Monday, June 28, 2010

Cuttings from my garden and fresh bread

Just the title of this one gets me smilin'!!  After going to bed thinking about my last post and how happy our little piece of nature makes me, I woke up excited to replace last week's cut flowers. 

The storm on Friday night damaged a lot of ferns in the backyard, so I have a pile of fronds waiting to be put into a large, square, cut glass vase.  Meanwhile, here are some other cuttings I took this morning and arranged into a couple of my favorite thrifted bud vases.  Since they're from my yard, they're FREE FREE FREE.  And wait, it gets better, add a cup of coffee, a hard boiled egg (mashed warm with butter and salt,) a piece of home made french bread, and you'll get why I'm smilin'!!  A delicious breakfast and cut flowers make for a wonderful beginning to this Monday. 

The homemade french bread is from our dinner last night.  My good friend Jen, who inspires me in too many ways to count, gave me her simple bread machine recipe.  I've always been scared to bake with yeast, sticking instead to boxed mixes, but I made both raisin bread and french bread with success, so call me converted!! 

One of my hopes for summer, now that regular work is out of my life, is to eat better.  The homemade bread is one piece of the puzzle.  Pairing it last night with grilled, lean, pork chops I'd marinated in sesame ginger sauce, and fresh peaches was the rest.  Making my own bread (when I can) is appealing because, #1 - it tastes fantastic and #2 - it gives me control over what goes into it; only a handful of simple ingredients and no preservatives.  Since the bread machine does most of the work, it's actually pretty simple. 
Here it is, my first french loaf!  

While I'm thinking about food... With 4th of July just around the corner I've been clipping new recipes like mad!  The July/August issue of Food Network magazine has Chorizo-Potato Tacos; Savoy, Lime and Cilantro Coleslaw; and Bourbon Peach Cobbler.  Mmmmmmm....  The poor friend who gets this month's copy of the magazine will have to look past, or maybe look through (ha, ha, ha), some pretty large holes.  These recipes look like keepers!  One last idea was to put crushed, blue, pop rock candy on the rim of a glass of red beverage (thanks, Tyler Florence.)  Now THAT brings me back.  I LOVED those little candies, how fun!? 

What will your Independence Day celebration entail?  Hopefully good friends, family, and good food.  Blessings to you and yours from me and mine.  ~Joy 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Love Affair

The longest days of the year are here!  Hip, hip, hooray!  As I've blogged before, sunlight is a beloved thing in MN since we have such a shortage of it during the long, cold winters.  We've had a particularly rainy spring and summer, with rain for 13 of 14 days recently (I might as well move to Seattle at that rate, since I love that city even more than Minneapolis!)  Today, however, was a gorgeous day. 

I took the opportunity to plant the last of my flower pots and help my hubby clean up the yard after Friday's big storm.  I did some landscape maintenance and also began a new phase of our on-going landscape project in back.  It feels good to work hard, get dirty, and see something accomplished at the end of the day.  *big smile*

Here's a glimpse of our front door area; I found the tiered wire planter at a garage sale 2 years ago and bought the wire basket from my friend Cindy during our joint garage sale last summer!  (Yes, I actually have garage sales myself, I don't simply shop at them *wink, wink*.)  The chalkware dog was purchased from my friend Jen at our garage sale this year.  She was selling a portion of her collection, and the long-haired Chi had to come home with me!  The wooden planter has a crazy ponytail grass I love on the left and one of my favorite annuals on the right, "Cerveza 'N Lime" Plectranthus.  The soft, fuzzy leaves really smell like cerveza and lime - it's so VERY refreshing on a hot day!!  My sister even asked if you could eat it because it smelled so GOOD!!!  It is worth checking out if you're not familiar with this plant.

Looking toward the street from our front door is where I put the newly acquired garage sale plant stand and I couldn't be happier every time I open the door.  Ironically enough, the day after I found this one I was at my aunt and uncle's and saw that they have the same one on their deck!  Guess good taste runs in the family, ha!  I planted marigolds this year because I was in the mood for something traditional, but paired them with portulacas; I love the tissue paper-like flowers of this plant and the texture of the spiny greenery. Long Bloom Double Mix Portulaca - 100 Seeds, 300 mg

Here are a couple of other photos from our front flower beds.  I am still crazy in love with the color of these deep wine asiatic lilies, and the bees are crazy in love with our bright gaillardia!  I guess this summer love affair with gardening explains why the arts and crafts room is piled high with incomplete projects and why my postings have been so few and far between!  For the love of the great outdoors...  Enjoy your week, my friends.  ~J.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home-sewn gift

Here it is, already Thursday night!  Where o' where has the week gone?  Oh yeah, that's right, it was spent with a 3 year old whirling dervish chasing robins, playing Chutes and Ladders, going on walks with friends, and actually chipping away at the massive cleaning our home so desperately needs.  Yes!  It's been a good week.

To start the week off right I attended a super fun baby shower for a former coworker.  Since we'd already had the "work shower" where a bunch of us went in on some items from her gift registry, I decided something home sewn would be in order for this soiree. 

Here was my creation (their last name begins with "D" and they're having a boy.)  I loved it!!  Fun to do (albeit a bit frustrating when my tension went awry and made holes in the shirt, so I hand stitched a blanket stitch around the area to fix it.)  Mom-to-be was very surprised by the gift considering she didn't know I sewed, and that made it all the more special.  I have 3 more friends with babes on the way and I'm excited to try another project or two or three!  Not a big investment of money goes into a gift like this, but a huge investment of LOVE certainly does, and that's why it's so fun to give (and to get.)  Right?!

With Father's Day right around the corner I'm looking for some fun ideas O and I can do for dad.  Any thoughts you're willing to share?  Post away!!  Have a super weekend, everyone. ~J

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Bliss

On our morning walk the other day, my three year old's summer bliss was defined by a freshly combed beach where he could marvel at his own footprints, the designs he could make in the sand (like a giant "O"), and the movement of his shadow.  Such a perfectly sweet reminder of how to find joy in the simplest of things.  Pure, sweet, simple, unplanned, unrushed, easy, JOY!

Where are you finding your joy these days? 

Today my joy is fresh air, singing birds, and sunshine.  It makes the rest of today's tasks feel more like pleasures. 

Enjoy your day and if you feel like it, share a pic of your summer bliss!!  We'd love to see them!  ~Hugs, J.

Friday, June 4, 2010

June already?! Here's a quick update...

Where, oh where, did May go?!  And further more, I seem to have misplaced the beginning of June.  Oh well, here I am!! 

Of course I've/we've been busy as ever (hence the seemingly lost time.)  I celebrated a birthday, celebrated the end of a lovely loved-one's life, bid farewell to my 9-5 job of the past 7 years and all of the friends there whom I will deeply miss, went to Boston to train for one of my new "quasi-jobs", visited family out of state and squeezed in some felted wool crafting while there.  Side note: my mother-in-law makes the most lovely recycled wool mittens and my sister-in-law makes gorgeous matching scarves, so I took some scraps and made embellishments!  FUN STUFF!

Next, we welcomed summer by spending Memorial Day weekend on 2 different MN lakes in 2 days, visiting even more family, hit numerous garage sales and brought home even more new treasures (see desk pic with CUTE ceramic dogs!)  Both fit perfectly and were garage sale scores!   

Sprinkle in a few wonderful summer play dates, a bit of gardening, some breezy bike rides and walks, and you've almost got it.  In short, some days I feel like I've just thrown a rope around this big, giant, horse-of-a-life and yelled, "let her buck" at the top of my lungs!!  You know I love it and wouldn't have it any other way, don't you?  How's THAT for a descriptive of the past month?  Woo-hoo!!

Coming up I'll share some pics of the seasonal decor change in my main bath that's underway, and some pics of the wonderful thrifted fabric I've found at both stores and garage sales of late.  Right now though, I have a list of 20 fun (and not-so-fun) things to tackle and I'm excited to see how far I get. 
1. Blog entry written, CHECK!!

What's up next on your list for the weekend - or SUMMER in general?!  Please, share with us.  I'd love to hear.  xoxo ~J