Thursday, May 28, 2009

new glasses, thank you blogland

Sometimes I wonder what my life (and my house) would be like without the charity and wisdom of other bloggers. I wouldn't know about so many of my now favorite things. It would be sad and I'd probably still have the hideous yellow leather couch that came with my house, barren walls with only a few pictures hung here and there, no squash trellis, and I wouldn't know about Seed Savers. I would never have found our amazing wedding photographer. The wedding in general wouldn't have been nearly as cute (or as time consuming). Things would be different.

I also wouldn't have a brand new set of glasses (in 3 sizes).

We've been looking for inexpensive, but semi-stylish glasses to replace our lovely Ikea set, but I hadn't found any that I was sold on. We break them all the time (apparently not an issue with Duralex, thankfully), so I didn't want to register for nice drinking glasses that we'd be replacing once a month.

And then I read Jora's Blogger Favorites on Simple Lovely this week. Duralex Picardie! How had I come 31 years in this life and not known about them?

I almost bought them on ebay, for a much inflated price. That would have been too bad. I read the Apartment Therapy article that Jora linked to, but was crushed when the glasses weren't available online. Yesterday, before I clicked "buy it now!", I called our Cost Plus just to see if they by some chance had any in stock. 20 minutes on hold and yes, they did. In 4 sizes. And I made the poor guy check to make sure they said Duralex on the bottom.

So now I have them. And the entire purpose of this post is to tell you that if you want them too, just go to Cost Plus. They apparently carry them all the time. Our store has a new shipment coming in on Monday or Tuesday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

dinner from the backyard

I learned something this year. Something that I'd never really considered up until this point.

Plant more than a few summer squashes.

See usually I plant one or two zucchinis. Maybe a patty pan. Mostly for insurance sake because if everything else fails, you can always count on good old zucchini to produce. So reliable. But this year, with the new raised beds and no wedding to occupy every last second of the summer, I'm taking my garden a little more seriously. And by seriously I mean stuffing it full of everything I can. Including A LOT of summer squash.

And the good thing about lots of summer squash is that you don't feel bad picking them when they are teeny and delicious. Behold, ingredients for dinner:

That celery top looking herb is lovage. If you aren't familiar with lovage, we should have a little talk. It is so delicious and different and sweet and salty and weirdly a little like cardamom(?), if cardamom was crossed with parsely, and it makes everything taste exiting and divine. Last year my lovage didn't fare well, but this year I could make lovage juice.

The tricky thing about lovage is finding it for sale. Farmer's markets would be your best bet. Especially if you have a stand that specializes in greens and herbs. If you can't find it, you can always grow it from seed in a pot. Which seems like an awful lot of fuss for one ingredient, but I'm telling you, it is completely worth it.

And luckily it goes nicely with summer squash and a little bit of butter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

those hens

To illustrate how in over our heads we are, I will start with where we got our hens. I assumed that we'd drive east on the 10 for an hour or so to Riverside, where we'd find some nice person who was also raising chickens and wanted to give us a few for our own backyard project. There WERE a lot of posts for chickens on craigslist a few months ago. Well, it's May and apparently chicken giving slows down after the spring rush. We called a bunch of people, but no one called us back, and when I told Brock this probably meant we'd have to order day old chicks and raise them in the kitchen as babies, he grabbed his computer and gave google a run for it's money.

EVENTUALLY, he found a central coast poultry resource listing farms that sell meat, eggs, chicks, and hens. Central coast. people. That is almost 4 hours north on the 101 and closer to SF than LA. At this point we were willing to go anywhere with a phone line and someone on the other end. So when Zsuzsa (think Zsa Zsa Gabor but with different vowels) answered the phone and said we could come up the next day, we committed on the spot. At this point it's Saturday evening at 6pm.

Brock in his infinite wisdom and sometimes surprising spontaneity suggested we pack a bag, find a hotel, and get the drive started. Good idea, husband! We stayed in Montecito on Saturday night and enjoyed a number of dirty martinis with truffle cheese stuffed olives at the Biltmore bar.

And then Sunday we headed up the coast to Cayucos, which is an absolutely beautiful drive, and ended up here:

We filled 2 boxes with hens, loaded them into the back of the car and that was that. 5 hours later (must account for Sunday evening traffic) we were back at home with a bevy of feathery friends in the Eglu.

And these:

I think they are kind of bummed that they have to be in the coop all day while we're at work. We really want to let them out to scratch around, but apparently you have to wait a week or so before you let them be free range, lest they fly over the fence and forget where their home is. Now wishing we had started with babies so they don't know any different. Anyone with a huge coop want a few more chickens?

One of them, the white one, is LOUD.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

these two are v. v. cute

Did anyone see this insanely adorable engagement shoot on Green Wedding Shoes?

You need to go see the whole thing here. Dying.

Photography by the groom, Tim Melideo.

the eagle(s) have landed

I'm generally nervous about the whole operation. But it's pretty exciting.

And we got 2 eggs yesterday. Guess what I had for dinner last night?

More on our chooks tomorrow. I can called them chooks now because I am a chicken farmer, err keeper. or herder? I'm not sure yet.

Friday, May 15, 2009

chickens i would like to have

I said their house was here, but really only 3 of the 5 boxes have arrived. Which we discovered only after driving downtown to the Greyhound station on Wednesday. And as of this morning, one more is waiting in baggage claim. COME ON 5th box. Get here already!

Which means we can't exactly pick up our chickens until the coop is assembled. So in the meantime, I'm distracting myself with fantasy additions to our flock.

If we were raising them from chicks, we would have to get at least a few of these guys, but I think we're going to start with semi-grown hens for our first adventure in backyard chickens. Dealing with the incubator in our guest room is a little more than we're ready to handle at this point. But for future reference, I NEED one of those lacey ones. And a Silkie, which is apparently the lap dog of the chicken world.

Still hoping we can pick up our little flock this weekend. You all will be the first to know if we do.

Happy weekending...

All photos from

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

mother's day huevos

Huevos rancheros (and their modernized brothers and sisters) occupy an important corner of my family's breakfast repertoire. Especially when my dad has anything to do with the menu. So for Mother's Day, with the help of my dad dutifully poaching eggs, my brother squeezing orange juice, and my mom watching birds in the backyard, we made these yummy plates.

My dad and I had differing opinions of how to best finish the beans (I'm a strict pot bean kind of girl and he prefers to mash them up a little), but in the end they were delicious as only homemade beans can be. And the eggs were tasty, though I couldn't help obsessing that they would be so much more perfect if they'd come from our own chickens. Who we do not have yet. Though their house arrived today, but that's a different post. And we splurged on a few early tomatoes at the the farmer's market to make fresh salsa because it really is the best.

I added fresh roasted pasilla chiles and a few spears of asparagus for some late spring flavor. Plus a mandatory side of wild arugula that must appear on all brunch plates if you ask me.

Anyway. I love huevos in the backyard with my family. Happy (belated) mom's day, Mom!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Melanie's invites are up...

on 100 Layer Cake. Forgot to share.

I would die for an entire sheet of those Alabama stamps.

JHill makes the cutest prints

And keeping with the new theme of "things for babies I don't have," I had to post these. Wouldn't they be so perfect all framed individually on a nursery wall?

Or even lined up to spell out your little one's name?

I will buy 3 of each letter so I'm sure to have the right combination when we actually have reason to buy such things.

JHill Design

Friday, May 8, 2009

dear crewcuts...

Yes, your shit is beyond cute. But in case you haven't noticed, I don't have any babies. Stop rubbing it in.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

grow things on your house

If you live in Alaska (which is where this photo was taken), I bet this is an excellent way to warm up your seedlings in the spring... you know from the house heat.

But it's also just super cute and a neat way to "farm" in small spaces. Even if you live in Venice (California) and have a teeny side yard of open space you could still grow lettuce in troughs along the side of your house.

I love green things.

via Urban Greenery

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

melanie's invites in the works

Almost done with a cute invite set for my STB sister-in-law, Melanie. And I'm kind of freaking out thinking this could be one of my last Gocco projects? How could they stop making supplies??? So disappointing. I'm counting on an industrious indie crafter to come up with easy alternatives. and soon.

Some little peaks of the project. Hopefully they'll go out in the mail tomorrow. And I think we'll post the finished pieces on 100 Layer Cake next week.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

new old glads

Firstly, has anyone ever ordered anything from PiperLime? The insides of the box are kind of worth it...

I think I'm going to rip the side flaps off and save them for limey postcards.

Second, if you're in the market for sandals for summer, might I recommend my bestest friends: Cynthia Vincent Dinah gladiators. I was in a panic last week thinking that I'd wear my first pair to shreds and be left alone and sandal-less for the rest of the year. And after 2 days of sandal shopping in New York, still empty handed, things were looking bad. Until I found them on PiperLime. Joy of joys, I now have a back up pair.

They also come in black and chartreuse suede... but the brown is so nice. And goes with absolutely everything. Seriously I've probably worn these 300 times since I bought them last spring. If that's not a recommendation, I don't know what is. Unless you hate gladiators. Or sandals in general. Or my taste. Which is fine. I'm not known for my estilo, necessarily.

And as you can see, they break in nicely. I'm not really looking forward to the stiffness of my new ones. But I'm comforted by their new home in my closet.

Monday, May 4, 2009

semi-DIY potting bench

I have to tell you, Sunset has been seriously rocking recently. I can't decide if I've changed or if they've changed, but either way I'm quite pleased with our current relationship.

Aside from the magazine, they have a great blog, One Block Diet (which actually just won a James Beard Award), an amazing test garden, and they raise chickens and bees and grow ingredients for beer and all sorts of other good things.

And they have really good ideas in the magazine. Like good enough that I've actually dog-eared half of the pages in the April issue. I successfully completed one of those projects this weekend.

Potting Bench Euphoria, people. They made it so easy I couldn't resist:

So here's their idea: Buy an old table from a thrift store. Put the old table in your backyard. Voila! And here I've been waiting years for one because I couldn't be bothered to build one. Or have someone build one for me (more like it).

I successfully found and purchased a funky old pine desk at a thrift/antique-ish store up the street from my house. Instead of bricks for the "floor" I used a bunch of random old cement pavers that have been lurking around the side yard since we moved in. (So satisfying to find a use for them.) And I bought a few old crates at the flea market a few weeks ago to use for shelves.

I soooo wish I would have taken a "before" photo. It was hideous. Weeds and pots and neglected plants and bags of soil. Since you can't see the before, I know you won't be as ecstatic as I am with the results, but here goes:

I love that it has drawers for keeping pruners and plant tags and other essentials that have been cluttering up the laundry room forever. And I love that I now have a place for little horticultural experiments outside of the kitchen. Plus I can dry flowers on the lovely bars that decorate our windows. I'm so happy.