Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{from scratch} butternut squash soup

When cool weather reaches the bay I love the idea of soup. Soup + squash, how much better does it get on a foggy day.

Good ol' Martha Stewart provided the original recipe and her readers offered some suggestions that I incorporated. The results were delicious and I will definitely be making it again. The recipe below includes the alterations that I tried, yummy.

The ingredients: 
2 tbls butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 piece fresh ginger (3 inches), peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into cubes
2 3/4 pounds butternut squash, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
A pinch of nutmeg, cumin, turmeric, coriander, red chili powder
4 cups chicken broth 
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Sour cream (optional)
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

The steps: 

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, parsnips, squash, and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 4 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup in two batches. To allow the heat to escape while blending, remove the cap from the lid and cover the top with a dish towel. Stir in juice and season with salt and pepper.

The seeds:

1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin seeds, chili powder, cayenne pepper, coarse salt, and fresh lime juice; toss to coat. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until puffed and browned, about 10 minutes.

Top warm soup with sour cream and pumpkin seeds and serve with toasted baguette.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

{dreaming of}

 {my photo}

... starting my own etsy shop. I took a trip to the Renegade Craft Fair and was so inspired by the incredible artists there. Early in the season I participated in a small, backyard craft fair and really enjoyed the experience. I hope to write a post about Renegade very soon. It is a trip I will definitely be taking again.

... warm socks like these.

... taking any class from Workshop. Riding in the car, jamming to NPR, I heard a woman being interviewed. Her commitment to diy and design caught my attention and when I looked her up online I found that all of her classes allign with my many dream activities. I think it is a sign. Screen printing has been an art that I have wanted to master for awhile, I think I will start there.

... Christmas decorations. The mister and I just got out all the boxes last night. We again took part in our urban adventure, walking our tree home from the Depot through the streets of Emeryville. This might be that last year if we are successful in buying a house in the coming year.

... making soup. Squash has eluded me up to this point, but I am ready with a pot, a soup recipe, and a blender. We'll see how it goes.

... finding more time to blog and create. Ahhh time, when will there ever be enough.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

{over the weekend}


What a beautiful weekend to spend with friends and family! The mister and I always pack our holidays to the brim with celebrations. This year was no different. Started with a Thanksgiving morning football game with the boys and continued through the weekend. On Saturday we even made it down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. We got to see the little ones, read stories, and eat delicious food.

I love traditions and holidays and am so excited that the season has officially begun. Good-bye pumpkins, here comes Christmas!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

{dreaming of}

...baking ginger bread. Why does it sound so good when the weather turns cold and the leaves start to drop.

...on a similar note, homemade marshmallows. I have to admit I have not tried these before, but I have a recipe from the Miette book. One of those bad boys floating in a cup of hot cocoa, that has got to whisk worries away.

...finding a fabulous home. One of the things tying up my mind and my time right now is house hunting. The mister and I are pretty close to being ready to buy our own little spot. The process is tricky though, I'm trying to be sure to add a little whimsy and romance to it. We are looking in the city of San Francisco and last weekend, between wandering around unfamiliar neighborhood, we made sure to stop by Bi-Rite Creamery for the first time. It definitely added to the sweetness of the day.

...projects, projects, projects. I am busy making a couple cute things for a local Artsy Holiday Gift Party. I have ideas and patterns for hand-painted mugs floating around my head. It is quite inspiring. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

...learning to surf. Crazy to come up with this one in November, but I just found out that a fellow hockey player also surfs and has invited me to learn. This is the second person who has recently been ready and willing to give me lessons, it must be a sign. Cross one of the bucket list!

Hope you are having a great week!

Monday, October 24, 2011

{diy} officially refurbished wicker

 The mismatched set of $150 wicker furniture (with cushions) has been a work in progress for quite awhile. Gotta love craigslist. It all started with the ideas, then the paint, and finally I have finished the pillows. The end result has made me really happy. It took some convincing, but the mister finally went for the Shock Red Montana Gold spray paint.


It is a favorite spot. Few things are better than being in the backyard with a book sitting in some wicker furniture...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

{decor} pillow love

I feel like every magazine I have ever read has mentioned the ability to makeover a room by changing the accents. In a living room pillows are often a topic of discussion. The living room has been a focus of my new found desire to spruce up our home and it is definitely coming together. I created a bird pillow not too long ago that I posted about here. Now I went a little crazy and ordered a pillow... or two... or three... to add to the mix. Here are the recent arrivals!

I was inspired by Emily Henderson's Secrets of a Stylist. One episode in particular really lit my fire :) I have to admit that I have bought more than one item from the etsy shop owners featured in this redesign. The California pillow is from Plumed, an adorable handmade shop that will custom embroider a pillow just for you. I wanted to reflect my love for the East Bay. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. The grey chevron stripe also caught my eye. It is from a fabulous store called Moxie Mandie. I heart her prints and she also was willing to make a custom size to meet my needs (and the pillow insert I already owned...). I can't wait to have the couch restyled and to share it with you!

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

{diy} baby shower onesies

It was so fun to help throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law. One of the things I wanted to put together was a diy onesie station. It ended up being a big hit and I was so impressed with the adorable onsies that hung on clothes lines strung in the backyard. 

As a guest you could choose to paint or iron-on to create your masterpiece. I provided several different foam stamps, iron-on letters, and specific images printed onto transfer paper. A tabletop ironing board and extension cord allowed for guests to complete their designs outside with the rest of the party.

An example and simple directions were hung on twine above the table that displayed the materials. 

Each paint color had its own little ceramic plate (which cost about a dollar each at IKEA) and sponge brush. The sponge brushes are very inexpensive and made it so easy to apply paint to the foam stamps. The foam stamps enabled people to make legit looking onesies. 

A bowl of miniature clothes pins were on the table so that guests could hang their creations up to dry. The finished onsesies created a little gallery for guests to walk through, gather ideas, or simply enjoy.

We even covered the future dad's favorite sports teams. Gotta love printable iron-on paper.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

{celebrate} baby shower invites

The invites are out and the celebration is quickly approaching. The theme? A new chapter. I was inspired by a Martha Stewart book-themed baby shower and used their incredibly charming images for these invites. There are five simple steps:

1. Format invites in a word processing program.
2. Print
3. Cut and trim using an edge punch
4. Create insert with special directions for guests and registry information
5. Address, stamp, and send.

These images also greatly influenced the color palette of the party. The combination managed to feel slightly gender neutral, having the aqua to balance out the different shades of pink. After putting these together and being so happy with them, the following colors have become the focus of our little soiree.

As a bonus we already have handmade fuchsia overlays from the lovely rehearsal dinner our family threw for the mister and me. Those, paired with my small collection of aqua jars and vintage teal ornaments, should create a nice backdrop for this joyous event.

I cannot wait to meet my future niece or nephew!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

{dreaming of} fall

... fall. Today was the first day that really felt like fall to me. As I rolled my bike out of our apartment laundry room it crunched through a pile of leaves. It was light outside, but cold and misty. I love fall. I love the weather and the thoughts of crafting at home to the sound of rain on the windows.

... making my own cheese. Can you believe they sell kits now, just add milk. Homemade mozzarella with the last of my tomatoes still clinging to the vine. Sign me up. 

... baking French Macarons. Since the arrival of my new Kitchen Aid, it is all I can think about. Baking has won me over.  I was spellbound watching butter and sugar being beat together. The pillowy cloud of sweetness was never something I could whip up by hand. Magic.

... going to bed earlier. I have found that I like to be out while the world is waking up. Biking to work as the light gets brighter and the birds lift off the telephone lines is the most peaceful part of my day. The only problem is, if I go to bed too late, it is impossible to drag myself out from under my cozy comforter in the wee morning hours. 

... a tattoo. I have thought about a tattoo for a long time. I like the idea of getting one with my mister. However, my hubby, the avid blood donor that he is, has been hesitant because it would mean being unable to donate for an entire year. When we returned from Mexico he was surprised to discover they wouldn't accept his blood because we had traveled to an area that had been exposed to Malaria. Now I am left pondering what it is that I would get now that the opportunity is presenting itself. I love the freedom and peacefulness of soaring birds... I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." I also think it would be romantic to get a tattoo that matched or connected to a tattoo that the mister would get. Hmmm... so many things to consider. 

We are half way to the weekend. Hope you are having a good week so far...

Friday, September 30, 2011

{bedroom} too country?

The last two people to walk into my bedroom have immediately described it as "country." Although "French Country" is definitely a term that I feel captures at least part of my aesthetic, I definitely want to be a little edgy/industrial as well. Looking at my bedroom with fresh eyes, I find myself wondering... is it too country?

So here's what I am thinking [thanks to the Domino book of decorating], I am going to collect a bunch of inspirational images and get clear on what my style truly is. I am lucky in that I am a person who has not made many big purchases. Family hand-me-downs and craigslist have been my best friends. So now, as I enter a phase of my life where maybe some purchases can be made, I want to get clear. What is my style?

I love so many things. Domino suggests that a person collect things and images and say what you like about them in order to get to know your personal style. I have found that there is much work left to be done, but this is at least a first step heading in a direction...

I love the pop of the yellow in the headboard and the vintage feel of the bed frame. I like the detailing on the wood. I also like that the blankets are a little disheveled, it looks lived in. 

The pintucking caught my attention right away. I like the simplicity of the white. I like the wood siding on the walls and the hardwood floors.

I HEART the floors. The contrast of the color and the print in the duvet make me happy as well.

It is the feel of this photo that gets me more than the design. I like how lived in it feels. I love the doors in the background that peek through to the tub.

The pop of color is totally stunning. The bed is a little mod for me, but then I love the old radio and little alarm clock. I also really like the line of the lamps. The mister and I read in bed a lot, so light is definitely important.

The answer to the question of is my bedroom a little too country might be yes... None of these inspiration photos scream French Country, although I still maintain that there are wisps of that influence. I might be a little more confused now than when I started. So what to do with this bedroom of mine?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

{inspired} word art

The movement of furniture is an incredible tool for change. With the help of my cuz, Kate, my bedroom feels like a completely new room without the purchase of any furniture. As a result of this dramatic redesign, I now have two walls that are begging for art. Lately, as I have perused the web looking for inspiration, I have been drawn to displays that incorporate quotes, symbols, and words.


I am feeling inspired to create a large piece to ground my display. I would like it to represent what home is to me and my mister. Quotes that have jumped out so far include:

The more I think about it, the more I want to juggle the art I already have and introduce words into other rooms as well. I can't wait to get started.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

i'm back and oh so inspired

The summer hit hard in the best of ways. I ended up holing up in our home while my hubby buried himself in books, studying for the bar. It was quite blissful, sitting in my red wicker with a glass of wine, getting lost in the pages of books I had been meaning to read. Some things got done, but mostly I busied myself relaxing and caring for the people around me. As a result my blog has been a little neglected. But now, life is back to its regular motion. I am back in the classroom with my students, biking to work, and craving the structure of my blog to bring me back to what inspires me. Lately, I have been getting lost in blogs and images. My most recent purchase, that I have fallen knee deep into, is the Domino book of decorating. It has me looking at my little home with fresh eyes. I can't wait to share what unfolds.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

{dreaming of}


... living in the moment. This seems to be a reoccurring theme for me. Part of the reason I started this blog was to inspire myself to do things now that I am excited about, to get away from spending my time thinking about long term plans. I am getting better about it, but it is definitely on ongoing process.

... having a backyard barbecue before the end of July. I love to have friends gather with good food and conversation, summer feels like the perfect time.

... starting to write letters again. Snail mail is so fun to receive and such a nice way to connect to people who live far away. I found a letter that a dear friend wrote me and it has inspired me. I want to get back to that.

... getting a set of mason jars. Several years ago I bought a set of 30 cheap wine glasses from IKEA. Since then I have used them incessantly for parties. Now I want a set of mason jars to go with them for beverages other than wine. Maybe I can get them in time for the barbecue...

... completing projects. I have so many wonderful materials purchased and ready. Now I just need to find time to sit down and create.

... eating Caprese from the garden. The basil is doing extremely well and there are flowers on my tomato plants. I cannot wait to harvest.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

{Update} Wicker

The paint phase has been completed. Since being painted and prominently displayed in our shared garden the wicker has been getting a lot of use. I have noticed the paint chipping in areas that shift while people sit in it. I might need to add one more layer of paint and a thicker protective coat. Regardless, I am thrilled with the outcome!

The fabric is already here and ready to be made into cushions. I went for a pretty bold gray, white, and black color palette. Hope it looks good!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

{30 for 30} What I've Been Wearing

Since my last run at 30 for 30 I have found myself in true appreciation of the clearance rack. I have also purchased a couple pairs of shoes that are more practical and comfortable thanks to some advise from my brilliant cuz. The truth is I only really wear shoes when they are comfortable, so my new loafers (shown above) and Toms are getting a lot of wear.

Hope you are having a lovely summer!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

30 for 30 Begins Again!

So there is a little thing that a lovely lady started called 30 for 30. It is pretty simple really. You pick out 30 items from your wardrobe and wear just those 30 items for 30 days. The last time I did this I learned a lot about my personal style and how to combine things I never would have combined before. I'm looking forward to the lessons waiting to be learned in the coming weeks. We'll see what happens.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Style Crush: Ceramic Garden Stools

I often like a punch of color, but next to my now bright red wicker I think a little white would give the eye a place to rest.