July 2014 Recap

July 2014 Recap

Oh July – you came and went oftly fast! I am just now taking the time appreciating all the fun you brought me.

1. The beginning of July found us at the top of the big island of Hawaii near Honoka’a.

2. I read on the last three Game of Thrones books over our Hawaii vacation. I finished A Dance with Dragons on the flight home. It’s hard to keep all the plot developments secret from Nate who hasn’t read any of the books, but I am doing my best to stay mum.

3. We arrived home very late on the 3rd of July, slept and then had to quickly switch gears in order to host our annual 4th of July party. #weneverstop

4. Watching the kids in our lives interact this year was adorable. They are all growing up so fast.

5. I declared a pool siesta every night this summer to relax. Sometimes after work I am in such a funk, it is difficult for me to break it. Spending thirty minutes swimming or just chilling in the pool helps a lot. My pool siesta hasn’t happened every night but I still have forty days left of summer to enjoy them.

6. Fresh tomatoes are the best. Maybe that’s why I have four tomato plants growing…

7. And speaking of tomatoes, the Pomodoro Time app has become a new favorite productivity tool. You set the timer and then have 25 minutes to focus on work with a five minute break. The cycle continues for three more runs and then you get a 15 minute break. It’s a great way to focus and get stuff done.

8. While camping, I swam across the Russian River with Teagan on my back. Her excitement that I was taking her to the big kids was the sweetest thing. #auntiesarefun

9. Vacation always brings reflection and these Yoobi notebooks have become a new favorite journalling notebook plus they are a good alternative to the pricy Moleskine ones.

Replacing screens

Replacing Screens

One of the things you have to remember about cats is that they are first and foremost hunters. Loki and Pixel are always hunting bugs, lizards and occasionally even a small mammal.

lizard

Now hunting doesn’t mean catching especially for our two felines. Most often, they catch moths and lizards. Nate and I do our best to rescue whoever we can.

080214_0397b

Since moths flock to the porch light, the cats are often crouched near by. It doesn’t seem to matter if there may be a screen between them and a potential prey. They will attack without remorse for their victim or the screen. After four years of torture, our front window screen was finally done and ready for a replacement.

Buying spline for my screens

Replacing window screens

For this project, the only thing I needed to buy was spline (cording that holds the screen to the frame). I had already purchased the screening and had all the tools from the first time I replaced the screens five years ago.

Spline buying

I took the old spline to the hardware store with me so I could make sure to get the right replacement. The spline comes in a variety of sizes and colors. I liked how there were samples to compare the old piece to. This is easier than trying to measure through the plastic bag of the products.

One I was back home I compiled all my tools and got started.

Use the old screen as a pattern to cut the new one

1) Use the old screen as a pattern.

After taking the old screen out of the frame, use it to cut your new one out. I usually give myself another 1/2″ of clearance just in case.

Clamp the new screen to the frame

2) Clamp the new screen to the frame.

This was my ah-ha moment on the project. Last time I used tape to secure the screening to the frame which is really silly. Clamps work a lot better. Plus you can easily adjust them as you go.

Press spline into the frame

3) Press the spline into the frame.

After I was all clamped in, I started running the spline into the frame using my spline roller. This is a nice tool to have. The roller makes this process pretty easy once you get started. Press the spline in completely, but be careful not to cut the screen in the process.

080314_0300

4) Use a screwdriver to press in the corner.

When you get to the corners, use a screwdriver to secure the spline in. Sometime I will even start it on the next side and then go back and secure the corner. Whatever works for you.

Cut at the corner and press in.

5) Cut at the final corner and press in the end.

When you reach the end, cut the spline so you finish with a tight corner.

Trim the excess screen.

6) Trim the excess screen.

If you have any excess screening, trim it as close to the frame as possible. I used scissors, but a straight-edge would also work well. The screen will be visible in the window so you want the edge to be as clean as possible.

Once the screen is done, pop it into the window and you are good to go.

Finished screen

Ta da. What a beautiful sight. An untarnished screen.

Finished window screen

Glorious. So pretty I almost didn’t want to put it in because you and I both know it’s only a matter of time until the screen comes between a cat and moth.

Getting the color just right

Coral and Navy Invitation

I was honored to design the wedding stationery for my dear friends Dagny & Dean this summer. Their wedding was held at the California Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. It’s a beautiful building that houses quite a few antique trains and memorabilia.

Coral and Navy Invitation

The format of the invitation was easy. We went with a modern take on a train ticket with fun borders and a railroad sign inspired monogram.

Dagny's inspiration

Picking the right color combo turned out to be a little difficult. Dagny was inspired by the Tropicana Rose. I could have matched the color perfectly with an actual flower, but in reality it only matters if the client feels it is the right color. So I printed out a bunch of pinkish coral variations for her to choose from.

Color matching for invitations

Its important to know that what a color looks like on a monitor screen may actually print differently on paper. That’s why a print check is super important. I recommend one for all my clients because color is so subjective. What I think looks great, may not necessarily jive with the client.

In this case, Dagny was able to pick exactly the right color for her and I knew that when I printed all 150 invitation sets out, that they would be perfect.

Field Notes: Summer Veg Garden 2014

Field Notes: Summer Veg Garden 2014

I am happy to report we finally are producing ripe, beautiful tomatoes in the garden! This is an exciting moment. One of my absolute favorite things about summer are fresh tomatoes. I am so excited to make that trek to the garden every morning to find a few for my omelet.

gardenbanda2014

I planted this year’s summer garden the beginning of May in my two raised beds planted plus large pots in the back near the pool. The beds always do a little better since they are consistently watered by my drip system.

Field Notes: Summer Veg Garden 2014 // Our Concrete Home (http://wp.me/p1Ax0a-39H)

A third pot was purchased this year so we could grow squash in the back. (That’s me excited to find the right “squash pot” at IKEA.) He sits between my tall tomato pots I’ve been using for a few years. So far it’s been an awesome addition. Nate and I needed a break from eating a million monster zucchini this summer so I went with a container squash instead. The size and quantity are easier to handle – although I will say that I prefer the gooseneck type of squash a little better. Maybe next year I can find a plant that has both qualities.

080314_0443

I try to water the pots as well as I can, but I already noticed a little tomato rot so I am not doing as well as I hoped.

080314_0438

Here’s the full list of what was planted and notes on how each is doing:

In the raised beds along the side of our house

(4-6 hours of sun with timed drip system)

  • Blue Lake Long Beans – producing
  • Japanese Eggplant – nothing so far
  • Beefsteak – producing
  • Cherry – producing
  • Tomatillo – a few flowers so far
  • Serrano – just starting to make peppers
  • Cucumber – died
  • Thai Basil – not as great as last year, but doing ok
  • Oregano – going crazy
  • Rosemary – doing well
  • Peppermint – the butterflies and other insects love this guy

In containers in the backyard

(6+ hours of sunlight and watered manually)

  • Porch Tomato – a few green tomatoes on it. bottom rot on a few.
  • Container’s Choice Tomato – a few green tomatoes on it
  • Japanese Eggplant – only one eggplant so far
  • Papaya Pear Squash – producing

080314_0431

To summarize the notes above, our raised beds still have issues with bugs and spots which I think it largely due to the amount of sunlight they get. There isn’t much I can do on this point and luckily besides looking a little funky – the garden is thriving. Our pots definitely look better than the raised bed cousins, but the manual watering has caused issues like bottom rot. It’s a hard trade-off. With their placement next to the pool, I can’t use a drip line. So either I need to get better at watering or I will need to move them so I can install an automatic system. Either way, I am pretty pleased with this year’s crop. We have a lot of variety and an abundance of the veggies we can’t get enough of.

080314_0435

SO what am I making with all these veggies? Well, most of the time we grill them with a little salt and pepper or use them in salads. In the next few weeks, I hope to make my favorite tomato soup recipe once we all the tomatoes are producing. It is so good and I can’t wait to make batches to freeze. If all goes well, I will share it on the blog as well.

Happy Monday Everyone!