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It’s funny… last Tuesday when I introduced my series I said “As chaotic as my life can be right now, I needed this creative outlet to ground me in the tiny moments so they don’t pass me by.”  And boy is this true.  The intentional focus even on just a five minute chunk of time amidst what is often a go-go-go has been so refreshing.  So along with sharing my photos this week, I’m sharing some thoughts I’ve pondered in the process as well.

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Maverick: often overlooked, sometimes annoying, but oh-so-loved member of the family.  I can’t imagine raising the girls without him, from eating all the things they drop on the floor, to being their constant cuddle companion, he’s pretty irreplaceable.  And finally, finally in year 8 he seems to have mellowed on the regular.  ;)  

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My mornings these days are often filled more with Ella, the two year old because Abbi is at preschool M, W, F.  Even mornings when Abbi is home, Ella always seeks me first.  She is NOT a morning person, just like I need my coffee, she needs some cuddles and quiet time to adjust to the world before she becomes her obstinate little self.  

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Habits: need to be reinforced even when it’s not ideal.  I forgot my camera this morning, but instead of skipping a day I tried to play around with some photos in the same theme instead.  My first selfie of the series!  (way easier on the phone).  Also, drives in the woods where you can both serve your hubby (I was shuttling him and a friend up the mountain so they could ride down) and you get some quiet time in nature make for pretty refueling days.  

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In reference to the day before, refueling of my soul is necessary so all the other times I’m stuck at my desk working or doing homework don’t leave me completely burned out.  First 15-page research paper of seminary, done!  (Which is on top of the typical 1-4 other papers I write weekly, usually 4-6 pages long)  :D

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This.  This was a good day.  Catching up with a good friend I haven’t seen in far too long, girly pampering, homemade brown butter pumpkin waffles with buttermilk brown butter syrup (yes.  it’s a thing.  and yes.  you need to make them both), an intentional day of rest.  100morningmoments 018

This was captured while I was doing homework.  This little lady, with those chubby fingers, loves pulling me in close and giggling.  It just rocks my world.  Every time.  I vow to ALWAYS put homework aside for moments like this.  
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Sometimes the mess is beautiful.  Not always, but sometimes.

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Enter that moment when you suddenly realize you don’t know how many days it has been since your kids have been bathed…  hmm… ;)  They were pretending to be ghosts here, it was hilarious.  Can you see Abbi trying to make her scary face? 

I’m smiling even as I write these all out.  20 days done, that means tomorrow makes this a habit right?  It is already feeling a little normal to take a pause sometime every morning and look for what’s actually happening all around me all the time.  And Abbi no longer thinks it’s a weird thing when I ask her to bring me my camera mid-activity.  Bonus!  :)

Enjoy some little moments and musings of your own this week!



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Gail here — time to sum up my first batch of work for my #lastdaysof2017 project! It actually began September 1st, making Day 1/100 be my 23rd day of practice… never mind — this even confuses me.

Here are all my practice pages since September 1st! 

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I am kind of sorry (for you!) that I chose another learning venture, brush marker lettering, for this 100 day project, since I had done that with the one we started last spring. I was learning to draw then (and still am) but I promise that this fall’s will become prettier much sooner than blind contour drawings of guinea pigs! Scroll our instagram or our Facebook page Photos to see odd cats and wonky elephants, too. LOL

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Day 1/100 for this project, 23rd day of my journey. (above)

The truth is that I love to learn how to do new things. I am passionate about them until I reach a certain level of competency that even I do not know ahead of time, and then I am off to something else. I am also a learner in other ways; always looking up the details about how something works — materials, methods, choices, and the topic could be absolutely anything that made me wonder. My particular brush lettering journey that began on September 1st even included daily homework!

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If you’ve ever been captivated by watching a video of calligraphy, cake decorating, hair styling, watercolor painting, whatever it may have been for you, you know how addicting it can be to watch another, and then another.

I found Kelly Klapstein of kellycreates.ca this way, probably on YouTube but then soon on Facebook. When she offered a class for absolute beginners, free, Sept 1-25 using Facebook Live videos, I signed up! Her baseline style is clean and basic. She is a born teacher. All the things that make a great learning experience for me.

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I continue to play along with the daily prompts at Kelly Creates Art & Calligraphy on Facebook, but you’ll see that work as my 100 day project postings. 

I do a bit of extra writing on my practice sheets, it seems … 

Reminders of goals …

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Notes and marks of the good and bad — developing my critical eye … 

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And celebrations — I stopped after writing the word of the day “yellow” just once because the best version OBVIOUSLY came first! 

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I had some fun when the overturn drills looked like row upon row of cartoonish headstones… 

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When single-color practice sheets suddenly looked far too boring, I started selecting a daily color scheme … 

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… and keeping track of the color numbers of my Tombow Dual Brush Markers. 

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Turns out I already owned the preferred basic large brush marker in many colors — those Tombow dual brush markers are great for adult coloring and for fake watercoloring. The brush end makes superb brush lettering when you are good enough, but they are probably the toughest marker to learn with. Oh well! I’ll be amazing right off the bat when I use others, right?

And I certainly do not need to own more markers.


Continuing on the frugal vein, I began by using tracing paper laid over free lined printouts from Kelly’s site. The tracing paper pad was 11″ x 14″ so I was tearing sheets into 11″ x 7″ halves. The pad has been around a while, so there are ripples in the pages from humidity. That makes those thin light lines look wobbly and skippy though, and is pretty frustrating.

I am also using notebook paper salvaged from spiral notebooks of my children’s school years and will continue to do so until I run out  — the perfect “use it up” situation in my mind. 

Can I actually be past the days of loading up a shopping cart with all the cool stuff I will ever need right NOW!?

Speaking of shopping. While shopping for supplies for a 3-day collage workshop (*swoon* you’ll see that soon OMG) I found nice flat tracing paper that’s 9″ x 12″ on sale and I stocked up! YAY! Flat paper is pretty amazing LOL

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During those three out-of-town workshop days, I kept up with my nightly practice, choosing the my own words (above) and staying up late. And using my new flat tracing paper! That Sunday evening when I returned home however — I was done. So tired that I didn’t even want to sit up to do this meditative-like practice. There will never be a Day 10/100, but it was worth it! 

So that’s my brush lettering journey — from the first-ever days of pencil practice: 

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… to my latest: Day 16/100 of Gail’s brush lettering practice during the last 100 days of 2017 (38 days since the pencil work just above.)

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Hope you have a happy colorful fall!



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Momentum.  Mom mentioned that word in her last post (which you should go read because it introduces our next series).  It feels like a good word for this season.  We just started all the fall things, school and routines.  All the things you let go of in the summer so you can adventure without being quite as tied down to home.  I love them both.  I love the freedom (and warmth) of summer, going hiking, and camping and exploring, not caring what programming we’ll miss with preschool or small groups that are our norm.  But I love home.  I’m a homebody.  And as much as I love adventure… I also love my PJs.  I like coffee and sleeping in (as much as the girls will let me) and regular times to do life with my people.  So I’m loving being back in those routines.  And getting that momentum going again.  Thank you fall.  :)

I need momentum these days… Mom was right, I juggle a lot of balls.  A four year old preschooler, a two year old (equal parts cuddle and crazy), mops leader, small group leader, my photography business (the most consistently busy I’ve ever been: hello full-time working hours many weeks), and to top it all off… I just started my master’s degree!  (Let’s not forget all the normal stuff like: being married, running a home, friends and family I love and want to invest in, etc, etc…)  But as we approached this new season and I sat down to write out my priorities, I couldn’t leave creativity behind.  It might not look the same, or as often, but it couldn’t just be limited to my job… because lets face it, after six years as much as I love my job, it’s still a job a lot of the time.  (I’ll never love tedious hours editing on the computer) Enter: the last 100 days of 2017, the resuming of creative adventures as we close out this year.  Building momentum in the creative area I’ve been missing.  And to ease myself back into the habit I started with a Morning Moments series.  All photos, all moody black and whites, all playing with natural light and shallow depth of field, all taken before noon, one a day.  As chaotic as my life can be right now, I needed this creative outlet to ground me in the tiny moments so they don’t pass me by.

So here’s my introduction to the series of Sam’s Morning Moments.  You can head to instagram to see the descriptions, (and all of the 8000 hashtags I LOVE using), but in this post I’ll let the series speak for itself.

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Excited to see this progress, and excited to be back talking to you again!  See you soon.



2017-09-23 10.40.12Gail here — Sam and I have been plotting behind the scenes again! We miss blogging! I especially miss the creative discipline. I’m all for reframing our absence here as a temporary suspension, and that we will resume. So much easier on the heart and mind :) We will continue to work at *resuming* our blogging as the weeks roll by!

Obligatory excuse paragraph: On our last bit of off-site blogging, we both faltered with the #100dayproject, 100 Days of Making, on instagram because … well, she has so many balls to juggle in her life! And I became overwhelmed learning to draw the way I was doing — my brain could not shut off the observation channel and I needed a break. OK, that’s that. Done! 

Part of our discussion has been how we had regrets about not finishing that series of 100 days. We liked it! So we decided to pick something we are truly likely to stick to for that long; something based on activities similar to what we are already doing, actually. And nothing about the 100 Day Project concept says it has to start on a certain day or be coordinated by a certain authority. It is open to any individual at any time to begin.

I did a little research and found the root of the current 100 day movement, which has become worldwide and calendar-wide. Design expert Michael Bierut taught a workshop for grad students in design at Yale beginning 2006, challenging them to choose a design operation they could repeat daily, and do so for 100 days. It was purely elective, and many did not finish.

Here is a quote from near the end of this article about Michael Bierut and his original 100 Day Project that gave me some clarity on the ultimate purpose, or goal, of the project.

“People have asked me many times to say what, exactly, is the point of this project. I’ve always had a fascination with the ways that creative people balance inspiration and discipline in their working lives.” –Michael Bierut

Here is another article about the spring/summer 100 Days of Making project on instagram, http://www.whatdesigncando.com/2015/02/27/process-great-surrender/

And so we counted days. OK — Sam counted days and I checked her math, and we discovered that there are exactly 100 days from today to the very last day of the year. September 23rd through December 31st, including the 23rd, is exactly 100 days. So timely for our ideas!

(And kinda extra cool on my end, as today is my birthday. All these years and I never knew my birthday was 100 days from the end of the year!)

And so we begin. Today. 

Please feel free to tag along on instagram! (Did you see what I did there?)  Use the hashtag #last100daysof2017 as we will be doing. I just made that up. I hope Sam likes it well enough haha! 

See our daily efforts on instagram, https://www.instagram.com/2createincolor/ 

See a few selections of our 100 days as they happen, and always some other stuff, on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/2CreateinColor/

Right here on the blog, see a weekly post from each of us showing our progress, and a few What’s Up Wednesday features, and then more creative projects as the momentum picks up! I’m excited to show you my collaged file folders that I teased on instagram over the last couple weeks!

Happy last 100 days of 2017~




Sam here, real quick to introduce what Mom and I are working on!  The 100 day project! It’s an art/creative project, where you do one little thing every day for 100 days! And since we are still struggling to get back into our creative groove, and we were both super excited about this creative prompt… we hopped on board!

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Mom is doing a daily drawing practice, as she said: Drawing is a tool I want to develop to “Tell About It” I am always Paying Attention and Being Astonished!

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And recently I’ve been feeling like I’ve lost some of the joy capturing photos, my work has become work… and I want the joy back! So for 100 days I’m planning to use the gift of my creative eye to breathe some life back into myself and those around me!  And as I was looking around at other project people were working on last night, I was really inspired to take on one other little project I’ve had in the back of my mind too.  I’ve always wanted to hand letter, but have never really explored it. So that’s all my second project is… an exploration of hand lettering of single words or very short phrases inspired by that day’s life and/or photo. (All on legal pads because I didn’t want the pressure of something fancy!)

So we’ll post the occasional other projects on here, but for the most part our creative energies are going into creating our 100day projects!  We’ll do weekly recaps here on the blog and if you want to follow along daily you can find us on Instagram as 2createincolor.  

If any of you are doing this we’d love to follow you too, leave a comment!!




My chili.  A crowd pleaser, or at least that’s what the folks at the church cook-off seemed to say.  There was a popular vote and a judges vote, and while big money did sway the votes (bribing was encouraged… it was an awesome fundraiser for our youth mission trip), with minimal shenanigans on my part (or on my behalf)… my chili took second place in both votes! Only minimal bragging, but I *think* I would’ve had a good chance at first in both if money wasn’t a significant deciding factor.  But it was, and I’m encouraged by how many people were willing to donate big for these teens off to do some amazing work this summer!

This recipe isn’t for the faint of heart.  In all it was a three day process for me, from marinating the pork, to smoking the pork, and making the chili. And I did my best to write down the recipe, but I adjust based on flavor as I go so I encourage you to adapt to your preferences.  Creating recipes is kind of an art form for me, and it’s so personal since it is based on my favorite flavor profiles, with a few considerations for not overdoing those things so most people would enjoy it too! And even though I think this turned out fantastic, I’ll include my notes on what I might switch up a little in my next go at this chili… because there will definitely be a next go!


In its creation, this recipe hinged on the sweet and smoky flavor combination paired with pork.  Smoked pork shoulder, thick cut smoked bacon, and sausage.  Hence: Triple Pig.  I created my own spice blend and my own sauce as the base flavor profile.  The spice blend was added to my sauce, as another layer on the pork shoulder before it smoked, straight into the chili itself, and as a coating on some tortilla chips I served as a garnish for a very complimenting crunch. 

One of my favorite little parts of the sauce came from some homemade applesauce I canned a couple years ago.  The sweet of the apple, that compliments pork so nicely, seemed like a natural way to start.  I definitely used a fair amount of apple cider vinegar too, that tang highlights so many things!


I marinated my pork for about 12 hours in my sauce, and then added a thick layer of my spice blend before the smoke.  I didn’t pat off any sauce, so together it was kind of like a paste that coated my pork.  I used country style pork shoulder ribs, honestly because I thought they’d smoke faster.  They didn’t.  Enter staying up until 3am to take them off the smoker.  I’m still on the fence about whether I’d go this route or a big pork shoulder to smoke for the next round.  There were more burnt end type pieces from this which I like, but they didn’t all cook evenly and there was more fat that didn’t render into the meat than I’m used to with just a big pork shoulder.

For the record, the only thing Aaron helped me with was getting the smoker started and opening doors for me when I carried it out to put on.  He was making his own chili for the church cook-off, so it was stiff competition at our house. ;)

Oh, and I used a pan with some chopped onion and apple cider vinegar for some extra moisture and flavor while they smoked.  Don’t do it.  It’s honestly just not worth the mess and clean up.  I’m not writing that into the recipe below.  If I did anything for extra moisture I would just spritz the pork with some apple cider vinegar occasionally throughout the smoke. 


Thick cut smoked peppered bacon, deglazing the bacon pot to cook the onions in, peppers and garlic and chiles in adobo, peppers and good beer, a mix of beans, and that beautiful smoke-ringed pork! Yum. I’m hungry for this now, and it’s early in the morning as I’m writing this!


Made the day before the chili cook-off and reheated and adjusted the day of… we all know chili is better the second day!

Sam's Sweet and Smoky Triple Pig Chili
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For Sam's Sweet&Smoky Spice Blend
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup salt
  4. 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  5. 2 tbsp garlic powder
  6. 2 tbsp chili powder
  7. 1.5 tbsp onion powder
  8. 1.5 tbsp mustard powder
  9. 1.5 tbsp cumin
  10. 1 tbsp black pepper
  11. 1 tbsp chipped onion flakes
  12. 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
For Sam's Sweet&Smoky Sauce
  1. 2 pints applesauce (used homemade honeycrisp, 1 cinnamon, 1 regular)
  2. 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  4. 1 cup S&S Spice Blend
For Sam's Sweet&Smoky Triple Pig Chili
  1. 6-8 pounds pork shoulder (I used pork shoulder country ribs, can use big pork shoulder)
  2. 18oz hickory smoked peppered bacon, chopped
  3. 3/4 lb. sausage (used jimmy dean all natural, and added some of my S&S seasoning blend)
  4. 2 onions, chopped fairly small (I don't like big chunks in my chili!)
  5. 1/2-1 cup chicken stock
  6. 1 jalapeno, diced
  7. 1/2-1 anaheim, diced
  8. 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  9. 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  10. 3-4 pureed chiles in adobo, plus 1-2 tbsp adobo sauce (adjust per spice preference)
  11. 2 cans, drained but not rinsed seasoned black beans
  12. 1 can great northern beans
  13. 1 can red beans
  14. 1 can grapefruit IPA (I might go for something less hoppy next time, personal preference)
  15. 3 cans crushed tomatoes
  16. 1 cup S&S sauce
  17. 1 can diced tomatoes
  18. 1 can tomato paste
  19. 1/2-1 cup S&S seasoning blend
  20. 1/2-1 cup brown sugar
  21. 1 bunch chopped cilantro (1 cup after fine chop?)
  22. garnish as you prefer
  1. Mix seasoning blend. I think I doubled this recipe, but I had a lot left over so I *think* you could get away with making one batch. Or make two, and put the leftover in an empty seasoning bottle to use in the future!
  2. Mix sauce, reserve at least 1 cup for the chili.
  3. Marinate pork shoulder in sauce at least 12 hours. Right before smoking, take out of marinade, shake off excess and coat in S&S seasoning blend. It forms a sort of paste on the exterior of the pork. Smoke at 225 according to the weight of pork and your smoker's directions. You can spritz with some apple cider vinegar if needed. Let the pork rest, and pull or cut when it is convenient for you. (I smoked the day before I needed the pork, so I just cut it up cold right before it went into the chili)
  4. For the actual chili. Start with the chopped bacon and sausage (plus a little S&S seasoning) in a big pot, brown well and remove. I dumped mine in the reserved sauce to hold until it was time to add it back in. Deglaze pan with some chicken stock and add chopped onions. When onions start to soften add jalapeno, anaheim, green bell pepper, garlic, and pureed chiles in adobo+adobo sauce. Saute until fragrant and bell pepper just starts to soften. Add everything but last three ingredients to the pot. (beans, tomatoes in all forms, beer, reserved S&S sauce, pork in all forms). Simmer. I simmered until it was the consistency I was aiming for, a little on the liquid side since I knew I was reheating the next day. Probably 1-2 hours. If serving day of, can simmer longer to achieve thicker consistency. Adjust seasoning here as needed. I added 1/2-1 cup S&S seasoning blend, about a cup of brown sugar (it had ended up spicier than intended so I was hoping the sugar would mellow a bit of that), and the very last step is adding 1 finely chopped bunch of cilantro. I like it in the chili as well as the garnish, but it does not need to be cooked long.
  5. Serve alongside any garnishes you enjoy! I served mine at the cook-off with homemade guac (with S&S seasoning blend in it), cheese, cilantro, and hearty store bought chips I re-seasoned with S&S seasoning blend! Enjoy!
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Serve with your favorite garnishes and enjoy! My kids definitely enjoyed a few bites as I photographed it, and we enjoyed the leftovers for a few days after too! I LOVE leftover chili!


And you can’t forget that it went over pretty darn well at the church cook-off too! And if you get to the end of this post and are like: “Sam, this is way too much work!” I get it… just make the seasoning blend and use it on… EVERYTHING! :)