an easy thing to love.

here’s what my drying rack looked like yesterday afternoon. i didn’t stage this photo. i do seem to have a minor obsession…

words are not coming well for me today, i’m not sure why. but if you’d like to hear some good reasons to love pyrex, someone else has some very apt words on the subject. and lovely photographs!

last weekend i found a gorgeous yellow and gold pyrex casserole dish at a yard sale in my neighborhood. the man selling it told me his name was ken. he seemed tired, and he asked only a dollar for the dish. it looked as if he could really use that dollar. i was reminded of david mcgowan’s amazing photographic essay about the culture of garage sales during these difficult economic times. it is a bit sad to watch, but it is also life-affirming, and if you’re feeling a little melancholy inside of yourself today (i know i am), it might just help you count your blessings.

xo.

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black and blue

yesterday felt something close to autumn. the morning was cool and misty. i picked blackberries with a friend in her backyard, then came home and did some baking.

we had a lot of berries… blueberries and blackberries. and i haven’t made a pie all summer. and i like pie, very much.

this is my un-scientific recipe. i’ve adapted and tweaked this one over time, and it always seems to turn out.

black & blue pie:

(preheat oven to 400.)

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons corn starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

6 cups berries (blueberries or blackberries or both)

1 tablespoon butter, cut into small chunks

:  :  :  :

* mix all dry ingredients & then pour them over the fruit. stir it all up.

* spoon filling into crust. (i always use this recipe for my crusts. it’s awesome.) oh, and remember to use a big pie plate. this is a big pie. put those little chunks of butter on top.

* weave up a cute little lattice.

* place on bottom oven rack and bake for 50-55 minutes, until crust is golden brown and pie looks all cooked and bubbly. you might need to tent some foil over the top for awhile if the crust looks like it’s browning too fast.

* wait a couple of hours (this is the hardest step).

* eat it & be glad.

do you have a favorite pie you like to make and eat? i’ve got room in my belly for a few more before winter sets in, and could use some extra old standbys.

xo

a few things i think i know:

a woman died. she was pretty old. she was married to a judge who subscribed to playboy. he died first. she wore fur coats & cashmere sweaters & silk scarves and read the bible and lived in a modest house with a beautiful view. she sewed her own dresses and starched & ironed her napkins and made christmas cookies. she was a big fan of wallpaper.

these are the facts as i deciphered them. estate sales are a strange and intimate taste of bittersweet.

life is short, and things are things.

there are some napkins on my table.

xo

a small story about magic (and pesto)

the first time i ate pesto was on an ashram in nevada city, california. i was about twelve, and we were there visiting a magical old friend of my mom’s named shanti (*not his real name). shanti used to be named something else, something closer to john smith, but ever since he went blind on a drug trip and some hippie found him dying under a bush in a park in chicago and took him home and put her hands over his eyes until he could see again, he’s gone by shanti. whatever your take on hippies and drugs and ashrams, there is another piece to the story which is undeniably magical:

before the drug trip and the blindness, john smith had decided he needed something more in his life. he had heard of this ashram called ananda in california, and was on his way there, hitchhiking i think, when the whole blind-in-chicago movie happened. and when the hippie chick healed his blindness with her hands, he asked her how she learned that kind of healing. and she said, i learned it at ananda. and that was the moment when everything changed for him, and he knew he was on the right path. it’s a path he’s still walking today, a path of kindness and right livelihood.

i think that’s a nice story.

anyway, on that day when i was twelve, after a long afternoon of floating our bodies down a lovely river in the hot sunshine, shanti told me we’d be having pesto for dinner. macerated leaves with garlic: it sounded horrible.

he gave me a basket and we walked to the garden and harvested some basil. my hands smelled sweet and green. then we went to the kitchen and in a heartbeat it was finished and i bravely put a spoon to my mouth and fell in love. and right then decided i would maybe like to marry him and spend my life at ananda, floating on rivers and eating pesto for the rest of eternity.

neither of those two things happened, but my love affair with pesto is still going strong.

i don’t use a recipe, just throw a bunch of basil, garlic, salt, pepper, pine nuts* & olive oil in a food processor. at the end i toss in some good, hard, italian cheese. (if i’m freezing it i leave out the cheese and mix it in when it’s time to use it.) also, i like to freeze pesto in an ice tray and then transfer it to a glass jar or ziploc bag for keeping through the fall and winter. that way, i only thaw as much as i need on any given day. because a great pesto is a terrible thing to waste.

wishing you the most wonderful summer weekend, filled with river floats and sunshine and happy things in your bellies.  xo!

* i haven’t actually researched this, but according to my awesome local grocer, there’s a worldwide shortage going on, and china is the only country sourcing them. and for some reason, people are reporting that pine nuts from china are leaving an unpleasant metallic taste in their mouths for up to several weeks! so this year i’m subbing out the pine nuts for walnuts, and so far, so good.

cat princess and the pea

we recently adopted a tiny cat named frida. when she came home, she shared her precious dreams with me: lots of food, love, and my very own princess bed, please.

easy enough, right? how could i deny her these simple requests?

except… have you ever attempted to find a nice-looking cat bed? nearly impossible, unless your tastes are, um, different from mine, or your (totally hip, modern) pockets are deep. so i decided to make one.

materials:

* vintage pop crate with pretty graphics, found at an estate sale ($5)!

* thrifted down comforter, found at the bins! (the bins is a giant warehouse full of huge rolling carts, stuffed with things that the regular goodwill stores couldn’t or didn’t sell. everything is priced by the pound. a queen-sized down comforter costs somewhere in the ballpark of $2. pure awesomeness.)

* a delicious array of patterned bias tape, purchased at portland’s dreamy bolt fabric boutique. (i must admit this was a bit of a splurge; but i couldn’t resist the polka dots!)

the process was straightforward, albeit time-consuming: i deconstructed the comforter (sort of messy, but a rotary cutter kept flying feathers to a minimum), then reworked it. First, I made a liner just a touch smaller than the box. Then, made an overboard collection of mini-featherbeds to stack inside. i liked the idea of extras so i could change them out with the washing. because a princess still needs herself some tuft for napping when the laundry’s in.

(and just in case inquiring minds are curious.. yes, she uses it, when she’s finished with more pressing issues like chasing that tinsel ball!)

xo

on breakfasts.

i am not a breakfast person. no.

i tend to engage more in a wakeup! walkthedog! coffeecoffeecoffee! crashingbyeleven! sort of morning.

i am working on that. sunshine + greek yogurt + pumpkin seed agave granola + blackberries & peaches & plums & figs = a surprising measure of happiness. i tried it out today and hope i will remember tomorrow.

what are your favorite quick and easy, healthy breakfast foods? i would love to hear.

xo

some loot of the kitchen variety.

today i thought i’d share some recent thrift/ estate sale scores with you:

set of etched tumblers with horses (horses!) and gold leaf.

pyrex love.

found these two leaded flour containers at a yard sale. the elderly gentleman selling them says they were used by salesmen toting around their wares from the fisher flour mill in seattle. they’re so, so pretty.

and finally, that one thing. i assure you, i’m not expecting you’ll like it as well as i do. i thought it might’ve been mccoy, so i hedged my bets (it’s not the real mccoy, after all). still, pretty happy-funny-neato:

ridiculous strawberry serving bowl

if any of these pretties spark your interest, i’ve got an etsy shop coming soon!

tell me, what have you been finding lately? xo

perhaps in the interest of loving oneself…

hello and happy monday!

this is a picture of a painting of men with guns looking out to sea. and, of scary wallpaper.

it’s a picture i took of my childhood bedroom. i love my parents endlessly, but seriously: who would find such decor appropriate for a little girl’s room? my father would, that’s who!

i’m an only child, and that means i spent a lot of time alone in that room, forging a sisterhood with my barbie dolls along with a swollen imagination wherein i dreamed i lived in a pink plastic house in malibu and drove a matching corvette. but at night, in my real room, i forgot all about barbie. i’d lie in bed watching the wallpaper eagles turn shadowy and the blank space create a strange repeating profile of a man’s face. it creeped me out.

(has anyone read charlotte perkins gillman’s the yellow wallpaper? it’s crazy good– a short story about a nutty & misunderstood lady who was obsessed with wallpaper, writing, and being alone. when i read that one in high school i could sort of relate, minus the part about mental illness.)

as far as i’m concerned, the biggest advantage to being an only child with a lot of time on my hands is this: i got to be alone a lot. i didn’t think of it as a luxury at the time, of course. but now things are different. i live with my guy and two animals  in a teeny house. i am either touching people or counseling them five days a week. so, not a lotta space for the solo in there.

but this weekend? the guy went out of town, and i spent it alone! such a beautiful, welcome, overdue treat.

* i slept with my limbs stretching across the whole bed, taking up as much space as i could. i swear, i woke up bigger.

* i drank wine and laughed and cried with a girlfriend while she gave me a teenager-manicure.

* i ate fruit salad and ice cream sandwiches.

* i went thrifting and found pretty things i will show you here this week!

* i stayed up late sewing and woke up early to play in the garden!

i also had the room to learn something important. i realized that the life i’m living now, my very own life, is just about halfway on the map between the eagle bedroom and the pink plastic house. and i think that’s just about right.

being alone is good for the soul. and if you don’t believe me, you might want to click on these blue letters here to see how to do it for yourself. (you’re welcome!)

thanks for stopping by! xo

sewing your love into someone else’s pocket.

this tattooed box truck is parked up the block from my house. i like to walk past it in the mornings, coffee and dog leash in hand, just so i can remember how much love there is in the world.

speaking out your random love for other people: it’s good stuff.

guerrilla art: important.

i think we all should be making some version of love-art to share out there and soften up the mean streets.

if you watch this video, you might think about your creative life, and the secret pockets you can put it in, and the bigness of your own astounding heart. i think you’ll fall more in love with just about everything when you watch it. i reallyreally hope so. (i found the link on a sweet blog i pop in at every now and then.)

have the happiest weekend! xo