December 12, 2011

an easy peasy caprese....

last weekend was a tad bit busy.
on saturday night i realized that i had about an hour to get ready for a party and prepare an appetizer...YIKES!
i always do this.  
i never leave myself enough time to make something worthy of sharing.
.....until now!!!
 meet the simplest appetizer i have ever made.
(forgive my photo's from my iphone)
caprese salad bites
here is what you need...
cherry tomatoes (or any small tomato) - cut in half
fresh basil - chopped into squares
fresh mozzarella cheese pearls - cut in half
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
course sea salt & pepper

take a tomato halve and stick it on the toothpick
add a mozzarella halve
then a square of basil
then top it with the other half of tomato.

lay all your little skewers on a plate all pretty like.
drizzle olive oil over the top.
take some of your balsamic vinegar and heat it up over medium high heat in a pan until it boils down to a thick reduction, not globby, 
but thicker than it was before.
(sorry, i'm not an exact science recipe girl when i make things up)
pour the balsamic reduction over the skewers.
finish by sprinkling sea salt and pepper over the top.
chill till it's time to serve.

this totally saved me and will be my new go-to 
when i need to share an appetizer.

what kinds of recipes do you rely on when you're running short on time?

December 4, 2011


hi friends...
this is my beautiful girlfriend...MARGIE ROMNEY-ASLETT
she is golden.  and everything she touches SPARKles!
tomorrow, december 5th, my margie girl is launching an online workshop called
that you will NOT want to miss.  
It comes on the heals of margie's creative event called...
(i have an entire other blog post to share with you about this amazing event, 
but just let it be said that every single one of you girls should be there next year!!!)
One of the things that is just so amazing about SPARK is that every single one of the decorations is "handmade"...that's right...EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
Margie has the most amazing knack for using as little cashola as she can and as much creativity as she can muster...(which is a WHOLE lot..) and creating crazy, over the top, beautiful decor.
"SPARK YOUR CHRISTMAS" is an online class filled with SPARK inspired projects from gift ideas to decorations to garlands and more...for your christmas pleasure!!!

follow THIS LINK....
for more info and to sign's not too late!!!

don't forget that tomorrow, december 5th starts the 
(Margie is also one of the amazing artists participating with me in this workshop)

follow THIS LINK....
for more info and to sign up!

and as always...i would LOVE to know what you are doing to 
CUL*TI*VATE a wonderful holiday season in your homes!!!


November 29, 2011


Hi dear friends...
In 7 days from today the 12 ARTSY ORNAMENTS OF CHRISTMAS
online workshop will begin.  It is going to be so much fun.  The artists participating in this workshop are so awesome!  Here is a little sneak peak of what my portion of the workshop will be...
I am going to be teaching you how to make a cute christmas cottage out of vintage book paper.  This was so much fun to make and there are SO many great things you can do with this little house.
I made mine into a garland with lots of little houses and strips of burlap (LOOVE burlap) and old linen strips, stamped with jolly christmas words.
But I also show how you can bling it up and make your vintage house into an ornament or a package topper or even a cute little table top village.

Here are some sneak peeks of some of the other wonderful ornaments and christmas decor that we'll be learning...
Donna Downey makes the sweetest burlap, linen & twin christmas balls

Alisa Burke shows us how to make watercolored paper ornaments.

My dear talented friend, Margie Romney-Aslett puts together this most awesome vintage bird ornament, sitting in his nest, sportin a classy christmas party hat.
Jeanne Oliver, whom you all know i adore...creates this vintage burlap wreath to add to your decor this year...(Jeanne has a new line launching this friday, you won't want to miss it, her stuff is simply beautiful and sells out quickly!)
The other artists sharing their goodness will be...
Danielle Donaldson, Junelle Jacobson, Kaari Meng, 
Shea Fragoso and Debbie Murray (the gilded girls!) and Kelly Barton!
It would be so fun to have you join us.
All the details and sign-ups can be found on Christy Tomlinson's Blog...  

I would love to know if you will be creating along with us!


November 21, 2011


so we had a new 
open here in utah.
i just moved here from phoenix where we had one open a few years ago
so i knew the hoopla that was going to go along with it.
i should've known better than to go to the mall with my girls on the very same day that it opened.  dang my planning skills.  IT WAS CRAZY!  luckily the girls wanted to eat at the cheesecake factory more than they wanted to stand in line for an hour....just to enter the store.
(cheesecake always speaks loudly to the gardner girls)

so i let the mayhem die down a bit and dropped in today.
surprisingly i didn't find anything i HAD to have.

but they did have the cutest t-shirt that i simply had to share with you guys...

isn't this so cute.
you can't tell, but it's stitched on with sequins.
i just loved it's message and thought it was worth sharing as i am busy trying to raise children to 
STAY TRUE to themselves.
STAY TRUE to their uniqueness.
STAY TRUE to their beliefs.
STAY TRUE to the values we strive to teach them in our home.

(i think i see a new art piece in the near future...)

what are you trying to STAY TRUE to today?

cultivate a renewed effort to STAY TRUE!


don't forget to go sign up for 
the 12 artsy ornaments of christmas...

November 17, 2011

my craft channel dot com...

so has anyone visited 

it's actually a really cool concept.  kristine mckay brought together several artists within the craft industry and created 12 different 
craft shows around the various elements that each artist works with.
two of my sweet friends, christy tomlinson and april meeker
both have their own shows on this new website.  

so awhile back christy asked me to come be a guest on her show and i was so thrilled to be able to do this with her.  it was an especially awesome day because 3 of my dear friends, margie romney-aslettdanielle donaldson and jeanne oliver,  all came in town to film with christy.

danielle, jeanne and christy brainstorming
christy and jeanne getting ready to shoot
christy and margie on the studio computer
 me, margie, christy, jeanne and danielle
(photo from jeanne's blog)
it was such a fun day in the studio.  i pinch myself every time i have an opportunity to create and rub shoulders with such AMAZING artists.
(photo from margie)
...especially THIS artist!
christy has become such a dear friend to me.  she has really wise counsel to share with me and is always so willing to go out of her way to make me feel so good about myself.  i tell ya, i can be having thee worst day and just a text or a phone call from christy can turn that frown...upside down!  it is such a blessing to know that there is someone in your corner who still jumps up and down and shakes those pom poms for you...especially when you can't even seem to squeeze into that cheerleader skirt for yourself!  christy is over-the-moon talented and if you haven't taken the time to sign up for one of her WORKSHOPS you are missing out.  they are so affordable, which i LOVE and christy has the best personnality to teach.  SHE IS HILARIOUS!  
so do yourself a favor and breath in some christy for yourself.

among other can find her 
(including the 12 artsy ornaments of christmas)

and i'm nervous and scared and yet happy to announce that my episode with christy aired today and you can watch that HERE

hope you take the chance to pop on over to 
my craft channel and be inspired to create something wonderful today!


November 15, 2011


I hope many of you were able to go out yesterday and 
a bit of your love to those around you!

I am super excited to announce that I will be participating in a new holiday mini workshop by my dear sweet friend,
It's called 

I feel so blessed to be able to team up 
with these 10 amazingly artsy designers...

Christy Tomlinson, Donna Downey, Margie Romney Aslett, 
Jeanne Oliver, Shea Fragoso & Debbie Murray(from the Gilded Life), Kaari Meng(from French General), Junelle jacabson, 
Alisa Burke, Danielle Donaldson and Kelly Barton.

It gives me goosebumps!

This will be a 5 day workshop starting on December 5th.
Each day for 4 days, you will be shown how to make creative and handmade ornaments or holiday decor using fabric, metal, paint, glass and 3 new wonderful teachers each day..and to wrap things up on day 5...we will feature some awesome bonus projects and downloads,exclusive to the workshop from the different artists!

The entire workshop is packaged into full detailed videos which will be available to you for 6 months, so you will have plenty of time to go back and watch 
and learn at your own pace.

I am over-the-moon excited about this workshop
 and think it's just the most PERFECT thing 
to get your holiday creative juices flowing.

For more info about this workshop and how to sign up...
Please click on the link below!



also, if you have any questions at all please feel free to comment below or email me at
i would LOVE LOVE LOVE to know who is going to participate!

cultivate some holiday mojo!!!

November 14, 2011

blessings of heaven....

i was going through all of my photos from this summer and wondering where in the world to start with my recap of all our goings on.  what i realized was that i was blessed this summer.  VERY VERY BLESSED.
and it made me think...
so many others were "giving" to me...what did i offer to those around me, to bless their lives?
and so today, instead of showering you with photos of 
"summer days in the life of the gardner home"...
i am going to go out and 
i am going to get off this computer and 
 go do, serve, sacrifice a bit...
maybe you could do the same and we could each bring
 the blessings of heaven back into our own homes.
that's no sacrifice right!


cultivate sweet giving...

October 31, 2011

yes...i am alive!

"greetings from utah"

over the past 5 months...i've wondered if i would ever make it back to this place.  
it has been a very twisted and long summer my friends.
our family waited for over 5 months to buy a short sale home,
 that fell through in the end.
needless to mention, 99% of our belongings were in storage until 2 weeks ago.
it was a loooooooong summer of camping out on blowup mattresses.
1 chair to split between 7 people (and the dog).
a card table. 1 bathroom for all 5 of my children. (yikes!)
plastic plates and cups and forks from wal.mart.
mean neighbors.
long commutes from where we "lived" to where we "played".
new schools.  grumpy secretaries.  no friends.
and on and on and on.


there were so many blessings that have come our way.
so many adventures.
so many answered prayers.
a lot of learning and togetherness and compromise.
now we have a new home.
lots of boxes to unpack,
furniture to sit on and beds with which to lay our weary heads on at night.
real dishes and do-dads to decorate our new space.
and our computer!!!  YAY!

i have missed all my sweet friends and have so much to catch up on,
both here and in your own little worlds.

i look forward to my re-entry into this world of
all that is good in life.

so fill me in...what's been going on in your corner of the world?

May 30, 2011

a goodbye....of sorts.

i have written and re-written this post 100 times in my head.
and do you think i can remember one bit of how i intended to say
what i want to say to you guys?   no!
so i.ll just say it.
this past week was busy busy busy.
i was going to write a list ( i love lists) of everything i had to do
so you all would understand WHY i haven't been so attentive to this blog
or in visiting your own blogs that i love so much.
i realized that this is life.  i am no more busy than the rest of you.
perhaps i am going through different life situations...
last week of school for 5 kiddos, a middle school promotion (above)
a highschool graduation,
picking up my dad from the airport and trying to entertain his sweet heart
while packing up our entire house for 2 days, then taking the next two days to load the biggest moving van i have ever seen.  watching that truck drive away with our life inside was a tear jerker.

helping my children to say goodbye to a place they have called home for more than 14 years has been one of the hardest jobs i have had to do as a mom. 
goodbyes are hard for me.
i don't like them.
thats why THIS particular post is a hard one for me to write.
i am saying goodbye.
(thankfully for me...NOT FOR GOOD)
but i will be taking a blog break for the summer.
i decided i need to put my entire focus on finding a new nest in utah.
on helping my children to build new wings that will need to withstand some growing pains and some cold days.  i need to strengthen my own wings as well.
please know that i will be out there checking in on all of lovely friends.
i have made SO many amazing connections through this silly old blog of mine.
i may even post a photo or two when i just can't stand not sharing my world around me with you all. 
 so this is one of the last things i need to pack up.  my computer.  
i made the movers leave it on the carpet so i could wait until 
the final moment to write my farewells.  

and this is me.  little chrissy.
giving you a cheesy smile as i turn off my computer for the last time for a few weeks.
please know that i love you.
please know that i cherish your friendship.
please know that i will return again soon...refreshed and refocused
and hopefully re-nested.

don't forget to 
all the wonderful things that life has to offer.

i.ll be out there checking up on you to make sure you are keeping up with your assignment.

all my love,

p.s. i get email on my phone and would love nothing more than to hear from you.

don't hesitate to share all the cultivating!  

May 23, 2011

Safe Place All Can Embark...SPACE

10 women from around the country {and three in our hearts}
 gathered in sedona, arizona recently.
it was the dream of 3 girls to provide a SPACE where some hearts could reunite
and some hearts could merge for the first time.
the love explosion that occurred was priceless.
we broke bread together.
we created together.
we learned from one another.
we enjoyed the amazing beauty that surrounded us...together.
but most of all..we just loved one another.

i HIGHLY suggest you...
cultivate a SPACE where you can gather together souls you love and adore

and to these women...
i adore you!!!!