Monday, June 28, 2010

Metamorphosis Monday

Hi everyone, I'm linking up my recent front garden transformation to Between Naps on the Porch's Metamorphosis Monday! Check out all the lovely Before-and-Afters!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Benched! part deux

Remember the pretty potting bench we received from my husband's cousin?

She definitely needed some TLC, but she had lots of potential.
With some sanding, priming, and fresh new paint, look at her now!

She is bright and sunny, ready to do work with me in sending new plants out to the garden!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Spreading the wealth

We have been enjoying many of our fruits and vegetables - my youngest loves blueberries:

We've had green beans, young and tender:

The first couple of ears of corn are making their appearance. I can't wait to see how mny we get this year!

Our Concord grapes will make for delicious jelly later this year:

On Tuesday we gathered a few things. More plums, of course; the tomatoes are just delicious!

Strawberries are a hit around here:

Here's my lovely mother-in-law with some butter lettuce:

We've been giving away avocados and plums, and I plan on sharing our plum jam with friends as well. This is one of the best parts of having a garden, the joy of sharing it with others.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The front yard gets its turn

I've been sharing with you the ongoing saga of our veggie garden, but last weekend we tackled our front yard. We are lucky to have a grassy area for the boys to play in, but the borders around our entryway were a bit neglected.

Still, it was a shock coming home and finding my front yard in this state:

The free mulch we got on Craigslist did NOT smell pretty.

The good thing is, we had good, strong helpers.

Did you know that dinosaur pajamas give you extra strength?

This is the main are we would be tackling:

We played around with some plant layouts:

Dad changed our son's pj's for a really uncoordinated ensemble, but hey, it was comfy :D

The boys apply some glue to a piece of wood:

Then it goes on the wall:

Then the pretty fleur-de-lis hanging baskets are ready:

We also added some fern and gerbera daisies to the front door area (ignore my husband's shoes). Future projects include changing the nasty brass mailbox and light!

Bamboo on the right side of the entry:

The finished front garden - I love it! The space between the wavy border and the brick is going to be filled with stones and another secret project the boys will work on.

My husband is just amazing, he did most of the work on this because I had been mentioning that I would like to have flowers as well as my veggies out back. He even worked on Father's Day, shoveling a ton of that mulch to the back for the veggies. I love my front yard - the pretty bamboo, the lovely gerbera daisies, lavender, hydrangeas, I just love it!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In the interest of full disclosure . . .

Two items of clothing entered my wardrobe yesterday - as you know, I have forsaken buying clothes, accessories and shoes for the rest of 2010 - but since it was our anniversary yesterday, my husband forced me, virtually at gunpoint, to try on a couple of items at Old Navy.

Nothing that's too big a deal, just a long blue skirt and a gray lace-trimmed tank top - but here are two ways I would accessorize them:

Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm
$20 -

Monday, June 21, 2010

Seven years ago . . .

I married my best friend. I know it sounds corny, but it's true, very true for us. Yes, we've had our share of ups and downs but I know I married the right person.

Our wedding was very "us", we both love to create and make things our own and I think we did that. We made our own invitations, programs, place cards; I made the necklace I wore - no dainty little pearls for me, I made a big statement necklace and wore the diamond earrings my beloved gifted me soon after we met.

We had Sting, Frodo's sword from Lord of the Rings, as our cake cutter, and I nearly took off the tip of my new husband's nose. A year later, during our first anniversary party, I nearly took off the tip of my husband's nose. We haven't used Sting since. I like my husband's nose.

We had our parents cater our wedding. My in-laws have a catering business so they provided the tri-tip, salad and rice, and my parents are excellent cooks so they made the Peruvian food I wanted at my wedding. Our guests could enjoy cebiche and picante de pollo, I sure did.

My bouquet flowers were special ordered because I wanted dark, dark Black Baccara roses and chocolate cosmos. My bridesmaids wore burgundy and carried ivory flowers, I did the opposite. My toenails were also burgundy, my fingernails ivory. The nail salon lady got mad at me because I wouldn't let her put fake nails on me. She reminded me of the diamond store lady who almost yelled at me because I wanted a smaller diamond. Hello, my hands, my choice! Like I said, we're not very conventional here.

My husband liked the look of ascot ties, so he wore one for our wedding. We love dressing up. I think we're going to have a steampunk vow renewal for our 10th anniversary.

Our wedding cost far less than the average San Francisco Bay Area wedding, mostly because of our choices in the food. That wasn't so important to us as was having a wedding that represented who we were. But in doing so, we also saved money and that's never a bad thing.

It was a great day. It was a great party. It was great coming home knowing that this choice, this most important of choices, was one I got right.

I love you, honey, here's to seventy more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today's Harvest

Gorgeous and delicious butter lettuce, our first tomato, and more plums and avocados! My helper decided the plums were too tart for him, but his little brother ate 2 pieces of toast with yesterday's plum jam.

Ten Tasks in Ten Days Challenge

Gina from The Shabby Chic Cottage has a challenge and I mean to give it my best shot!

I am considering what ten tasks I will be attempting to complete in ten days and hope to end the challenge with a much lighter burden - wish me luck!


A couple of days ago I noticed many of the plums on my tree turning that telltale dark red color, so out came my bowl and down came about 30 plums.

Then I started googling for plum jam recipes and stumbled upon this one, that did not use pectin or anything I didn't already have in my pantry.

After half an hour for peeling and pitting and another half hour for the actual jam making, here are my results:

I absolutely love the color, and the way my kitchen smelled - but most of all, the flavor was great. Sweet but bright with plummy tartness, I am delighted with the results and looking forward to making more to give away!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June in my garden

We have been enjoying our spring onions, which are as flavorful and fragrant as ever, and that's a good thing because due to a ladder mishap I think my spring onions' days are over.

However, our other fruits and veggies are doing great - we can't wait to start eating our sweet corn with lots of butter:

My lavender is ready to harvest and put in sachets to give away:

I'm going to make plum jam this year!

And our tomatoes are almost ready to turn red:

Aside from our spring onions, we've been eating our butter lettuce in salads and sandwiches, and using our celery in soups and chicken salad, I love the crunch it adds!

Cheap decor

Once upon a time I had time to cross-stitch. Once upon a time I could cross-stitch without the fear or a sweet kitty or a beloved child impaling themselves on my needle. Once upon a time I had my finished cross-stitch framed and hung all around my house.

But now, it's time for my finished work to rest awhile and free up the pretty frames I used back then :D

Last week I went to my favorite paper goods store, Paper Source, and got a few pieces of gift wrap. Yes, gift wrap. This ain't your Hallmark store's gift wrap, that's for sure!

I love that this butterfly print is colorful, but muted. It's not loud and blaring, and hangs by my desk in the space we share with the boys and their toys.

This beauty, in its fancy gold tone frame, is now in my bathroom.

I also found this cooking utensil paper that matched my dining room/kitchen walls pretty well.

How much did I spend on these three new decorative items for my home? A grand total of $12. Of course, had I not had the frames it would have been a lot more, but I decided to reuse something I had, and for a few dollars, I was able to give a whole new look to three corners of my house. I'm very happy with the way they look!

Friday, June 4, 2010

If I *were* buying . . .

As you know, I have sworn to not purchase any clothes, accessories, or shoes for myself for the rest of the year.

Which doesn't mean things don't catch my eye, of course, so here is a (small) list of items I might have purchased.

A couple of these darling crochet-trim tanks from Old Navy. They're $10 each and would be much worn this summer, I bet.

These darling heels from Project Runway winner Christian Siriano - his summer line for Payless is pretty accessible and at $34.99, not bad for the quality.

This sassy butterfly brooch from one of my favorites etsy designers, Shlomit Ofir. At $23, it's a steal.

These floral earrings from SpringDream, another etsy favorite - wouldn't they be perfect with jean shorts and a white tee for a Fourth of July barbecue?

Those are just a few items I wouldn't mind owning, but since I mean to honor my promises, I will not be purchasing anything for moi this year - but that doesn't mean YOU can't buy some of these pretties for yourself!