Monday, March 28, 2011

Kitchen Island

My kitchen is big considering my house was built in 1933. The only bad part is that there is very little counter space. My handy friend Brady has recently started working in poured concrete. He built me a beautiful island to go front in center in my kitchen. He welded the base out of iron and poured the top out of concrete. Instead of using pebbles as an aggregate in the concrete top, we collected 37 pounds of glass, busted it all up and let it figure out where it wanted to stay. There are a couple of big pieces on top and a lot of tiny ones around the edges and throughout. My favorite is a triangular piece of light blue glass on top. Don't my little owl buddy cookie jars and salt/pepper shakers look right at home? I am loving it! Function, meet form!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Succulent Living Picture

It isn't a secret how much I love succulent plants. Skimming through the internet looking for garden inspirations, I found the coolest way to present your little succulent buddies...a living picture frame! You can buy kits online (but they are pretty pricey). So, I think I am going to try and build some myself. I found a pretty decent tutorial at sunset.

After they have been been growing in the frame from 4-8 weeks you can actually hang or lean them vertically. How cool! Aren't the beautiful?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Garden Bounty Asian Noodle Salad

Last year, I serendipitously clicked on a link that my friend Katrina has posted to her facebook. Lucky for me, Katrina knows good food! The link led me to the Pioneer Woman blog that catalogs everything from cooking, gardening, home ideas, homeschooling, and more.

Ree, the blogger has some really great recipes. I have only tried a couple of them, but they were both fabulous and I can't wait to try more! The first one I tried-the one that I fatefully found from Katrina's fb post-is the "Asian Noodle Salad" that uses fresh veggies. Ree designed the recipe around her current garden bounty, but if you don't have a garden you could just raid the produce department at your local grocery. When I made this, I did a combo of crops from my garden and the local farmer's market. Pick whatever noodles and veggies are your favorite, but in my opinion the must have veggies are red/yellow bell peppers, bean sprouts and spinach. I know that none of us have garden bounties yet, but in honor of gardening and the spring and summer that is soon arriving I thought this would be a great recipe to share!

The secret bang to this recipe is the combo of the salad and noodles and the lip licking, oh so good dressing (so don't skimp on making it to opt for buying some not as good substitute when you are at the grocery raiding their produce).

The recipe is below, but you should really check out Ree's recipe because it has step by step instructions and lots of fun pics (including the pic I borrowed from her page for this post). Yum!

  • 1 pkg. noodles (cooked, rinsed, and cooled)

  • 1/2 head thinly sliced napa cabbage

  • 1/2 head thinly sliced purple cabbage

  • 1/2 bag baby spinach

  • 1 whole red bell pepper, sliced julienne style

  • 1 whole yellow bell pepper, sliced julienne style

  • 1 whole orange or green bell pepper, sliced julienne style

  • 1 bag/container bean sprouts

  • chopped cilantro (up to 1 bunch, to taste)

  • 3 whole scallions, sliced

  • 1/2 onion, chopped

  • 3 whole cucumbers, peeled and sliced

  • 1 can (about 10 oz. whole cashews, lightly toasted in skillet

For Dressing

  • 1 whole lime, juiced

  • 8 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 8 Tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 whole hot peppers or jalapenos, chopped

  • chopped cilantro


Mix salad ingredients together. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Mix noodles and veggies together with tongs or hands and gobble it up!

*Note: dressing keeps for up to three days before serving (without cilantro)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Merrilee Challis

Art of the Day
"Devil in the Wood"

Merrilee Challis is and has been for quite awhile now my favorite local artist. The ultra hip co-owner of Birmingham's bar/venue Bottletree creates whimsical paintings that I adore. Her color palette makes me swoon (filled with pastles, neutrals, and punches of bright colors throughout). Her imagery seems to often include a lot of woodland animals and insects combined with gorgeous organice shapes and often eerie figures.


"Skull Garden"

When I was in graduate school, I had the delightful experience of learning under her. She taught a figure drawing class I was enrolled in. A couple of years ago, I attended an "art in the park" event and ran into another old art professor-and fabulous artist-Doug Baulos. He is a good friend of Merrilee's and they often collaborate. I bought a piece by them that is hanging in my living room now (will post later). For now, check out these awesome pieces by Merrilee. And if you are interested in seeing more of her work, check out her website here.

**I don't know the title of this one, but I posted it anyway because I love it!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Russian Nesting Dolls

I always seem to get into things right before they become a big trend. Maybe I should have been a "trend forecaster" like my friend Kiki. Maybe I'm connected to the strings that tie our global cultures together by some ethereal goop. Maybe not.

One of the trends that I am seeing more and more of that I absolutely love and adore are the Russian nesting dolls (sometimes called stacking dolls, babushka dolls or matryoshka dolls). Whatever you call them, they are fun to play with and as cute as a button!

Aside from the traditional stacking dolls, they have started popping up in many forms: magnets, stamps, pillows, textile patterns, measuring cups, jewelry, and more. Check out some of the ones I have and other that are on my wish list...(in order of appearance: stamps, costmetics bag, pillows, bedspread, bitchin' tattoo, white measuring cups, pendant, christmas tree ornaments).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Prickly Stickly!

A couple of my lady friends, April and Lorey, invited me on an adventure to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens to enjoy the beautiful weather and sights on the afternoon of my birthday. My younger students (Kindergarten-2nd graders) have been working on chalk pastel cactus drawings for a couple of weeks, so I was inspired to take a few pictures of cactus plants and other plants in the succulent family to share with them. I decided to share them with you guys too!
I have also been taking my own personal inventory of which cactus plants and succulents are my favorites because I am in the process of leveling out some ground in my back yard to build a patio and I wanted to incorporate some into the design. (Check out the funky "coral aloe" plant below).

Aw, Honey Honey!

I subscribe to an email group for my neighborhood association. It's great, because it keeps me up to date on the "happs" going on in our community. Recently, one of the families down the street posted that they had raided their backyard bee hives and harvested 26 pint jars full of the deliciously ooey-gooey stuff! I swung by on my way home from work the other day and picked up a few jars. Verdict? Yummy indeed! (I tasted is with a spoonful of peanut butter). :)

Pam, the mom of the bee family, has her own blog if you want to check it out...Pamela's Kitchen.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kali's Tea Time T-Shirt!

I bought this super duper mega awesome t-shirt last week from threadless. It is a funky rendition of Hindu goddess Kali. Look at all of the silly things she is holding/dooing with her many arms. My favorites are the viewfinder and bouncy ball with racket! Even better, it's on sale!

I have been anxciously peeking out the window each afternoon, hoping the mail-lady is bringing this special treat for me to unwrap and wear! Hopefully I will get it by Saturday so I can don it for my birthday celebration!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kitchen Cabinet Re-do

This weekend, my boyfriend and I turned a cluttered and non user-friendly kitchen cabinet into an organizational freak's dream cabinet. I bought two of these elfa slide out kitchen cabinet basket/drawers from "the container store" and was able to get them on sale. Woot!

Go the container store's website and check out all of their wonderful products! They make me swoon! Right now they are having a sale on office organizational stuffs.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to...ME!

Today I turn 29! Yep, you heard away from 30. Ain't holding me back; don't you worry!
Celebrations en mass will be held this weekend. Indian food and surf rock will be involed. Tonight I am celebrating with my honey by devouring delicious greek eats at Dodiyo's. So good!