Planters Are Planted!

Over the past weekend,  I picked up some plants at the fantastic Hilltop Nursery and got them planted. Hooray! Then the temperature plummeted and I fretted, but today is Wednesday and things are still looking not-frozen. Double Hooray!

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Big planter!

I’m not sure of those little white flowers are gonna be the “spiller” I want them to be,  but here’s hoping…

And… drum roll, please… presenting, for the first time ever…

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BASKETS!! THAT HANG ON THE PORCH!!

(I’m disproportionately proud of my baskets, especially considering that they could each probably use another plant…)

The baskets are hung up and I think they look adorable. They also reeaaallly highlight how much paint scraping we need to do on the porch, which is fantastic. No, really,  it’s just awesome. Agh!

Oh, and for my own garden journaling purposes,  I am posting a photo of one of two peonies that are going on their third season with us.  They are cuttings from our brother-in-law, and his plants are cuttings from a peony from Chris’ father’s family farm in Jackson, MN.  They are healthy and green and getting big, and THERE IS A FLOWER BUDDING!! It’s our first peony. So. Excited. (Yes, disproportionately 😉)

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I'm a family heirloom!

So looking forward to a beautiful summer!

The Strange Exchange

Ok, this fun-ness was back at the end of March, but I’m just getting to my post about it now!  And since I’m  working from my phone, I will have to go back and add in some links for the very cool,  very friendly vendors we met. Creative stuff.  Super fun day. I will definitely be back!

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The Weird NJ guys were there!

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And it was a beautiful day...

The Strange Exchange is part freak-show, part flea market and all authentic Jersey, my much maligned but beloved home state.

Before we even walked in, I knew it would be good,  silly fun… like a classic issue of Weird NJ

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Oh, hai!

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Oh... hai!!

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I love this guy...

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The greeter scary clown scared my cute mom!

The theatre was all vendors, selling items that ranged from hand-knit scarves to lovingly taxidermied mice. And, of course… pork roll.

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A view of the space

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These two are AWESOME!

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They make stuff like this...

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And this!

It was really hard to not purchase the snake in a jar. But it did inspire me to get the apothecary bathroom started!!

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My fabulous husband bought me this fabulous necklace. I love it! I’m going to put it together with my Parkway Token necklace from my sister’s wedding and knock the socks off the rockin’ Jersey charms.

Embroidered Pillowcases

It takes me a while,  but I usually get my projects done! My sister may have gotten married in early October,  but she got her wedding present for Easter.  So hey,  friends and family I owe gifts to… they are on their way…promise!

My sister loves strawberries  (who doesn’t?!), and we both have happy memories of our grandmother’s (on our dad’s side) love of strawberries,  so I stitched up these pillowcases for her and my much-loved brother-in-law. Now on to the backlog!

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The Never Ending Story (of the dining room)

We took a few days off back in mid- February to get started on the dining room.  Which I thought would be done three years ago!  We got started on stripping trim,  but then we had to go back to life,  so the room is currently in a state of “kind of a disaster mess” but I swear we will get it done before the summer!

One of the best parts was when Chris found the original bathroom door (there’s a small bathroom off the dining room that needs a full gutting. That’s on the Getting Budgeted, Demo’d and Done Soon List,  too! Oy, there are a lot of things on that list!!). I started stripping it,  which is oddly slow going for an easy, flat piece of wood,  but I’m super duper excited about the doorknob! This is my life now!  I get really excited about doorknobs!

Stay tuned for what I promise will be very dramatic “after” pictures. Someday!

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The exciting doorknob! We're going to shine it up. Someday...

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Beautiful trim...

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Messy Before Photo

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The door!

Introducing…

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Bebe La Strange, our new teeny female betta.

I love bettas and have had several over the past ten years.  Our latest little guy,  who was with us fo
r almost two years,  went to the great flusher in the sky earlier today after a brief illness.

Here’s to a long and healthy life to little Bebe!

Happy First Day of Spring!

So what if it’s currently snowing a little?  The calendar says it’s the first day of spring!

We’re determined to have a bountiful garden this year, and for the first time since I was a kid,  I’m trying to start some things from seed…

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We’ve been saving egg cartons for months, and I finally got them all going today!  The seeds are from the fantastic  Hudson Valley Seed Library http://http://www.seedlibrary.org/, which has the prettiest packaging ever…

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(they have an open calls for artists every year,  so hey, artists… send in your art!) I think all of these seeds were either gifts or purchased at the fab Country Living Craft Fair, so they also remind me of summer funtimes with friends and family.  Yay!

I’ve planted 2 kinds of lettuce and the Ragged Jack kale, some sage that I plan to repot and give as gifts if it goes well,  and a whole lotta Morning Glories — which I’m really, really hoping take off because a) I’ve got a trellis that is just waiting for something good to climb it and b) when I was little, we grew some Morning Glories that climbed the railings of our front steps and I have very fond memories of how pretty they were and how much fun they were to grow. 

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Now,  I’m going to be honest and say that I’m truly confused by the growing instructions on each and every one of these packets. But I figure that humans have been growing plants from seeds for quite some time now,  and some of these humans must have been dumber or less garden-ally inclined than I am.  So I’m giving it an earnest go and hoping for the best. My track record might be spotty, but it’s a whole new season, right? 

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Another reason to love weekends  (as if we needed more reasons)… time to cook!  With the chill in the air it seemed like a good day to pull out the slow cooker and make a big ol’ pot of pot roast.  Along with Chris’ amazing home made bread…

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…it was, a terrific Sunday night supper.

The bread is Mark Bittman’s classic no-knead/Sullivan St. Bakery recipe,  which you can find on the NY Times website, but I also found this lovely post about it,  which I recommend checking out: http://www.astackofdishes.com/the-famous-ny-times-no-knead-bread/

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Final version, ready to serve!

All this productivity aside,  my favorite part of the first day of spring might have been this morning’s delicious rainbow bagel. Carb-tacular!

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So cheers to carbs and slow cookers and seedlings and the last of the snow. Happy Spring!