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Friday, July 25, 2014

garden peppers

These pretty peppers popped up in our garden. About half are killer spicy - the others, not so much. 


While there is nothing gargantuan about this summer produce as there was two years ago when we grew the monster zucchini, we have a pretty good crop of sweat peas, strawberries, peppers, cucumbers, fennel and our first tennis-ball-sized watermelon!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

smoothie pictograph

I love this smoothie pictograph from the Blender Girl!

It should in what order you should put things in the blender to make smoothies as well as different ways to jazz up your smoothies. 

We make a lot of smoothies over here as it's the one way I can guarantee that Mr. P., my vegetarian-who-doesn't-like-vegetables will get enough protein (powder) and nutrients (lots of hidden kale and spinach)

I'm printing this one out and sticking it on the fridge!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

want to go to a sewing party?




There's a sewing party brewing set to take place on November 8th. Want to go?

Basically, it's an online sewing conference filled with classes, seminars and general crafty camaraderie. 

Read more about specific classes being taught here.


Or enter to win a free ticket here at Delia Creates!



Friday, July 18, 2014

pleather tote

You thought I was going to disappear for another month, didn't you? I don't blame you. I'm a fickle summer fool over here. 

The kids are at camp for three hours a day, which, once transportation is factored in, bequeaths me with about two hours to workout, shower, tidy up the house, prepare an afternoon activity, catch up on email and edit my forthcoming young adult novel (final edits are due August 15th). 

So, you can see how blogging can get bumped a little bit down the list of things that need to be done. 



Anyhow, this tote was the first project I wanted to complete over the summer. I got the free pattern online here from See Kate Sew. I found the pleather at L.A.'s fashion district for about a dollar for an entire yard (totally worth the trip!) and the fabric (both outer and lining) I got my local sewing store, Sew Modern. The other notions were purchased at F & S. 


This was an easy afternoon project. When I completed it, I felt as though it was too long. It was perfect for a laptop bag, but seemed a bit excessive for an everyday tote. So, instead of being my usual lazy self, I went back in and broadened the bottom seam, making the bag wider and cutting down on the length. If I had it in me (which I don't) I'd go back in one more time and shift it so that the pleather takes up about 1/3 of the bag's material and the other, green material takes up 2/3. If you follow the pattern exactly, you too will have a long, laptop-like bag, so my advice before sewing would be to shorten the length of the leather  / pleather. 



Til next time, happy sewing!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

homemade polenta


Did I really just take over a month off from blogging?? Sorry about my abrupt disappearance, although, I'm guessing that you'll notice it happened just around the times my kiddos got out of school, which means, I was just busy with them!! Turns out the same number of you visit each day whether I post or not, ha!



In a nutshell, I spent two weeks on a farm in Northern California (more to come) and then home where I've been socializing, reading, getting our house organized, entertaining the kids and driving them to a whole lot of playdates.

There are many amazing things about the farm and I'll dive into all that over the coming week, but one of the great treats was having three meals a day prepared for me! It felt so luxurious! But of course, as soon as I came home, the first thing I did was dive back into the kitchen.

One recipe I've been wanting to try for a while now is homemade polenta. Who knew that all it takes is some home ground popcorn kernels?? The polenta, which I made from scratch, then grilled, came out grittier than the store bought kind, but that's because it has been way less processed, and I actually liked the texture better. 

The recipe I used can be found here

I served it over a bed of kale, roasted zucchini and avocado.




Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Go Kings Go!

Pardons and excuses for the lack of posts lately. The end of the year is always crazy with so much going on between the two school and summer planning. I had a draft of my young adult novel due to my editor a few days ago.  I will be helping to organize the art program for my favorite summer camp this year, so there's been a lot of planning and projects happening at home. July will be much more mellow, so stick it out! 

I happen to live in a hockey family. My parents are both from Montreal and spent their childhoods watching hockey. I somehow managed to marry a Greek boy from California whose passion for the last  thirty years has been….you guessed it….hockey. And now my two boys have been bitten by the bug and suddenly know things like stats and players names. So not in my vocabulary.

So when the Kings go to the Stanley Cup finals, it's a big deal around here. 

We took the kids to game one:



Mr. P. loved every second of it. Doodle was ready to leave after his second hot dog.

We took my dad to game two:

These two waited in line out front to see if they could shoot a hockey puck into a little hole. 



Happy father and daughter:





Happy wife with husband who was watching a very nerve wracking game. He couldn't handle it. And in fact, couldn't speak the next morning from all the yelling he did. 



But he enjoyed his victory pose at the end. 



The crowds were crazy!



Game three just happened in New York. (Kings won!) And we're eagerly awaiting watching Wednesday night's game, also in New York. 

Mr. P. was very excited to finish off his roller hockey season last weekend. He had a bunch of his amazingly supportive friends come and cheer him on! And he was awarded this trophy from his coach, which ended up sticking out of my itty bitty purse all day yesterday, apparently I was trying to redefine the meaning of the word, trophy mom. 






Wednesday, June 4, 2014

crap

Doodle loves to find "treasures" at school. In the past, these have included errant sequins, shiny rocks and cat poop. Yup, you read that right. And he gets equally enthused by each treasure. 

Well, the other morning he awoke in a state of panic, "Mom! Where are the pants I was wearing yesterday?? I left my treasure in the pocket!"

I fished his pants out of the laundry room and he rooted around the pocket searching for something. 

"Yes!!!!" he said proudly, pulling out a metallic object. "My treasure!"

He handed me the following:


He's not reading yet, so the humor went way over his head. According to my husband, this is apparently the name of a designer jeans company that another child must have been donning at school. 

The whole thing kind of made my day. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

pretzels

The end of the school year is crazy busy! I apologize for the lack of posts lately! There are so many parties and classroom events and teacher luncheons and beach picnics and pool parties….I can't keep it all straight!!!



Mr. P. and I made these pretzels for an after school snack yesterday. They were extra delicious dipped in spaghetti sauce. 

We used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I left out the baking soda / lye wash and they still turned out great. I also blew it and completely forgot to let the dough rise for an hour after kneading it and guess what? They tasted delicious!

Bread is so forgiving. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

yarn video

Check out this video made entirely out of yarn. Pretty cool!! Wonder if my kids would be interested in some yarn animation over the summer??



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

breakfast egg and asparagus baguette

Did you have a nice Memorial weekend? We spent a few nights with some friends and their children at La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs. Boasting over 40 pools, it was pretty magical! The kids loved scooting and skating and biking all over the grounds and the outdoor, poolside showing of Frozen was a highlight as was the late night, glow in the dark bocce ball game. 

Now we're in the home stretch with only 12 more days of school left for Mr. P.! And then he's in third grade!?!? Doodle has a bit more time as his school goes til the beginning of August. He and I spent the morning at the doctor who has deemed his broken foot to be healed!! 

I have been trying to make a little more time for breakfast (I tend to only eat breakfast on the weekend) and enjoyed this delicious breakfast egg and asparagus baguette the other morning that I wanted to share with you. Sub any leftover veggie that's in the fridge. 


Breakfast egg and asparagus baguette:
-two hard boiled eggs
-four inch piece of baguette, sliced in half
-grilled asparagus (or other veggie)
-veganaisse (or mayonaisse)
-dill
-salt and pepper to taste

1. toast baguette slices to liking

2. slice hard boiled eggs. 

3. top with veganaisse, asparagus, sliced eggs, salt, pepper and dill

Friday, May 23, 2014

collard green pesto

I love receiving our organic, local produce delivery box every Monday from Good Life Organics. As soon as it comes, I rinse and dry everything and then assess the contents and start planning the week's meals. 

This week, included in the delivery was a stack of beautiful, dark collard greens that I often use to make wraps. But it was Monday pasta night (pasta for the kids, shredded zucchini for us) and I was really craving pesto. Our basil plant is looking a little lackluster, so I decided to experiment and try a collard green pesto. What followed is a delicious, nutritious discovery!


Collard Green Pesto

5 collard green leaves
a hunk of Parmesan (by "hunk" i mean an ounce or two, depending on your preference)
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup of walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
fennel fronds (optional! I happened to be making something involving fennel from our garden that night, so I included a few fennel fronds as well - totally optional!)

Place all ingredients in Vitamix or blender and mix until blended. Feel free to add some water, a little at a time, until you have the right consistency. You could also add some lemon juice. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

fashion district

I've been wanting to make the trek downtown to the fashion district since I started sewing over five years ago. It's really only a twenty minute drive, barring no traffic, but it just seems really far away. 

I dropped this guy off at school…



…met my mom at home and armed with caffeine and some serious air conditioning for the ridiculous heat wave Los Angeles has been experiencing, we headed downtown. The traffic wasn't so bad, but we were witnesses to a crazy car accident and ended up having to call 911, but I digress. 

Once downtown we drove around til we found the least expensive park-all-day lot (which ended up being $4.00 - a steal from the $20.00+ price I read about online.)

Our first stop was Michael Levine on 920 Maple Ave. So, there are two different stores, both under the umbrella of Michael Levine. The first is their regular store that has an amazing selection of fabric and tools and patterns, but the prices are pretty standard. (they have one of the few public restrooms down there that costs a quarter to use.)

I loved this laminate! It was $30.00 a yard, so I passed on purchasing it. 



But across the street is the discount bargain bin version of Michael Levine. Here is where they bring all of their extra fabric both scrap sized and by the yard. They dump it all in these huge bins and you have to search through them to find what you want or what you don't even know you want until you find it and then it feels like Christmas. 



I scored all of this great jersey material as well as ribbing. 



I've already made a muscle tee for Mr. P. no pattern necessary. 



It was the hottest day of the year (103 when we were downtown) so the heat of the loft and the searching through bins made us work quickly. 

Then we walked about six blocks to the FIDM student scholarship store




(FIDM = Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing) Here, students donate their gently used, designer brand clothing that is for sale at a bargain price. I bought a funky pair of short for $4.00. In the back of the store, they have bolts of fabric at a steal!

I got this yard of pleather for $1.00!!!


yards of this art deco stretch fabric for $2.00



 And two yards of this incredibly soft, textured navy blue fabric for $2.00! 



A variety of buttons….


We walked the grounds of FIDM, impressed by their campus. We loved this fountain (probably because at this point we were dehydrated and starving.)




Walking back to the action at the garment district, we discovered a Brazillian restaurant called The Wooden Spoon. It was pretty good! My mom had plantains and beans and rice and I went for the house specialty, the Brazillian chicken pot pie. 



Back on Maple, we walked through a few more stores. Unless you have something specific you're looking for, it can be overwhelming to see so much fabric! Just bolts and bolts spilling onto the street:




My last purchase was some burlap - my favorite choice for wrapping paper. I paid $4.00 for four yards. 

I would definitely go back - especially around Halloween Costume making time and I'd love to peruse those Michael Levine bargain bins the next time I need jersey. 

By the way, this was my car's temperature read after leaving it parked in the sun for a few hours…..crazy!! Can you read it? It says 109 degrees!



And if you're interested in reading more about the different fabric stores, the blog Made has a great and thorough blog post on the subject. Read it here! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

ya conference

Last week, I was thrilled to participate in this young adult literature conference hosted by my alma mater, Crossroads High School, alongside so many incredible young adult authors!



The students were so engaged and asked such wonderful questions! 


I spend so much time sitting alone in front of a computer, it was great to get out and interact with these wonderfully thoughtful readers!


Monday, May 12, 2014

mother's day and reusable coffee cups

Did you have a nice Mother's Day? I did! I awoke and enjoyed my coffee in bed and a minimalist card from Doodle that was simply a blank folded card with the word, "MOM" written on the inside.

He was tickled to learn that if you turn the card upside down, it reads, "Wow!"

I spent the rest of the morning reading (I currently have one book going on upstairs and one downstairs, so I volleyed back and forth between the two depending on where I was in the house.)

I did some cooking for our Mother's Day brunch. 

And began cutting out my material for a hounds tooth coat I am attempting to make. 

My parents and sister came over in the afternoon to enjoy a wonderful brunch al fresco. I didn't snap many photos, but here are a few:

Mr. Meremade surprised me with a bouquet of beautiful peonies (my favorite.)


He made this yummy potato salad, which accompanied a cedar plank grilled salmon with dill sauce:


Here's a kale, beet and avocado salad:


I made these gluten free, quinoa blueberry scones (click here for the recipe.)


It was a lovely day!

Another book I read over the weekend was Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. She has really reduced her family's waste impact. They produce only a quart of trash for the entire year!?!?! Now, there are some tips in here that I just won't be trying anytime soon (read: the Diva cup or making my own paper out of dryer lint.) But I am inspired to implement one new waste reducing change each week to our lives. 


So the first change I instituted today is no more disposable coffee cups

I read online that paper coffee cups contribute to about 3.7 million pounds of solid waste a year!! I purchased these porcelain cups a while back and they've been mucking it up in my cupboard. It's not that I don't want to use them, but keeping them in the cupboard doesn't lend itself to spontaneous coffee runs. Most days I use my French press to make coffee at home, but there are times, when I can't wake up or when I get Doodle to school to early and we make a last minute run to the Coffee bean down the street. 

Solution: leave clean mugs in the trunk of my car

All it takes it a little more effort and some foresight when the dishes are emptied. 

I originally purchased these cups online, but I can't recall from where. I found them here, however, if you're interested. If this pattern doesn't work for you, they have hundreds of others to choose from. 


You can check out Bea's blog here. (I'll add it to my blogroll as well.)

I'll be sharing a new, waste reducing tip each week as well as let you know how my resolutions are coming along! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

fractured foot

Well, I knew it had been too long since someone injured something around these parts!

Last week Doodle fractured his little foot falling off a rock at school. 

We had x-rays done right away, but the radiologist didn't see anything glaring, so Doodle spent the weekend running and jumping on his (broken) foot, unbeknownst to us that it was broken. 



When he was still limping and in pain on Monday, we took him to a wonderful pediatric ortho who took one look at the same x-rays and in two seconds flat announced, "there's the fracture, right there."

Go see specialists. Lesson learned. 

So now he's in a sexy Nylon wrap and a boot for the next three weeks. The good news is the boot looks just like his blue sneakers, so strangers aren't constantly asking him what happened to his foot (his biggest nightmare is people he doesn't know trying to talk to him, shy guy.)



The other good news is he can still swim! So that's how he's been getting his energy out after school each day. 

He found a crystal I had purchased on our trip to Santa Fe and said he was going to rest with it on his foot to help his foot heal. Hope it works!!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

washi pattern giveaway

Made by Rae is currently giving away her Washi Pattern! Maybe you'll win! Click here to enter!


I've made a top for this pattern twice and they both came out great!




Saturday, May 3, 2014

the benefits of crafting



I thought I had come to crafting serendipitously, but it turns out it making things can be a very Zen practice and even offer some health benefits! All the more reason to make time each day for the things you love to do!

Click here to read the full article in the Huffington Post