Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.31.11)

Today's photo: Some pretty weeds on the shore of Laguna Lake from our little dinner date of Panda Express down by the lake tonight.

Why Amazon's Logo Has a Smirk

Some years ago I was curious what kind of grocery products were available on Amazon. Did you even know Amazon sells stuff like eggs, filet mignon, and white truffles? The Internet sure is a zany place fit for any recluse. Any way, I wondered what kind of milk Amazon carried so I started searching for "milk." In one such product, the Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl. oz., I quickly realized I had stepped through some trans-dimensional portal and into a completely strange and funny side of Amazon. Sure, the product looks real, but start reading the reviews for the product and you'll find some literary and comical gems. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Some assembly required... indeed., August 16, 2006
Shipping was fine, and the product was not damaged in any way, but my husband and I (both of us have college degrees, mind you, his in Engineering) could not figure out how to assemble this. No instructions, no diagrams, not even a lousy cheap allen wrench. So basically, weeks after purchase, we're using it as a one gallon paper weight. I haven't gotten any response from Tuscan. It earns two stars simply because it is heavy and does do a fair job of holding down the stack of newspapers awaiting recycling.
Shipping problem: Item not marked as perishable., May 24, 2009
I ordered 300 units of this item in an attempt to furnish a small raft to escape my country which is ridden with civil unrest and street-side executions by local militia death squads. However, when the Tuscan Whole Milk did eventually arrive after 3 months of waiting and various bribes in the means of lewd sex acts to local warlords that control the only air strip in the area, the milk was spoiled. This was a detrimental blow to my plan to barter the product in exchange for food needed for my voyage. Absolutely unacceptable shipping standards. 1 Star.
The Tuscan Wind, August 1, 2008
It was the last day of summer, and the Tuscan wind played with their hair. They leaned against the railing of the balcony, looking up at the stars. "In Italiano, we call it the Via Lattea," he said, savoring the last syllables of the Italian word like they were slices of creamy tiramisu.
--"That's beautiful," she said, looking into his eyes with white thirst.
--"Si." His arm grazed gently against hers. "If only...if only we had a gallon, one hundred..."
--"...and twenty-eight fluid ounces?" she said, producing a gallon of Tuscan whole milk from the folds of her evening dress.
--"How did you know?"
--"Oh Amato," she said, "I've known all along."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.30.11)

Today's photo: Pretty grapes displayed at the Avila Valley Barn.  On Saturday, my friends and I headed out to Arroyo Grande for the Strawberry Festival, but it was really crowded.  We walked around, got our strawberry treats and then decided there were too many people to deal with, so we left.  We then went and wandered around Avila Valley Barn and fed the farm animals.  Fun was had by all.

Memorial Day Thrifting

Today, Graham and I went thrifting with my friends April and Nicole.  We went on a three city thrifting tour of the central coast.  I was able to add another piece to my Pyrex collection, which made me very happy.

The pattern is called Early American and it is a 1.5 quart covered, divided dish.  I was able to get this dish for $3.25.  I saw a few other pieces at one upscale thrift store, but they were more than I was wanting to pay, so they stayed there.

My favorite part is the cat:

I also got my mom a vintage Gurley snowman candle for a whopping 90 cents.  He's pretty cute; I like his giant hat and he is like 8.5 inches tall.

I got these shoes for $4.49 and they are brand new.  I had even looked at them new at Target and then I was sad that I never bought them.  Good thing I waited, because these were a quarter of the original price and still had the stickers on the bottoms.

Graham also got a nice shirt, but I didn't get a picture of it.  I should get him to model it.  I am very happy with the treasures that I found on our adventure and now I want to go thrifting more so I can get more Pyrex!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.27.11)

Today's photo: Little pleated pouch that I made from this tutorial from Skip to my Lou.  I whipped this up last night.  It was my first time sewing pleats and I think it turned out really well.  Still need to work on my zipper installation, but it was a pretty easy little pouch to put together.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Photos of the Day (5.26.11)

Today's photo: I have a quadruple photo of the day because I had a little photography session.  I did a photo shoot of some of my finds from various beach-combing adventures.  I thought they deserved to be together in one post, instead of spread out throughout the week.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: The Cake

Once the reception started I was able to get a look at our cake for the first time.  We worked with Christy from Morning Star Creations in San Luis Obispo.  She's the only employee and works out of her home, and makes amazing cakes.  We weren't too picky, except we knew we wanted a simple, fondant-free cake.  Christy makes beautiful cakes that are smooth and perfect, and not too frilly.  She showed us pictures of cakes and we picked out our design and colors.  I liked the dots, and Graham liked the swirls so we made each tier different and went with our light yellow and green color scheme.

Adornments, our florist, put the succulents and orchids on the cake when Christy set it up.  I was so pleased with how our cake looked.  Oh and by the way, it tasted delicious too!  It had ollalieberry filling which is Graham's favorite.  And the cake itself was perfectly done. 

Our cake topper was something special for us.  The vintage topper was a family piece that was an anniversary topper for my great great grandparents and then my mom used it at her wedding.  I also just think it is one of the cutest little vintage toppers I've seen.

I think we might still have some of the cake in my parent's freezer in their garage, I wonder if it's still good.

All photos by Allyson Magda

Photo of the Day (5.25.11)

Today's photo: I forgot to mention that when I bought my vintage type tray at the Three Speckled Hens antique show this weekend, I also picked up a few blocks of lead type.  I got a G and a J, as well as an eagle and a lobster.  I plan on putting these in the tray when I hang it on the wall in my future craft room.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.24.11)

Today's photo:  This is another little necklace that I recently "made."  I took another old pair of earrings.  This time it was a pair of silver bow clip-ons.  They were cute, but clip-ons aren't my thing.  So I pried the backings off of them and used this one for a necklace by stringing a chain through the back.  In the long-term, I'd like to find a better way to attach the bow to a chain, but that involves soldering or something, and I haven't really ventured into that department yet.  You can hardly see the chain at the bottom, so I'm still wearing it (and getting compliments).

In The Kitchen: Classic Grenadine

If you find yourself enjoying a Shirley Temple or Roy Rodgers and wonder what the special ingredient is that makes them what they are the quick answer is grenadine. But today's manufactured grenadine, usually associated with Rose's in particular, are made of mostly modern science and not the same goodness of yesteryear. The main villain in this tale is high fructose corn syrup, that go to bad guy in healthy living diets. Oh, and that shockingly red color? It's food coloring, not that it should bother you, right?

General consensus on "true" grenadine suggests it is made with pomegranates. You know this fruit. You probably like this fruit. What you probably don't like is having to eat this fruit. Let's face it, eating pomegranates is not typically something one relishes. The seeds are messy and the color stains the second it touches fabric. Luckily you just need the juice and don't necessarily have to deal with those damn seeds. The easiest way to acquire pomegranate juice is to go to the market and purchase something like POM Wonderful. If you have a natural foods market you can probably pick up some organic pomegranate juice for fairly cheap.

Now grenadine is pretty much a flavored simple syrup. Simple syrups are easy to make and involve using a liquid, getting it to boiling temperature, and throwing in a ton of sugar. Then you just wait and it boils down to a sludgy, sweet goodness. Naturally the other main ingredient in grenadine is sugar.

Alright, so you've got pomegranate juice and sugar. You could stop there if you want plain ol' grenadine, but we were inspired by something we heard on Martha Stewart's radio channel and chose to add cinnamon, nutmeg, and a bit of cayenne pepper.

There are a ton of home-made grenadine recipes. A search in Google will provide you pages enough to make your head explode. Some, like this one, call for actually acquiring pomegranates, but we did not want to deal with the mess. We decided to go more along the lines of this recipe in making our own.

  • 8 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 8 oz. sugar (we used Sugar In the Raw, a turbinado sugar)
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  1. Gather your ingredients. It's always a wise step to get all the ingredients measured and ready before you actually begin cooking. During this step you realize what you forgot to get from the market.
  2. Pour 8 oz. of pomegranate juice into a medium sauce pan.
  3. Bring the juice to a boil.
  4. Pour in the sugar.
  5. Reduce the heat to a high simmer and leave it this way for 20 to 30 minutes. You're looking to reduce the mixture back to 8 oz.
  6. In the last 5 minutes of cooking add the other ingredients and stir.
  7. Remove the finished product from the heat and add to a bottle or other container.
  8. Leave the container to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until cool and syrupy.
Enjoy your home-made grenadine with soda or on top of ice cream. Experiment by adding other spices or flavors.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.23.11)

Today's photo: Walking stick bug on the succulent wreath on our front door.  We've been having lots of interesting insects show up at our front door.  What will be next?  I hope not something too gross.  It really camouflaged well in the succulents, I'm amazed that Graham even noticed it.

Three Speckled Hens

My mom and I went to the Three Speckled Hens antique show in Paso Robles this weekend.  We always love that antique show and were very excited to go.  It was super busy and stuff was flying out of there when we arrived, but there was plenty of good stuff still there.  I found a few things and so did my mom.  It was definitely a success and we can't wait until the next one in October.

I've started adding to the Pyrex that I have and decided that I am in fact collecting it.  I picked up a set of four red 12 oz square bowls.  These bowls were originally sold in a set, with a large bowl as well and called the hostess oven and table set.  They are such cute little bowls and are the perfect size for dip or a scoop of ice cream.  I will most definitely put them to use.

I also got an old type tray.  I have plans of hanging this on the wall in our office/guest bedroom which will soon become an office/craft room (more to come on the craft room front).  I'm going to display little knick knacks in the tray because they always get lost on larger shelves.

When we got back from the show my mom gave me her large Pyrex bowl that she had, so now I have the whole set.  They may not all be in perfect shape, but I like to use them, so they work great for me.

 That's the large bowl in the back and the small ones up front.  So that was my first Pyrex purchase since I started "collecting" it.  I better get out to the thrift stores soon to find more!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.20.11)

Today's photo: Monty's ready for his close-up.

My mom and I are headed to The Three Speckled Hens antique show in Paso tomorrow, hopefully we find some treasures!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.19.11)

Today's photo: Our little ginkgo tree from our wedding ceremony (the one I mentioned yesterday).  Still growing strong.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.18.11)

Today's photo: Some of my bead collection.  Hopefully soon I will also have some pictures of some finished projects made out of those beads.

Wedding Wednesday: The Ceremony

The ceremony was perfectly us: short, sweet, and to the point.  We wrote our own vows to each other (the night before the wedding) and kept them a secret from each other.  My brother, Eric, was the officiant (he was appointed as a Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages for a day by the county) which was awesome and personal.

I showed off my ugly cry face.

We decided to water a little ginkgo tree as a part of our ceremony, as opposed to a candle or sand ceremony.  It felt more like us and we still have our little tree living on our front porch.  Whenever I see it I think about our wedding.  I just keep hoping I can keep it alive, but it's doing great nearly three years later!

Annnnnd, we're married!

All photos by Allyson Magda

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.17.11)

Today's photo: Little owl necklace that I put together from some old earrings.  I should have taken a picture of them before I dismantled them, but just imagine three of these little owls stacked on top of each other, dangling from your ears.  I think I can handle them much better as a simple necklace.

Birthday Presents

Graham gave me some really awesome presents for my birthday.  He asked what I wanted and I told him that I wanted fabric for my birthday, so I think he had it pretty easy.  My favorite fabric store (Birch Fabrics, better known online as Fabricworm) also happens to be just around the corner from his office in Paso Robles.  He has been working at home, so I wasn't sure that he was going to have the opportunity to get there before my birthday.  He scheduled an oil change at the dealership in Paso the week of my birthday, and he really had me convinced that he was busy with the oil change his whole lunch break.  I was sure that he hadn't had the chance to get me anything for my birthday, but Graham's too nice, he wouldn't do that :)

Of course, Graham went to my favorite fabric store and spoiled me.  Birch is a really awesome fabric store, and Graham is a really awesome husband.  He picked out three fat quarter bundles, as well as a gift certificate for me to spend any way that I wanted.

Last week, I dropped Graham off at the office as he was leaving for business trip, so I was able to go in and spend my gift certificate.  I spent almost an hour looking at all of the beautiful fabric they have.  I find it so hard to decide what I want when I go there because really I just want a few yards of everything so that I can make whatever I want, whenever I want, and not have to worry about using it all up.  I ended up getting two more fat quarter bundles, which Birch/Fabricworm does a wonderful job putting together.  I find the bundles so inspiring, I'm so excited to get sewing. 

I also picked up some yardage of a few other fabrics that I didn't want to leave behind.  I don't have plans for any of my fabric yet, but I'd love to get creative with some of my bundles and branch out with some sort of patchwork projects.  Probably not a quilt yet, but I'll work up to that.

It was a great birthday, although I still don't feel like I'm a quarter of a century old yet.  I'll post soon about our fun little birthday trip that we took the weekend after my actual birthday.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.16.11)

Today's photo: I had a little photo shoot with some of my vintage Cracker Jack charms.  This is a little goat charm.  I have some plans to make some jewelry and maybe incorporate some of these silly charms.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.13.11)

Today's photo: Crazy dead leaf colored moth in our doorway.  It was pretty interesting looking, not necessarily pretty, but definitely interesting.

Happy weekend everyone!

Photo of the Day (5.12.11)

Today (yesterday)'s photo: Tulip arrangement from when I was channeling my inner Martha Stewart.  Blogger was not working yesterday so two photos are going up today!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.11.11)

Today's photo: Some decor from the party.  I will also post about my Martha Stewart pom poms shortly, as well as everything else that I have said I need to talk about.

Wedding Wednesday: Choosing the Setting

We spent quite some time searching for a wedding venue (mostly virtually) before we decided on the Dallidet Adobe.  Originally, we thought we wanted to do a barn wedding, but we also wanted to be near the coast.  We didn't want to get married in the north county, as it was going to be during the summer.  I thought Big Sur would be awesome, but guess what?  Big Sur is really expensive.  So that was just a dream.  We visited a few barns in Cayucos, that for one reason or another wouldn't work out.  I searched all over the internet to find a unique venue that suited us, but I wasn't finding it yet.  We thought of the "secret garden" that we had seen near Graham's condo, behind Scolari's Market in SLO.  We decided to check out their website, but it gave us the impression that they were no longer holding weddings there.  We decided to go look anyway, on one of the days that they were open to the public.  Turned out, they had just started holding weddings again, and it was the perfect setting for our wedding.  It just felt like us!

The Dallidet Adobe is an old adobe from the 1850's, owned by the SLO Historical Society, and surrounded by beautiful gardens in the middle of downtown San Luis Obispo.  We could never really tell what it was when we had passed by and just peered through the fence.  But it really is like a secret garden inside the fence and the perfect setting for a wedding.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.10.11)

Today's photo: Rainbow Cake!  So for our birthdays I made a rainbow layer cake.  It was so exciting to cut into and see how it turned out after the hours of work I put into it.  It was also really fun to see everyone's reactions when they saw the inside. 

I have seen rainbow cakes floating around on various blogs and on Pinterest for a while.  I used those as my inspiration, but I will also post my "how-to" this week, in case anyone wants my version of it.

I probably should have cleaned the cake plate a little before taking a picture.  But this is real life, people wanted to eat cake!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.9.11)

Today's photo: Birthday cake!  I made a special birthday cake for our little party over the weekend.  Tomorrow, I will reveal what flavor was found on the inside of the cake.

Mmmmm, cake.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.6.11)

Today's photo: Cupcake time!  Tomorrow is Graham's 30th birthday!  We're going to have a party to celebrate his birthday, as well as mine.  These cupcakes are Graham's favorite flavor: strawberry.  I also worked on some other things for the party which I will blog about afterward.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.5.11)

Today's photo: Watching harbor seals with pups on the rocks at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photo of the Day (5.4.11)

Today's photo: The friendliest little White-crowned Sparrow on the bluffs above Glass Beach.  He loved having his photo taken, I called him my little model.

Wedding Wednesday: My Bouquet

One thing that I was certain about for my wedding bouquet was that I wanted succulents in it.  Just a few short years ago, when we got married, succulents in weddings were not all the rage yet and I had a really hard time finding inspiration pictures to show a florist, except for one bouquet from Martha Stewart (who else?).  I did a lot of research to find a florist that I thought would be interested in using succulents.  I found Adornments and they were more than interested, they were really excited to work succulents into our flowers. They were awesome and my bouquet turned out awesome.  As I was getting ready they brought my bouquet to me and I just stared at it for a minute because it was just so pretty (that picture is in the last wedding post).  So now on with the pictures, right?

I was in love with my bouquet.  It turned out even better than I ever imagined that it could.  And I still have a pot with the succulents from my bouquet growing on our back porch!

Bouquet by Adornments
All photos by Allyson Magda