Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Cottage Conservatory

Black Eyed Angels - Delphinium

When I first started gardening on my own as an adult (especially with heirloom varieties) I was interested in seed saving, but kept coming up low on info, and images to walk me through the process for some of my favorite plants.  I mean, I know it's all pretty straight forward; wait for the petals to fall off, pods of some sort to form, and eventually dry out, but I wanted to know what I should be looking for, and when to clip & collect seed pods - whether to wait for them to open on their own, or catch them right before.  So.  Necessity being the mother of invention, I patiently observed what was happening in my garden, and found a method for a couple of my early bloomers that has been successful thus far.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

We Want You! We Want You!

We want you as a new recruit!
Deadline for application: July 25, 2019
Well, not "me" we ... I don't actually have anything to do with it, except for spreading the word, really.  Anway, that writer guy, Pat Rothfuss, is looking for a business manager to handle daily minutiae so he can get back to focusing on the things he does best, like ... creative minutiae.  So hop over here, and read the job listing, and if you happen to be an expert at a little bit of everything, you should totally apply by sending your cover letter and resume to jobs(@)patrothfuss.com!  I know a couple of people already who could fill the bill, but it should be noted this is NOT a remote position, applicants need to be in the greater Stevens Point, Wisconsin area, or willing to relocate (I hear it's quite a lovely place).

This is such a great opportunity for the Jack/Jill of all trades, or anyone looking for a fresh start in a new career, or even just a change of scenery.  They are asking for serious candidates only, so if you're in a place where you're half-jokingly just throwing resumes at walls to see what sticks, sit this one out, but if you're really ready for something new, go get 'em, Tiger.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

If You Like Piña Coladas

In my neck of the woods, there has been a steady Summer rain falling for the entirety of this balmy National Piña Colada Day, and I can't help but think, somewhere, Rupert Holmes is very pleased.  With that, I give you my personal piña colada smoothie recipe —

Here's what you need:
4 Cups frozen pineapple chunks
3-6 bananas chunked & frozen
1 Cup full-fat canned coconut milk
1 Cup filtered water
1/4 Cup pure, organic maple syrup
1/2 lime juiced
1" knob grated ginger root
1Tablespoon unsweetened organic shredded coconut

Here's what you do:
In a 72 oz sturdy blender place pineapple chunks around the bottom, and fill the pitcher the rest of the way with pieces of frozen banana (Tip: when you freeze bananas you'll want to peel them, and chunk or cut them up first, then bag and freeze).  Throw in the rest of your ingredients, and blend the hell out of it (you may need to stop a few times in order to scrape the sides of your blender's pitcher).  That's it!  If you'd like to enjoy this as a dairy-free "nice cream" option, transfer your mixture to a freezer-safe container, and freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.

This is an incredibly easy, but delicious, and festive concoction to have at Summer gatherings, and is a perfect alcohol-free option that can accommodate a good swath of guests, and their needs without singling folks out, and excluding them from the fare.

Happy sipping!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Say What?

"They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?"
-Diana, Princess of Wales

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Can I Take Your Temperature?

'Cause you're lookin' HOT today!

I don't know about you guys, but my Summer got off to a rocky start, miraculously however, the temperature blanket is still in full swing.  I think I've been clutching it like a life-ring; as if getting each day's color on it will bring some semblance of order to chaos, and do a minor task like hold the entire universe together ... Or something.

In this moment it feels pretty marvelous to be able to come up for air after losing the larger portion of both April and May flattened by back-to-back viruses (or a cold + relapse, or some damn thing) which unceremoniously rolled into a month-long Facebook fast (that actually feels a m a z i n g, to be honest), with a good old fashioned tech flub thrown in for good measure.  Incidentally, did you know that when you upgrade your iPhone, you have to flip the little "messages" toggle to the "off" position in settings so that your new iMessages aren't sent to your old phone that's lying dead in a desk drawer for a month?  Oh, it's just me who had to Google that?  Super.  I'm now officially time-to-have-kids-so-they-can-explain-your-own-tech-to-you years old.

What's so irritating is that I thought I had everything all set up, but when I signed into a streaming app to try out a little adapter (the third one that didn't work because it didn't have audio capabilities like the description SAID it would!) for my clock-radio that keeps my office-space full of fresh tunes ... The one I refuse to junk simply because newer models are available--
Do you remember when people would keep their stereos, and all sorts of sound equipment for, like, decades?  Or even when parents would give their kids an old set, and all you had to do was upgrade the speakers if you wanted it to bump with a little more bass than the Perry Como records used to in your living room?  I miss that.  I also only buy things I really like, and refuse to throw them out by virtue of companies that make billions of dollars per year telling me I should buy the next new thing.  It doubly grinds my gears when they stop selling the parts, and adapters that let you fiddle with your gadgets, and make them work with newer components - there was an entire industry, and chains of stores dedicated to this very thing for the majority of my life, and now we're all just supposed to let our perfectly functioning small appliances wash up on some beach kids are trying to play on because Some Company decided to change the shape of the ports on their devices?  That's a negative, Ghost Rider.
End. Of. Digression.
Anyway, when you log into an app from an old device (and you haven't toggled your messages to "off") you run the risk of having all of your iMessages moving forward, rerouted back to that phone.  Allegedly, there was a notice that was supposed to accompany this switch-a-roo, but I don't remember such a thing ... Which means, I either swatted it away (because who just reads EVERY notice on their smartphone anyway?) or this all happened during a fever-dream, and I never noticed it.  These are both equally likely to have happened.

At any rate, if it's possible to simultaneously exist in a state of refreshed + flustered I think that's my current location.  And really, my mellow is only being harshed because I don't want folks to be thinking I'm out here just giving them the cold shoulder ... I mean, I'm pretty aloof as it is, but that's a new level (even for me)!

The good news is, with me finally mending up, and things being so quiet around here, I've been able to explore some ideas, and finish some old projects.  So, if that's the sort of thing you're into, and hanging around here for, look for some new to-do's, how-to's, and diy's coming a little later.  Also, if you haven't heard from your people in a while, charge up, and check any devices rattling around an old junk drawer just in case! 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Ostara Calling

Fuchsia Chickadees
On a shortlist of the top three things that performed the best in my garden last year, two of them were a nest of birds, and a few wascally wabbits that hunkered down in the roots of my peppermint plant.  It's safe to say that my garden soil is thoroughly depleted at this point, so I'm spending the first few weeks of Spring looking for ways to bring abundance back to my veggie patch!
Peppermint Patch Bunnies
Ever the optimist, I'm still starting a hefty batch of garden seed indoors this year, mainly so my fine feathered friends don't throw a block party, and pick everything out of my beds before anything has a chance to sprout, but also because I'm hopeful I'll find the right trick to revive my jungle.  I'll report back when I've found the correct formula ... Until then, happy planning & planting!


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Chilling Out

Or is that thawing out?  Well, if it's March in the PNW it's both, and everything in between, which inspired my latest batch of chia seed pudding.
Part One
Here's what you need:
3T dried peppermint leaves
2 c boiling water
Here's what you do:
Combine, and steep until cool.
Part Two
Here's what you need:
2 c full-fat coconut milk
2 c peppermint tea (above)
3/4 c coconut shreds
1/2 c chia seeds
2 1/2 T pure, organic maple syrup
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Here's what you do:
If using canned coconut milk, empty 2 cans into a small dish or glass measuring cup, and whisk to ensure the milk has not separated due to cool temperatures.  Once smooth, combine 2 cups of coconut milk with 1 cup peppermint tea, and shredded coconut in a blender, and whip on high until the mixture is fully incorporated.  Pour back into your glass measuring cup, and set aside.

In your newly freed up blender, pour in the other cup of peppermint tea, and add maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.  Mix until fully incorporated, and empty into a large mixing bowl, whisk in chia seeds, pour in coconut milk, and whisk once more.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour (or overnight).  After the mixture is chilled, and all set up, whisk by hand one more time before spooning into dishes.  Serve immediately.

What I love about this treat aside from how fast it is to make (aside from the chilling part) is how it combines the warming flavors of summer like coconut, and vanilla with a whisper of winter with peppermint lingering in the background.  This is not a recipe that screams "PePpeRmInt!" It's delicate, and refreshing, and what's even better is that it can be frozen into a "nicecream" form if you prefer that texture to the more custard-like state of chia seed pudding.

Bon appétit!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Baby, Baby, How Was I Supposed to Know ...

FTC Affiliate Disclosure

... The stork was on the way here?  

"Special Stork"
With Basic Invite's selection of chic baby shower invitations, and announcements, of course!  This utterly charming online stationery boutique has got every major bash, ceremony, and holiday covered.  More personal than an email blast that ends up in a spam folder and automatically deleted before you even get a chance to open it, or events that fall to the bottom of our newsfeeds, these beautifully designed, and remarkably customizable pieces of ephemera convey the sentimental significance of your celebrations, and let recipients know you truly want them to be part of any upcoming merrymaking you have planned.  Beyond delightful paper products, Basic Invite's services (especially those for weddings) like free web page hosting, and address capturing which allows you to use social media to collect addresses that will be stored in your Basic Invite account that you may access during the design process will ensure your friends, and loved ones will never be caught unawares, or worse, sent on a digital scavenger hunt to find notices that have slipped into the endless void.

Still, why all the hype?

First of all (or should I say, "finally"), Spring is right around the corner, and now that we're all beginning to thaw out, and emerge from the post-holiday slump it's the perfect time to start planning baby showers for all of our expectant cohorts ... Remember those early Summer weddings we all attended last year?  Well, some folks brought back honeymoon souvenirs the kind that, while ultimately expensive, were not required to be declared at customs, that they'd like to welcome into our lives with festivities of all sorts, and what better way to communicate, and commemorate the moment than with an enchanting, keepsake quality token of your special day printed on FSC certified paper so that there's still an environment left to protect once these children are old enough to plan their own celebratory occasions?

Airplane Baby Shower Invitations

Along with "baby season" quickly approaching, I am still very much an analog girl in a digital world in many ways, and I appreciate how Basic Invite marries technological convenience with a refinement commonly demonstrated by the highly-skilled artisanal crowd to create next level tangible goods.  So, when they reached out about the possibility of me chatting with you about their products I took a long look around, and folks, I think I'm in love.  You don't see me running a lot of ads on this page; I have one tab where readers can find items, and companies I use and stand by, you'll also see the occasional link to something I think you should know about dropped into an odd post, but I'm not a throw anything at the audience, and see what sticks kind of gal, and I think that says a lot on its own.  While we all know there are other companies in the custom print game, I don't think anyone is doing it quite like Basic Invite.  I have used several print-on-demand companies for business cards, stickers, and to pad out my small stash of personalized office supplies, so I know what it's like to try and navigate a clumsy site, or submit a high resolution image, or see a stock design that looks detailed, and crisp only to have a fuzzy / blurry mess arrive weeks later, but that is not the case here.  Not only are their products professional looking, but they couldn't make it any easier to get from "I have no idea what I want," to a unique, and endearing memento in your hands in mere days.
Whether trendy or timeless, there are literally thousands of products available, and with most of them offering custom color alterations (180+ colors, and foil options), the possible combinations are immense!
I can hear you now, "Thousands?  Be real."  We've all been to print shops where you have to slog through page after page of truly heinous motif compilations before you narrow it down to a meager 4 products that could even be considered, but what really took me by surprise about Basic Invite is that I haven't seen one product that is at all unfortunate looking, or the victim of bad design.  They're all actually quite good.  Good design is good design whether an item is your personal taste or not, and what's more?  You can take advantage of their Try Before You Buy program, and order samples of your desired products before you commit to large batch orders so you're sure to get exactly what you want!  Again, this is yet another thing they've made incredibly easy with each product page having an "order a sample" button in the same row as the "add to cart" function so there is no added drama to the process.  Aside from developing a streamlined system for ordering, and a place where you can flex your creativity, Basic Invite is an inclusive, non-discriminatory company with friendly, and thorough customer service standards, and I think they're a company worth looking at ... I've definitely got my eye on one or two new-to-me items I'd like to order!

Right now, Basic Invite is offering 15% off your purchase with code: 15FF51
But, don't be shy!  If you create an account you may receive an email with a personalized code for 20% off any order placed within one week of activation. 
Marbled Paper Business Stationery

Thank you, Basic Invite, for sponsoring this blog post!
Thank you, Reader, for coming along as I wax poetic about paper products!