A home for all things crafty, health-conscious, cake-related, or in need of a wagon!



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Block Party!!


 Our annual block party is tonight!  Here are some more decorations that I made for this year....


Pennants, thanks to some scrapbook paper, a Cricut, and my never-ending supply of  baker's twine.



Super awesome fancy streamers, using this video here. It was a bit more difficult than I expected, but they look so great I think I'll make some for every party I throw in the future!  (That, and the fact that there are 3x more streamers mean they'll actually last instead of being thrown away.)

Streamers, all rolled up and pretty
I'm also planning to make the famous rhubarb cake and a version of this kale salad.  I have some wheat berries that I got at Bob's Red Mill, so I thought I'd cook some up and add them to the salad.  Should be a great party!!


Monday, August 4, 2014

HOT!

It has been consistently hot here for about a month.  I think we had a week of respite somewhere in the middle there, but my brain is suffering from the heat crazies and I don't exactly remember.  We have taken to setting up a sprinkler on the deck to a.) water plants and b.) stand in (Z has learned how to get particularly soaked!) and eating food from the barbecue most nights.  Here are a few things that you can do to help your garden (and friends) in times like these.


1.) Refill your hummingbird feeders weekly; even if they're not empty, the liquid can go bad much more quickly when it's hot.  I use a 1:4 ratio of sugar to water- so 1/2 c. sugar + 2 c. water for mine.


2.) Pick any flowers that come back over the season, like sweet peas or hydrangeas.  This will let you have fresh flowers in your house, but also will promote them to grow more flowers!  My sweet peas have been growing for months now, and even though my biggest one is looking mostly dead as far as the stems go, it still is producing more flowers.  If you're really quick, you can also plant a few more sweet pea seeds right now for a fall crop.  (This is the first year I'm trying this, so we'll see how it goes!)


3.) For God's sake, water your plants!  Mine usually look like this by the time I get to them in the daytime; so try to water at night, or really early in the morning.  I only water at midday if I have no other choice, since most of the water will evaporate pretty much instantly.  I've also thought about adding some plastic jugs with the bottoms cut off- sticking them in the ground near things that need lots of water, then filling them when I water so more of it released slowly into the ground.  I haven't done it yet, but it might work in the areas of your yard that are harder to get to.  You can also run soaker hoses over any areas that are flat; I've used an "extension hose" to get the soaker hoses down the hill where they are needed the most.  Then I can just turn on the hose, come back in 10 minutes, and my hardest-to-water area is done!


4.) If you have a birdbath, keep it full of water.  Not only do birds use it, bees need water too!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Craftmania!

For the past few weeks, I've been crafting up a storm! To start with, my neighbor and I are in charge of the block party this year, so I've been wearing out my Cricut making giant signs and banners for it.  Those will go up tomorrow (since it's next Tuesday)!


For the 4th of July, I made a Ruby Dress


 It actually was very easy (aside from picking the top fabric; does it look familiar?) and I finished it in one night after cutting it out!


I got the blue lotus fabric in Portland at Fabric Depot; it's actually designed by the same person who designed the dress pattern! How could I resist?


Then, this weekend, I modified a Staple Dress.  The first one I made turned out like a giant sack; which is fine, I just wear a belt with it, but I wanted this one to be better.  


I changed the neckline at the last minute, and I really like it.  Just having a bit of a time getting it to lie flat. 


I based the idea for the ties on this shirt from Purl Soho (what a fantastic blog that is!  You should check it out if you have any interest in sewing or knitting.)  I think they worked out pretty well!


Up next?  I'll show you the fancy streamers that I made for the block party, and the finished pennant banners! 





Friday, July 18, 2014

Gardening at My Parents' House


My parents' garden is going gangbusters right now. 


This is their view from the backyard



Wild poppies


Artichokes; going on year 3 or 4.


Tomatoes and whirligig (can you believe that I've already harvested more tomatoes than they have? It's the first time ever!  They pretty much have a tomato farm over there, so it must be all of the heat we've been getting.)


Raspberries


I've never seen raspberry flowers like this; they were really cool.



Baby "sputnik" squash


Now, on to the front yard...





  
So peaceful!



My mom's new bottle tree


Crocodile's not pulling his weight; look how he's just letting that wheelbarrow sit there! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hot Weather Eats; Grilled Veggies and Couscous Salad




 When it's hot and you don't want to heat up the house cooking, you should try this!  I think I adapted it from an old Weight Watchers recipe.  

Roasted Vegetable and Couscous Salad

1 c. whole wheat couscous
2 yellow squash
1 medium onion
1 bell pepper
1 c. cherry tomatoes
some herbs: I used green onion and a bit of fennel from my garden
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 can of chickpeas
1/2 c. feta cheese
several tablespoons of olive oil
spinach, for serving

Chop up your veggies and put them in a foil packet or a grilling basket with the garlic.  Drizzle them with olive oil and the herbs.  Add a little salt and pepper too!  Grill over medium high heat for 20-30 minutes, until the onions look done.  You can also throw in a couple of tablespoons of water if you're worried about them burning.

before grilling
 Now comes the fun part.  You can either cook your couscous like normal, or you can just boil some water in the microwave, pour it over the couscous, and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.  Couscous= done!


 Add in the grilled veggies, chickpeas, and feta.  You could also throw some lemon juice in there if you want to.  Serve over spinach.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Superhero Seed Cracker/bread

piles of seedy goodness


So far, this is one of my favorite recipes from my sugar-free book.  Eat some for a snack, and feel like a superhero!  (I spread some yogurt cheese on them; pretty amazing!)  ((side note: yogurt cheese is just plain Greek yogurt that's been strained for a few hours.))

The only issue I've had with these "crackers" is that they don't ever really get crunchy.  Despite baking for over an hour, they still are a bit soft.  But delicious!

Superhero Seed Cracker/bread
adapted from I Quit Sugar, by Sarah Wilson

1/3 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. ground flax seeds
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. almond meal
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large basil leaves, fresh
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. water

In a small bowl, mix together the water, garlic, salt, and basil with a hand blender.  In a medium bowl, mix up all of your seeds and the almond meal.  Stir in the liquid, and let it sit for a few minutes until the water is absorbed.  Prep a square baking dish with some greased foil or parchment paper.  Press the seed mixture into the pan, and try to make it evenly thick. Bake at *325 for 30 minutes.  If you are really adventurous, you can try to flip the whole thing over, but this never works out for me. Bake for another 30 minutes (1 hour-ish total) until they are browned on top.  


Cut into squares or rectangles and let cool.  Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  



Friday, July 11, 2014

Woodland Park Rose Garden


After a really busy week, we decided to go to the Woodland Park Zoo today.  Then the unreliable 520 bridge was mysteriously closed for "boat traffic". I didn't mind too much because I got some pictures of the construction.  (How many times in your life will you see a floating bridge being built?)


Then the zoo was closing super early for some special event, so we just went to the (free!) rose garden instead.


Daisies, at the rose garden


Peace Roses



White Coneflower (or echinacea)


This rose was a really amazing bright bright pink.  It didn't show up as much on "film".



Such a pretty, peaceful place.

All in all, still a very nice day!