Thursday, May 31, 2012

Farm Chicks dreaming.....



It's Wednesday.....late...any other mom's find their days flying
by during these last days of school?  Oh, it's all good......
soccer team meetings, recitals, musicals, presentations,
tests, projects, celebrations.......just wish it could be 
spread out so we could savor it as these days are fleeting....

I head to Farm Chicks on Friday morning.....This will
be my 6th Farm Chicks Antiques Show!  It's become
a tradition.  My husband has his annual golf trips, I have Farm Chicks.
I totally win!


I am dreaming of the great finds in creative vendor booths.....and I have
my 'list' stored on my iPhone - the specific items I am looking for, with measurements - 
'cause when I walk into Farm Chicks I totally get all overwhelmed and 
forget what I am looking for .......it's that good!

But more than the shopping, Farm Chicks offers an opportunity to reunite 
with my peeps!  While I am heading to Farm Chicks with a 
long-time Portland friend who I have known since I was preggers with my
first baby and an old Portland neighbor/friend whose kids
go to the same school as mine, I am also looking forward to 
meeting up with a group of friends coming from Minnesota,
Melaine from My Sweet Savannah and Beth Quinn from Beth
Quinn Designs {who is a Farm Chick vendor this year}.
I love that all of these women are SO different - different ages,
from different parts of the country, some are vendors, some are
artists, some are bloggers, most are business women, and all
have impecable style and infinite creativity! 
 Women........
we can be tough - particularly to one another and even as I age
I find there is alot of bullshit {it is what it is}......but I know I won't
encounter any of that this weekend, cause these kind of ladies 
are my people and despite all the fun finds and great shopping.....
I mostly celebrate THAT during this Farm Chicks weekend.



We will be hanging at Chaps in Spokane of Friday night, we will be in line
for Early Bird shopping on Saturday!

**all photos via pinterest....


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Friday, May 25, 2012

Farm Chicks!


It's that time of year once again.

One week from TODAY I head to one of my
favorite antiques shows, The Farm Chicks Show
in Spokane, Washington.

Are you heading to Farm Chicks? 
Let me know!

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake....



My family just cracks up when I am taking photos of food.....
But, I knew I had to share this recipe on the blog after 
 everyone loved this shortcake I 
made to compliment our yummy farmer's market strawberries.
I think the orange zest adds a little extra 'something' to 
make these simple shortcakes really special!


Whole Foods Market Simple Shortcakes

1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon find sea salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream divided
3/4 pound strawberries, hulled and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons
sugar, baking powder, zest and salt.  Stir in 3/4 cup cream with a fork to make a 
rough dough.  Drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet to make four biscuits.
Brush lightly with cream and bake until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Whisk remaining cream and sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form. 
{or you can buy Redi-Whip, like I did}

I mixed the shortcakes up and popped them in the oven right before we
sat down to dinner.  They were still warm when we enjoyed them for dessert!

Anyone else getting online to get Justin Bieber tickets today?  I have
a certain 10 year old in my home that has the Bieber Fever - bad!  
Wish me luck on getting tickets!  They go on sale at 10:00 am!




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Monday, May 21, 2012

My {little bit country/little bit rock n' roll} living room....



I have to say, I am really pleased with how this room has evolved.
Although we moved into this home just over a year ago,
designing this room was challenging.   Because our home is essentially a great-room
style floor plan, this room, just off the entryway could serve as either
a formal dining room or formal living room.  I took my time and sought
input from my family on how we would ultimately use this room.  I was the lone
vote for a dining room, everyone else wanted a living room, for various reasons
but mostly because we had two living spaces on the first floor of our 
Minnesota cottage {just one with a tv} and my family enjoyed having a room
to sit and read, talk on the phone, playing a game in etc...that didn't have a television
in it.  How can a momma argue with that?


Basically the room was decorated around the granny-sofa.  The damask Waverly
fabric had originally been purchased for curtains about three homes ago.  When 
we were leaving Minnesota, I had a talented slipcover maker in Minnesota 
make a slipcover for the quality Restoration Hardware sofa I had but was not really 
digging the fabric anymore.


The two chairs were a Craiglist purchase - $40 for both!  The chairs
had great 'bones' but very tired fabric.  I had them reupholstered in a 
beautiful cream chenille fabric.  I could have simply done a cream linen
but I love the warmth, comfort and texture that the 
chenille brings to the room.


The room originally had carpet which I loathed but couldn't 
justify spending the $$ on new hardwood.  My dad put down
the whitewashed Ikea laminate for me for just about $500.  The 
9x12 'Heathered Chenille Jute Rug' from Pottery Barn covers 
a good chunk of the room and almost looks like wall-to-wall sisal.



I have said of myself, "I have never met an accessory I didn't like" and this room
speaks to that!  In addition to my love of collecting, this room has everything I
love: decorating books, vintage tortoise bamboo furniture, beach collection {driftwood,
coral, shells, starfish}, vintage walking sticks, vintage suitcases,
vintage books, vintage glasses, old silver,
Asian blue & white pieces and vintage prints {see below}.
I guess that's what you might consider the "country" parts of the room
{yea, 'cause I used the word 'vintage' about 58 times in that last sentence!}.


I began to stray a bit in this room at one point.....reading blogs can do that sometimes.
I began to think I needed to go more toward a 'designed' room direction, even
modern {gasp!}.....I began to question if using 
vintage things was growing tired and perhaps over-used.  


I'm glad I stayed true to myself and I believe I was
able to successfully mix in some more contemporary elements,
like the 'Bengal' Schumacher fabric covered pillows on the chairs -
just enough for me.




The vintage tool caddy pictured above is filled with driftwood 
collected both in Oregon and Hawaii.....I look forward to adding to 
this collection over the summer!


"hello pretty bowl!"



"hello pretty chair!"


I hesitated to show you this vintage shelf......
"hello, my name is Jill and I am addicted to collecting....EVERYTHING".


This old stool found recently at Monticello in Portland sits
next to a chair and is a good place to set a book or glass of wine!
I loved the old leather top.


And finally......the rock n' roll element in the room - the framed 
collection of vintage egg prints.  I am going to do a separate
post on these later this week.  I had the egg prints originally
framed in a traditional style with dark frames about 9 years ago.
When I realized this wall needed something BIG with a BIG
impact, I decided to re-mat and frame the prints in a more
contemporary fashion - large mats and white Ikea frames.

And I will leave you with these thoughts - this room may not
meet the approval of many designers but this room is 'me' and my family;
it has things in it that we value, have collected and speak to the way 
we live, to me that is the essence of a well designed living space.

Sources for this room:

Paint "Duxbury Gray"BM
Curtains: Ikea
Rug: Pottery Barn
Coffee Table: World Market
Frames: Ikea

And finally, I did not 'design' this room alone......I sent out an SOS to the fabulously
talented Holly Mathis who flattered me with compliments and guided my choices,
and offered loads of options and advice - most notably, the paint color choice 
and the ticking fabric on the french chair.  It has been a treat to chat via email
with Holly.  I have the article that Better Homes and Gardens {about 2002?} 
published of her home still in my "Ideas" binder {I'm old like that - this was 
BEFORE Pinterest, peeps!}.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ticking + French chair = Crazy Goodness!


Had to share a photo of the french chair I had reupholstered
for 'the ongoing living room project'. I love it!

I know, I am such a tease!

The room is ALMOST done!  Really.

Photos of everything next week.

{can you tell from the post title that I have been working
on LOADS of fourth grade math this week?  Fractions are
only leading to lots of wine consumption by this frazzled momma}



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Monday, May 14, 2012

Our weekend....


We had a rare weekend without any soccer obligations....
a really nice treat.  After a bustling
Friday afternoon/evening that involved entertaining and
hosting a gathering for {SEVEN!} 13 year old girls getting
ready for the middle school dance, the weekend was relaxing.


My biggest accomplishment on Sunday was getting our garden planted.
Our home came with two raised-bed planting boxes on the sunny side yard.
When we moved in last year, we quickly threw in some seeds and called
it good - we had oodles of zucchini and a couple of really good pumpkins,
but that was it.  This year I am determined to make better 
use of our planting boxes.


Because it was Mother's Day, I had lots of help......
which can be good or bad.  Mostly it was good.......


My little one enjoys the process and has the patience for planting.....
her sister does not.  After all the planting was complete and the newly
planted 'starts' needed a good soak, you can see who was still
around to help!  

Speaking of my little one......she is my super sensitive, thoughtful girl
with a big heart.  As a Mother's Day assignment in school they
were asked to write a poem about their mother with two line stanzas.  

And because I struggle with sharing personal information about
myself on this blog, I thought I would share what my 
10 year old wrote about me.  All I can say is this pretty much
sums up my life.  It's precious!



********************
Mom

From driving us to school
To driving Emma to soccer practice

From Diet Coke in the morning
To red wine at night

From taking pictures with your Nikon
To putting them into a blog post

From listening to Michael Berry in the day
To listening to my violin Suzuki CD on Tuesdays

From doing the laundry while me and Emma are at school
To helping me with math homework

From singing and dancing at night
To sleeping in on the weekends

From making Ego Waffles in the morning
To making homemade meatloaf at night

From cleaning up the garden
To cleaning up the house

From me and Emma going to school
To coming home to a newly decorated house

Love, Abby
************************

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day.....


Have you read Stephanie Nielson's book, Heaven is Here?

Despite being a huge fan of her blog and thinking I knew
all there was to know about her horrible plane crash and wonderful
family, I recently finished reading her book.  I couldn't
help myself, Stephanie's fight to survive to once again mother her children
was nothing short of inspiring.

I read Stephanie's book because, like her,
I too believe motherhood is my greatest blessing. 

 I distinctly remember that feeling of empowerment 
upon the birth of each
of my girls' along with the overwhelming sense of pure
love, love for someone and something I had never felt before.

As I reflect back on my first years as a mother, I am ashamed to admit
that I attributed my success as a parent to what I could 
accomplish - "look I can breast feed AND make dinner", "look I can
teach her to walk", "look, she is completely potty trained by age 3" etc.....
I was fulfilled and selfishly proud of how timely and 
efficiently I could meet
my baby's and toddler's each and every need
{on most good days, anyway}.
Perhaps the remnants of the 'career woman' in me defined
success as a completed to-do list?  Nonetheless,
I was feeling pretty proud of myself - {barf!}.

As my girls are getting older, my perspective and outlook
has changed dramatically.  Parenting and it's purpose has shifted.
And to some extent, the stakes are higher.
Not only am I charged with these two innocent beings survival,
I am charged with helping them to become the very best version
of who they are meant to be. Of course, I knew
this responsibility way back when they were born but
in some way I thought, "oh there is plenty of time for that
stuff, right now I have diapers to change!"

My daily thoughts now seem to be consumed with how best to
raise kind, respectful, loving, faithful, moral, intelligent,
creative, wisdom-seeking, curious, fun-loving, sensitive,
strong, polite, spiritual, thoughtful, smart, passionate children.
{Although on many days, I just want them to
be children that clean their rooms, 
pick up their socks
and perhaps put their dishes in the dishwasher - 
am I really asking too much?}

{the two beauties who MADE me a mother}

When in the moments the responsibility becomes almost
overwhelming, I remember the fabulous examples of fine women I
was raised by, and the friends who I try to surround 

myself with{heeeeeyyy, Radish girls!}.  Knowing that
the behavior and example I model is most likely the strongest
influencer in the raising of my girls' is something I am
very mindful of, each and every day.  Am I perfect? No!


But on this Mother's Day, I can say this.
I have two amazing daughters who make me exceedingly
proud to be their mother.  I genuinely like love hanging 

out with each of them. I am grateful for them
each and every day - because ultimately, they
have made me become the very best version
of who I was to be, a mother.

Happy Mother's Day to my mom, we will see you Saturday!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hee Haw! or Hee Naw! ~ Cowhide Rugs



I love the look of a white/cream cowhide rug layered over a seagrass or sisal rug.

In the "design plan in my mind" for my living room, I have a gorgeous white
cowhide layered over the seagrass area rug currently in the room.

I even found a perfect cowhide at Ikea this week.....

But I can't do it.

As much as I love the look, it feels weird to have a cow on the floor of my
living room.  Having a animal loving 13 year old doesn't help either, she
is dead {excuse the pun} set against it!


So what say YOU?

Like me, do you both love the look AND find it disturbing as well?

Or do you love the layered look it lends to the room?


**All images via Pinterest!



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Progress......



***{happy hump day!}***

I made loads of progress yesterday in my living room - I finally got
my $40 chairs back from my fabulous upholstery lady.  Aren't they
beautiful?  I had to stop by and show you a photo.

Of course, arranging the room began a domino effect of rearranging
in other spaces in my home.....please tell me you do that too?  My 
family thinks I am coo-coo.


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Monday, May 7, 2012

Crowd pleaser pasta salad....



Thank you for all of your kind words regarding loss and my grandmother.
It is always so wonderful to open my email and find such
kind words offered from friends across the miles. The internet
often gets a bad rap, but blogging has brought so many
fabulous women into my life.

I am trying my best to resume a normal routine, get back to blogging
regularly, address the piles of laundry, stock the cupboards etc.....
This weekend was BUSY but brought such excitement as 
my big girl's soccer team won the Oregon State Cup championship
game!  We are proud of her and her teammates on an undefeated
season in Oregon! Whoo-hoo!  

Our team celebrated the win
and season with a potluck get together on Sunday.  I made my go-to
crowd pleaser Greek Pasta Salad recipe and because picnic/cookout
season is upon us and I trust you are heading to lots celebrations
and gatherings, I thought I would share this recipe with you!

************************************

Greek Pasta Salad
{courtesy of my friend Kiki}

3 cups sliced spinach
12 ounces feta crumbles {or more if you like}
1 pound pasta noodle of your choice
1 cup kalmata olives
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped/drained sun-dried tomatoes

Dressing:
1 garlic clove {crushed or minced}
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup EVOO
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

**Double recipe for large groups!
*** Mix a few hours before serving to let flavors blend!


Happy Monday to all!

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Friday, May 4, 2012

where have I been?


Perhaps you have been wondering if I had 
fallen off the face of the earth.....
or perhaps, not.

Last Thursday, my 90 year old grandmother
went to heaven.  On Sunday, I went
to Wisconsin to attend her funeral.

{Grandma at her 90th birthday party on January 13, 2012}

Since returning home on Wednesday, I have struggled with
what do with this post....what to say....how to say it....so I have
decided to just type and see what comes out....

My grandma was a stubborn Norwegian. Our relationship
was complicated and while I knew she genuinely loved me,
I also knew I was not her favorite.  She successfully completed
the New York Times Crossword puzzle everyday until just about a
month ago.  She considered her self a 'blogger' which meant she
sent out mass emails to her closest family and friends about 
every few days or so and EXPECTED that we would
all email her back.  She was a Democrat who watched CNN
almost continuously each and every day.  She grew up on a 
rural family farm but was also Valedictorian of her senior class.
She was a much more "warm and fuzzy" great-grandma than she was 
a grandma, and that was just fine by me.  I will always remember the time
I brought my girls to visit her just a few years ago.  She was beginning to 
have difficulty living on her own in her home.  Cooking had become
particularly difficult.  However, knowing that I was bringing
my girls to visit, she made homemade mac&cheese for my girls.  
Now, the mac&cheese was a "unique" recipe and one that
my girls' had not enjoyed before, however, knowing 
their fragile great-grandmother had made it with love, they
did their best to let her know how much they "loved" the dish.
That mac&cheese was made with *love*.

My grandma's mind was crisp and sharp till then end.....unfortunately
congestive heart failure and COPD had made life hard to live.
My dad travelled to visit her and she told him she was ready
to leave this earth and go to heaven.  She had already refused
food and was giving the nurses at the care facility a hard time
about taking her medications.  

Last Tuesday she got her hair done "to look good in the casket".  On
Thursday at about 1:00 she signed a medical directive stating her wishes.
She went to heaven at 10:30 that night.
Phew.....we should all be so blessed to live a FULL
90 years and then decide we are content and ready to go.




Traveling to the Wisconsin town that I had been visiting 
for my entire life was emotional.  Both sets of my grandparents
had lived in the same town, less than a mile from one another and 
now they are ALL gone.  
As I have done most of my adult life, I went for a run the first morning I was there.
 My run always begins at my grandma's house and continues across town 
past my mother's childhood home, around a small pond and 
park I visited often as a child then up the main street of this tourist town,
with it's t-shirt shops and candy stores.

In addition to moving often as an adult, I also moved
often as a child.  This small Wisconsin town has been a 
constant in my life, the closest thing I have to a 'hometown' 
{even if I never lived there} and really, I don't know when I will 
return to see it's familiar sites again.  How ironic, as so
often I dreaded visiting this place!  Particularly, when I was younger,
 I wanted to be from somewhere 
bigger, more exciting, more 'sophisticated'.....

This weekend, I embraced my Wisconsin roots, my extended 
family and mostly my grandma who showed us how to 
live and leave gracefully.....

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