Thank you, Cindy.

Sometimes it takes a good bump upside the head from a loved one to get things going. In my case, my dear sister-in-law told me today she wants to see more of my blog, which prompted me to see when I posted last…January 1st!? Well isn’t that just the craziest thing.

I guess the easiest way to catch up is to give you a photo dump from my cell phone…this is what I’ve been up to. Let’s see if you can guess which photos are from California and which are from Wisconsin…;-)

January

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February

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photo 5-1

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March

photo 1

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photob

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photo 3

April

photo 4

photo 1-2

photo 5

photo 3-2

photo 2-2

photo 5-2

photo

May

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photo 1-3

photo 4-3

photo 2-3

photo 3-3

photo 4-2

photo 4-3

June

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photo 5-3

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photo 2-1

photo 1-1

photo 3-1

photo 4-1

photo 1-2

July

photo 5-3

photo 5-2

photo 1

photo 2

photo 4

photo 5

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Happy New Year

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I would have wished you a Happy New Year sooner, but I was part of the frozen tundra that is the Midwest and spent several days trying to make my way home.

I wouldn’t have traded it for the world, though. Time spent with family is tonic for the soul.

Best wishes for a love-filled 2014.

xo

Let’s try a new recipe: the best chicken soup ever?

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I’ve been battling bronchitis for three weeks now and it seems like it wants to linger even more. Today I decided to bring out the big guns and make a huge pot of the best chicken soup ever (in my humble opinion). I first tried it several years ago and ever since it has been our go-to home remedy for whatever ails you. I think it’s the addition of fresh ginger that is the cure-all. 😉

I’m forever grateful to Renee Shepherd of Renee’s Garden for sharing her family recipe on her blog. I’ve included a few notes on how I tweak it just a bit. Hope you enjoy it!

RENEE’S FAMILY CHICKEN SOUP

One very large, deep soup pot, heavy enough so it can
simmer without burning.

2-3 large onions, coarsely chopped
3   large garlic cloves, peeled and mashed or chopped
5-6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
optional: two parsnips, peeled and cut 1/2 inch rounds (I always add these!)
1/2 small bunch of celery, strings removed, cut into 1 inch slices
or use 1 large celeriac root, peeled and cut in 1 inch slices
3-5 lb. fresh whole chicken, rinsed thoroughly, including giblets
(except liver) or use 2 large whole chicken breasts (I use 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
4-6  15oz. cans (depends on the size of your pot) good-quality
chicken  broth. You can use bouillon cubes and water ,
but that is definitely a 2nd choice. (I use 4-5 32-oz. boxes of low sodium fat free chicken broth)
1 large bay leaf
2 whole cloves or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
or use 1½ teaspoons dried ground ginger
2 tsp. dried thyme or 2 T fresh chopped thyme
Salt to taste – it will definitely need salt, as broth salt levels vary widely
Lots of freshly ground pepper to taste but do not omit – I use at least 2 tsp.

To add after chicken soup is made:
3 cups of cooked rice or Orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 cup freshly chopped Flat Leaf Italian parsley (I always add just cooked wild rice. I have forgotten the fresh parsley every time!)

Put the chicken and all the cut up vegetables into the pot.  Add enough chicken broth to cover the chicken by several inches. Add all the herbs and spices. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a very slow simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is falling off the bones — about 1 to 1½ hours. Cool slightly, take out chicken. Remove the excess fat from the top of the soup. When chicken is cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones. Chop chicken meat into bite-size pieces and add back to soup. Adjust salt to taste and add more freshly ground pepper as desired. Add cooked rice or Orzo and freshly chopped parsley. (Try not to forget the parsley!)
Serve very hot.

Not all those who wander are lost

Happy Summer to you…it’s been a while!  Hope you’ve been involved in just the right amount of shenanigans this season. I think I need to turn my mischief-meter up a little. I’ve only been to the beach once this season, and to not nearly enough flea markets! Even though the calendar says there are four more weeks left to the season, the San Francisco bay area is just gearing up for its warmest days of summer. There is still plenty of time to play!

Speaking of shenanigans, I’ve really been feeling my inner-hippy lately. I’ve been daydreaming of being irresponsible and taking off with abandon in a little vintage trailer like this (notice the poppies on the table):

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And in these daydreams I’m wearing flowy clothes in colors that are new to me and I think I even have feathers in my hair

hippy collage

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And as I travel along in my little camper with my flowy clothes and feathers in my hair, I meet new hippy friends along the way and we have happy beach parties in tents with fairy lights…

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Now this reverie usually ends right about here. It’s about the time the dryer timer goes off, or kitty Bean brings in a walking stick bug from the yard.

One of the reasons I enjoy Pinterest so much is that I can escape for a while and get lost in photography that moves me (without getting myself into trouble). To appease my wanderlust, I’ve been spending time on two of my boards, Boho Dreams and Take me Away. Have a look if you ever feel that need to get away from it all for just a little while..and the collections are really pretty.

boho and take me

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Another outlet for me has been sewing with some incredibly beautiful antique kantha blankets that I’ve been lucky enough to come across recently. The blankets are made by layering six vintage saris together and hand sewing them with small, straight running stitches called kantha. Working with these beautiful colors and the super soft texture of the old cotton fabrics makes my inner Bohemian happy.

kantha stack

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I love upcycling these into pillows, knowing that each sari has a history, as does the making of the blanket itself.  In Sanskrit, the word kantha simply means rags. What we see as an amazing work of art was really a humble woman’s way of keeping her family warm. The women of Bangladesh have been passing this tradition on to their daughters for generations, teaching them how to make those stitches small and straight. The attention to detail is amazing.

girl thread use

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I’ve added the first two pillows to the shop in a new category entitled Boho Pillows and I’m on the lookout for more vintage kanthas.  I hope you’ll take a look, and while you’re there check out the sale. A bunch of items have been marked down to make room for whatever new inspirations come along. I’m excited about this fusion of cottage and boho styles – all still very comfy, and very, very nesty.