Monthly Archives: August 2012

Egg Count

Look at my cute little egg-helper!  My friends’ adorable son, Lane, was quite taken with the egg harvest….so far, we’ve got eight, all from Millie….but, big news–both Gertie and Eloise started doing the ‘egg squat’ this week, so we should be getting more any day now!

THIS Dog….

Well, this time, this photo of this dog got selected for Sunset Magazine’s Pet of the Week post on Facebook.  For once, the only trouble she got into was being too darned cute.

See it on Facebook here:

Garage to Studio, Phase I

The front of the garage/barn, in all it’s 100-year-old glory.

One of the things that I loved about our house, upon first sight, was the ramshackle barn that is the garage.  It is the perfect spot for something that I have always dreamed about having: my very own, grown-up art studio.  But, in its current condition (though it is such a fun photo-shoot backdrop), it just doesn’t pass muster: dirt and debris seem magnetically drawn through the cracks and crevices of those old barn doors, the electrical is worrisome, at best, and with no insulation, it is a sweat lodge in the summer and an ice box in the winter.  For the last four years, I have pined bitterly for my studio, but with all the work that needed our attention/funds in the house, it has routinely found itself at the bottom of the priority list.  But finally, finally! we are moving forward with it, and I am beside myself with excitement to be able to get my art back on.  It’s going to be a lengthy process, so to adequately cover it from start to finish, there will be many more posts to come.  Everyone’s on the edge of their seat, I know.

The west side of the barn, though charmingly shabby, is getting a face-lift, too.

So somehow, after starting the weekend like this:

….we managed to get our butts to work.  The current interior of the garage, I am embarrassed to say, is a dark, disorganized, post-apocalyptic outpost that looks something like this:

Notice the chubby kitty to the left. She’s hard to miss.

The first phase of the project called for building a large storage closet in the back corner of the barn.  But first, the area had to be cleared, including removing all the haphazardly attached odds and ends of wood that were tacked along the walls, as well as removing the morning glory vines that had grown inside and turned it into The Not-So-Little Shop of Horrors.

The cool salvaged machine-shop shelving is staying….just had to get it untangled from the death-clutch of the vine beast.

Jonathon measures the freshly-cleared space. Notice the ‘window to nowhere’ on the right-hand side. That’s staying. It’s awesome.

Abbie helps Jonathon with an engineering issue.

A small handful of the THOUSANDS of old nails we pulled out of the various mish-mash of materials that were tacked up to act as interior paneling.

The growing pile of mish-mash that was pulled off the walls….keeping all of it, of course, to use in future fun projects. This place is an old-wood gold mine!

One of several sets of old, rusted, lovely shelf brackets salvaged from the barn walls. Definitely going to be up-cycled! I love me some junk.

The skeleton of the new closet goes up!

Unfortunately, since we are far from done, I am going to reserve all ‘after’ shots until the whole thing is done.  Oh, the humanity!

Phase II coming soon….

Impromptu Nephew(s) Photo Shoot

The wee nephew finally arrived home from the hospital this weekend, and, of course, Jonathon, myself, and my camera went for a quick visit.

Had to share my favorite shots!

And, of course, the not-so-wee nephew was there to keep the bad guys in line:


A nice little shout-out from the ladies at  Thanks so much for the lovely mention!

It’s a Nephew!

Welcome to the world, Garron Jaimes!  All 9lbs, 12oz of you, you sweet little beefcake!  I cannot wait to hold you (with the proper support).

Happy August 16th, everyone!

What’s it Gonna Be?

Enough about chicken eggs….my sister-in-law has finally gone into labor!  We will finally, finally, finally find out what she’s been brewing all this time.  Will Presston get a little brother, or a little sister?  Cheers to either, and to finally knowing!

Good luck, Lindsey (and Ryan), we love you and are so excited!

Garden-ish Floral Arrangement Tutorial

All-righty.  So, for this arrangement, I used what was left over from my Home Depot flower-run that didn’t go into the Treasure-Box arrangement.  This was about a dozen roses, one bunch of tuberose, and just over one bunch of carnations.  I also decided to pull in some hydrangea and jasmine vine from the garden.  If you don’t have hydrangea growing in the garden, you can find it quite often in cut bunches at the usual stores (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, farmers’ markets, etc.).  The more local your blooms are sourced from, the better. Buying an actual hydrangea plant from one of these places is another option, as long as you get one with several blooms on it (like 3 or 4).  If you don’t have jasmine vine growing in your garden, just skip that element–it isn’t a deal-breaker.

I chose a pretty wicker container with a glass vase set inside of it.  The vase portion measures about 6 inches tall by 4 inches wide.  Any similarly-sized vessel will do.

Next, I butchered some hydrangea from the yard, and then set it asymmetrically into the container:

Then I cut my roses to varying lengths between 6 and 8 inches and inserted them in concentrated, off-centered clusters amongst the hydrangea.  Don’t try to put the roses in in an even distribution–it will never look even, so just give in to the lopsidedness.  Embrace the lopsidedness.

Tuck in the carnations and tuberose in the same manner, being sure to remove any leaves or blooms that might fall beneath the water line.

Wiggle your flowers in and out to achieve a soft, mounded shape.  Then screw that all up by tucking in some random bits of jasmine vine (if you’ve got it or something similar to clip from your yard).

Hopefully, you’re left with a lovely-smelling, romantic garden-style arrangement (obtained mostly from Home Depot).  If it doesn’t wind up looking exactly like the photo above, don’t fret.  I only blog about the ones that turn out well….and the ones that don’t always look better after a couple glasses of wine.  I’m just sayin’….

Treasure-Box-Style Floral Tutorial

Back in ye olden days, when I was doing floral event design for a living, this style of arrangement was kind of my trademark.  I still love them.  There is just something so charming about a pretty jewelry box over-flowing with flowers.

For this arrangement, I hit ye olde farmers’ market for the flowers, including: one bunch of pale pink roses, two bunches of tuberose (my most favorite-ist flower!), and two bunches of carnations (one white, one creamy yellow).  Now, I know there are a lot of carnation-haters out there that are going to get cranky, and believe me, I used to be one of them.  But they have won me back to the dark side.  Carnations are rampantly misused and mistreated (only elementary school science teachers should dye their carnations….everyone else should knock it off).  In reality, they are a sweet, ruffle-y, wonderfully textural floral element when used either exclusively (as in, an entire, mounded arrangement of carnations), or as a filler element alongside other, less misunderstood flowers.  There.  I’ve said my piece.  On with it.

I already had a cute little jewelry box from World Market in mind to use:

Dimensions are roughly 6″x6″x6″ plus or minus a half inch here and there.

Next, you want to line the inside of your chosen container (if it isn’t already miraculously water-tight) with a plastic bag to allow it to hold water.  I usually use a Ziploc or other fairly thick-walled zippy bag—you need the plastic to be pretty strong so you don’t accidentally poke through with a stem along the way.  For this sized container, I used a quart-sized baggy, but you can always go bigger….sometimes it’s better to go bigger.

***Update*** Recently, I’ve begun to favor NOT using plastic bags for this…they are terrible for the environment. Really. I now prefer to place a small glass container inside the box as the vessel for water. If the glass is slightly smaller than the box, stuff some stuffing like kraft paper or paper towels around the base of it to secure inside the box.

Slip the baggy inside the box so that the edges of the bag are as close to the lip of the box as they can come without showing.  Because this one is a wooden box, I then stapled the top edge of the bag in place.

Staple through the zippy edge of the bag, no lower.

Carefully fill the bag with water and add a little sprinkle of flower powder if your bouquets came with it (if not, just skip this step–it isn’t the end of the world).

Next, if the lid of your container is like this one, it yawns all the way open, and, personally, I won’t have this.  Hold the lid at a semi-open angle and then use a hot glue gun to run a bead of hot glue along each of the hinges, back and front.  Hold it in place (or prop it) while the glue sets, and then the lid should stand at half-mast.  Much better.

Trust me, don’t skip this step.  I will know.  And I will find you.

Now, it is flower time.  For this one, I started with six of the roses, cutting the stems to about a 5 or 6 inch length, removing any remaining leaves, and then setting them into the container so that they kind of rest on the edge.

This one’s about a 6 inch stem length.

Next, it is carnation time.  Carnation-haters, look away!

Because I had two shades of carnations, I used a few of each: about 3 cream and 5 white. It would have worked, also, to just use all one color.

Now, for the tuberose (joy!).  Cut the tuberose to about a 6 inch length and strip away the bottom leaves and flowers (anything that might fall below the water line, you want to remove).  Then tuck those suckers into the gaps that are left.

I wound up using about 5 tuberose clusters.

And there you have it! (Hopefully!)

Caught in the Act!

This morning I went about my typical chores in the yard, with my typical black-and-white chicken underfoot.  All of a sudden, I realized I wasn’t tripping over Millie anymore….she had disappeared.  My spidy-sense began to tingle…that bird was off laying an egg!  For anyone who hasn’t read the last entry, I only just discovered THE FIRST EGG two days ago.  I suspected it was Millie who had done it, but I could not be sure.  I wanted some proof, and I was about to get it.   I scanned the yard, and stumbled upon a curious thing: a curry bush in my herb garden shimmying like the rhythm was gonna get it.

Said curry bush, front and center.

Upon closer inspection, I found my sneaky little girl hard at work, building the cutest little nest in her curried little cavern.

That comb is hard to miss.

She didn’t seem to mind me sticking the camera in her face, but….

….she certainly took a moment to scream bloody murder when the other chickens came to check on her.

The business end of the chicken as she re-enters the bat cave.

After a grueling 10 minute labor….

I give you….THE SECOND EGG!!!

1st egg on top, 2nd egg on bottom.

There is a definite color and size variation between the two eggs, which leaves me wondering if the first one might not have been Millie’s after all.  The plot thickens….but in the meantime….curried eggs, anyone?


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