Friday, April 11, 2014

A Visit to the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate

A Visit to the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate

My husband and I were on a recent little vacation getaway to southern California. SoCal has a special place in our hearts since that's where we lived when we first got married. One of our favorite things to do back then was drive up the coast to Santa Barbara. It's been many years since we lived there, and during this trip we decided to drive up to Santa Barbara and stay the night, just for old time's sake. One of the places I wanted to visit while there was the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate. Orchids are my favorite flowering plants. I've had orchids in my house for as long as I can remember, but I have a confession to make - I'm not very good at growing orchids. In fact, I rather suck at it. I've tried to get them to re-bloom (unsucessfully) and will keep them for a couple years until I can't face my orchid failures any longer; then in a moment of frustration, I'll toss the pathetic plants out into the compost bin, hanging my head in shame. I buy a new orchid every 4-5 months just to have fresh blossoms year 'round, AND, I supplement my orchid fetish with a few fake orchids around too because those blooms last for years no matter how much I neglect them. I know, I know. A few of you orchid growers may have their eyebrows raised at the thought of fake orchids. Lower those brows right now and just move on to the pretty pictures below, okay?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Little Rhubarb Galettes with Strawberry Mousse Cream

Little Rhubarb Galettes with Strawberry Mousse Cream

Spring is here, hooray! The birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the days are getting longer. I even saw a rabbit the other day! I feel like I'm writing a scene for Bambi the sequel. It seems the older I get, the less tolerant I am of the cold. I'm so ready to leave winter behind! There are so many signs of spring right now in our garden, and I love it.

Another thing that reminds me of spring is rhubarb. Yes, rhubarb. Isn't that one of the first things you think of when it comes to spring?! Maybe not...To an avid gardener, rhubarb's bright red shoots popping through the dirt are a welcome sign of spring. Rhubarb reminds me of when I was younger and my mom would make rhubarb pies during the late spring and summer. We had a neighbor who grew rhubarb and I used to love seeing it in their garden, looking all huge and alien with its colorful stalks. My mom would sometimes add strawberries or raisins into her pies, and they were always so delicious. Many of my childhood memories have to do with my mom's home cooking and I think that's a big reason why I love to cook. Thanks Mom!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Grilled Salmon with Asparagus, Leeks, and Mushrooms

Well hello, everyone! I haven't posted for a little while - life gets full and before you know it, a couple weeks have passed without a written word from me except for a couple updates here and there on Facebook. Now that I've been working more and getting home later than Rick does, he's been making more dinners for us. A couple months ago I came home to this amazing salmon dish that he made after seeing it in Sunset magazine. Do you know Sunset magazine? Someone once told me it was a "magazine for old people" and I was all like, say whaa?!? I love that magazine! Maybe it was like that back in the day but if you haven't picked up a copy of it lately, say in the last 5-10 years, you're missing out. Or maybe I've just become an old person, but in any case, there's no need to be ageist about it, amiright? Sunset is a gorgeous magazine focused on the western United States filled with fabulous regional travel destinations and photos, garden inspiration, and recipes that are fresh and beautifully made, like this grilled salmon with asparagus, leeks, and mushrooms.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ikea Mini Hack: ALÄNG Ceiling Light Makeover

Ikea Mini Hack: ALÄNG Ceiling Light Makeover {how-to}

I've got another hack project for you all! Do you know what a hack is in DIY land? I don't know where the term came from when it comes to DIY home projects (probably a take on computer hacking), but if I had to guess, I'm pretty sure it started, or at least became popular, with Ikea fans who took affordable basic pieces sold by Ikea and modified those pieces to look or function like something other than their original selves. A hack can be something as simple as painting an item or adding embellishments to a piece of furniture or home accessory, or it could be super clever and way out of the realm of how most people would even think to use an object, like Ikea's KNUFF wood magazine files transformed into a table:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pinterest Inspired Crafts: Featured Projects & A BLOG HOP!

Happy Valentines Day! I hope your day has been filled with love and affection. I will admit, I am a romantic at heart. I like being wooed. I'm a sucker for a good romantic movie. I love grand gestures of love but I love the simple little acts of thoughtfulness and love seen on a daily basis even more. I love ... love.

And I have found love in my fellow Hometalk bloggers - a love of DIY and having fun! :) Y'all, this has been such a fun couple weeks getting ready for the biggest craft party that I've ever seen at Michaels stores across North America! Not only has the DIY side of me been extremely happy, but one of my favorite things, something I didn't even expect, has been connecting with the other Hometalk bloggers who are participating in this event and bonding over our mutual love of DIY and crafting. There are some super creative people out there and I have been so inspired by everyone's projects! Join us at the Michaels Hometalk in-store pinterest party this Sunday, February 16th from 1 pm to 4 pm at Michaels stores across North America. I'll be at the Everett, WA store and would love to see you there! For more details, click here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

XO Mason Drinking Jars + a Simple Transfer Tracing Technique

XO Mason Drinking Jars and a Simple Transfer Tracing Technique

Hope you are all having a great week! I feel like February is sort of like unofficial craft month around here. We're all still holed up inside for the winter and I have to find something to do to keep me from getting cabin fever (I MISS SUNSHINE!). That usually involves home improvement projects, crafts, and cooking. Seems this month it's really been all about crafts here on the blog, I haven't posted one recipe lately. We'll get back to that soon enough!

Part of the fun of having a blog is getting to know other creative bloggers and seeing so many fantastic DIY projects. My Pinterest boards are FULL of things that catch my eye, but let's face it, most of those things will never happen here in this house. This one though, this one was just too cute not to pass up! I got this mason jar idea from Tara at Surburble:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pinterest Party Craft Project: Three Looks with Clay Pots

Happy Monday, everyone! I'm getting so excited for this weekend's Pinterest Party with Michaels and Hometalk. I'll be at the Everett, WA Michaels store on Sunday, February 16 from 1 pm - 4 pm for a Pinterest inspired crafting party and I'd love for you to join me! I'll be bringing these clay pot ideas to the party and will show you how easy it is to decorate these!
Join Me at the Michaels Store in Everett, WA
1325B SE Everett Mall Way
Everett, WA 98208

To get our creative juices flowing for the party, I thought I'd share several craft projects I made over the weekend. Since I'm jonesing for Spring (and Summer!) to get here, a clay pot project was a nice way for me to daydream of spring and planting things, things that require warmth and sunshine, like me. :)

Here's what I started with - basic, everyday terracotta clay pots:
Craft Project: Three Looks with Clay Pots
The great thing about these pots is they're so inexpensive. The pots I used were only $1.49 each!

These pots are kind of generic looking as-is, but they're also a blank slate. With a little creativity, you can turn them into something better. Below I created three very different looks to show you just how versatile these clay pots can be.