June 23, 2016

Happy Birthday David!

 Birthday boys brand new Panama hat from Montecristi Panama hats

And this is the end of the festivities! Laid back birthday for David this year. Since Caitlin and Cyrous were leaving the very next day for the UK, we decided it would be nice to just hang out at home and not do too much. More soccer watching and a nice lunch out.
We have wanted to make pizza in the gas grill for a while, and thought this would be a no fuss fun dinner that we could eat out side and just enjoy the evening. It was a whole lot of fun making these pizzas!  We bought some dough from our favorite pizza place and then got creative with the toppings. I used just crushed tomatoes and not a sauce. I think it's key to not load it up too much so that it will not be soggy. It worked so well and we can't wait to do it again.  We wanted to make an heirloom tomato one, but the tomatoes are at their peak in August, so we will try then. We heated up the grill to about 500 to 600F and those babies took no time to cook! We have always gotten good results in the oven with the stone, but it takes much longer to cook. I think we need a pat on the back for using our grill three times so far this summer.
 We lit all the tea lights and strung the outside lights up for a festive feel. Luckily it had cooled down by the time we had dinner and it was such an enjoyable evening eating out in the backyard.

We finished the dinner with a yummy ice cream cake from  Lottie's Creamery You have to have an ice cream cake for the summer kid right?! We still have a lot leftover, since they only had 8 inch cakes this go around.....Dave is just so sad about this, hahahah. Oh, how do you like our ghetto birthday candle? I have no idea where I put the birthday candles when we moved last year. I'm sure the wish will still come true!

I'm trying to get the house back in order after all the celebrations and have a ton of laundry and tidying up to do today. I got a cute video from Nicole of Caitlin and Cyrous yesterday having lunch at her place :) They look happy and tired, and I'm sure they will be snoozing for a while today.

Hopefully after the housework today, I will be able to make it into my studio to work. Check back for updates for new items coming soon.

June 22, 2016

Part 2....Father's Day

Father's day this year was the next day after our anniversary, and it looks like next year they share the same date! Maybe I can consolidate those two next year hahah.

I can't remember the last time I spent Father's day with my dad. My parents divorced when I was about 9 or 10 and my memory fails for holidays at that time of my life. I reconnected with my dad after I got married, and since then he has lived too far to spend the day with him. I call and send gifts to celebrate the day. We had a fun conversation this past Sunday and it sounded like he was having a pleasant day. I threw some pictures of him when he was a young lad.  I love the baby one in the carriage, it must be 1938 or so. As a youngster he left Canada and joined the US Army and was stationed in Panama, where he met my mom. After serving they moved back to the US and my dad worked for the Forest Service until retiring. He loves nature, art, and consumes books like no one I know! Love you pops :)
To celebrate David for Father's Day, we went to brunch at Bull Valley Road House in Port Costa. I've blogged about this place before. Really cool eclectic decor and great food. Gifts were opened when we got home, and he relaxed watching "Copa America" most of the day with Cyrous. Later we had a casual dinner out.
Most of the weekend was spent lounging since Caitlin and Cyrous were gearing up for their month long belated honeymoon trip. The left yesterday and arrived safe and sound, as evidenced by some photos and video Nicole sent me. I hope they have a great time. They will spend some time with Nicole and then head up to Scotland for some fun adventures! I sure wish I was there now to avoid this heat we are having!  It's only two days into summer, and I'm counting down the days until fall. Why is it that when you tell people you don't like summer, they are so shocked? I won't go on about it, since I think by now everyone knows how I feel, but seriously, can you just wake me up when it's October?

As for shop business, I have an almost done little sun suit that should be finished this week. Stay tuned. Part 3 of celebrations tomorrow!

June 21, 2016

33rd Anniversary

I survived all the celebrations this weekend! Saturday was our 33rd wedding anniversary . We had a very nice dinner at Chez Pannise, with glorious weather thrown in for good measure! I love going to CP and never tire of it. The very top picture has no filter so you can see the beautiful blue sky we got to enjoy.

So hard to capture into words what 33 years married feels like sometimes. Honestly for us it's been effortless. Sure we have had life difficulties, but I can honestly say that as a couple we never have had a rough patch in our actual relationship. When I hear about people say that marriage is work, I'm always scratching my head wondering if I'm missing something. I guess we are lucky that we found each other's soulmate as cheesy as that sounds. Maybe it's because we balance each other well. I can be a bit of a worrier and David is there to calm things down and say it's ok, don't freak out. I think with my spicy nature I help him to see things in another way that can benefit him also. We truly are best friends and still have a lot in common, and the same goals.
What struck me this year when I was looking at our wedding pictures from 1983, were our youthful hands! I love hand pictures. I couldn't get enough of looking at Caitlin and Cyrous' hand pictures in their engagement pics and wedding pics. The hands tell the story of life I think. Mine are beat up from sewing pins, housework and well just older now! hahah. I threw in a couple oldie photos from our wedding this time. Cracks me up to see some of them and the dated aspect of them. The 80's were the worst years for fashion in my book, and of course we were victims to the fashions of the time. I always hoped that our wedding didn't look that over the top eighties.......

I was going to flood this post with pictures of all three celebrations, but decided to break it up into three and give them their own post. Last year there are zero pictures of David's birthday and we all sat around yesterday trying to remember what we did for him that day last year!!! We were so consumed in wedding drama last summer we can't remember, so I'm making sure that everything gets better documented.
Comeback on Wednesday for Father's day.........To be continued

June 12, 2016

Lovely Weekend

Nice weather and friends over for dinner last night at the spur of the moment made Saturday a fun filled cooking day. Our plum tree has exploded with ripe fruit, so I made a plum galette for dessert! I used two recipes for this one, because I like the fact that this crust had pecans in it. I found a plum galette recipe on Pinterest to get the right balance of sugar for the plums. It was a bit tart, even thought the fruit was ripe and sweet, but it was still pretty yummy. Our friends came after I pulled this out of the oven, and then we began grilling up dinner. The newest issue of Bon Appetite had some very good recipes for kabobs, so we tried the spicy lamb recipe with garlic yogurt sauce.  The couscous was from the "Plenty" cookbook. It was called "Green couscous."  I highly recommend this recipe if you own the book, it really went well with the lamb. We also grilled some zucchini from David's little garden, along with some cherry tomatoes.  Love having friends over and chatting over a good meal.

The three pictures of the deer are with my iPhone, so apologies for the quality. It's been a whole year now that we have been in this house, and my memory of our first few weeks here last year were the deer. They are out in the front of our house day and night. They eat off the wild plum tree near our bedroom window, as well as all the loquats that have fallen to the ground also near our bedroom. You can hear them ALL the time! Last night, I think one of them bumped into the side of the house (our room) and scared me! Last year while my sister was visiting, my nephew was walking out front, and one jumped right in front of him and almost knocked him down! They had just finished eating some of the peaches and must have gotten startled.  This seems to be only a summer thing, as I never saw them in the winter months. A few evenings back, I heard something outside our bedroom window, and when I peeked out, I saw one of them on its hind legs standing like a person, yanking plums off the tree, very funny site.  We also have what appears to be a little skunk family that has a path through our back yard. Yesterday evening, while our friends were here, a baby one casually sauntered by David on his way to who knows were. Thank goodness it didn't get scared because you know what that means!

I'm finishing up on a really cute sunsuit/romper as you can see above. It's coming out really cute and I just love this Japanese fabric for it! Next up are some gingham bloomers. I've noticed on Etsy that there aren't a lot of people making banded bloomers, so I'm going to put more of those in the shop. I have made some before and sold all of them, and was asked also to make some as a special order. I'm hoping that I can fill the need.

Well, I should be off now sorting out the mess from my dinner party.  Hope everyone is having a nice weekend.

June 6, 2016

It Must Be Summer

Happy Monday!  We had a heat spell last week that lasted until Sunday, so it must be summer now.  It's not so bad in this house during the summer months, so hopefully the season will pass without too much grouchiness, it's early still so we will see.
Friday I polished up the house, as evidenced above by my gleaming hardwood floors! I love Bona wood cleaner, it makes the floors in this house look so pretty.  I forgot to show you the rug that we bought for the living room a while back, but you can see a little glimpse of it in the picture with my cocktail. I really love seeing the hardwood floors, so we got the 5x8 size.  We looked a lot of places, and none could beat the price and quality of this rug from Pottery Barn. Years ago we bought the same design for another house, but the runner version. It still looks brand new. Design rules say it should be bigger, but like I said, I sure do love the floors, so we didn't want to cover them up too much, design rules be damned!

I have to explain the top two pictures. Friday, after I cleaned the house and watered all the potted flowers out back, some animal must have had a party on the Nectarine tree shortly after I came into the house!  When I was out there, I did not see all those fruit piled up on the lawn like that. David came home from work, and went out in the back to water the veggies, when he called me outside to see this mess. You can see the little teeth marks on the green fruit! Our guess is that it was a squirrel that must have landed on that branch and knocked all of the fruit off, then decided to have a snack. Little stinkers! Those nectarines take an eternity to ripen, so it's a bit annoying that we lost that many all in one fell swoop.

I've really been wanting to make up a batch of chimichurri sauce and grill up some carne asada for a while now. I love eating this combo at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Oakland, so we tried to duplicate it. It was so good! It's kinda funny that the Mexican restaurant puts this on their carne asada, since it is Argentinian in origin. It's a very basic sauce and you can find many versions of it all over the web. I used parsley, cilantro, white wine vinegar, because I was out of red. Fresh oregano, garlic, chili flakes and olive oil, salt and pepper. Whirl it in a food processor and voila! It's good on chicken and fish as  well. We are going to try and push ourselves to use the grill more this summer. Last summer we did not grill one single thing! I think this weekend we might experiment with the pizza stone and see how that comes out. We also would like to grill some of the peaches and nectarines when they are ready. Besides the regular hamburger and hot dogs, does anyone have creative dishes they like to do on the grill?

Sunday we went out to dinner with Caitlin and Cyrous to a Peruvian restaurant that has been forever so busy we could never get in. Being Sunday it was not as busy and we finally got a chance to go to it, it's called "Parada."  Click on the word and see how yummy the food looks. We really loved the food and will go back again for sure. Three of us had their specialty drink, Pisco Sour, and they were very tasty and very strong! I highly recommend the restaurant if you live in the Bay Area. They have two other locations with different names in San Francisco as well.

Today a gentle breeze is blowing through all the open windows and I'm off to do some menu planning before it gets too late in the day.  Catcha next time!

Oops, forgot to mention the lady bugs. Never in all my yards, have I seen so many of these lovely little insects. I captured the last pictures with my iPhone leaning out of one of my living room windows. The peach tree is covered in them. They are the cutest!!!

May 31, 2016

Ripening Garden and Cake Building

So...what did you do for the long memorial day weekend? Us, nothing. We rarely travel or go anywhere on this holiday or Labor day. We hung out at home and on Saturday I built the cake that I talked about in my last post.
The cake was fun to make, and the tweaking I did to it, didn't really alter the flavor that I remember as a kid. The recipe is from the mid to late 1960's and it's called "Cherry Crown Cake." My mom use to proudly make this for pot lucks and always got many compliments on it, and I loved the flavor combinations. She followed it to the letter, using canned cherry pie filling and walnuts, and sweetened coconut. I decided to use organic non sweetened coconut and pecans, because David is allergic to walnuts. I also made my own cherry pie filling using some of the cherries Cyrous' dad brought us. I was going to macerate the cherries and make more of a compote, but I happen to pick up this magazine called at Costco that had a yummy homemade cherry pie filling recipe. I think if I ever make this again, I would like to try the compote of cherries instead. The filling recipe was good, although I just wasn't sure about the cornstarch aspect of it hahaha. It had a whole vanilla bean pod in it and lemon juice, so it really did taste good. This cake has a lot of coconut! You put 2/3 cup sprinkled in the bottom of each pan, then pour the batter on top, then 1/3 cup more coconut sprinkled on top of each before you put it in the oven.
The  odd thing about this recipe was that while making the batter, they didn't have you cream the butter and sugar first. You were to put all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, then mix the butter and milk into the dry. Lastly you add the eggs and almond extract. Interesting method and much different than other cakes I have made.   I have this cake recipe written out in my mom's handwriting and I found it on Pinterest. If you are curious about it, you can visit my Pinterest board "Desserts."

Oh my...... the yard!! Last year there were so many peaches that we couldn't catch up with all of them and even with the deer eating some at night for their dessert, we still had more! This year, not as many sadly, but look at all those plums!!! Also out there are many nectarines, and pluots. There are also a zillion loquats that the squirrels and other wildlife are enjoying, as evidenced by the mess they have made! Instead of peach pie this summer, perhaps I'll be making some plum galettes instead. There are still peaches, don't get me wrong, but not as many...boo :(  Also above pictured are some things David planted in some wine barrels. Soon we will have zucchini, Anaheim peppers, tomatillos, and some plum tomatoes. We also got one tiny little fig growing on the fig tree plant we bought last year from a local farmer. Not sure what we are going to do with this fig plant, as there really isn't a place to plant it in the yard. Might have to gift it to someone hahaha.

If you are frequent reader, you know my busy month is coming up. Why oh why did we decided to get married in June and have our first born in June??? Combined with Father's day, and David's birthday, we are in for a whirlwind soon! I'm trying to make a better effort to blog more. I let things go and I feel like I don't want this space to drift off like others have done with their blogs. Having said this, I'll try my hardest to document festivities in June. We will be celebrating our 33rd  wedding anniversary this year. I decided to find a nice summer dress for our special dinner out this year. Finding dresses are a nightmare for me. I tried some on recently at Anthropologie, and it was a no go. Today, I wandered into Nordstrom's with zero intent to find anything, only to see what they had. There is was!! The cutest summer dress!  I quickly grabbed it and tried it on. Love at first site, and it fit really nice. This rarely happens for me because of my shorter torso, I always have to have dresses altered. I almost lost hope and was going to attempt to sew something up for myself. I was spared that task thank goodness. I don't mind making tops and skirts for myself, but dresses.....NO! (Side note) Before I found the dress, I saw this really cute line of clothing from France called Jolie. Love this line! BUT they had an eyelet top that was a short sleeved peasant blouse that was nothing really special, except that the actual fabric was pretty, but just cotton eyelet. It was the simplest of tops which would take me maybe an hour or less to make, with an elastic neckline. Price tag.....$300.00  What the heck?! I I don't mind paying good money for well made beautiful clothing, but this top should have retailed for no more than $150.00 and that is pushing it. This is why I hate going clothes shopping hahaha.

The holiday weekend threw me off track to get anything done for the shop. I'll be cutting hopefully tomorrow, in hopes to get some more summer items in. Then soon I'll have to start thinking about fall stuff. I'm trying to make a better effort for fall items this year. It's not as fun to sew for I don't think. I end up consumed mostly in red capes come September/October usually, then I have nothing in there for the fall winter months. Need to get better organized for sure!

Ok, catch you all later!