Good busy

It’s that time of the year when most everyone is busy with holiday preparations. There are places to go, things to buy, friends to visit, food to make and love to share.  I love the fall but I also enjoy the way it transitions into the holidays – Christmas and New Year, in particular. In between feeds, diaper changes and play, I’ve been able to find some time to myself to create and decorate Scarlett. Today was very productive. I promise pictures soon, the winter light moves so quickly. Here’s what I did:

  • put up fresh wreath on front door
  • put up felt garland
  • made a mason jar lantern for the porch
  • moved several prints from their current spots
  • changed out old prints for new Charley Harper ones to place in S’s room
  • put up artificial wreath indoors
  • laundry (clean sheets!)

The tree is still bare, it just needs to be straightened a little and adjusted now that the boughs have settled. We got some boughs from the lower part of the tree that needed to be cut out. I am thinking of projects for those. I think I’ll make some swags for above the kitchen window and maybe the stairway where we will hang our stockings. I need to find some stocking holders. I am still on the hunt for Sagan’s stocking.

We are still behind with shopping for presents but vow to have them done this weekend. These days it feels like Christmas is racing by. I wish it would slow down a little. I would really like to bake some treats too so I’ll have to plan well.

Some cools finds lately:

  • Crazy about Pinterest lately, there is so much inspiration there. And pinning something on my board is like digital collecting without worrying about storage!
  • You might remember that we got rid of our fire place so Mike could put his BA tv above it. This virtual fireplace might keep us cozy.
  • One of my new favorite blogs – Hello Bee
  • If you use Instagram to share your photos, FollowMe lets folks follow your Instagram pics online. Here’s my Instagram/FollowMe site.
  • I love the organic feel of these bangles. Lately gold has been growing on me. Hmm….not sure what to think about that.
  • I’ve been wanting to try my hand at screen printing, here is a cool tutorial on how to screen print on a budget
  • This is the first year I am trying out mini LED Battery Operated Christmas lights, I’ll see how long the batteries last on these.

Pie

I love pie. Remember that sweet potato pie declaration that I made in my last post? Well, I haven’t had the chance to make that pie yet. I did, however, make a lemon custard pie. The recipe I used is from America’s Test Kitchen book, Baking Illustrated. One of my favorites, none of the recipes I have tried from it have ever failed me.

We celebrated my brother’s and dad’s birthday early today. So, we also had a scrummy chocolate cake from Whole Foods. They make really good tasty cakes there. My favorite is their Chantilly cake. The vanilla girl in me cannot refuse that golden vanilla cake, mixed berries and Chantilly frosting. Yum…but this chocolate one is a close second!

I’m on the lookout for a good baby sling. I have read many good things about babywearing and even though we have a BabyBjorn, I want something easier to put on and that I can use around the house. I figured that he won’t be this size for long and I would love to hold him close as much as possible. Snuggly time with mummy means happy baby. And happy mummy too, of course! I’ve read great things about the Balboa Sling.

Look what I made Sagan – a mobile with an old embroidery hoop and some color dots sewn together. These are the colors of his nursery.

I recently updated to OS5 on my trusty iPhone 3GS. It seems to be working pretty well. I am sure there are some obvious lags but I guess I am used to it. I am thinking about getting the new 4S but I don’t really need Siri and I can always surf with my iPad.

Nursing a new baby also gives me a lot of time to check out YouTube videos. I have been watching Nigel Slater‘s Simple Suppers as well as the Delicious Miss Dahl – Sophie Dahl. I find myself attracted by the kitchen set-ups and English accent of both the cooks.

Thursday

Since I’ve been home from Singapore, Thursdays have become the day that I do my grocery shopping. It is far enough away from the weekend to avoid the crowds (especially in the Asian market) but still close enough to it to not miss out on the deals. Grocery shopping = shopping lists. For a while, I had been searching for a good iPhone app that I could use to create lists for shopping and other things. I would use the notepad application but it just didn’t work very well without the ability to check off the items as I went through the store. I think I have found the perfect list application for me – Crush App’s Paperless. I love how it looks (those cute icons!) and the ease of use. I have been using it for a few days now and love it! You should try it out for free and see if you like it, especially if making lists are your thing.

Today’s bits:

Lately, I have been thinking about sewing more. I think I’ll start easy again and try making some handmade napkins. I was doing my decluttering and found that I have very few cloth napkin options. These from Molly @ Purl Bee are too cute.

I am a sucker for good packaging and labels. I would find myself buying something I don’t really need because it was in a lovely package. I have 3 bottles of honey in the pantry but I would buy this bottle here. [via Lovely Package]

In the market for alphabet posters for your little one or yourself? Etsy has a good variety of them.

How adorable is this tea cosy from Robin and Mould’s Etsy shop? And this sleepy dog pillow is darling!

If you do screen captures for work or fun, Snagit is a common tool to use. It is now available in beta for Mac. Try it out, you might like it.

Popping up

Something's growing at my stairs

I bought this vinyl wall art 2 years ago for the living room makeover but we did not end up putting it up there. I think I have found the perfect spot for them. I placed them just at the corner of the stairs, they really look like they’ve always been there. Whenever I see them as I climb the stairs, it makes me smile.

I am so glad that the latest issue for Lonny is now out. I am still savoring each page.

There must be something creative I can do with these lovely textile colors from Jacquard. Oh, you should have seen my excitement when I saw that Blick has opened a store in Seattle right on Broadway, by Jimi’s statue!

This shower curtain will go well with the new Nocturnal Grey walls in the master bath. I can see skyscrapers right in my bathroom! I am such a city girl.

Erica tweeted about this blog – I love it, it makes me want to cook these recipes because of the great drawings.

That’s all for today, I have to go out to enjoy that sunshine before it goes away again.

Declutter

Kitchen Window Sill

Ever since I realized that we won’t be moving for a while, I have always tried to keep up with my decluttering projects. I just do not want to end up with too much stuff over time. Like almost every other person, I like stuff. I find it, I buy it, I don’t know where to put it. Today I finally finished sorting through the boxes that I brought home with me after I left my job. It took me a while to figure out where all these work things would go. I did not want to fill my workspace at home with these things so I had to take a brutal approach. There was much to recycle and discard.

Here is an interesting link to some instructions on how to tackle decluttering your home. Unclutterer is a great resource for organization.

Today’s bits:

How about these nesting Russian Babushka glasses?

You might have already heard of these guys who make excellent affordable Pinot Noirs in Sonoma – Banshee Wines. I have not tried it but I heard from reliable sources that it should not be missed.

I always enjoy a good ice cream sandwich, both the American version where you have two cookies sandwich some ice cream as well as the Singapore one where you get scoops of ice cream in a slice of bread. I have to say I love the latter version, what can I say, I’m biased to memories and tastes of my youth. Still, these farm animal ice cream sandwich molds are really cute.

Run, don’t walk, to Geraldine’s Counter in Columbia City for their sweet potato fries. Heavenly, crispy, orange and sweet!

I think these reusable sandwich bags are a good idea, especially if you send kids to school with plastic sandwich bags that they just toss. These also seem really easy to make at home, all your crafties!

Growing

Raised veg bed

Thank you all for the encouraging support for my return to blogging. I have to thank my muse, wherever you are, it’s like I woke up one morning and I found my voice again.

After some hide-and-seek with Mr Sun yesterday, I was able to get outside to plant my tomato and squash starts as well as mint pots. I also planted some annuals. I cannot wait to enjoy the summer garden.

Every year, Mike and I talk about how we will have an ideal backyard one day but it’s been five years here at Scarlett and every year, it’s been a pleasure watching it evolve. I love my backyard. I know the history of what’s growing in it – who put it there (mostly, damn those self seeders!), what it is and what it likes. I don’t miss the lawn and am still proud of the stone patio we built even though I still can’t figure out what works best for in between the stones (this year, I’m trying corsican mint groundcover). I’m so excited to see how it will look this year.

Today’s bits:

For R, Molly Moon now has a mobile truck. I hope they hit our area some time.

There is new mobile dessert truck too – Street Treats, serving up cookies, bars, ice cream and pie. I am loving these mobile food trucks.

It is the season for garden tours. I am looking forward to the Rainier Valley Garden tour as they will be focusing on sustainability.

I wear indoor flip flops around the house but these felt house slippers that Molly made are adorable. I love the big felt button and just the simple lines.

Check out Sasha Prood’s Plant Type (top), amongst her other cool pieces.

These recycled tie accessories by Narwal Co. are a brilliant use of good quality ties that may have a tiny red wine stain on them.

When the sun comes out, I’d love to have one of these linen towels to lay out on. Beach towels just catch too much sand. I hope their stripey colored ones come back in stock again. They really remind me of the Mediterranean.

Comeback?

Seed madness

You can call this whatever you like but I call it “I’m so glad to be back!”.

As you can tell, I was picking through my seed packets yesterday and sorting through what I might have time to plant in my backyard. Grow, grow, grow, I say!

Have you seen these adorable little frocks Alicia has been sewing for her baby? I love them!

These brick succulent planter idea from Readymade is genius! I think I have the spot just for these.

I’ve been thinking about Alfajores that Matt Armendariz made and didn’t want to get into exploding a can of condensed milk. Dave Lebovitz has good method of making dulce de leche in the oven, minus the can.

How I would love it if someone dedicated this song to me – Yo-Yo Ma & Diana Krall’s You Couldn’t Be Cuter.

I am very curious about this manual Espresso Maker at Matteria.

Draft Blocker

draft blocker

The crafty bug bit me today when I got out of bed. I wanted to make something but wasn’t sure where to start. Then I realized that it was getting drafty in the front room. Now I know that Scarlett is a new home but the cold can really seep in through the window sills.

I pulled out my fabric stash and found this fabric I had bought from Superbuzzy some time ago. I measured the width of my window and went to work. I sewed the long pillow with red felt in the back and filled it with lentils for heft.

While at it, I also made a little soft tree, pattern from Steph of Little Birds fame.

Sweet Mushroom Key Pouch

sweet mushroom key pouch

This sweet mushroom key pouch traveled all the way from a studio somewhere in Germany where mushrooms and adorable birdies frolic among the antique lace and ribbons. I love how my keys look now. They used to be an unruly bunch but now they fit (mostly) in this cute linen pouch.

Thank you, mlle a. – your workmanship is flawlessly gorgeous as always.

See others here.

Gum Drop Pillows

gumdrop pillows

I really like these gum drop pillows from Amy Butler. I think they make fun ottomans to lounge around with. When I used to live in Singapore, I never liked sitting on the couch or armchairs because it was always too warm or humid. I would choose to sit on the floor instead, with a bunch of pillows. These pillows remind me of that.

I am thinking of trying my hand at making one or two of these for my tea nook so folks can put up their feet when they hang out there.

The hardest part is trying to decide which fabric I would use. Her new line of fabrics have such beautiful patterns and colors.