hanky panky

I'm not going to name any names, but someone in this household has big messy sneezes A LOT throughout the day. So a while back we decided to give handkerchiefs a try, to see if carrying a hanky in his pocket every day would be an acceptable alternative to carrying around loads of tissues and paper napkins. Besides, (a) the treehugger in me likes the idea of not wasting any more trees than necessary and (b) hankies don't shred into tiny pieces in the laundry like tissues do. Much like the closet doors, this is a win-win situation for me!

We were just folding the hankies (sometimes ironed, sometimes not) and putting them in a pile either on top of our dresser or in one of the drawers. But then I saw the project in this post, and I knew I wanted to try and recreate something like that for us.

I used part of a fat quarter of some lovely chicken fabric I picked up at Esther's the last time we were in Bainbridge along with some natural cotton and some black fabric from my stash. I love me some chickens. :)

And much like Soule Mama, I put a zipper on the back so that I could easily stuff the clean hankies in after the laundry is done. But man alive, I hate reading instructions and I have no idea what I'm doing with zippers! How do you join the fabric at the top and bottom of the thing? I figured out a work-around by sewing an extra rectangle of fabric to either end...but I'm sure there's a better solution than that.

Winner winner, chicken dinner!


monster tomato

Have I mentioned lately that we planted 28 tomato plants this year? And that 26 of them are THRIVING? We have so many tomatoes, it's ridiculous (ridiculously AWESOME, I say). Some of the tomatoes are really big, too. Check out this bad boy!

I think he's a Hungarian Heart, although my plant markers got a little mixed up so I could be wrong. But regardless, he weighed in at a whopping 1 pound 5 ounces!

So just seeing him sitting on our patio table doesn't really do justice to how big he is, does it? Okay, let's put something with it for scale. How about my hand?

Hmm, still not really doing it for you? How about using Henry for scale?

Mom, why are you doing this to me??

Hee, hee.... Don't worry, I gave him a cherry tomato to snack on for being such a good boy for my photo shoot.

So what did we do with this big ole tomato? Well the monster tomato got crushed and preserved along with his brothers and sisters. More to come about that in a future post... :)


before and after

Back in July, when my dad and stepmom came to visit us, they asked if there were any small(ish) home improvement projects that they could help us with. Umm, yes please!

Right near the top of my list since we moved in has been replacement of our closet doors. It's probably been near the top of the list of anyone who stays with us as well, since I took off the closet doors from our guest bedroom and threw them in the dump a few years ago...but never got around to actually replacing the doors. Welcome to our home! Here's a messy closet for you to look at while you lay in bed! :)

So anyway... We had 4 sets of plain jane hollow core sliding closet doors that had definitely seen better days. My dad did some sleuthing around at the big box hardware stores and he came up with an affordable and relatively easy alternative. Veneered "doors"!

I was skeptical of these things at first, because I was really envisioning a "real" door instead of a frame with a thin veneer in it. But you know what? I totally love these now! They were affordable, they match the rest of our bedroom & bathroom doors, and most importantly they look SO MUCH BETTER than what we had before. I'd call that a win-win situation. :)


epic fail

I'm willing to try just about anything in the kitchen, so a few weeks back I tried my hand at pickles. I followed this recipe as well as the pickling spice recipe linked to in that same post. I used up nearly 3 pounds of cucumbers grown from the garden. I anxiously set the jars down in a cool dark place and waited for several days before peeking in on them.

EPIC FAIL! I'm not sure where I went wrong, but neither Karl nor I could stomach even a tiny bite of these. The cloudy liquid was our first clue that something was amiss. The horrible taste was the second clue, and then all ~3 lbs of them went into the yard waste bin. I'm sure I must have taken a wrong step somewhere along the process, because typically the recipes I get from that site are superb.

What a waste! Oh well...I shall persevere in this pickle battle. We have warm sunny days this week, which should bode well for a 2nd crop of cucumbers with which I can try again. And this time I'm going for a simple recipe. One that actually includes vinegar would be nice, too.

Victory will be mine! :)


I love this!

Be still my beating heart....I love this DIY project!

I'm trying to come up with a way to do this safely on our back patio, since we don't have a fence right up against our seating area (and I think mounting them to the house would be a bit foolish). Perhaps a long and shallow galvanized metal tub, filled with sand with the bottles placed inside? Or a movable screen of some type where the "torches" could be mounted?

Le sigh... :)


Bellevue Nursery

Way back at the end of May, we visited the Bellevue Nursery on a lovely sunny day. It was so charming!

I seriously loved these little planters that were built in to the greenhouse walls.

These are bleeding hearts, right? They remind me of my mom, since we had them in front of our house when I was growing up. (speaking of my mom.....ummm, email or call me back, lady!)

And these mossy flowers just reminded me of something you'd see in Cinderella. Too cute!



Why didn’t I try this sooner?

I’ve wanted to make homemade salad dressing for years, but never have. Until now...

Not sure why, but homemade salad dressing seemed like a lofty goal. Like it would probably be more effort than it was worth. Man alive, was I wrong!

But first, let me back up a little bit. This all started recently when we had a bunch of lettuce ready in the garden. While planning out our meals for the week, I noticed that our store-bought salad dressing had all expired. We also had a TON of basil ready to go, and I remembered reading about a basil-infused dressing called Green Goddess that sounded awfully tasty.

So a little searching ensued, and I found and tried this Barefoot Contessa recipe (minus the anchovy paste, because I forgot to get it at the store). Oh me oh my – this was easy and delicious! I expected it to have a very strong basil flavor, but really it just had a very fresh and well-balanced flavor.

Karl’s not a huge fan of creamy dressing though, so I decided to try out a vinaigrette. A little more searching on Allrecipes.com (one of my go-to online recipes resources) let me to this recipe, so I gave it a try. I just dumped all of the ingredients (using regular balsamic instead of white balsamic) into a mason jar, popped the lid on, shook vigorously and then served. Scrumptious! About halfway through his salad, the hubs declared that this was the best dressing he’d ever had and he didn’t ever want to eat store-bought dressing again. I heartily agreed!

So the lesson for the day is this: if it seems intimidating, just go for it!

Hmm, perhaps this means that composting won’t be as hard as I’m imagining...


coffee grounds

Last year our hydrangeas didn't turn very blue...so this year (on a whim) I took our used coffee grounds and sprinkled them around the base of the plants.

Whaddya know...it worked!


We didn't get a bobblehead, but at least we got a win!

Last night Karl and I went to see the Mariners vs the Rays at Safeco Field. We'd gotten a good deal on some nosebleed tickets through my work, and it was Ken Griffey Jr. bobblehead night. We weren't one of the first 20,000 fans to arrive at the stadium, so we weren't one of the lucky ones to get a bobblehead. But as it turns out...we were still in for quite a treat! The game started off with a phenomenal entrance by the U.S. Navy Parachute Team, the "Leap Frogs". They jumped into the stadium from a high-flying plane while the National Anthem was sung, and we were thinking that they'd just leisurely float down to the field...

Man we couldn't have been more wrong! They came whipping down so fast, it was crazy!

And they landed on their feet, too! The crowd went WILD for these guys!

And then the game started off in the first inning with a homer by Branyan, so we thought the game was going to be amazing. Only....innings two through six went by with no Mariners runs and hardly any excitement. Karl even had to go halfway around the stadium to get me a coffee so I could stay awake (hey, my normal bedtime on Friday nights is pretty early!). :)

But then came the seventh inning, and Mr. Bobblehead himself knocked one out of the park...and the fans came alive! Then Ichiro hit a two-run single to tie the game up and we went in to extra innings. And at the bottom of the eleventh, when the Mariners were down by one...Langerhans hit a walkoff homer that won the game! Everyone was going nuts, and there were lots of high-fives being tossed around as we all cheered and left the stadium. So fun!

And today...my throat hurts from all the cheering. Ha! :)


Blue Angels!

This past weekend we went to a SeaFair party at Amy & Tim’s house. It was so much fun!

Our friends live just a short walk away from Lake Washington, but the best way to see the Blue Angels performance was to walk uphill from their house a little bit to a dead-end street that had a great lookout spot. It was like a little block party - there were people sitting on their roofs, ladies hanging out on their balcony yelling “Happy SeaFair!” to everyone who walked by, parents with little kids sitting on their shoulders and just lots of happy people out enjoying the festivities.

From where we were standing we had a great view, and those fighter jets flew so close to us that we could easily read the writing on their wings!

Karl wants me to point out that these pictures were all taken with a fixed-length lens...i.e., no zoom.

Amy & Tim have a great group of friends. I often feel a little nervous and awkward in social situations where I hardly know anyone, but I didn’t need to worry about that at all for this party. Everyone was super friendly and inclusive, which made for an awful fun day. We were there for something like 12 hours (for lunch, the Blue Angels, Rock Band playing, dinner, the fireworks show and then even more Rock Band) but the time really flew by.

We also had Karl’s cousin, Lincoln, in town visiting us. He had such a great attitude and happily hung out and mingled with a bunch of strangers all day. This was the first time I’d met Lincoln, and the first time that Karl had seen him in nearly 10 years. It was fun getting to know him, and I sure hope he follows through on his plan to move to Portland soon. The more family members we can get to move to the Pac NW the better….that’s what I always say! :)

Thanks, Amy & Tim, for hosting such a great party!