April 4, 2018

Caitlin's Maternity Shoot at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

On Good Friday, we went out to Ruth Bancroft Garden  (click on name to read about this amazing garden!)  Caitlin loves cactus and succulents and wanted this extraordinary garden to be the back drop for her maternity shoot. I was honored, and happy when Caitlin asked me to do the shoot for her. We had a lot of fun taking the photos and discovering all these gorgeous plants at the same time. It's such a jewel box of a place and if you live out in the East Bay Area, you really need to go and check this place out! There were plants I have never seen in my life. My favorite one was the one pictured that looks like an eight foot asparagus!!!
I think the pictures turned out really beautiful and Caitlin was happy with them, so that makes me happy. I love photography, and since as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to do something in that field. When I was in High school, my dream was to be a photo journalist and work for National Geographic. That didn't pan out hahah, but photography was always in my life. In college I took many photography classes, and was in the dark room for many hours at a time perfecting my skill, and to this day those are my fondest memories of my University days. I had an excellent professor and learned a lot.  Of course now everything is digital and edited with fancy filters. The skill involved in making a print in a dark room took a lot trial and error, which I believe was part of the fun. I'm not saying that editing digital images is no less of an art form, it's just that it is much easier to do I believe.  The artistry in photography also is capturing that image right? Caitlin decided that instead of seeking out a photographer to do her shoot, she would have the closest person that knows her the best, to capture the most beautiful time in her life. I think the strongest photos tell a story about the people, and I hope that years from now Ruby will look at these and see how in Love her parents were and what beautiful souls they are. Her mother in full bloom with her, just like all the beautiful plants surrounding her in bloom as well. Her father in complete love with her mother and the beautiful life she is carrying.
Hope you enjoyed taking a peek at some of my favorite shots of the day!

****btw, I didn't use any fancy filters when editing these photos. Just a bit of tweaking in brightness and color correction.****

April 2, 2018

Our Easter

Easter day was so sunny and pretty! We had two days prior that were overcast and glum, but Easter was sparkly and gorgeous. We had a lazy one this year, including me being lazy and not really decorating the house until the last minute. I think I pulled it off though haha.
Since Caitlin couldn't eat rare lamb, I made a shoulder of lamb and cooked it kind of like you would cook carnitas. The recipe was from a cookbook called "A Kitchen in France." By Mimi Thorisson. There was some tinkering I had to do with the cut of the meat, because here in the US they butcher meat differently than they do in France. I ordered a shoulder, thinking that it would look like a pork shoulder roast, but it didn't. When I arrived to my favorite butcher shop and asked for my order, the guy came over and said I'm really curious what you are making, and why you requested 3 pounds of lamb shoulder. After discussing the recipe and having a fun conversation on how butchering varies, even from the East Coast, we decided to add a couple more blade shoulder chops to the three pound piece and tie butcher string around it to make it a bigger roast. So having done that, it brought up the weight more from the recipe. I upped the temp a bit and adjusted the cooking time. I think I could have taken it out sooner, but it was pretty tasty. The sauce was a garlic cream, made with pan drippings, cream, and ten cloves of garlic. As you can see from the first picture, there are already several heads of garlic with the lamb up there! That garlic caramelized quite nicely and perfumed the meat. We started dinner with a carrot ginger soup, with a spoon of creme fraiche and chives. I found some morel mushrooms at Berkeley bowl and added them to the asparagus, along with lemon zest. I lately have been loving Yukon gold potatoes more than red, so we had some with thyme.  No time this year to plan out a dessert, and having just finished consuming Caitlin's cheesecake the week before, I was a bit maxed out of baking. We bought this cute little coconut cake at Whole Foods, and I decorated the top with some cup cake picks that I already, and that was our Easter!

On good Friday I shot Caitlin's maternity pictures. I'm doing a separate post on that possibly on Wednesday. I'm still editing the pictures and hope to have them completed by then. They turned out so pretty!  You will have to come back and check it out.
Speaking of Caitlin, we have less than five more weeks to go before little miss Ruby is born! We are all so excited :)   Last Saturday we went over to their house to check out Ruby's little nursery area, and it was super cute. Caitlin painted the cutest little water color to hang above her little bassinet and everything is so nicely  color coordinated. All the little clothes are washed and now we wait.

Ok, I'm off to edit the pictures!

March 28, 2018

Spring Time Goodness

I really love March. The yard is doing its springtime thing and the birds are happily chirping outside as I type this with the window cracked open. March for me is the true springtime in California, because once April rolls around, we start getting really warm days that boarder the feel of summer. March of course is my babies birth month as well. This year Caitlin asked for a cheesecake for her birthday treat, and I pulled out my favorite recipe that is always no fail and is just so, so good. I jazzed it up with this cute banner that is from the brand Meri Meri.  I have always loved this party brand, and I'm happy to see how they have branched out more with their products available here in the US.
We had a lovely dinner out with Caitlin and Cyrous, then came home to have the cheesecake. Caitlin wanted a very low key day and mainly just rested. She is getting so close to delivery time! May 4 is her official due date, but if she is like me, this little baby might just come a bit early. Will she be an April baby or May baby? Stay tuned.

I've been really busy filling orders for the shop. I can no longer anticipate the capes being made only in the fall, because I'm getting quite a few orders in the spring as well. I just recently made three of them. I also worked on the little blue linen overalls that are pictured above. This was a fun special order for a little birthday boy who was having a Peter Rabbit themed birthday party.
I'm still planning very soon to put the shop on vacation mode around the time Ruby is born, and reinvent the merchandise. It takes time of course to do this so I'm still working out how to go about it.

Today I'm looking through recipes for Easter dinner. I'm going to try out a French lamb recipe that is pretty non traditional, here anyway. I love having lamb for Easter, but since Caitlin can't eat rare meat, having a leg of lamb wouldn't be a great idea, unless I made sure one part was cooked well for her. So, I found this really nice recipe in one of my French cookbooks that I will give a try. It involves a lot of garlic! What are you making this year for Easter dinner, or do you just have a brunch and call it a day?

I Skyped with Nicole the other day and while I was on with her, she had just gotten an email to say that she is in the final stages of being considered to show at London Fashion week in September! Really excited for her. Her collection she has been working on is really pretty. We are all very proud and happy for her, since she has worked very hard on it.
On that note, I'm going to line up something to sew, and finish with the Easter menu......Have a very happy Easter everyone!