December 6, 2016

Dad's Birthday and Thanksgiving

Time got away from me again, and I didn't get a chance to post about my dad's birthday and Thanksgiving in a timely manner, but better late than never right?!  My dad and stepmother came to California to celebrate my dad's birthday with us and Thanksgiving with my stepmother's family. We were so pleased to be able to celebrate my dad's 79th birthday and spend this special time of year with them. My stepmother Susan, is a fabulous cook, and we always have a lot of fun cooking together. A few years back I made this coconut cream tart for my dad's birthday, and ever since it's been his go to birthday dessert, so I whipped one of them up for him, as well as joint cooking his prime rib feast! I made the cast iron skillet potatoes that I did a few years ago at Christmas time.  Susan made Yorkshire pudding for the prime rib, which was fun to watch being made. I must give that a try some time! I think my dad looks pretty great on his 79th birthday :)   The next day we took a break from cooking and took them out to Bull Valley Roadhouse for dinner, and they loved it.  We had so much fun visiting with them, and it always seems too short.
Thanksgiving this year came at lightening speed, for me anyway.  If you are a long time reader, you know it's my favorite cooking holiday, and I'm always tinkering with perfecting cooking that darn bird. This year, I think I found the best combination!  I can't remember if I blogged about some mishaps with my All Clad roasting pan or not, but I noticed that when I moved back from France in 2004, I started cooking my Turkey in my new All Clad roasting pan, and for some reason had lots of trouble with even cooking. I'm still not sure it is the pan or not, but I went back to all the times my turkey did turn out, and I always used those cheap foil roasters. So, I went back to those last year and had a much better result. This year I saw a recipe from Martha, where you start the bird upside down. You use a whole loaf of ciabatta bread, cut open like a book, and slathered with lots of butter. Lay the bird breast side down on it and crank the heat up (475) for 45 min. The recipe is on line of course, if you google Martha's upside down turkey. The only thing on the recipe that I think was wrong was cooking time, but other than that,  it's a keeper! We used a 15 lb. bird, so it wasn't that hard to flip it when the time came. I'm sad I didn't think to snap a picture of my perfectly golden cooked bird. We were so hungry we tore into it as soon as it rested. The breast meat was really juicy and tender, and all the dark meat was cooked perfectly, with no pink spots like I have had in the past. I also basted it every 20 min. with white wine and butter. Can I just say that you might want to pick at the yummy turkey juiced caibatta bread and call it a day! I used the juice soaked ciabatta in the extra stuffing to add flavor to it. I also stuff my bird. I know a lot of people are afraid to do it, but I have always done it, and I think it makes the best stuffing. Ok, enough about the Turkey!
This year we had some new friends we made through Alex and Barbara, our German friends. Alex and Barbara could not make it this year, as they were in Germany on business. We were delighted though to have Ralf and Annette join us.  Annette brought a really yummy salmon appetizer that she made to kick off the feast, and Caitlin brought an apple/cranberry whiskey cobbler to add to the dessert fun.  It was a really nice gathering! I put up the blurred picture of Caitlin and Cyrous, because that is the only one I nabbed of them, so pretend it isn't blurry hahaha.

I spied this cute little woodpecker outside on the neighbors apple tree the other morning, it's he cute?!  I'm happy to report, I haven't had anymore birds hitting the windows recently. The trees are about ready to take their winter nap, and each day the landscape changes bit by bit. This week it will rain for a few days in a row, and most likely take out the rest of the golden leaves, and turn the trees into winter lace. I love seeing it all change from my little tree house.

Shop news: I just finished a cute little dress that I will post about soon. I have been trying to squeeze in a few outfits before Christmas to fill up my shop. I just shipped out one of my little fur hats yesterday. I'm really hopeless with planning ahead for Christmas items for my shop. I know you should start in July or so, but I'm never motivated to do it then, so I leave it with my red capes and the little hats and whatever I can make to round out the fall/winter garments that I have in there. I don't think I'll ever be the Etsy power house seller hahaha. My money maker is that cape in the months of September and October, and I reached my goal again this year with them. Lots of really nice customer reviews makes it all worth while. I also got the cutest pictures back from a customer that I did a big special order for a while back. It melted my heart to see the clothes on this beautiful little girl, and how much her mom loved the pieces.  This is why I like to do what I do on a small scale.

On that note, I need to get house back in order after taking out all the Christmas boxes out. Right now my living room looks like a Christmas tornado just hit!   Happy Holidays!

November 13, 2016

Catching Up Time

Wow, last week was a dozy am I right?  As you can see by the photo above, liberal Bay Area is not happy with the election. I have to say I stand with the two restaurants above. I don't want this to be a political rant or keep going with this draining topic. I just want to say, that had this been a regular Joe Republican, I and most every Democrat would have shrugged it off and thought it was time for the other party to have a chance. This is different, as evidenced by all the protests in large cities and now horrible hate crimes towards minorities. Any Republicans who think we are being whiny babies because Hillary lost, really needs to stop and listen to what we are trying to convey with the protests. As Dave Chappelle recently said on SNL, "We just elected an Internet troll as our President!" I agree sadly.  I'm truly sorry if I offend anyone, but those are my views and this is such a surreal situation. I want to be able to document this and put a few feelings down.

On a much lighter note, Halloween has already come and gone in a flash! We had the same 9 kids that we had last year. I wished that there had been more, but once again I live in a house that isn't conducive to trick or treating. Props to the nine that made it up the hill!
We have had no rain since my last post, and today feels like spring, if not early summer here today! It sure made for some beautiful pictures at the John Muir Park today.  I could easily sit on one of the benches there and watch birds and just rest for hours, but I was on a mission today to look for a gift for my dad for his birthday, so we just did a quick walk.

A few mornings ago, David woke me up to show me a flock of turkeys outside our bedroom window! I threw on a robe and slippers and shot a few pictures of these guys roaming around and snacking down on random leaves and dropped fruit in the side yard. They are very funny to watch.
Then, the little mockingbird that is pictured, is part two of birds hitting the picture window in our dinning room. This one was much more feisty than the last one, and was already standing when I went downstairs to see if it was OK. He flew off after I snapped a few close ups of him.  A friend recently posted some great ideas to help with this situation and I plan on doing  them soon as I get a chance. I hope in the meantime, there are no more collisions with the window.

I finished the little dress I had been working on and it is now in the shop! This dress is ready to ship out in a size three, but can be special ordered in sizes 6mo., 12mo., 18mo., 2yr, 3yr.   It's a very simple yet classic style that can be dressed up or down. It is made of durable medium weight cotton, and the little black ribbon is silk.  I love the simplicity of it and I'm working on doing some more possibly in velveteen. Once again though, not promising too much since I'm in the throws of the holidays at Anthopologie. Today we had a kick off meeting where we all dressed up in various holiday themes and had a breakfast pot luck. Nice for all of us to come together and start off the holiday season with some fun and cheer. Last week was employee appreciation for the home and beauty whole paycheck is gone folks!! I've been wanting to replace my Mason Pearson brush and was able to do so since the beauty section carries them. Picked up some other fun things, like a thick knitted throw, ornament, fun mug, and some Amber perfumed rocks that make the living room smell divine! Merry early Christmas to me hahaha. I'm trying really hard to resist all the beautiful things, because now I'm just working there for clothes and fun house wears. Not necessarily a bad thing, but would like to put some money aside as well.

This coming Thursday my dad and step mom are coming. We are going to celebrate my dad's birthday on the 18th and spend the whole weekend with them. We were going to do Thanksgiving, but my step mom really needs to spend some time with her dad so they are off to the foothills with a pit stop to see my sister along the way. Luckily we are all close by. I'm happy to be able to spend at least my dad's birthday with him.
So.......all caught up! Not sure how often I'll be posting but I'll try my hardest. If I don't check in before Thanksgiving, please have a great one!

October 28, 2016

Lovely Colors of Autumn

I always like to document the changing colors of the plants out in the yard, especially after some rain. The light is so pretty and everything is fresh. We are having another storm tonight, which is fantastic. Usually we don't get rain until next week, but happy that it made it's appearance earlier. Time to turn off the sprinkler system, and put away all the summer yard decor. Yipee!
I think I have finally adjusted to working the three days at Anthropologie, and I think my feet are now use to it too. I found some shoes that make it more pleasant to be there, instead of thinking about how my feet are hurting the whole day! I'm not really looking forward to the madness though of the holidays in that store. It's a huge store, with lots and lots of people, especially on the weekends. Hoping that it won't kill me.
Cape madness is finally over, as I think I mentioned last time. I'm about to start on a cute little dress, and if you follow me on Instagram, you saw my sneak peek. I think it will be really sweet and it's fun sewing new items for the shop again. I hope I can get a few things in there in time for the holidays. Given that I'm in retail now, who knows how much I can get done  hahaha.
 Monday was Caitlin and Cyrous' one year anniversary! David and I gave them this pretty frame with their invitation and one of the many beautiful pictures of that day. David also had the music printed out that he wrote for them, and put it in a pretty leather cover.  Still can't believe how fast that year went. SLOW down please! They went out to a lovely dinner at Chez Panisse to celebrate.
For those that follow me on Facebook, this will be a repeat story, but if you don't follow me on there, here is my cute story for the day.  This morning as I sat in my living room, I heard a thump on one of our big picture windows. I feared the worse. I looked down the side of the house and saw a beautiful little bird lying on it's side, but still breathing. I went outside and hoped it was just stunned and hadn't broken anything. I scooped it up and it's little eyes were still shinny, so I hoped for the best. I sat on my front porch for about 15 minutes petting it, and soon it went from lying in my hand to standing. It seemed to be collecting its faculties. It was such a beautiful moment to hold a wild creature and be able to look in its eyes. Eventually it flew to the porch rail and then took flight! So happy it was only stunned. I looked up the bird species later, and it was a Hermit Thrush. One of my dreams was to hold a wild bird. Not only did I get to hold it, but helped it over come a bit of a shock from slamming into the window. This made my whole day. The funny part of the story was that I was wearing my favorite cheap Target shirt that is covered in a little graphic print of birds, how appropriate :)
On that happy note, I better get some chores done, as I have to go in tomorrow to work. Not looking forward to crazy Saturday with hoards of people. I sure wish I could just work the week days only, but it is retail, so there you have it.          

October 19, 2016

New in the Shop!

Hi! Are you happy that I'm back quicker than normal? hahah. I just finished these two pieces today and will be listing them in my Etsy shop as soon as I finish this post.  It took me a bit of time to finish these simple pieces because I was working on cape orders. I finished my 12th cape of the season on Monday and shipped it out to it's little owner yesterday. So far it has been a really good balance with work at Anthropologie and my Etsy shop.  I think I will not have to worry about cape orders once Halloween is over. I sometimes get a few orders for the capes for Christmas, but for the most part this is my busy time for them. I remember when I first made the cape, thinking it was mostly going to used as a cozy option for the winter instead of a coat. It kind of took off as a costume instead, but that's fine, as I think once the customers receive it they will realize it's more than just a costume. I have had such wonderful reviews written on my Etsy feedback in them. It always makes my heart happy that people love these little capes, as I truly still love making them. Anyway....I finished this petal collared swing top made out of cotton dotted Swiss, and this little skirt made out of the cutest Japanese imported cotton fabric. I just love the little bears with their gold crowns and party hats! Link to my shop is in my side bar.

Well, we got a little rain last weekend and I was a very happy camper since I had all weekend off and was cozy at home working on orders and these two pieces. Seems early for the rain in our parts, as it seems like it always officially starts closer to Halloween. It has made for such clear and beautiful fall skies, and  I'm loving how the light falls in different parts of the house during the day and always want to grab my camera.
 Can't believe it will be a year on Monday that Caitlin and Cyrous will celebrate their first wedding anniversary! Where has the time gone? On Facebook, numerous photos that I posted on Instagram have popped up as a reminder of "a year ago today," with pictures of wedding prep.   Maybe I'll do a post on that day with some wedding pictures that I didn't share that I love.

Work outside the house has been fun. My section has a nice pace to it and doesn't get too overrun on the days that I'm there. Weekends, that is a whole other story.  Lots of families and people curious about the bridal dresses start to come by, and look through everything, which is different from weekdays, where for the most part we just have the appointments. I had a funny/annoying incident a couple of weekends ago, where a dad shoved his three year old daughter into one of our $600.00 bridesmaids dresses that is covered in sequins and beads ( a very delicate dress). Before I could get over there he already had it on her! He then proceeded to let her run into the salon and stand on a podium where we were having an appointment!! A bit exciting I must say!!
This Saturday David and I are going to see "Young the Giant" at the Fox Theater in Oakland.  We also are going to our favorite place for dinner across the street. (click on name if you are curious about this band) Can't wait!

I have to cut this post short, as I need to hop on over to Etsy to post my items. I'll be back soon :)