Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Choose To Plunder!

Hello all!

Yes, it has been a while!  I have been crafting and living life in beautiful Colorado.  I just haven’t blogged.  FB is much too convenient and easy for on the fly “blogging” so again I have neglected this little blog of mine.  However, I want to change that.. hoping to blog some of the projects I have made and adventures we have been on over this past year.

 

One of the new adventures I have started this year is a new small business called Plunder Designs.  My friend, Hillary, in Utah started this company this past year out of her home and has gone nationwide with it as a direct sales business…. I love jewelry and I especially love funky, different, AFFORDABLE jewelry so I decided to sell it! I have meant to blog about it sooner, but got caught up in canning and fall activities at home.

I JUST got an email from our corporate office about our first PLUNDER HOLIDAY BUNDLE sale.  OH MY GOSH, You do not want to miss this!  The sale is phenomenal and is only while supplies last.  Purchase all four bundles for $95.00 which saves you $82.00 over purchasing them separately!

PHB1  $20
Isabelle ($22)
Victoria ($10)
** Save $12.00

PHB2 $20
Joserphine ($26)
Gale ($10)
** Save $16.00

PHB3 $30

Annabelle ($48)
Rebeccaa ($12)
** Save $30

PHB4 $25
Kennedy ($26)
Karen ($15)
Sam ($8)
** Save $24.00


So….. hurry to my website and get some Christmas shopping done now…

www.plunderdesign.com/erin

Here is a direct link to the Plunder Holiday Bundles:

https://extranet.securefreedom.com/plunderdesign/Shopping/ShoppingCart.asp?Cat=Sale%20Items

 

Plunder Holiday Bundles

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ladder Scarf Tutorial

Hello again!

This post is a follow up to yesterday’s Frozen Scarf post.  I figured with all the photos it would be better to split it into two posts and keep the tutorial separate.

This is the scarf I shared yesterday:

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Today I am going to give you a very basic tutorial to make this scarf. 

Disclaimer:  I have never written a pattern/instructions for crocheted ANYTHING… but this is so ridiculously easy that I don’t think I can mess it up too badly :) I am writing this for a  scarf for an adult… shorten as needed per size of the wee one.


LADDER SCARF PATTERN/INSTRUCTIONS:

This scarf is perfect for using up ends of skeins of yarn and misc scraps of yarn.  Mix the colors and textures up as you choose.

Hook size used for this project is a size “H/8-5.00 mm” 

Step One:
- Start first color with a long tail, roughly 7”
- Chain 315 stitches.
- End with a 7” tail. 
 
Step Two:
- Start second color in the same manner, leave a 7” tail.
- Chain 15
- *Count 15 stitches on the first chain and find stitch #16.
- Once you have found chain #16  single crochet with your second color (this will be stitch #16 on your second color) for the next FIVE stitches  You will have connected your two colors to each other with FIVE single crochets.  
-  Chain 15 more stitches.
- Repeat from * until you reach the end.  You should have 15 chained stitches at the ends with a 7” tail string.

Steps  Three – Eleven (Or however wide you want to make it):
- Continue this process until you have reached the desired width of scarf.  My Frozen scarf was 11 rows wide.

Finishing:
- Trim your tails to all the same length.  I tied knots in the ends to prevent fraying.

NOTE:  If you want more space between each row of the scarf you can do five double crochets  or five half double crochets instead of five single crochets.  This will give just a bit more spacing between the rows. 

Here are the instructions in photo format. 
(I have only crocheted a short length to illustrate the process.)

Find your size H/8 –5.00 mm hook

Step One:
- Start first color with a long tail, roughly 7”
- Chain 315 stitches.
- End with a 7” tail.

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Step Two:
- Start second color in the same manner, leave a 7” tail.
- Chain 15
- *Count 15 stitches on the first chain and find stitch #16.

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- Once you have found chain #16  join your colors with a single crochet (this will be stitch #16 on your second color) for the next five stitches  You will have connected your two colors to each other with FIVE single crochets.  

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-  Chain 15 more stitches.


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- Repeat from * until you reach the end.  You should have 15 chained stitches at the end with a 7” tail string.

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Steps  Three – Eleven (Or however wide you want to make it):
- Continue this process until you have reached the desired width of scarf. 

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NOTE:  If you want more space between each row of the scarf you can do five double crochets  or five half double crochets instead of five single crochets.  This will give just a bit more spacing between the rows.  {I believe in the original pattern, the artist used double crochet (posts) for her scarf. }

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AND THAT IS IT!

And that’s it… easy peasy, especially once you’ve attached the second row/color.  You only have to count the 15 chain stitches and can zip right through the scarf. 

Here’s a peek at the chunky yarn scarf I made to test the pattern.  Chunky yarn crocheting achieves length very quickly with fewer stitches.  I think the length on this one is 150-ish stitches and the spacing is 10 chains, 5 single crochet.

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Thanks for popping in.  If you decide to crochet this scarf I would LOVE to see it :) Link up in the comments.  (Miss Jeanne, I sure hope to see one or two made for your girls .. hehe..)

Inky Smiles!

~Erin

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Baby, It’s Cold Outside… A Scarf Inspired by Frozen

While much of the country is freeezing their bums off covered in a blanket of snow, here in Colorado we have been enjoying a lovely, sunny 57* – 63* most of the past week.  (Mind you, we had a visit from the great Polar Vortex just prior to this faux Spring, so it’s been much welcomed, and a tease, because I know what is coming….)

Remember this sneak peek?
I know I promised I was working on the post for it. Here it is…

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My niece had her 5th  birthday on Saturday.  And she just LOVES the movie Frozen, so her birthday theme was “Frozen”…  She  is a lot like I was a child, bright, independent and creative.  She looooves to pretend with her dolls and dress up like her favorite characters.

I decided that I wanted to make her a Frozen scarf… Kisha and I had found a fun scarf pattern on Pinterest a while back, but when I looked up the instructions they were in Finnish.  Thankfully someone had posted some very basic roughly translated instructions in the comments.  I made a big chunky yarn version to start with and LOVED it so I went ahead and made a smaller version.  This scarf didn’t have an official name for the pattern, but I am going to call it a “Ladder Scarf”.  It looks kind of like a ladder…  I used a variety of different types of yarn  for this scarf.  I love how the fringey white yarn looks like snow.  It was a pain to work with, but the finished effect is awesome.

Here she is opening her prezzie… So excited! (Forgive the pic quality… images from texts from my sister.)

Opening

Cheesey

Card

I think it turned out FABULOUS.  In fact, I really want to make one for myself with fun frilly yarn like this.  (We told my niece it was snowflakes and icicles…. she wasn’t quite sure why all the pieces weren’t completely attached in the spaces… “Mom, tell Auntie Erin she needs to finish it and make all the pieces stick together.”   Hehe… )

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And later that evening… in her Anna dress…. One happy little 5 year old!

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Thanks for dropping in!   I loved making this little scarf and I am glad my niece loves it. :)    For you crocheters - I have written a tutorial and it will post tomorrow morning. Inky Smiles! 

~ Erin

Friday, February 21, 2014

Spice, Spice, Baby

Since moving to Colorado I have been working part time as a professional organizer with my friend, Christa, at Peace Together Spaces.  It has been a lot of fun and fills my need to “sort and purge”.  Organizing other people’s spaces is a lot of fun and easier for me than organizing my own spaces (no emotional attachment to things).   Today I wrote a post for the PTS blog… let’s get those spice cabinets organized, peeps!

Check it out by clicking on the photo…

SpiceBeforeAfter-WEB2

Inky Smiles!

E.

PS.. I have some crafty goodness to share as well… working on that post as you read… :)  Here is a sneak peek:

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Breakfast Muffins… To Go!

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And now I’m back… from outer spaaaace… ok, so it has been WAY too long since I blogged.  I want to be a better blogger again.. really, but I refuse to promise to blog at “X” intervals because well, I’d be a big liar head and really, I don’t want to be that way.

We’ve been trying to eat healthier (and mostly homemade) here at our house.  I am working on losing more weight and just getting back to better over all health.  I’ve lost quite a bit of weight over the past 18 months and am feeling great.

One of the things I completely and horribly stink at is eating breakfast… the MOST important meal of the day.  It gets your metabolism going and provides fuel for your body for the day.

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I skip breakfast way too often because mainly I am lazy not a morning person and don’t want to cook breakfast and don’t generally keep cold cereal (aka milk logged cardboard) in our house.. I do have some Raisin Bran for Brent.. .it’s his fave, but I only like it once in a while.  I also don’t want to do dishes in the morning AND evening.. and before you say I can let the dishes wait until evening… hahahaha…  excuses, excuses….

Here is a great WebMD article on why we shouldn’t skip breakfast:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/most-important-meal

… and another from The Kitchn:

http://www.thekitchn.com/why-breakfast-is-the-most-impo-1-113418

“Studies have shown that weight loss can be more difficult and weight gain more prevalent in folks who opt out on the morning meal. Those who skip breakfast have a tendency to consume more food than usual the next chance they get to grab a bite to eat and also have a higher tendency to snack on high-calorie foods to keep hunger at bay until then.”

And I was pretty much ordered by my  doctor recently to start eating breakfast.  I don’t take orders well, but I like losing weight and I like eating yummy foods.  A bad combination of likes, but….

SO ANYWAY

I was perusing Facebook last night, since my brain was firing at warp speed and I couldn’t sleep… and saw a yummy looking picture of these delightful little breakfast “muffins”.

This is not my photo, I stole it from Facebook (because it is pretty):

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At 1:00 am they were screaming, “MAKE ME!!!”

And at 1:00 am I was screaming, “GET IN MAH TUMMY"!!”

I am sure they are nothing “NEW”… but I hadn’t made them before so they were “new to me”…  and this girl has made a goal to try

ONE NEW RECIPE PER WEEK

FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR!

YUM.

So this morning I got up and made breakfast.  I made 12 of these little darlings, at two and put the rest in the freezer to be individually blasted frozen. (I will package them up in ziplocks once they are frozen solid.

I will not bore you with any “how to make these” photos… mostly because my hands were messy and I left my phone somewhere in the family room.  Haha :)

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So, I didn’t have shredded hashbrowns on hand and didn’t want to shred real spuds, so I raided the freezer and used tater tots instead…. They worked out perfectly… just thaw and smash.. use your hands.. works great!   I also forgot the melted butter, but there is enough oil in the tater tots…..

This recipe makes exactly 12 breakfast muffins.  Go lightly when adding the egg mixture to make sure you fill all your potato cups.   I ate two for breakfast this am and popped the rest on a tray in the freezer.  I will put them in a gallon size Ziplock so we (meaning Brent) can grab them on the way to work or I can reheat one in the morning for breakfast. 

Breakfast “Muffins”
{recipe snagged from somewhere on Facebook and adapted by Erin Grotegut}

Preheat oven to 400* F

The Good Stuffs:

2 Cups of Hashbrowns, thawed (or TaterTots, thawed and smashed up)
3 T Butter, melted (real butter only)
1/4 C finely diced white or yellow onion
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
16 oz (1 lb) your favorite ground sausage (pork, turkey, chicken, tofu, whatevah)
6 large eggs, beaten
3/4 C Colby Jack cheese, finely shredded
1/4 C Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped
Fresh chives or green onions (optional – but they do make the muffins prettier)

The How To:

1) Combine potatoes, butter, onion, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix it, mix it goooooood.

2) Press potato mixture into a regular size muffin/cupcake tin.  Press the bottom firmly and up the sides of the tin.   Make sure there are no holes in the shells.  If the egg leaks through they are more stubborn coming out of the tin.

3) Bake potato shells/cups for about 12 mins… (I decided next time I will bake mine a bit longer, maybe 15 mins to get a crisper bottom.)

4) While the potato shells/cups are baking brown up your sausage and drain it.

5) Whisk together your eggs, cheese, and bell peppers.  Mix in any other ingredients as desired at this point, too.  I lightly salted and peppered my egg mixture, too.

6) Place about 1-2 teaspoons of sausage crumble in each potato cup.

7) Pour egg mixture over the sausage.

8) Bake for 15 minutes-ish or until the eggs are firm and set.

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A Note on “Healthy”:
This isn’t Paleo, or “Clean”, or Low Fat, Low Carb, or what have you… but it is homemade and relatively healthy.   ANNNNNDDD, (as with ANYTHING you make homemade) you CAN alter it to fit your dietary lifestyle.

* You can omit the butter (as I did, since I forgot, and it will still be yummy). 
* You can use eggs from your farm or friend’s free range chickens.
* You can use ANY kind of cheese, homemade or organic, or from your pet goat.
* You can shred your own hashbrowns (which I should have done).

I don’t have any clue on WW points or calorie content (but I could figure it out), or whatever… What I do know is that per each one of these cups has approximately: 1/3 C shredded potato and onion, 1 tsp sausage, abt 1 tsp red pepper, 1/2 egg, and maybe 2 tsps of cheese. 

Not too bad.  I ate two breakfast muffins and was full.  I guarantee if I had gone to breakfast somewhere I would have consumed many more calories and waaaay more potatoes  AND PANCAKES (plus syrup) than eating at home.. and I didn’t eat milk soaked cereal… which is a good thing.

However you decide to make them… ENJOY!!!

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Oh, and PS. My little town lit up our star in Broncos colors. LOVE IT! Although in years past I have not been a sports fan of any kind (excluding the Olympics), it is actually kind of fun being somewhere with a professional football team.

GO BRONCOS!!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

No Need to Knead & Soups On! Lazy Food….

I’ve been learning that cooking at our high Colorado altitude is a little different than cooking at our previous altitude in Utah.  Here we are at 6,300 ft and in Utah we were at 4,700 feet.  While they are both “high altitude”, Colorado has additional challenges with baking.  I have not been super successful with cakes and cupcakes yet.  Still working on adjusting the recipes.  However, I’ve got cornbread down pat and decided to try my hand at my first loaf of bread.  I am still having a hard time with pain when I over use my left arm, so I decided to try a favorite no fail, no knead recipe…. and I wanted an easy lazy dinner for last night so I made a Potato Corn & Ham Chowder to go with it :) Yes, I planned dinner around the bread. Hehe!
This bread is started the afternoon before the evening you want to eat it.  It rises for a full 18-24 hours.  I went the full 24 hours and it turned out awesome!
Nice, round crusty bread… perfect for dipping in soup or chili.
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Last night we had it with Potato Corn & Ham Chowder.  SOOOO delicious!

Here’s a shot of it during its last rise stage.  I keep a cool house (temp wise) and found that it rose nicely next to the crockpot of chowder… all that nice warm air coming off the crockpot… 
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(Really, I don’t own a ginormous crock pot and teeny tiny Kitchen Aid.. crazy angle with the camera phone.)
Once it has reached it’s full rise (dough doesn’t readily spring back when you poke it gently) it goes into the oven… Here’s a shot of it crisping up the crust… 2 more minutes, 2 more minutes….
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I couldn’t wait for it to cool before cutting it… oh my gosh.. get in my tummy now…
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Slather it up with some butter… just a smidge…
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(See? I took a bite – or two – oh my… yum.)
Dunk it in your soup ….. and enjoy!!!
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It was seriously good.  I ate the last piece for breakfast this morning. MMMM.

No Knead Bread
(adapted from http://www.aresrocket.com/bread/  *I measure by weight for baking)
  • Whisk together:
    16 ounces All Purpose Flour
    1.5-2 Teaspoons Salt
    1/4 Teaspoon Instant Yeast (make sure it is fresh)
  • Add:
    12 ounces room temp water (abt 1.5 Cups)
    (I added an extra 1/3 C … my dough was too dry)
1) Mix well with a spoon. Dough will be wet and sticky.
2) Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 18-22 hours in warm place (I put mine in the oven.. no drafts.
3) After it has rested and risen for 18-22 hours scoop your dough out onto a well floured piece of parchment paper. (It needs to be well floured or cornmealed or it will stick.)  Spray a piece or two (depending on the size of your loaf) of plastic wrap and cover LOOSELY (allow for more rising room).  
4) Let it rise for 1.5-2 more hours.   The dough is ready when you can press your finger into the dough GENTLY and it doesn’t quickly spring back.
Ok, so now.. you need a HOT HOT oven…. and an oven INSIDE the oven…
5) 30 minutes prior to baking:  place a dutch oven (with the lid) into the oven and set the oven at 475.   It’s gotta be HOT HOT HOT (yes, said just like the song…) Get that dutch oven all nice and hot. 
6) Carefully take the dutch oven out of the oven and remove the lid.  Remove plastic wrap and pick up the entire loaf of bread WITH the parchment paper and place it down into the dutch oven.  Place the lid on the dutch oven and set the timer for 35 minutes.

See… you can see the edges of the parchment in this pic…


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7) After 35 minutes carefully remove the lid and bake an additional 8-10 minutes to brown up the crust.  
Remove bread from dutch oven and place on a rack to cool.

Potato Corn & Ham Chowder ~ Erin Grotegut
  • Toss in a crock pot:
    6-8 Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced/cubed small
    1 Med White Onion, diced (about 1 Cup)
    1 Can Creamed Corn
    1 Can Whole Kernel Corn
    8 Ounces Diced Ham
    2.5-3 Cups Chicken Broth or Stock (3 cups if you use 8 potatoes)
    1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
    1/4 – 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
    Dash Garlic Powder (not garlic salt)
  • Optional:
    1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Chives
    1-2 Tbs Diced Chiles (Your fave… kicks it up a notch or two…)
  • Have ready:
    1/4 Cup Butter ( don’t use margarine)
    2 Cups half and half
    2 Tablespoons flour
1) Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or if you are a goofball like me and start dinner at 3, cook on high for about 3-4 hours until the potatoes are soft and able to be smashed.  

2) Smash the food in the crock pot with a potato masher until it is the consistency you like. 
3) Make a slurry.  Scoop out 2 Tbs of the “broth” and put into a bowl or mug.  Add 2 Tbs of flour and whisk with a fork.  Add to the crock pot.  This will help thicken the chowder a bit. 
4) Add the butter and half & half and cook for about 10-15 minutes until the slurry has had a chance to thicken and cook.
Garnish with chopped chives and/or your favorite shredded cheese.

Enjoy!!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Going Bat Stick Crazy Around Here

And now for the excuses…..

I have not died.

Or driven off the face of the earth.

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(Yes, it looks like we might drive off the face of the earth on this road up to Pike’s Peak… oy)

I have just been living a very crazy life here in beautiful Colorado.

To catch you up on everything would make for a thick novel so instead I will sum it up.

1) Had a GREAT My Creative Escape retreat here in CO in April.

2) I’ve been working as a Professional Organizer for Peace Together Spaces and loving it!

3) Spent the end of May and most of June traveling around the country (destination east coast) with my Mom.  Visited Niagara Falls and some LDS Church history sites along the way, ultimately landing at my grandparent’s home in Massachusetts for a few weeks.

4) Had 25 extra bodies (visitors) in my home from the last weekend of June – July:  family, friends, and family and more friends!

5) Had a minor car accident Aug 1.  I have 3 vertabrae pressing into my spinal cord and numbness and tingling in my left arm and hand.  After multiple dr and chiro visits I have ended up with a spine specialist and am now working on getting better with physical therapy and good drugs.  (It hurts to sit at the computer for very long, or really anywhere I have to sit still for very long.)  Trying to avoid surgery.

6) Well… life is just life… and I am going bat “stick” crazy around here… and crafting when I feel well enough…  This past week was a “good week”.

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So Anyway…

I am normally not a “Halloween” person.  I don’t do “ghoulish stuff”, “guts”, “scary”, or “creepy” for Halloween, but I DO enjoy silly, cute, fun stuff… and this year I am actually excited to decorate for fall and Halloween. YAY!

When I was in Utah at the end of August for my friend, Tahne’s, birthday  and B’s work, and a concert (F.U.N.) I stopped in one of Utah’s plethora of crafty shops… I can’t remember which one it was, but I picked up a fun witch’s boot to decorate and saw the most adorable bats… but I didn’t purchase them… I figured I could make them myself with scraps from B’s woodshop. (Leftover bits of InkStaks and RibbonStaks).  So I drew up some bats in Photoshop and printed out the pattern, traced them onto some scraps of pine and zipped them on out our band saw.

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and dry fitted them with some fun patterned and textured papers…

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Then I painted up the edges with this fabulous home made glitter paint…

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To make the paint, mix:

Any color acrylic crafty paint
Small amount of Valspar Paint Crystals (GLITTER) for paint (Lowes)

**A little glitter goes a LONG way… and it will add texture to your paint, esp if you accidentally dump the bag over your paint… :)

** Use a popsicle stick to stir the paint and glitter, not your paint brush.

 

After the paint dried sufficiently enough that I could handle the bats (not a patient crafter here) I wandered out to the wood shop and measured out some dowels sticks… "(bat stick, hahaha.. get it? ok.. well.. )

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While they finished drying (I also mod podged on the papers), I whipped up some custom dyed ribbons to finish up the bats and another fun Halloween decor project.

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Here is my finished Bat Trio.  I think they turned out whimsical and fun. Now to decide where to display them in the house!

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Happy flying, little bats!

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I’m sorry I’ve been away so long.. leave me a note and let me know if you’re still out there in blog land!

 
Inky Smiles!