December 19, 2011

Ornament #5 and #6

I've been so busy planning Paul's birthday party that I haven't been posting my ornaments! Anyway, here are #5 and #6 for your viewing pleasure....

Our good friend Rita made this ornament for us last year when we moved into our new house in Vallejo. I love this ornament because it reminds me of the excitement of owning our own house and making new Christmas memories here!

This here is a double decker bus from jolly old England. When I was a senior in college, I studied abroad in London and loved (almost) every minute of it. I was lucky to be there right before the holidays, so all of the lights were up and everyone was in the holiday spirit. I have a few ornaments that remind me of my time there, but this one is definately my favorite!

December 15, 2011

Ornament # 4 - Married!

Here's our first Christmas ornament as a married couple! I love this one because it's both Christmas-y and wedding-like (the bells, the pointsetta). I can remember the ornaments that my parents had as newlyweds, and they weren't as cute as this one :)

December 13, 2011

Ornament #3 - The Fulton's

Ornament #3 is a clay ornament that my mom bought at a craft fair with my aunt. I always loved this ornament because when you hung it on the tree just right, the twinkle from the lights would shine through the fireplace to make it glow. I'm so glad my mom gave this one to me when she was purging her ornaments years ago....

December 7, 2011

Ornament #2 - The Leg Lamp

I'm sure most if not all of you have seen the timeless holiday movie, A Christmas Story. One of the best scenes is of the father receiving a large crate in the mail, filled with a surprise gift he won in a contest. Of course, he is enamoured and the mother is disgusted to see it's a life-sized lamp of a ladies leg (aka the "leglamp"). Raphie and his father can't keep their hands off it it!

A mini leg lamp
After Paul and I moved in together, we made a deal - I'm pretty sure it was if I could get a cat, he could have a leg lamp. He'd have to buy it himself, of course. Needless to say he's never gotten that leg lamp, but I did get him this fun ornament to hold him over...

December 6, 2011

12 ornaments of Christmas

As I was hanging up my ornaments this year, I thought it would be fun to share 12 of their stories. For the rest of the month, I'll be posting 12 of my favorite ornaments and a short story about how I got them and why they are so special.

First up:

I love this ornament. I love it so much that it broke and I had to crazy glue it back together! This ornament I'm pretty sure I picked out at Macy's in San Francisco. See every year, my grandparents (or just my grandma) would take me to the city to experience the holiday season. Sometimes we'd see the nutcracker ballet, othertimes we would just shop in Union Square and eat at Kuletos (is that place still around?) I love this ornament because it symbolizes not only my favorite sight in San Francisco, but those yearly holiday trips with my grandma and grandpa.

December 5, 2011

Fig Jam and Lemon Curd

I love this time of year - when the figs are still around, and the citrus is falling off of the trees...I scored 2 baskets of figs for $1.00 at Larry's Produce and am going to try my hand at fig jam. I've found a few recipes online, and have decided on this one - anyone have any other good fig jam recipes?

I also scoured our neighbors Meyer Lemon tree and am going to make some yummy lemon curd for them (and us, of course!) I love slopping this treat on toast, pancakes, or crepes. Mmmm....

December 2, 2011

Winter garden

brussel sprouts
It's starting to get a little chilly around these parts, but my winter garden is looking pretty good considering I haven't done much to it (except plant the seedlings!) I've never planted a winter garden, so I'm excited to see how these "crops" do. In addition to what's pictured, I have radishes, cabbage, beets, broccoli, and beets going. I'll let you know how the first harvest goes!



November 29, 2011

Casting on

Next up - some pretty sparkly pink scarves for some special little ladies...

November 28, 2011

What I'm up to today...

Stockings, stockings, stockings! I found a great pattern at Martha Stewart and I'm working on some early Christmas presents for some special kiddos in my life. Come back for a wrap up of all 3 I'm making!

November 22, 2011


I have lots of things to be thankful for this season. Ya know, things like having an awesome husband that supports me, a loving family that I get to spend lots of time with, an awesome set of neighbors, new nieces and nephews to love, and all of my animals. What are you thankful for this season?

At Marcelle and Nisan's wedding

Coco Bean

New Baby Brayden

My Jazzy Jasper


November 18, 2011

Brining Olives

Have you ever seen or tasted raw olives? I have. They are very pretty, but don't taste very good. I'm assuming that's why they are brined or pressed into oil. I was lucky enough to spot some raw olives at Larry's Produce last week, and picked up a few pounds to brine on my own. I never would have thought of this myself, and would probably have lived with getting my olives at the olive bar at Whole Foods or Berkeley Bowl. However, after seeing a bring recipe in Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects, I decided to give it a try. It's really simple - just make a salt/water bath for the olives, and let them sit in it for at least 6 weeks. Six weeks! The result, I've heard is amazing...I'll let you know around Christmas when they should be done :)

cleaned and cut
In their bath

November 17, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

the bounty's not just a movie, it's a real food. And a delicious one at that! Yesterday I went into my garden to check on the dwindling tomato plants. There were tons of green ones, and I picked a lot of them assuming they would never turn red with the upcoming winter. What does one do with 20 green tomatoes? Fries them! I mixed about a cup of corn meal, 1 tbl paprika, 2 t garlic salt, pepper and salt to taste - coated the sliced tomatoes in an egg and cornmeal mixture, and fried them in olive oil. We dipped them in a spicy garlic aoili (i.e. mayo). Delish! The trick I realized this time is to not overcook the tomatoes. The coating should be crispy, but the inside should be slightly firm. Otherwise they are a soggy mess.

green toms

the delicious result!

November 15, 2011

CUESA Cocktail Party

Those of you that read my other blog, J. Jasper Events, may know that I recently shot photos at CUESA's Fall Cocktail party at the SF Farmers Market (one of my favorite places to spend money and support local farmers/artisans). Here are a few pics from the event - be sure to check out CUESA and all of the cool stuff they do!

November 10, 2011

Wish List

I know, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving and I'm already thinking about Christmas! Not really, I've just found a few sweet books that I'm hoping Santa will leave under our tree...

The BUST DIY Guide to Life: Making Your Way through Every Day

Weekend Handmade: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Crafting

November 9, 2011

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

I've been a huge fan of Jerusalem Artichokes (aka Sunchokes) ever since I was introduced to them by my friend, Hannah. After seeing them finally appear at Larry's Produce, I decided to make a soup instead of roasting them like I normally do. I used this recipe found on Food Network, though I substituted greek yogurt for cream (since I didn't have any cream, and also wanted to make it less fattening). It turned out great, though a little curdled looking (my bad). Don't let that stop you though, try this as soon as you can!

ok, so maybe it doesn't look that great. but it was delicious!

I also roasted some beets, onions, and parsnips to throw on some salads. I love root veggies!

and...a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dear mama!!

November 8, 2011


a new quilting project

replenishing our pickle stock
banana bread
something special for baby Brooke
Though I may be unemployed, there's plenty of work being done around here! So far this week: using up my scraps on a tbd quilting project, pickles, banana bread, dog walks, deep kitchen cleaning, the (neverending) laundry, painting.....

Hard to believe it, but this is my 500th post. I started this blog 6 years ago when I moved to Boston (geeez....time really does fly!) In 6 years I completed my MSW, moved back to CA, met my husband, got married, bought a house, started an urban farm. Pretty amazing when I think about it...

November 7, 2011

Fall colors

Last week I was able to visit my mom as she was preparing for one of her endurance rides. The ride took place in Lake Sonoma, so not too far from Vallejo. As I was driving through Dry Creek Valley, I was amazed at how beautiful the grape vines were - I guess I've never seen their leaves change color! Anyway I had to stop just to get a few shots...

And here's what the "camp" looked like... mom's Arabian horse..

November 4, 2011

Barn Red

That's the name of the color of the paint I've chosen for the coop. It's not quite done yet (the impending rain made me stop) - but doesn't it look great so far??

Happy weekend everyone!

November 3, 2011

A little update...

Hey folks! Since I've been MIA I thought I'd update you with 5 things I've been up to lately...

1. I dressed up as a chicken, and Paul dressed up as Tigger for Halloween. We went to an 80's themed party in Incline Village and had SO much fun (see pic below).

2. I've been busy applying for jobs - have gotten a few interviews, but nothing has been offered to me as of yet. I'll keep trying!

3. And speaking of jobs, I've secured another client for J. Jasper Events (my little side event production company). If you know of anyone needing a hand in party/wedding planning, please let me know!

4. I've transitioned my garden from summer to fall "crops" (though I'm hesistant to call them crops considering there's only 1 row of beets, spinach, garlic, cabbage, and turnips each). The tomatoes are slowly dying out and the last of the peppers have been picked.

5. My chickens are laying in full force which is great news. I'm also almost complete with painting the coop as well (pics to come soon!)

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying this beautiful fall weather!

November 2, 2011

Someone has been hiding their eggs...

The culprit - Lemonade Cookie. She's the best at flying out of the chicken "enclosure"...

And here's where I've been finding her eggs...

Up  close...

She's a funny one!

October 11, 2011

Canning Time!

It's canning time! This harvest season I decided to head over to Larry's Produce (aka the best farm stand on the planet) and stock up on some bounty that I could can. On the list: Strawberries, Green Beans, Tomatoes, and Tomatillos. Over the course of a few days, I made the tastiest green enchilada sauce (from this recipe), spicy green beans (for bloody mary's!) from this awesome book, stewed tomatoes from this site, and lots of low-sugar strawberry jam. I didn't realize how involved it is to can tomatoes - you have to take the skins off, boil off the water, and make sure to add vinegar to the mixture (otherwise it's unsafe to eat due to the unbalanced ph values). No one wants to get botulism! Anyway, I know that I could get any of these items any time of the year from the supermarket, but I wanted to fill my pantry with the yummy (and cheap) goodness of the summer.

October 3, 2011

He's here!

a Raider fan already!

Those of you on facebook probably already know this, but I'm very excited to announce the birth of my first nephew, Brayden John Geissler, born on September 28th, 8lbs. 4oz. 21 inches long. Proud mama Jean and papa Eddie. Jean was a rockstar and only had to push for a little over an hour (though they had been waiting in the hospital for days...) I can't wait to spend some time with this cutie!!

September 27, 2011

Summer Highlights - Part 3

Summer time is wedding season (yay for our friends getting married!) Paul and I were fortunate enough to celebrate the union of 3 of our favorite couples. First up: Steph and Jillian. They got married at this amazing venue in the Oakland Hills called the Highlands Country Club. Beautiful views of the bay, great food, and an awesome dance party made this a very special and fun wedding!

Next up: Chickie and Renee. I've known Chickie forever, and am so glad that he met Renee. They are such a great couple. Their wedding was so handmade (i.e. custom cornhole game, crafty bunting hung from the ceiling, handwritten note cards, wildflowers out of mason jars, cows in the background). The wedding was in Bolinas, and they made it really local by having a guy shucking oysters. If I wasn't allergic to them, I'd be all over it! The food was great and the dance party was even better. I saw so many old rafting friends that it also felt like an ARTA reunion...

And finally, the wedding we've all been waiting for....Nisan and Marcelle! I've been helping Marcelle with this wedding since the day they got engaged. It was seriously the best planned wedding I've ever been to. The details were amazing and the venue was beautiful. I wouldn't be surprised if this wedding ended up on Martha Stewart weddings (or featured in any wedding blog, for that matter!)

Did I mention how much I love weddings??