Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Happy Place

I have a happy place...but over the years I had forgotten where it's a strange thing because when I am in a stressful situation and I need help I go to this happy place...when my girlies were growing up we were in this happy place a lot...and I even went to college to learn more about this happy place.
Here are my girlies in the happy place many years ago!
The Garden!!! I love it and as you can see by this picture I always have a hard time deciding between vegetables and flowers!
When she was bitty I let Madison plant her own garden - that was one of my first lessons as a Mom in "let the girlie do it herself!'
I just saw the rocking horse!  Boy there were some wild rides on that!
One year my mom found some plans and we made a sunflower house!  It was so fun...
and for many years along side the garden we had our little swimming pool...when it got hot I would water the garden - dunk in the pool - water the garden - dunk in the pool - you get the idea!

If I think about it there are probably many reasons I forgot where my happy place was... It gets so hot here...the girlies got big and there were other things to is hot here... my wonderful neighbor and gardening partner Jessie could no longer garden...did I mention the heat!?...and then one time when I was lifting many many concrete pieces to make some planters I hurt my back and that scared me right out of the garden for good.

Now our yard needs lot of TLC...but I AM BACK...I have Brian and I have created a small piece of my happy spot again and I am not going to stop (with with the help of Brian and the girlies, of course!) until I have reclaimed my happy place!

And here is the beginning of the come back...
Gardening with a dog does add some challenges!
it's just a start...things are just beginning to grow...and we have more to add...but it makes me so happy to be back in the garden!
Madison's car is the back drop for my garden...and it is fun because while I work in the garden she and Brian are right there working on the car! (or Brian is doing some difficult gardening chore for me!) I am hoping that when food related things start growing Lane will be enticed out in to the garden as well!
I have the beginnings of some quirky fun things - like this path that I want to make into something pretty...
some funky flower plantings...
a cool old lunchbox for my gardening tools....
and I made myself a little place to sit and ponder, take notes, possibly start sketching again...or just look at my happy place and smile real big!

I am sharing these pics of a barely started happy place so that I can stun you in future posts with just how wonderful this garden is going to look!  Fingers crossed and a lot of work to come - but I am determined.

I am even trying something (at Brian's urging) that I have never done before...usually I just throw the seeds in the ground and let them go...this time we are trying some fancy indoor seed starting...
this crazy contraption...
along with our seeds is going to give us lots of little starts in just a week or two.
I just added water, then scraped the netting away to reveal the peat underneath.

Then I added various seeds...a few in each peat bundle, covered them with a tiny bit of the peat...and put a special plastic top over the whole thing - and this is the hard part - now I wait....I am not so good with the waiting!

I made a chart because there are quite a few peat bundles in this contraption - 72 to be exact - and I do want to know what they are once they start to sprout.  And....yes I do know that 72 little plants is going to be about 52 too many - any one want to share?

I am thrilled to be back in my Happy Place!!!

xoxo       Elizabeth

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Small Feast...

Yesterday I was inspired by some simple ingredients to invite people over and cook a dinner...
first there was this amazing olive oil that my sister, girlies and I discovered in Gustine.  If you are there please go into The Olive Branch and do some tasting.  The owner is so friendly and the olive oils and vinegars are delicious! We learned a lot and I can't wait to go back and get some of the other flavors.  For locals they are also at the Merced Thursday Night Farmer's Market...and for those of you out of the can order online!

This fresh tasting oil made me want to create something light and healthy...capellini pasta seemed just right - not too heavy...and some fresh sugar snap peas.

We blanched the they were still nice and crispy...added the zest of one lemon...threw in the cooked pasta, some of our precious lemon olive oil and salt to taste...Viola! Fresh and light and yummy!
I love cauliflower and got a tasty recipe from my good buddy....
butter, spices and some roasting and another wonderful dish is born.
Here is the recipe - so simple, but the flavor is amazing.
Look at all that goodness just waiting to be roasted.
Fresh mango is always a treat....I just cut them away from the pit then score each half with a knife and flip them inside out.  It's easy from there to cut off the little cubes and toss them into a bowl.
Brian had roasted a pork (in tons of garlic - which turned out to be fantastic) so we served that cold and added a caprese salad using some of our fresh basil.  Instead of drizzling our caprese with olive oil we use balsamic and some sea salt.

I added some funky table decorations, set the places with my fiestaware (assorted colours of course!) and we all enjoyed a fresh, healthy dinner made with simple ingredients and a lot of love!

So, go to The Olive Branch and get some olive oil, put a few leaves in your table and call some people that love to eat and see what you can come up with!
Don't forget the tapioca for dessert!

xoxo      Elizabeth

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Trunk Show!?

I decided to shake things up a bit with the last boutique that I had at my house...why not call it something cute..something a little different...maybe it could be a Trunk Show.  You know, everyone brings their things in a trunk...and sets them out to sell...
Brian even got into the spirit when he designed the invitation - very clever!

And...instead of just me and my trunks I invited some other people to bring their trunks and set things up to sell!
Clutch with matching Wallet
My sister couldn't make it, but she sent her wares! She makes the most wonderful purses, clutches, shopping bags, lunch sacks, garden aprons, laptop and ipad holders and even tiny little purses to fit inside of purses!
Garden Apron
Jennifer has a knack for finding just the right piece of vintage fabric, the cutest piece of new fabric, the funkiest button or a great piece of trim to use...always a little something extra!

I invited a new friend to join us....Elizabeth Buenrostro from Applesauce Designs.
Elizabeth makes these beautiful dolls...
cute, funny rabbits....

and adorable children's clothing!

And...I had a wonderful old (as in I've known her all my life) friend join us...
Purses, wall hangings, table runners

Baby sets
Geneva is a quilter and her work is just amazing. She makes everything from bed sized quilts to bibs!

Then of course I opened my trunks (literally - well suitcases anyway!) and set out my wares...
Headbands and Hairclips


Satin ribbons with felt flower to tie in your hair

Summer Rings
Felt mice
Of course there were treats, we made lemon squares, and a little something to drink!  The sun was shining, there was a wonderful breeze, and there was a lot of visiting!  What a charming way to spend a Saturday in June.   Next time you will have to join us!

xoxo       Elizabeth