Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dog Days and Road Trips

Kids Design Book

When little kids get out of school for summer break it's time for swimming, eating ice cream and hitting the road back seat style.  The change of pace is most welcome, but as much as they don’t want to admit it, with all of that down time, summer can begin to drag (or at least it does at my house). Here are 5 creative activity books and kits to fill the time. 

1. Road Trip Bingo
Long car trips are boring.  Save the movie for later and play bingo.  They can help you spot the highway patrol along the way.

2. This or That- An Activity Book of Choices 
With prompts for list making and drawing,this book will put their schoolwork to use and keep their skills sharp.

3. Little Paper Planes
Designed by a San Francisco artist collective, this book is full of constructible paper planes and crafts. Visualize pretty little planes flying around the backyard.

4. Kid Made Modern
Todd Oldham’s new collection of art supplies and kits are a now a hit at Target stores, but the book they are based on is full of insight into mid-century design and the projects are top notch.

5. Art Lab For Kids
Created by an elementary art teacher, this book has 52 projects in painting, drawing, printmaking and mix-media, inspired by nature and the world around.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Prep School

As soon as August hits, I'm thinking about what I'll be wearing in the fall.  In California that means November.  My fall wardrobe is usually my summer wardrobe with slightly deeper colors and more layering pieces.  I was really into mint and coral this season.  With my new town bike, I'll be riding around all day dropping off and picking up my kids from school, with stops at Acre coffee to do my writing, so I'm going to have to trade in my handbag for a backpack..and I'll need some cute clothes to wear with it.

Prep School

1.Hershel Supply Co. Backpack/ 2. J.Crew Wool Flair Skirt/ 3. Madewell Tree Twig Necklace/ 4. Rag & Bone Baily Jacket/ 5.Michael Kors Runway Watch/ 6. Calypso St.Barth Ivana Tee/ 7. J.Crew Ryder Short Leather Buckle Boots/ 8. Madewell Han Kjobenhavn Timeless Sunglasses

Due West


This morning Adam left his computer at home, and because there is no cell phone service in Tomales, and I knew he'd need it, I threw the kids in the car and drove it out to him.  Driving out of our already small town into the rolling hills of far west Marin county is not a bad commute. I put on a little Bon Iver and went with it. The high school is like a mirage in the midst of sun-scorched fields, dotted with cows and wild flowers, like something out of a Steinbeck novel. When we were leaving, I looked back at the tiny school marquee and saw the welcome message.  It's funny, because since we've moved it's felt a little like vacation, and I still call Oakland "home". We're mostly unpacked, but we still haven't really met anyone yet, and while this has been a transformative month,  I'm really looking forward to the start of school for us all to make some friends, to get this party started.   

Friday, July 27, 2012

Everything Is Illuminated


I finished up my Design*Sponge submission.  Now that it's done I thought I'd share the finished product with you (they said it was okay).  I made a "Gilded Feather Pendant" from painters tape, craft wire and spray paint. Photo tutorial below...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Great Outdoors

Jasper and his best friend Mateo went on their fist backpacking trip yesterday.  I didn't get to go, as this was a father-son trip, but I got my hands on some pictures. They ate beans from a can, toasted marshmallows, climbed "mountains", jumped from rocks, went fishing, used pocketknives, and managed to survive a few bee stings, slithering water snakes, and sleeping in tents with their snoring fathers' after talking themselves to sleep. Like a page from The Dangerous Book for Boys...

Mix Tape

Design*Sponge is running a DIY competition this month.  I love competitions. The challenge is to design something for the home using painters tape. I'm on vacation in the mountains right now, but I packed my drill, some wire, spray paint and painters tape. Entries are due by July 29th.  Click here for more details. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hot Hot Heat

Our visit to Rivertown Revival was a little bit like experiencing the dustbowl of the 1930's on the surface of the sun.  Hot.  So hot that we didn't actually stay for more than a couple of hours.  I will say this, it was stylized and well run. If the weather was kinder, we would have stayed all day until they kicked us out.  Jasper beamed a ball into the target and dunked a teacher from his new elementary school, the kids made dream catchers and rain sticks, and feasted on Three Twins ice cream and rosewater lemonade.  The highlight of their time was a junkyard drum kit.  They played "I Want Candy" and "We Will Rock You" to a small audience, had their pictures taken by total strangers, and forgot the heat for a few minutes before we headed home to cool off.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Doctor Doctor

I'll be heading out to Rivertown Revival in Petaluma this weekend.  Billed as "The Greatest Slough On Earth" it's sort of family friendly Burning Man. I've never been to the real Burning Man, and I have no idea what I'm in for, but I suspect it will be awesome. For $5 you can get hitched or take your shot at sending your teacher down the dunk tank.  I'm looking forward to taking pictures of the art boat races and the kids in their costumes. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

True Love Forever

I moved into a home with a formal living room and a family room. Coming from a smaller open plan house, I didn't have and enough furnishings  for both.  This formal living room has sat mostly vacant, save for a few boxes, for the better part of a month while I cobble it together on a budget.  The majority of our home is kind of "modern farmhouse", not my first design choice, but ultimately what works best with the architecture and our location.  We reserved the formal space, along with the dining room, to be kid friendly, but for adults, with more of a mid century influence. This is where we will host our swanky holiday parties, if we ever meet any new people up here. I was really excited when the giant Dwell Studio circus stripe rug finally arrived, but nothing will ever compete with the restored Eames rocker that I found on Etsy.  It wasn't free, but I know I will have it forever.  The parchment color is timeless and will always work even as my tastes change. I highly recommend CoMod.   Their work is flawless. They also design their own collection, and I will be visiting their Etsy shop again when it comes time to decide on a coffee table.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Make It Happen

I got an email from Ayesha Reynolds, of Homespun Parties+Events asking me to share a brilliant idea with you. Inspired by her experience volunteering at a Boston shelter, she and her husband have decided to convert a rundown Airstream into a mobile studio for people to come together to create, making art accessible to everyone, especially those most in need. The project is called Make Mobile: Vehicle of Change. They are finalists in a contest to make this dream a reality and need the votes to get the funding.  

Take a minute to watch their beautiful video submission and please vote. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

Be Prepared

I picked up my copy of the Design*Sponge print edition over the weekend and am now longing for the days of summer camp. They chose this year's theme in part because it is the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts. You can imagine the badges that I collected over the years. Chock-full of camp inspired DIY, activities, recipes, and a feature on Camp Wandawega which looks like it's out of Moonrise Kingdom, the print copy is every bit as cool as the blog, plus you get to hold it in your hot little hands. The summer newspaper is available exclusively at Anthropologie stores for $5.  

Still every bit as relevant as when I was young...

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to respect myself and others,
respect authority, use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Parks and Recreation

My favorite places to take photographs are playgrounds, parks, pools and beaches.  I love muted color backdrops and when my kids are running around playing I get their most natural expressions...this is what I want to remember about them.  I like to frame my pictures in such a way that they are the subject, but not necessarily the focus and I take most of my pictures with Instagram, because my phone is so portable, and because they are square which I find most pleasing. I save the images without a filter, so that i can edit them later to get them right. I've even been known to take high resolution photographs with my Canon and then put them through Instagram to keep the mood consistent, and avoid the time spent editing. Here are some of my faves...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summertime Rolls


I'm feeling really lucky to not know what day it is right now... I have the summer with Adam home to take day trips to Guernville, to travel the Bohemian Highway, to figure out the endless maze of short cuts and country roads in western Sonoma county.  We've visited a handful of regional farmer's markets and today in Santa Rosa I found my flower lady.  She sells huge bouquets of zinnias in coffee cans for $5.50 (you get to keep the can).  We also picked up this crazy heirloom cauliflower, so beautiful I think I'll have a hard time eating it. Wanting to grow a bounty of our own we've been busy in our backyard trying to get our summer garden established, and today we hung cage lights from the renovated barn for a little ambiance.  I guess you could say I'm embracing my inner farm girl...
modern farmhouse

barn lighting

Monday, July 9, 2012

Food Coloring

Adam and I had a delicious Mediterranean quinoa salad a few weeks ago at Hopmonk in Sonoma, and we set out to make our own version. I put together a lemon-grapeseed oil dressing and used tangy green olives to give it some punch. Try the recipe below!

Quinoa Salad

1 cup Quinoa (any color, I use all three)
2 cups water
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup roasted red pepper (fresh or jar), diced 
1/2 cup sweet cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

Lemon-Grapeseed Dressing
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp grapeseed oil 
2 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cracked pepper

Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.  Transfer to a large flat bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.  Prepare dressing by whisking lemon juice, grapeseed oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper until emulsified.  Toss quinoa with remaining ingredients and dressing; refrigerate for 1/2 hour (or eat it immediately as we did tonight).  Yum.

Cherry Bomb

Cherries are one of my favorite summer treats, and they are at the height of their season right now. I love them fresh out of of the basket or baked into pies, in quinoa salad, and as preserves with goat cheese on a whole wheat English muffin for breakfast.    

Friday, July 6, 2012

Snap Happy!

Poppy Haus has a feature in the premiere issue of Pix.  Available on iTunes, Pix is a photography/lifestyle quarterly geared towards women, with content covering a variety of topics for both amateur an professional photographers. I love the concept, and I'm very excited to be a part of their first edition! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

American Pie

Yesterday we feasted on old fashioned potato salad, burgers and corn on the cob before heading out to launch fireworks in the middle of the street with our new neighbors. Classic Americana.  I made a peach pie with extra juicy and flavorful yellow peaches using a version of a recipe from The Joy of Cooking. Make it now while the stone fruit is in season! Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and definitely eat the leftovers for breakfast.

Summer Peach Pie

Prepare a double pie crust 
(I use The Joy of Cooking's Flaky Pastry Dough recipe)
2 1/2 lbs peaches (about 6 large) peeled, pitted and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, move the top rack to the lower third, placing a sheet pan on the bottom rack.

Roll half of the dough into a 13" round and fit it into a 9", trim the overhang of dough to 3/4" and refrigerate.   

Mix the fruit, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt together in a large bowl, let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Add the fruit mixture to the pie pan.  Brush the edge of the crust with water and cover the other rolled out crust, tuck the excess under, and press the two sides together with your index finger to crimp the edge. Brush the pie crust with milk and sprinkle with 2 tsp of sugar.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 425, reduce oven to 350 (cover the crust if browning to quickly) and bake for another 30 minutes (uncover for the last 5 minutes).  Allow to cool and set for at least 1 hour before serving.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

County Fair

Instagram shots from the Marin County Fair.  Check out the Frank Lloyd Wright replica Marin Civic Center chicken coop.  Awesome.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Cool Drink

We are so excited to celebrate 4th of July here at our new house. The weather is amazing and our good friends will be coming up from Oakland to visit us for a few days. To keep cool we'll be drinking plenty of lemonade (and drinks with lemonade in them). In an effort to do yet another project involving my favorite Kikkerland striped straws, I created these wide mouth jam jar sippers. Using a 5/16 all purpose bit, simply hold the jar steady, centering the bit on the circular depression in the lid, apply very little pressure and allow the drill to pull itself in.  Turn the lid over and gently hammer down the metal on the backside, removing any jagged pieces. Wash jars and lids thoroughly before use. Picture tutorial below.

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