Spring has sprung

I’ve been away from this blog for a couple weeks because we have been enjoying some lovely spring weather here in the PNW.

Late March, we spent a week in beautiful Maui – playing in the sun, eating delicious plate lunches and just slowing down. I unplugged from work for a whole week! It felt so good. We waited 5 years for this. We had booked our babymoon in Maui before Sagan arrived but I had that emergency surgery so we cancelled. I very much enjoyed experiencing with S.

My first quarter at work was madness. I spent so much time working, trying to meet all the crazy deadlines set out by people who have no idea how much work goes into what I do. I’m glad that I had the Maui carrot to dangle in front of me, otherwise, I might not have fared so well.

We no longer have a yard but we have a couple of outdoor containers that I’m starting to nurture and plant. The front of our house gets very sunny so I planted some succulent pots with the lavender topiary. Because I am not good with keeping smaller containers healthy (you know I used to have those big metal stock tanks), I’ve been starting to use more fertilizer. My favorite one is fish fertilizer. It’s not the most pleasant smell when applying it to the pots but once you see how happy your plants get after a dose or two, you know that it’s the best thing for them. Even my indoor plants have responded well. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to fertilize my indoor foliage. I had a tiny rubber ficus that survived the dungeon of an apartment we had to live in for a few months last year. It was doing better in the new place but after 2 doses of fish fertilizer, its leaves have grown much healthier.

I hope to plant some basil, mint and chives this year. I am considering a self-watering container to keep them healthy when it gets too hot but I may plant the herbs on the east-facing balcony. What kinds of herbs are you growing this year?

We are planning to enjoy some hiking since there are plenty of trails at our doorstep now.

What are your favorite things to do this time of the year?

March Favorites and Updates

We finally met all the deadlines at work this past week. I can breathe again.

With slightly warmer weather, I’ve been browsing the plant nurseries. We picked up some spring flowers to add to our containers. Ever since I moved away from Scarlett, I no longer have a yard to garden in.
We have several containers and I am working on refreshing them with compost and fish emulsion fertilizer.

I plan to grow a cherry or grape style tomato, some peas and sunflowers for Sagan. He is recently interested in how to plant a seed and watch it grow.

With the changing seasons, I’m looking to find a new lightweight cotton blanket for our bed. We used grey and white in our bedroom so I am considering this one.

Also loving these printed kitchen towels.

I received my Write On Campaign kit and cannot wait to start creating pieces of mail to send out every day in April.

Got my Malaysian food fix last night – Roti Jala with some lamb curry and Chili Pan Mee. Delicious.

Best part of March is coming up – we leave for Maui in 9 days! Aloha!

What was your favorite part of March so far?

Face

I love this face. Every day, a little more than the day before. And “a little” is definitely relative. I will never get tired of this face. Even with all of the other expressions that it makes.

We are still on this primal wagon. I shouldn’t call it a wagon since it doesn’t feel like I will be getting off it in the near future. It’s done nothing but good for me. I’ve dropped down to a weight that I have not been at since 2002! Pre-wedding! In addition, I have also decided to face my worst fears – exercise. I went for my first Crossfit sample workout last week. I didn’t die while doing a modified half “Cindy”. I am excited about starting my blast off class next Friday. Check back in 2 weeks to see if I’m still so enthused.

In other news, it’s almost March. The soil in the stock tanks will be turned soon and seed will be sown. For inspiration, I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle.

Are you looking forward to spring?

Condiment

One of my favorite condiments – prik nam pla (fish sauce with Thai bird chiles). I put it on almost anything but my favorite uses – over fried noodles, fried rice or soup noodles. Try it, if you like it spicy. I just like the fresh chile flavor with the salty sweet briny fish sauce.

Today’s bits:

I made this Kim Chee stir-fry recipe today with ground pork instead of pork belly – really quick and really tasty.

This sounds and looks like a really delicious baked pasta recipe.

Another food truck to look out for in Seattle – this time, some good ol’ Creole cookin’.

Here’s a really great website – Roaming Hunger, that helps promote this mobile food truck culture – yay for curbside cuisine!

I loved Gayla Trail’s first book called You Grow Girl and now I want to get my hands on Grow Great Grub. On a related note, I mixed in chicken manure into the veggie bed and stock tanks. Can’t wait to see how happy the veggies will be.

I may not have monsters to keep at bay but this beautiful whale light box caught my eye today.

Tease

Blue Skies

 I love her but she is a such a tease!

O, Seattle, why do you do this? All I ask for, once a year, is to have a nice lovely summer. This past weekend felt like winter. Ok, a little spring-like but it was way too cold for almost July! Please, let the sun come out to play, please?

It was a busy weekend here at Scarlett. I cooked up a Thai food storm in the kitchen and got to spend time with my dear friends. I got to show off some of my cooking skills and recipes picked up from cooking school in Thailand. I did make an old favorite recipe – Fried Prawn Cakes – they were popular!

Today, we celebrated Father’s Day with dad and the rest of the gang with some brunch. It was delicious and always fun to get together and share food. There were fish & chips and creamy crab bisque.

Today’s bits:

How have I missed out on Juana Molina before? Take a listen if you like ambient, electronica and good vocals.

Allison Miller can really play those drums, I’m just sayin’.

I have cupcakes on my mind this week – I want some brown liners for these cupcakes that I’m planning to make.

I need more Cray-pas Oil Pastels for my new Taro Gomi book. I just want to color, doodle, scribble and did I mention, color.

[via Willi @ DigginFood] A tomato trellis makes so much more sense than a tomato cage. It’s hard to find a cage that is strong enough for plants with the larger fruit but if the weather in Seattle keeps up this way, I doubt that I will have to worry about it.

Omurice

I told you that I can’t live without rice. Here’s my brunch one morning – Omurice – a Japanese omelette filled with fried rice. My rice had peas, Chinese sausage (臘腸)and some bacon, and a sprinkling of fried ikan bilis/dried anchovies. For those who know SE Asian food, it was a cross between Chinese fried rice and Indonesian Nasi Goreng.

Seattle was teased with some good sunshine for most of today but we are headed for more rain this weekend. I’m looking forward to cooking a Thai dinner tomorrow for some dear friends and on Sunday, we are going out to lunch with dad.

Today’s bits
:

I want to make these cocoa oatmeal cookies, I personally know a cookie monster.

One day, when I can afford it, I would love to commission Lubna Chowdhary to design a tile installation like this.

I am not sure if I will make it to Whidbey Island this summer but look at this lovely organic potager garden – The Raven and The Spade. [via Willi at DigginFood]

Enjoy your weekend!

Frijoles negros

Black beans simmering

I love beans. I love black beans the most. I take a can of black beans, add a minced/smashed clove of garlic, a few sprigs of coriander/cilantro, a sprinkling of Adobo seasoning and let it simmer for 15 minutes. I pour in all the liquid from the can so it thickens up. This is served with rice and some kind of meat. The other night it was fried pork chops.

The weatherman predicted rain today but the sun was a nice surprise. I went outside to weed and plant more annuals so that the front yard would get more color in the next few weeks.

Today’s bits:

The story of this loyal Akita, Hachikō brought tears to my eyes. The loyalty of this dog is so moving.

Love this font packaging for Eames Century Modern.

I think that these stainless steel windmills will look good just by the front door.

If I ever make it to Buenos Aires, this is where I would like to stay. Who wouldn’t want to stay at Home while in beautiful Palermo?

I have been wanting to make summer bunting for the patio and I think using oilcloth like this one is a good idea.

This is what summer is all about – sipping iced tea in one of these swings on a lovely beach home porch.

Your Time

Foxgloves

Not a lot for today but wanted to let you all know that I am still here. I am still listening to my muse and feeling like I’m on fire with creative energy. These days, I’ve been spending it de-cluttering and organizing and does it feel good! I am also re-reading The Design of Everyday Things, it’s very inspiring.

Today’s bits:

These pebble earring studs are very organic and raw
. I think they will look great with a linen outfit.

This limited edition Iced Tea set from Heath Ceramics has caught my eye for a while now. It would look so good on our chestnut dining table.

Our dinner conversation tonight involved horse poop and mushrooms that lead me to now inform you that mushrooms do grow on horse manure. According to dad, the mushrooms picked (washed and cooked) from such cultivation are actually delicious with bacon and eggs in the morning.

What do you think of this cool mid-century inspired pendant/necklace from Kris Nations?

Before I go:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

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.