Sunday, June 16, 2013

Family Trip to Jackson, California!

Hello again! We had some very important wedding-related business matters to deal with Saturday. That prompted a day visit to the town we're getting married in: Jackson, California. This town is cute...lots of mining history, dozens of amazing antique shops (none of which we got to visit today), and lovely rolling hills. Alas, my pictures from today are terribly exciting since it was a "business-only" trip, but we did manage a couple impromptu relaxing bits...mostly to allow the Bean to stretch about.

The first thing we did is stop at their local Safeway grocery store so I could order cake and cupcakes for the wedding. I did the negotiating while Bean and Mr. 246 found a nice shady spot somewhere in the shopping center so Bean could move about.
Mini Picnic #1

I think he found quite a nice spot hidden behind some not-yet-filled shops. No car traffic and some wonderful views. (The shopping center was atop a hill.) Best part? Their was a grapevine area with two rows of grape plants growing quite happily in the sunshine. And look! The grapes are starting!
Grapes!

The next stop was at the venue location. Sadly I didn't take many pictures because I was too busy taking video while narrating notes to myself about decorations and placements and other wedding planning tidbits. We got a lot figured out, even if I do still have a ton of work left to do. Here's two sneak peeks from the wedding venue that I managed to steal out of some of the video I took. 

This first one is part of the "Lower Terrace" fountain landing area. We will be getting married in front of that archway which is actually a fountain that will have water coming down the sides. If you look closely at the right side of the upper brick "wall" (the bricks you see in the second stone wall section in the middle of the picture) there is a overturned pot. This is also part of the fountain and will be pouring water into a kind of moat that the stairs actually go over. (Ignore the ladder and the rakes...they're doing some maintenance today!)

Luna Ryan Fountain

The second shot of the venue I have is of my favorite part. The outdoor fireplace! I just love everything about it. I wish I had a zoomed out picture so you could see the surrounding area and the little stairs that lead into the woods...it's just amazing. The whole venue has tons of stonework and bricks and awesomeness.

Fireplace

After meeting with the venue coordinator, we walked over to a nearby park (a quick 3 minute walk!) where they were actually having a Re-Opening after doing some extensive work on the park to help restore and preserve parts of it. It's the Kennedy Wheels Tailing Park. It's part of the Kennedy Gold Mine and has these HUGE wooden wheels that helped move the water for the gold mines.

I could not believe how big these water wheels were. Part of the preservation project was to build a structure to protect the last standing wheel. For comparison, that tiny person in the picture below is Mr. 246:

The 4th Wheel

We didn't quite understand the wheels and how they worked, but from what I gather they helped moved water away from the gold mine down a hill, then up a hill, then back down to a "waste" water section that was dammed off. 

Here's an illustration of the area we found on one of the information boards. The yellow arrow is actually the wheel you see above. (Not pictured is the actual gold mine way to the left.)
Panarama Jackson Shot

We had lunch behind that wheel building, overlooking the area in front of the dam. (There's no water there today, so it's just fields.) It was beautiful anyway though. If you squint you can see the dam. (Just left of the clump of trees on the right-hand side is the dam.)

Actually, we didn't eat lunch there. The Bean did. It was her lunchtime and she had food packed...we didn't. We did manage to find a nice shady spot!
Picnic #2

Bean wanted leaves for lunch. We decided that wasn't a good idea. Do you see what Mr. 246 is holding? Genius idea he came across online...bring an avocado on-the-go, then when it's food time for baby then just break it open and spoon it out. Self contained baby food! She loves it. I may have sneaked a bite or two. 

On our way leaving the park they were packing up from that morning's Grand Re-Opening events. They had these gorgeous leather jackets for sale.
Mountain Man Jackets 

They second two looked definitely handmade and I'm pretty sure they were since there were a bunch of legit looking mountainous men around. I am too shy to take pictures of strangers, but I did get a picture of their sign!
Kit Carson Mountain Men 

When I got home I Googled about these mountain men and of course I could find nothing of their local chapter...but I did learn some about Kit Carson himself.

So, Bean was fed then it her naptime. With no real suitable place to nap except the car, we loaded her up, got some drive-thru food and parked in a parking garage and had a mini picnic while Luna got some much needed rest:
Picnic 2-5


The last order of business of the day brought us back to Safeway so I could meet with the florist. Mr. 246 entertained Ms. Bean and they wandered about the store hooting and hollaring and reading books while I spoke with the most amazing lady ever about flower arrangements.

After Safeway, we needed another mini sit-about so Bean could stretch again before we left for our hour long ride home. We went pretty close by to the first spot of the day, but this area had a patio-like area so we didn't have to sit near itchy grass. No grapes near this spot, but there was a bunch of lavender!
Lavender

I got this beautiful picture of Lunabean. In this picture she looks so....different? Maybe it's because I hardly have any profile shots of her.

She was quite entertained by the car keys and a baby wipes container:

I can't quite remember if I mentioned this or not but Luna took her first step on June 10. She's been gradually moving a bit more every day and this girl wants to go. This is why we made it a priority to give her lots of time to roam about on today's trip. We would not have a happy child on our hands if she was strapped in a car seat, or stroller, or baby carrier all day. So...this was our third "Let the Bean Stretch" hang out session of the day. And she sure did stretch. Remember the wipes container and keys? She played with them for fifteen minutes straight. She just kept throwing them and going after them. Pretty much playing "fetch" with herself:

Pardon our pantless child...we knew we were going to have to change her again before we left so we just kept the shorts off. 

We drove home early enough to have a normal evening and get Bean to bed on time. Later on in the evening I had to make a decision about dinner and I knew I wanted to use up what we had on hand and I randomly discovered that we could make Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza. I just had to say the words to Mr. 246 and he was on top of it. It was complete with Mr. 246's ketchup and mustard pizza "sauce" concoction. After eating it I felt awesome and disgusting.
So, my lovely readers, that is what I leave you with tonight: Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza. I hope you enjoyed "tagging along" for a short bit today. Thanks for stopping by!

-Ms. 246

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fresh Cherry Salsa (and Our First Canning Experience!)

Cherry Salsa


Can I just say for a moment how proud I am of myself? I....cooked. (Well, kind of...I made something, no actual cooking was involved.) In this apartment, I'm not the one who does the cooking. Mr. 246 does most of the cooking and he's wonderful at it. And he enjoys it. That's the part I usually lack when cooking: the enjoyment factor.

Anyways...so what's that picture of? Cherry Salsa. Let me tell you...it is delicious. It's the perfect blend of spicy and sweet and deliciousness. Cherry season is here in full force in California. There are cherries everywhere. Every fruit vendor on every corner has cherries right now. We picked some up from the Farmers' Market this past Tuesday just to snack on but then I wanted to make something out of them for a craftalong on Craftster (It's the Harry Potter Craftalong...the subject of the "Herbology" assignment was cherries. Hehe.)

A lot of the recipes I found online were for cherry filling type cherries, not fresh big cherries. There weren't nearly as many recipes for the kind of cherries we have.The cherries we have look like this:

Mr. 246 says red ones are "Bing Cherries" and the lighter colored ones are called "Rainier Cherries". I did come across a recipe here, however, that used the proper kind of cherries. The recipe called for 1/2 pound of dark sweet cherries, but we didn't have a complete 1/2 pound of the red ones so I added in some of the Rainiers. I like the color contrast it makes.

Here's a copy of the recipe I used:
(Recipe Credit: Here is the About.com page I found the recipe on.)


Delicious Fresh Cherry Salsa
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lb. dark sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cherry preserves
  • 1 Tbsp. minced red onion
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped jalapeno pepper *I added 1/2 Tbsp to mine for a tiny bit extra spice.*
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
Directions:
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and stir to blend. Cover and chill 1-2 hours to blend flavors. Serve with grilled meat, or with chips as an appetizer
I made a jar for Mr. 246 for Father's Day and we grilled chicken with it last night and it was amazing. I even sent Mr. 246 and Lunabean out today to get more cherries so I could make some more.


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But that's not all folks! On a whim I decided I should learn canning so I made a quadruple batch of the salsa and bought some canning supplies (basically jars with the lids, jar tongs, and a huge pot) and we tried our luck at canning tonight.

IMPORTANT EDIT: Okay, thanks to a kind friend online, I have learned that I failed my first canning attempt. The lesson I learned: Only to use canning-approved recipes for canning otherwise there is a good chance you will end up sick. I had the cherry salsa recipe...it was good. I found directions for canning cherry salsa but I didn't use the recipe they had used in the directions. Mr. 246 said it should work just fine and that the recipes were similar enough. No...apparently it is very particular when you are canning due to acidity, ect. (Ahem...clearly I know nothing about canning...) Well, so I have my mission: Can something the proper way to redeem myself. I'll let you all know how it goes after I've done some better research. My disclaimer: DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE FOR CANNING. On another note...I think we did the actually canning part quite well, all of our jars sealed. :)

It was quite an adventure. I drank hard cider and paced around a good bit. I didn't know there would be so much timing and waiting and hurrying involved, but we accomplished it. I think it would really take me another time or two of doing the canning until I got the hang of it, but I'm really quite proud of us. Here's a couple pictures from the canning experience:

Part of the Setup:
Part of the Canning Set Up


Water heating up in the big shiny pot. Salsa made and ready to go!
Close Up Cherry Salsa


Heating up the salsa and lids...
Heating Up the Salsa


Bunch of behind-the-scenes magic and: Voila! Five delicious jars of cherry salsa!
Completed Cherry Salsa Jars


If you try the recipe out, let me know what you think! Also, Happy Father's Day Weekend!
-Ms. 246

This Moment (#2)

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savour and remember.

Fountain Fun


Happy Weekend!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wedding Crafts (& The Dreaded Wedding Stress)

CloverBean


First full week of summer: complete! I absolutely love staying home with the Bean everyday. I feel so so so lucky that I get to stay home with her for these 2 months of summer break. If only I could afford to stay home all the time...

I have had a somewhat rough weekend, though, between PMS and wedding stress, but I'm better now. (I think?) Poor Mr. 246...I'm lucky he puts up with me. I've got exactly 46 days until the wedding and I still have a bajillion things to do. Important things...like receiving my dress. (That's a story for another day...let's just all cross our fingers that it will ship soon.) I'm really starting to feel the crunch.

I did get two small crafts done a day or two ago. First up: Cupcake To-Go Bags. Hand stamped 36 of them. (We're expecting around 25 guests, but are planning on ordering 2 cupcakes per person.) This was one of those projects where your go a little crazy toward the end due to the repetitiveness. (I'm not sure though...maybe I'm the only one who gets like that.) Each letter is stamped on individually since I have an alphabet set. I like how they turned out those. Just plain brown lunch sack bags. I think they're lovely.

Adopt a Cupcake!


Adopt a Cupcake Close Up


Next up: "Reserved" Signs for our family members' chairs at the ceremony. We're having folding white chairs for the ceremony. (No church pews since we're not getting married in a church.) So I wanted to block off their seats somehow. Pretty easy peasy project. I did the stitching as an afterthought but I think it makes them look much more finished. They're about 3-ish x 4.5-ish inches and none of them are really exactly the same size. Fine with me...I would drive myself insane if I tried to make them that perfect.

Reserved Tags for Ceremony Seating



Yesterday, after another wedding-stress attack I decided that I would do no more wedding stuff for the rest of the night.  I've started working on a crochet bowl and it's pretty neat so far. I can't wait to show it to you guys. As for wedding crafting...look forward to: chalkboard wedding signs, bunting signs, table runners, and cupcake decorations. :)

Thanks for stopping by! 
-Ms. 246

Friday, June 7, 2013

This Moment

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savour and remember.

Luna handing her mommy a leaf


Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Crocheted Rose Brooches!




Hey there! The past couple days I've been working on these lovely crocheted rose brooches...
Crochet Rose Scattered


I'm working on all the wedding stuff recently (since I'm off work for the summer!) and instead of ordering flowers for all the family members to wear, I crocheted them.
Crochet Rose Circle Angled


I gathered the most "citrus" like scraps I had and went at it. See how lovely they look in a little pile!
Crochet Rose Pile


They're a couple inches in diameter. I kind of based the rose pattern I found here on Ravelry by Ravelry user Elizabeth Ham. (It's a video tutorial...I prefer written, but the video is good! Makes me feel like I have a friend and she's teaching me to crochet something.)

She does 12 "petals" in her pattern. Once I crocheted the first one up, however, I didn't think it looked quite right so I increased the chain from 50 to 55 and added another petal. I kind of just made up the leaf pattern. It's probably about the same as any other leaf pattern. See the end of the post and I'll write up a quick pattern for them.
Crochet Rose in Hand


On the back I used 1.5 inch pin back thingys. (Yea...so I don't remember the proper name for these.) I sewed the "thingy" onto a small piece of regular ole' craft felt then sewed the felt right onto the rose back with embroidery floss. The first couple of ones I did, I had the pin back centered in the back of the rose. Once I tried on the rose, however, it flopped down a tad. Simple remedy though: put the pin back up higher! Now they hang quite lovely!
Crochet Rose Back


Here's an action shot: (And yes, my head is cut off, I am no where near photo ready today. Haha.)

Be prepared for some more wedding crafts! I've got a couple things planned. The wedding is 07.26.2013 and I have a ton of stuff to do still. I put everything off until I had the summer off. It'll be small so I'm not too concerned. As long as we get married, right?

Thanks for looking!
-Ms. 246



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Crocheted Rose Leaf Pattern: (Any similarities between this and other patterns are coincidence. A lot of leaf patterns are very similar. I don't really claim any rights to this pattern.)
  •  Chain 10.
  • Work through top loops: slip stitch in first stitch from hook. 
  • Then, working back along chain: sc in next stitch, hdc in next stitch, dc in next stitch, 2 treble crochet stitches in next stitch, dc in next stitch, hdc in next stitch, sc in next stitch, slip stitch in next stitch. This should be your last stitch.
  • Ch 2, rotate work so you're on the other side of the "leaf" and repeat what you did on the first side. Through top loops only: slip stitch, sc, hdc, dc, 2 treble crochet, dc, hdc, sc, slip stitch. Tie the end off with a generous tail, about 15 inches or so. (You should be at the "point" of your leaf). 
  • Use a tapestry needle, sew through the point of your leaf, then weave through the backside of the leaf.
  • I then used the rest of the tail to sew the leaf onto the rose.
Hopefully that's not too confusing. I've never really written up anything for anyone else before. Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Big Ta-Dah! (Summer Garden Throw)


For the past year or two I've been somewhat obsessed with the blog Attic24. It is owned by a lovely lady named Lucy and includes many beautiful pictures of her life and crafts (mostly crochet) in England. Sometimes I like to read old blog posts of hers and daydream of what it would be like to have her life and to visit the quaint little villages in her area and just be jealous in general.

I love all of her crochet and especially her use of color. Whenever she does a big project and it's finished she likes to have a "Ta-Dah" to show off so people can "Ooooo" and "Ahhhh." If you've never done a large crafting project you may not know the feeling of finally finishing it...part of your soul goes into it. And at least for me, when your project makes people smile and makes them happy and inspires them, your heart feels like it could burst.

I envied a certain project of hers and I just had to have my own: The Summer Garden Throw . If you click on the link you can see her "Ta-Dah" Moment and like a lot of her stuff, it has links to her very own tutorials which are just fabulous. (Can you tell she's my craft crush yet?)

Anyway, without further ado.....here is my version of the Summer Garden Throw:

Includes: 144 squares of pure awesomeness, 8 rows of granny stripe edging, 1 "of-my-own-creation" granny scalloping edging.
Measures: 108cm x 108cm 
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft (wish I would have chosen wiser and more high quality, but I was as informed about my yarn choices as I could have been at the time)

Oh, but that's not all folks! I kind of went through withdrawals as soon as I finished the blanket so the very next time I started on a matching throw pillow. Here you go:


See how pretty they look together!! Of course then I had to have a photoshoot. (Sorry about the picture quality. I never realized how hard it is to photograph a blanket, let alone in our super dark apartment. Maybe I'll take things outside next time. I'll get better, I promise!)

 Look how cute and quaint and colorful they are on the chair! I am in love. Oh, okay...let's see how the blanket looks all nice and folded up...

...exactly what I thought: gorgeous! And last but not least bonus Boo Radley shot:

This is cozy.



I kept trying to get a cute picture of Luna with it, but I haven't been able too yet. Let me tell you, she is in love with this blanket. I've been keeping it up on a low shelf (so Boo doesn't decide to try to make one of his blanket nests out of it) and when Luna notices it she gets super excited, crawls over to the shelf, stands up, then pulls the blanket down. It then falls into a heap on the floor and she kind of dives into it, happy as can be. She loves all the colors and just looking at it and loving it.

Half way through the blanket I was thinking I'd give it to Luna for her birthday. Is it wrong that I don't know if I want to do that now? Haha. I most likely will (She turns one in less than a month! Can you believe it?!)

Anyway...I've got another project I'm working on right now for the wedding so expect another reveal in a day or two. Luna's with her friends at daycare today so I have some *gasp* alone time today so I should get a lot done.

Hope you enjoyed seeing my blanket extraordinaire! Hope you're all well. Thanks for reading!

-Ms. 246


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday Night!

Here's a sneak peek of one of the things I've been working on. Once the Bean goes to sleep there will be much crafting, moonshine, and barbequing.
I'm going to have a little photo shoot tomorrow of all the things I've been making recently so get excited. :)