I closed comments and drew two random gardening book winners on Friday afternoon, but things have been crazy busy around here since then, so I’m sorry to keep everyone who commented waiting til now! The winners of The Western Garden Book of Edibles and Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades are:
#15 – Gillian, who said
We just made some raised beds, and these books would be perfect for my inaugural gardening adventure. I will be growing (if things go well) strawberries, tomatoes of all kinds, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and a bunch of herbs. Crossing my fingers!
#33: Pam, who said
Whew! Am I glad i just ran across this! Not much time to spare!
What a great giveaway, Susan. Thank you.
We are currently enjoying the flowers on our reblooming lilac bush. And even though we promised ourselves we were only growing tomatoes and cucumbers this year, we lost our resolve at the garden store and are also growing zucchini, tomatillos, rosemary, and Anaheim chile peppers. We have mint, Greek and Turkish oregano and garlic chives that wintered over and we discovered a large pot sprouting potatoes my sweetie had forgotten he planted! So – way more than we planned!
I am emailing you both for your addresses now!
Thank you SO much to everyone who commented and shared their garden plans… I was so happy to read about them and hear what folks are planning. I really wish I had a book for everyone! I hope we can stay in touch about how all our summer gardens go… thank you for reading along with my gardening posts.
And speaking of giveaways, I am excited to pass on that Vickie Howell is hosting a whole month of them to celebrate her new book, Craft Corps! Today’s is fantastic — a Handmade Nation DVD from Faythe Levine!
Craft Corps is fantastic and inspiring, with profiles of 60 crafters and longer interviews with 30 professional crafters, from Denyse Schmidt to Natalie Zee Drieu. I am very honored to be included! Be sure to comment over there to enter today’s giveaway, and then tomorrow’s will give you the chance to win a copy of Button It Up! I will post more on that, and a full Craft Corps review, tomorrow — I would love for someone I know from over here to win my button book.
I was very excited to review two of my favorite gardening books for CRAFT: this week — The Sunset Western Garden Book of Edibles: The Complete A-Z Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables, Herbs and Fruits,
The publishers have generously offered up a copy of each one for a giveaway! Just leave a comment on this post by 5pm Pacific time Friday, April 23rd (with a valid email address in your profile – no need to also include it in your comment itself). Optional: let me know what you’re growing this year, or share a gardening tip!
I’ll draw two names randomly and notify the winners soon after the deadline. US addresses only, and one comment per person, please.
Hello! I wanted to post about a whole bunch of different things today, but first, a huge thank-you for the kind comments and notes about my Easter craft projects, garden stuff, and recipes over the last week or two. I really appreciate them! It’s been so nice to share a few things I’m excited about, after being too busy for fun stuff for all these months, and hearing that people like them has been so great.
Speaking of garden stuff, here’s how things look for mine now that we’re in week 2. Not a ton of progress, but the plants look pretty happy, so I’m happy too. My herbs (the row of containers behind the bed) are mostly doing awesome, but I managed to kill a brand-new dill start in just a couple of days. Oh well.
I also have another gardening how-to up over at CRAFT: – some simple recycled garden tricks to try. Personally, I would love to walk into Portland Nursery and snap up all kinds of new things more often, but reusing things I already have around the house is a frugal (and easy) alternative, and leaves more cash for say, fabric. If you’re interested, the piece is right here! I’ll be posting one more round of gardening stuff this week with a giveaway, too, which I’m super excited about.
Dipping back into recipes and cooking, I wanted to share one of my favorite things for planning meals and grocery shopping: this great shopping list I found in Kate Pruitt’s DIY column at Design*Sponge. I printed a bunch of them (there are three options, each a little different, and this one works best for me) and start one every week as I decide what I want to cook, and note what we’re running out of. This one (decorated by Pearl, in red), is a mix of basics to get and stuff I’d need for these recipes: cheesecake brownies, pigs in blankets, vegetarian posole, asparagus farro risotto (from Edible Portland), and spring minestrone (from this month’s Sunset).
And back to crafts with Pearl, we collaborated on a fun little project yesterday! We hosted a crafty baby shower (which was my excuse to bake those pigs in blankets and cheesecake brownies) and I made the project on the left, and she dreamed up the one on the right. Andrew asked her what we should put on the bib for her new little friend-to be, and she said, “A BLUE bib!” so that’s what we did. She designed, Andrew cut and I appliqued… doesn’t get much more blue bib than that!
A few more things…
•Crafty Wonderland is coming up on May 1 + 2! They are looking for volunteers to help out in general, and to teach crafts at the event, in exchange for fun crafty gifts. You can sign up here to help! And in other exciting news, superstar Mark Montano is going to team up with DIY Lounge for a free craftathon at the sale — you won’t want to miss that!
•Jeff of Portland Haiti Container Relief announced a little while ago that the two giant shipping containers full of food, water, supplies, and good wishes from Portland have arrived safely and Lifeline has been distributing it all – wonderful news. Thanks so much to those who donated so generously! There’s also another fundraiser/event coming up soon too (a documentary at the Bagdad to raise money for 500 dome tents) if you’re interested.
•Another update for everyone who supported our efforts to get the BPA ban passed here in Oregon: I’m very happy to pass on that both the House and the Senate have introduced new federal legislation, the Safe Chemicals Act, this week! If you have a minute and would like to sign a petition of support, that would be awesome. You can find the petition here and a few updates about the Safe Chemicals Act here. I was so disappointed that our state’s bill failed, but strong federal laws would be even better.
Okay, I’ll be back with that giveaway soon! I hope Monday is treating you well. I have to say that this has been a good week so far, we are happy here in Portland!
Thanks to my collaborator Patrick Vinograd, expert wielder of a table saw, for all of his help. I wanted to share ideas for the simplest possible 8-by-4-foot bed to make quickly and affordably, so you have more time (and cash) for your gardening, and improving on the first bracketed raised bed Andrew and I made last year. This was a really fun and super quick project and it is so exciting to have two raised beds now, double the space for planting!
Here’s what I planted on Saturday:
9 Red Russian kales
6 rainbow chards
3 collard greens
3 clumps of leeks
The other raised bed will be tomatoes and zucchini (in May) — I had various greens in it last year and wanted to rotate the plantings completely to rest the soil.
I’m hoping this year is good. I feel like I learn a lot every summer and hopefully can do things better each time I try. Last year I started off with one pretty packed raised bed, planted April 15: kale, chard, sugar snap peas, collards, onions, broccoli and cabbage. The kale and collards were total successes (yay!).
The peas, onions, broccoli, and cabbage were okay — not huge producers, but we got some nice things here and there. And the chard was a disaster, it came down with something yucky pretty quickly and I took it out within the first two weeks and thinned and moved my other stuff around. So this year, I went with lots of kale (my favorite) and a fair amount of collards (though I like them a thousand times more than I did as a kid, pushing them around on my plate at holidays, they aren’t as enjoyable to eat daily), and I’m trying a new chard with my fingers crossed. I added leeks for something new, even though they’re kind of in reverse season — just an experiment, really. I also spaced things more generously this time, instead of trying to fit everything in so tightly. Oh yeah, everything is organic, and I bought it all at New Seasons this time.
I’m excited to try putting in some new heirloom tomatoes next month. Last year we put six different tomatoes in the yard behind the bed, along with some peppers and a single delicata squash. Our yard is still coming back from 50 years of spraying, so no matter how much I amended everything, they weren’t super happy. The tomatoes did okay, the peppers weren’t so excited about things (it’s not really a pepper climate, either), and the delicata yielded about four squash (which were delicious) out of maybe two dozen pretty little flowers. I’m hoping the raised bed and the nice 4-way soil will be a happier home for the next round.
Anyway! We’ll see. I’m already kind of nervous because my starts spent longer inside than I’d hoped due to our chilly, windy, rainy early April, and they’re a bit droopy after their confinement. But you couldn’t ask for a nicer, milder, sun-and-rain mix than these last few days so hopefully they’ll forgive me soon.
I have another gardening article going up soon, too – I’ll keep you posted! And I would love to hear what you’re planting this spring.
I love to cook, but I’m a not-great food photographer at the best of times, and usually end up with my finished product at night anyway without my greatest ally, natural light. But I actually made something kind of cute during the day yesterday afternoon, so I thought I’d share my vegetarian pigs in blankets to kick off a recipe-roundup post!
This could not be simpler, and I’m sure you don’t actually need the “recipe” to whip them up, but just in case, here’s mine: cut 4 Yves jumbo vegetarian hot dogs in half and slice 8 small pieces of sharp cheddar cheese, too. Open and unroll a package of crescent roll dough and wrap a triangle of it around each paired cheese-hot dog, starting with the wide end and finishing with the skinny tip. Bake it the way the roll package says to and there you go!
I thought I’d share a list of my favorite recipes lately, with links if I have them (and just a few photos here and there). I love to see what other people are cooking and baking and I get lots of ideas from craft and of course cooking blogs, so here are mine if you’re interested! These are all copied into my family cookbook and they are my go-tos for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, holidays and beyond!
1. Sweet Potato Gnocchi with spinach and mushrooms, Sunset – this is probably my favorite recipe of all. I have made it about seven or eight times now and it’s such a nice holiday or dinner-party meal, and not that time-consuming if you make the gnocchi dough the day before (or well in advance and freeze it). I love rolling out and cutting the little gnocchis, too.
2. Cabbage and Mushroom Galette, Smitten Kitchen – really wonderful, and again, much quicker if you make the galette dough the day before. I make a double batch, usually, so I can make two galettes in the same week – total luxury.
3. Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onions Galette, Smitten Kitchen – I also like this one, but lately I’ve been switching it up with sweet potatoes instead of squash and shallots instead of onions. It’s richer and more dessert-like than the cabbage version, any way I’ve made it, so we don’t have it as often.
4. Squash, Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Green Chile + Green Tomato Sauce, the Oregonian – pretty much out of season at the moment, but this is amazing for that late-summer green tomato craziness, I make a double batch and freeze half. I have also made the delicious enchilada recipe they include (homemade beans and butternut squash, yay) with store-bought sauce and it was fantastic.
7. New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Peas – I make these all the time, and freeze half (are you sensing a pattern here?). Love black-eyed peas.
8. Chile-Roasted Acorn Squash, Sunset – easy and amazing. I love chipotle and that sweet-spicy glaze with the afterburn is very nice.
9. Pink Soup – flexible, easy, delicious, and best of all, a pretty color.
10. Artisan Bread, from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – I love the basic version most but I also add dried herbs sometimes, and make the deli-style rye sometimes. I’m sure the recipe is online somewhere (probably lots of somewheres) but I have the book and copied it by hand right into my own cookbook so that’s what I use.
11. Blueberry Boy Bait, Pillsbury Bake-Off via Smitten Kitchen – wow, one of my favorite desserts ever. We freeze tons of fresh blueberries in the summer and this is a perfect way to enjoy them. And the story behind the recipe is so good!
12. My Mee-Mee’s Pound Cake – so rich and delicious. I add cherries and pecans sometimes and keep it plain other times – that hint of almond is all you really need. This was my birthday cake this year (with chocolate chips and almonds, actually) – perfect.
13. Martha’s Chocolate Cupcakes, from Everyday Food – pretty much the perfect birthday cupcake in my opinion, and easy too. I also made these for the Button It Up parties last year.
14. Cheesecake-Marbled Brownies, also from Smitten Kitchen – rich and wonderful and my go-to for bringing to holiday parties.
Okay, I think I’ll stop at fourteen (fifteen, if you count the pigs in blankets)! I could go on all day, and just realized that I haven’t even mentioned slow cooker stuff. I guess that could be its own post – with no photos, I promise… nothing from a crockpot ever looks very good, no matter how delicious it might be.
I would love to hear a favorite recipe of yours if you have one to share!
Okay, how did it get to be Thursday already?! I’ve been meaning to write this post all week!
Way, way back on Sunday, we had a nice Easter morning with Pearl! I was happy with the little things I made for her, and thanks to some coaxing and the chance to wear the ultra-beloved monster shirt underneath, she cheerfully wore her dress for hours. Victory!
I finished altering it a little bit first thing that morning, right before Pearl was up for the day (of course). I made it in a size 3 (I wasn’t sure if a 1976 size 3 would run a bit small, but it seems pretty true to the 3T range I’ve seen more recently) and put inch-wide tucks at both side seams to bring it down to more of a 2, catching the armholes a bit too.
My reasoning was
1. I really wasn’t sure if Pearl would willingly wear it this spring (see post from last week) and I didn’t want to break my own heart with a carefully fitted dress that gathered dust instead of chocolate stains before it was outgrown), and
2. I adore this fabric and wanted to make something with it that would have a longer life than a fleeting spring/summer run… enjoying the sight of it for two years (or maybe even three, as a top?) sounded a lot nicer, and
3. Pearl is so tall and lanky that even some size 2(T) stuff is too wide for her, so I would probably have had to alter it anyway.
My pattern hacks, if anyone is interested, are:
1. After putting in front and back facings, I could not deal with cramming in yet another layer of armhole facings, so I trimmed the yoke/armholes area a bit and added narrow off-white bias tape over the armholes. Love how this turned out, much more streamlined than three layers of fabric at the shoulders and I have more pretty scraps left over. I’m a big fan of bias edging in general, though.
2. I left off the cute apron panel, just because I loved the main fabric so much and didn’t want to hide it, and instead of the also-cute rick-rack, I added a row of embroidered stars around the collar, and sewed on a vintage mother-of-pearl button in the center. I liked these things, but Pearl loves buttons and stars and I hoped the additions would help coax her into a non-monster, non-dog item of clothing.
3. Instead of hemming it 3 1/4″ deep (!) with a blind hem as directed, I only brought it up about a half-inch, just a simple double-fold with a straight stitch. Once again, Pearl is a tall girl, and the drawing on the front of the pattern barely skims a regular-height-looking-kid’s diaper. Sure enough, this was a nice generous length for now, will probably fit even better for Easter 2011, and may even last as long as a little tunic for Easter 2012 (a girl can dream).
So, more than anyone who doesn’t also own Simplicity 7409 wanted or needed to know about my sewing this week! My other big project (besides the chocolate egg and bunny) was sewing a felted-sweater bunny for her Easter basket.
Last year I made a crinkly big-eyed owl for her first basket, and I really wanted to keep up the mini-tradition of two books and a handmade toy. So when I saw Sally at the chocolate craft morning and admired the two bunnies Pam sewed from her adorable pattern, I knew that was it! I added two covered-button eyes in Pearl’s favorite color for good measure, and used this tutorial for the pom-pom tail.
Pearl clutched the bunny tight while we read her new bunny-themed books (actually, these two were already in her collection, even better) and we had a really nice rest of the morning, with some sweet potato gnocchi, a trip to Multnomah Falls, and plenty of drawing to finish out the day!
I hope you had a nice weekend too!
Portland has two amazing art openings going on tonight! If you’re in town I hope you get to visit both of them!
Land gallery will present Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?, a new exhibition from Kate Bingaman-Burt to accompany her brand-new book of the same title, which will be published March 31 on Princeton Architectural Press.
Everything we buy has its own story to tell. Obsessive Consumption represents a selection of three years of delightful ink drawings of sundry items. It presents a microcosm of consumer culture that will appeal to everyone.
The exhibition will feature almost a thousand drawings of purchased goods along with illustrations of mixtapes, receipts, credit card statements, shoplifted items, internet passwords and security envelope patterns.
Meanwhile, from 6 to 10 pm at Redux, don’t miss the stunning group embroidery show, “One Stitch Forward, One Stitch Back,” curated by Pamela Davis. Love the concept of this collection.
High Tension, by Cathy Pitters
The domestic arts have a long history of resourcefulness, often salvaging and reclaiming materials, turning scraps into treasures for future generations. The 24 artists showcased here will take needlecraft back to those roots incorporating repurposed materials while adding a contemporary twist to the art. Curated by Pamela Davis.
Emily Rose Baier, Berkley Illustration, Diem Chau, Pamela Davis, Jessica Friday, Kate Greiner, Rachel Hunnicutt, Iron Pony, Tracy Jager, Emily Katz, Carla Madrigal, Andrea Majot, Johnny Murder, Beth Murphy, Penny Nickels, Lucy Peterson, Cathy Pitters, Kristen Rask, Kristen Rupp, T.J. Sabatini, Charlotte Schwennsen, Cindy Steiler, Becky Stern
If you go: