Friday, March 30, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch

Jess Brown dolls.  Part of my Pretty Little Things board on Pinterest.

I'm about to leave to catch my flight to Palm Springs. There's really nothing like taking a mini vacation with old friends.  It's nice to step away from your everyday life for a bit to catch up, sleep in, recharge. Being a mom to young children is really hard.  There's really no other way to put it.  Whether you have a newborn baby that you are trying to figure out, a sleep disaster, toddler tantrums, food fights, nanny issues... just getting through the day (and night) can make you feel like a skipping record. I think being honest about that and making time for yourself is the only way to be happy.  I should mention that being a mom is also the best thing that ever happened to me, but for totally unexplained reasons. 
xo, Heather

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Super Duper

My littlest guy has been rocking a cape for three weeks now.  He found it in our costume bin, a cast off from his older brother. He has assumed the name of Soop-Oh Wylie and shouts "To dah Wescue!" while pretending to fly down the sidewalk. He's become a little celebrity at the playground and his choice of attire garners plenty of attention wherever he goes. The cape only comes off at bedtime when I have to wash it and it's the very first thing he asks for when he wakes up. I am guessing that this will become one of the memories we will share with him about his childhood.  I owe a little shout out to the Bay Area cape maker, Baby Leo Designs. Soop-Oh Wylie is your number one fan. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Good Life

I'm getting really excited for my ladies weekend in Palm Springs.  We've rented an Alexander compound and I plan on mid-mod shopping and lunching at Norma's when I'm not poolside at our place with a cocktail in know, what I usually do, only I'll be in Palm Springs. Here's a short of two boys playing tennis at The Parker.

Eggs Over Easy

I never noticed that plastic Easter eggs have holes at the top.  Did they always?  I made this garland in about 10 minutes using assorted sizes of eggs in shades of blue and white. They are strung with blue and white baker's twine from Paper Source.  It's so pretty, I think I'll have to make more. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Take Me Away

When I saw the cover of the latest West Elm catalog last weekend I couldn't stop staring at it.  I think I need a little R+R, which I am finally going to be getting when I go to Palm Springs this weekend.  One of my boards on Pinterest is called "I want to go to there", my favorite Liz Lemonism.  It's filling up with pictures like this. Rustic, in the middle of nowhere places with no tiny plastic toys to step on.  My bucket list includes buying some land one day.  I'd always hoped to put an A-frame or a prefab modern on it, but maybe a deck with a canvas tent cabin would be a good start (though I don't think I'd be able to plug in those lamps).     

Friday, March 23, 2012

Soaking It Up

This week Poppy Haus was featured on Design*SpongeI think my favorite thing about the whole experience was getting to read all of the wonderful comments people left about my project. I just want to give everyone who has started reading my blog a big high five and to say thanks to Design*Sponge for the feature.  Have a happy weekend!

The Shape of Things

Some of you may know I am a volunteer art teacher in my son's Kindergarten classroom.  I thought I'd share this week's project as it is also a DIY textile printing tutorial.  I found the idea in Todd Oldham's book Kid Made ModernOur Kindergarten class wears plain white T-shirts on their field trips and I thought spiffing them up would make for a fun art project, and it would give me the opportunity to teach them a little about printmaking and textile stamping. This lesson also tied into their recent study of shapes and patterns.  I made the stamps ahead of time, by hot gluing cosmetic sponges (some in patterns) to cardboard backing. We used two textile paint colors to keep it simple.  I spread the paint evenly onto paper plates and taught them how to coat their sponges and press into the fabric. The tees air dried and were heat set with an iron. Here's some of what they came up with.  Go Otters!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stocking Up

I recently started making my own chicken stock.  I realized that I was going through at least 2 cardboard containers of stock a week, much more than that during the holidays. I don't love stock in a box, but it's convenient. Here's a simple, organic, inexpensive way to make and freeze your own so that you always have it on hand.

Homemade Chicken Stock

1 1/2 - 2lbs of organic chicken legs 
4 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of sea salt
5 quarts of water

Remove skin from chicken legs
Place all ingredients in a large dutch oven or pot
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer
Cook for 5 minutes, skim the foam from the top and cover
Simmer for 2 hours
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes
Pour contents through a colander into a deep bowl.
Cover and refrigerate the broth until cool, discard the colander contents*
Divide into freezer bags, marking amount, date on the outside.
Store up to 6 months.

*Don't waste! pick the boiled chicken from the bones to use in soup.

** Trader Joes shortcut: buy their mirepoix in the prepared vegetable section to save time.  They also sell organic free range chicken legs for under $3. 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Modern Farmhouse

A mason jar.  Is there anything more functional or charming? Our family uses them as glassware.  They make great vases, luminaries, pickle houses and bathroom spider terrariums. This week's Etsy find is from Ann Arbor based Boots N Gus. Go Blue! They have a series mason jar lights and upcycled pieces made from vintage bowls, including a mint green Tupperware bundt pan lamp.  When I saw this chandelier it made me think of lazy backyard dinners on long farm tables, with little kids running around catching lightening bugs. Today's the first day of Spring and I'm already excited for Summer.

Monday, March 19, 2012

All Wound Up

I had to retire our Easter baskets after last year's egg hunt. The cheap color woven wood was splitting on both and on one, the handle completely detached.  I was kind of glad to see them go as I'm not a huge fan of that look.  I set out to replace them with something a little more organic looking. Today I picked up a couple of plain wicker baskets and put my endless spools of colored bakers twine to use. I tightly wound the twine around the handle to create a sort of Ikat pattern, alternating red and blue. I started by unwinding a few yards of the twine from the spool, and wrapping around my index and and middle finger, rewound it into a smaller package, easier to manipulate around the basket.  I tied a knot at the base and began winding around the handle tightly, pushing the twine down each revolution to keep the wrap compact.  See pictures below.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Puddle Jumper

It's been raining pretty hard all week.  Yesterday we took a rain walk with our friends.  Wylie was giddy, and completely soaked and muddy from puddle jumping.  Growing up, my grandparents had a horse ranch and on the rainiest of days we'd put on head to toe yellow rain gear to help my grandpa "feed the beasts".  When we were done with our work, he encouraged us jump in the giant puddles that collected on the driveway in front of their house.  My grandma would stand at the window, half smiling, shaking her head, watching us dance around like muddy Big Bird's. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Make It Last

Berry season is on it's way.  Strawberries and blackberries are a staple in my home.  We eat berries on our cereal, on peanut butter sandwiches instead of jam, in our dinner salad.  I'll often buy a flat at the farmer's market which will last through the week, sometimes longer.  I keep the berries fresh by rinsing and then air drying them in a colander, before putting them in an airtight container. My trick for making strawberries last is to cut their tops off and slice them in half. This prevents them from shriveling and becoming mealy.   

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Steel Trap

I probably have moving on the brain.  This week's Etsy find is the MB1 Modern Mailbox by Austin Outdoor.  Having suffered with a fairly ugly, "hand-painted with purple flowers" style mailbox for the past few years, I find myself experiencing a bit of modern mailbox envy.  They also make amazing planters and house numbers.  Now all I need is a home to hang them on.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Oh Happy Day

Seven Henrietta Street

I found this today while checking out Rockstar Diaries, a really sweet family blog.  Sometimes you just have to post something because it's so pretty.

Dipped Docksta

We got Ikea's DOCKSTA table for our kitchen nook when we moved in 4 years ago, because it was functional and looked more expensive than it's $179 price tag.  Two kids later it has taken one hell of a beating.  The base and leg are made from a heavy duty plastic, and the top from an acrylic fiberboard. Chairs slam, feet scuff, forks gouge, food stains. It has been looking like the junky floor sample found in the cast-off section by the check stands. I was ready to part ways and get the next best thing from CB2 (no Knoll for me).  Then the dipped leg craze started up.  I was seeing wooden spoons and chair legs and vases all with a pretty dipped paint coat.  Could I do this with the DOCKSTA? A wipeable color on the base would solve all my problems. I decided were I to go for it, I would need to give it a little more finish than a dipped look. Borrowing from that school of thought, I decided on a geranium color for the base and a soft white for the table top.  Embarrassing before photos and tutorial below, first, here's my color inspiration:

I dragged the table outside and cleaned it really well, removing all the stuck on cereal and mud.  You couldn't tell, but it was clean. I took the top off and proceeded to prime both pieces with a spray primer starting with the tabletop. When the top was set, I sprayed the backside and started in on painting the base with color. 

before: paint scraped off of sides and table top, bottom scuffed.

I applied three thin coats of a semigloss enamel to the base (I didn't want it to be too shiny) leaving 2 hours in between each coat.  For the table top I used a high gloss enamel which required more dry time. I am going to give the table top a few more days to completely dry before applying a low VOC sealer to make sure it can take another beating. For now, check out the clean and colorful detail shots:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The One That Got Away

photograph by tori spelling

My antique savvy mother-in-law stopped by today after checking out an estate sale in North East Oakland.  She'd spotted an "Eames-Style" mustard yellow upholstered occasional chair in excellent condition and thought it might be pretty valuable, though she didn't know the designer, the paper label under the chair said Knoll. Yup. My reaction: Is it still there and how much were they asking?  It sounded WAY undervalued.  We hopped into her car and by the time we got there it was still sitting in the living room, but no longer available, as they'd decided they should probably get it appraised. I was left wondering why I wasn't hitting estate sales more often. I've been on the bandwagon for a while, but the only real mid century pieces I own are part of my Drexler dining room set. If that's going to change, I'm going to have to be ready to swoop in on a deal like the one that got away today. The website list sales in your area, with item previews. Craigslist also has estate sales listed under furniture and garage sales.  Bring cash and go early.   

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Girl

Follow Poppy Haus with Bloglovin

Bloglovin is a cool way for you to find blogs that are relevant and interesting to you.  You know, like Poppy Haus. If you like design blogs, or fashion blogs or finding new recipes, this is the source.  Follow me there.


Pinhead: Noun. A person who cannot stop pinning things on Pinterest.

Do you think I just coined a new term? I've been hard at "work" building my Pinterest empire, er, pinter-presence?  My pinning started with a need to categorize DIY projects to do for this blog. Some of my boards are now just eye candy, others like my board "Things to Make and Decorate" have projects or things I think I can attempt to recreate.  Case in point is this chicken coop with a roof garden.  Originally sourced from Sunset magazine, it's now making the rounds on Pinterest.  I'm moving to Petaluma, which has been described as the chicken capital of California, so I might as well plan on having a stylish coop of my own. To see all of my pins and follow Poppy Haus click here.

Cuckoo for Coconuts

Ginger Spice has a new favorite treat.  Pretty much since last Halloween my kids have been sugar crazy and ask for dessert every night (not happening).  Yesterday, I had to stop in to Whole Foods and my bribe for good behavior was a treat.  I spotted the young coconuts in the section with the overpriced cut up strawberries and thought that drinking out of a coconut might just gimmicky enough to qualify as dessert. I chilled them in the freezer during dinner and put fancy straws inside. They loved it.  
Coconut water is low in sugar and hydrates. I've also read that it boosts immunity, is good for the kidneys and cleanses the digestive tract. Worlds perfect dessert?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Face Value

When I was younger my hair was bone straight, and my complexion near perfect. The tone of my skin was glowing and healthy.  I think having kids and getting 6 hours of interrupted sleep per night for the last 5 years has changed things. Thanks to pregnancy hormones I now have a significant wave to my hair, I get more blemishes, and my skin often looks a little dry and tired. I assign a lot of value to what I put inside my body, what kind of shoes I wear, what cleaning products I use. I don't always put as much value on my skincare. I have a regimen I follow, but it does not involve getting facials, seeing a dermatologist or investing in expensive products.  I've been washing my face with a mild soap and applying a tinted spf moisturizer for the day and removing make up and applying a heavier night time moisturizer at night for as long as I can remember.  I've decided to change things up, naturally. I found a homeopathic recipe for toner made with raw/unfiltered apple cider vinegar from Rebecca Baust's blog The Daily Muse. She swears by it, and she has really beautiful skin, so I believe her. It's three parts water to one part ACV. I whipped up a batch, and bottled some jojoba oil for eye make-up removal, a suggestion from friend Lisa who also has beautiful skin, and olive oil for non-drying face wash.  Both oils have antibacterial qualities and leave the skin moisturized, which is what I think my skin is lacking most. I bought the Whole Foods version of Cetaphil, the same cleanser without the sulfates and parabens, which I'll use in the shower as both a face and body wash. Lastly, and most importantly I invested in a mineral based organic face sunscreen. I'm going to follow this new routine for the next month to see if I notice any improvement, I'll let you know if it works.    

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mellow Yellow

I'll never get over yellow and gray. They belong together like peanut butter and jelly.  This week's Etsy pick is a tote from Milloo, a husband + wife team from Athens, GA.  The bag is made from cotton canvas with Italian leather trim (also available in orange).  Mother's Day is right around the corner.  Enough said.

Enjoy By

I have a LOT of condiments, sauces and compotes that I use for specific recipes, and not that often.  Tonight I'm making a tofu curry from Sunset Magazine inspired by a dish at Hawker Fare, one of Oakland's best new restaurants.  It calls for fish sauce.  When I went to check to see if I even had any, the expiration date on the bottle was worn off from condensation and being banged around.  I had no idea when I bought it, so I had to toss and replace.  While in there I discovered a few more items with unreadable dates, and some that I guess I felt never went bad that had expired a WHILE ago.  Gross. I came up with a solution to this problem.  Using circular labels, the kind you might use tagging items at a garage sale, I went through and marked the expiration date in sharpie and stickered the top of the jar lid (or back of bottle). It only took a few minutes to get it all done, and it'll take no time to keep the system going.  FYI, Real Simple has a loose guide to determine expiration dates of food and other household products.

Thanks, but No Thanks

Yesterday while cruising the aisles of Target, I got some friendly parenting advice from a woman of a certain age.  Wylie was reaching back into the cart to grab the giant bouncy ball we were getting.  I asked him to turn around and she sighed and said "I think you're asking a lot Mom". Right. This is not the first time I've received handy tips from grumpy old ladies.  I think it'd be funny to compile an ongoing list of the unsolicited parenting advice we've received, especially from nosy strangers.  Leave your stories here or on facebook. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Girl From the North Country

We've decided to uproot ourselves from the eucalyptus grove in Oakland and head for greener pastures in Petaluma. This is one of those major life decisions that I would have made in about one minute ten years ago, like when we moved to Portland without jobs after traveling through Europe for a month.  That is not my life anymore. Now we have to debate about leaving schools, friends and our old familiar haunts. We've been hemming and hawing about it for a while now. Despite the fact that it's a small city, and a bit off the beaten path, Petaluma has a robust, creative downtown and the outlying neighborhoods are within walking distance. On the outskirts of town there are lots of cows, past the cows there's beautiful coastline and fancy oysters. I like this a lot. I grew up in a small town, and I went to college in a small town, so this feels right. We move this Summer. I expect I'll be doing lots of Sunset Magazine style write ups on my new finds.  Here's what I'm most excited about* so far in our new city:

Acre Coffee - it's important to me to have a coffee place to call my own.  I'm really serious about my coffee, it has to be good.  We stopped at Acre twice in one day during a recent visit. They do it right.

Cowgirl Creamery- made in Petaluma, enough said.

Central Market- A five star farm to table restaurant in downtown Petaluma.  I cannot wait to eat here.

The Seed Bank- Petaluma has an excellent climate for home gardening and this is Baker Creek Heirloom Seed's west coast location. We poked our heads in and it looks amazing.

The Petaluma Farmer's Market- The markets run twice a week in different areas of the Theater District of downtown.  I've read that Three Twins Ice Cream sometimes has a booth here. 

Lagunitas Brewing Company- We stopped by on our way out of town so that my double IPA loving man could get a growler to take home.  They put them in giant jam jars.  The tasting room has an adjoining patio with picnic tables and live music.  Oh, there was a Neko Case poster in the bathroom, so this place is obviously awesome.

*Yes, this is all food related.  


Friday, March 2, 2012

Make and Bake

Last weekend we took a trip up to the sweet North Bay town of Petaluma and had brunch with some good friends at a restaurant called Luma out in the riverfront boondocks by the Cowgirl Creamery warehouse. Adam had their Green Eggs& Ham pizza made with arugula, prosciutto and a fresh farm egg.  Does anyone else love the trend in adding a fresh farm egg to things? We liked it so much we were inspired to recreate it tonight in honor of Dr. Suess's Birthday.

Here's my go-to recipe for pizza dough.  It's so easy. Don't get that grocery store dough in a bag. You can do this.

In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in 1 1/2 cups of very warm water (110 degrees). Whisk in 1 package of active dry yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  See picture above. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Using a Kitchen Aid style mixer with the dough hook blend 4 cups, plus 1/4 cup as needed of AP flour with a tablespoon of sea salt.  Add the yeast mixture, blending on a lower speed for about one minute. Gradually add in remaining 1/4 cup of flour until soft, but not sticky in texture. Increase speed to medium high and work the dough for about 3 more minutes, until it goes from crumby and dry to an elastic texture. I bet you could do this in a food processor, and I know it could be done by hand, it just means you need to put some elbow grease into it.

Place the dough in a mixing bowl greased with olive oil, cover with a cotton dishtowel for one hour.  You will know the dough is ready to work with when it has doubled in size and when pressed down, the dough does not reconstitute.  You can use immediately or refrigerate for use later in the day, or freeze for up to a month. 

I bake my pizzas on a stone or in a cast iron skillet at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Piece Of Work

I did some much needed housekeeping on the site today.  I've finally logged enough entries to really categorize things.  It's been seven months since my first post, I've been through two names and taken about ten thousand pictures. Now comes the time for me to start submitting some of my projects to the big blogs and I want to ask which one has resonated the most with you?  Your feedback is really appreciated!

Cherry Baby

I'm a shameless fan of Trader Joes. I love their little shelf of new products and usually try one new thing each week.  I would not normally write up my grocery store findings, although I got really excited about the cookie butter. Try these. They are somewhere between a jalapeno and a bell pepper on the heat spectrum, fruit sweet and tangy. Try them stuffed with soft cheese, it would make a delicious 5 minute appetizer. Every Friday we make homemade pizza and do a movie night and this week we're doing a Green Eggs and Ham pizza to celebrate Dr. Suess's Birthday, but I might need to sneak some of these on my slice.
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