Ah, spring

Little signs of spring are everywhere now, and despite all the itchy eyes and sneezing that comes along with fresh flowers, I’m so in love with this time of year.

The tree in our front yard is so pretty when it’s full of white blooms like it is now.

The ferns have started to unfurl. If you blink you might miss this part.

We’ve got some baby spinach coming up in the garden.

I always forget we have a few of these little bells planted in the side garden.

These perennials I planted a few years ago are some of the first to come up there.

My hen and chicks are starting to replicate again. (Actually they grew nicely inside all winter and have just been put on the front porch again).

It’s almost too much for my little gnome to handle.

I’m really enjoying these eggs we have been getting from a local farmer. The yolks are just unbelievably huge and orangey.

And strawberries. How I’ve missed you!

Compost pile, take 2

Remember when Mike built us a cinder block compost pile?

Well, it worked great, except for one thing. The dogs always seemed to be able to dig underneath the fencing in front and dig out scraps for themselves. And after you’ve spent enough nights with a dog who’s been eating rotten food, you HAVE to do something about it.

So, Mike designed this fenced frame to go around the cinder blocks. When you need to dump something in it, you just lift up the top section.

You can see how the left side has been turned to reveal some very black compost that’s been there longer. The right side is the new stuff.

I don’t think the dogs are too happy about it, but they’ll just have to deal.

Congrats to the DMR

Yesterday I found out that our local paper, and my former employer, won a Pulitzer Prize. Mary Chind won for her incredible photograph of a rescue on the Des Moines River.

I don’t think anyone who works there would deny that the last year has been tough on journalists. Really tough. Something like this reminds you that are still good at what you do, and that the public needs it, no matter how many budgets are cut.

If you get a chance, you should also read this incredible article (another winner) from the Washington Post.

Loving: mellow songs

iTunes Genius pointed me to two songs that I have been playing over and over lately:

“You May Be Blue” by Vetiver
“Cello Song” by the Books

Sometimes the genius really is genius.

Wedding details

In reading way too many wedding blogs, I’ve come to the conclusion that all modern weddings must contain these elements:

-Flowers in bottles, jars, or other found objects
-Cruiser bikes
-Mustaches on sticks
-Cupcakes or macarons
-Letterpress paper goods
-Dresses from Anthropologie
-Fabric flags
-Chuck Taylors

There are definitely these moments as bride-to-be when you have to take a deep breath and remind yourself that nobody will care if you don’t have lollipops and paper umbrellas. But it is hard, with all those adorable inspirations out there, to ask yourself what you really want your wedding to look like. What is our style? What is important to us and our friends and family? For me, DIY elements are very important. That’s just who I am. But there will be no letterpress, and probably no macarons. And that’s okay.

There will be Chucks, though. And they are so freakin’ cute.

Loving: Fed up with school lunch

Have you read this blog? It is amazing.

Obviously this doesn’t affect me much since I don’t have children to worry about, but I think for the greater good we should all be concerned about how our tax money goes for kids to eat highly processed foods with very little actual nutrition.

Growing up I remember liking our elementary school lunches a lot. If you didn’t want what they were having that day, you could get a hamburger (which I believe was actually vegetarian) or go through the salad bar. I’m sure a lot of it was mixes and frozen chicken nuggets, but it wasn’t that bad. But in middle school, you could also come for breakfast, and if you didn’t want to eat the regular breakfast, you could have cookies instead. Everyone I knew ate the cookies. For breakfast.

In high school it was seriously uncool to eat school lunch so everyone brought their own. Or you could leave campus and go out to eat. But on Fridays they had Papa John’s pizza and Subway subs, and sometimes I had that. We definitely had pop machines, and there was some kind of business class that ran a snack stand in the cafeteria.

I only took one cooking class in school, and the only things I remember making were cream puffs and cinnamon twists. So when I think about it, it’s a pretty mixed message to preach about nutrition to kids but not actually give them any. I hope things are getting better on this front. My sense is that the tide is turning.

I fight the convenience vs. health battle everyday, and I know it’s tough. But I think we can do better.

Just stamp it

Did you guys see this post on Design Sponge about making your own stamped business cards?

Since I’m constantly changing my products and starting new blogs and adding things to my plate, it’s hard for me to print just one type of business cards. So this idea just struck a chord with me. I picked up a similar stamping kit that came with two sets of letters in different sizes. I was hoping they made these things with different fonts, but I had no luck with that.

Anyway, I have been using them to personalize my birch bark tags for different products, and I just love the way it’s turning out. And then, if I do need business cards or calling cards, I can stamp ’em up in a hurry.

I highly recommend getting one of these stampers. They’re about $30 at places like Office Depot and Staples.

Loving: Black pepper bread

I am almost never suckered into buying the samples at the grocery store, but Mike and I had to make an exception for the black pepper focaccia being peddled by a lovely older woman at Hy-Vee last weekend. It’s the softest white bread, topped with a layer of Parmesan cheese and lots of cracked black pepper. You could turn any basic loaf into this with just a few minutes under the broiler, so I need to make sure I remember this idea.

Recycled cotton hotpads

So while the world was enjoying two 80+ degree days in a row (in March??), I was inside feeling achy and taking my temperature. I managed to catch some kind of bug that came on really fast and made me extra whiny, given how beautiful it was outside.

Anyway, I kept my hands busy by crocheting these cute little hotpads with two colors of recycled cotton yarn I had randomly bought a while ago. I put an orange strand and a red strand together, then crocheted 25 hdc stitches into a square.

Fortunately, I had enough yarn for two, so I got a set I can use next time I have company.