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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Project 365: September 20th through September 26th

September 20th: Trimming 450 roses for the Community Support Campaign for United Way.

September 21st: A sweet co worker bought me a rose.

September 21st: Drying roses and rose hips for tea.

September 22nd: Selling Panera bagels for the Community Support Campaign at work benefiting the United Way.

September 23rd: Mary Kay party with the girls...including Yuki who was hogging all the catalogs. We never did find a foundation pale enough for her.

September 24th: The bus ride home. I keep finding odd things at the max stop such as an empty box of Oreos, a banana peel and a used bus transfer. I mean, did you have the banana to balance out the fact that you just ate an entire package of Oreos?

September 25th: SOLV Beach Cleanup - Wells Fargo Cannon Beach volunteer coordinators, SOLV coordinator and Bob, the owner of Mo's Restaurant.

September 25th: Displays at Sesame and Lillies at Cannon Beach.

September 25th: Look into my eye...

September 26th: What's up? Chicken butt!

September 26th: The girls and Catalina came out for a bit for the first time...they are getting so big!

Friday, September 24, 2010


As a gardener one of my favorite places is probably Farmington Gardens. It is a really great nursery filled with plants I do not see other places. Everything is always so healthy and their arrangements throughout the walk through are inspiring, to say the least.

So it brings me no real surprize I felt a twinge of creativity surge through me when I saw this little greenhouse. I have been wanting each year to start seedlings early and rely a lot more on seeds rather than buying expensive plants. Seeds are much more cost effective and I would feel better as a gardener as well. But I lack the interior space. I have a house with four cats who get into everything and I can guarantee no plant survival. Plus, lets face it - piles of little peat pots are just not attractive. I have a garage with no windows also. This little greenhouse would be perfect! Correction, me building a little green house would be perfect. Just some shelving for my little plant starts. Whenever I have thought of greenhouses, I have always pictured the giant ones - or even the smaller ones that are still good size taking up half the yard and usually looking like an eye sore. I would never have thought one could be this cute. And honestly, when I first spotted it I said to my husband, "wow, you could fit like one plant in that which seems rather silly."

I even have a featured place in my yard I think would be perfect for it if we built it out of cedar and made it cute. It would also be a perfect way to add in a composting bin and make it attractive as well. I am not certain when I will have the time and money for this project but the ideas for it are flooding in which is exciting. First project up though is to rebuild out chicken coop and pen and relocate that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September Garden Update

It seems almost tragic that the garden is renewing itself with the relief from the extreme heat. We are holding steady at warmer temperatures that really are perfect for plants and with warm rain here and there, everything has been pretty happy thatis not a vegetable, that is. I gave up on harvesting much of anything this year. I did get a pretty good crop of cherry tomatoes this year. Nothing like last year, of course, but I did much better than I expected.

There is one tomato plant which we call the Charlie Brown tomato since it may have three leaves but like the little engine that could it still tries and succeeds in giving us cherry tomatoes. They may be tiny but they are full of flavor!

Our one year wedding anniversary was on September 5th and Patrick's mom sent us money with instructions to get something for the yard with it. We instead chose two things. The first was this gorgeous wrought iron Fleur de Lis to hold up our growing eucalyptis tree and make it feel a bit more regal since it outgrew its previous supports. This stake can probably support the tree for a long time to come.

The second item we chose was a stunning red hibiscus. We have a light purple one already which I planted last year and could not be more pleased with the size and stunning quality in the garden. Here is the new addition being inspected by Bernadette.

Taking a long photo of the newer garden area and you see the new bench addition. My friend Sean has decided to move from a house into an apartment to free him for more world travel in his later years so he offered me this beautiful wood and wrought iron bench which has a gorgeous Iris theme. Eventually I plan to make a stone landing for in front of the bench with some statuaries or such on either side of it. For now I am enjoying how inviting the bench is beconing people to come sit in the garden.

A known treasure... When I was 19 my mother went through this angel and cherub phase where she was buying angel and cherub everything. She bought me this beautiful garden cherub to which I told her I did not have a garden (I was a 19 year old college student who was barely living in an apartment). She told me that I would someday. Oh, if my mother only knew what a gardening monster she created with me! She passed away a year and a half before we bought the house so she has not seen my four years of growth as a person and as a gardener. When we first moved into the house I just set this cherub on a shelf sort of forgetting about it when one day it was nearly glaring at me and I realized my garden cherub has a garden! I add things to my yard all the time with thoughts of my mother but this addition was extra special I think since it was a gift she gave me 15 years ago just knowing that I would grow to have this beautiful outdoor space. Thanks mom, I know part of you is here.

Autumn is coming up fast and the heat of the summer killed off my sweet peas in my front hanging baskets so I replaced them with some stunning pansies and violas which should last well into winter really! With any luck they might even bounce back and reseed themselves for next summer too!

My small sitting area by our shade garden. I cannot thank my friend Heidi enough for the gift of this cute little squirrel feeder. I love how my friends contribute to my yard in so many ways so I have all these beautiful feeders, bells, statues and plants which remind me of those who have gifted them to me.

We had a light we returned at Lowes so Patrick just traded it and used the credit to get me more flagstones and river rock. With it I was able to finish one whole side of the path! Now I just have two more sides to go around the built in boxes completely and also the stone landing for the new park bench in the garden. It really does astound me what a difference these stones make.

The baby chicks are doing great with their adopted mommy Catalina. Both Edwina and Delilah are getting rid of a lot of their down and working up to those thicker feathers for the winter. Catalina continues to grow as a mom and you would never know the chicks are not her by the way she treats them and by the way they follow her around.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Project 365: September 13th through September 19th

September 13th: The wait for the bus on the way home...and I find an empty bottle of cough syrup and a Taco Bell sauce packet...but what does it mean?

September 14th: A gift and some art. Hanging out with Travis to purchase his beautiful art work and Kelly gave me a bottle to try.

September 15th: Signs of autumn - the first tree in Beaverton...

September 16th: The wait for my morning Max train...

September 17th: Queen of the Sun world premier!

September 17th: Portland Mayor Sam Adams talks about his own bee hive and the importance of the film which was so great!

September 18th: A $2000 ribbon which was removed from Yuki's stomach.

September 19th: My beautiful garden...

September 19th: Julie's new foster kittens which are 2 1/2 weeks cute!

September 19th: When newborns attack!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Creating a Recipe Book That Will Last a Lifetime

I get a lot of compliments on my recipe book and organization from friends and family alike. Everyone has their own way of preserving their recipes. I have seen a few that I really like the idea of - such as the little box with individual cards. Though that method works best when the cards are coated in something because, I don't know about you, but I am mess when I bake and I bake a lot. About the closest I have seen to mine is the photo album idea which is pretty genius and you can really make it cute. Get a photo album and add the recipes just like you would pictures on the acid free pages. The downside to this is that the pages are sticky usually so your recipe (which may be on thin newsprint or old paper) would be ruined if you try to remove later. Your could also even do a scrap book but personally that seems a touch big to me for a recipe book. My husband used to handwrite his into a sort of small diary but the pages are fixed so messing up writing is not an option and the second you spill on it which is a given then you are back where you started.

I tried many different ways an came up with my solution which was very time consuming to set up but I am so happy I did it and I imagine any other cook would be as well. I started out with a good hundred recipes and some people have a lot more than that. I typed them all into my computer. I created a folder titled 'Recipes' which then had individual documents under it titled 'Chicken', 'Fish'...etc. I found an insane number of deserts so I did break those up under candy, cookies, cake, pie, etc. Each night I would grab a handful of the recipes and just hang out with my husband watching a movie we had already seen and typing, coming up with the format since I could fit several recipes per 8x10 page etc. Most of the work is the typing whih seems endless but you will get through it eventually. I just did a fairly rough format when I typed everything. After I was done, I then went back through, chose a font and layout for the recipes and then went through the whole thing making it look perfect.

I printed the entire recipe book on my lazer printer and bought sheet protectors which can be purchased fairly cheaply for a large box of them and they are so worth it! I sat there through another movie putting the book into the sheet protectors in order. The great part about the sheet protectors are that if you spill - you can wipe it down and if you get your page wet or damaged, you just reprint a new one and your recipe book stays looking new! Plus, all those treasured recipes are backed up on your computer so when Aunt Marge comes by and says she must have that peanut butter cookie recipe of yours, you can copy and paste it to an email with ease for her. I once needed a housewarming gift for a good friend who planned to start trying her hand at cooking but did not know where to start. So I copied a chunk of the recipe book over, reformatted it based on her interests and food tastes, printed it out and personalized it with a nice book etc - she loved it! You could even print a smaller version of some deserts with a gift basket!

There are tabs you can buy from any office store (but they are usually a special order item) to stick to the sheet protectors but I personally saved my money and just used little post it flags and labeled them. There are alot of options here as well for your creative juices to flow...or you could not tab them at all and have a touch of anarchy if that is how you roll.

It took me awhile to decide what to do for the cover of my book. I could have left it plain but I wanted something to stand out and something fun. A friend had a large stack of cooking magazines she was getting rid of and offered them to me so I could see if I found any recipes I wanted out of them. So, a lot more typing later to add them new pile of recipes to my growing book and I had the idea to make collages. I always had a special place in my heart for the collage as an art project. So I created two collages from food that we love to inspire me - the first thing I see when I take down my recipe book now is a pile of my favorite food.

I also found a little MENU in one of the magazines for the front.

Creating a collage is very simple. Go through all those old magazines or newspapers and find the food items which speak to you. Some photos work alot better than others. You will want images that you do not mind cutting chunks out of and smaller images that can be used whole and cut out etc. I just used an 8x10 sheet of copy paper and tape or you can use glue too - rubber cement would be best for that. Have fun with it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Project 365: September 6th through September 12th

September 6th: Moving our "loot" in from our vineyard run on Sunday.

September 7th: Swifts at Chapman Elementary

September 8th: 2nd week at the new Oregon Partnership building which, apparently, has an electrifying men's room!

September 9th: KITTENS! I am a proud aunt to Jen's cute kittens who are still working on their names. They purr loud!

September 10th: Our Charlie Brown tomato plant...the thing seriously always looks half dead compared to all the other tomato plants but it keeps giving us the tiniest ripe cherry tomatoes.

September 11th: replanting our front hanging baskets with pansies - viva la end of summer...

September 11th: Bacon party at Eric and Michelle's and the best desk sign ever.

September 12th: Our new garden stake thanks to Patrick's awesome mom holding my eucalyptus up.

September 12th: And here are the girls: Edwina, Delilah and Catalina who was finally acting like a super good chicken mom today.