Chinese, crab-shaped good luck lily

Gina gave Tyler and me this lily bulb and its crab shape was supposed to bring us good luck. And it came true! I got a good contract job (part-time) that will last at least a few months and Tyler has come into some cool, project work, too. The Lily is growing like crazy, rivaling my belly and I can't wait for it to bloom. I thought it might do so for Obama's inauguration, but that is like having your birthday on December 25th--hohumm.


MAJOR kitchen progress=Big grin!

Tyler has been such a busy bee making improvements here and as long as we are still working on plans and building-permitting for the nursery, the kitchen will get some attention.

This is what the kitchen was like before shelves started coming in. Not too bad, but I still had boxes with glasses, and all kinds of things.

Plus check out the cluttery corner behind me. Yuck!

But, Tyler went to work on that. He had an idea of what the shelf was supposed to be like, got it constructed, then we talked how to mount it.

Ta-DAA! Look at that beaut! We both agree, just that one shelf revolutionized our kitchen space. I can't help being a little greedy, though, anticipating the next round of shelves. Other side of the stove, for glassware. Ooooh!

But that's not all. This one came in a week or two ago, just below the bed/loft. And notice those white bars attached and running vertically toward the ceiling? Those are the beginning of a screen/partition for our bed-area.


Post Roast Soup

Today I was really sick of eating leftovers from the pot roast I made this weekend (which was made from delicious beef, purchased in bulk from the Carman Family Ranch in Oregon) that I decided to throw the rest of what I had in the remaining beef broth to make a soup. In the container I had some hunks of beef, about a potato and a half, a few carrots, mushrooms and a bit of sauce from the bottom of the pan.

Then I added a few sprigs of fresh thyme (also left from the roast day), along with some balsamic vinegar, a few drops Frank's red-hot sauce, and some black pepper. I also took some old whole grain bread cubes, sauteed them in a little oil and garlic to make croutons.

Finally, I mixed a little plain yoghurt with some horseradish to dollop on top for a bit of creaminess.

It reminded me a little bit of French onion soup, a rich broth full onions and mushrooms but those potatoes and the horseradish cream added a special treat. I oversalted a touch, but no harm--we just drank big glasses of water afterwards.

Candy, PART 2

After that first round of candy, I felt much more confident, so I decided to do a second back of sweets. This time I was interested in reproducing the Walnut caramels from See's. They turned out pretty darn good.


Scandinavia revisited

I just spent an evening in the dark room printing snapshots of Norway. So many juicy little nuggets came up that I want to share with you. Since returning I have only been looking at contact sheets of all my pictures from that trip and at approximately 1x1, I wasn't seeing the potential of all those great images. Here are a few I printed last night as a set to send to the folks who I stayed with in Oslo--Kristin and Arild. They were taken at their summer place in Hvaler, a tiny rock amid many other rocks with little houses. Everything was so photographable I ran out of film on the top of the a big rock looking out into the sea. I got angry for a moment because I couldn't capture it all on film, but you can't stay mad for long when you have two darling Norwegian tour guides telling you stories about light houses and moss!

STart on Broadway video from Tyler

Tyler is feverishly revamping his website during his job search to make it a comprehensive portfolio. To show our video installation on Broadway he made a short movie that is really super and shows the work better than any stills have so far. Good work Tyler!


final installment of santa's workshop

These two pics didn't make it in the Christmas post, but they are so sweet, I don't want to penalize them for being tardy. Tyler made the boxes for the chocolates and as the sun went down, his work station started to take on this romantic, speak-easy meets architecture studio quality. And, the other is a shot of some of his fantastic box-making handy work. Each box was unique and opened in a different way. Fabulous!

New chairs + home-made cushions

Our neighbors Mike and Jenny generously gave us two darling, vintagey wire basket chairs that they don't need. I was immediately enamored with them and thought they would work great upstairs as loungers when we get the next phase built. But, wire chairs are not the comfiest and they leave a wire grid on your booty, so the last day or two I set on making little cushions to soften the seats. I bought the fabric at a stoop sale in Copenhagen--it is some really sturdy natural fiber and the gal I bought it from claimed that they were hand-printed--or at least from a small, local factory from a long time ago. Something like that. Anyhow, I didn't have foam, so I took a really springy, cotton mattress pad and layered it 3x to make a soft, sleek pad for the inside. They work great.

Sometimes this how the place feels--all dreamy and gauzey. And, the two little buddies side-by-side. Awww jeeez.

FINALLY the belly!

It's not like Paparazzi are following me in my station wagon, but enough of you want to see my belly as it grows, so here is a the first of a few installments of my progress. I am starting to feel like a real baby chuckwagon now, all boobs and tummy, kind of like a cafe-in-construction for the little one. I think I am going to get a trench coat and sew little pockets for condiments and silverware so I can just flash the coat open and be a full service baby feeding center. Fresh ground pepper with that? Finally, though, I don't mind. The physical changes have not really been my bag, but since I got that ultrasound, I am feeling so much better. The little swimmer was so cute and wiggly, how can anyone resist a tiny dancer with hot-feet? Oh, and the signature hands on hips as if I am struggling under the weight! Tyler liked that touch, but I am definitely not straining yet! You will know when I start to strain, oh yes.

And, the fashion shot! I went to Goodwill for the day-after-Christmas sale with T, Ryan and Rebecca who were in town from Providence, RI. Rebecca was an awesome shopping partner, encouraging me to try things that I normally turn my nose up at. This brown dress was one of them, but she was right! It is darling. Good work, Rebecca. That was my first day outfit for volunteering at the Cascade Land Conservancy. It went great.

trestle table arrives to cheers, oohs and ahs!

I feel so spoiled right now. My uncle Paul (with the coordination help of my Aunt Rhonda) built Tyler and me the most beautiful trestle table. About a month and half ago Rhonda called and broke the fabulous news that she and Paul wanted to make us something for our place and we sent them pictures of Shaker-style trestle tables, among a few other trestle tables and they basically duplicated the picture in naturally-finished black walnut. I am dying. It is so gorgeous and shiny on top, amazingly sturdy but still delicate. I guess walnut is a strong, straight wood and it's possible to build things with a light frame and it will hold up very well. And, if you look closely, the legs are attached to a little rail that runs the length of the table about 3 inches off the ground so if you are naughty and lean back in your chair, you can put your feet on the cross bar--so comfy. Not to mention that little cross bar is attached to the legs with a wooden wedge-shaped peg that can be removed and the whole table breaks down into a flat pack. Yes, it is collapsible! ahhhhhh! BE STILL MY BEATING HEART! I love it. Tyler loves it. It is by far the nicest piece of furniture I/we have ever owned and we are so lucky. SO, thank you Paul and Rhonda! You've made our mid-century-modern-timeless-functional. (That is nonsense, but I am a bit delirious just looking at the table!)

This was the tables maiden culinary voyage. Paul and Rhonda ALSO brought crabs because they had gotten their fill and couldn't finish their catch. So, Annie and Kevin came over and helped us crack 'em! This is also a good shot of how the place is right now. Still lots of boxes, but that table put a fire under us to do some more organizing!