Wednesday, July 30, 2014

on sunsets and garden goodness

scarlet runner flower
pitcher plants from radmegan
 we finally have some heat up here. kinda a lot for our little coastal town. it's been a smidge muggy as well and for us used to the dry heat, the mugginess makes us a bit whiny. it's made for some gorgeous sunsets though...and sunrises. for a moment today i thought for sure we would get some summer rain...we didn't but good golly the sunset was absolutely divine!
the mister's ladder in the new garden
mama a-go-go's peaches
 so with the heat, the garden has been bursting....the strawberries are super sweet, the blackberries are getting riper and the peaches are blushing beautifully.
yellow roses of slo
still life w jek's junk
just...everything in the garden is so pretty. the flowers in bloom, the fruit fruiting and the pretty! we're very lucky to live where we do and grow what we grow. everything we can;t grow can be found at our farmer's market. so lucky!
the view from our patio
sweet dreams!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


July has been kicking my bum with all sorts of busy! I, of course,  had mucho plans for all sorts of posts but then life happened and my ideas flew out the window. So for now, how about some photos? Here's a little bit of the dilly I have been up to...
 I taught a paper lantern and beaded wire sculpture class at a local library. These are my sample lanterns. The teen girls in my class made some fantastic lanterns while a few others really rocked the wire and beads. Yay for summer teaching!
 I wandered out early one morning for a photo walk but found it a bit too overcast so I popped in to one of my favorite spaces for a cuppa, a sweet treat, and some reading.
 We've had some warmer temps here so I have been rocking it old school with sun tea. This batch here is a mixture of Wild Sweet Orange and Happy Me (which I am out of so if you see it could you send some my way? Pretty please?). I sweeten a smidge with honey and drink about a quart a day. Love this tea!
 I got a little crazy thrifting. Some scores, some not so scorey. I recently picked up 5 pairs of jeans for $20 and sadly not a pair fit me. Phooey! But I did find a nifty dress, some comfy tops, and a pile of wooden bowls for my classroom!
 At our last family dinner I made a most delicious batch of yellow curry. I originally thought I could make a curry paste but got lazy and picked up a bottle instead, only I picked up Indian curry instead of Thai curry and had to balance it out with a lot of garlic and ginger.  It was delicious...yay for crock pots!
 I felt a little sad that my etsy shop has been so empty so I added a bunch of gingham fat quarters. Aren't they pretty?
 My school is going to be implementing Froebel's Gifts into our classroom as a part of our math program. I have been brushing up and AM. SO. EXCITED!
And finally...I got to squeeze this girl after being blog buddies for years. Yay for the internet and happy, quirky peoples!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

time for a (lovely) wee sponsored post: jord wooden watches

I receive many inquiries for sponsored posts. Most of 99% of them are for ridiculous non-dilly things such as custom teeth whitening trays or perfume...yes perfume (how ironic being that I have a sniffer that does not sniff).
A few months ago I was contacted by JORD Watches and it was a delightful change of pace and perfect timing as I needed a new watch desperately. I'm not your average watch-wearing girl. Women's watches tend to be a bit too dainty and priss for my taste and the bands are too narrow or too gilded and I'm just not into bling. How delighted I was to find that Jord watched are not blingy at all yet still quite eye-catching and naturally gorgeous. I was intrigued by the visual and geeked out over the meaning of the word JORD which is Swedish for “earth, soil, or nature”. My 1/8 Swedish ancestry loved the albeit tiny connection and so I jumped in and partnered up.
JORD watches are made with a variety of wood and implement just as many styles of watch-face and design. Being a teacher who has to have her brain scattered in a million different ways, I needed a watch that was easy to read and so went for the Sully in Natural Green. I couldn't wait for it to arrive as I was tired of wearing things with pockets so I could use my phone for a clock.
My watch arrived in a nifty box all happily presented with a wooden token and satin pillow. I was a bit miffed that the green was not as green as I thought it would be but the natural grain and color of the watch more than made up for it. Being a man's watch, it fit loosely on my wrist which is what I was going for, the band does not pinch my wrist in its hinges and is still tight enough it does not slip off my wrist altogether.
The watch fits the mister as well and he has manly wrists so it's a double win. It also appears that with the right tool, one could remove a link or two from the band to give the watch a more custom fit. JORD watches are really pretty and I am very happy to have been contacted by them as it would have never crossed my mind to search for a wood watch (though I have searched for wood wedding rings go figure). If you are looking for a gorgeous timepiece for yourself or a gift, give their catalog a look! I believe, the quality, design, and product are a great deal for the price. Not bad for a group of people in the Midwest, not bad at all!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

diy: soba noodle salad

This is a favorite recipe of mine that I love and oodles of others are always asking me for. It's not really a recipe as I wing it each and every time I make it. It's always yummy as long as you do not overcook yer noodles. Do not overcook them! Blech!

*one package soba noodles (I like these)
*2-4 cups chopped blanched green beans
*1 small red onion thinly sliced
*2 T brown sugar
*1/4 soy sauce
*1/4 rice vinegar
*2-4 crushed garlic cloves
*fresh grated ginger to taste (I use 1 T)
*2-4 chopped young chives
*1-3 chive blossom heads
Cook noodles according to package directions. Do not overcook! The last batch of noodles I made last week, while edible for most, were an unpleasant texture for this anosmic girl. Blech! I buy my noodles either in L.A. when we are down there or World Market. Drain and place in large bowl.
Blanche chopped beans for 2-3 minutes. We grow purple beans and I toss them into a pot of boiling water just until the purple changes to green. Drain and rinse under cold water. If you are kooky like me, drain water into a large pot and allow to cool so you can water your plants with it later. Marvel at how green it appears.

While noodles and beans are cooking, grab a pint jar and add your soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar. Place lid on top and shake it up. Set aside.

To assemble salad, dump noodles into large bowl, add cooked beans, chopped chives, chive blossoms (I prep the blossoms buy rinsing them and then simply pulling them apart) and red onion (onion can be diced or thinly sliced. I use a pampered chef gadget that quickly slices it all up for me). Mix. Add dressing and mix some more.

Salad is meant to be enjoyed cold but tastes better at room temperature. Some people like it hot, I think that is weird but whatever hops yer frog. If the dressing is too salty, add a bit more brown sugar, too sweet? Add vinegar. Sometimes I add red pepper flakes, sometimes I used ponzu sauce as well. Sometimes I find I need to make more dressing and so I do. Play with it and see what combo you like. This makes a very large bowl that will last 2-5 days depending on how many people are into it. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

pretty vs life experiences

I've been thinking a lot about the damage the internet can do to one's outlook and/or self esteem. I love the internet. I do. I love the inspiration I find here and I especially love all the goodness corralled on Pinterest but I am finding there is something not so great about all this pretty out there. It is inspirational yes but to what end?

I'm not very good at articulating all the things that float about my head. I think I am but then everyone misunderstands and I am left confused by my efforts. But here is what I have been thinking about this new photo worthy world we live in. Pretty is nice. Pretty makes me smile. Pretty is pin worthy...right? Right? I take pictures of pretty things. It makes me happy and it pleases me but that pretty, while it is true and it is is not always present. I actively work on making pretty happen during my days but sometimes it does not happen. And that's ok. Some days there is so much goodness and so much laughter and yet no photos are taken no pretty is shared...does that make the experience any less real?

Does that make sense? Okay, here is another thought...first, I write about this because of all the blogs and posts and photos of things like vintage trailers and glamping and adorable chicken coops and all those current trendy bits that are so pretty and prevalent on pinterest and the like. I love a good vintage trailer, and I really want a chicken coop (complete with chickens but I also want a pygmy goat and a duck...yes a duck). I have for years but those are things that are not attainable for mr. a-go-go and I...not right now and maybe not ever. We've talked about our plans and dreams for these things more than a decade ago before we got married, before blogging was huge, before Pinterest. I'm sure many others have as well.  But these are not gonna happen for us but life still happens regardless...right?

And so while we do not have a nifty trailer or backyard eggs (and I in no way mean any snark to those who do) we do camp, a lot, in a tent the color of a cheetoh on vintage bedding with not a woven rug in sight. We road trip in our tiny car packed so full of gear we cannot see out the back. Sometimes we remember to bring the oilcloth along for a table cover, sometimes I remember to hang a garland but mostly I forget or we are too caught up in the experience which is the point really. Life is not a contest of who has more pretty bits than the other. It is not a race to see whose vintage this or that is authentic. Life is about living, about joy, about experience and well I fear all the pretty we see makes us stop living as we falter in trying to catch up.

Here's a little background as to why I am writing this. The mister wants to build a little truck house. Something like a gypsy caravan that we can travel in. He is very specific in what kind of vehicle he needs for this to happen and frankly he is a bit persnickety about it. As he draws out plans and shows me photos he has found of other trucks I imagine how cool and pretty it is going to be. The colors and happy and all the good stuff I can photograph, pin, tweet, and/or instagram. But this idea has been in his head for four years now. At least. And while I would indeed love to be all braggy and show you the awesome gypsy van I travel in I would much rather actually just get on the road already. All this waiting for perfection is keeping us from adventure and experiences. I'm tired of waiting and I asked him why can't we just get a beat up mini van, throw a mattress in the back and hit the road already. Life is short. Let's experience it to the fullest.

I'm not saying that if you have a pretty trailer you are a traitor, not at all. Go for it, have fun, take pretty pictures but make sure you are doing it for a true life experience and not a show and tell. Polka dot curtains are no match for sitting in a cold, cold creek with tiny fish tickling your toes in the middle of Arkansas reading a ten cent novel from a thrift store in Arizona simply for the joy of it.

Experience is something that you can carry in your heart. Memories are things that can bring a smile to your face (think Arkansas creeks full of tiny fish). I remember how badly I wanted a '57 Bel Air wagon but ended up with a '68 Valiant that was three shades of primer grey instead. While the car did not look like the car I wanted, it still got me places. I still stuck to the vinyl seats as I drove through the San Fernando Valley in 105 degree weather in search of banana popsicles. It still played my rickety old Brady Brunch cassette that six of us sang along to on our way to go ice skating in psychedelic mini dresses and velvet chokers. I do not have a single photo of that car but I remember it fondly. Every bit of it. Sure it wasn't a two-toned wagon but it was mine and it got me to where I needed to go.

I am rambling I know but I really want you to love the life you have. And if you don't, think about the reasons why. If it is because your apartment does not have wood floors or you can't find enough pallet wood to build a table you don't really need (I am speaking for myself here) or because your hard earned money goes to bills more than vintage frocks, make a list of a life experiences you would enjoy and do them. Start small and make them happen. Go out and take pictures of pink things. Write a haiku about your favorite food, watch the sun set, watch the sun rise, listen to a favorite song and dance to it. Pretty or not, take the time to experience the goodness around you. Chances are you'll find the pretty was there all along.

Friday, July 04, 2014

july 4th diy: paint resist american flag

This is my third year of flag making for the july bed! I really like how this one turned out. The picture in my head before I began was exactly this! Yay for total crafty success (give or take a few oops moments)!


*painters tape (wide would be best)
*foam core or canvas
*acrylic paint
*star shaped paper punch
*white card stock
*expired gift card or other plastic card or scraper
*rag for wiping paint off card as you go
I used foam core purchased form the dollar store for this practice because I thought the size was good, it was sturdy, and That said, when removing the tape from the board there was some lifting and tearing of both the top paper of the board and the paint. So maybe canvas would be better. Use your painter's tape to map out your flag. My tape was also purchased from the dollar store. and was more narrow than I would have liked so I used two rows of tape per stripe. I figured the low tack of the cheaper tape would work better but I thought wrong.
Squirt, splatter, and dribble your paint colors all over your board. It is okay for the paint to sit a moment before scraping. It allows the colors to set where they are creating more happy layers as you scrape.
Use your plastic card for scraping the paint much like we did for our father's day candy bar wrappers. I used a very old and expired calling card for my scraper. Make sure to have a cloth or rag nearby to wipe paint off of your card. A little paint goes a long way. If doing this with kiddos, make sure to have a lot of rags handy as kiddos love to squirt paint! When you scrape away, make sure to mix up the direction you are scraping in. Curve it up, swirl it around and have fun with it.
this is after I fixed the star box
Once you get all the super blobby bits of paint off your board and you have finished scraping the paint all over the place. Very carefully peel the tape off. My tape managed to pull up quite a bit of the foam core and even the top layer of paint on one of my stripes. To fix it, I let the paint dry then added another line of tape and repainted and scrape it a little bit. for the parts that were curling up and peeling like crazy, I smoothed them down with some matte mod podge and while when the light hits it a certain way you can see it, it is otherwise unnoticeable.
When the paint is peeled you may notice your box where the stars are going to go is much smaller than you anticipated. Pull out the tape and expand the box by adding tape along the stripe lines...kinda like extending the box to the lines to blend it all in a better. I did not take photos of this.
While your paint is drying, punch out your stars from sturdy card stock. I repurposed a picture one of my preschoolers gifted me and decided to use the arted up side of the stars on my flag.
you can see the repaired surface here
Once the flag is dry, the paint removed, and the torn parts prettied up, add your stars using a drop of glue. My flag has 33 stars on it.
So, there ya go! An easy, kid-friendly flag you can paint up in a day. Check out my denim flag here and my necktie flag here. Happy 4th, friends!