Saturday, July 27, 2013

Vintage Treasures Market

Today was a huge adventure for us.  We set up at our first major event to sell some of my husband's hand-painted signs, repurposed furniture and other items.  The Vintage Treasures Market was held in Emporia at their mall and was highly supported by Sudio 11.  (We fell in love with their store last January.) 

We were super excited to see how our items would be received and I was also super excited to get some things out of our house - we have been bursting at the seams.

We had more success than we could ever imagine.  The crowd was consistently strong in numbers and also super friendly.  We ran into people we knew, met some great new people, and also learned from other vendors and customers who had similar interests.

The first hour was a mad house!  I asked my husband how much time had passed since the market had opened and he said only 47 minutes.  We had sold so much and were trying to hold items for people, help people who wanted to pay, respond to questions, and rearrange the booth so it looked nice.  Whew!  We were so thankful to have my mom's help during the whole day, especially when we ran out of receipts and needed more singles (and a Starbuck's run).

We learned so much!  The next time we set up, we will be better prepared about what to pack and we will have a better idea about what might sell.

Overall, it was an awesome, awesome day.  We were so happy with the turnout, our sales, and the great people we met.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


 We are just back from Chicago and as usual, we loved every second of our trip.  We combined some work travel for me with a little mini getaway.  The timing was just right - we needed a change of scenery and luckily, the temperatures were really mild and that made our walks around the city enjoyable.

When we had some free time, we took off for adventuring.  One of our first stops was the Laurie Gardens on our way to the Taste of Chicago, a food festival in Grant Park. 

I love the Laurie Gardens because you feel like you get away from the city and have the contrast of beautiful flowers and plants with the backdrop of the dramatic buildings.  We make it a tradition to cruise through the gardens either to or from The Bean sculpture.

This was our second time that we took in the Taste of Chicago and we loved trying some different foods from area restaurants.  We debated whether we should skip the festival since we went last year.  In the end, we thought since it only happens once a year, we should definitely go.
 Our favorite memory might be scoring GIANT free pieces of cheesecake from Eli's cheesecake.  They had a birthday celebration cake and by giant, I mean over three feet tall and over three feet wide. No tickets needed for delicious cheesecake, my husband's favorite.
 I find it really amazing how the restaurants can set up a kitchen in the tents and serve so many people over the course of the festival.  Have you ever seen so much corn on the cob?!
 One of our Chicago traditions - seeing The Bean.
 We took in a show at the Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier.  Our show was a hip hop version of Othello called, Othello: The Remix.  A few years ago, we saw a hip hop version of Much Ado About Nothing and loved it.  We thought it would be a great night at the theater and a ton of fun.  The entire show is done in hip hop style rap with Shakespeare language.  I have told everyone that one of the best views of the Chicago skyline is from the bathroom at this theater.  The photo above is from my bathroom stall.  Weird, I know, but I had to prove that this view is amazing.
 This photo was from near the sinks.  In my defense, I wasn't the only tourist taking photos in the bathroom of the skyline.
 After we left the show, we got this great view.  It wasn't from the bathroom, but from one of the lobbies.  And, the orbs in the photo are not UFOs, but a reflection from the light fixtures.  I know, weird.
Something new for this trip was taking a water taxi for transportation from Chinatown, where we went to see some dragon boat races.  We took a car taxi to Chinatown and by chance noticed a water taxi stop near the park where the boat races were held.  The views from the boat were awesome!  I would highly recommend using the water taxi as a way to get around the city.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When something speaks to you...

 When something speaks to you, you act.

I was in Chicago for work a couple of weeks ago and we were lucky enough to work it out so Jeremy could travel along.  We went to one of our favorite stores, P.O.S.H.  Actually, one or both of us went there every day we were in the city. One more visit and I think they might have been worried that we were stalking them.

On our last day, we visited again and I spent time going through the vintage postcards.  I found this one and it really spoke to me.  Jeremy even said, "It spoke to you.  You have to get it."

Here is what it said:

Dear Earl,
Everything here is going to 
be just fine, I think.  I've 
bitten off a big bite, and it 
reminds me of this little poem.
Plan for more than you can do, 
Then do it.
Bite off more than you can chew, 
Then chew it.
Hitch your wagon to a star,
Stick in your seat,
and there you are.
Love, Lucia

The stamp was a 1 cent stamp, postmark of Chicago, and postmark date of May 14, 194?.
Since finding this little card, I keep remembering the first line.  Everything here is going to be just fine, I think.  I needed that message.

We found some other cool stuff that I will save for later posts.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Plant geek vs. the rascally rabbit

 Each year I have certain planters that just call for certain plants.  The cast iron kettle we have near the entrance to the cellar just works so well for rose moss.  We love how well the plants stand up to the sun in this spot and the rose moss is so hardy.  If we forget to water it or it gets a deluge of rain runoff from the roof, the plants still hold on.

Apparently, we have a rabbit that agrees with us.  The rabbit began to make a dent in June and Jeremy called my attention to the fact that the rabbit had eventually eaten a whole section out of the middle.  The rabbit continues to knock out a section each day and he is about to wipe out the whole planter.

What baffles me is that the rabbit is bypassing the rose moss on the ground and going for that which is planted in the kettle.

I guess I should be thankful that the rabbit is staying out of the garden and just sticking to rose moss in a specific location.  My husband keeps telling me we need to do something about the rabbits in the yard and I am a little baffled by what is the right solution.  Any ideas?
Just a few feet away, the begonias are going strong, yet our picky rabbit doesn't seem to be interested.  I guess another reason to be grateful - our rabbit damage is contained - for now.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happiness is...baking

I ran across this article in The Atlantic several weeks ago and I loved the premise.  The author talked about how happiness changes for us as we grow older. What would our younger selves think of what  currently brings us enjoyment?

Isn't that a great question.  But, to answer it, you have to know what makes you happy.  What makes you happy?  This is a much tougher question to answer. I find that I make progress when I think about the little things that contribute to my happiness, over searching for one big secret to happiness.  This is especially helpful lately when I have been working really hard to sustain my happiness.

A revelation.  I am happy when I am cooking and baking in my kitchen, even if it means that I do dishes six times in one day.  Last Sunday, I needed to clear my head and blueberry lime cream cheese pound cake sounded like the perfect cure.  A friend pinned it on Pinterest and I luckily had all of the ingredients.  The result was a delicious cake that lasted about 24 hours in our house.  Wonderful and easy to make!

Recipe from: 

Blueberry Lime Cream Cheese Pound Cake


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lime zest
1 cup fresh blueberries

Cream cheese frosting

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper as well. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, throughly mixing each time. Add vanilla extract and lime zest, mixing until combined.
  4. Pour flour mixture over the batter mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour until it’s completely mixed in and there are no pockets of dry flour. Lastly, gently fold in the blueberries.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared baking loaf pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let sit until cool, at least 30 minutes and then remove from pan.
  6. In a stand mixer or large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth. Beat in vanilla extract.
  7. Carefully frost top of the cooled poundcake and store in fridge until ready to serve.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Garden update

 This is the time of year where all of the work in the garden begins to really pay off.  On July 4th, we spent the afternoon working in the yard and garden. The temperatures were mild for this time of year and we had some time to spend.  We continued the battle between us and the weeds that seem to be taking over every vegetable and flower bed we own.  Weed pulling is boring and tedious work, but might be the best therapy for me.

Our garden entrance with the "walk on me" thyme is blooming the delicate little blooms that I love.  We have also had really good luck with all of the other herbs - basil, parsley, thyme, chives, and cilantro. The cilantro has started to bolt and go to seed, but it was delicious while it lasted.

I am really disappointed in our clematis this year.  It has only put on a few blooms, where in previous years, the plants have been loaded with the pink blossoms and it has been a focal point for the garden.  The lack of a wow factor means that the school bell looks kind of bare.  We did find one bloom hidden on the backside of the plant.

We were happy to see that we had a few more ripe tomatoes.  We had a half dozen of the small grape tomatoes about two weeks ago and then nothing. On July 4th, we had three more little tomatoes ripen enough for picking.  This is significant because in my family, it was always the goal to have the first ripe tomatoes by July 4th.
 We also picked an enamel bowl full of onions.  I am excited to have garden fresh onions for our salsa and for some canning that will begin soon.
 We also dug potatoes.  Ugghhh...always hard work.  We were happy with the result.  We planted two varieties this year and both seemed to do well.  I look forward to making some potato salad and all of the other variations of potatoes we enjoy.
 I can't help but think of the movie Forrest Gump and Bubba's list of all the ways to prepare shrimp, only insert potatoes.  This is my future.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Celebrating Independence Day

 My husband and I celebrated Independence Day with a morning run on the Konza Prairie.  Earlier this summer we made a list of activities we wanted to check off the list before the end of the summer, and running at the Konza was near the top.  We felt like we had been taking this really beautiful place for granted.

The last time we hiked at the Konza, we accidentally got off the trail and ended up putting in a few extra miles.  This time around, we decided to run the 4.4 mile trail and we studied the map before we left.
 The views were beautiful.  We were blessed with cloud cover and a slight breeze which made for really nice temperatures.  It was just past peak wildflower season, but there were a few blooms here and there.
We actually put in nearly five miles when it was all said and done.  Even with our advance study session on the maps, we still had a wrong turn or two, which meant a little back tracking.  We also ran the trail "backwards," which meant the hills were a little less kind.  Who says Kansas is flat?