Tuesday, September 29, 2009

save the dates

Now that everyone has (hopefully) received theirs, I can finally post about our save the dates! This was my first time ever using my Gocco and it was definitely a challenging experience. There are a lot of "learn-as-you-go" aspects to the process but I was happy to learn along the way. I originally was only going to use two screens for the postcards but by taping on the screen to prevent ink bleeding, I ruined another part of it so I ended up using three for this project.

We are getting married in Palm Springs and we wanted to bring that into play with the save the dates but also wanted them to be fairly simple. I hand drew the cacti, banner and "save the date". The rest was done on the computer, printed, and gocco'd. There are two layers to the cacti that had to be printed separately and since we wanted them to have a handmade feel, I didn't worry too much about the imperfections.

The second round was the banner. I definitely could have done the font on the front during this printing as well but with trying to get all of the elements on only 2 screens, I kind of screwed up in the process. This was one of those learning moments that I hope I don't have to learn again.

Here is a close up of the postcard before the writing and with the second layer of the cactus printed.

Lastly, the finished product. The fonts I used are Air Conditioner (found here )and Modern No. 20

I honestly think that the back turned out to be my favorite. I am not super computer savvy so I typed out my own calendar and ended up using a red pen to draw a heart around our date on each card. The labels are from Paper Source and addresses were printed on. The finishing touch is the adorable King and Queen stamps that everyone loves. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Monday, September 28, 2009

long time coming

I've finally gotten my camera back so I can finally post about Steve's birthday! I'll start off with his gift. Steve is really hard to buy gifts for. I am pretty good at buying him clothes but other than that, I am usually at a loss. Since this was his big thirtieth I wanted to make sure it was something special. I thought of a few things we had talked about getting or him wanting and decided I would let him choose which of the three he wanted. Now my only problem was figuring out a way to wrap these momentary intangible things. First, I took apart an envelope I had and traced the shape onto three different pieces of scrapbook paper and cut them out. Using my bone folder I folded the four sides so they would close up nicely.

I had some old card stock lying around from our Christmas postcards so I drew each gift option (3 fruit trees, a kindle, a home brew kit), carved it out, and glued a piece of origami paper to the back. These were then glued to the envelopes.

They were all closed up, each tied with a ribbon...

...and bundled together with these wonderful paperclips. (he chose the home brew kit, by the way)

The second little gift I made for him was a birthday button. I had seen this birthday boy badge on a blog somewhere (I'm sorry I don't remember which one!!) and thought to myself "I can make something similar." So I did. Steve bought me a little wood burning kit for Christmas and this was the first time it was put to use. ($20 at Michael's) It definitely took a lot of practice. For the writing I simply printed the text on paper, colored the back with pencil, laid it on top of the wood circle and traced the text. It transferred to the wood so I could easily burn it. You could use carbon paper if you have some but this works if you don't.

I had some scrap felt lying around, so I cut them into little petals and laid them out in a pattern I liked. I hot glued around the edge of the petals and stuck the circle on top. I also glued a piece of felt on the back to secure it all and finished it off with a pin.

It was so great to see Steve wear this all day, all around LA. He was such a good sport. His birthday party was a success with homemade tacos, delicious treats, ladder golf, and an outdoor screening of The Big Lebowski complete with horchata White Russians. The absolute BEST part of the whole birthday celebration was a custom pinata we had made of Steve's head. It was so great to see everyone's reaction and to watch the real Steve knock down pinata Steve.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

vacation home eggplant

Our good friends hosted Steve's birthday bash at their lovely home two weekends ago and they have an absolutely amazing garden that I would kill for. It's a hundred times larger and better than ours. Every time we go up there (which is often and now considered our "vacation home") we reap the benefits. Whether it be fresh tomatoes eaten off the vine or being sent home with a bag of beautiful japanese eggplant. These are the same variety that we had grown but I think we left ours on the vine a little too long. Rachel had mentioned that she sliced her's thin and used them in a lasagna instead of the noodles. It sounded so delicious that I had to try it myself.

I sliced the eggplant on my mandoline and used some leftover marinara from Trader Joe's. For the filling I sauteed some spinach and mixed together some ricotta with salt, pepper, chili powder and nutmeg; sprinkled some Parmesan throughout and baked it for 40 minutes. It was so good. It didn't have the structure to it the way lasagna does so I would say it is more of an eggplant bake than anything.

We have been eating the leftovers for days.

angel's food

I know I didn't blog at all this past week and I am finally getting around to it on Wednesday but I was hoping to blog about all of Steve's birthday crafts but I left my camera at our friends house in LA and have yet to get it back. So, I used Steve's camera that is old with no flash (not that I use it anyway) to take some pictures of a delicious lemon angel food cake that I made for my parents.

Since they are being more than generous and paying for our wedding the deal was I have to make my dad lots of yummy desserts. He didn't specifically ask for this one but I made it for him anyway. At work we make our brioche and it requires a ton of egg yolks and we never have anything to do with the whites so I decided to take them home and make angel food cakes with them. The recipe is super simple and from the lovely Donna Hay. Her book is so wonderful and there is a picture for every recipe (my favorite!).

I didn't turn it upside down as soon as I removed it from the oven (because I took this picture) so it fell a little but I heard it was still delicious. While it was baking I rode my bike over to Grower's Ranch and picked up a pint of raspberries to go along with it.

As soon as I get my camera back I will post more on Steve's big birthday bash.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

crafty day

I have been busy all day doing crafts and running errands for Steve's big thirtieth birthday bash this weekend. While doing these things at my dining table I realized that I need to get my studio in working order. I would love for things to go from this:

to this wonderful craft room bliss:

More on Steve's birthday next week! I can't wait.

photos from fathershood and martha stewart via casasugar

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Our good friends Eddie and Wayan have us over for dinner quite often. Wayan is a fantastic cook and always makes us the most delicious meals. Last night was one of these times. We were asked to bring some pre-dinner/bocce snacks and I wanted to make something that would utilize the bell peppers from our garden.

I just love the way these purple peppers looked with the tops cut off.

A bell within a bell. Almost as good as getting a double yolk.

Once again, Ina came to the rescue. I decided to make her sweet pepper and Gorgonzola bruschetta. The peppers are sauteed in olive oil until soft and then mixed with basil (I used lemon basil from our garden) and capers. Top the toasted baguette with the peppers and finish with a small chunk of Gorgonzola. I assembled everything at home and then popped them in the oven for a few minutes once we arrived just to melt the cheese and warm the whole dish. Yum yum!

Friday, September 4, 2009

mama b

Yesterday was my mama's birthday. To celebrate, my wonderful brother and his lovely wife hosted a little BBQ at their home. I was asked to bring a side dish and feeling up to the challenge, I tried a new recipe. Alice Water's Moroccan Sweet Potatoes from The Art of Simple Food . It was absolutely delicious. I topped it with some edible chive flowers from our garden. It went really well with the tri-tip and salad. It's served at room temperature so it was perfect for the hot sticky weather we've been having.

While looking for recipes to make in Ina Garten's Back to Basics , I came across a recipe for parmesan thyme crackers and made them to go along with the cracker and cheese appetizer. They are really just a savory shortbread and they tasted just like super yummy cheez-its.

I also didn't have a birthday card on hand and my mama loves all things handmade by her children so I took a cue from Wren Handmade and put together a little card with some adorable origami paper I picked up with my friend Rachel last weekend.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and give all your mama's some love.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Like Pie

Earlier in the summer we went on what Steve likes to call our "engagement honeymoon". We had planned a trip for the end of June to Montreal for a friends wedding which led us to also visit New Haven (where this particular pie took place) and New York to visit some friends who have relocated to the East Coast. It just so happens he proposed 3 days before we left for Canada! On to the pie. Our friends we stayed with in New Haven have an absolutely adorable little corner house that has half of a mulberry tree hanging in their backyard. They had no previous knowledge of this until I saw all of these delicious treats hidden in the grass underneath the branches. We started collecting them off of the ground and tree before we decided that the best way to collect them would be to hold a sheet underneath the tree and shake it. After finding an unused fitted sheet (due to a large tear in the middle which was fixed with staples) we began collecting!

Once we had enough for a pie (and some snacking), we went inside and cleaned the berries.

I whipped up some pie dough and got to work. This was my first attempt at lattice work so please don't judge my haste and terrible proportions. For the filling, I used the berries, a little fresh orange juice and zest, and tapioca. Baked until golden brown and then we dug in. It was delicious if I say so myself! I hope to one day have a huge backyard filled with vegetables and fruit trees and if I am so lucky, I will have to have a Mulberry tree.