July 4, 2015

Catching Up On Events

 This was my favorite course. There is an egg in the ravioli!

June was a whirlwind as usual, and added to the fact that we are still settling into a new home, made it extra crazy. We managed to fit in all the celebrations though this year. First one was Caitlin graduating from San Francisco State University. She worked so hard to get her degree, but didn't really want to go through ceremonies, so we had a lovely brunch at our favorite restaurant. Caitlin and Cryous moved the same weekend we did, so everyone was a little bit out of it that day hahah.
Next up was our 32nd anniversary. We couldn't get into Chez Panisse this year, so David found a new place to try. It was wonderful! It is called 1313 Main. If ever you are in Napa, you should go there. I was that annoying person at the dinner table snapping photos of each course, because they were all a work of art. Not only was each course beautiful, they were delicious as well. The chef of 1313 Main worked at "Meadowood." Meadowood is the second restaurant on the west coast to receive 3 Michelin stars.  We went to Meadowood a while back, and did not have a great experience there at all. I was shocked frankly that they were awarded 3 stars! To say they were on par with French Laundry, to me seemed a crime. ANYWAY, this chef took with him the skill of using flowers( Meadowood signature) in an artistic way, and I must say, he does it better.  The restaurant on the outside is very unassuming but elegant, if that makes sense. On yelp it only has two dollar signs, which means that it really isn't that pricey. Our dinner certainly could stand up to more expensive places. We really want to go back and try this place again in the fall possibly, to see what this chef does with the season. The chef came out to say hi after the meal, and when we left, the staff all signed the tasting menu with our names on it and put it in a nice envelope with a wax seal.

On another topic, we are in the final months planning the wedding and can't believe that it is so close! So many more little details need to be accomplished. Wish I could post pictures of some of the things that we have done, but I feel that it would spoil the surprise for the guests.

We are really liking our new home and the neighborhood! Such a nice change from our last place and feels way more like "our" space. I haven't had a chance yet to take any photos of the yard and all the neat trees yet, but I will soon. I just thought I'd jump in and get back into the blogging mode with some photos of our lovely anniversary dinner.

Today is the 4th of July, and we aren't really doing anything to celebrate the day sadly, since David is working. They are launching a whole new computer system and everyone has to be there this whole weekend. It kind of took the wind out of our sails to celebrate the day.  I sure hope everyone else is having a fun filled weekend though!  Happy 4th of July!!!!

June 11, 2015

Finally Recovered! A Few Pictures of the New Place

Wow, that was an insane move! It made me so tired, that I'm just now recovering. Where do I begin? We used the same moving crew we did last year, and they were just as good as the last time. They worked so hard, and it was so darn hot too. The main living area is upstairs, so they had to climb many times hauling all our stuff, but completely kept their sense of humor.  We are really liking the house and adjusting to being in a different town. So far it hasn't been at all bad and it helps when the new neighborhood is quaint and you have a nice neighbor. What a concept huh? Nice people to live next to!!!  The house was very nicely redone by the landlords and we are enjoying all the nice features, such as the beautifully finished hardwood floors. I just gave them a few squirts of "Bona" floor cleaner and look how pretty they are.  This half of the house is pretty bright and has a lot of beautiful natural light, which I love and it will be good for taking photos in the winter months. I'm not sure if I want little Riki bird there all the time, but so far we haven't come up with a better plan for him. I think he may rotate around the house. He will not be there when dinner guests are coming, that's for sure hahaha. This weekend we will be hanging the art work up and this side will be done! We will also be picking up our coo coo clock up today, after being in repair for 13 months!!! I can't believe it is finally done, I sure did miss her, and I have just the spot for it.

I'm almost finished putting my studio back together also, pictures will follow soon I hope! It's just been so hot here, that I start to move around then I get hot and just sit :( The house has a great AC at least :)

All the fruit trees out in the yard are heavy with fruit and I can't wait to start harvesting them. Happy that we still have a lemon and orange tree also! The most exciting though, as I may have mentioned, is the avocado tree in the front yard. If you follow me on IG you may have seen the pic I took of one starting to grow. It's a beautiful healthy tree, as are the fruit trees. The neighbor has a really pretty apple tree near my fence. I bet that tree looks beautiful when it blooms in the spring. Speaking of blooms, there are some really pretty roses and also three or so peony bushes in the back yard as well.

Well, I must get to some more boxes, and I'll update soon as things start to come together, but thought I'd pop in so you didn't think I got lost in boxes and paper!!

May 28, 2015

Our New Place

 Breakfast nook, but I'm getting a kitchen island to put in this spot. Light fixture above is antique

 Love this built in bookshelf!

 Built in vanity

 Main bath

 Down to the lower level to laundry room, garage, and basement room

We move tomorrow, and I'm totally wiped out both mentally and physically! It's been tough looking for a place this time in our town. Extremely low inventory of rentals and prices sky rocketing like no bodies business. We had to move a bit farther afield to get this gem of a little place. I have some mixed feelings about leaving my town that I have lived in for over 20 plus years, but I'm afraid nothing quite this charming exists in my town that would be in my price range. I'm being a bit of a whiner right now, as I'm only about a 10 or 15 min. car trip down the freeway from said town. I was spoiled up to this point with everything being close at hand. I moved to a town that is closer to David's work though, and now his commute is only 10 min.  Now he can even come home for lunch.
The town is quite historic, and has a charming old town feel. It's has a mixed population and does have a reputation of more of a blue collar town, and with that you can imagine there are some less desirable areas.  The neighborhood where this house is though, is really quaint and has some beautiful vistas. The house sits high up and I'm sorry but I forgot to take a photo of the front before we left this evening. The landlords are very nice, and I think this is going to be such a better tenant landlord situation!  For that alone we are excited to get the heck out of this house and on to a much better situation.
The kitchen is one thing I'll have to get use to since it is on the small side, but to remedy the situation, I plan on getting a movable kitchen island to put in that little nook( this one). Other wise it has a great fridge, much bigger oven than I have now. The table and chairs in the picture are not mine, and I think ours will look really nice in this space! I'm excited for all the built ins too, and the bathrooms are fun!
I'm in love with the yard! I was really going to miss the yard we have now with all the citrus and all, but guess what?   This yard has an orange tree, lemon tree, several fruit trees like peaches, nectarines, persimmons, and plums. Oh and an avocado tree!!!! Yes you read that right, an avocado tree :)   I see many pies and tarts this summer.  I'll take better pictures of the yard soon and the front of the house.

The storage below the house, since it sits up high, is enormous and we can store some of our family room furniture that doesn't fit.  Lots and lots of storage thank goodness!

Well, I'm off to back up the last of the stuff in this house and I'm done!!!!

May 18, 2015

Moving Update # 3

Well......still nothing!  Because there is nothing, and we don't want to give this landlady any more rent money, we decided to put all of our worldly possessions in storage and stay with family in town. We could have stayed here through June, but I can't take another minute here. We are not sad about leaving this house at all, but sad that we don't have a new home yet! We never got attached to this house, and in all four of the bedrooms, we didn't commit to hanging very much or anything on the walls, so this will make it quicker this time to pack things up( well kind of). Even though I tried to make this place homey, it just never felt like home, given the situation with the back yard creature.   I have also decided after much thought, that I'm not going to write the whole story about our dreadful year in this house on here, because I don't want anymore pictures of this house or memories of what happened on my blog, BUT if you want to know the story with a few pictures, drop your email in the comment section and I'll tell it to you in private.
Since last week we have looked at a couple of condos to see if we could go that route. One was very pretty, but a tad too small and the layout was a bit tricky because when you opened the front door you had to go up stairs to the living quarters. Not a fan of this, and thinking about our ancient piano that weighs a ton, going up those stairs, scared me! The girl who owned the condo was so sweet, and had it decorated really nice. It was the first place that actually looked exactly like the pictures in the ad. I also drove by a house that was listed and got the address after I made an appointment to see it. Since it was empty, I decided to peek in the windows and look around. YUCK! It was just as ugly as the serial killer house we saw the first week we started looking. I called the guy back and cancelled the viewing appointment.
Then another condo came up, and by the pictures it looked like everything we wanted. We both got our hopes up on this one and could not wait to see it. It had a lot of square footage and beautiful views and the kitchen looked so nice in the photos.  Walking up to the front door we were met by a very nice lady and her dog. The minute I saw the way the front door area was kept, the red flags went up. Inside we saw an extremely messy house by the tenants in there, and they hadn't even started packing!  It was dark, and had popcorn ceiling from the time when builder thought that was cool. It had laminate flooring that was so so downstairs and not very well kept carpet going up the stairs and into all the bedrooms. OK.....If I have to see one more property with other peoples junk and dirty carpet one more time, I'm going to cry!!!!! The kitchen was not great, and looked far from how it did in the ad!!!! We decided that there was no way that we were going to push our budget and move into this place!  That is the other annoying thing with these landlords that use old photos of when the house was clean years ago, and then you walk in and everything, like the carpet and appliances, are about ready to be replaced, and they have wasted my time and hopes that it would be something I want. This lady was nice, but the other red flag was how she thought the walls looked just fine, and there wasn't really a need to paint them! REALLY, are we looking at the same walls?! When I spoke with her on the phone she said that she had been in there and that it was clean. For the life of me I just can't understand how people can live the way these people were living, and making the excuse that they had kids! My house never looked like this when I had little ones! There were three rooms in this house that had the most insane amount of legos that I have ever seen in my life! ANYWAY, we took an application but decided there was no way, even with it cleaned up, that we would enjoy this place.
Yesterday Zarin, Cyrous' mom, was so sweet to come over to help start packing. Her mom was the kind person who is letting us stay in her condo while we look. Caitlin and Cyrous will be there as well, so we will be roomies for a bit. We just don't want to rush into another property because of lack of time.  This is a first for us. Not finding a place to move into is a bit odd, and I feel as if I'm twisting in the wind a bit. The only time we have put our things in storage was when we moved to France, but that was an exciting move and perfect for that time in our lives. This time, it feels like we are putting ourselves in time out mode and taking somewhat of a break from life in an odd way. I can't wait to write a post which will include pictures of our new home. Last week I thought I'd try and do some sewing before I had to pack things up. The first picture is of the garment that I started to cut out when I got the certified letter that we had to move. My heart is not into finishing this, so I think I'll pack it up as a WIP and look forward to completing it sometime soon.
Well, break time is over and I have a mountain of things to do!  Not sure when I will be able to do another post, but I'll certainly try.  

May 8, 2015

Moving Update #2

I'm feeling rather defeated today because there is nothing new listed to see, and normally there are a few for weekend viewings. Wednesday we decided to step out of our town and look in a cool hip part of Oakland that would be fun to live in. In the past I have not considered moving through the tunnel because of what you get for the price. In our price range you would have to look for two bedrooms, which is fine, if the place is amazing, charming and worth it. I would be willing to pair down in an instant for something like that, but in reality, it doesn't exist and it only cemented what I already new about the area when I saw the house listed. Too much of a pie in the sky choice.  This place was built in 1919, and in the photos looked promising. It even said it had some basement storage. The minute we walked in, it smelled old and musty and was way too small, even though we were willing to pair down. Our bed would not even fit into the larger of the rooms. We went out to dinner afterwards, to take our minds off of the situation, but it really didn't help.
Today I am looking at another place that I don't want to go look at, mainly because I misread the location of this house and I don't like this neighborhood, but I'm looking anyway to confirm it for sure. I figure that we have only really just started looking and I don't want to grab something, only to be miserable again for a year or more. We are holding out hope that there will be more next week, but I'm not going to lie, the negative thoughts are creeping in about every 10 seconds.  Everyone keeps telling me to keep busy and not to worry, things will turn out fine. They usually do, but somewhere in my mind I keep hearing....."This time it won't." That nagging little voice keeps me from doing anything normal throughout the day, even though it would probably make me feel better to get my mind off of things. Instead I sit here hitting the refresh button one too many times and panicking :(    It also does not help to hear and see the creature out back roaming in the yard without a care in the world, and not knowing what torment she has caused. All because she can't be loud with her friends without being told to keep it down!
Since we have always rented, I have always fought to find the perfect, or near perfect nest for us. I feel like we at least deserve that, since we are unable to buy anything. Now I feel defeated and that even that is going to be taken away from us.   We seriously need some miracle to happen soon! There is just way too much on our plates right now that is causing too much stress.

Not the blogpost I was hopping to post today, but I'm keeping it all real and documenting the highs and lows, so hopefully when things are better I can see that sometimes it is darkest before the dawn.............

May 4, 2015

Keeping Busy

Well, after the shock of having to learn that we have to move again, I'm trying to keep positive and keep busy. I have all my Craig's list searches on email alert. I check every hour on the hour for updates and try and proceed with daily chores, because really, what else can one do?!

The process is always the same it seems. Since we have always been renters, I can't remember a time when it wasn't any different.  We have lived through many renting scenarios. College renting, sub-leasing, and living abroad to name a few. All of these scenarios were stressful and tearful at times. Why does it have to be this way I wonder? Why can't it be easy, or why can't the first property you look at be "the one?" I think I'm going to keep up with the process on here, so that later I will have a reference as to what we went through.  So here is update number one.    We found out on a Tuesday April 28th that the landlady would not renew the lease. I was half shocked and upset. Half shocked because like I said in my last post, I had a feeling this was coming since the landlady hadn't sent us an updated lease to sign, and things with her daughter out back have not really gotten any better. She has chosen to make this property a revolving door instead of reigning in her daughter's shenanigans out back. After we find a place and secure everything, stay tuned for the whole story because I really want to tell it. More as a cautionary tale, and nothing more.
Wednesday, I hit Craig's list and lined up a couple of places to look at. The first one was a new build from 2003, so I thought hey this might be nice. When I got inside I was instantly disappointed and it smelled like pets. The carpet was buckling and there was just far too much of it, plus the agent did not list the property with the correct rent. It was 100 dollars more than it said, which was already pushing our budget. The agent was very friendly and as we told him a bit about us. He felt badly for our situation and said we would be at the top of his list if something comes up, because we were the type of tenant that the company loves. Tell that to my landlady! Oh yeah, she was already told this by the property management that was managing this property to begin with, but she chose not care.( She took control of the property  management in December)
Next property I didn't really want to go and see since I google mapped it and it looked a bit sketchy from the picture, but I thought what the heck, we will go check it out.   As we wound our way through a neighborhood, that I didn't even know existed, I was doubtful that this could be good. The person on the phone was pleasant and funny so I was curious. They were asking a pretty penny with a 4,000 dollar deposit for what looked like a house that a serial killer would live in. When she let us in, form the garage, and into the kitchen, I immediately got an overwhelming feeling that something bad happened in this house! We looked at each other and were ready to bolt, but decided to be kind just in case this was some kind of joke and we would be murdered  and never to be heard from again hahaha! On the phone the lady said she runs criminal checks, and asked if that was going to be ok. I should have bowed out at that point, but like I said, I was intrigued and wanted no stone unturned. Anyway, we said thanks we will keep it in mind (NOT!!!!) We peeled out of there fast!!!  Back home I kept checking the CL and hoping another property came up. Two did, so I made appointments for Saturday morning to see them.  First one was a two story newer house that looked cute in the photo. The guy who owned it was super nice but the house wasn't for us. The layout was too cramped and again way too much carpet and not enough room for our key pieces of furniture.  The second property was a two bedroom condo in a nice peaceful neighborhood, and had it been a tiny bit bigger, we would have possibly considered it. All the people we met, except the killer house, we really liked and would have been great landlords. All of them could not believe our story and then wished the best of luck for us.
Today is Monday, and a few have come up, but all far out in our very last on the list areas that we would consider living in. I'm trying this time to not panic and take something that won't work for us, kind of like this house that we are in now. This house had so much potential, and had she possibly had a real tenant out in the cottage, it could have worked. Looking back on this situation with this house I saw the red flag the day I finally got to meet the kid out back, but it was the day we had already signed the lease and committed ourselves to move here. BIG mistake!!!! I'm still dumbfounded that a parent would let their kid dictate something this major in not just our lives but her own ! Oh well, I'm choosing to push this all out of my head and carry on forward to greener pastures, where ever they may be. Stay tuned. I'll do another update on Friday or, if something great comes along!

P.S. The picture I chose above was to convey that I'm hoping for blue skies and good days ahead!

April 29, 2015

How Things Change in an Instant

Well, just when you think you are sailing along just fine you get blind sided by not so great news. My husband went on a business trip yesterday and as he was leaving I had this feeling that I was going to get some bad news in the mail, I couldn't shake the feeling for some reason. Then in the afternoon I hear the door bell. It's the postman with a registered letter, and I'm thinking that this can't be good. It wasn't. Our landlord does not want to continue renting to us. She has given us until July 1st.
I'm making a few assumptions on her part, but most likely her decision was spurred by her daughter who lives in the cottage out back.
I have many adjectives for this person, but kind, respectful and grateful are not among them. I'm sitting here this morning still in shock that we now have to look for another place to live in an already tight market. When this happens of course, you go on the dreaded Craig's list and there is nothing or garbage for too much money. I keep trying to tell myself that something will turn up eventually, but I have a feeling that our next move will have to have some compromises and possibly not really where we would want to be. Things always happen for a reason, and I'm sure this is a blessing in disguise. Right now though, it just feels awful. On the up side, I will not have to deal with the human out back anymore, which is a good incentive to not feel so bad.  I'm not going to lie though, I'm terrified, sad and angry all balled into one. Of course poor David is not in town and had to hear the news from me over the phone.  
So, things are about to get crazy yet again and please send positive thoughts and prayers that we find a nice place to live.

April 27, 2015

Special Order

Hello!  We had a lovely weekend I hope you did. On Friday when we met Cyrous' parents for dinner to sample some of the food that will be at the wedding. After the decision for the caterer was made, we made a date to go taste the actual dishes that we have decided on! It was very good, and we are excited for the guests to have a Persian feast! This will not be typical wedding food choices of chicken, beef or fish. Those items will be served but in Persian dishes, and they are tasty. I want that to be a surprise, so no photos of the food hahah.
Saturday we went on a jaunt into the city to get a battery for my watch. Why the city? Well, about 12 years ago, on my 41st birthday, my sweet husband gifted me a Cartier tank watch. It's one of my prize possessions and wonderful memories of living in France. In the twelve years I have owned the watch, this will only be the second battery I have had to put in it! The downside of owning such a beautiful watch, is that anything that you have to do to it is EXPENSIVE! I also have a casual watch that I wear to knock around in, and it too needed a battery. The cost of that battery was only 20 bucks. The Cartier watch........$65.00!!!! While I was waiting for them to put the battery in, there was a guy there wanting his metal watch strap replaced.....the cost....$2,000 Yikes!!!! I was thankful at that moment that my strap is alligator, BUT to replace that, it will be $365.00!!! I'm not happy about this, but the strap that I have now has seen better days, and does not showcase how pretty the watch is, so Happy Mother's day to me I suppose. I could have a new hand bag for that price :(    Oh well, hopefully it will last another 10 years!    We decided to stay in the city for dinner and a movie. We had such a nice time at a restaurant in the SF mall, that I thought would be generic and not great, but it turned out to be so good, and I would definitely go back. It is called My China, and it was opened by Martin Yan, of "Yan can Cook."  Wonderful flavors and very different than the normal Chinese restaurant that is prevalent around San Francisco.  If you follow me on Instagram, I posted a photo of one of the dishes.   We then saw "Age of Adeline."  It was a sweet movie with lots of eye candy, and it was suppose to be set in San Francisco. Given that this is our city, you always know when a movie is really filmed here or they use stock footage of the skyline and other famous shots of the city. The whole time something felt off about the scenes and when I got home and looked up the info on the film, sure enough it was mostly filmed in Vancouver. Vancouver is San Francisco's fraternal twin hahaha. It has hilly streets and similar architecture, but I know my city too well, and I just knew it wasn't San Francisco! Anyway, its a fun film and it was such a pleasant evening!
The mouse was a special order for Cyrous' mom and was fun to do but I can surely see why I don't want to make more for the shop. They are extremely time consuming, and if I charged for all the time it took me to make this, I don't think it would be a good price point. The one and only that I put in the shop, I way under priced! If anyone really loves these and wants to inquire about them, send me a message through Etsy and I might consider doing one as a special order.

Oh, and all the yard pictures....I sure hope you are not tired of them. Every time I go out there, I see new things or beautiful changes to some of the plants. Cyrous recently realized that there is a loquat tree in our back yard. That is the photo of the yellow fruit with the prehistoric looking leaves! What isn't in this yard!!! I sure wish the owner had planted some peach trees or pear trees hahah. Oh well, I'm very happy with what is out there, and I cannot wait for those candy like grapes to mature, as well as the figs!!  In the front yard there is a rhododendron bush with one red bloom. This plant I think does better in cooler climates like up north were I went to college, although it's healthy enough and is starting to bloom.  I cut some roses and and brought them in for a little color in the main room.

Off to do some sewing.......Catcha later!

April 21, 2015

New in the Shop

I had so much fun making the newest little outfit above. Lots of pretty details and truly a sweet little heirloom for some lucky little girl. I wish sometimes that I could really convey the feel of the fabric and how the two pieces work so well together, as in the drape and twirly aspect of the fullness in the skirt of the dress. I'm hoping that my photography shows it, but sometimes I wonder how it comes off. The pinafore is all cotton. Often times when you see this type of eyelet, it is a cotton poly blend. Because I avoid any synthetics in my pieces, I tired to hunt down the prettiest cotton eyelet for this project. Both pieces can stand alone, which I love and I hope people who view them realize that they can have two cute out fits! The dress is a beautiful light weight cotton lawn and the peachy color of the flowers happen to match the little silk vintage rosettes on the pinafore. I love when I look through my trim box, and realize that I have the perfect thing to make the  garments that I'm working on, just a bit more special. The vintage silk rosettes are from 1930. It has such a nice look to it, and not as shinny and bright as new versions of this trim.   I had originally listed this with a choice of possibly splitting up the two and selling them on their own. The minute I got an email from someone who wanted to do this, I got a bit sad and knew that I shouldn't have done it. I quoted the price, and never heard back, so I quickly edited the listing and now it is selling as set. They are just too perfect for one another!

The yard is changing everyday. Roses are reigning supreme at the moment. On my side of the yard there are yellow, purple, white , pink and way too many red roses for my taste, but they are all beautiful. I have been clipping many of them and bringing them into the house. The citrus trees still have many, many blooms and the humming birds are constant visitors. Today I went out to pick a lemon to squeeze over my roasting chicken, and while under the lemon tree in the  front yard, a little humming bird buzzed in and just sat there. I didn't dare move, because I really wanted to stare at it for as long as it would let me! Birds constantly fascinate me, and I never tire of watching them.

Are you wondering what that egg thing is up there? It's my take on a Spanish tortilla. I remember eating these in Spain and loving the thinly sliced potatoes and herbs in this egg dish. A couple of weeks ago, we bought this pan. It's called Scanpan, and made in Denmark. We happened to be at Sur La Table when they were demonstrating it. I was super impressed when I saw the woman cook an omelet with no oil, or fat. Just bare pan on a med setting, and it came out beautiful! Plus they are safe and not made with creepy things, so we splurged and bought one. I highly recommend them. It's weighty and you can use metal on it as well as put it in the oven. My tortilla turned out perfect in it and I can see this pan being used A LOT!
Saturday we met some friends for a polenta feed. It is always so very tasty! Caitlin and Cyrous joined us. My friend always says if you sit to her left during the raffle you will always win, and she is right. We have gone to this event three times and sat on her left, and each time one or both of us have won a prize! This time is was both of us. My prize was a huge bottle of Jack Daniels!! Those who know me thought it was quite funny, as I rarely drink! Anyway, it was still a lot of fun with lots of good food to eat.

Today I received a request for a cape! I rarely get orders in the spring/ summer season, so it was a bit of a surprise. I was really proud of myself today though and cut, sewed and jumped in the car to ship it with five min. to spare before they closed the post office! I never get tired of making those, they always come out so darn cute!

Tomorrow I'm working on a special little project request from Cyrous' mom for her little nephew.
After this project, my sewing machine is going in for a tune up, so I'll have a bit of a rest for a few days. I hope the wait time isn't too long though!