Monday, February 21, 2011


We hiked up some of the Wahkeena Falls Trail today, past Fairy Falls and up to the Devil's Rest junction. It's a lovely hike that winds through a very narrow canyon and has some beautiful features. We decided to come back down the Vista Point trail, which we had never ventured, and I wish I'd had my real camera today. It was sunny and lovely and mossy the whole hike. Had we been prepared, we would have stuck it out for a couple of extra miles up to Devil's Rest, but a seven-mile hike wasn't in the cards today.

While descending from Vista Point, we came upon the biggest tree I've ever seen in my entire life. No joke. Now, I've never seen the Redwoods of California, but I have to imagine this could rival some of the smaller ones. On top of it, half of the entire tree was charred black from a forest fire. I'm guessing it had to be more recent than the 1983 fire that killed Keith Lemmons, but wow. Between the char and the woodpecker holes, this old dame has seen quite a bit of action in her day. I'm going back for better photos soon. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A rainbow of reading

You know, I spend a lot of time thinking about home design and furniture. I love blogs like Apartment Therapy, stores like Room & Board, and even paint samples on Farrow & Ball. Current obsessions include antlers, crystals, copper accents, stacks of books, and wool everything. I make little notes on things I like, and mull over when I will have the farm table I've wanted for years. And when it all boils down to it, I don't much care for how my home looks.

I don't think it's that I don't have a sense of style, or an idea of what I want. It's really just that we are currently renting and I don't want to commit to a look/design/serious item that isn't going to "go" with my eventual own home. We have lots of odds and ends of furniture, and some of it fits, but some of it is just being put to use at the moment. And I think that is OK. We are lucky to have what we do, especially a couple pieces of nice furniture and several lovely rugs, and I think people who come visit us are comfortable in our home.

The one thing I do love about our house right now is my bookshelf. After living in 750 square feet with another person for several years, and having my books collect dust in storage, I love having a bookshelf in the middle of the living room. Granted it's a cheapo Ikea bookshelf, but it fits the bill for now. On a whim, I decided to color-coordinate our favorite books, and I'm digging the look. Three cheers for obsessing!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Soap flakes

I dislike liquid soaps and body washes and tend to buy either really fancy, French-milled soaps or plain ol' Dove in an eight-pack box. This design student has come up with two awesome dispensers that I would love to get my hands on...

Oh wow, do I want one of these! I am a sucker for slickly designed gadgets. This is just ingenious.

Here's the "grater" design as well as some gratuitous belly button.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The color evoked by light

I want to write a story about this dress... the woman who wears this dress. She might be going to an outdoor cocktail party in mid-June, or she could be meeting her best friend for an afternoon at the museum and champagne afterward. She's probably thoughtful and deliberate without being boring and rigid. She wants to look put together but not have to stress about accessorizing. Hopefully, a small black clutch looks good with this dress. She needs this dress to multi-task as well as she does, and hopefully she has the right shoes to fancy it up or casual it down. Sigh. I think she looks a lot like me...

See by Chloe Sleeveless Pleat Dress

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I love it when life gives me lemons

I get these ideas in my head sometimes and I just have to see them to fruition, even if they end up being terrible. Like, the spiced hazelnuts I tried to make as Christmas gifts (big fail) or the paper poppies (bought a glue gun, made two, got bored). Obviously, it's never stopped me from trying! So, this time, I got a bee in my bonnet over lemons.

The produce out west has already spoiled me in just a few short months, especially the quality of citrus. One of my all-time favorite fruits is the Meyer lemon. Sweeter and jucier than a traditional lemon, with soft flesh and thin skin, Meyer lemons are delicious in everything! I saw a couple of bags at the store the other day and just knew I had to come up with something, so I decided to preserve them.

Really, it's pretty easy. I was worried it would need a lot of canning-type techniques, which I know nothing about, but the acid and salt prevent anything from growing in there and keep the process pretty simple.

First, I bought some pint jars. The recipe called for a quart jar, but I had to buy 12 of them and figured that was overkill. The jars need to be washed well and then sterilized. Bathtime for jars!

Next, I gave the lemons a bath of their own, scrubbing off all of the dirt. I had about 12 lemons that were usable plus two that had been mangled beyond preserving state, so I just juiced them to add into the jars later. Do people just stick their thumbs into bags of fruit? Rude. 

After making sure everything was nice and clean, I trimmed the ends quartered the lemons, leaving one end intact. Next, I packed salt into the cuts and rubbed the outside of the lemons. By the way, this is a terrible recipe for when you have any sort of hang nail or paper cut. OWIE.

After putting a tablespoon of salt in the bottom of each jar (I only needed two pint jars), one by one I squished the salted oranges in, making sure the juice ran out and mashing as many as possible. Then I topped them off with more salt, the extra juice from the disfigured lemons, and sealed them tightly.

So, in theory, these babies sit out for about three weeks in a cool place where they can work their magic. You are supposed to give them a turn every once in a while, and I think I may need to add more juice today so they are completely covered. But, in theory, three weeks from now I should have some delicious, salty lemon rinds to try in recipes. I have a couple of ideas (spiraling into an idea frenzy!) and have my fingers crossed that this works out. Hopefully, I have more to share other than regret that I didn't just make lemon bars.