One thing I wanted to do for sure when I came here to Portland was to pick berries. Not just any berries, but marionberries. They are an unique blackberry hybrid that were created and only grown in Oregon. They are so delicious. Mal sent me some jam that she made last summer, and I was totally obsessed. I was bound and determined to pick lots and lots so I could make jam that would hopefully last me most of the year.
We set out yesterday morning, little theo in tow. The weather was cool and refreshing. The farm we went to was so beautiful. Since moving to farm country I have a deep love affair with farms that I think will last my whole life. They had so many flowers and different fruits and vegetables. I took so many pictures of cabbage. Aren't those colors just amazing? I loved it.
We picked 17 (!) pounds of marionberries. Tyler probably picked most of that. He was a machine! The bushes were really thorny, I got sunburned and hit with a sprinkler while taking a close up of a dahlia, but it was so worth it. Have you picked anything this season?
go to my flickr, (or click on any of my pictures) to see the rest of my pics of our day, I was definitely shutter happy.
Yesterday was a great first day in Portland. We went to some food carts; got pizzas and a pile of poutine. So delicious. There are so many amazing places to eat in this city. Anyone have any favorites to suggest?
I also got my hair cut! I went to Summer at Tiger Tiger, and she was really nice and did a great job. There is nothing like going from long to short. It's a little scary, but it's pretty fun to do something new. It's been so nice to be with my little nephew, and have some twin time again. Today, we are going berry picking. Getting loads of marionberries, and we will make enough jam to hopefully last me a long time.
Big travel yesterday. Traveling across the country is such a drain of time. We left our tiny farm town flying from a tiny commuter airplane after going through tougher security in a concert. Felt like the year 2000. Got to the airport and sat down at the gate within 5 minutes. We got to Detroit and went through a light tunnel. My picture is pretty awful, I was pretty horrified that Tyler never told me my hair was that messed up. Gotta throw one in occasionally I guess. The flight to Portland was awesome in that I had a TV in my face the whole time. I do hate traveling.
We finally got here, and my body felt like it was early in the am, and I got to see my sister and little theo. Such a cutie! So excited to explore and do so many things. My hair cut is in a few hours, I'm pretty nervous but anything is better than my awful messy bun that is my constant nowadays (see above picture).
I picked my first crop of beans this weekend. I didn't get too many, but just enough to share with friends. Because of our heat waves, they curled and didn't get too long, but maybe the next batch won't be so traumatized. They've come so far! They were delicious steamed with fresh lemon juice. I think by the time we get back my tomatoes might be ready.
I've been working on a new project for the fall. I've been trying to work out the details, trying out a bunch of things. Riding high when it works out how I imagined (confidence through the roof), and feeling pretty low when all of a sudden it turns out not how I wanted (a lot of self doubt). I guess that's what happens when you are developing something new. Tyler's being a good cheerleader helping to keep me going. I hope to give you all a sneak when I do work it all out. (and I will! positive thinking...)
Can't believe it's Monday, another week closer to the end of the summer. It is almost Tuesday, which means I am soooo close to seeing my dear sister again! I am feeling really emotional about it. I finally get to squeeze her darling boy. We live in a town with a pretty mediocre food culture, so we can't wait for those Portland food carts AND getting my hair cut! I hardly want to talk about it and then jinx it with it turning out badly, but I itching to chop it off.
I decided to make a picnic blanket after seeing karyn's on her blog. I thought it would be a great gift for Tyler's birthday. I have some vintage plaid fabric that is Tyler's favorite out of my collection, and it would be perfect for a outdoor blanket because it's a little too rough to use for other things. I used denim for the backing to give it a nice weight without the thickness of a batting in-between. I made straps with the plaid that tie when rolled up. I did a few lines of simple quilting to hold it together using a golden jeans thread on the back to match the yellow in the plaid. I was trying to figure out how to make my label, and I decided to give it a more "manly" vibe. I carved stamps T + M and used black fabric ink on the denim, and sewed it to the top side.
Tyler was really happy with it, and I think it will be useful on his upcoming 300 mile biking/camping trip down the Oregon coast. Something he can use while camping, and if/when the nights get cold. I couldn't help but give him something handmade to take on his voyage.
I about died when I saw these pictures from my sister. I made her little guy a hat a while ago for her pom pom party, and now it fits! I made one in a newborn size even though I knew it would probably fit while it was summer. I didn't know how big his head would be, and I am going to make one for winter. But who can resist a little tiny baby with a big pom pom? Luckily it's been cold in Portland, so my plan worked after all!
I get to meet Theo for the first time so soon, and I can't wait! I think he's the cutest baby in the world. But I'm a little biased.
This summer solstice baby is one month old today!
Saturday was the boy's birthday. He had a pretty great day, biked 44 miles, ate creme bruleé french toast, sat in a cold dollar movie, got an iphone, and ate a lot of cake.
I made that cake, and was pretty proud of it. I made lemon cake version 2.0, using this cake recipe+lemon curd filling. What sent this version from 1.0 to 2.0 was this swiss buttercream frosting. I've never made it before, so it was a little bit of a gamble, but I totally doubled my money. It turned out velvety smooth, fluffy, and perfectly sweet (which means not too sweet). It was a lot easier to frost, but I should invest in a metal offset spatula, because my ordinary rubber spatula didn't really have the finesse I needed. I just went for the rustic look with confidence.
We had a totally relaxed lazy day, which was great. I gave him a present I made for him, which he liked, score! (pics to come) Happy birthday!
I love these summer mornings, the light is so perfect and it hasn't gotten too warm yet. Tyler went out for a 33 mile bike ride, and gigi waited at the window watching for him to return. And when he did she was so happy. She gave my hand a high five (well maybe a low five) and jumped up and down on the couch, poised at the door to see him.
Someone (Tyler) has a birthday tomorrow... Should be a relaxing day. Can't wait!
Yesterday I had a sick day. Randomly my tonsils will flare up, and I get a spotty throat and fatigue/headaches. This time I didn't have a fever, so I'm not sure what happened, but I stayed home from work to rest, I just felt so tired. I'm terrified that I will have to get my tonsils out as an adult. I get strep-like tonsillitis at least twice a year.
I didn't do much, but I did make a salad. This weekend I had a great salad from Wegmans, couscous and spinach with feta. It had the greatest flavor. I went home to see if it was on their website, and I found the ingredient listing so I could try and recreate it. Mostly normal stuff, pretty simple, it listed couscous, feta cheese, canola oil, then a weird one: limeade. What? This fabulous salad had high fructose corn syrup in it? That was a little disturbing. I decided to try my own and see how it worked. And it worked, no sweeteners needed.
My (sugar free) couscous with spinach and feta
2 cups couscous
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups water
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
about 2 cups of baby spinach, chopped small
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Boil the water. In a bowl, mix couscous, salt and pepper. Pour boiling water over couscous, stir, cover for 3-4 minutes. Once the couscous is cooked, put in the lime juice, lemon juice, and olive oil, and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a larger bowl if needed, and add the rest of the ingredients, and toss to combine. Chill in the fridge for a few hours for best flavor. If couscous is dry, add a little more olive oil.
My garden is slowly growing, after the heat wave we had last week my beans really took off! I have one lone tomato, super cute and small. The pepper plant finally has a little blossom on it. I probably will be able to have my first "harvest" of beans at the end of this week! So that's pretty exciting. I haven't mastered the garden yet, but it's going pretty well for my first time. The groundhogs have eaten most of my other plants without a fence around it, which is pretty sad, but I'll just have to be happy with what I've got. People always have too much zucchini anyways, I'm bound to get some.
While I'm in the backyard, Gigi always sneaks a nibble of grass. crazy pup.
*it may be hard to tell the actual sizes of my baby plants, because I happen to have giant man hands. Seriously. Did you see my thumb? Anything with my hands in the picture should come with a warning—objects in picture may be larger than they appear.
*UPDATE coming home this afternoon, we found part of our fence knocked over and my poor little tomato and pepper blossom have been eaten. I think my heart is broken. GROUNDHOGS! I hate you. Tyler is going to fortify the defenses, I don't know what to say, I'm sad.
I've started working on a new project, something I'm really excited and hopeful about. For once I think it will turn out just how I imagined. I'm using this yarn, which is my favorite. Super chunky. Makes the biggest ball of yarn I've ever seen. I've been in a little bit of a creative slump lately, but for the next two weeks I will have time to focus on some things and hopefully get my momentum back. I think abby's blog post today said some of the things I've been thinking. Here's to a productive week!
Yesterday I was able to go to my favorite thrift store, which is only open on Thursdays. I adore the type of the sign. I went soon after it opened, and it was all abuzz with people. I was definitely the youngest person there by decades.
I went straight to the back room, which has all the craft stuff. I first look at the stand of embroidery hoops to see if there are any metal ones, and it was my lucky day, there were two, and they were different sizes. Then I look through all the trimming drawers, and I got some blue gingham bias tape, and some solid bias tape with a great vintage label. I also picked up some gray leather patches, still in their package, as one of those "you never know" items. (I have a lot of those.) I look through all the shelves, select a few yards of a purple woven fabric, then I go over to the dresses and see if there is anything. I usually don't get clothes at this store, so I move on. I see a shelf of cards, and there is a postcard section, five cents apiece. I pick out twenty retro ones from far off places (my favorite is a 70's complimentary postcard from a smorgasbord). Now, as I'm doing all this, I probably have a zoned out look in my eyes, the same one I would get while walking down the hallway in high school until someone waved a hand in my face.
I'm ready to check out, and I notice the woman at the check out has a million things, and it looks like it will take forever. I look at the collection of "collectables"=chintzy porcelain figurines and admire that they are playing music from a record player. The woman gets a total of 94 dollars of I don't even know what, and she gets out her checkbook (of course) when a worker comes up and says to her, "would you be interested in this necklace? It's jade." It's one of those carved jade (I highly doubt it was real) pendants on a string, but this woman seemed like she couldn't dare pass up a deal like that. Yes! She said, that neckalce is a dream—and the total is now 99 dollars. She slowly starts writing in her checkbook, asking for the date. The transaction moves as fast as mud. She finally gets done and I get rung up—$10.68 in perfect change—and out of there in a flash. My day has started with the thrill of the hunt, can't get much better than that!
***Yesterday my guest post was up over at my friend Becka's blog. Her blog is great, please stop by!
Shanna asked me to write a tribute post to a grandparent for a touching series she is doing on her blog (mine is up today). I chose to write about my grandpa, Marlow (love that name!). I've always looked up to him as a kind and generous person. He's funny, resolute and a bit stubborn, he says funny things like "what the scoop," and he has lots of freckles on his arms from hours in the sun. He's the best, and I love him so much!
In writing this post it made me think of my family relationships, past and present. I guess you could say that my new year's resolution was to be a better sister, daughter, granddaughter, aunt and friend. I have thought a lot about how moving across the county and not being close to those you love. I've realized that to keep up on those relationships, I have to put in a lot more effort than before. I really wanted to be better at staying in touch since I'm so far away. I have always been so close to my twin sister and been concerned about moving away from her, that I didn't think as much about my other family members. I haven't gotten to where I would like to be, but I'm making a little progress.
My dad sent me some pictures of me and my grandpa. This one was one of my favorites. It took me a few minutes to figure out which girl I was, but I am the one jumping rope (there are so many pictures where we can't be identified). Such a classic of me and my sister, long blond hair, saltwater sandals, and home sewn dresses. My brother's jeans crack me up. My grandpa looks virtually the same today, maybe his hair is silvery, but he still has the same energy and zest for life.
Well my garden has mostly survived. My beans look good, but my onions and leeks have never really stood up straight or even look like they've grown very much. Oh well. My rosemary died but my wilted tomato plant came back to life. My cucumbers have sprouted, and my cilantro is super tiny. Check out the garden before here.
My perennials were doing really well, until our lame resident groundhog ate two of them, and my cosmo seedlings. He also ate some leaves from my zucchini, but hopefully they will make it. Hopefully our kind of weak fence keeps him out of the garden. Or I might have to go all caddysack up in here. All in all it's doing pretty good, I'm keeping it weeded and hopefully it will survive! It seems like the slowest garden ever, but I think I just got it in later than everyone else.
We had a great 4th of July weekend. My sister-in-law is visiting with her daughter for the week, and so we have had lots of fun throwing a 16 month-old into our fairly quiet life. I've already taken hundreds of pictures of my niece, she is so adorable and it's fun to have another cute subject to capture other than gigi. We took a little day-trip thrifting, went to a baseball game, spent time in parks and cooled off indoors watching movies. On Sunday we were pretty laid back, with a traditional American dinner (corn, watermelon, pie, hot dogs and pasta salad) and a little fireworks show while it was still light in time for the little one's bedtime.
Time has seemed to move so slowly the last few days, I can't believe I have to get back to a somewhat normal routine today. I hope you had a great weekend, whether in America or not. Do you have a favorite 4th tradition?
Driving along expansive estates in Virginia, they had these beautiful black fences. I loved the way they made graphic stripes as we drove along. Makes me remember that I really want a french striped boat neck shirt, and maybe marble cake? Layer cake. I think I'm hungry.
Happy Friday! I am trying to make this my last trip post, the rest you can see on my flickr. Including pics of the hotel we were in, which was one of those crazy convention hotels, one of the most artificial feeling places I've ever been. See why here.