Not much to share with you but some pictures. I have been woefully lacking creative inspiration lately, and I’m just trying to roll with it. I went to Austin for my best friend’s bachelorette and ate a LOT of brisket, and the most magnificent BBQ I’ve ever had at Franklin (where we waited for two and a half hours, but shit, it was worth it). I turned 29 and watched some Arrested Development (not putting all my thoughts out there yet, but…kinda disappointing). I started riding my bike again, though I’m pretty sure I’m the worst cyclist in the world. I started banjo lessons, and all I do is play “Cripple Creek” over and over and over, slowly and painstakingly. We leave for Ireland tomorrow, and though we’re really really unprepared, we have passports and clean underwear, so we’ll just wing it. Looking forward to driving around a beautiful country with my sweet guy.

(Though I’ll miss this big sweet dummy a whole lot).

sleepingdog

My friend Nicole came for a visit and Luka fell ass-over-teakettle in love with her, even though she’s making fun of his eternally sad face here.

Mark made me this ribbon/washi tape holder, ’cause he’s the best. Even though he always makes the bed incorrectly by putting the flat sheet face-down. Not that I’m keeping track.

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The only bit of sewing I’ve actually managed to get done lately is completing this chevron quilt for a friend’s baby girl who was born in April. I had the top completed but somehow quilting it seemed like such a BIG DEAL. In actuality, it took about an hour and then I got to hand-sew the binding which is always my favourite part of making a quilt. Probably because I can watch TV while doing it. I’m rewatching Game of Thrones right now, and reading the books at the same time. Mark and I have this new thing where we mutter “YEH KNEH NOERTHING, JEHHHN SNOERRWW” at each other, sometimes during a movie, sometimes in the form of a text message, and then we laugh and laugh like a pair of idiots. This has nothing to do with the quilt.

Back in a few weeks with maybe something more insightful than all the garbage I just wrote, but, er, probably not.

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I LIVED!!!! To celebrate, here is a GIGANTIC picture of me shortly before my rarely-discussed first wedding. It was the ’80s, so I was wearing a lot of eye makeup.

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I have turned the corner on my terrible case of consumption, though not before having a full on breakdown in the car and sobbing to Mark about how, and I quote myself directly here, “I’m just SO NICE!”. He was pretty good about it, but later that evening very gently said, “I really hope you get better soon”, and I know it wasn’t because he was worried about my cough.

Ahem. Anyway, things are looking up! It’s supposed to be 22 degrees here on Easter Sunday, and I am once again reminded of why I moved away from horrible snowy Calgary to this hippie paradise.

We did make it over to Vancouver. We had originally wanted to go to Vij’s (I’ve been wanting to for years because LAMB POPSICLES), but I refused to go when I couldn’t taste properly. Instead we did a lot of beer drinking, mostly at the fantastic Alibi Room, where we went two days in a row for their stellar beer selection and ridiculously good chicken wings. I also had a flight of whiskey at The Irish Heather, because we’re going to Ireland in June and, like any possible future librarian, I take research very seriously.

The highlight of the trip was seeing the amazing Josh Ritter. This is now the fifth time I’ve seen him live, and he just gets better and better. I love this dude so much that it’s slightly obscene. I once wrote him an absolutely wacko letter and sent him a really ugly green scarf, and he was nothing but gracious in return. Also, the second Christmas we were dating, I told Mark that what I really wanted was a pocket-sized Josh Ritter I could carry around in my pocket. I sent him this incredible picture to illustrate what I meant:

fantasy

When we exchanged gifts, he gave me a stainless steel flask engraved with the classic phrase, “I’ve made a huge mistake”, and this adorable 5-inch-tall figurine. I pretty much had to marry him after that.

smalljoshritter

Anyway, Mr. Ritter was his usual joyful self. If you’ve seen him perform, you’ll know what I mean when I say that his smile could power a train. He is so unabashedly grateful and happy about what he gets to do for a living, and it’s basically the most endearing thing to see. Aside from this, obviously:

lukascarf

We also made it to Finch’s, the most adorable little coffee shop. Its tweeness can be a bit suffocating at times, and it’s run by a bunch of hipsters, so it’s not the most efficient place (they forgot my second boiled egg not once but twice!), but the masala chai is amazing (and I’ve had my fair share of chai since I receive at least one or two packets of tea as gifts each year for some reason, and also I’ve had it on the roadside in India), and no one can more artfully arrange an avocado. NO ONE, I say.

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finchbreakfast

After Vancouver, I took a very short road trip to Seattle with my best friend and a car full of bridesmaids, where we hit up bridal stores, ate a lot of serious pie, and I accidentally bought an $8 chocolate bar filled with crumbled potato chips. Totally worth it, obviously.

Back to reality now and that includes a bunch of recipes I want to share, and also a free embroidery pattern coming soon! Here are a couple more pictures of my buddy for you (no judgment on the bra picture, he was feeling self conscious about lack of exercise).

lukabra

lukawateringcan

 

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seattleaquarium

Four years ago today, Mark proposed to me in this exact spot outside the Seattle Aquarium. It was a bit random, which I liked very much. It was Friday the 13th. I had lost a crown while biting into a piece of salmon that morning at Pike Place Market, so I was rather distracted. Also, I hadn’t wanted to leave the hotel room in the first place — I was busy soaking up an old episode of Full House (we didn’t have a TV then and I was always transfixed by them when we stayed at hotels). We had dinner reservations, but the restaurant was just down the street, so there was really no hurry. Mark kept trying to get me to turn the TV off so we could go for a walk before dinner; he was oddly insistent on it, which is super out-of-character for him, so really I should have known something was up, but I didn’t. We went for our walk, down by the pier, and I know now that he was trying to find a place that didn’t have people around, but this was fairly hard in downtown Seattle on a Friday night. Eventually we wandered over to the aquarium. I was leaning on a railing, gazing out at the water, absentmindedly probing at the newly-gaping hole in my mouth (thankfully it was a molar so you couldn’t really notice), thinking about seals. I turned around and there he was on one knee, proffering this beautiful ring that he designed himself. I was in such shock, all I could do was curse. Clouds of expletives flew out of my mouth and I just stared at him, repeating filthy words over and over again. He eventually asked me to throw a “yes” in there, and I did. We made it to Le Pichet, a restaurant I’d been longing to go to mainly to order their famous roast chicken, which takes an hour to make and serves two people. I’d been dreaming of this chicken — this was before I could handily roast one myself (humblebrag) and I’d read extensively about how good this particular piece of poultry was. We ordered it, as well as some champagne. I then proceeded to alternately cry and laugh throughout the entire meal. I ate about two bites of that chicken, and we couldn’t take it back to the hotel because we didn’t have a fridge in our room. We stopped at a corner store on the way back to pick up a calling card so we could phone our moms, as well as some wine. I fell off the curb and hurt my ankle. I woke up the next morning at 6 am and took a weepy shower, still trying to fully comprehend the whole thing. I was almost scared by how happy I was.

I know how nauseating all of that probably seems. Sometimes I’m even a little embarrassed at how much I love being married. I didn’t have the best examples of happy marriages, though Mark did, and I never in a million years thought it would happen for me, let alone at a relatively young age. Though I know it’s not effortless — we both work really hard at our marriage — it is easy for me in a way that no other relationships in my life have ever been. I could write a million more posts about him, and I probably will, but here’s one last thing: If we end up having a kid that’s even half as decent and kind (and unendingly patient) as he is, I’ll be overjoyed.

markpia

Spring is coming, and we have more light in the evening, and I cannot stress how much this has affected my mood. It’s amazing! I wish I could be taking advantage of this gorgeous weather by walking Luka, but he cut his paw pretty badly a couple of weeks ago and is currently waiting for five stitches to heal. He has a little doggie cast and we put a sock on him when he goes outside, and he has to wear the cone of shame when we leave him at home alone. Poor guy. On a related note, I signed up for pet insurance today, something I originally thought was a huge scam, but given the thousands we’ve spent at the vet since we adopted him five months ago, it seems like a no-brainer.

Been in the kitchen a lot lately, inspired by all the cookbooks I own and the hundreds of internet recipes I have bookmarked. I’ve been making this for lunch quite a a bit, though I usually top it with a fried or poached egg for some added protein. And also because I devoutly subscribe to the theory that a fried egg makes pretty much everything taste better (like leftover toasted, buttered cornbread OH MAN I WANT SOME CORNBREAD).

cauliflower

chocolate cake

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I also finally finished a quilt I’ve been working on for a while — I’m calling it my Februweary lap quilt, because I did most of the piecing during some especially soul-suckingly grey February days. I really like this one, and contemplated making it a full-size quilt, but ended up being too lazy and wanting it done quickly…even though it still took me about six weeks from start to finish. I used this quilt block and it came together pretty quickly.

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quiltfront

quiltback

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quiltbinding

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Sneak peek of new embroidery pattern (inspired by Mr. Tom Haverford) and some vintage embroidery patterns my mother-in-law passed on to me. Some of them are from the early ’40s! I’m probably gonna embroider everything in our house. Luka had better watch out.

vintagetransfers

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kennedylakepano

I’m not alone in thinking this, I know, but February is just endless, isn’t it? There’s this beautiful Dar Williams song that I know is supposed to symbolize the death of a relationship, but when I hear it, all I can emphatically think is, “YES! February is terrible!” I have this idea for a February advent calender containing miniature bottles of booze. Maybe next year. Now that I’ve typed that I’m terrified someone will steal my idea. I have so few good ones, you know. Marrying this guy was one of them.

marktofino

We packed up our beloved minivan Django (named for this guy, not Quentin Tarantino) and headed up the island for a couple of days. We stopped for donuts on the way and then again to take in the absolutely stunning Kennedy Lake.

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coffeepiratedonuts

kennedylake

It was our first time leaving Luka, and our initial plans of dropping him off the kennel fell through due to kennel cough he’d picked up a few days earlier. Our friend Heidi very kindly stepped in, and house/dogsat. We, of course, talked about the dog constantly. I tried not to worry about him, but I couldn’t help it, even though I knew everything was going to be fine (and it was! Heidi even let him sleep in the bed, so he was probably wishing we would stay away forever). If this is even one-tenth of an indication of how much we’ll worry about kids, I don’t exactly know if I feel strong enough for parenthood. I don’t even know if I’m strong enough for the TV show — I bawl helplessly every single week.

Anyway, despite the worrying, we did manage to relax and enjoy Tofino. We stayed at the lovely Long Beach Lodge — some friends of ours got married there, and I can see why. It’s so romantic and cozy.

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inside

We did pretty much nothing besides walk on the beach, drink delicious beer from the Tofino Brewing Company, play crib, and sit by the fire, reading. Those friends who got married in Tofino happened to be up at the same time, so we met them for a drink. Our short vacation was quiet and perfect, and the best thing about it was how happy and ready we were to come home. I’m still not taking that feeling for granted.

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