Thursday, January 30, 2014

LOVE, of pastels

Don't these sprinkles make you smile?

It's funny, I never thought of myself as a pastel person.  I don't wear pastels... my wardrobe consists of a lot of charcoal gray, black, navy, khaki, denim and white.

Growing up I had two older sisters... they usually got the first choice of the pink and lavender, for me it was usually green or yellow by default, and in the 70's the green and yellow were usually the avocado, gold, lime, bright varieties... not pastels.

But my lime green (yep, it was usually lime) slowly moved into the more jadite (think Martha Stewart) kind of green and I think that and this house are what moved me towards the pastel hues.  My back porch is pale yellow, my bathroom is an aquaish color, upstairs is a different aqua color with pink accents in one room and yellow in another, my room a soft creamy and pale khaki tone.

My jadite collections inspired my wall color in my breakfast room (although there is no breakfasting in here) as well as my pops of color in my mostly white kitchen.

Over the last few years I've been slowly slimming down on the pops of red I started with in my kitchen and adding more pinks and the toned down red (think faded) of Cath Kidston... in fact my window topper is made of one of my all time favorite Cath Kidston fabrics with a bit of large scale rick rack (or is it ric rak??) along the bottom.

My gardens are full of pastels through out spring and summer, like this miniature lilac.

And of course my new favorite, my David Austin roses!  Cannot wait for June and their reappearance!

Last year's blooms were so prolific I was able to cut some and bring them inside to enjoy.

I see pastels creeping into other parts of my home as well... like the pink in my sewing room (here) and now the front porch too.  This room full of aqua, pinks and greens, well it just makes me happy.

The pastel aqua/gray bead board ceiling and pale green screen door contrast nicely against all the white!  Of course the 3 sides of glass and southern exposure help make it a happy place too.

I've even noticed pastels moving into my holiday and seasonal decorating...

But really, aqua and pale blue are good colors for the winter season, right?  Reminding us of a snowy, winter landscape.

And nobody could have passed this little truck up for the holidays, especially me!

My collection of pink bottle brush trees have grown exponentially this year.  Perhaps next year I'll have to try dyeing my own... and I could add aqua to my collection!

The pink depression glass is on the rise here at Red Gate Farm.  I seem to come across it at the thrift store and antique store regularly, for a price too low to pass up!

And then there's the fluff... the I just have to have some of that for no real reason at all... fluff like paper lanterns, honeycomb balls and crepe paper items... especially the vintage ones!

Speaking of fluff... there's a fabulous floral shop in Seattle named Maxines.  The seem to specialize in pastel fluffery (my made up word for all things good and frivolous!).  A stop there recently meant a restocking of my little paper posies and some striped pink straws.  Then the owner brought out these little spun cotton mushrooms, just in from Germany, in the perfect pastel shades of green and peach, WAY, WAY too fabulous to resist.... although honestly I'll probably just hoard them and not use them on anything!

With the start of February and Valentine, Easter and spring season just around the corner I think I'll be up to my eyebrows in pink and fluffery this weekend and I'm looking forward to a painting and crafting day at home!

So, what are your thoughts on pastels?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

LOVE, of knitting

 Do you knit?  Crochet? Quilt? Needlepoint?  All of the above?  I'm a knitter.  There have been months, even years that I haven't picked up my needles.  Then I get started on a project again and remember how much I love to knit.  Unless you're working on an afghan/blanket/throw it's pretty portable too!

Just before the holidays I found some partially finished projects.  Projects left on needles for months... ok, a year or two.  One was a ruffled mohair scarf that I finished as a gift.  Another was a green scarf I started and didn't finish.  I decided to start over with that yarn and came up with a new pattern.  Scarves are one of my favorite knitting projects since you can really use any pattern... in fact this one actually came out of a book I have that is just that... patterns of stitches.  This one is a variation of a basketweave stitch.

And these needles?  My all time favorite ones hands down.  Size 10 (us sizing) and vintage (would they be anything else?) Bakelite or celluloid needles.  They have such a smooth feel when I knit and I like the rather odd taper on the pointed ends.  My husband's aunt found them years ago at a thrift store or yard sale.

If you're not a knitter... have I inspired you at all to learn?

A few years ago my mother in law gave me a set of these needles.  They are interchangeable needles and are fabulous too... especially if you like using circular needles.  Me, well I go back and forth... when I'm using regular straight needles I think they're my favorite, then when I use circular needles I'm sold on them.  Fickle perhaps?  Once other benefit of the interchangeable needles is the cords are different lengths, especially helpful with a large blanket or a long scarf knit lengthwise!

And of course... I also COLLECT knitting needles!  Are you surprised?  I'm always on the look out for old celluloid needles at thrift stores and estate sales.  Some of these can go for a hefty price.  I even love the fun pastel colors!

But my project I've been waiting so patiently to start?  This cute little pattern I bought online finally came...

Baby sized, 6 months to be exact.  Planned to be made for a certain little Baby J to wear during Husky (University of Washington) football season next fall!  I had to wait to get the purple yarn last weekend in Seattle... a super soft wool from Norway.

 And then the needles from here this week... couldn't believe I didn't check to see if I had teeny, tiny needles in my stash!  And I'm still on the hunt for some gold angora or mohair for the fair isle pattern at the top... something nice and fuzzy... hopefully one of my local yarn stores will have a skein or two in the right color.
But for the rest of this weekend?   Well this is where you can expect to find me.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

LOVE, of little people

Here I am, as promised, mid-week with my weekly LOVE post.  And this week, I'm loving little people.

Do you remember these little guys, or um, little people?  My kids had some of these... the barn, house, a McDonalds and I believe a parking garage... perhaps a few others that I don't remember too.

I've been looking for the little house, the little people house.  I saw one a while back at the thrift store but it was in poor shape, no furniture, no little peeps and the front door was even missing!

I hadn't stopped in our thrift store since long before the holidays.  Between work and the holiday hours at the thrift store (it's run by a local private Christian school) and my hectic work schedule of late I hadn't been able to stop, finally this week I was able to pop in.  And the first thing I saw?

Yep, a little people house!  Now this one is a bit different than the one my kids had... we had the "tudor styled" house with a brown roof... but this one is in great shape with just one little spotted area in front of the garage... of course we could just blame that on a little oil leak, hmm?  The doors both work and even the ltitle door bell too!

No peeps were included but the only missing furniture is the sofa, one twin bed, 2 dining chairs and the dining table... all of which I can replace thanks to etsy!  It did come with a couple of miscellaneous pieces that I believe may go with the airport, i.e. luggage.

And the best part?  It was only $14.99!  I've been watching these on etsy for a quite a few months now and they pretty much start around the $30.00 mark if you include shipping... and usually with no furniture.

I always loved the little staircase... there's a door on the other that makes it a closet of sorts.  We used to stash one of the little peeps in there, like a perpetual game of hide and seek.

And to go with my little people abode?  Well I already have the barn (or perhaps we can say farm?).  I picked this up 3 or 4 years ago at our thrift store for just $6.99... the only missing pieces were two pieces of fence and a chicken.  Obviously the staff has gotten more price savvy!

The barn still "moos" when you open the big doors... and with this I did get the farmer... and his little red tractor!

A few months ago I found the mini bus at the thrift store for $2.99... the peeps inside, mom, dad and son all came in a bag of miscellaneous little people pieces last spring at our local antique store.

So now that I have the complete homestead...

I just need to round out the family, it's missing the girl and black & white dog... a couple of pieces of furniture  for the house and then I'll be ready...
Because in about 20 weeks, aka the first week of June, there will be a new little peep joining our family via my daughter and son-in-law.  Since they don't know if it's a boy or girl, I've got both covered with the house and the barn!

Don't ya just love little people?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

love, the word

The new year just started and already, I'm behind.  I'd been thinking about the whole concept of choosing a word this year... quite a few have run through my mind and I just couldn't seem to pin one down that really meant something.  I'm a bit of a procrastinator so of course "time" came to mind... I sometimes get so busy planning that I don't fully enjoy the result so "present" came to mind... but those, like all the others just didn't make the cut then one day it came to me, so simple... I'm choosing "love".

I got a new camera for Christmas... a DSLR Nikon 3200 and boy is it a lot of fun to use.  Me an my new companion are going to share weekly about something I "love" and why I "love" it.

First up, well you all know how much I love Christmas... (and please notice with my new camera I finally achieved bokeh!)

The after Christmas clean up?  Not so much...

But I do love my cozy little front porch once the packing and cleaning up is over!  One thing I appreciate after the holiday decorations are put away is how less cluttered (even with all my clutter) everything seems!  But what I really love about my front porch is how light and bright it is... even on a dark and dreary January day and believe me, here in Washington we get more of our share of dark and dreary!

Now, since I already missed the first two weeks you're getting a two-fer this time... 

My newest love?  Well it would be this corner of my living room and this fabulous salvage store cabinet.  We replaced our old 80's era shelving and this guy will someday be a built in cabinet complete with shelves inside and another set of glass doors making the cabinet go to the ceiling.  But for now, I'll just pile the inside and the top with goodies from around the house.  Like my globe collection, my grandfather's old humidor/pipe table and inside my child sized aqua colored folding chair, all vintage of course!

So if you're up for my kind of love, I'll be sharing mid week, each week, until 2015.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

a recipe for pets & peanut butter

So, I must tell you I received a new camera for Christmas... and I've been having quite a bit of fun trying it out on just about everything... it's a DSLR Nikon D3200... and can do so much more than my little old point and shoot Nikon!

But today is all about our dogs.  We have three dogs here at Red Gate Farm, two labs and a miniature dachshund.  The yellow lab is Cady, she will be 9 years old in May.  The black lab is Kasia and she just turned 8 in December.  You can see who really runs Red Gate Farm, hmmm.

Then there's Molly, our miniature dachshund.  She will be 17 years old at the end of January.  She doesn't really like to have her picture taken or hang out in the kitchen but since I was baking something she couldn't resist, linoleum floors and all.

And what was the recipe?  Well homemade Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits!  We've been buying little biscuits for our dogs in bulk from our local farm and garden store for years but back in November or December I saw an episode of Giada's show on the Food Network and she was making little dog biscuits for gifts for the holidays... they were so easy I thought I'd give them a try myself, sans the fancy dog bone shaped cookie cutter that is.

I looked up the recipe online and read the reviews... one of the reviews was against using the store bought chicken broth since most include onions.  Knowing onions are a no-no for dogs I looked for other recipes that didn't include the broth since the only broth/stock I had DID include onions.  I found a similar recipe (can't find it again for the source) and decided to merge the two recipes... this is what I came up with.

Red Gate Farm Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour since that is what I had)
1 cup oats
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water

First I mixed the dry ingredients together, then added the peanut butter and slowly added the boiling water mixing well with a spoon.  At the point most of the ingredients were incorporated I switched to my hands and mixed the dough well.

The dough is fairly dry and not very sticky.  I took about 1/3 of the dough at a time and using my hands patted out a rectangle shape about 1/2 inch thick.  I didn't need any flour to pat out the dough but you might want to keep some on hand, just in case.

With my trusty pizza cutter I cut the dough into little squares, trying to keep most the same size for even baking.  You could use a fancy cutter at this stage, especially for gift giving.

Since I was all out of parchment paper, I lined my cookie sheets (it took two) with foil for baking.

I baked these at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  The second recipe recommended turning off the oven at this point and leaving them in the oven over night to dry.  This worked really well as the biscuits were much drier by morning but still had a slight softness to the middle.  You could play with this a bit to get them just how YOU like them.  We keep our dog biscuits in a vintage (of course) tin with a tight lid... both recipes recommend this for storage and varied in keeping them for 1 to 2 weeks.
With my 3 pups, well they'll be lucky to last that long!

The dogs loved these homemade treats and they were so cheap and easy I will definitely make them again.

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