Friday, August 11, 2017

Portland, Oregon Gardening

 I have had a wonderful spring and summer gardening. This year I put two feet forward and found that extra ummff to try to make the flower and vegetable gardens I have been dreaming about since childhood. Portland, Oregon is the place to do it, and if I am ever going to succeed, now is the time. So below are a splattering of corners and pockets that have made their mark thus far. Next year I hope these new perennials will be more established and the soil even better to work with:
 snap dragon
 shasta daisy

 French lavender
 shasta daisy
 sugar pumpkin
 Japanese eggplant
 cherry tomato

What did you plant this year?



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Refrigerator Pickles... a recipe

 I absolutely LOVE when it is pickle making time of year. I am not—yet—the best preserver when it comes to "putting by for winter" though ever since I was a child it has been a dreamy idea to me. I always pep myself that this will be the year. THE YEAR where I start a pantry of all I grew and canned and dried and all the rest of the fanciful notions that seem attainable when the short days and cold weather make it just story book enough to feel possible. As a child I would often play house and would spend uncountable hours foraging for mazanita berries and wild cherries; storing up good food for when the blizzards hit. We lived in Southern California. 

Anyway, what follows is the pickle recipe that does get used in my kitchen. Maybe when my hair is white and I finally get to wear the muumuus I so intend to eventually wear, I will have more tried and true recipes for preserving summer's harvest.

Refrigerator Pickles 
In a very clean 1 gallon jar place a washed strand of fresh dill weed
If you don't have fresh use a tablespoon of dried.

Add roughly 4 lb. pickling cucumbers washed (they are all over at the farmers market right now)
4 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup salt
1 + 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper corns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole allspice
a few cloves
6-8 cups water or until jar is full.
optional: pepper flakes or a couple fresh hot peppers,
fresh strand tarragon. 

Cover with wax paper and fasten with string or a rubber band.
Let sit out for two days, out of direct sunlight, then refrigerate for up to two months.

Recipe is re posted from this post. 

                                                      Cheers ~

Thursday, August 3, 2017


 The last couple of days our air has been horrid! Truly smoggy due to some wild fires raging up in Canada. Portland is used to overcast, but this is not overcast, this is grimy smoke suspended over the city bringing a yellow/gold gloom to everything.
 It has been hot for days. They claimed it was going to reach 109, but we so far our luck has been to toil through 100 degree and many 90 degree days.

I am certainly holding my breath until this heat spell breaks.  The one silver lining to this unbearable warmth is that we've had to close our pie truck. And having our truck closed means lazy days. Lazy days have given me more time to finish the most wonderful book I've read in oh so long:

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

                                                                     Cheers ~

Saturday, July 15, 2017


At long last I am actually writing this post. I have dreamed about this for almost as many years as I have been authoring this blog. It is with great satisfaction I can finally say–and mean it–The birthday book is done! 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays
I have told my husband and the kids so many times "the birthday book is done" that it started to loose meaning. Draft after draft, after frustrating small-tweaks-here-and-there draft, it is really truly completely, no-more-to-do done. I invite you to to pop some champagne for me... no not really, I can do that myself, but geez luize, it is good to put this one on the shelf and say fini! 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays
It was a project my good friend Robin and I started back when the kids were little. We traveled through so many stages of our lives and I have lived in five houses since we started. I guess I like to move! Or it has just taken a long time and finding the place that is home takes a long time too. 

But anyway, enough about that, here are some of my favorite images from the book:

Filled to the brim with step-by-step instructions for making original gifts, favors, cakes, wrapping, decorations and games, BIRTHDAYS: HANDMADE, HOMEMADE is interwoven with stories, photographs, illustrations and anecdotes. We invite readers to pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea and spend the afternoon making and creating. Our goal is to offer inspiration on how to make a birthday handmade, homemade and your very own.

Readers will love the creative ideas that make this book so personal and tangible. Projects range from fast and easy . . . Dinosaurs in real eggshells, to more timely and in depth . . . Dining table forts. Young parents and do-it-yourself enthusiasts will find endless help onhow to prepare and execute a homemade birthday party.

At a time when it seems like families are trying to take back just a bit of their own and blogs hum with self-reliant know-how, this book is a great jumping-off point for those aiming to leave commercialism behind and bring it all back to the ones they love. 

Birthdays: Handmade, Homemade is available online. 

crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays

Hope everyone is enjoying summer!


P.S. I have one copy to give away, so if you live in the United States and would like to enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below. I'll pick a name at random and post a winner Sunday July 23rd.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Late afternoon lunch...

 Mini lunch at home with my dearest baby girl. Once in a while it's such a treat to be alone with just one of the kiddos. It's hard to fathom these growing children are only a skip and a jump away from adulthood. I try to stop and enjoy these chances. We have a busy world over in our neck of the woods. I really never intended to get this speedy in our round through life, but somehow the race to get it all done has won over. At least for now. My husband and I do talk often of how to bring down the pace, but it remains to be seen whether we take the steps or make the changes. But for now I'll enjoy this—a moment with my daughter. 


                                                                Cheers ~

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Eggs and feasting...

A few Easter pictures...

                                             Cheers ~