Monday, July 23, 2012

Altered Thrifted Dress

BEFORE Looking Down

BEFORE straight on

AFTER: cropped head and littlest head

AFTER: there is my head and the middle head
i hate mending not fun...i usually have a working pile that i almost always neglect...but sometimes it can be fun to transform something i would never wear into something actually wear-able. I liked this dress pattern when i picked it up at a thrift store for like $3 - but not into the collar up to my chin and the sleeves and thought it would be easy to turn it into a sleeveless tent dress.

i used a similar tent dress and cut out the neckline and arm holes (i first made the arm holes WAY too big, but that was an easy solve!) and then used single fold bias tape to finish the neck and arm holes. For a tutorial on how to use single fold bias tape- try this one here or this one here. Super easy way to transform a neckline in under a half hour!

(Apologies for the awful pictures...the first two were taken by me...and the second two were taken by a 6 year old)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Corners of my Home I am loving today

The underside of my quilt

OC Fair Family Tradition

Thyme and Tomatoes from the backyard

Seeing this sweet picture when i walk down the hall

Our nature table growing and growing

Little collections

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Super Easy, Super Yummy Fig Jam

My husband bought this big old thing of figs at Costco last Sunday...and no real intention to use them in any one thing...we would add them to sandwiches and salads and the such, but there were a LOT of figs...maybe 2 pounds? maybe more? they started to go bad, so i saved the ones that did not have mold and started to make a fig jam with it. I started by looking up about 7 different recipes online and then made my own based on those. The method i used was from here - i found it very helpful - especially the mashing up with the potato masher bit...i did not want to dirty up my food processor that day!

I had about a pound of figs - i first removed the seeds...coarsely chopped...threw them in a pan with a splash of balsamic (2 tblsp?) some sugar and honey (because figs and honey...yum!) let that get together for about an hour and a half on very low simmer...let cool then...there you go! fig jam! now...its freezer jam...but should last about a month in your fridge (not mine) but you can always freeze what you want to save for later!.

Fig Jam
About 1 pound figs - stems removed coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar

Put all ingredients in heavy saucepan over med high heat. stir together until boiling. If pieces remain big, you can mash them with a fork or potato masher, but leave some pieces...its what makes jam the jam :) Once the jam has reached a nice boil, turn to low, cover and simmer for an hour and a half - occasionally checking up on it and stirring to avoid burning.

What to do with fig jam? Besides enjoying on a warm piece of toast, try topping brie with it, covering with pastry dough and baking at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. or just on top of brie with honey and crackers. Or making a fig crostini. or fig cookies or peanut butter and fig can even use it for a glaze over chicken or fish!

Hope this inspires you to make your own don't always need to can don't always need to make a huge batch! Have fun!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Long Beach Scavenger Hunt

I totally wussed out on my husband for father's day...and last year our anniversary (10!) was a total bunk...and he has a birthday this i wanted to do something super special to cover all 3! I put together a little bike ride through Long Beach scavenger hunt. We covered Belmont Heights, Retro Row, Downtown, did a boat ride ($5 a person!) during sunset, Alamitos Bay and back home. I had 8 "clues" - every clue had a little bag that contained either a gift card, or cash- i included all the cash he would need to buy the dessert and pay for the boat ride, etc - or a little card to represent that clue. He was super pumped - we both love riding our bikes and we both love Long this was a perfect way to celebrate our little life markers!

I have to say...i timed this extremely well and i am super proud of myself because that takes work for me...i had friends meet up with us at one point, and we had to make the boat at 7, so there was a bit of a time crunch, but not really - he felt he had enough time to shop at the stores and a timeline was probably a good thing for Bryan since he has been known to spend an hour looking at all the different cereals in the grocery store...not really...but kinda...

It was so nice to spend the day alone with really felt like a mini-vacation (thank you thank you mama!) and we had all sorts of funny conversations and new experiences together. Long Beach really is the perfect town to do this sort of thing - its easily accessible and has such cool unique parts to it...we are in love with where we live! where else can you take a semi-private (there were 2 other couples on the boat with us) sunset boat ride for $5 a person? so cool. and we took our bikes on the boat. 

We had a lovely dinner and since we don't really have lights on our bikes or night riding stuff - we got a cab home and locked our bikes...i somehow picked them up the next day and somehow fit them in our small task (they both have kid seats)...and side note...i was walking my bike at one point and slammed my foot into a metal pole and i ended up breaking my toe...i thought i just stubbed it at first but the next day it was swollen and all bruised and today it hurts like i was doing all this with a broken toe apparently...

anyway - very fun! i highly encourage this type of date - keeps things new and definitely a cool memory of our little mini home-cation :) 

Clue#1 - Your boys have your style, so ride about 1 mile, and pick something out to wear out and about! (The answer was Long Beach Trading Co)

Modeling his shorts he bought with his gift certificate

Clue #2 - Mama's little baby loves shortnin shortnin,
Mama's little baby loves ____________ Fill in the blank to pick up some after dinner goodies!

Clue #3 - They are truly unique, No two are alike, They help catch creeps, So get on your bike....Head to the store Where there is music galore, pick up some vinyl and go buck wild! He got a Leonard Cohen record <3

Clue #4 - What has, holy water, Beers made by Monks, Naughty School Uniforms, The Roddys? (Congregation Ale)

Bryan's white twin and his beautiful wife and beautiful beer :) 

Clue #5 - Get Ready, Get Set, Get Sailing! Hurry up or you might miss the 7:00 departure...Look for the purple red and yellow boat at Dock #___________ (Hint: the number is also a golf term)

On the Aqualink

We perfectly timed it for a sunset arrival

Right after I broke my toe :( - i didnt know at this point...

I missed some pictures of dinner - Clue #6 - and Clue #7 was maybe a movie - but we were so tired (read:old) this was clue #8 - a gift card to Roger Dunn so he can get his club re-shafted or something like that...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Homemade Garden Tomato Marinara Sauce

Blanching the tomatoes
Marinara and Meatballs

Red Brandywine

Black Firm

Large Red Cherry (they look big in this picture, but they are truly cherry tomatoes, promise!)

Gold Medal Heirloom 

This post is kind of funny because i really cant take credit for any of this...but now that i have fully disclaimered that...let me just ramble on and take credit for all of this.

i think because we got such an early start on our summer garden after our winter garden...and because bryan totally vamped up the soil and turned it real nice...and because sometimes there are just better tomato years...this year has been our earliest crops and our best crops. He planted 10 different plants (gold medal heirloom, beefsteak, 2 beefmaster plants, black firm, mortgage lifter, red brandywine, lg red cherry and 2 un-known to me...but they probably have some cool name). we went away for a long weekend and came back to a huge crop ready for picking. normally we use the tomatoes every day - our favorite is to make a tomato, cucumber, onion and avocado salad with this sesame ginger dressing - soooo good...the best summer salad. or bryan makes salsa, or we use them in sandwiches...but this was a big crop, so i decided to make a marinara sauce with it.

i had looked up how to do it...and had all the ingredients...but the problem was that we have soooo many left-overs in our fridge from 4th of july and such that it seemed silly to make a new big pot of something. well...good thing my mom came over and picked all the tomatoes thereby forcing Spaghetti Sunday back into effect.

The thing about it is that it was much easier to do than i thought...which is probably another reason why i was procrastinating. you want the skins off your tomatoes before they become sauce and the easiest way to do that is to blanch them in boiling water for about a minute and then throw them in an ice bath...the skin slips off - its amazing. then we (and by we i mean mostly my mom) cored them and diced them and threw them in.

For the sauce - this time was a little different since my mom made these amazing italian meatballs first, but normally we (and by we i mean mostly bryan) get some onions sweating in olive oil and garlic...lots of garlic...i never count, but usually i think he uses a whole least 10 cloves and probably 1/2 an onion to a whole onion. And then after the tomatoes we added some herbs from the garden - marinara sauce loves oregano and mom even added mint. some salt and pepper...

but i think the thing i love most about Spaghetti Sundays is that there are always people around to help consume said spaghetti and last night we had lovely company in my (very pregnant) sister, brother in law, mother and two of my boys and my man. it was a truly lovely meal on the porch on a lovely summer night with a glass of nice wine and our new Leonard Cohen record playing. truly memorable. its what family is all about...and i went to bed feeling very blessed and very content.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Home-Made Sunflower Seeds

My sweet husband on the day that Bodie was born, ran out and got me two huge sunflowers. I never particularly liked them before, but in his card it read - may these "Son Flowers" brighten your days for years and years to come. It was the sweetest thing and it really did make me love sun flowers and always make me remember that sweet gesture of his....also a side note - we had purple calla lilies at our wedding and every house we have lived at he has planted me my own purple calla lilies to remind me of our wedding day. He is romantic in those ways and I love him for it.

So this year he planted a "Son Flower" for each of my boys and they got HUGE! we let them seed and I was leaving for my camping trip thinking, I must look into when they are ready to harvest...and how to harvest and roast them...well - i never did - i just let them sit there, but yesterday when we got back they seemed to fall out easier, so i decided it was time to harvest! (BTW - This site pretty much says exactly what we did to harvest and roast)

I soaked them and cooked them in salted water for an hour and a half and then roasted them for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. They are SO GOOD. like, SO GOOD...and i love sunflower seeds...and my husband too - we have never had freshly made seeds like this - what a difference! i am finding that with everything freshly made it is becoming this new experience...which is why making things at home is so a sense. Bringing the boys in on the process is so fun too. Even Bobby was enjoying them! (after i shelled them of course!)

We are having so much fun with our garden this year! More pics to come! Hope you all are enjoying the summer so far!