Monday, July 29, 2013

road tripping recovery

We just returned from a ten day road trip up to Oregon, across California, into Nevada, and back home again. There was a lot of driving. A LOT of it. There was also some crafting, thrift shopping, berry picking, shell collecting, scrabble playing, museum going, camping, and a lot of wanderting and hiking.

There was also picture taking. Goodness. SO MANY PHOTOS.

So as I eke out time for editing in between family visits, daily errands and chores, and oh yes...packing for our upcoming move, I will attempt to get some posts up about our summer adventure. The above montage is a peak at day one which mostly involved seven hours of driving with a stop to refuel both dear Eleanor and ourselves. We ended our evening in Garberville, California resting our weary noggins at the Sherwood Forest Motel.

I still have far too many photos to edit and garlands to find so I can mail those out. So much to do and so so so little time to NOT panic about it all. Yikes! Have you had any fun summer adventures?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

cronuts in the morning

cronut love

While I do definitely own up to a sweet tooth, I have to admit that donuts are not really my thing. At least, not your average run-of-the-mill donut. It is probably both a good thing and a bad thing that we live within walking distance to a magical donut shop. I've written about SLO Donut (or SLODOCO for those in the know) before, mostly when Ander and Zaza come visit as that is out SLO Donut where you can decorate your own bit of baked goodness to your heart's content.

morning hearts

Of course we went and sweetened up. The donut stop was necessary as we spent the morning making pom-poms and mornings making pom poms can sometimes take the oomph outta you. Banana glazed donuts, apple fritters, and even cronuts can help with that. Cronuts you ask? Why yes, there is such a thing and it is sweeping the donut nation from NY to CA. SLODOCO's cronuts are lovely and flakey and much to our surprise creme filled! I'm still working through that sugar shock but it was all good.

Iced coffee was also important. In this case it was a latte....

Not usual suspects for me (I usually do 2 donuts)...though this ended up being my meal for the day until late in the evening when we had dinner. Here is a savory stuffed croissant, cronut, and devil's food cake. I do love a good devil's food cake.

The light was simply too pretty to not get all snap happy!

The chalkboards are always fun, even if there are far too many comments from hosers who think they are witty. We have yet been able to find the chalk. I wonder if it is a bring your own deal?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

eat dillydilly: cranberry wild rice salad with sautéd artichole hearts {plus awesome berry glaze}

On the way home from Maker Faire back in May, we car travelers passed the time by creating a list of ingredients that would be fun to cook with. We decided to create an ingredient club of sorts where once a month, everyone prepares a dish or two utilizing two ingredients that were selected at random. Our first meeting was in early June in it was a blast!

The ingredients for our first meeting were cranberries and artichokes. Now, if we want to get super creative we can use both ingredients in a single dish but we don't have to. Say a future ingredient selection was sardines and peaches...I suppose that could work but I'm not sure I want to go there (though now the noggin is turning and thinking).

From classic artichoke dip, artichoke stuffed turkey breasts, and steamed 'chokes with cranberry hollandaise to cold potato soup with cranberry creme fraiche it was a food frenzy! The other folks in the group are pretty fancy in their cooking. Bread from scratch and all that jazz. I at first was super intimidated and tried to find fancy dishes but being that I am not a super fan of artichokes really I decided to figure out something I do like and make that is tasty and adaptable. I began with cranberries and thought of savory dishes and then it hit me...wild rice salad!

So that is what I made, a wild rice salad with sauteed artichoke hearts and cranberry cherry glaze. I don't have photos of the process but I an list the recipe below...have fun!

Wild Rice Salad with Sauteed Artichoke Hearts and Cranberry Cherry Glaze

1 cup cooked wild rice
1 cup cooked basmati rice
juice and zest from a small lemon
1 small red onion chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
1 can of artichoke hearts (not marinated)
3-5 cloves of garlic crushed
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

While rice is cooking, add a plug or two of olive oil to a heavy skillet and turn heat on medium. Add your crushed garlic and stir to incorporate into the oil. While keeping an eye on the temperature of the skillet, open and drain artichoke hearts. Squeeze out excess moisture with clean hands and coarsely chop. Add to hot skillet and stir until coated with oil and garlic. Continue sautéing until artichokes are somewhat browned. Set aside to cool.

Once rice is cooked pour into a large bowl. Stir to combine the two. Add juice and zest from a small lemon, chopped red onion, and cranberries. Stir until well combined. Add artichokes hearts, stir and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve with a spoonful or two of cranberry cherry glaze.

Cranberry Cherry Glaze

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup no sugar added cranberry cherry juice
3-5 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt

Combine ingredients into small saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until the back of the spoon is coated. This glaze thickens up and resembles an orange glaze for orange chicken. We have used it on our rice salad, with pork chops, and as a sandwich spread. It would probably be even better with fresh or frozen cranberries for your Thanksgiving dinner!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

and suddenly i was overwhelmed with weepiness was weird. I had packed three boxes for the move, mister is in a packing panic and I am certain we have plenty of time but his manic panic is freaking me out and so I promise to pack a certain number of boxes per day to keep him chill.

So, I had packed my boxes and tried on some pants and made a pile for cutting up. I gathered up some magazine pages to see if I could find pins for them, poured a jar of ice water, snagged a favorite supermarket cookie for a snack, popped in one game of candy crush (oy) and got to pinning and planning for next week's road trip.

I hopped from one page to another, doing my multitasking (and slightly ADD) dealio when I decided to look up a recipe that would top my favorite supermarket cookie. I'm scrolling through pins on pinterest and suddenly my breath catches and I want to weep.

No trigger unless you count Cookie Monster...not a one. Though I have been anxious all day, jittery and headachey and a big old worry wart but I have also been happy and goofy (have I told you that I pose for traffic cameras) and had a divine visit with a friend and a tall cup of my favorite coffee.

So that's how I roll. I am in the middle of a course of antibiotics and steroids...maybe those are messing with my mojo. I don't know. We're in the middle of packing for the new move and packing for a road trip. Things are a little techy and off but not so awful on the flip-side.

And it's back..this worry and weepiness...maybe I'm just really sad I haven't been able to clear all the jelly....

Friday, July 12, 2013

scrumdilly diy: make an upcycled necktie flag

I was and am really proud of the denim flag I made last year for the july bed. Last year's flag was originally going to be a necktie flag but I couldn't source enough red, white, and/or blue neckties in time. Fast forward to this year when the mister and I began buying up neckties whenever we found them. The mister uses them for his tinkers damn ukuleles and I use them for various craft projects. As I collected them I would put aside the red, white and blue ties.


June came and I pulled out all my ties and found all sorts of red, white, and blue prints. I also felt completely uninspired...I was over the red, over the blue, and over the white. I wanted more color, more fun, and I really wanted to use this amazing green floral tie that was most probably a gift from this happy spiffy lady (thank you, Nikki!)

And that was that. I pulled out all the happy ties and began stitch-stitching them are some details....

I used a medium zig-zag stitch in various contrasting colors to stitch the ties together. I originally pinned the ties together but quickly grew tired of having the pins poke me and ended up holding the ties next to each other as I zipped them through the machine.

Alternate the direction of each tie as you go to create as rectangular a flag as possible. I snipped the excess tie pieces at various lengths and stitched them down to keep them from fraying. My flag might actually look a little more flag-like had that bottom tie been less wonky and weavy and wavy and full of its biased self. It curled and I had no idea why or how and it might have been tension issues but being that I am a lazy sewer I rarely touch that dial and so I attempted to add another tie to the bottom but had to rip it out (which took me half of an hour) when it proved to be even more wavy wavy than the one above. I added it to the top instead and found to my dismay it too was full of its biased self. So now my flag looked a little less flag-like but it did look a little wavy so I went with it. Besides, after that point my seam ripper and I were not on speaking terms.


After you assemble the base of your flag pick out a bit of happy fabric for the base of your stars. I was super thrilled to find a blazing purple velvet top at the thrift to use. The only problem was that the velvet was of the stretchy kind and no matter how many pins I pinned it still slipped about all over the place. Stitch the second base onto your flag base and go rifle through your junk drawers for beads and old costume jewelry.

Yes, I actually managed to scrape up fifty odds and ends of the bejeweled kind for my stars. You really do not need to go that far but I had been holding onto these bits and pieces for a decade and decided to use them up.

The best way to attach the shiny baubles to the velvet is to use a hot hot HOT glue gun. No cute mini bedazzled gun will do, you need some super bond. Plug in the glue gun and while it heats up, arrange your baubles how you like.

Secure in place with a hefty dose of glue. Don't worry about the webby bits. Once the glue dries you can pull them off. Just get all glue happy and be careful of your fingers.

Once dry, tack it to your wall and salute!

All in all I think I made this flag for around $5 or maybe even less as many of the ties came from Nikki and/or a $5 bag sale from a local thrift. The velvet top was $1.50 and the baubles were from granny. In retrospect, I am wondering if the flag would be more stable and less wavy if I stitched my ties to the pillow case I had originally intended to use as a backing. So, think about it, gather up some ties and go for it! And if you do make one, please, please, oh pretty please send me a link and/or a photo! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

walking the beach

A few weeks ago when we were in the throes of a heat wave, we went for a morning walk along the beach in Avila. The plan was to walk from one end to the other 9it's not very long) and then sit for a spell with a cuppa somethin'.

While the nephew a-go-go worked on treasure hunting and stick poking, I looks for small moments of pretty and found there were many.

The tide was on an upswing and moving in casting stones in tumbleweed like rolls...

Tiny green crabs were clicking about  the rocks and barnacles moving too quickly for me to capture with the camera.

We walked under the pier and I stood there eyes dancing over the shadow play, ears tuned to the waves and my toes in the sloopy sand.

After reuniting a wee crab to the water, we headed back for a sit. I cannot help but take photos of this tree each and every single time we visit. The pink puffs are simply so Seussian and the bees make it extra spiffty.

This young lady and her choice of doll kept my smile buoyed for the remainder of the morning. She was quite engaging.

The colorful shops in this newish cluster also make me smile. Tucked back between all this color is a nifty little tasting room I highly recommend.

And of course, more pretty blossom to catch my eye.

Afterwards we ran some errands and brought lunch to the sister -a-go and her boss man. Boss man's boy-o donated a small bag of Star Wars toys to the nephew a-go-go and the mister had a fine time playing with them over lunch.

When we got home more errands and chores were attended to and then I sat on the porch with a popsicle and the camera.

Oh! and we saw baby pigeons. Baby pigeons!

How's that for a summer day?

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

what i didn't do

I didn't sleep well last night. Like my three year old self, I tossed and turned to the tune of crackling in my ear. Oh how my ear is hurting me. Pain I tell ya! I keep tugging at it like the toddlers at the preschool. Ouch!

Also,  I didn't take a single photo yesterday. Not. A. One. No photos taken of the pom poms I trimmed and then arranged in rainbow order for no reason other than they please me. No photo of my red, white, and blue pajamas(red lobsters on white cotton bottoms, blue tank). No photo of the happy piles of fabric that were folded and then put away. No photos of the gingerbread I baked for the mister. None.

I watered my plants and they looked photo worthy but did I take a picture? I did not. I walked out to the mailbox and barely missed stepping on a lizard the size of a cricket. I did not take a photo of it/him/her either. It moved too quickly for a photo anyway. I received pretty vintage stamps in the mail and even they went unphotographed.

I did not pack, brush my hair, or photograph anything. There was a lot of NOT doing.

But there was also a lot of DOING.

I did wash dishes upon dishes and mopped the floor. I washed two loads of laundry (and even lost a shirt whilst doing so...where did it go?) and cleaned up the living room. Along with gingerbread, I baked up a frittata, and blended up a smoothie for dinner.

I forgot to drink water but I did drink iced coffee and fizzy water with a splash of juice. I also drank hot ginger tea and the above mentioned smoothie.

I dashed off a cover letter and resume for a teaching dealio that would offer up more hours. I emailed back and forth with my landlord to show the tiny casa to strangers later this week. I remembered that we a-go-gos have dental cleanings today and I enjoyed an e-card from my aunt whom we will be visiting this month.

So I did not take photos today and I dropped the ball for two self-imposed projects and you know...I'm okay with that.

Maybe later today I will take some photos...after the cleaning and errands but before family dinner. Or maybe, I will just read a book.

Monday, July 08, 2013

the week in review: july1-7

Oh lookie, it's the jek show. Last week was indeed super busy and productive, I just failed to take any interesting photos or at least photos that would look all happy together. I began my 31 Days of Red, White, and Blue and already I'm thinking I am the queen of Hoserville. I just am. I'm also in a terrible, terrible mood. My allergies have me wheezing wheezing wheezing and my head is so full of sleep and fuzz. I haven't slept well in a few days and I'm trying like the dickens to figure out why the allergies. Other than two ocean side visits I have not hiked or sucked in pollen. I have however had an intense fling with fourth of July fireworks. I suspect they are the culprit. Hack hack hack sniff.

I squeaked out a few holiday projects for the 'do! and got the bed all made up. I made a flag and a pillowcase and I managed some weekend food prep for the week. I also got my hair trimmed and color redone and made a belt for my 31 days project. Right now, I am feeling meh enough I want to ditch it all and dive back under the covers with a bad book. I might but then I will feel doubly guilty as the mister has to be at work and I should be packing and cleaning.

I managed to get over my socially inept self to enjoy a lunch with my co-workers and then I hit up Spooner's Cove with this delightful friend and her wee gal where we sat for a few hours and chatted away in the ocean air. Then...yesterday, in a fit of sad raccooniness I demanded we go outside and DO something but could not fathom what the something should be and while I wanted, wanted, wanted to give in to the toddler screaming in my head I did not throw my bowl at the wall and sink into a puddle on the floor. I really wanted to and I told the mister I really wanted to and the lamest part is I had no idea why. I just wanted to. I was overwhelmed by bad brain and the wheezing wasn't helping nor was the lack of good sleep. So, instead of tantrumming it up, I laced up my hiking shoes and we headed out to pick up the mama a-go-go before making our way to Morro Bay. We opted for a shorty-short walk along the boardwalk and stopped to enjoy the otters which are SO DANG CUTE! Otters wrapping themselves up in seaweed are definitely a mood enhancer. Otters with furry babies on their bellies might cause one to swoon like a loon.

Other than the smidge of crafting (though my living room floor might argue over use of the word smidge, it's a ginormous mess) I also slathered on a coat of paint onto my soon-to-be kachina mask. So there you have it...fireworks, haircuts, beach walking, crafting, cooking, and visits with the sad raccoon. I hope this week is just as productive with more sleep and less anxiety.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

scenes from our 4th of july

It was a double celebration! The mama a-go-go's birthday is the day after and so we loaded up on ice cream, pie, sparklers, and festivities and had a doubly good time!

We cooked hot dogs on the fire(pit) and gabbed ourselves silly....

Sure, there was both pie and ice cream but one still needs to make room for s'mores once there is a fire going. We went budget friendly and got chocolate dipped shortbread cookies to fill in for the graham crackers and chocolate.

We spent a good chunk of our day lighting smoke bombs...

and of course....playing with sparklers! I hope your July 4th was a great day no matter where you live!