11.28.2012

Sweet Little Lady

One more bunny crossed my path today...

Print by Sarah Edmonds (found at Annie's Art and Frame in Ballard)

Isn't she sweet?!?  If you aren't a Seattleite, you can find Sarah's work online here (I love Etsy).  Her graphic images would be the perfect addition to any nursery or playroom.

xo, k

Bunnies in the Park

Yesterday morning, the boys and I met some friends for a "nature walk" in our favorite park.  We had magnifying glasses, binoculars, bug houses... the five of us were ready!  Of course, Bubby was being... ummm... TWO and I was sure we'd frighten off any little animals we came across.  Let me just say, I was wrong.

About 10 minutes into our walk, my friend stopped me and the boys.  Thirty feet in front of us was a little black rabbit.  The Captain simply couldn't help himself!  He crept closer and closer to the bunny.  It was then that a second one jumped out from the bushes... followed by a third!  The first bunny scampered across the path into the blackberry bushes and we saw another movement in the grass from where they were all hidden.  A fourth, very small bunny was nestled down under the tree.  Further up the trail we spotted a fifth black, very small bunny hidden in more blackberry brambles.  It was such a magical moment.  Five black rabbits hoping through the winter landscape...

The Captain in pursuit... tip toe, tip toe, tip toe...

Do you see the little baby?  He was so adorable!

The Captain and Bubby up front (following yet another bunny!), their buddy bringing up the rear.  Oh, ya.  We rode scooters and bikes, thus the helmets.  :)

And now for some inspiration!  From the sweetest of bunnies... 

Sweet Beatrix Potter illustration (via)

A bunny bento box!  Handmade in France (via)

If The Captain could've gotten close enough (via)

To those with a bit more sass...
Michelle Mason's black bunny rug (sadly no longer available)

Last but not least, Sylvester the Sneak!  Made by the impossibly talented Lindsey Barnes of b. children's wear.

I love them all.

xo, k

11.22.2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for this motley crew...

A little morning snuggle with my boys... the moments I cherish most.

It's been a busy, but joyous year and I'm thankful for the good days and bad.  Today I will remind myself that "busy" is overrated and allow myself to enjoy the quiet snuggles, riotous laughter, and if the boys make a mess of the house?  So be it.  It's a reminder that I live in a house full of life!  THAT is something to be thankful for.

In just a few moments, the cooking will begin.  I harvested a dozen beets yesterday which will be roasted with olive oil and thyme.  Next up will be these amazing sweet potato biscuits.  I made them last year and they were a HUGE hit (I should've tripled the recipe.)  Then it's on to the glazed carrots (with Grand Marnier... yum!)  Finally, I'll wrap up my end of the cooking with Key Lime Pie.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, k

11.19.2012

Mmmm... Dessert!

So I know it's not a "traditional" Thanksgiving dessert, but it sure is in my family!  I've been making Martha Stewart's key lime pie for the last eight Thanksgivings.  Well... I did skip two years.  The first time was because I was 5 days past my due date and I barely wobbled my way to the dinner.  The second time I didn't make it was because I had given birth four days before.  I know, I know.  Laaaazy.  Ha!

In any event, it has become a welcome addition to our family's table.  It's the perfect, refreshing dessert after an uber-rich meal.

I hope you enjoy!

xo, k


Martha Stewart's Key Lime Pie

1 1/2 C. graham-cracker crumbs
6 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 T. sugar
1 can (14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 C. freshly squeezed key-lime juice (fyi, it takes about a pound of key limes)
1 T. grated key lime zest, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 C. heavy cream, chilled

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine graham-cracker crumbs, butter and 3 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl.  Mix well.  Press into a 9-inch pie plate (this is best done with a ziplock baggie over your hand) and bake until lightly browned (about 12 minutes).  Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.

2.  Lower oven to 325 degrees.  In a medium bowl, gently whisk together condensed milk, egg yolks, key lime juice and zest.  Pour into the prepared, cooled crust.

3.  Return pie to the oven and bake until the center is set but still quivers when the pan is nudged, 15 to 17 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack (at this point I usually chill the whole pie while we eat dinner.)

4.  Shortly before serving, combine cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Spoon over the cooled pie and garnish with zest.

10.31.2012

Meg Lonergan

Remember way back when I blogged about my love for all things Expedit?  The last image of the post was my favorite.  I was blown away by how the look of a relatively inexpensive item was elevated by stacking the four Expedit units together and topping them with a federalist mirror.  Only problem was I couldn't give proper credit.  Until today.  Meg Lonergan, you ROCK!

The November Better Homes and Gardens has an awesome article showcasing her beautiful bookshelves and wonderful, eclectic sense of style.  Her entire portfolio (LeSeurs Interiors) proves that a well collected home doesn't have to cost a fortune.  It also shows that the unexpected is what truly makes a room sing. You can visit her entire portfolio here.  For now, check out these tasty snippets from her 1910 bungalow...

New sofa meets recovered junk chairs meets $20 side tables.  Awesome!

That awesome stacked Expedit topped with a thrift store mirror.

Be still my beating heart... do you see the greek key trim detail in the curtains above?  Sigh.  You know how I feel about greek key.  And don't EVEN get me started on the lucite chairs.  It's my number one choice for an office chair!

Again, a thrifted beauty... she simply reframed the gorgeous heron print.  Perfect!

I LOVE navy in the nursery.  I could sit in this room for hours...

Happy Halloween!  I hope you are safe and warm wherever you are.

xo, k

10.30.2012

Rainy Days...

Oh, friends.  Thank you to all for the gentle nudges and sweet encouragement to return to my blog.  For a while, life became BEYOND busy and I fell off the blogging wagon.  Actually, I stopped even reading blogs.  And then something happened... I missed you.  So the other day, I hopped back online and guess what I found?

Alicia and Andy adopted sweet, sweet Amelia...

Modern Hepburn is still reading my mind and posting delicious images...

Kelly (or rather her Amish crew) finally built her carriage house...

Sarah at Saipua is still living my dream... in a farm-house (the way I'd probably do it... constantly knee-deep in the remodeling process), creating floral arrangements that make me want to cry...

And Jenny still writes stuff that makes me want to pee my pants (just try looking at the cat halloween costumes while drinking milk.  I dare you.)

One more miracle?  You're still visiting.  Maybe you're just checking to make sure an obituary won't show up or maybe you're still hoping to hear from me, but you're here.  So thanks.


xo, k

PS.  Here's what I did today...


8.11.2012

Beets!

Can I even tell you how long I've been waiting for these little beets to fatten up?!? Well they finally got on it and here they are! Bully's Blood above and Lutz Greenleaf below. ;)

8.02.2012

Trim Inspiration!

Oh, how the DIY remodel seems to take forever... especially if you work and have kids!  I remember when the Handy Hubby and I were child-less and we could tackle huge projects like building retaining walls, replacing all our light fixtures or installing cabinets... all in a single weekend!  Today it looks more like this:

Me:  OK.  I gotta leave for work at 4pm so we have until then to install the Dutch door.  Is that doable?

HH:  Well, I think I can install it to the point where no animals can get in and the kids won't kill themselves.

Me:  Sounds good.  Let's do it.  I'll try to get a sitter.

(two hours later...)

Me:  OK.  Total bust on the sitter.  I'll take the kids to the zoo.  Still think you can do it?

HH:  Well, the door arrived and you want it installed so... I'll make it work.

(two hours after I've left for work...)

HH:  Do you want the good news or bad news?

Me:  Good news.

HH:  The kids didn't kill themselves on the door!

Me:  That's good!  What's the bad news.

HH:  The spray foam insulation wasn't quite dry and Bubby stuck his fingers in it.

Me:  (sigh)


The Captain peeking out the dutch door... This was the pre-nap scene.  The Handy Hubby completed the spray foam insulation during nap.  We should've put up a baby gate. :(

But I digress... the dutch door really needs its own post.  The real point of this post is the unpainted trim to the right in the photo above.  It's been bare for over a year.  We just haven't gotten around to painting all the trim in the house (there's just so much and it's sooooo time consuming.)  Well I was on Pinterest today (of course) when I came upon this image:

(via)
That's it!  That's my trim!  We looked around forever when deciding on trim details.  What was originally in the house was that thin, 40's millwork that usually has just a little detail to it.  We tossed it when we demoed the house and were not about to bring it back.  When selecting the new trim, it was actually pretty hard.  We didn't want too thin or too fussy, but we still wanted something substantial.  Plain flat stock was super inexpensive, but it looked sooo boring.  The house needed some detail, but we weren't sure what that detail was.  So above you see the finished product of what we settled on!  Simple, just a bit of detail and it fit in the budget.  Our trim has a bit more detail than the one pictured above, but I think it goes perfectly with what we're trying to accomplish in our home... an open, contemporary space with a touch of character and charm.

So there you have it.  The image that's inspiring me today and helping me work up the courage to finish the trim and paint it out!  On a final note, we were originally just going to do window sills throughout the house (darn budget!) but now we've decided to wrap all the windows!  It may take the next five years to get it all completed and find the wiggle room in our budget, but that's just part of the fun, right? I know it's the right decision.  Simple sills with drywall wrap just don't do it for me.

xo, k

8.01.2012

Wednesday Weigh-In

Hey Kids!

Sorry for the radio silence... much to do around the house, with work, with the kids... you know.  The usual stuff.  So let's cut right to the chase, ok?  Over the past two weeks it's actually been slow growing.  For some reason, I've found myself in the middle of a little garden funk.  We're still harvesting the same old veggies, but none of the other stuff is ready for harvest yet and it's KILLING ME!!!  But the good news is that we have lots of little babies... baby veggies, that is. :)  So without further ado... my little babies:

A sweet little Tendergreen bush bean blossom.

Wish I had a better picture, but I did NOT expect this gorgeous purple spotting!  What an awesome surprise!

Who's excited for bell peppers?!?  This girl!!!  The one in the middle measures 2.5"x3"... and it's getting harder and harder to resist temptation to eat it up!

We have had some seriously cool weather around here, but my Stupice tomatoes are covered in blossoms and fruit!  Let's hope they are as tasty as they are productive!  (BTW, did I mention this variety hails from Czechoslovakia?  I'm a plant nerd.)

I had to lay on my back to get this shot... a tomatillo blossom.  The blooms are so beautiful and the plant is just covered with them!  This is actually one plant I wasn't going to start, but I decided to just throw in one seed at the last minute.

My Walla Walla sweet onion... the bulb just starting to swell above ground.  I'm so excited!!!

So there's the goods and now to the results:

Harvest over the past two weeks:  6 lbs .5 oz

Not too shabby for a "slow week"

Lettuce: 6lbs 7oz

Parsley/Basil/Herbs: 1lb 4oz (this is super hard... I pick so many little sprigs here and there.  I'll try to keep up as best I can.)

Sugar Snap Peas: 11lbs 1oz

Strawberries: 16 (These only ripen one or two at a time so they are gobbled up quicker than can be documented.  Oh those little fingers... Sigh.)

Collard Greens: 6lbs  

Scallions: 7oz

Broccoli: 7.5oz

Carrots: 1lb 11oz

Yearly Total:  27lbs 5.5oz

Oh... I almost forgot.  One more picture of my other babies:

The Handy Husband, Bubby and The Captain

Later kids!  I've got projects galore, but I'll be back with more inspiration tomorrow.  Promise!

xo, k

7.26.2012

Check(list) this!

For the past few years, I have relied heavily on this little baby:

RIP my beloved grocery checklist... you changed my life.

Honestly.  A good grocery checklist will change your freakin' life!  It's organized, categorized, and seriously cuts down my preparation and shopping time.  When you have two toddlers in tow, you know that anything aiding in a quick shopping trip is essential!!!

So just imagine my horror when I ran to Target to purchase another checklist and THEY WERE OUT!  And we're not just talking "out of stock."  We are talking "dis-freakin'-continued"!!!  I thought I was going to die.  I did an emergency 9-1-1 to the husband and we had a little breakdown together.  For the next 45 minutes, I wandered up and down every single aisle in my Target store, double-checking to make sure they hadn't "misplaced" my beloved checklist with the toilet paper.  They hadn't.  My trusty staple was gone.

So what's a girl to do?  Well, this one came home and hopped on Google and Pinterest to see what I could track down.  Almost everything I found was sub-par.  I had several requirements:

1.  It needed to be half-sheet size (to fit in an upcoming binder-project.)
2.  It had to be aesthetically pleasing.
3.  It had to actually include foods we shop for (seriously, folks... who includes "shrimp cocktail" as a staple grocery list item?!?)

This one came close:

"All Out of List" (Knock Knock)

But, alas, I was looking for a little something more "refined"... and maybe with some flowers.  So guess what mama found?  Jackpot!  Cutest grocery checklist EVER!!!

My beautiful new staple... courtesy of Ellinée!

And the best part?  It's a free printable!!!!!!  (Can you hear me squealing yet?)  Here are the stats:

1.  The pdf is actually side-by-side lists... so it's half-sheet sized!
2.  Can it get any cuter?  Beyond perfect for this little garden girl.
3.  It has spaces for staples like hummus, raisins, pita bread, berries and pears!  
4.  It also includes a friendly reminder to buy myself some flowers... perfection.

Well let's just say I am in heaven and loving my new grocery list.  The hubby and I can finally rest tonight.  The grocery list trauma is over.

xo, k

PS.  Emily also includes instructions on how to use padding compound to create an actual grocery list pad.  I didn't even know you could do this at home!  This may be a slippery slope, folks.  Just saying.  

7.19.2012

The desk is coming! The desk is coming!

UPS says my new desk will arrive by end of day tomorrow!  Yahoo!!!  So I guess you're wondering what I'm getting, huh?  Since I have the patience of a 3 year old, I won't keep you waiting.  Here she is...

West Elm's Parsons desk... well, sort of.

OK.  So I'm not exactly getting the Parsons desk.  I'm getting the knock-off from Overstock.com (here).  Mama's got a budget, you know?  From what I can tell from all the reviews is that it doesn't have the high-gloss finish, but I actually prefer that.  The Expedit bookcases from Ikea aren't glossy so I think it will work!

Speaking of budget, since the Captain decided his days of stroller-riding are over, I sold our BOB Duallie to fund the office makeover.  Nice, right?  I'm going to see if I can do it all for $350.  But just in case I'm a bit short, I'm also selling a desk and a few other pieces that just don't work in our house.  It's part of my whole effort to de-clutter our life.  Why hold on to excess when I can use the money to help our family live a better, more organized life?

If there is anything extra in the budget, here are some little office accessories I've been eyeballing:

Who doesn't need Like/Dislike stamps? ($12.99 at Jailbreak Collective)

Hanging Garden Notepad ($8.00 via Rifle Paper Co.)

Oh, hello!  Cute little brass frog ($36.00 via High Street Market)

That's it for now, friends!

xo, k

Spring Peas... and the first Wednesday Weigh-In!

I got home from work super late on Saturday night to find this:

Noooooooo!

So sad!!!  Our almost 7 foot tall peas had collapsed and just about taken the support with them.  I guess it was about time.  I had seen yellowing and wilting on several vines, but I didn't want to face reality... fresh peas are so darn good!  But, alas, further inspection revealed that many of the vines were starting to die back and I couldn't find any more flowers.  So I did what any self-respecting gardener would do.  I bit the bullet, yanked those babies out of the ground and harvested until my little fingers were green!  45 minutes later, this is what I had:

That's 6lbs 10oz of peas, baby!!!  Oh, and more collards.

While I was super bummed that my glorious pea season had ended, the incredible yield made up for it!  I was also particularly pumped to actually use my Chinese market basket!  I'd been harvesting about of pound of food at a time... certainly not enough to necessitate a giant basket, but this was a whole different situation.  It was finally time to break out the biggie!!!  FYI, this beauty was picked up at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show two years ago.  I can't remember the name of the company, but the shop owner travels to China yearly and purchases old market baskets.  He brings them back, repairs any damage and then sells them at the show.  I've seen him every year for the past four years and he always sells out!  Keep an eye out if you go!

Anyway, my huge haul got me thinking... I need to start posting the harvest weight!  Granted, I'm working with a city lot, but I've packed a lot in and it's really fun to see how it all pans out.  So here it goes... 

2012 Harvest by Weight:

Lettuce: 3lbs 11 oz

Parsley/Herbs: 1lb 1oz (this is super hard... I pick so many little sprigs here and there.  I'll try to keep up as best I can.)

Sugar Snap Peas: 11lbs 1oz

Strawberries: 16 (These only ripen one or two at a time so they are gobbled up quicker than can be documented.  Oh those little fingers... Sigh.)

Collard Greens: 4lbs 12oz 

Scallions: 3oz

Broccoli: 5 oz

Carrots: 4oz

Yearly Total:  21 lbs 5oz  

Not bad for a small city plot!  Just goes to show you don't need massive acreage to provide ample fruits and veggies for your family.

How about you?  Have you weighed your harvests?  Care to join in the weekly weigh-in?

xo, k

7.17.2012

The Inspired Calendar

I'm making some great headway in the office and uncovering all sorts of treasures!  Among my office treasures, is this sweet calendar (please pardon the iPhone photos):



My amazing sister-in-law made this out of old airplane ticket paper!  NO JOKE!  She found the unused paper at Scrap (in Portland, OR) and probably meditated on it for a month.  Then it most likely came to her in a dream and she woke mumbling "Paper... calendar... owls..."  I'm sure my brother is used to it.  Anyway, she created super cute tear-off calendars that include monthly reminders (also tear-off and wallet sized!) to enjoy the season and be kind to yourself.  The girl is a genius, I tell you!

If you've never been to scrap, it's basically a treasure trove for those of us who like to find and create.  Everything in this store was at one point going to be thrown into our waste system, but thanks to Scrap, happy little artists and creative-types have found Nirvana instead.  :)   

So if you need me on Sunday, July 22nd, I will not be available.  I will be driving with the windows rolled down and the radio turned up... singing my little heart out!

xo, k

7.14.2012

Judy Tompkins's Garden...

Today my dear friend gifted me a little pot of hollyhocks (this same friend once single-handedly ripped up her entire front yard and filled it with wildflowers... but that's a story for another day.)  Naturally, I can't help but dream of cottage gardens when thinking of hollyhocks and their gentle yet statuesque form.  And when I think of cottage gardens, the one that comes most readily to mind is that of landscape designer Judy Tompkins.  I must have snipped these tear sheets years ago!  While I am enamored at what she has done with her own space, I really think it is a reflection of who she is as a designer and woman.  At age 60, she invented herself as a landscape designer... educating herself and following her strong instincts.  Her plantings are a mix of what the topography leads her to plant as well as what she wants to see displayed inside the home.  So rarely do I think of what I want to display in arrangements inside the home, but what a wonderful way to look at the garden!  Not just a space to be enjoyed while outside, but as an opportunity to decorate one's home with nature's beauty.  So without further ado, a few favorite snippets from Judy Tompins's home...

Such an unexpected use of flagstone to create a grass pathway!

Loving the deep "Black Parrot" tulips mixed with white bleeding hearts in black vases...

Another dramatic arrangement in black pottery... once again displaying her love of the tulip.

Tompkins and her cat, Diver, under her romantic wisteria...

For more pictures of her beautiful home and the full story, jump on over here.

Happy gardening, friends!

xo, k

7.12.2012

Raspberry Jam? You betcha!

If you've been following along, you know I took the kids berry-picking on the 4th of July.  I have to admit, I was worried beyond belief that we'd get out there and the kids would run crazy and I'd come home empty handed.  Funny enough, the opposite thing happened.  The boys were happy as little clams running up and down the aisles... stuffing their faces with ripe, juicy raspberries!  It was AWESOME!

Bubby (in my hat) and the Captain enjoying the fruits of their our labor. 

Mental Note:  Next time bring boots.

For the next few days, we feasted on berries, talked about where we could plant our own raspberry patch (we have the spot picked out!) and, of course, I looked up raspberry jam recipes.  So without further ado... Raspberry Jam!

My gorgeous raspberry jam!  Yeehaw!

Honestly, this jam is soooo good, it should be illegal!  I probably shouldn't admit this, but I licked the spoon, the empty saucepan... it was incredible.  So get out there, pick some berries and get to jamming!

Old-Fashioned Raspberry Jam
{adapted from The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving via Epicurious}

4 C. granulated sugar
4 C. raspberries

1.  Place sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in 250 F oven for 15 minutes (warm sugar dissolves better.)

2.  Place berries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan.  Bring to a full boil over high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat.  Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3.  Add warm sugar, return to boil and boil until mixture will form a gel, about 5-7 minutes

4.  Ladle into sterilized jars and process as directed.

Here are my additions/alterations:

5 C. granulated sugar
5 C. raspberries (mashed)
1 T. lemon juice

I pre-mashed my raspberries and then ladled 2 cups into a strainer so that I could reduce the amount of seeds in the jam.  I then brought the mashed berries to a boil, added the lemon juice (I like a tart raspberry jam) and then proceeded with adding the warmed sugar.)  Once the mixture formed a gel, I poured the jam into my small canning jars, leaving 1/4" head space.  I then processed the cans in a water bath for 10 minutes (make sure to check your elevation for proper processing time.)

Enjoy!

xo, k

7.10.2012

Assembling...

One Expedit down, one to go! Watching Hoarders to keep the motivation strong...

Smooches kids! Mama's got work to do.

xo, k

7.09.2012

Office Inspiration

Hey Kids!

It's a bit late for uploading all my photos so that's going to wait until tomorrow, but I want to talk about something else tonight.  I've reached a sort of "critical mass" in the office arena and I'm looking for a little re-do.  All I know right now is that it will include a massive influx of storage... because I need it!  I am a mess!  I've spent so much energy on re-doing the house, tending to the garden and making sure we have adequate toy storage, but what about me?  Well, I'm a total book junkie, magazine hoarder and I only have one bookcase in the office.  So basically that makes the office one hot mess.

The thing about a messy office is that it makes the nerve center of the house a train wreck.  We all know the havoc that is created when the office areas of our life are a mess... we become disorganized, paperwork takes over the house, we cannot effectively run our family business and thus disorder reigns.  So I'm putting my foot down!  I'm collecting my inspiring images from the binder and beyond and I'm making a shopping list.  Here is what is solidified:

Martha Stewart's Flagstone

Ikea's Expedit... two of these fit across the far end of the room (lengthwise) with just six inches to spare.  Trust me, those six inches will be used!

The third item that is all but sealed is the desk.  I found an inexpensive white Parsons desk that I am particularly in love with.  There is something so satisfying about a clean, white workspace, you know?  Anyway, I'm not shutting the door on other options, but clean and bright workspace is a must.

So want to know what's currently inspiring me?  If you aren't already following me on Pinterest, here are a few snippets from my office board... 

Eclectic, clean-lined storage solutions, pops of red floral and linen drapes... totally me. (via)

A bit symmetrical for my taste, but Dang!  This lady uses every last little bit of storage space... and I love it! (via)

Well look at you, little Ikea Expedit.  Aren't you all grown up?!?  Four 4x2 pieces stacked to the ceiling and all dressed up with a federalist mirror.  (via)

That's it for today... just tackling it one day at a time and probably stacking my plate waaaaay too full.  But that's life, right?  

xo, k