26 March 2012


#marchphotoaday #somethingyouwore freckles & lace
lately, I...

// thought better of my usual pre-sleep reading ritual. I didn't even crack the new book I couldn't wait to start, and just enjoyed the delightfully loud sound of raindrops falling just above a cozy sleeping nook we occupied Saturday night. It was a great night of sleep.

// go with the flow re: the boy's peculiar napping requirements (hot, scratchy puppet on that hand, read that book, hold it like this, don't fold that blanket, etc etc) and relish the fact that he occasionally naps again. And, so I sometimes nap, too.

// mentally dog-eared last weekend's smart phone-free hiatus/sabbath thingy, and realized it was a natural state for me. I put that 'shiny rock' away for days, and still haven't checked in on Instagram. It feels just fine. (Oh, I'll be back!)

// fell desperately behind on emails, blog posts and all things internet-y. I feel bad about the emails (and will remedy very soon!), but not much else!

// blew off the March photo a day thing (a while ago). I'm OK with it. As a recovering victim of the "should do's" I truly relish blowing off minor (ok, super casual) commitments like this. You know, only if I feel like it.

// realized I have no idea where to plant a black currant plant waiting in the cool recesses of our garage. I think I might be running out of garden space. Yikes.

// have been absolutely stinking of chlorine lately (which I simultaneously loathe and love--dries my skin horribly, but smells like summer). Mommy and Me swimming lessons!

// parked the bread starter in the back of the fridge for a baking break, and cultured some cream for butter instead.

// figured we might as well start "doing" Easter for Jacky. Not in a religious sense, but you know... easter basket, egg dying, etc. Yes, having put it off this long, we must seem like the biggest grumps and meanies. Probably. It's not at the top of my holiday list, and maybe we resist the "should do's" to a bit of an extreme? All I know is we're not going with the nasty, branded, cello-wrapped, so-called baskets J was eyeing at Target! Good grief. I mean, Peeps may be a requirement in my book. Disney-branded crap is not.

// joined Toby for a leisurely date night... ostensibly for work purposes, but the break-down of the evening went like this: 2% work event, 8% walking to dinner hand-in-hand (flashing back to pre-kid days), 60% actual delightful dinner (dessert, works), 30% post-meal bookstore browsing. Perfect.

// have not touched, washed or looked at a diaper in 2 weeks. Diaper-free nighttime is here! Woot!

21 March 2012

I've got a Foggy Notion

Friends, in between the usual rhythm of family life--laundry, swimming lessons, trying to SLEEP--it's been work, work, work around here lately. Quite a few exciting Willow Ship-related announcements are afoot... the first of which is happening today.

Today is the re-opening of Foggy Notion, Alissa Anderson's really special studio and shop in the Inner Richmond. Alissa's shop is a curated collection of beautiful and useful items--all handmade, organic and eco-conscious. Alissa is such a friendly, encouraging and motivated person, and I'm so proud that she selected some of my linen dinner and cocktail napkins for Foggy Notion.

I stopped by the totally re-designed space last Friday and it's a wonderland of reclaimed wood installations and beautiful light. If you're in town, plan on coming to the grand re-opening party this Friday night. Toby and I are making a mini-date night out of it, and I can't wait to meet some of the other artists and see the whole revamped store put together.

Oh, and check out today's Daily Candy feature on Foggy Notion!

16 March 2012

garden friday | week of winter edition

It seems Winter finally came. Let's hope it's just about done. The week before, we ate dinner in the garden on a gorgeous, warm evening, and it's really hard to go back to umbrellas, thermals and Christmas-y tea after all that loveliness.

Due to all the rain, this was almost a post with one, pathetic little kitty photo. He loves being out in the rain. Me, not exactly. Well, maybe Pablo just likes it better than all the 3 yr old attention he gets inside. Anyway, it stormed all week, and brave Mr Pabs sat it out and soaked it all in, just like the thankful plants. I was pretty thankful, too. I always love an excuse to leave the garden hoses alone.

As for those plants. There was a break in the rain today and I dashed out with the camera to capture the happy, soaked garden.

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The peas are reaching.

garden friday 03 16 12
The chives are doing their back-bend sprouting routine.

garden friday 03 16 12
The blue borage and arugula volunteers are popping up EVERYWHERE. Especially the arugula, which I let go to seed then ignored for months. Millions of seeds all over my gravel and beds, all popping up. And they, like borage, will grow anywhere. One nice thing is that when you walk on all the arugula sprouts, the air smells peppery and delicious. 

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Nasturtiums pop up everywhere too. I gleefully pop them up and out. Sometimes, I might actually say NO! as I pull them up. No, no, no.

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A plant I do want. The kumquats are coloring up nicely.

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And, now... my pretties. The apple espaliers are blossoming. Last year, there was one of these clusters on the Gravenstein, but this must be the year of maturity, as the top and middle tiers are covered in blossom clusters. It's been so interesting watching these trees do vastly different things each Spring, these past 3 years.

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The blossoms start out hot pink, then fade to a light shell pink, then white. Sadly, this year, I'll have to pinch off any fruit again, as we have one more tier of branches to grow. One more year! For those keeping track, it also looks like I'll be able to keep that half-broken branch on the Gravenstein. It may have knitted itself back together -- fingers crossed!

Hope you have beautiful gardening weather this weekend. Spring is almost here!

15 March 2012

sew clothes? why not?

My mom was a great mom. Want to know why? Here's one example. When I was, oh, ten or so? She told me that one of the things she admired about me was my ability to finish whatever project I started. Tenacity, focus. Nice, right? .... only, even at that age, I thought to myself, "really? me? oh-kayyy....."  Maybe she really did think I was a great project-finisher, which is fine. She was a wonderful encourager.

But, really. I may finish things from time to time, but I wouldn't say it's a life-defining characteristic. Far from it! I can't tell you how many projects I have pending. From Jacky's long-awaited Farm Quilt, to some wind wands he's about to grow out of, to a Liberty of London quilt I sketched out, to... well, it goes on and on.

And, I'm OK with it. If I spin it positively (why not?), you could say I'm curious. I want to do. I'm a great project starter. Fine.

The other thing my Mom was great at was sewing. She made me many of my favorite pieces of clothing when I was little. Clothes that made me so happy I'd try to wear them every day. Clothes that made me twirl.

So, my latest project? I want to sew some clothes. Yes, I may currently only know how to sew a variety of straight lines, but... why not? I taught myself how to sew those lines, so why not dive in a little further?

And, really, it all started with a couple of cute Japanese books. I mean, a book called I Am Cute Dresses? There's no way I can not buy that. The sewing is so simple that there aren't even patterns. Just a variety of ways of modifying simple shapes, using basic techniques.

I also picked up Simple Modern Sewing, which does have a handful of basic patterns you can modify for dozens of pieces. For a construction novice like me, it's perfect with it's generous explanations of the basics. Like, serious "step zero" information.

So, we'll see? Maybe if I can figure this stuff out, I can move onto "real" stuff like the beautiful Wiksten patterns by Jenny Gordy.

Do you sew clothes? Any tips?

12 March 2012

how to eat kumquats

I heart kumquats #marchphotoaday #fruit

First off, if you follow me on Pinterest, so sorry about the kumquat pin-bomb! I'm done, for now :)

So, kumquats. We now have our own little tree that seems to be doing well. Upon bringing the little guy home from the garden store, we promptly devoured all the ripe fruit. Now, all the greenies are going orange. In my yard! Citrus ripening in San Francisco!

It's exciting. And, since kumquats from actual citrus farmers are in the markets now, for cheap, I've been trying to broaden my kumquat-usage horizons. How do you like to eat them?

So far, I've not been terribly creative: I just like to eat 'em whole. The tart inside marries so well with the sweet, citrus-oil-rich rind. My second favorite way to use kumquats is as a bribe. Sad but true. Jacky will do just about ANYTHING for a couple 'quats.

Beyond that, I was trying to think up some salads, some cooked recipes, etc... but why strain yourself thinking when there's Pinterest?? Such a great recipe source. Here's some of the highlights of my recent pinning blitz:

Kumquat Upside-down Cake || Source: alexandracooks.com via blake on Pinterest

Ginger Kumquat Smash || Source: thekitchn.com via blake on Pinterest

Kumquat Thyme Dressing || Source: quincesandthepea.com via blake on Pinterest

Kumquat Raspberry Popsicles || Source: foodgawker.com via blake on Pinterest

Kumquat-Lemongrass Chicken || Source: popartichoke.com via blake on Pinterest

Beet, Kumquat, Quinoa Salad || Source: loveandoliveoil.com via blake on Pinterest

Cardamom Kumquat Bars || Source: familyspiceblog.com via blake on Pinterest

So, how do you like your kumquats? I'm greedy for new ideas.

09 March 2012

garden friday | corners of my garden

garden friday 03 09 12
It was one of those "no time to engage in the dressing power struggle let's just get outside!" beautiful, sunny days. Don't you love the hacked formerly-footie PJs? So classy. But, this boy is growing fast, and feet-first.

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Can't you imagine the handfuls of blueberries? We've definitely never had clusters like this before.

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The peas are up and reaching. I think if I had to pick one Spring crop and grow only it, it would be peas. Fresh, raw peas right from the shell are a revelation. I never used to think I liked peas until I had 'em fresh. So far, my douses of organic Sluggo have kept the pea-chompers at bay.

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The kiwi vine is making buds! If you look closely, you can see two. Future food, my boy.

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Variegated 'Pineapple' mint. I whacked it back hard mid-winter and it's back for Round Two. My mom's wise words about the dangers of planting mint in open ground are echoing in my ears... I've started spying it popping up here and there and there.

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'Lime' scented geranium. I kind of want to collect other "flavors" -- do you have any you particularly like?

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Rose Geranium. Behind this little monster is the hose spigot, so every time I water, I have to plunge my hands into the foliage. I love that scent.

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The perennial flowering plants are starting to grow and bloom. I'm so bad: if a plant isn't edible, I have no capacity for remembering its name. I truly love this plant, but I couldn't tell you what it's called. I think it's a California native, since it shows up almost as frequently as my other favorite, Echium (OK, I can remember that name.)

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Spanish lavender is budding. The bees will be ecstatic soon.

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The latest collection of shards found in the yard, relics of the family before us.

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The awesome dirt pile & truck corner. You can also see this weekend's project: weed-whack/saws-all/rip out all the rest of the old vines along the back fence. Oh, we have plans. Plans that might include a lovely sitting deck alongside the aforementioned playhouse. These plans must be pushed forward.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

06 March 2012

five things

photo by Toby

1. this egg sandwich, on homemade bread. with crappy American cheese. possibly with a couple pickled jalapeƱos tucked inside. Oh. Yeah.

2. early morning sleepy kid snuggles.

3. almost being done compiling tax info for a complicated year. ugh. every year I think I'm going to be done by Feb 1. never happens.

4. amanda's new magazine. can't wait to get my copy.

5. jora's pretty redesign, by the talented Desi. Love the type, the colors, the friends working together :)

05 March 2012

garden friday | citrus blossom-scented edition

Meyer lemon
Meyer Lemon in bloom. Oh, the smell... it's simply heavenly.

...otherwise known as The Weather Was Too Gorgeous to Blog On Time Edition.

Seriously beautiful weather. And, as my neighbor observed over the fence, we are so lucky. Many others are suffering and dying due to the ravages of weather, and we've been spoiled with the mildest, balmiest days lately. Bittersweet.

// Summary of the Week //

Sun: Rain then sun. Perfect growing conditions.

Seeds planted: cilantro, italian parsley, carrots, favorite lettuce

Next up: 'bergamo bouquet' monardaanise hyssop, sunflowers, runner beans and other flowering vines

Spotted: first butterfly! (a monarch no less), hummingbirds, hawks

Re-potted: citrus (meyer lemon & kumquat)

Appearing: peas, kale, spinach, more asparagus spears

Harvested: more rosemary

Meals eaten outside: 1

To buy: copper tape (for slugs), more potting soil

To do: massive weeding and tidying. Still.


Hope you had a lovely weekend!

01 March 2012

put an egg on it

My recent food philosophy. I used to be squeamish around any egg with moving parts, but my how things have changed. I put an egg on it any ol' time now.

Current fave egg substrate? Martha's gringo version of vegetable bibimbap (white girl Seoul food? Ha. Sorry about that.). Now, I'm no expert on Korean food, but I'm certain that this "simplified" version is not 100% legit (I have no idea what the difference would be; if you do, please enlighten me), but all I know is I made this for lunch 3 days in a row last week. Oh yeah.

I make it with whatever I have on hand, as it's pretty much a template: rice + veg + egg + flavors... if I have these basics, I'm good to go:

a pretty egg, gorgeous leftover red Thai rice, the holy flavor trinity (sriracha, dark sesame oil, tamari) and... well, it's garlic. You know garlic.

today's veg selection + some onion slices (camera shy). I usually like scallions best, plus some cabbage (we were out). The kale is frozen from the garden. Did you know you can just tuck kale un-blanched in the freezer? It does great.

Martha's recipe doesn't call for these, but I really can't get enough sesame flavor.

I find this dish to be so filling and satisfying and perfect on a cold, drizzly day. Did I mention it's a one pot, one dish meal? Check out the recipe and get improvising!

perfect lunch. 3rd day in a row. #creatureofhabit
one of last week's very happy meals

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