Thursday, May 31, 2012

I forgot about this top and pulled it out of the closet yesterday.  I love the bit in the back, and the stripes are always nice.  Who could say no to stripes?  I found it while browsing through ebay at some point last year.  I quite like it! 

I was also having a grand time with picmonkey (and the camera).  As is my usual answer--what else am I supposed to do with myself at home?  :).  

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer inspired

Blogging has just been last of my list of to-do's for the past week and a half.  I'm mostly at a loss as to what to post about, so I guess I'm not feeling terribly inspired.  Maybe I wore myself out last week cooking about every single thing I could think of.

So here's a little summer inspiration today--Because I may not be the only one who needs it.

Happy hump day!

Friday, May 25, 2012

This week in crafting land..

Not only was I busy cooking, but I wanted to keep on spicing the house up.  The living room/dining room area is especially lacking in the decor department.  Here's what I did!

I found this DIY for yarn covered wine bottle vases and decided to give it a go.  I always knew there was something I could do with wine bottles but never had the inspiration--until I found someone else's idea!

Another DIY that I found was how to tint your own mason jars--because buying them is expensive!  I got some globbed mod podge at the bottom, but when they're filled with flowers or stones, you can't tell.

And finally, for the new table I pulled a few ideas in.  I've seen tons of people using cake stands to use as a centerpiece but those are expensive.  I just took one of my plates and hot glued a candle holder to the bottom.  It worked out pretty well!  And you can see one of my homemade tinted jars is on the table, too.

I linked up to Not Just a Housewife's link party

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Barefoot baby

Here's a dress I've had for quite a while.  I love the floral pattern and I have a few sweaters that match so I can wear it during all kinds of weather.

As you can see, I really don't enjoy wearing shoes.  I run around barefoot whenever I can and really haven't worn any of my "fancy" shoes since I went to college in Moscow.  All the walking around, up hills and to the bus stop, it just doesn't bode well for me when put a pair of heels on.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

From scratch

My week has already started off incredibly productive.  One of my favorite things about the move is all the time I finally have to explore cooking and making as much as I can from scratch.  I've already shared a few things, but this week is the week when things are really getting serious.  

Birthday cake.

The list is a little intimidating, but yesterday I tackled four of these things.  It's only Tuesday!  The cheese did not turn out well, so I will have to try again.  But three out four successes isn't too bad.

Here are a few photos from my adventures.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

English muffins

Yesterday, I made a nice big batch of english muffins.  Erik usually eats bagels for breakfast, but this is something I can make and it's a little less calorie dense.  

It took me a while to find a good recipe.  My More-With-Less is missing, which is where I usually get the recipe and out of all the other cookbooks I have, there wasn't a single english muffin recipe in any one.  The recipe below is inspired by one from All Recipes that I adapted to my own likes.

English Muffins

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar + 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/4 cup melted shortening
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in 2 teaspoons sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the milk, yeast mixture, shortening and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add salt and rest of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead 6-8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size.
  3. Punch down. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tuna can. Sprinkle waxed paper with cornmeal and set the rounds on this to rise. Dust tops of muffins with cornmeal also. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.
  4. Heat greased griddle. Carefully place english muffins on griddle 2-4 at a time, depending on griddle size.  Cook muffins on griddle about 10 minutes on each side on medium-low to medium heat.  You want to make sure the inside gets cooked, as well as the outside so slow cooking is best. Keep baked muffins in a warm oven until all have been cooked. Allow to cool and place in plastic bags for storage. Split and toast when ready to eat.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

DIY Febreze Recipe

I had no idea you could make febreze until I saw someone I knew had made it.  She gave me the recipe, and then I did some research to find out where it originated from.  While it's always hard to track things like this down, I found the recipe I received at FakeitFrugal.

1/8 cup Fabric Softener
2 tablespoons Baking Soda
Hot water

 Mix fabric softener and baking soda in a measuring cup until smooth.

Fill measuring cup with hot water and stir until well mixed.

Pour into spray bottle and fill the rest of the way with water.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Simple Joys

I created this card to send off to a set of grandparents on Erik's side of the family.  We received a card from them last week and thought they might enjoy a return card.  I'm also trying to send out more cards and letters, so I rotate around to who gets a little "thinking of you" card or note.  

I love this stamp.  The saying pretty much sums up how I'm attempting to live life.  Here is one simple joy.

I made a zucchini and goat cheese frittata from a recipe in Sophie Dahl's book and we also enjoyed a little fruit salad made up of pears and strawberries.  Of course, a full french press of coffee was in attendance.

In my haste to get moving on the food before it got too cold, the photos got a little hazy, but I still love the look.  How can one deny the beautiful simplicity of this meal?  I truly enjoyed it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Is it worth it?

Adjusting to life in a big city has been interesting for this small town girl.  When I visited Europe, I was just that--a visitor.  I didn't have to worry about how to get to work on time, when and where to do my shopping, avoiding traffic times and how I feel about going to meet friends at night.  It's all a big, new adventure that has been another great experience to add on to my belt.

One thing I've really noticed is getting around.  We share one car, mostly because I'm terrified of driving here but also because it requires paying for a second car.  Cars just aren't something I like spending money on if I can get away with it.  And if I'm going to get one, it's going to be a good one so I don't have to deal with overwhelming maintenance fees.  I once had a car with an alternator that went out three times.  No thank you.

So I take the bus.  It's often late and takes planning.  It's also slow.  But I'm a fan of public transit because it saves gas and keeps cars off the road (and I don't have to think about driving).  It makes me put a price tag on what I'll be doing, too.  Is this really worth me paying $5 roundtrip?  

Applying a monetary value to trips has kept me from joining a gym, helps me multitask on necessary errands and generally just keeps me from making unnecessary trips.  If I'm going to meet a friend, that's always worth it because friend time can be a little lacking and I need to get out of the house more.  

It has me wondering, though.  How often do we place a value on our trips?  Long-distance trips are almost always placed with some sort of number.  We know it will take us this much gas for this many miles just because it takes so long to get there.  A plane ticket gives us a value for our travel, in time and in money.  These things are easy to measure.  But what about carbon emission value?  Is my errand, my trip, my work-out worth the damage to the environment?  I know I hardly ever think in these terms, because I really want to be doing whatever it is I'm planning on doing.  Many times we'll drive the half mile to the grocery store instead of taking the ten minutes to walk there.

It just has me thinking.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Best of the best//3

Regardless of how busy my week was, I still had many opportunities to enjoy lots of awesome things.

Left to right, top to bottom.

1.  On a drive up to North Shore, we saw this beautiful rainbow.  There are lots of rainbows around, but this one was especially vibrant and you could actually seen the entire thing. P.s.--Every time Erik sees a rainbow, he likes to quote this ridiculous viral youtube video

2.  We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with.... a bottle of Stella.  So festive.

3.  For the first time in my life as an adult on my own, I have a for real kitchen table.  Not something pretending to be a table, or a folding table, but an actual solid wood table.  With matching chairs!

4.  It's time to start making my own clothes.  I got this book right before we moved and then it was packed away in a box for months.  It's a beautiful book and I may write a little more on it another time.  I've already got a project planned!

5.  While out working, I was gifted with some freshly picked mangos!  I love mangos :).

6.  Last Sunday we hiked what is often referred to as Mt. Olympus. It was gorgeous and getting to the top peak was rough but so well worth it.

7.  Yesterday, we went for a short climbing outing.  I haven't been for almost two years so I was a little nervous.  It turns out, there are deserty looking places here, too.  For those of you who may have been climbing in Vantage, WA, it looked very similar except that to the left of the picture is the ocean.

8.  Erik sold part of his windsurfing gear yesterday, so we met at Whole Foods, where we don't often go.  Look at all these flowers! And it's not even all of them, just one display.

9.  While we were waiting around at the mall, I found this awesome sign.  Poke is a raw fish dish and very popular.  Erik loves it, and I think he could survive off beer and poke alone :).

Happy Sunday!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Our bathroom has needed a little love.  The guest bathroom is great, mostly because it doesn't need a whole lot except some soap.  Everything is just decoration.  But the master bathroom.... we've got the washer and dryer in there which already doesn't look good and all our daily hygiene stuff on the counter so trying to make it look pretty is rough.

I was reading Miss Indie this morning and she showed an awesome way of organizing your bathroom stuff with cake stands and it got me thinking...

I've had these cake stands since our wedding, because I had my sister help me out with making it.  It was a great idea, but now I've had these stands hanging around with nothing to do.  So I covered the inside circles with scrapbooking paper I picked up about a year ago (remember that papering everything stage?), hot glued a thrift store brandy glass between to the two layers, lined it with wedding cake lace and voila! Pretty solution to a clutter problem.

I'm considering a third layer, since I've got one more cake stand left.  Any thoughts on the final result?  

freckled laundry

Some relief

My week has been insane.  Insanely good.  I worked cleaning houses and luxury condos to earn a little extra money for Erik's upcoming birthday (and to help someone out :) ).  I was gone at least 12 hours every day so my house is a mess and I'm tired, but it was good!  

What it did make me realize was how few the moments have been when I've been able to enjoy time spent at home, not stressed out and running all over the place.  The brief stints of unemployment were always riddled with worry over how in the world to pay bills.  With owed money looming overhead, I never enjoyed by non-working moments.  

Now, I devour them.  Spending time taking care of my family and myself--it's what I really love right now.  No longer do I feel like the useless wife who isn't out making money, since after watching the house go to shreds, I realized I do more than I thought.  I work hard to finish my degree strong and know that once I'm done I can hopefully do something else that I love.

What a relief.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Meet me on Monday//66

Well, it's the start of a brand new and exciting week!  I'm excited for what this one has in store, as I'm almost entirely free of any school work.  Just a final on Tuesday and I'm done until next week.  Here is my usual Meet Me on Monday blog hop, hosted by Never Growing Old.

                                 1.  I wish _________
2.  If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?
3.  Do you like to cook? 
4.  What do you like to do to get exercise?
5.  How tidy are you?

1.  I wish nothing.  As of this moment in time I am perfectly content with my very self and with my life.  A completely honest answer.

2.  If you could witness any event--past, present, or future, what would it be?  I have always desperately wanted to see what it was like to live in the Victorian Era.  I have such a desire to know how things actually were.

3.  Do you like to cook?  Goodness, I post enough pictures of my cooking adventures that I better like cooking :).

4.  What do you like to do to get exercise?  This is a tough one.  Basically, anything that I enjoy and don't become bored of.  Doing the same thing over and over gets a little dull and my brain decides it doesn't like doing it anymore, regardless of how not tired I might be.  Most activities include Zumba, hiking, yoga, climbing and walking.

5.  How tidy are you?  We covered this one just a few days ago, didn't we?  :).  I am working on my tidiness.  I'm no clean freak, but I do try to keep everything picked up and presentable.

I wish you all the very best of Mondays!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Voluptuous Yummies

First, I want to make sure that everyone knows that these opinions are entirely my own and I purchased this book myself, with my own money.  I am not getting paid for this review.

I wrote spoke wrote briefly yesterday on Sophie Dahl's book Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights
but by the end of the day, there was so much to be felt and said about such a beautiful, quaint little cookbook.  So I go on, to share with you how this book affected me.

Sophie writes much of her own journey at finding a happy medium, enjoying food while not overindulging.  She is a semi-vegetarian, so her recipes are not meat-focused.  Organized by season, her recipes are simple, but have a decadent feel and are written with me precisely in mind, for I am not a good recipe follower.  I do not measure oil to sauté vegetables in so someone who uses the word "glug" to describe how much oil to use is suddenly my one true love.  The photos make me want to cook absolutely everything and her delightful way of writing makes me want to cook even more.  And, can I just say that with a title using the word "voluptuous" how can I not want to have it in my home?

When I was a very young girl, I wasn't quite sure how aware of one's eating I must be.  We often discussed "health foods" and that we should be eating skim milk and whatnot, but I don't really remember ever thinking that I should eat less.  Perhaps it was due to the many people in my family, but I always felt that if I like something, I had to eat as much of it as possible because it very well might be the last bite I had of that tasty bit of food.  This wasn't because there was a lack of food, just that there were many mouths who also enjoyed whatever I did, too.  The first time I realized there might be an issue was not when I tried on the women's size 12 jeans.  No, it was when I realized that all the other girls were far more petite than I was.  With the childbearing hips of a 30 year old woman (I mean no offense if you were to fit into that category), I was at the most awkward stage of 12.  

Once this realization hit me, I decided that perhaps it was time to go on a "diet."  I wanted to look better and try to fit in, for fitting in is my all-time favorite pastime.  For about a month or two I followed a little exchange diet that my mom had started up and felt pretty good about myself.  I'm not quite sure if I can remember where that got me, but it wasn't a bad experience.  If nothing else it taught me to pay attention to what I was eating.

And then I got a babysitting job, that was after my choir class.  I would walk every day for about 45 minutes to get there, pick up my young charge from preschool and walk us back to his home.  Suddenly, I dropped down to a size 4 and felt insanely excellent about my body size for the first time in years.

I've had many rocky ups and downs with my size, and how I feel about it.  As a once vegan for several years, I am very good at following strict rules.  Black and white serves me very well, it's the grey parts that become an issue.  For someone who studies Nutrition (nutritionists believe that moderation is the key to success), I'm not talented in the ways of "a little bit of everything."  When I first read French Women Don't Get Fat
I fell in love with the idea of enjoying little bits of things amongst a healthy dose of other good for you foods.  But I didn't know how to deal with this new-found freedom.  I overindulged and with the stress of a science degree, moving more than once, a wedding and other various life changes, the pounds just easily came on.  With a no-holds-bar outlook on food, I could eat anything!  But I was miserable.

Every since moving to Hawaii, I have slowly worked towards finding a middle ground through every area of my life, especially when it comes to food.  Losing weight has been a part of that journey, and not through some crazy diet with super restrictions.  No, it's been through eating some things now and some things a week from now.  It's been through smaller amounts and knowing that there will be some of it left if I want more later.

Miss Dahl's book rings true with me, and inspires me to cook beautifully and with an eye on moderation and no thought to cracking the dietary whip.  Such a delight.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Best of the best//2

This week has been wonderful.  Here are the highlights:

(left to right, top to bottom)

1.  I got a new, fun cookbook!  I had heard about Sophie Dahl's other book at decor8 so I looked into it and decided I might like this one better.  I thought about it.....and thought about it.... and finally just got it.  It's so good so far!

2.  I got into making some more fabric rosettes :).

3.  Drinking tea is something I'm trying to do instead of so much coffee.  Isn't this little set pretty?  Erik found the pot at a thrift store and I picked the sugar and cream containers for free!

4.  Tomatoes are everywhere.  But I'm beginning to think something is wrong with my plant because a lot of the leaves are dying and it looks a little wilty.  I have experimented with watering and sunlight, but I think it might be something more.  Any ideas?

5 and 6.  I think I already shared my painting party I had with you, but I still wanted to make it on here.  It was one of the best parts of the week.

7.  New nail polish colors!  I sell Avon now, to pick up some extra money, so I found some awesome colors!  So far, so very very good.  I tried the pink one at the beginning of the week and it's still on.

8.  Baked zucchini was probably the best recipe I made up this week.  The tomatoes are from the garden and the mango--that was just delicious.

9.  Last Saturday, we hiked up Wa'ahila Ridge.  It was a little more "climbing" than I had expected but it was beautiful and fun!

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

More Entryway Projects

This week has been full of projects and it's been awesome.  Whether it's finishing up school projects (which are now done!) or household projects,  I've been busy doing one thing or another.

Here is my most favorite of the week.  I found my inspiration on Pinterest several months ago and thought it was such a neat idea.  Mine isn't an exact replica, but I took the idea and ran with it.

I had so many scratched up CD's around the apartment that I've just been dragging from one place to the next, attempting to find a use for them.  Once something has expired from it's original use, I try to find a new one.  The fabric was left over from when my sister and I made bunting flags for my wedding.  As a side note--don't put that project off if you ever decide you must have bunting flags at your wedding. 

Another project I worked on this week was a wreath for the inside of the front door.  Using scrap fabric and some yarn I purchase over the winter, I think it goes well in this space.  I remembered having seen something use newspapers and weekly ads to create the base for a wreath, but I cannot seem to find the original tutorial.  So I just kind of made it up as I went along.  It's slightly lopsided, but I chose to leave it that way as I think it gives a nice "imperfect" look.

So that's the kind of thing I've been doing lately.  What about yourself?

freckled laundry