Thursday, May 26, 2011

As you can tell...

I'm being super lazy with the blog this week. Tune in next week for a full line-up of fun. Oh, and the garden? Now we have poppies!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Summer Stuff for a Sunny Day

After months, and months of rain. Oh? It's only been days? Well it feels like months.

Anyway, how to spend a Friday evening::

1. Make your new favorite sandwich for dinner on the deck. Mine's egg salad with diced radishes and a bit of Maille mustard.

2. After the sandwich is reduced to crumbs, stay out on the deck and work on a little knitting:: This is the famous February Baby Sweater from EZ {found in the Knitter's Almanac}. It's my go-to baby sweater. I tried to spread my wings and find another lacy baby sweater that I liked, but in the end went back to my fav. This time I'm mixing it up and rather than using buttons, I made little eyelets in the second increase row and am going to weave a ribbon through for a closure.

3. No picture for this. BEFORE going home, remember to stop by your favorite liquor store and pick up the supplies for sidecars.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's gardening and music today!

As predicted, the fast-fading lilacs were soon replaced by peonies. Loads and loads of peonies. Leading me to hum this song every time I fill a vase::

There's the vase on the kitchen table::

The multi-color collection in the living room::

The single flower on the side table of our newly decorated guest bedroom {don't you want to come for a visit?!?}::

These are tree peonies {really shrub peonies}. Their buds are huge:And their flowers are ginormous. I'm going to be so bummed to see this season go! Luckily our herbaceous peonies have not started to bloom yet.

This was my first experience with tree peonies, and now I want to be a little Johnny Appleseed and plant them everywhere!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Hurry! Run to your local lilac bush and get cutting. I noticed that some of the flowers on mine have peaked and are starting to brown. That season was way too short, so to make the most of it, I'm thinking of going out after work and picking a few vases full.

If the lilac season is about to end, we might as well send it out with a bang.

This weekend the house will be saturated with the scent of lilacs, and next weekend, who knows? Maybe peonies?

I learned a little trick about extending the life of your lilacs after they're picked :: smash the woody ends (where you made the cut) with a hammer. Read more about it here.

Did you notice the variety of lilacs in the pictures above? I always thought of lilacs as coming in two varieties:: white and purple. These are all growing in our yard, and while on a bike ride the other day, I spotted yet another variety with deep purple flowers that are edged in white. If a spot opens up in the yard, it could be fun to add just one more lilac to the bunch!


It's been a while since we've had some food on this blog.

This week I've been enjoying all of the gardens/farms that have come alive with the warmer weather.

Depending upon where you live, asparagus is either just beginning, going full force, or dying down. Whatever your situation, get yourself a bunch and make a yummy asparagus and salmon quiche:: I made this up as I went along, but here's a rough guideline, you can do with it what you wish::
~Make your favorite pie crust and put it in the fridge or freezer while you work on the rest of the ingredients. If I'm only going to have 10-15 minutes between making the dough and rolling, I'll put mine in the freezer to give it an extra boost of cold.
~Cook your salmon in the oven until just done. I cook mine in a casserole pan with a little bit of olive oil on the bottom and a dash of salt on the salmon.
~Cook your asparagus, you could do it on the stove top or by roasting it in the oven. I did mine on the top. After heating some olive oil in a cast iron pan, I added the rinsed and cut asparagus, and put a lid on to trap the heat and build up some steam. Then I added some diced garlic and any other spices or herbs you desire {a confession - I was feeling lazy on this particular day and added a dash of mrs. dash for my spices, and it came out great!}. A note on the Mrs. Dash, I'd never had it before, but a neighbor gave me a jar she didn't want. Somehow I feel that it's cheating, but I am a fan :-)
~This is my style for the quiche filling, and I'm warming you that it's super losey goosey, but it's never gone wrong. I hear people claim that it's impossible to make a quiche with anything other than cream; in my kitchen anything and everything seems to work. Whisk 3 or 4 eggs in a bowl, add a cup or more of milk, and a half cup of shredded cheddar. I have to admit, I've never measured the amount of milk I'm putting it, I just pour. And sometimes, if I add this to my crust and it looks like I need more filling, I'll just pour some extra milk right into the dish!

~Roll out your dough and place it in the pie plate. Flake your salmon and place it on the dough. Pour in your quiche filling. Arrange the asparagus on top, and pop in the oven until it's done! Enjoy.

Now for our second early spring veggie:: kale. As the weather heats up, the kale's going to die down, so get it while it's good. I used my latest bunch to make a batch of kale chips using this recipe.

Fresh:: This kale came from our friends' farm and it was fantastic!

Crisp:: I have to admit, I wanted to eat the chips plain, but over-salted them. Do you know where this is heading? I crushed the chips and put them over some plain popcorn {scroll down to the bottom of Smitten Kitchen's post} ~ I couldn't have asked for a better solution!

Happy spring eating*

Monday, May 09, 2011

Someone deserves a sweater...

Our wedding invitations went out last week. Oh boy! Talk about making something official.

The production of these invitations was a major undertaking by my brother. Here he is mixing up paint::

He created the designs, mixed the paint, printed and printed and printed, and cut each invite by hand {x-acto for him, he doesn't trust paper cutters!}. And unfortunately for us, he did this all in the basement, making it very hard to take good pictures and document the process.

The invites were a combination of screen and letterpress printing. On the fronts, the yellow and gold images are screen-printed, and the green is letter pressed. The green on the backs of each piece are screen-printed.

Because we were doing everything by hand, I wasn't too stressed about having an exact day that the invites had to go out. On the other hand, because we're doing so much of the actual wedding planning and prepping, I was a bit conflicted about when we should require the RSVPs ~ most guides suggest an RSVP date of 4 to 3 weeks before the big day. I would love to know today how many guests we'll have.

To give us some flexibility in this situation, we came up with a great solution:: We added a little hanging tag to the RSVP cards that allowed us to write in the return date rather than having to know it the moment the letterpress plates were made. Another plus ~ this allows us to put different return dates on the smaller second round of invites that are going out a week later than the first!

So, here's what we have:: A fun, twine-tied package with the invite, RSVP card, and info card with some of the important details! I love the final results, and think they set the mood for the fun, relaxed, outdoor, homemade wedding that we're planning!

Here's a close-up of the backs with our initials::

Oh, and one more thing to think about ~ stamps. I found the selection of USPS stamps to be slightly lame at the moment. I'm just not a fan of the current, purple love stamps, but at the same time I didn't want to spend a dollar per stamp to make our own. Our invites required 64 cents in stamps, so I settled on the ug-loves {ugly loves}, and then I paired them with these 29 cent herb stamps. And in the end? The ug-loves grew on me! So if you're in a stamp bind, it is worth going in and seeing what fun combination of stamps you can put together to get the postage and look that you want.

So, as soon as the wedding craziness is over, it's time to start working on Jeff's sweater!

Friday, May 06, 2011

AAAAAAnnnnnnnd it's back to the garden. Because that sucker just keeps growing and exploding. We started the week with ruffled and plain daffodils and !surprise! we'll end it with ruffled and plain tulips!

The frilly::

The sleek::

The tiny::

And the yet unknown::

I'm off to buy some outdoor furniture this weekend!

Monday, May 02, 2011


Say hello to Aidez, a free pattern from Berroco.
I mentioned Aidez about a month ago in this post. At that point I still wasn't so sure about the yarn, but now that it's finished I'm so happy with it! Beyond the color I love everything about the yarn and am so bummed that I don't know who made it or how to get more without going to back Rhinebeck... but now that I've finally used up all of the yarn from my first trip, another visit to the fair may be in order this year!

I knit this all in one piece, eliminating the side, sleeve, collar, and shoulder seams. I know some people like the finishing work, but for me that's one hurdle that I'll do anything to avoid! For knitters who like cables, this sweater has just enough going on to keep you interested without having to constantly review the charts.

Um, what else is there to love about the sweater {while I'm gushing}?
~ the longer body and sleeves
~ the lack of closures
~ the neckline
~ the coziness
~ the joy of quick knits on big needles
~ and the yarn :-)


Sunday, May 01, 2011

This picture-heavy post is a celebration of the common, and not-so-common, daffodil {genus Narcissus}. They're under the weeping cherry, among the succulents, under the pine trees, and everywhere in between. These reliable, early spring blooms provided bursts of yellow, brightening up the rainy days of April::
They looked lovely against our carpet of red succulents::

My favorites were the frilly ones::

But some days I loved the simple varieties more::

Particularly this peachy-keen one::

Although among all of this love, I have to admit that the ones with multiple flowers on a single stalk seem like a genetic mistake/accident::

Just as reliable as the daffodils were the April showers ~ did you see those rain clouds in the first picture? But we also saw glimpses of sun, and have our fingers crossed that there's more to come!