felt Cottages & other delectables

I spent the day yesterday doing one of the things I enjoy most in life . . . crafting.  Here is what awaited each of us at our assigned seats.  INDEED YUMMY stuff in that pie tin!  And I didn’t even get my bag filled with more delectables in this picture.

Charlotte Lyons hosted and taught a fabulous class on making felt cottage houses.  Here is one of her gorgeous master pieces.

Here’s mine . . . not nearly as fully decorated as Charlotte’s.  But these cottages are a work in progress.  You add to them here and there to your heart’s content.  I’m loving my choice in chimney construction, for sure buttons are a girls best friend especially in the cream color family!!!  Gosh I’m thinking I play it too safe with my choice in colors or lack there of!  I should let loose and craft something in a wild saucy color pallet.  Yeah I need a little sauciness added to my play it safe personality.

As if having the opportunity to meet and be taught by Charlotte Lyons wasn’t enough, we were served a delectable breakfast, lunch and snack by Charlotte’s good friend Suzanne who I just read is a former Vogue food editor and gourmet chef.  Oh my can she bake and cook all the while keeping her vogues on the down low.

Oh wait, one more thing . . . I won this as a door prize!  I was skipping with glee when my number was drawn for this piece!  It’s hand made by Elizabeth Williams who sells her goodies on Etsy.

Fall Harvest

Two miles down the road is this lovely farm that people come from as far as NY City to share in the “country” experience of harvesting pumpkins, running through corn mazes, taking a hay ride and having apple cider.  This experience is shared at Christmas time too but that’s another post yet to come.

We made our way over on opening day last Saturday, we were the first ones . . . YEAH!!!  Mike wasn’t nearly as cheerful about the experience but humored me (good boy!)  Now to find a pumpkin

These guys were HUGE!!!  I don’t even know how one would transport these babies???

These are more like it although sstacked and lined up so nicely, we shouldn’t mess it up.

“Oh, hey Mike how bout the corn maze?”   Mike:  “Ahh . . . I don’t think so!”

Look, they cut pumpkins off the vine but left them in the patch looking so nice!  Can’t take one from here either cuz they are placed so nicely for viewing purposes LOL!

“What is up with my crazy wife taking all these pumpkin pictures???”

“Better shape up Mike or I’ll put you in with these little oinkers”

Ahh HA!  Here’s where one picks there pumpkin!  Ours is in the front row, 3rd from the right.  Tall and perfect for carving a scary face . . . muahaha

Was a nice time at Jone’s Family Farm.

They don’t allow pets so our baby couldn’t go but I must insert a picture of him from the very same day.  Arf Arf!

Labor Day 2009

Can you believe that summer is over??? I can’t, ours was so chock full of house stuff that it buzzed right on by.  We lazily spent a quite afternoon on the back of the boat sipping a delish margarita with good company coming and going.  Missed my sister and her family who had to reschedule due to illness 😦

I don’t know why I like to take pictures of feet, shoes or whatever someone has on their feet.  It’s weird I know but humor me K?  Since I don’t get my pic taken often these days I’ll share a pic of my feet in summery flip flops.  I know they’re not the prettiest so look quick!

Margarita Mike

“Emm that’s good margarita!”

“The look” . . . “why do you insist on taking my picture?”

Discussing politics . . . or wait debating politics . . . what a hot topic!

The Treasure Hunt

I know I know, I should be posting pics of the new house but wanted to share my awesome finds rummaging the flea market yesterday.  I love the hunt and the treasures awaiting my arrival.  Thank you Michele for spending the morning with me and enjoying the hunt together, I had a great time and the homemade cinnamon & sugar donuts are to die for!  YUMMO!!!

My most favorite find of the day is this gorgeous shabby storage cabinet which was much needed in my studio.  They wanted $125 & I got them down to $100 . . . SWEEEET!!!! The black wire basket sitting atop the cabinet is another find for $3.  It will have a new home this fall on the kitchen island.  The day before I had found a similar basket but it was new and $20.  The funny thing is that I LOVE the $3 basket much more than the $20 one!  Rummaging sure pays off!

And these little lovelies are simply adorable, the cabinet cards of the children are so sweet.  The vintage yard stick unfolds and I have an awesome plan for it too for the Scottie Buddy Boy Collars and Leashes section of the studio.  The blue jewel and tiny spoons just couldn’t be passed by!  We’ll definitely be making another trip again this fall for more treasures!

The Studio and Kitchen

This Thursday is the big day!  Our first moving day and it’s been a long time coming.  We’ve been at this sell and purchase since April so I can hardly believe it’s just a couple days away.  We were up at the new house yesterday to do a few things so I took a couple pics of my two favorite rooms and wanted to share.

This is the view from my new studio.  We had the builder punch out the wall and install the french doors which I’ve always wanted.  It opens the house up and looks right at the fire place into the living room.  The home has an open floor plan allowing an airy feel.

In this picture I’m standing in the mudroom area and you’re looking at part of the kitchen right into the living room.  Nice!

We’re so excited to get the move under way and get our lives back in order.  Everything has been so ascue through this whole experience but well worth it.

Steadfast & Faithful Furriness

Adorable picture of my buddy loving his momma or wait . . . maybe I’m loving my buddy?  Well today I wanted to post about this little animal that brings such BIG love to our family!  He’s constant, loyal and well plain accepting of all my recent moodiness, me and Mike’s urge to work all the time, Darcie and Pele fighting, brown boxes all over the house stuffed with everything that used to blanket our home, and the decrease in his carefree walks due to Mike and I being overworked.  Soooooo many things are changing around him but he remains the one constant within this household.  The steadiness and indebtedness dogs provide to mankind is truly amazing to me!  One of God’s greatest creations!!!