December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Paul!

Happy, Happy 29th birthday, to my dear husband and best friend, Paul. Jesus ain't got nothin' on ya...

December 23, 2010

Wrap Up

Hehehe...I crack myself up sometimes. Anyway, first I showed ya'll my mantle, and now it's the wrap, that is. This year I tried to use paper, ribbon, and adornments that I already had stashed away. The tags were homemade (tutorial here), the bakers twine I already had, and the paper was left over from previous years.

If you still have presents to wrap, you can find some inspiration here, here and here. Happy wrapping!

December 22, 2010

Christmas wishlist

Soon I'll be posting pics of Paul's awesome birthday party and my awesome early Christmas present. In the meantime, here's a collection of savory treats I'd love to find under the Christmas tree from Oh Joy!...

1. Williams-Sonoma herbs of provence ($18), 2. Terrain pink himalayan salt ($12), 3. McClure's pickles ($14), 4. Golden Star white jasmine sparkling tea ($12), 5. Dean & Deluca cheese of the month ($165 for 3 months), 6. Jme rosemary olives ($25).

December 15, 2010

On the 15th day of Christmas...

I'm finally posting pics of our decorated house! First stop - the mantle. I've always wanted a mantle to decorate for the holidays, but in the past have had to do with a make-shift mantle/bookcase. And now, I have one!I've seen so many posts on decorating mantles in different themes (2 of my favorites are here and here), but this year I thought I'd stick with a traditional look (and stick with what I already have on hand to save money). Here's what it looks like (sorry for the crappy cell-phone pics). No matter, it's awesome! It's cozy and lovely and homey. Can't wait for folks to come over for Paul's party this weekend to see it in person.

December 14, 2010

Paul's Birthday

December is not just about Christmas at our house - it's also about Paul's birthday. My husband was born on December 24th, and you'd be surprised to know that he loves that his birthday is the day before Christmas. He says that he gets great combined presents, and that he loves the fact that his family is around for his birthday (and that they don't forget it!) I'm always trying to do something different for Paul's birthday so it is distinctly "not Christmas" - this year we're having his friends and family over for a birthday/holiday cheer party. So far we're expecting about 30 people, and I'm beginning to plan the menu and decor for the evening. Paul wants to barbecue (even though rain is forecasted)'s not my birthday so I'll let him do what he wants! However, I do have a few fun tricks up my sleeve (and he doesn't read this blog, so he'll never know). This year, since it's his 29th, it's going to be an "almost 30" party. Everything will have this image on it:

This is a school photo of Paul's from 1987 (kindergarten, perhaps?) Anyway, can't you just imagine the things I can make with this cute photo? You'll have to wait and see next week, after the party....

December 13, 2010

Posted: Make video!

Dale Dougherty, (genius behind Make, Craft, and Makerfaire), has blogged about the work we did at the 2010 NWP Annual Meeting! A few posts back I featured a few pics from the Make session that I led - well, you can read Dale's thoughts on the day right here!

You can also check out this video that includes footage from the Make. Around 5:50 you can see the bags that my group made:

December 10, 2010

Hopeful to win...

Go to MyDeco and enter your own mood board in the the "All I want for Christmas contest". You can win $100 to spend in their boutique! I created one last night - things that you might not find in my house, but things that inspire my decor...

We'll see what the judges say :) Fingers crossed!

December 9, 2010

Who loves Dottie Angel?

I melt when I see anything that Dottie Angel puts together. I wish I could make stuff like her, and I wish our house looked like hers. It's kind of an obsession. A few days ago I was sifting through some of her images and came upon this:

One day, this will be my backyard. Chickens running around, kitties lounging, forest and grass for all to frolic in, and pennants and flowers decorating the porch. A girl can dream, right?

December 8, 2010

Chicken update - 9 weeks!

It's amazing how big my little chickies have gotten in just 2 months. They love their new home in the garage, and are adjusting quite nicely to being the center of attention. Foghorn remains to be the friendliest and most curious, though Leghorn and Rakifi are starting to come around. The biggest news is that their food has changed - they now are getting "pullet" feed, which helps them get ready to lay eggs.

Foghorn 2 weeks and 9 weeks

Brooder then and now

December 7, 2010

In search of the perfect tree...

One thing I love about my husband is that he loves Christmas. Not in a consumerism-buy-everything-in-sight kind of way, but in the traditional, let's-get-a-real-christmas-tree way. And this my friends, makes me very happy. It's not that I'm against artificial trees, I'm just pro live trees. Ones that you can cut down yourself, ones that you can smell the moment you walk through the door, and even the ones that leave needles everywhere.

This Sunday Paul and I went searching for the perfect tree. We were just going to go to the Christmas tree lot in Vallejo, but our great neighbor Mark told us about this "cut your own" place in Martinez. After hearing that the place was a mere 20 minutes from our house, we immediately looked at each other and knew this was the way to go. It was raining, yes - and we were both in the clothes we had worn the day before (late night in the City) - but that didn't stop us from trudging around the Alhambra Valley Christmas Tree Farm . There were lots of families there as well, braving the rain in search of a perfect tree. I was brought back to my childhood, when my parents and my aunt and uncle would load up my cousins, my brother and I and head to the Santa Cruz Mountains for a tree. We would make a day of it by drinking cider and eating sandwiches. (I still wonder what was in my parent's thermos). Those are my fondest Christmas memories.

And so, it only took us about 10 minutes to find our perfect tree. That night, our friends Martin and Emily came over for Sunday dinner - Emily helped me decorate the tree. New house, new tree - 2010 was a great year for us. Isn't she gorgeous?

November 30, 2010

Christmas overload

For products go here

I won't go on and on about how much I HATE the fact that stores and the media cast Thanksgiving aside for Christmas before it even happens. I hate hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I don't want to think about hanging lights the day after I stuff myself with turkey. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and everything about the holiday season - but I enjoy savoring November as well.

It's no wonder that on this eve of December, I've already seen about a thousand Christmas decor posts in blogland. Many are too foofy or chotchsky for me. However, this inspiration board from Eat Drink Chic fits my Christmas style pretty well. What do you think?

November 29, 2010

I'm back!

My dear (few) loyal followers:

Please accept my apologies for the lack of posting the past 12 days. What a whirlwind it has been! In that time, I managed to survive 7 days at Disneyworld, hold a successful Make! session at the NWP Annual Meeting, host 14 for Thanksgiving, watch 12 episodes of Law and Order SVU, make tons of homemade goodies (pickled green beans and carrots are the best!), and relax with my husband, family, 2 cats and 3 chickens. It has been a glorious 12 days....


The NWP Booth at the NCTE Convention

Successful farmer's market bags from NWP Makes!

Dining with Mickey

One of the Thanksgiving table scapes...

November 17, 2010

Catalog Living

Have you ever been to Catalog Living? It is hands down one of the most hilarious mockery websites ever (Hipster Puppies is another). They post the most random quotes onto catalog photos - the rest speaks for itself:

"Gary and Elaine ran down to the water, giggling like children in anticipation of the first dresser of the season washing ashore."

These photos and quotes always brighten up my day, and remind me to not take all of the decor blogs I read too seriously....

November 15, 2010

6 weeks old!

Yay, the chicks are 6 weeks old, and they have a new home!

Paul spent Sunday building the girls a new pen. They have so much room to play and run around and they are peeping like crazy. I'm sad to leave them for a week - I'll be in Orlando for NWP's Annual Meeting. I'm ready to see all of my extended NWP family, but am sad to leave my girls and Paul!

November 12, 2010

Taste of Fall

I'm a big sucker for soups. Pretty much all soups - ones with rice, ones with veggies, pureed, chunky - you name it, I'll dip my bread in it! Fall of course is the beginning of (warm) soup season, and I thought I'd share some soup recipes I'm looking forward to trying soon:

From Craft: Curried Pumpkin Soup with Crème Fraiche

From Local Savory: Pear and Turnip Soup

From Broke-Ass Gourmet: Lobster-Parsnip Bisque

From Martha Stewart: Pureed Butternut Squash Soup

I actually made my own version of this soup last night. It was pretty good, but was lacking a bit in the spice department. I think I'll try Martha's version. It still looks great though, eh?

November 11, 2010

To card or not to card?

I can't wait to have kids - mostly so I can design fun photo Holiday cards! I kid, I kid. Last year, I decided to make a photo card because we had some awesome shots from our wedding that I had to share with our friends and family. After checking out the different options, I ended up using Shutterfly for them, and they turned out great! (in fact, I still have one hanging on our fridge, where it will remain for a while).

This year, I'm thinking about taking a photo of Paul and I in front of our new house. I mean, it was definitely the biggest thing that happened to us this year (and we're so proud of it!) A few of my favorite holiday cards are:

One thing that I look forward to this time of year is receiving a photo wall calendar from my in-laws - Marie also makes them on Shutterfly, and they are so fun to look through! I made a few last year with wedding photos for my grandparents, and they loved them!

One more thing that I like on Shutterfly that I'm considering getting for my brother and sister-in-law - a pewter ornament with their wedding photo in it. Wouldn't that make a great "1st year of marriage" present?

I can't wait to get to ordering...first up though - Thanksgiving!!

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly! Sign up!

November 10, 2010

38 days (5 weeks old)

Here's a really short video of the chicks - they are getting so big! Foghorn, Leghorn, and Rafiki are all doing very well. We've found out that Rafiki is indeed a rooster, so he'll be going to a new home soon. I'm kinda sad about it, but that just means that I can get a few more in the spring :) Foghorn is still the nicest of them all - she hops out of the brooder when I lift off the cover, and gets onto my index finger where she carefully watches the other two from above. This weekend we're building the garage pen for the winter (they've been in our guest room since their arrival). It's hard to imagine that we've had them for almost a month now!

November 9, 2010

PaperSource Hack: DIY gift tags

I know it's my favorite time of year because the PaperSource Holiday Catalog Edition is here! I seriously cannot walk into that store without dropping $100, so that catalog is my wallet's saving grace. Though I drool over all of the pages, I do save a few for a fun DIY holiday project. Why spend a few bucks on gift tags when you can make cute ones for free? I've only used the PaperSource catalog for this, but I'm sure it'll work for any stationary catalog.

Step 1: Locate your PaperSource Holiday Edition Catalog

Step 2: Find the pages with the examples of their holiday cards. Cut the ones that look good (and that are readable)

This squirrel is one of my favorites

Step 3: Glue mini-card to solid color cardstock (plain paper will work too). Incidentally, these are leftover Papersource notecards from our wedding.

Step 4: Use fun scrapbook scissors and cut around edges. Be sure to leave space at the top for the string

Step 5: Use hole punch to make 1 hole in the top center of the tag

Insert twine, raffia or ribbon...and ta-da!

A bunch of free and cute DIY holiday gift tags

Mania: In phone photos

November 8, 2010

Recap: Giants Mania 2010

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a week since the Giants won the World Series. Wait, let me say that again. The GIANTS WON THE WORLD SERIES!

As many of you may know, I’m a born and raised Giants fan. Sure, there have been times when my fan-dom has waned (like when I had Red Sox fever), but the Giants are forever my home team. The last few weeks have been brutal – scheduling myself around game times, drinking waaay too much beer, biting my fingernails, and generally ignoring my husband for anything Giants related. Last Monday, around 4pm, I decided to watch Game 5 in the city. I just had this feeling that they would win it. So, I put on my Tim Lincecum shirt and boarded the SF Bart train (along with many other fans). I squeezed into a bar in with my friends Paula and Quincy and a ba-jillion others. Thank goodness I took the 5pm train – by the time I made it to the city, it was already the 4th inning, and it wasn’t even 5:45pm!

A few beers, a few shots of whiskey, and a few innings later, Renteria hit the infamous 3 run homer that essentially clinched the game. The crowd went wild. It was so loud, I swore I was deaf for about 3 minutes. I was screaming and jumping up and down (much to the dismay of my recovering ankle). It was glorious, and hugs and high fives were presented all around. I won’t go into how great Timmy pitched, Buster’s homerun, B Weez’s last pitch, or Huff mentioning his thong. You all know how it ends. It was epic.

Moments after the game was over, the city’s bars and restaurants were overflowing with people cheering, high-fiving, beeping – you name it, they were using it to make noise. I’ve never heard a buzz in a city like this before – not even when the Red Sox won the World Series (and yes, I can say that, because I was there). Though people were jumping, screaming, and otherwise being rowdy, there was an eerie sense of calm – like a collective sigh had been relieved from the city, and there was nothing more to worry about. I never once was afraid of people going crazy violent like I’ve seen at other victories/rallies. These San Franciscans kept it classy.

Our crawl through the celebrating streets of SF kept us out until around 1am. We made it down to the ballpark, then up to the Civic Center. All along the way, people were cheering wildly, hugging perfect strangers, and sharing champagne with people on the streets. I’ve never experienced this camaraderie before in the Bay Area, and it was so amazing that it was indescribable. Top 10 events in my life, no doubt.

Next up: Rally Parade!

November 6, 2010

I luv Saturday mornings...

It's been a while since I've been home on a Saturday morning and have had nothing to do. Scratch that. I always have something to do, but cleaning and chores always have to be done. Anyway, this morning was a perfect fall morning, and I was longing for a trip to the farmers market. Here's what I scored for a mere $20:

6 persimmons, 2 pomegranates, 1 butternut squash, a bunch of beets, a bunch of celery, a lb of green beans, 2 heads of garlic, a doz organic eggs, a bouquet of flowers, 3 onions, a bunch of kale, a bunch of basil, and a bag of salad.

November 5, 2010

Recovery begins tomorrow...

Cute Overload

This is how I feel today. So sad all of the excitement is over. Almost done downloading photos and writing my Giants post. Need the weekend to recover...

November 2, 2010

World Champs!!

I'm going to write more about my experience watching the San Francisco Giants win the World Series last night, but here's why it'll have to wait until tomorrow:

1. I'm at work, in the same clothes I wore yesterday.
2. These are the same clothes I slept in, minus the Tim Lincecum shirt I had on last night that's now stinky from beer and champagne showers....
3. Not surprisingly I'm slightly hungover and tired, but the adrenaline is still flowing. I'm hoping I can make it to 5pm without falling asleep on my desk.
4. I have work to finish since I won't be here tomorrow (I'll be at the Giants Parade!)

This video will have to do for now. And yes, I was there. It was incredible. I loved every single minute of it!

October 29, 2010

Happy Friday!

I'll leave you with this thought: Maybe, just MAYBE, our Giants will be World Series Champs on Sunday. Just maybe....

A love letter to the San Francisco Giants (via Rocketshoes):

This is why I’m a Giants fan. This exact moment. Scratch that: this is why I like stupid, grunt grunt sports in general. San Francisco, this very moment.

It’s legitimately a magical time in San Francisco right now. I have the fortune of working approximately two blocks away from AT&T/”For Christsakes, it’s PacBell” Park, and it’s been absolutely surreal. If a unicorn came around the corner and high fived me right now and said, “Go Giants”, I wouldn’t even take an earbud out. I’d just high hoove him right back and point and smile.

For people who don’t understand why people love sports so much, move to a town where this kind of thing might happen, and you’ll get it.

This team has done something to this city that is unreal. It’s even more unreal because this is San Francisco. Home of the polarizing “I hate your district NO I HATE YOUR DISTRICT LET’S MAKE OUT THOUGH BECAUSE WE BOTH LOVE SAN FRANCISCO” landscape. Hipsters hate marina guys. Marina guys hate hipsters. We judge every goddamn thing on the planet that isn’t organic, and then can’t understand why people judge the crap out of us right back (irony alert). I mean…I work down the block from a fucking artisan grilled cheese store. This town is, by no means, indicative of the rest of the American landscape. We’re just weird, and we embrace the living crap out of it.

And right now, everyone is a Giants fan. Everyone. Your grandma. That homeless guy directing you into a wide open parking spot and then expecting you to congratulate him for his non-feat with a dollar. Right now? I’d give him two. Because this town is effing electric.

You know what? To all the people who hate “bandwagon” fans? Let it go. Who cares. You know who you are? You’re the guy who liked the Kings of Leon and then got mad when everyone else did. You’re the guy who said “this band is SO good”, and then when someone said, “hey I agree” you said NO YOU DON’T ONLY I CAN LIKE THEM. That’s silly. Knock it off. Let them in. Buy them a beer, or a kombucha. Whatever it is. I don’t care. Just let this happen and stop Eeyoring the crap out of our unlimited happiness we’re on the brink of.

I love sports for this reason. Every now and then, everyone just stops being so damn frumpy and acts like our city is just a big college. You ever been to a college town that really loves their team a scary amount? Like, Ray Finkel’s Mom amounts? It’s great. You know why? Because everyone is just actually nice to each other. You have a common bond. And whether or not it’s a bond that is contingent upon a guy throwing a ball or waving a wooden stick, it’s an awesome bond.

I love this time. I find myself smiling at people when I buy coffee. I see my friends who bicker over ridiculous crap calling each other and inviting each other to hang out. I see strangers hugging because a guy from the Dominican Republic is hitting sac fly’s. Marina guys are wearing the same goddamn t-shirt hipster guys are wearing. HOW CAN YOU NOT BOTTLE THIS MOMENT UP? We’re in a vacuum. Enjoy it.

I have grown up with the Giants. My brother and I spend half of our “that’s so adorable that they are ACTUALLY best friends” time talking to each other about them; it genuinely brings us together. It’s in the blood of my family, and I was taught from a very young age to bring a blanket to the ‘stick because it’s never a comfortable temperature in this city. My mother and father brought our family together with this ridiculous game. If you never lived here or you’re just getting on the bandwagon? Let me be your creepy metaphorical father and open the front door and hand you a beer. Welcome. We love you, too.

So fear the Just for Men beard. Embrace the fact that every woman in town is in love with the good guy (THAT NEVER HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE). Embrace the fact that we have a pitcher that resembles one of the greatest characters in film history, one Mitch Kramer (he even smokes pot…how San Francisco is that?). Embrace it.

No matter what happens, San Francisco, embrace it. This is why we like sports. Because they are ridiculous, and they make people really happy when we’d usually just bide the time complaining about what we don’t like about each other.

Embrace it, San Francisco. This is why we like each other. Right now.

Fear the goddamn beard.

October 28, 2010

Game 1: Believe!


Phew! I'm so glad Game 1 of the World Series is over and that the Giants have a big fat WIN! Last night I headed to Petaluma and watched the game with my bro and sister-in-law. And what a game it was! The Giants offense finally started making some hits, and they pulled away from the Rangers and their hot pitcher Cliff Lee. It was an exciting game, but I'm so glad that it's over and we have one under our belt! Let's not get too cocky Giants fans....we've still got 3 more to take. Hummmmmm-baby!!!

October 26, 2010

Crafts and Work and Fun oh my!

The NWP are Craft Magazine and partnering up to host a small Make! at the 2010 NWP Annual Meeting! It's like, my dream come true - my work and crafts together!

The whole idea behind the Make! is that creating and writing go hand in hand. When you create something and want to show someone else how to do it, you write about it. As I've found out, writing instructions for projects is actually pretty hard! (I sometimes wonder how Craft and Instructables do it). Anyhow, I've been invited to be a teacher at the Make, and so I've had to develop a small project that can be done and taught to folks in 1 hour. After that, we'll write about the process, take pictures, and create a tutorial. Here's what I came up with:

Market bag

This bag is made from a pillowcase and decorated with fabric. And did I mention, there's no sewing (the seams, at least) involved? I had to adapt what I would usually do to the environment we'll be in (i.e. a huge conference room) and the materials we can use (i.e. no sewing machine, just irons). I can't wait to report back on how it goes and share with you the tutorial!

October 25, 2010

22 days old (3 weeks)

The chickies are officially 3 weeks and are doing great! So far, Foghorn, Leghorn, and Rafiki's personalities have started blossoming even more. Foghorn is the friendliest of the bunch, and doesn't mind when I pick her up. She's always the first to come when I have treats. Leghorn is the bravest - she was the first to hop on the water feeder, then I found her perched on the top of the brooder! (I finally had to put a screen over them so there were no escapes). Rafiki definitely has "short hen" syndrome. She's the smallest and therefore pretends she's the biggest. She's always pushing the others out of the way, and has started gently pecking Foghorn and Leghorn when they are on the roost (she's having a hard time getting up there). Anyway, their antics continue to amuse all of us!