Thursday, November 18, 2010

View From My Desk

Wow, it's been a while since my last post. I've been crazy busy with internship applications. It feels like I haven't had time to do anything for myself for the past month, which is probably true. About a month ago I decided to clean up my garden for winter and I stepped in a hole, and ended up fracturing my ankle, so I've been stuck wearing a boot for the past month. Who knew gardening could be so dangerous. Anyways, I was sitting at my makeshift desk (my kitchen table) working on my next application (okay, that's a lie, I was looking at wool blankets on Etsy) when I saw a beautiful view out my window that I thought I would share. We've gotten our first winter storms this week, which consist of heavy rain and lots of wind (I wish I was at the coast watching the storms). Anyways, there was a short break in the rain and a rainbow appeared.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

From Country blah to Modern

I thought I would show you an easy makeover I did this summer. I found this ugly bench on Craigslist for $25 with the plan of changing it. I spray painted it white and found this cute modern fabric at Calico Corners and used a staple gun to attach the fabric over the old one. So in total it cost me roughly $35 dollars. I ended up putting it in my bathroom. (I'm currently renting so I did not choose the paint color on the walls. Why anyone would choose such a dark color in a room where you need good lighting is beyond me.) I also used some of the leftover fabric to cover a cork board for my office.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Colors

Sorry for the sporatic posting lately. I've been working on applications for internships for my final year of school. There are more people applying than their are positions available nationwide so the competition is pretty intense. I absolutely love fall, but haven't been able to spend much time enjoying it this year so far. I'm hoping to get my applications in early and then will hopefully have my weekends back. I would love to be spending my time going to the pumpkin patch, baking and hiking instead of writing essays but I guess I've gotta do it. I often go to a nature park near my house to exercise or just to get from fresh air and enjoy the Pacific Northwest. Here's what I've been missing while stuck inside.

(photo taken last year at said nature park)

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Makin' Ketchup

In my current obsession with canning I thought it would be fun to make my own ketchup. We did finally get some ripe tomatoes here in Portland, though not very many. I made tomato ketchup and tomato-peach ketchup. I was a little surprised by how little it makes. I haven't tried them yet so I hope they turned out well. They do look pretty in those jars though.

I used the recipe from Canning for a New Generation book I bought recently (sorry I haven't figure out how to link it to amazon or powells yet).

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, October 4, 2010


Over the course of this harvest season I've canned 3 kinds of salsa; Peach Salsa from Canning for a New Generation, Spicy Tomato Salsa and Zesty Salsa from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I like my salsa hot so I used hot peppers in place of mild peppers. We just opened a jar of zesty salsa and I have to say it turned out great. The only change I would make for next year is to use hotter peppers as it still is fairly mild.

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Refashion Project

After about two months mostly focused on food preservation I thought I would show you a small project I recently completed. I found another Goodwill dress that was too big and too 80's, but I did like the fabric pattern. I cut off the sleeves, cut the neckline down and shortened it. I have a couple of caveats with this post. The before is ugly and I don't just mean the dress. I tried to do my hair curly and ended up looking frumpy and old. The second thing I wanted to mention is that I don't have a photo of the finished project by itself. I've been working on losing weight and did not feel the photos were flattering, so you'll have to just use your imagination. Lastly, I'm putting the after photo first as I hate having an ugly picture be the one people see when they are notified of a new post. That said, here ya go.

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Officially Fall!

Today was the first day of fall. I love everything about fall, the cool crisp air, the sweet smell of turning leaves, pumpkins, apples, and layered clothing. Fall has arrived here in Oregon. The nights are getting colder, the leaves are beginning to turn and pumpkins are now available from the local farms. I'm still waiting for my tomatoes to ripen. I don't think it will happen, but we have had some sunshine in the afternoons. I planted heirloom tomatoes and the few that have ripened were so good. I haven't decided if I will use them green or wait for them to ripen on my counter. It seemed like a waste of such wonderful flavor to use them green, but we'll see. I decided to plant a fall garden as well. I've never done this before so we'll see how it turns out.

I keep checking on my garden every morning, either to check for slugs, or hoping I'll find magically ripened tomatoes or a big pumpkin. I went out a few days ago to check for slugs as they are coming out again with the rainy cool weather. I was excited to see rain drops on the large spider web with the sun shining through. I probably should have grabbed my tripod, but the sun was quickly going behind the clouds.

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Little Helper

I know it's been a while since I posted. I've been pretty busy lately with school, work and some more canning. I made three kinds of salsa/hot sauce in the past two weeks. Anyways, my busy schedule has also led to putting off some household chores till later. My little cat Princie follows me around the house and has to be in the middle of whatever I'm doing, so I've should have known that if I left some laundry to be folded later that they would end up with cat hair all over them.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Watch your step!!

Here in the northwest spiders seem to come out in droves during late summer and fall. In the summer they stay outside, but if hiking you have to watch so you don't walk through a spider's web. In the fall the spiders tend to seek warmer areas such as my house. Today I was tending to my garden (hoping my tomatoes will ripen before fall arrives) when I nearly ran into this large spider.

                                                                         mmm tasty!
Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Heirloom

This year I found five heirloom tomato plants at my local grocery store (I love you New Seasons). After a cool, wet spring my tomatoes are finally starting to really grow. Hopefully they will have time to ripen before the cooler weather hits, or I should say stays as the next seven days are suppose to be in the low 70's. I finally picked my first tomatoes of the year.

Paul Robeson and Yellow Pear tomatoes

I wanted to enjoy the flavor of the tomatoes so I made a simple salad by slicing these tomatoes. I added a few lemon basil leaves from my garden and drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar. These have so much flavor. I must say after eating these its hard to buy grocery store tomatoes.

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Preserving Summer's Bounty

I've had the past month off of school and had wanted to do a lot of sewing during this "break", but I've found myself working on other projects instead. Earlier this summer I picked local strawberries and made homemade jam. It was my first time canning as an adult and I couldn't get any of my jars to seal. I purchased canning supplies also hoping to make some pickles as well. However my interest, and LeMont would say obsession, has gone beyond strawberry jam and pickles to many other canning projects. I love the idea of eating something I've preserved myself. Equally important to me is knowing when my food came from, especially in our current food system. The egg recall has only increased my desire for healthy, local food. Plus its great to know that  by using reusable canning jars it also limits the amount of resources I'm using.

Over the past month I've made dried peaches, peach jam, kiwi jam, dried kiwis (very sour, I may not keep them), dried blueberries, pickled green beans, pickles, cucumber relish, spicy pickled carrots, blueberry lemon jam, blueberry lime jam, and blueberry meyer lemon marmalade. I've filled up a whole shelf in my pantry with preserved goods.
Here's a few pictures of what I've been doing.

I would love to hear what you've been working on lately.

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, August 20, 2010

Crater Lake National Park

I know I've been absent for a while. I've been a little stressed with my school projects. I've also been working on some fun projects as well that I will post soon. Tonight I'm spending my evening with my fiance BBQ-ing and watching Whale Wars. My kind of Friday night! LeMont and I have been dreaming of a vacation but haven't been able to make it work this summer, but I thought I would post pictures of a trip we took in 2008 for my birthday. We went camping at Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. It is so incredibly beautiful. I would definitely recommend it.

                         If you ever visit, definitely hike up the mountain to see the amazing view.

                                                        Take some silly pictures of yourself.

 Hike through still melting snow (in August no less).

 Hike down the the water edge. 

                      And be sure to take the boat trip around the lake. (Look how clear that water is.)

Man I need I vacation.
Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Oversized Floral Silk

 So far 30 feels pretty good. I had several friends over Saturday night to celebrate my birthday. I had such a wonderful time and feel lucky to have a great group of friends. Today I thought I would share a quick project that I had mentioned last week. I found this silk jacket at Goodwill for 4.99. It was too long in the length and the sleeves and the shoulders were too low. I loved the fabric and hoped that I could alter it to make it fit better. Here's the before..

 I shorted the length, shortened the sleeves, added pintucks to the shoulders and sewed the button back on.
 Although the pintucks aren't perfect, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I think it will be perfect for late summer and fall. I can add layers under it and can also add a sweater or jacket over it.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Berries, Peaches and a Dehydrator

I grew up in a family that was incredibly resourceful. We grew an organic garden, baked our own bread, canned produce during the summer, and sewed much of our own clothing. During the 80's this was very uncool. We would often get the question, "Did you make that?" in a tone that meant it wasn't cool to do that. I told my Mom many times that when I was an adult I would not be doing any of these things, but she always told me that someday I would thank her. I seem to have gone through a change over the past year. I have started gardening, sewing, and yes even canning. In this past year I have noticed that I appreciate those things I've spent time making much more than something I bought, and now when I'm asked if I made something the tone is one of interest and appreciation. So I guess my was right (I hate when that happens).

For my birthday during the day I went to the island to pick blueberries. Yesterday I went on a walk to pick wild blackberries along the road and today I went to the island to pick peaches. I just bought a food dehydrator and dried most of the blueberries, as well as some of the peaches. I think tomorrow I might make some jam with some of the peaches. I think next week will be pickles.

 This morning I had banana-blueberry bread and wild blackberries for breakfast.

mmmmmmmmmm peaches

Tryin' out my new dehydrator!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Little Garden

This spring was very wet and cold so it was pretty late in the season when I was finally able to plant my garden. This time last year I was picking cucumbers, zucchini and cherry tomatoes, but the first of my harvest is at least a few weeks from now. Here's how it looks right now.
Here's my zucchini plant with a few little squashes starting to grow. 
 Here is Oregon we have Himalayan Blackberries that grow wild. They are incredibly invasive and often choke out native plants, however they taste great.

 One of my jalepeno plants with so many yummy peppers growing!

 Beautiful heirloom tomatoes finally!

 My cabbage has been attacked by cabbage moths.

One gross photo, sorry. My garden is often overrun with slugs. I can handle slugs in while hiking, or really anywhere but my garden. They especially love newly sprouted plants. This is the solution I found that works wonders, though it rather disgusting and you need many throughout the garden. You start out with a plastic container and add beer. The slugs crawl in and drown. Another option I've read that works in copper around the garden but that can get expensive. I might have to do that as these little buggers are everywhere!

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Big 30!

So I'm officially 30! My little sister and I are two years and one day apart and throughout childhood we shared our birthday parties together and always wanted the same gifts, including our cabbage patch kids. My Mom always wanted us to have our own day, but we insisted on sharing. I was thinking about her today and missing her, wishing she didn't live so far away. So in this spirit I thought I would share a photo of the two of us from childhood.
                                                  (I was six years old in this photo)

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Floral Silk

Hi Friends, I wanted to thank all those who are following my blog and those who have added such kind comments. Over the weekend I finished a project from my stash of thrifted clothing. I wanted to share it with you today, but I worked too early this morning and just woke up from a nap, sooo I thought I would wait until I am showered and my hair is not sticking straight up. Anyways, I cut shortened the item and used the fabric for another project which I will share with you. I got my idea from many sources and those of you old enough may also remember these necklaces from the 80's. Here is my inspiration


                                   I found this plastic bead necklace at Goodwill for $2.00.

                            I cut the necklace apart and cut fabric strips of a beautiful floral silk fabric.
To make this I tied a knot, then wrapped the fabric around the bead then tied another knot. Another way to ensure the bead stay in place is to fold the fabric in half and sew a seam, but I was feeling lazing and didn't do this.

I cut several petal shaped pieces, stitched them together in the middle and sewed them to a knot.

And here's how it turned out. I'm pretty pleased with it, although I cut the ends fairly short so i added a clasp. I think next time I will leave them longer so I can simply tie the fabric.

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pineapple or Peacock?

With all of the crocheted jewelry out there right now I thought I would take a stab at making my own. Here's what I did. I took a crocheted pineapple table topper from a thrift store costing me $2.99.
I cut out two of the peacock feather looking shapes. I used glue to harden the pieces (I originally used fray check, but it keeps it soft) so I then used craft glue mixed with water to harden the pieces.
Then using  my jewelry pliers I added a jump ring to the center and added a earring hook. So easy!
Till Later,