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Around the house today.....randomness galore!

Time for home and decorating projects has been scarce this summer......
and I am ok with that, except that it leads
to very little content for my blog.
A blog that has been sorely neglected while
I have been shuttling kids to art camps, soccer practices
and tournaments, hosting sleepovers and playdates {or "hanging out"
as my almost 14 year calls it, but I like to annoy her and call
it a playdate, I am a fun mom like that!}. it 
September yet?

So.........I pulled out my DSLR and shot some photos of a few 
recent additions to my home, and other miscellaneous  -
for your viewing pleasure.

I added the white cabinet in June - I used to have a dresser in this spot
but really needed storage for extra serving pieces and table linens.
I also felt the space needed something tall and frankly, I was
tired of tablescaping in my great room!  This cabinet from
my lovely friend Lisa, who sells at Farm Chicks, Stars Antiques Mall
and Barn House fit my criteria perfectly! 

I also added a sweet linen, ruffled {enough adjectives?} slipcovered stool to my great room.
I got the stool from Worthy Goods at Monticello in Portland.  When
I was trying to get said stool out of the booth to purchase it, I happened
to knock a few things over, breaking an item in the 
process.  Monticello made me purchase the broken
item - no joke.  So when the sign says, "You break it,
You buy it" - you better believe it, sister!

On Saturday morning, I was up at the crack of dawn to get myself
in line for the Barn House Flea Market - I had to get my shop on
before soccer mom duties called later that day.  Of course, the boys
hosted another fabulous sale - it was CROWDED and I don't 
shop well under pressure!  I did grab this huge old bread board 
{pictured above} - sorry Kim!   I took ZERO pictures, seriously!

Oh, and see those zucchini's above - they also stress me
out - they seem to just keep coming and coming and coming
before you can say, "let's make 549 loaves of zucchini bread"!
Those are the first 3 from this year's garden......

These pretty paint chips were sitting on my desk - some for a design consult and
some for me........I MUST paint something coral, must.......when the kiddos go 
back to school.

And I am official - I finally got some business cards -
calling myself a "Home Stylist"......'cause I get 
asked what I do and this is the year I make it official.....and
begin charging people for my style.....friends and all!  I mean it!


{simple} Raspberry and Blueberry Jam....

I successfully canned raspberry and blueberry jam!
And I am here to tell you, it was easy peasy.....a messy and sticky 
process, but fun and so satisfying as you hear your jars
"pop" and knowing you successfully sealed your jam!

I got my berries at the Portland Farmer's Market - yea for
supporting local farms!  I got a flat of raspberries and a 
flat of blueberries.

I had researched the internet for recipes and 'how-to' tips,
visited Williams-Sonoma for the specific tools I felt I needed -
I invested in a jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter and a jar funnel -
{all purchased at fancy-shmancy WS for about $20}.

Now as for the recipe - I wanted it to be as SIMPLE as possible,
low sugar and no pectin.  My "recipe" is mine - based on what I
learned from a variety of websites and books I checked out
at my local library.  And while I know that 4 cups of sugar sounds
like alot - it turns out to be a lot less than many recipes call for!


{Simple} Raspberry Jam

8 cups raspberries
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mash raspberries and combine with sugar and lemon juice.  Bring 
mixture to a low boil and let reduce and thicken.  Fill sterilized jars and
proceed with canning process {water bath}.


*I also did the very same with blueberries - although it did not
thicken as much as the raspberries, we have been enjoying the 
blueberry jam on pancakes and waffles.

I was really intimidated to do the actual canning process, as opposed
to making freezer jam.  However, I seemed to get the hang
of it relatively quickly and found it to be rather simple.  And
like I said above - so satisfying when my jars started to 'pop', 
signaling that they were properly sealed.

It takes ALOT of berries to make jam, and while I was tempted
to double the recipe, many sites I went to for help really 
discouraged that.  I guess it is better to work in small 
batches which is time consuming!  I found that with my
flats of berries I got about 5 jars of jam from each.  I am
definitely tempted to get more berries and make more!

Please email me with any questions - if I can do it, anyone can!

{I am excited to be going to the Barn House Flea Market
again this Saturday......who else is going????}


Best design blogs......

As much as I have felt neglectful of my little blog during
these busy summer months, I thought it was high
time to provide some new blog links along my sidebar.  

I added blogs that I go to when I can - to be inspired, to get
a good chuckle,  to learn how to be more organized in my home,
find a beautiful new fabric, etc......

I hope you like them too.

Happy, peaceful Sunday!


My post vacation fix....

We are home - just today after 20+ hours in the car over
the last two days....Why is going to your destination
always WAY more fun than traveling home?

But, oh home, it feels GOOD.  What did Oprah always say?
Something to the affect "your home should rise up to greet you".
Well my home rose up and said, "thank goodness the cleaning
lady came yesterday because hubby was home for 8 days
all by himself"!  

I plan to do a short post on the highlights of our trip - which was
fantastic, full of adventure, inspiring, grounding but most
of all full of memory making moments for my girls.
I am sorry to report that after running 87 miles, over 20 hours
and having over an hour and a half lead over the next woman,
my sis-in-law had to drop out of the race.  The short version is
that she was experiencing some severe dehydration symptoms that 
two years ago, when ignored, lead to some very serious
health consequences.  Although we know her decision
was hard for such a tough competitor we are so relieved
that she is healthy!

I hopped on Pinterest tonight for a little post-vacation fix 
and the image above had me 
at "hello Anna Spiro wallpaper with collected gallery wall".
Had to share with you all.....

Home.......always feels so back soon.


Oh, the places you will go.......

This is my kick-ass, sister-in-law.  I blogged about her way back
when {I would link but it's late and I am not going back through my 300+
posts to find it}.  Her name is Diana Finkel and she runs ultra-marathons -
as in 100 mile races through the mountains, up and down trails, across rivers, at 
night, for over 20 hours until she finishes........and WINS!  This weekend
she is running her 5th Hardrock 100 - a race she has been the women's winner
for the last four years!  My brother is her "pacer" which means he runs
the last 50 miles with her, helping her navigate the nighttime terrain, make
sure she is getting proper nutrition and keeping pace for a strong finish.
We are proud of them BOTH!

That's my bro at the finish, stepping aside from his pacer duties at the finish.
Diana's mother passed away the day before Mother's Day, after a very 
short EIGHT week battle with leukemia.  So, this year, my girls and me,
along with my parents have taken a road trip to Colorado
to surprise Diana and my brother at the Hardrock 100.  We can't
wait to cheer for "Aunt Diana"!  As much as I know I am a good mother,
Aunt Diana is an example of so many things that I am not for my girls.
Oh, I am completely ok with the fact that I will never run 100
miles in a 24 hour period {or in a 100 month period!}.  I LOVE that my 
girls know this kind of woman, a woman who perseveres, sets BIG goals,
never gives up, BELIEVES, commits, loves, shows passion
and above all else shows GIRL POWER. 

Diana and my brother do not have children and most likely never will -
but they are awesome examples of what aunts and uncles can be and
should be.  My girls are blessed to have them in their lives.

Please log on to the Hardrock website today and take a look at the 
results - we will be cheering her on in Ouray and then perhaps a nighttime spot.
Of course, we will be in Silverton to see the big finish!

Can  you imagine?  Running 100 miles STRAIGHT....through the night?  With 
16,000 feet in elevation changes?  Neither can I....but I look forward to cheering
those that believe they can!  Inspiring!


Since last time we chatted.....

Summer finally came to the Pacific Northwest......and lo and behold,
we discovered our central air is not working!  While the rest of the country
has seen record temps, the northwest has been mild.  And when I say
summer has finally come, I mean temps in the 80's with NO humidity - lovely!

Our family spent the holiday at home - celebrating with friends,
tackling a few home projects and enjoying some fun right in our
own backyard.

Our home has THREE garden arbors - lovely but they needed
a fresh coat of paint in a bad way.  So, yours truly tackled each of them
with a quart of BM Snow White and they look fresh as a daisy!
The puppy posed just for you!

While I was taking photos of the pooch sitting in front of the freshly 
painted arbor/gate, I thought I would take some photos of the outside of
our home.  We have No grass, yes you read that right.  Our home sits
high off the street so the sloped front yard has perennials, trees
and shrubs.  The backyard has a brick patio that runs the length of the house, 
a lovely natural looking fountain, and a terraced yard with plantings.  
We live up in the hills so land is tricky to build on and really in
Portland you just don't get big yards like so much of 
the country enjoys.  The city of Portland has established
an urban growth boundary to prevent urban sprawl and
to encourage citizens to take public transportations, walk or
even bike to places!  In many respects it's great but homes
are built on very small lots.

We love our lot because it is private and relatively large 
compared to others we looked at just over a year ago.

Our side yard has wonderful raised beds.  We are having fun
watching our garden grow and are looking forward to enjoying tomatoes,
peppers, zucchini, corn, pumpkins and blueberries!

In our backyard, we even managed to tuck a trampoline in the corner for the girls!
Can you see it below?

And while we did manage to do lots of work around the house
over the long weekend, we also did some fun things too.

We took the girls up to Mt. Hood to a ski area that has a summer "Alpine Slide" - basically
a 1/2 mile chute down the ski run!  You ride the chair lift up and ride a 
sled down - it was a blast! 

Anyone else feel like summer is flying by?  


Independence Day....

Our family is enjoying a quiet 4th of July holiday
at home. May you enjoy your day with the ones you 
hold dear.

Take a moment to remember our founders who
worked so hard to secure our freedom and liberty -
and all those who have suffered and fought for it since.

"Our country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty......
of thee I sing....."


I love Instagram! And have begun using it more....
Just for kicks, I thought I would share with you some Instagram
photos from the last week......consider this a peak into the life of 
a mom, surviving summer with busy kids, getting a root canal,
trying to work a bit AND 
have some fun. 

What will become obvious as you look at this week's photos is that I am NOT a crazy
pier jumping gal and I only rarely take photos of myself - so if you still
want to follow me on Instagram, you can!  My user name
is jillhinson.....I promise more of these type of titillating photos that
will have you envying my fabulous life!

My big girl came home from a soccer tournament and INSISTED that her hair had 
horrible split ends and must be cut "this very minute".  Knowing that she would
want all of an inch cut off her golden locks, I made her an appointment for a $14 haircut
at the Aveda Institute training salon in downtown Portland.  While the big girl had her 
locks trimmed, me and the little girl went to one of my favorite import 
shops called Cargo, which is just around the corner from the training salon.....
see, I'm always thinking!  I love the photo of my little trying on party hats!  Oh and that 
Santos pictured above......LOVE!  Many find Santos creepy...I happen to love them.

 Because I am nice, and despite having a summer list that tells us
we need to have ice cream.....we went to our favorite ice cream place 
after the haircut (yes, she already has her hair pulled back - 5 minutes after the haircut!).

Often, Instagram is useful......I am working with a design client
who needs a large plant......I happened to be at Lowes and saw they had 
these for a good I took a photo for Maria.

While the big girl and the hubby were in Cali for soccer, I spent some
quality time with the little at the nail salon.....

Had this custom table made for the same plant-needing design client......LOVE!

Broke my rule - took a photo of my 'lunch' after a morning root canal - blech!!!
Yes, I am completely guilty of fishing for sympathy!

Evening scooter rides with a sweatshirt on over our cute sun dress....while
most of you are experiencing sweltering heat, the Pacific Northwest remains
cool........and I like it that way, heat is SO overrated!

I spent a fabulous morning yesterday at the Farmer's Market with a girlfriend.....
the photo above is cauliflower!  Isn't it beautiful?

The peony vendor said this was the last of the peonies for this year....
so I bought BUNCHES!  

That's it so called 'average' life.....perfect for ME!

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