Monday, December 12, 2011

Chaos and respite

Let me begin by saying: I am not complaining.

However, with that preface in mind, our shop has been insane. Justin and I have both been working late nights, him later than me, and we basically haven't seen each other since Thanksgiving. As the sole glassblower in our operation, he has been working full time from 6:30AM to 11PM. I'm off working my day job for 10 hours, and then I come home and pack up orders, respond to inquiries, relist items, (maybe some online scrabble...and play with the dog, and make dinner) and pack more stuff until I'm ready to pass out. It's nearly comical. When we do see each other we usually are laughing about how we are losing our minds, as one of us goes out the door.

Things have been so chaotic, in fact, that Justin forgot he was teaching a 2-day glass course this past weekend. So as he flew out the door 10 minutes after he was supposed to be there (and then again 5 minutes later when he remembered his wallet), it was decided that I would have to drive some of our items to the La Conner gallery. Not that I minded. So off I flew (and then again 5 minutes later when I remembered my camera).

As soon as I was out on the open highway I felt all of my stress falling away. It was a gorgeous day in Skagit Valley, or at least as nice a winter day as you can have. I took the slow back roads. It's swan season, which I've heard the farmers don't particularly appreciate, but they were pretty to see in the fields nonetheless.

I love the way the roads turn in 90 degree angles along crop lines. I love the farm stands where you just weigh the items yourself and drop the money in the bucket. And oh, the barns. The whole valley is entirely photogenic, and every time I drive up there I wonder how we can make it work to buy a farm. Any one of these will do.

It was so nice to get out of town, even for a little while. But back to work for now...

[You can view my larger photos here]

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Poem

Near the Wall of a House

Near the wall of a house painted
to look like stone,
I saw visions of God.

A sleepless night that gives others a headache
gave me flowers
opening beautifully inside my brain.

And he who was lost like a dog
will be found like a human being
and brought back home again.

Love is not the last room: there are others
after it, the whole length of the corridor
that has no end.

Copyright 1986 by Yehuda Amichai. From Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai. Edited and translated by Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell (1986). HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., New York, NY

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

remembering and giving thanks

Today is usually a bit hard for me, and particularly this year, as Jill would have been 30 today. It's impossible not to imagine celebrating this day with her, instead of missing her. I try to remind myself to be thankful. For the life that I have, my dear friends, and a family that I love. I really do have so much to be thankful for. I'm also grateful for the almost daily adorable and/or hilarious text photos I receive from my sisters. They are always a good reminder of joy, and living life in the moment.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


i just thought i would mention that my blog's formatting is currently making me insane. one little setting has just made most of my past posts go wonky. pictures here and there, 10 line breaks or none.... i'll fix it later. i hope.

Avery does Seattle

As promised, a photo recap of Avery's first visit to Seattle. I will mention that my sister does not like to fly. And this was Avery's very first flight.

So yay for both of them!

I decided to take them to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium since it was going to be a rainy day, and there are a lot of indoor areas there. Avery was pretty interested in the starfish, but there was no way she was going to put her fingers in and touch.

It was really cold (by California standards) that day, so she spent much of the visit in the cozy stroller. This picture just cracks me up.

My sister mentioned that before they got to my house, Avery asked "Will Auntie Bootie have enough toys?" Avery managed to turn the toy box into a car, and the hamper into a rocking horse. We also found one of Justin's 4 wheel dollies which promptly became a race car.

Yeah, I have lots of toys.

The next day we went to Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park in Redmond. I had never been there, but one of my friends with kids suggested it (thanks Kim!).

It has beautiful trails through the woods, and a farm.

Avery was really excited to see the "piggies".

(I can't get over how big Avery has gotten, but also how tiny she is.)

Then we headed to Seattle (or as Avery would say: We ARE in SEATTLE!)

We made a stop at Hale's Brew Pub for lunch,

and then went down to the Pike Place Market.

Of course we got some treats.

And then a quick stop by Kerry Park for the view.

Thanks for visiting Avery, Leslie, & Mom! Come back again soon!

Monday, November 21, 2011

HOW is it November already?

It is currently pouring outside, freezing, and the lovely fall leaves are almost gone. It's times like these I wish we had a woodstove so I could spend the day curled up like a lazy cat. But I can't really complain...Mar will make fun because she is certainly much colder.

We've been super busy this month keeping our shop stocked (which, I realize, is not a bad problem to have...) and are almost to our 200th sale! If you want to enter our giveaway, you can "like" us on Facebook. The giveaway will be announced when we hit #200. I still can't believe it has been a year since we opened the online shop. Time flies!

I decided this summer that I would teach myself how to silkscreen...and then my silkscreening supplies sat collecting dust for months. But I finally got organized and made a few designs. I love the way they turned out! I have been spending the evenings silkscreening and we are now carrying baby onesies, and burpcloths and toddler tees will be in the shop soon. I haven't really ventured into the adult t-shirt arena yet. Part of me is intimidated by all the awesome shops out there already, and I also wonder if I would be spreading myself too thin. But I am having a blast with the kid stuff.

And speaking of kids, my adorable niece, Avery Juliet came to visit last week, along with my sister and mom. Such a fun visit. A full post about that coming soon...because I can't not share pictures of that adorable girl.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the magical month of october

The month of October was pretty much awesome. I don't use that word lightly.

For starters, I went to the ocean TWICE. The first time, to the Oregon coast, entirely on a whim, with Andrea. It looked like this. The whole time. Amazing.
It was exactly what I needed in life.

The second time, to the Washington coast.

With THEM. I love them.

We spent the weekend running on the beach with four hilarious dogs, eating non-stop, sitting by the campfire, and sleeping in yurts and our nifty Lovedog Mobile. It was wonderful.

Meanwhile, I turned THIRTY.

30 is delicious, thanks to Brittany.

And then we flew kites on the beach like maniacs.
I'm alright with this getting older thing provided there are more months like this ahead.
Thanks friends for the awesome time. I love you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Clams in wine sauce

Things I have learned recently: Cooking clams is kind of creepy. Fresh cooked clams are delicious. I will somehow have to reconcile these facts.

I love seafood. However, I have never personally cooked fresh clams before. I consider myself a pescetarian, and am slightly weirded out by cooking animals in general. But how can you not be, really? I suppose I sort of knew they were still alive when I purchased them, but I wasn't prepared to hear them making noises when I cleaned them. They also make a noise when you cook them, which might be attributed to the shells opening in the heat, or them suffering in hot liquid. And because I felt guilty about all that, I almost did not eat them. That would have been a mistake for two reasons: 1) they were already dead at that point 2) they were fantastically delicious. Sorry clams.

While this is beginning to sound like an altogether unappealing post, if you decide to cook clams, I say go for it. Someone else will eat them if you don't. Here's a simple recipe if this is your first try:

1 lb of fresh clams (cleaned)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch dried parsley
1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
small bunch of fresh chives (optional garnish)

Melt butter in pan, add garlic and saute briefly. Add wine, dried herbs, pepper and clams. Steam with the lid on for about 5 minutes (until all the shells open up). Ladle clams and broth into bowls. Snip fresh chives over bowls. Serve with toasted bread, and a glass of chardonnay. Serves 2 as an appetizer or light dinner.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

my favorite pie!

Could it really be that in all my talk of berry season and berry picking, I forgot to post my berry pie recipe? It seems I did!

LoveDog Ranch Black & Blue Pie

You will need:
4 cups fresh blackberries or blueberries or a combination of both
3/4 cup sugar (more or less to your own conscience)
3 tablespoon corn starch
2 pie shells (secret: I use store bought. gasp.)

1. Pick blackberries & blueberries. Don't skimp the triple wash. It really makes a difference!
2. Preheat oven to 425. If you are using frozen store-bought shells, pop one out of the tin to allow it to thaw flat for the top of the pie. Thaw the other in the tin.
3. Mix the berries, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

4. Pour mixture into bottom shell.
5. Cover with top shell and use a fork to crimp edges to create a good seal between top and bottom crust. Laugh at the longing eyes of your puppy dog.

6. Use a knife to make vents. These are not just for looks-- make sure you get a good clean puncture, otherwise the filling may vent out the edges*.

7. Put pie in oven on middle rack. Lay a piece of tinfoil loosely on top of the pie.
8. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
9. Remove piece of tinfoil, and place pie onto a cookie sheet. Turn oven temperature to 350, and return pie to oven for 30 more minutes on the cookie sheet, uncovered.
10. Remove, allow to cool, and admire your lovely pie. Then EAT IT! And maybe share some with your friends.

*evidently my vents didn't "vent"... but still delicious.

Friday, September 9, 2011

hunters and gatherers

I may be the gatherer at LoveDog Ranch, but this guy is clearly the hunter.
He also makes some delicious smoked salmon.

And even better smoked salmon benedict.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So much good stuff

Like millions of people in small towns across America, over Labor Day Weekend Justin and I went to the fair. I don't remember the last time I went to a fair, but I had no idea it was going to be so cool. Yes, that might make me a small town hick, but this hick was impressed. Small town America knows how to have a good time. Have YOU ever seen a pig race?

There were farm animals galore--every breed of chicken, rabbit, pigeon, sheep, cow, pig, and goat. Well, maybe not every breed, but enough to overwhelm the non-farmer.

And on top of all of this, we ate ridiculous quantities of fried foods, saw a Nascar* race and a lumberjack competition (log rolling, pole climbing, ax throwing, sawing, and other things I know nothing about but which were equally enthralling). AND on top of that, a RODEO! I can't really express how much I love the rodeo. I know, Peta* will be disappointed once they find out, but rodeos are so exciting. And neither animal nor rider were injured. So everyone wins. But especially me.

If you did not have the great pleasure of attending a fair this weekend, you can look through the rest of the photos here, and better luck next year. And if you live near Puget Sound, you can still catch the Puyallup Fair!

*spell check tells me it's NASCAR and PETA but I thought I'd refrain from shouting (though I'm nearly deaf from the car race so I couldn't hear myself if I shouted anyway). And to be clear, I do not believe in injuring animals for entertainment. There is a delicate balance between the recreational use of an animal, and watching a cowboy be tossed through the air for bragging rights. In which case, I do believe the animal takes his revenge anyway.

Friday, September 2, 2011

simple + smart

one of the reasons i love the blog capes, coffee, and the color orange is that it is smart and thoughtful, much like annie vp herself. it also has the effect of making me think about life in simple categories: something empowering, latest trends/addictions, and something noteworthy. today, in homage to capes, coffee, and the color orange, here are my own latest and greatest:

cape [empowering]: don't let a wishbone grow where a backbone ought to be. make it happen. even if that means one small step at a time.

coffee [addiction/trend]: s'mores in the microwave. because you don't have to be camping to want some (more). put the marshmallow on the graham cracker, zap it for about 9 seconds (so fun to watch it get huge), then add the chocolate and the top. want a super deluxe s'more? use Theo Bread & Chocolate and add a slice of fresh strawberry. delish.

orange [noteworthy]: pinterest is my new favorite internet tool. sign up for an account, download the button, and start "pinning"-- it makes it easy to collect inspiring photos, recipes, and craft ideas you find while surfing the web all in one place. check it out!

(photo pulled from - now on my pinterest!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Well, now I know

If I had to walk into a book store spend $90 in gift cards immediately (or lose the $90), and that book store did not have ANY of the 20 titles I planned to purchase, what might I buy?

Evidently, these. So think of me what you will...

And maaaaybe this this somehow ended up in my bag too:
What can I say? I'm a fan of intelligent, well-trained working dogs.

Not that this adorable creature has ever worked a day in her pretty little life...