Saturday, December 31, 2011

RIP Wink Satine: Farewell to the Best Dog Ever

i feel violet today
She really was the best dog ever. Sweet and loyal, fun and social, she mastered the fine art of lap sitting like Rembrandt mastered capturing light. But like many great artists, her candle glowed bright but burned out far too soon.

At age 4 she began to have seizures, and at 4 and a half she went blind due to an auto immune disease called SARDs. The coming year and a half found her coping with new illnesses, none that doctors could link together, but as one of our many veterinarians said, it was "plain bad luck" and "little white dog syndrome." Eventually a diagnosis of kidney disease came a few months ago, but one day before we left for a trip to the other side of the world, she showed signs of distress. But she rallied and while we traveled, she spent her last days with amazing friends who cared for her and helped her through her final hours. Even her best rallying to hold it together couldn't do it in the end.

Despite Wink's illnesses, she loved life and she loved all the people in her life. She knew the path, even while blind, to our next neighbor's house and would run it if we let her. She loved giving licks, jumping with glee, seeking out her favorite treats of carrots and apples, and simply sharing a seat with her peeps.

She taught us so much. To love a rare snowfall, to get to know our neighbors more, to try new things, to revel in the simplicity of a good walk and to care for little people. To lean in when needed, to cherish a fresh pea from the garden, to catch a good breeze and how to make it work. We loved that dog so much and our lives are forever changed. Words don't do justice but I needed to make this post.

Love the ones you're with people. Life is fleeting and you never know what's around the bend.

A simple summer evening walk from LeloNopo on Vimeo.

wink is a rocker from LeloNopo on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why I give to change, not charity

I don't give to charity. I give to change. I work for change. I support change. And the most important work in our communities, nation and world. I give to hope for a better world, for the discovery of cures and creativity and aid. I give in thanks for the abundance that my life has afforded me and for the privilege that I walk through this world with. I give in ways that provide funding for causes I believe wholeheartedly in, and I strive to vote with my dollar and put my money where my mouth is. I give because I walk the talk, and because I know I am part of the change we wish to see in the world.

Every day I see something new: what a gift!

As the holiday season approaches, in my mind I hear the death march in the background. The crass commercialism, the attempts to over dominate with one religion all others, and the out of balance beliefs that more equals love and we must go in debt to pay for holiday gifts. All these things grate on my very last nerve.

But after an amazing year, I'm filled with inspiration of the possibility of a country waking up from an oppression by the 1%, and seeing the light bulbs go off over their heads as so many move their money from Big Banks to their local economies. I'm inspired by the countless hours my friends volunteer for causes they passionately believe in, and for the work every one of my clients does to make things better for women, girls, the LGBTQ community, our nation's health, our reproductive health and rights, those who are developmentally disabled, and our libraries. So. Lucky. So lucky I am to live this life, in this world.

And because of these things I give. To change, to hope, to miracles, to hard work, to compassion, to determination, to getting it done. Non profit organizations are here for us this time of year to honor and celebrate our place in the world. I hope you can be inspired by the world around you and give to the organizations you admire and want to see continue.

Need ideas? Here's where we're giving/have given in 2011...
AIDS Life Cycle
Basic Rights Oregon
Destination DIY
Milagro Theater
Mercy Corps
Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp
Oregon Humane Society
PHAME Academy
Planned Parenthood Advocates for Oregon
Portland Women's Crisis Line
Q Center
The Equity Foundation
The National Crittenton Foundation
Urban Gleaners

I hope you'll give—to hope, to change, to others. It's a lot more than "charity."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gnome update

Someone has been a very bad gnome and is in gnome jail for the winter.
Someone has been a very bad gnome
And here we are, the happy gnome couple:
The couple that gnomes together...

In other gardening news, we did some garden fall clean-up this weekend, getting a head start on next spring's clean-up. I think it might have been the first fall clean-up in our garden in years. Usually I leave things for the birds, but this year, I don't know what's in me. This morning we have a truck full of debris AdRi is dropping off at the dump, and the front yard actually looks presentable. The vegetable beds are tucked in for the winter, and all of the solar lights and lanterns are filed away in the garage until next year. Seriously, pinch me. It's a rare year. Perhaps the gnomes inspired us.

Oh and hey! My column in Just Out is on winter hiatus, but I did write a little recommendation on a recent book I loved, The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell of The Fabulous Beekman Boys. You can read it here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Designing salads as a feast for the eye and for the mouth: kale salad!

Plate full of summer
I know it sounds like such a cliche: feast for the eyes. But I've been playing with this theme for the past several months, and designing meals for beauty on the plate is really fun, and super healthy. As a visual designer, I love the challenge of hitting different notes of the color wheel, and where I've embraced this the most is in salad creation.

Who knew that I'd come to love kale as much as I do? Sometimes I even crave it. I know: crazy. What can I say? If anyone has an I Heart Kale bumpersticker, you know who to send it to. Wait. Of course there's an online generator for that. Here you go:But a big part of what I love about kale is its ability to hold up in a salad, and to even get better the second day. Combine that deep green with other colors from the rainbow and you are guaranteed to have a plate full of vibrancy and health. I like having an acidic dressing because it helps to break it down a bit, and if you chop chop chop the kale, you have really palatable bits to chow down on.

I don't have a strict recipe to share with you, but instead a technique to follow, allowing for creativity and working with what you have or what's in season.

Let's start with the kale. Lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, is usually my kale of choice. (Good kale reading here!) Start with a big healthy bunch or two, rinse it thoroughly, then using two fingers, strip the center stem, leaving long strips of kale from either side to work with next. Pile all of the strips up, and chiffonade or chop it up. I like to sing the Choppin' Broccoli song while doing so. Don't ask why, I just do. Also, if you want to save some time, Trader Joe's sells big bags of washed and prepped kale, leaving you with only the chopping to do: sweet!

Chop chop choppin' kale

Next up, build your salad ingredients based on beauty of the color wheel, what's in your fridge or garden, or what's in season. Ideas:
  • Red-cherry tomatoes (halved), red bell pepper, roasted bell pepper from a jar
  • Orange-orange cherry tomatoes, orange bell pepper, orange slices chopped into bitesize pieces, shredded carrot
  • Purple-purple onion thinly sliced, chopped purple cabbage, chopped purple kale
  • Cream-slices of apple, thin slices of fennel bulb

Use a few or a lot of the ingredients listed above. I always include shredded carrot in mine, but everything else is up for grabs.

Finally? The dressing. Here's how I do it:
In a mixing bowl, throw in a big dollop of dijon or flavored mustard. Add to that a big squeeze of honey if you want some sweetness, the juice of an orange (fresh makes a big difference in the brightness of flavor), and a good splash and a half of vinegar. I like balsamic, but have experimented with apple cider, champagne, or flavored vinegars (like blood orange). Grind enough black pepper into the bowl until your arm tires, season with sea salt, an mix it all up. You don't need oil in this, but if you want to, you can always whisk in some good olive oil. Taste for flavor, then toss toss toss with your salad. Toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds can add some texture to finish off your salad.

Enjoy the salad fresh, taking in the beauty of your plate. Seriously, look how gorgeous this is:
Feast for the eyes: eating color and flavor

Then keep in the fridge a big container of this salad and enjoy on day 2 and day 3. The acid of the orange juice helps break down the kale, softening it a bit but never leaving it mushy.

The more you experiment, the more you'll get comfortable changing ingredients up and trying new things in your mix. But following the practice of creating a bowl of beauty is always a winner in my book.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Making way for new

Just a quick note to my Portland-area readers (Holla! Portland! Put a bird on it!)  Is it time to clear out your closet and make way for some new things? Are you holding onto some workplace clothes you really aren't wearing anymore? If your answer is yes, join me in donating gently used clothes to women who can really put them to good use, through Dress for Success, a fantastic organization providing access to office-appropriate clothes for low-income women trying hard to make it in the workplace.

A friendly recently visited Dress for Success and discovered they have very little clothing for women with curves, meaning size 14 and up. So extra kudos to you if you're able to help in this department. I have six huge bags of clothing to donate and I'm so happy to be able to make sure they go to women who can really benefit from them, including the fantastic leather coats I'm letting go of.

This Saturday I've joined with some friends to host a clothing get-together for Dress for Success and I wanted to let my readers know how to help. Bring your clothing donation—purses and jewelry are also accepted—to Cupcake Jones this Saturday, November 5, between noon and 3pm, say hey and get a free cupcake!

  • What: Curvaceous: Making sure success comes in all sizes
    Find the Facebook invite here
  • When: Saturday, November 5, Noon-3pm
  • Where: Cupcake Jones, 307 NW 10th Avenue, Portland, OR
And just think: with all of the space you create in your closet, you're opening the window to filling it with something new and wonderful. I love that feeling.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I can't help it

Don't mess with my golden lasso
Wink wishes you a Happy Halloween. She also wishes she didn't have to wear her Wonder Woman costume.

We have a screaming, shaking, light-up monster living in the front garden bed that I'm sure is going to scare the bajeezus out of tonight's trick-or-treaters. I wish it was scary enough to kill the invasive Bishop's Weed it's tucked into. 

Happy halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A completely random post featuring photos from my trip to DC

I went to DC and I don't know why everyone stared at my feet...
I don't know why you're staring at my feet.

While there, I took some photos for you. Not just of me and my big feet. But of colors seen in the fall...
colors in fall

Of murals I saw in the making...
I see something new every day

Of the completely inspiring new MLK monument...
MLK monument

I sought advice from the Psychic Rooster...
Psychic rooster

Marveled at the sites, and yes I took this photo and it's not just a postcard I bought...
This is not a postcard: I really took this photo

Reflected on the thoughtfulness that the beds in front of the USDA federal building are edged in edibles: parsley...
USDA headquarters is edged in parsley

Laughed at the ladyfingers...
Ladyfinger Cactus

Learned how cacao is grown (weird, huh?!)...

Decided we need to have these signs on all of the streets in Portland in response to gas powered lawn machines...
Keep it down, will you?

And discovered my nephew is a farmer.
my nephew is a farmer

Completely random photos, for you, my dear readers. If only I had photos from Kabob Palace and Amsterdam Falafal, this post would be complete.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oh the irony: the time this spot in the garden looks the best...

The patio/my summer office/backyard the time it begins to rain again.

Just as the passion flower covers the top and blooms, the hummingbirds practically live in the fuschias, and all things look vibrant. I'm determined to have an autumn dinner out here in this space. It's getting to be a beautiful time of year....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's been there all along

We've been walking, running and biking a path just down the road from our house. It's eye-opening to discover that despite living within a major city, we live on the edge of wild spaces. Just a few blocks away we have....

The Columbia River Slough

We've seen snakes, cranes, blue herons, hawks, geese, golfers and even a secret island homeless camp in this space between a water treatment plant, a golf course, industrial land and the international raceway. Wildflowers, views of the mountains, and vistas to wild blue skies.

A heron on the Columbia River Slough

But this weekend we simply went to the end of our street. We ran, then walked, then ran, then walked, and without leaving the street we live on, came upon this:

The view at the end of our street

Living between two rivers

I'm reminded these things have always been there, this place between two rivers, so close to home. I just haven't seen them. 

I struggle with the words to describe my transformation this year, in my focus of intention. It's easy to get lost in the newness of a body that easily folds in on itself—crossing legs or folding up into various yoga poses, to wearing belts, to an ease of movement that comes quickly and without a change in breath. Some of these things may be foreign to you as you read them, but for those of us who have carried weight on our frames, you know.

There's a shedding of the noise around me and a centering of the voice within. I used to think I had to go elsewhere, to others, for help in losing weight. Diet programs, diet doctors, trainers or physicians: they had to have the answer, right? These programs—of others—have worked but never lasted, or stayed with me. They weren't mine. This time it's been different. I've gone to myself. To the center, and to my inner voice. I knew what I needed to do. I knew what I needed to face. I brought in others to help me in different ways, but I never relied on someone else to make me make these changes. The answer was there, within myself, I just had to listen to it. It's been there all along.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where do I get the gardening gene?

There's a strong gardening gene in my family, mixed with a lot of creativity, love of the outdoors and nature, and just a love of learning. I was recently asked when I began gardening in earnest, and I instantly recalled this photo from my childhood:
I've always been a gardener

And I think of this photo of my grandparents in their zinnia patch:
Joe and Leola in their garden

But there's a new photo to add to the collection. It's the Gardeners of the Month in Sun City, Texas...

 My mom and dad: gardeners of the month

Seriously. Look at that garden. (And my mother does not want you to look at that satellite dish.) I'm so fortunate to have learned my love of growing beautiful things from my ancestors, for they were the original bad asses. (My mother probably doesn't want to be known as that but I wrote it, so there.) Congratulations to the official Gardeners of the Month of Sun City, Texas!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I can feel it: it's Autumn. A list....

pumpkie bump
There's a special gift with this time of year that I feel and acknowledge for the first time. Instead of mourning the passing of summer and sunshiney days, I'm welcoming the return to darker days, of rain and grey skies, and of going inward. I realize this focus of living with intention takes practice, and work, and so much of this work happens in the quiet times of the dark days and the gift they bring to us of a quieting.

A time of....
  • squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • sage
  • picking apples
  • musk
  • Himalayan salt lamps
  • fish oil
  • light therapy
  • meditation
  • sitting with my feelings
  • writing
  • reflection
  • cooking with soul and warmth
  • laughter and fireplaces
  • putting the garden to bed (or not)
  • red wine
  • deliciously decadent aged cheese
  • running in the rain (what, haven't I told you I'm a runner now?)
  • leaving the house in the darkness and returning to the house in the darkness
  • tights
  • boots
  • layers
  • spicy hot chai
  • long soaks in hot tubs and sweats in hot cedar rooms
  • the smell of wet wool and peeling off layers of muddy wet socks
  • comfy house slippers
  • Burt's Bees foot cream
  • black nail polish
  • roasting of pumpkins and pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • fun with pumpkin art like Jamie's, seen above
  • unpasteurized apple cider
  • applesauce made overnight in the slow cooker
  • gratefulness and taking it in.
Happy October to you...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So many things come full circle

I had a deep post in mind about music and how it's at the core of my being, but I've trashed that and am just going to give you this:

Yes, that's Duran Duran, and yes, I did take that photo this past Saturday night. Yes, they are on tour, and yes, you should go see them. I loved Duran Duran at age 16, and at age 40-something, I love them just the same. So much so they leave me speechless for this post. And no, it's not from all of the screaming I did Saturday night. I might have. Maybe. Okay yes I did. They are awesome. The end.
Disclosure: Yes I received free tickets and yes I'm blogging about them. It doesn't change how much I love/loved Duran Duran and OMG that was from the sixth row.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Preparing: That includes readying for Vegemite

Lots of itinerary planning going on over here in preparation for our big adventure to the land down under. Thanks to a recent care package received from my sister and family who live in Australia.....
australia planning: the care package arrived

We decided to give it a go in trying out the Vegemite.  What could be so bad? We had seen the Oprah Australia episode and even she liked Vegemite, right? So we seized the opportunity to buy some good bread (OMG bread I barely know ye as the carb reduction in this household has reduced its presence to zilch) and thought we'd capture the glorious moment of the first taste of Vegemite.
Let's try Vegemite!

Thought we'd start out with just two little slices in the beginning. We can always do more, right?

Should we try Vegemite?

Wow. It's really dark. And the smell is, well, unrecognized. As in, I couldn't put a finger on it. Good? Not necessarily. Bad? Unknown.

AdRi is excited though.

Someone's excited to try her Vegemite

Bottoms up!

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG. Nnnnnnoooooooooooo!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

State of the Union: An update on my year of living with intention

What happens when you step into the life you know you're meant to be living? ....
I've been pondering and living this this summer, and as the season begins its transition to Fall, new things are up on my radar and I'm excited to share them with you. 

Since my focus this year is on intention, and living with intention, I've done so much hard work in staying grounded, true to myself, and focused on staying clear. I've worked with astrology and energy guides, practiced ritual, discovered the joys of a good soak and steam, walked into a gym and signed up, been touched (and motivated) by amazing friends who've brought me to the gym, introduced me to spinning and to yoga, and learned how to build a diet based upon a base of vegetables and fruit. I've looked deep inside at my core and rediscovered my love of music, and have taken up a new instrument. I've reconnected with my passion for the outdoors and have kayaked, paddleboarded, and hiked my way through the summer. And the long lost fashionista of my younger years has re emerged. She's had to, since every piece of clothing I own has had to go. I've shed over 37 percent of my original body weight.

This journey of intentionalism isn't over. I will always have more work to do, but I'm doing this work now while out in the world. Art, theater, culture, the outdoors, PLAY: the world opens up to you when you allow yourself to let down all that burdens you from other people's hang ups or judgements, and focus on being true to your core. At least it has for me. 

As I turn this corner into fall, I look what's coming next on my radar, and there are journeys planned that will take me across the country, and around the world. We're going to Australia. And I think about how it feels to be out in the world, and I breathe in and lengthen my neck in yoga, I push harder and crank up the notch more in spin class, because the confidence of change, the confidence of being true to myself, and the confidence in knowing I'm living the life I'm supposed to be living, is becoming more and more clear to me. And I can't wait for what's yet to come.

Who knows what I'm going to continue to write about here in this space? I could diverge off to the sides about nail polish color (I'm having a hard time getting into the flat grey color that has been so in this season, you know?), or styles (oh my god I'm learning the joys of putting a belt on everything), or what headband really works for catching sweat when you work out hard (and why do so many of them insist on putting a logo right on the middle of your forehead?!), or the challenges of staying on path, grounded, and centered, or the best hikes and how I rate them in Portland's Forest Park, or color, design and fashion analysis (color blocking: let's discuss the pros and cons), the sweet little thoughts of life like how to be a really great friend. 

When I look back at what I've written here on Lelo in Nopo over the six and a half years I've had this blog, it's been a broad swath of topics. In the beginning there were so many more personal stories (aaah, the early, golden days of blogging where people used them as personal journals!), then as I shared my passions around gardening and cooking, so many fantastic people helped chime in and grow that conversation. My political rants and views were common occurrences here in the early days, but as the blog grew in recognition and my real name became associated with it, my personal writing became less and less of the content here. 

So who knows? I suppose this is part of the journey, as well. In the meantime, the journey of intentionalism has been hard, and at the same time it has been very simple, but most of all, it is fun. Who knew? And I continue to ask myself the question, "Who am I?" I suppose that's the truest form of intention.

Some snapshots of a summer of intentionalism...

Friday, September 09, 2011

Snapshot of a super simple summer salad

super simple summer salad

Spread a thick base of fromage blanc, or good whole milk ricotta, if you prefer. On top, place slices of fruit, ripe at the height of the season: nectarines, figs, cherry tomatoes. Top with ribbons of sliced basil picked fresh from the garden, splash with good balsamic vinegar, a little salt, a little pepper.

Step back and take it in. Late summer on a plate. It disappears quickly, a bit like summer itself, no?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How I learned to love fish: summer on the grill with fish packets

Plate full of summer
This summer I have come to love fish on the grill. I haven't always loved fish, but I've been determined how to cook it properly (which means in ways I'd love) and voila! I've mastered a way I love eating it.

I've tried a few different techniques, but continue to come back to my favorite, easiest and most simple way: grill them in foil pouches, topped with chopped vegetables and herbs. There are so many reasons why I love doing it this way, the main one being that once you do all of the prep (chopping, seasoning, wrapping) you're done except for the grilling part. You can do this mid day or early in the evening, then 20 minutes before you're ready to eat, turn on the grill and you'll have dinner in no time. (Think perfect dinner party food, busy night food, etc.)

Another reason I love foil pouches for fish grilling is there's really no oil involved, and no dreaded sticking of fish to the grill.

And finally, the flavors are really fantastic. But how could I leave out the beauty of the plate? Look at that plate: full of color and summer gorgeous.

I've varied the vegetables and herbs, depending what's growing in the garden, lingering in my refrigerator vegetable bin, or at the farmer's market that day.

About the fish: I use tilapia or salmon, mainly because I haven't done a ton of experimenting with different fish, and I'm still learning. Tilapia is a mellow fish, and available at my local grocery store (New Seasons) who only sells sustainably harvested fish. I've also used the flash frozen fish from Trader Joe's and it's great for this purpose as well. One filet per person works just fine for foil pouches. Lightly rinse your fish filets and using paper towels, pat them dry.

About the vegetables: Chop a variety of vegetables in different colors into bite size pieces (1.5-2 inch cubes approximately): red bell peppers, green and yellow zucchini, mushrooms, sweet onions, peas, green beans, fennel bulb, cherry tomatoes....any combination will work, just use what's available and in season.

About the herbs: Fresh herbs I love include tarragon, basil, oregano and thyme: they all play lovely together, but using just one is fine too. Passing freshly chopped basil at the table is a bonus flavor punch: save some from the packets for passing at the table. Chop fresh herbs and have as a little pile ready for assembly.

fish packet: fish + pile of veggies, herbs

About assembling: Heavy duty foil is good for this purpose, though regular foil will work fine, too. Pull rectangles of foil long enough to be folded over and sealed: about 16 inches is right for the pouches I make. Spray lightly one side of the foil with canola or olive oil non-stick spray. You don't have to do this, but I recommend it. Salt and pepper each side of your fish. Place on foil, closer to one side than the other--remember you're going to pull one side of the foil up and over at one point. Pile on 1-2 cups of the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle the pile liberally with chopped herbs, salt and pepper. A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime on each pile is great at this point. Fold over the foil, and crimp/fold up the edges of the foil, just like if you're making an empanada or calzone. If you have extra chopped vegetables, bonus! Store them in the fridge for a veggie scramble tomorrow morning.

fish packet enclosed

At this point, you're done until it's time for dinner. You can keep these in the fridge until you're ready, or get right to grilling.

About grilling: Preheat the grill, getting it nice and hot. We use a gas grill, and set the packets over medium heat for 12-18 minutes. The variation depends on if the foil packets have sat in the cold refrigerator for the afternoon or not. Don't flip the packets while they grill or anything: just let 'em grill. Set the table, enjoy a glass of wine, take in the ease of summer evenings and check in with your garden. Before you know it, dinner's done: one grill packet per plate, pass any extra fresh herbs and you're good to go. Easiest summer dinner ever. And look at you. You just made fish on the grill. Go do it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Super fresh summer: the simplicity and joy of tomatoes and basil

In the depths of February, or March, I sometimes find myself daydreaming of specific pinpoints of summer....the sensation of a warm breeze on a bare arm, flip flops, simply being outside all of the time....but always on this list are warm weather flavors, especially tomatoes and basil.

This year we are having the most success growing basil than ever before. In the past, we've failed miserably at it, with basil limping along and not growing much or quickly going to flower. This year? I waited until mid July to plant basil starts, and once they went into that whiskey barrel, off they went. I'm simply pinching the top leaves for every harvest, and the plant rewards me with more and more every time. Basil needs warmth, and that means to simply wait until our cool Pacific Northwest summers kick into gear. Patience.

The other evening I lived one of those wintertime daydreams for summer. In my flip flops and with Wink by my side, I ventured into the garden to harvest a few things for dinner. We had a guest that evening, and a fresh baguette and mozzarella in the house. Cherry tomatoes and basil were easily gathered, and I couldn't but help take a photo.

Fresh picked appetizers

Simplicity of joy, yes. But to live the daydream, however small or huge it may be, is always rewarding, and to enjoy that moment for exactly what it was, made me smile.

A few moments later? We had this:

What became of those tomatoes and basil

Simply splashed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch or two of fumeƩ de sel, the simple ingredients combined to fulfill a winter's daydream. We gobbled them up on the back patio, made a toast to summer, and drank in the warm moment. Oh happy summer.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Back by popular demand: custom canning labels

Okay okay okay: I've heard you! I've reopened my Etsy shop to provide you with customized PDFs to use for your canned good products.
Yum Apricot Jam
As you may know, the story about these goes like this: I'm a graphic designer. I preserve food. I couldn't stand the canning labels or options I saw out there, so I made my own. Of course, I photographed my canned goods and shared the photos on my blog. I got more questions about my labels than about my canning prowess. People wanted their own. I said what the heck, and made them available on Etsy.
Apricot and Raspberry Apricot Jam in the Kitchen
My canning labels have now been written about in The Oregonian, shared on a kajillion blogs and newsletters, and most recently, featured in the new book We Sure Can! I thought I'd retire them after a bumper crop of customized PDFs last summer, but I'm still getting e mails from folks, so there you go. My shop is open and if you would like customized PDFs for you to print out and cut out at home to then tuck under the rings on your standard canning jars (regular or wide mouth are available), order away.
Pear Chutney
Happy canning! And most importantly, beautifully labeling! (Doesn't all of that hard work deserve to be labeled beautifully?!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer is for....

....happening upon something so breathtakingly beautiful you have to pull the car over and take a photo.
Fields of color

It happened twice.
Poppies in bloom

As seen outside of Silverton, Oregon. Flowers grown for seed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Queen of the Kitchen: Can I get a woop? Woop?

Queen of the Kitchen float from Crook County High School Day, May 8, 1914

This photo is from the photo archives of OSU: it was taken in 1914 at Crook County High School Day. These are the Queens of the Kitchen of Crook County Oregon! Holla!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Food Not Lawns!

I really need the Food Not Lawns bumpersticker. It's so true. Why do we grow oodles of the monocultured lawngrass instead of the myriad of other things we could grow and eat? Or grow and gaze at their beauty? Or both? The combo is my personal favorite, but now I'm getting off topic.

The term "urban farming" is a phrase banded about with a lot of focus in white, gentrified neighborhoods. But urban farming, at its roots, is about the people doing what they will with their own and public space. Taking back control of their food system, building community, working together, and celebrating the bounty of what our earth can grow.

Check out Karney Hatch's Kickstarter project, a movie-in-the-making:

How much do you love those hard working Peruvian ladies? Of course people wanted to come in: gardens are beautiful! I love hearing stories like this.

If you want to hear more about Karney's project and help him see this movie through, visit his Kickstarter page and give a little money. I like his vision, and I have a feeling, a lot of other people will too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Super simple summer: appetizer of my summer

Summer kebabs
I don't want fussiness this summer. I want the time...Time in the sun, to play, to laugh, to be with friends and family, to read, to swim, to paddle, to run, to explore, to climb, to breathe big. You get my drift? Simple.

That's why I'm in love with this super simple appetizer: kebabs made from fresh basil from the garden, cherry tomatoes (different colored ones make for beautiful kebabs, and beauty is half of the magic of food, right?), and small mozzarella balls, all placed on small skewers. Drizzle with really good extra virgin olive oil, a little bit of balsamic vinegar splashed about, and fresh cracked black pepper and fleur de sel.

These kebabs are so easy to eat, casual finger food, great for guests or just a plate to share with family. Later in the season we'll have big juicy heirloom tomatoes (hopefully!) but cherry tomatoes are much likely to fruit in our cooler Northwest summers, making this an earlier and safer bet. Summer on a skewer. Super. Simple.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I'm on Facebook

I can't stop smelling the roses
Just a quick post to let you all know you can connect with me and other readers on Facebook. I've finally bitten the bullet and made a page for Lelo in Nopo/The Sassy Gardener.

There I'll share little daily tidbits of things I see on the web, observations from the kitchen or garden that aren't quite full blog post worthy, and ask you lots of questions. Like what are some good ideas for all those sugar snap peas that are producing right now? I shared a yummy salad I made with sugar snap peas over there.

Just click on the "LIKE" button at the top and you'll see my updates and conversations. Now about those peas....

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Virtual Garden Tour: The Hangout in Back

Look how I just left you hanging and didn't even end the Virtual Garden Tour. What can I say? I got distracted: beautiful weather, time to play outside in the beautiful sunshine. We have to take it when we get it. But I'm back now to wrap up this Virtual Garden Tour and give you a peek into our private hangout in back.
the back pool of cool green grass
You can see a bit of it above. As you enter the back from the Side of Calm, this area is benefiting from a newly shaped lawn. This is what's left of the grass, and it's easy to water and care for now.
AdRi can sit here in this new little sitting area in the shade and take in her grass:
a quiet spot in the shade
Looking back at the Side of Calm:
the path from the side of calm
Looking back at the far corner:
the back corner
You may have wondered about that robot in the corner. It has a heart. And hops growing up its leg.
the robot has a heart
And a solar light on its head.
robot has a solar light on his head
Looking back at the house, yes, there is a house in this garden.
there is a house in the garden
If you're looking for me this summer, you'll likely find me here:
i love my zero gravity chair
back patio / my summer office
Can you find Wink?
The back patio
The Wall of Scent has been ablaze with jasmine and roses, and hummingbirds.
part of the wall of scent: jasmine in full bloom
autumn sunset and lavender lassie are showing off
hummingbird comes in for the buffet
Lots of pots on the back patio...
happy flowers
wine barrel
colors make me happy
And more places to hang out. Thus, The Hangout.
blue glass
To see all of the photos for The Hangout...

And that concludes the Virtual Garden Tour. You'll notice I have not included the weeds, bare patches, piles of pots nor uncoiled hoses. But know, they're all there, just beyond the photographer's frame. :) Happy gardening!