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

Friday, May 27, 2011

My new favorite design blog...

Is called Belle Maison 23. A lot of design-type blogs are so very boring. I've noticed this trend lately, of design based on: white. White everything, with some dashes of color. And white some more. Maybe some grey (ooh! wild side!). And while I think this looks kind of pretty in pictures, in my life it is just freaking Boring. (almost every room in my house is painted a color. Even the bathrooms. White is not a color!) I couldn't take it any more. I deleted all of the style blogs I had that were like this, even if I sometimes liked some of the dashes of color or decorative items (decor8, I'm talking to you.) But then I came across Belle Maison 23, and I just love it. Colors, people! COLOR. And decorative laundry rooms! (mine is purple) So, if you like color and interesting style as much as I do, you should go check them out!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Office... now in technicolor!

A while ago, I decided to paint my office orange. It was kind of a crazy choice, but I totally love it. Here is a small tour... you may want sunglasses!

On the left is my tower of fabric storage, including scraps, remnants, full fabrics, store-bought patterns, and homemade patterns. Oh, and some pillow stuffing. Then there is my desk which is mostly used for cutting out small pattern pieces and quilting things. That pink thing is a sari I bought a million years ago, made into curtains, and is now my little pink reading tent.

Tent again, my favorite painting that I did in college, and many crafty books. Oh, and relaxing zen fountain that never fails to remind me to go to the bathroom!

Built in storage cabinets, assorted IKEA storage thingies, and sewing table. Also fun ribbon display and thread caddy. The chair will be covered in cupcake fabric soon!

Back of the door crafty storage- glue gun, glue for glue gun, knitting and crochet needles, yarn, interfacing, and other assorted goodies! John managed to get it to be attached to the door this way, and I'm really happy with it- no permanent scarring!

Also that little silver lamp in the lower right corner is part of my lightbox, also invented by John. Sometimes I use it for pictures on this here blog!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dill is in the air...

Yesterday, at the farmer's market, I found some tiny red potatoes... and then... some gorgeous dill attacked me and leapt into my shopping bag. At least that's what I'm saying.

Then with dinner, I made this:

Basically, I cut up some potatoes, drizzled it with olive oil, sprinkled on some salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then baked it with the dill for about an hour at 350*. The next time I do this, I think I'll bake it without the dill and just add it fresh at the end. Serve with some butter or margarine.

I also added the dill to cauliflower, and baked it with some salmon. It was delicious!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Indian Lunch

This was my lunch the other day. So good!! It was adapted from the below cookbook, which is honestly the best Indian cookbook I've discovered so far. There are tons of things for vegetarians to eat, but also meats and desserts; it really runs the gamut! I had always found Indian food to be a bit intimidating, what with all the spices and everything; but trust me, this recipe is pretty easy. Just watch out for oil splatters in the first step!

Simple lentil dal with whole spices, adapted from Indian Home Cooking

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods
1 tsp. cumin seeds (different from ground cumin)

In a medium-sized pot, heat up the oil, and then add the spices. Cover with a screen until you hear them start to pop. Then add:

1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
(optional) 1 fresh hot green chile, minced

Cook for a few minutes, until the onion starts to become translucent (you can add a few tablespoons of water if you want to). Then add:

1 cup red lentils, picked over for rocks
3 1/2 c. cold water

Bring to a boil and cook until the lentils are done and fall apart; about 20 minutes. If the lentils seem done but there is still too much water, you can carefully dump out a bit of it into your sink and continue cooking. Skim off any foam that floats on the top. When it is finished cooking, add the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and a handful of chopped cilantro, if you would like. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with rice- brown or basmati.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

DIY Organza Flowers

In the midst of all the wedding crazy that could be going on around here, I've still managed to be somewhat crafty. A lot crafty, in fact. The other night, I put together the favors (envelopes of vegetable seeds), I painted and glittered a giant letter "L", made various fluffy lanterns, and these: After doing all 3 colors, I decided that I liked the green best with the bridesmaids' dresses, so that's what I made two more of. It was actually pretty easy, once I got past the fear of inhaling burning plastic fumes!

A basic tutorial is here (http://www.reesedixon.com/2009/03/organza-flowers.html#hcw), and that's pretty much what I did. I made a flower-esque shaped pattern, cut out many layers of it, and held them over a candle flame until they curled up. Then I sewed them together with silver beads for the inside of the flower.

I think they turned out really well!!

Cheater Cinnamon Swirls

Sometimes, you might feel a bit lazy. You might be invited to a brunch, where there may or may not be vegans in attendance. You might feel like you want to bring SOMETHING, but like I said, you are feeling lazy and like you don't want to try so hard. This, my friends, is a tale of that adventure. It starts with a tube of these:

(they are actually vegan; for realz!)
I always loved these as a kid, for the surprising POP sound they make, and the strange packaging that unrolls. I wonder who invented that? Anyway...

Open the package. In a small bowl, mix together:

3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnnamon

Then take apart the rolls and cut them in half. These are going to be mini cinnamon swirls; bites if you will.

Full size roll- half-sized roll

Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. You could also add some nuts here, or use jam instead if you wanted.

Roll up the swirl, then put it in the bowl to cover with more cinnamon sugar goodness.

Bake as directed; I think I baked them for exactly as long as it said. I thought it might take less time because of the smaller size, but it didn't.

Cool, and pop in your mouth!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gardening (photos) at night...

This is the new bed in the front yard I've been working on since last year...

Sedum and strawberries seem to like it...

My new magnolia tree! (that still needs a planting spot. Oops!)

Ranuculous (sp?) that actually came back! (and onions and Greek oregano)

Hello gorgeous.

Yes, this is a double tulip; not a peony. I think it's my new favorite flower! (shh... don't tell the freesias!)


All those tall things? Those are heads of garlic that I planted back in November.

Those are some more! (I'll never need to buy garlic again, once it's done growing!)

Tiny little celeries!

Can you believe something this pretty tastes like onions? :)

The azaleas are just starting to bloom

Some more than others

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It's getting to be that time...

Strawberry season!

I'm discovering a secret competetive streak; my future sisters-in-law bought a house last year, that came complete with dozens upon dozens of mature strawberry plants. I am doing my best to catch up with them. So far, I have one patch that I started last year, and I keep adding new plants to the bed alongside the driveway as I go along. The thing is.. it's getting a little out of control! I can't seem to stop myself from buying new plants when I see them (and they're cheap, vs. the $9 giant plant package I got at the end of the season last year) and there are still some in the garage to be planted!

The truth is, I will probably never be capable of growing enough strawberries to eat them whenever I'd like to; that just doesn't happen in our climate. But, I can try!

The nice thing about planting strawberries is this: they are perennials! They come back year after year, and they send out shoots (or "runners") to make new plants too. When this happens, you can find something to anchor the shoot to the ground, and it will produce roots. After that happens, you can cut the runner and plant the plant! More berries for everyone!

If you don't have an actual yard or ground space, you can plant them in baskets. How nice is that? Just make sure you give them enough water; I had some that were in planters on the side of my building one year, and they dried out before they even had a chance.

To sum up: Strawberries are great! They come back year after year, and reproduce themselves. Sun is good for them, but so is a bit of shade. There are a lot of varieties out there, so go try them!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


After much backbreaking labor (done by others, not me!) we now have some lovely stairs in our backyard.

Here is the pile of leftover rocks and debris that was found/dug out:

Lots of ivy

And stairs, glorious stairs!!!

All perfectly level and stable. Even several dogs ran up and down them!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Plant Sale! (just so you don't forget)

Yes, I keep saying it... but next weekend is the Edible Plant Sale at Seattle Tilth! What am I going to get? Well, my short list has been reduced to: Artichokes (Imperial star, so they'll actually grow in one year), Celery, Lemon Cucumber, Fennel, Leeks, Strawberries, at least 4 types of tomatoes, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Lime mint, Dianthus, and maybe some hops!! (I don't actually want to make beer, I just think the plants look really cool.) What are you putting in your garden this year?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Things to come...

Just a hint....

Spinach Artichoke Dip, Where have you been all my life?

Oh, wait. You've been right here? In the back of my mind, since the early 90's? When I first went to Olive Garden with friends in high school, and then we found the secret recipe to re-create you, and ate piles and piles of spinach dip, and fought about who would get to bring you to parties? Yes, this is that dip.

Spinach Artichoike Dip:

1 package cream cheese (or you could use tofutti to make it vegan)
1/2 bag frozen spinach (or more)
1 small jar marinated artichokes
1 oz mozzerella (I use a cheese stick)
2 cloves garlic, minced
sprinkles of red pepper flakes

Carefully open the artichokes, and drain out the liquid. Rinse and drain. Remove artichokes from jar, and chop them up a bit. In a pot, add the artichokes and the garlic, and cover with about an inch of water. Cook over medium high heat for a few minutes, then add the spinach.

Drain out most of the liquid after the spinach has cooked. Add in the cream cheese, and stir. Stir some more. Then add the mozzerella, and remove from heat. Stir! Top with chile flakes and eat with bread.
You know you want to.