February 9, 2016

It's Valentine Week!

Hey it's Valentine week! I love Valentines day I must say. I've blogged about it before, but it's been a while. I know a lot of people think of it as a Hallmark holiday and feel like you have to force a feeling or sentiment on the day. I don't see it that way. When the girls were small, we made it more of a family celebration with little love token gifts and a fun dinner with a Valentine themed dessert.  Now David and I do fun classic things like dinner, flowers and candy. It's just a sweet day and a little wink and nod to do something sweet for your sweetie.  I always thought it would be the coolest birthday to have don't you think?  The weekend before last, Caitlin and I went out to Port Costa, where Wendy Addison has a shop. She sells beautiful paper ephemera, and we thought we would go out there to see her Valentine goodies. I picked up the little paper decoration in the top two photos and the glitter heart on the mantle,  and also a little box. Super cool and fun to go into that store! Check out her site.

I went out exploring in my own back yard the other day to see if there were any bulbs blooming that previous people may have planted. So far I found two daffodils, and best of all, I saw all the new shoots for the peony bushes coming back!! I saw the remnants of them when we moved in, and they were pale pink! I'm really excited about those.  I noticed all the little buds on the fruit trees also, and I cannot wait for all the blooms for the plum, peach and apple trees. I planted some grape hyacinth but I have a feeling they may not take. I planted them all under the lemon tree, but I think an animal found some.  If they come up, I'll post my victory hahaha.

I've been working on a really cute piece that I'm excited about, and if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen it. I'm moving a bit slow on it, but it's only because it's an evolving project, and I'm trying out some ideas that may or may not work. Stay tuned. I finished tracing my epic embroidery project that I posted on IG. I haven't decided if I want to put it on a table cloth or something else. I can't quite find a table cloth that I want to embroider on yet. It's also a bit cumbersome to embroider on a huge piece of cloth! So I'm thinking It might make a nice summer pillow, since the colors are so bright. I'll share this project soon as well.  Today I received some really sweet floral fabrics that I ordered for little dresses. I'm always on the hunt for small tasteful little florals, besides Liberty.

The out door pictures above are of Port Costa. Such a strange, wonderful. magical place. It is so tiny, that it only has one real restaurant, and it's a great one, Wendy's shop,  a large Victorian hotel, that some have said is haunted! It's hard to explain that place unless you have been, so go!

January 19, 2016

A Bright and Shiny New Year

Hello, and happy new year to all who wander on to here, or the handful of readers that come. We started out new year the same as always, with brunch in Berkeley and to get our 3 for $10.00 calendars. Since then, it has been a cozy rainy month and I've been dreaming up little creations with embroidery, especially after I finished the special order that I was talking about in my previous posts. They were really fun to do, and it makes me want to make sure to include interesting embroidery in more of my garments. I have always found embroidery so soothing and fun to do. I recently went to Japan town in SF and bought some really cute embroidery books to be inspired. The Japanese sure know how to do cute, in a tasteful way.

In case you are wondering about my cups that are photographed, I had a major mishap the other day!!! I put that amaryllis in the corner by the cups, and one morning, as I was walking out of the kitchen with a cup of coffee and my breakfast, I start to hear something sliding. Before I could do anything, my beloved cup and saucer crashed to the floor. This one was my favorite of all four, and was purchased in Versailles by my dad for my birthday, back in 1993. When we were living in Paris, I had a mishap with the saucer and chipped it. I was able to replace it there, but was told that this one was not being made anymore and very difficult to find. Of course this one would have to fall :(   I quickly hopped on E-Bay and found one though, thank goodness! It's on its way now, but it won't have the cool marking on the bottom that was from the museum in Versailles.  Having now learned my lesson, I think I'm going to move these, because this mistake was quite costly!!! I also need to bolt this piece of furniture to the wall in case of an earthquake.

All those beautiful lemons in the basket are from the backyard. I recently had friends come up with good ideas for all these lemons. I plan on implementing a few, like freezing them whole then grating them over food. The other is to freeze the juice for recipes. I would like to try and preserve some of them, but I just don't have the space sadly.

Recently we went to see a couple of movies that are nominated for an Oscar this year. One was the "Revenant," the other was "Brooklyn." Loved both of them. Brooklyn was such an eye candy film and so romantic and sweet. If Leo doesn't win best actor for Revenant, then there is just no justice. I think the only other movie I saw that is nominated was "Mad Max." I really liked that film, so I'm happy that it got nominated also. Tell me which ones you have seen other than I have listed and let me know which ones you liked.

Happy new year again, and hope everyone has a great one with good health and much happiness.

December 26, 2015

Christmas 2015 and Birthday Celebrations

Our December was busy with work and the holidays, just like everyone else. I worked on some special orders like I have mentioned in my previous post, and Caitlin just started her new job at Anthropologie.   We kick off our December festivities with Cyrous' birthday on the 17th. I met Cyrous 7 years ago on his 21st birthday! Seems just like yesterday, and now he is part of our family.
I, like many others, have big plans around the holidays. Per usual though only one or two creative things that I did have planned came to fruition. I have no one, or thing to blame for not getting more done this year! Perhaps dreaming on Pinterest sucked up too much of my time hahahah. Oh well, I did manage to make a boxwood wreath studded with red tea roses for our Christmas dinner table, and I had a lot of fun making it. Especially when total cost of it was five bucks for the roses, and the wire wreath form, which I got a steal of a deal on at Michael's, for maybe three dollars. The boxwood came from the front yard. The beautiful candelabra I had purchased from Anthropologie with birthday money back in October. I was going for an old world/old time Christmas. It's funny because I purchased this really cute snowball garland at Target, and had full intention of a more modern look in my living room. When we bought the tree though, I ended up going a different way because of the bough, which I think I already mentioned. My furniture and this house combined, lends itself more to old time more than modern I suppose, or maybe it's just that I like the coziness of it.
Christmas eve we went to visit  our dear friends near by and spent a lovely time with them chatting and having a few drinks before we went to dinner here. We had the most incredible paella dishes. One was more seafood with black rice, made that way with squid ink. The other had clams and rabbit. Really nice relaxing dinner.
Earlier in the day, Cyrous' mom dropped Caitlin's gift off. A car! She didn't see it until we got home from dinner. I made a video of her reaction, it was funny hahaha.
I love our small Christmas with just us four. I love entertaining, but at Christmas I love not worrying that things have to be perfect for company, and you can stay in your PJs for as long as you want. Since we are slower risers, our dinners are always closer to when we eat normally. When I take a break and look at Instagram, and see everyone already eating or relaxing, and I haven't even put our food in the oven, I start to have a bit of anxiety for some reason. I shouldn't but I always do!
This year I went with a prime rib. It's the second time only that we have had prime rib for Christmas dinner. The first time I had some assistance, so I almost don't count it as me cooking it. It turned out really good despite me freaking out that I thought I'd ruin it. I made a Jamie Oliver carrot recipe, which I think in it's simplicity, is quite genius, and I think from now on I will cook them this way. Here is the link for those( Jamie's carrots). Then Dave talked me into making mashed potatoes in the Scottish manner. You boil potatoes, rutabagas, onions together. Then mash by hand and leave chunky. Pour a little milk and butter, and chopped chives.  I tend to not make a lot of sides on Christmas, especially since it is just us four, and we really should be consuming so much!
Dessert, I bought an English pudding by my favorite brand, Tip Tree. Not everyone ended up liking it, I won't name names hahah. It was still a fun experience and fit into our loosely based English Christmas theme.
The last picture on here was a super sweet gift from my sweetie pie. He first gave me a subscription to Audubon society. A bird was adopted in my name, and the plant is a miniature pomegranate bush to attract humming birds! So sweet, and I can't wait to see it bloom, and hopefully visited by some birds.
Caitlin and Cyrous were so thoughtful and gifted us a new TV. Ours apparently is too small according to Caitlin hahah. It was a total surprise and look forward to all the cool features on it.
So, on that note, I'm going to jump off here to set up the new TV, or help rather.
Hopefully I will get to fit in an end of the year post sometime this week.
Have a wonderful relaxing time with friend and family, for the rest of 2015!

December 14, 2015

The Coziness of December

 This picture is for Hans Gerd and Marion. Caitlin and Cyrous want to say thank you for the lovely wedding gift. Since they both really enjoy beer, this was a very nice gift for them.

Oh boy December, you sure are a cozy month.  I took a little walk around  the yard this morning and snapped some pictures of all the trees taking a long winter's nap. Some are naked completely and some have a few stubborn leaves clinging to them. I love the lacy quality of some trees in the winter. We have lemons galore out back, as well as oranges! If you follow me on Instagram I also posted a photo of all the beautiful avocados I picked clean from the tree in the front yard. Excited for them to ripen to enjoy their tastiness.
After my horrible luck with a Christmas tree, that I bought at Ace hardware last year, I skipped going to them this year.  I decided to go to an actual nursery near by. We paid a bit more, but boy, oh boy, they were all so beautiful and fresh! Each one was sitting in a nifty stand in water. The staff was cheery and very knowledgeable, and this made the experience of getting a tree so much more fun. I also bought a beautiful mantle bough as well. It changed my whole Christmas decor theme, but oh well. I just couldn't resist. Most of my decorations are slightly on the vintage homey side, so I should know better than to sway to something more modern, especially since I don't want to have to buy more decor that would lean that way. So at the moment, my house looks more like a cozy old time Christmas.
I've only done a little shopping, which makes me a bit anxious because I also have a special order to complete and other holiday things to fit in, like cookie baking etc.  Oh, and I wanted to plant some bulbs out back as well. When will I be able to do this?!
I finished the special order above finally! There was a lot of hand sewing in this little guy! I sure hope they parents love it. Next up is an order for twin girls, and there is a lot of embroidery in this as well. So after I complete this post, I will be in the think of it with this order.
We finally got some much needed rain and things have finally started to feel more seasonal around here for a change. Looks like the east coast is getting the warmer side of El Nino, and we are getting the colder wetter side of it, which is totally fine with me!
Aren't the pictures of the squirrels funny? I sure do love watching them race back and forth on those wires. I caught that one having snacks on the tree and zoomed in as far as I could. I know some people don't like them, but I think they are the sweetest of the outdoor creatures, birds being my favorite of course.
Well, I best be on my way to do some work! I hope everyone is having a joyful holiday season. I'll check in again hopefully before Christmas.    Warm wishes to all at this hectic time of year.