Carrot Pickles

I have always loved the hue of purple carrots. They are so pretty with their contrasting purple skin and orange flesh. I thought they would make some really pretty carrot pickles.

I love to pickle foods. Almost any fresh food can be pickled. I have a couple of brine recipes I like to use. This one is nice and spicy with the addition of the red pepper flakes.

pickled carrots

Pickled Carrots 

3-4 fat carrots

Slice the carrots into slim stick, thin rounds or any desired shape

1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups filtered water
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons pickling salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup sugar
1 bay leaf per jar

Combine the brine ingredients in a medium-sized, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil. Taste and adjust spices to please your palate. Add the sliced vegetables. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.

Fill prepared jars. Wipe rims and apply lids. Process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes (starting time after the pot has returned to a boil).

These should rest for a few weeks or months before opening to let them infuse with the flavors of the spices. 

Makes three pints.


Valentine’s Day

My first job at 16 was at a Hallmark store. I am pretty sure this is why I love Valentine’s Day so much. Also I had an amazing mom that would celebrate this holiday with cute little gifts like tiny heart shaped erasers, handmade doily cards and sweet treats.

This year with our wedding just wrapped I missed the boat on handmade anything. But I could not let the holiday escape me and sent Mr. Ramon flowers from Seattle favorite Fiori. They always do such a stunning job.

So I want to send a Happy Valentine’s Day to my guy – Mr. Ramon will you be my valentine?

Hope you all had a sweet day with your loves!


Wedding Crafts

Mr. Ramon and I had a blast collecting for about a year all sorts of knick-knacks, antiques and junk to use for our wedding props. Our overall theme was sort of rustic glamour. Think old brick and glitter, vintage props and twinkle lights.

I love old typewriters. I thought what a fun idea to use an old typewriter as our guest book. We came up with about 10 different questions for our guests such as “What is your best marriage advice?”, “If Ramon and Nicole were super heroes, who would they be?”, “When should we consider becoming parents?” etc. We printed them on card stock and created a guest book area with the amazing old typewriter we had found. It was a really nice interactive way for people to share their thoughts and love with us.

We had decided to not use a lot of flowers for our wedding – instead using props for the tables. I would carry a bouquet and he would of course need a boutonniere. I had seen some very cool hand made boutonnieres on Etsy and thought I would try my hand at creating one.

I had been stashing away feathers, netting, botanical pieces etc for hats, headbands and to make my veil. So I had a lot of materials to choose from. Ramon had brought me back an acorn from his trip to Nebraska and I thought that would be my focal point. I added in some feathers and used a varnished orange leaf as the base. I glue gunned it all together, wrapped the base in ribbon and added a pin on the back for easy application. I think it turned out really nice.

We were visiting my mom in Bend, Oregon and spent a sunny day treasure hunting. I found this antique shop with bowls and bowls of vintage baby blocks. Mr. Ramon and I love lettering so thought this could be fun for something. I chose letters to spell Ramon + Nicole = Love. We could not figure out what to do with them or how to insert them into wedding appropriate props – so I came up with gluing them onto a small chalkboard. Not my favorite application – but it works and I can always pull them off at a later date.

We were excited so many people decided to travel to Seattle for our wedding. We thought it would be nice to put together bags of snacks and drinks for the hotel rooms of our guests. We kept them Washington themed by adding in Washington apples, local chocolates, hand made granola, Dry Soda, spicy nuts and local chips. We found bank recycled totes and screen printed tags for them. We hope everyone enjoyed the treats!

The Big Day

Mr Ramon proposed in Paris in February and we tied the knot January 28, 2011. It was a whirlwind year of planning, fun, stress and learning about one another.

I am a planner – organized and armed with timelines, calendars and lists of things to check off. Mr Ramon is an artist – and way more fun to be around when planning an event. That said, he also likes to save as much as possible to the last minute. He is not really sure why my timelines are important. Of course these two ideals collided and left us a mess at times and more aware of what we are both really good at. And it took the both of us and a whole army of loving friends to pull this off.

I loved it – every minute, even the tough ones. From planning day one through the entire weekend wedding whirlwind. It left me knowing I love planning events and want to plan special days for and with others.

Here are a few pics from our big day – mostly of us. I love looking at them.

Our day was totally magical. We had an amazing photographer. A friend of ours that normally shoots rock bands and events. So he had a very different approach from a traditional wedding photographer. We really loved the results.

More to come – I will take my time and break it all down for you!

Iowa Squirrels

So here it is I unveil my love of squirrels. Yes – the little vermin with those cute fluffy tails. I love watching them play in the tree branches and chase around the tree trunks. I love watching my dogs chase them – knowing they are never going to be able to catch them .

When I travel I am on the lookout for squirrels – especially city squirrels. New York and Chicago have some awful nice ones.

Ramon just traveled to Iowa for work. Now I had placed a few things on Ramons’ agenda while he was away. One was to find me a taxidermy squirrel. I really want one for one of my wedding tables. And heck – Iowa seemed like the kind of place to find one. He knows of my squirrel love and heard from a couple of people that there were these black squirrels in Iowa. I wanted to know what the heck that means – what is a black squirrel – after all grey is the classic. A little more investigative work and he learned that these black squirrels hang out in the cemetery. Weird – right?

Here is what you wear in Iowa to sneak up on squirrels in the cemetery.

Here is the cemetery.

And here are the squirrels – the first picture is a black squirrel and the second is his friend mr. auburn squirrel.

Mr Ramon said they were so cute chasing each other and playing. One of the best things about this time of year – the squirrel fun.

Oh yeah – if anyone out there has a taxidermy squirrel that they would let us borrow – just let me know!!

Save this Date!!!

So exciting – our first big milestone was hit. We sent out save the dates on the 6 month mark from our wedding.

This is a big accomplishment for us as Mr Ramon has been insanely busy with a big project and it was a team effort so we needed to coordinate all the different pieces.

We had originally decided to screen print on wooden postcards – but then got together for a brainstorm session that left us interested in fabric, sewing and screen printing. We are really trying to do all of the elements of the paper goods for our wedding ourself (with the help of some amazing friends and family) – not wanting to out source or go the mass produced way. We both love paper goods and tend to geek out on them all the time. I spend way to much time perusing blogs filled with paper goods and right now with wedding on the brain it could fill up all my days if I let it.

We hit up a local fabric store and found two prints that were indicative of our “rustic glamour” theme. A little home spun a little fancy. My first part was to get the fabric fronts and backs together with a iron on binder.

Then I cut each piece out just big enough to go into the envelope – and pinked the edges.

Then it was Mr Ramons turn – get paper and screen print the image on and cut them all to size. He has a really great friend who screen prints – so this was a chance for him to learn some new tricks. Once that was done I was back to work. I glued the top of each paper to the fabric so it was secure to sew. I chose coordinating thread for a nice visual pop.

As the timeline drew near – I had some assistance from my mom with the sewing. We left the edge strings a little long – they looked so nice.

Ramon also made some nice wrap around labels for addressing our save the dates.

So the finished look was this – and we were very happy with the results – they spoke to what is to come at our big day as well as hand crafted and unique. Such a fun project.

visiting Bend, Oregon

Took a little road trip. Me and little Toby. Left Ramon with the girls and headed to Bend, Oregon to see my mom. This was my first long drive ever by myself. Grabbed some Cornnuts (my go to road trip snack), cranked up the tunes and hit the road. It was an awesome drive both ways – warm and clear. I love driving over the mountain – so pretty this time of year.

My main goal while there was to help my mom clean out her garage and get organized. Mission accomplished. I think she went from 20 some boxes to 4. And was inspired to work on some other projects at hand once I left. The two of us are quite a team and can move mountains.

The worst part about the trip was the mosquitos. They are having the biggest infestation in years – I was bitten just walking from the car to the house. And I have the sweet blood they love – I was bitten so much as a kid. They were like zombie mosquitos – circling the house waiting for us to come out. It took us 4 stops to find some herbal pest spray that could go on the yard and garden – and it actually was helpful.

Some of the other highlights of the trip were the deer hanging around the house. A mom and her two babies and a little buck out on his own.

We also had salads with fresh greens from her garden and picked up several flats of Marion Berries just before they went out of season. I made a crumble and it was oh so good.

My mom also helped me finish up my Save the Dates and get them in the mail – we are officially 6 months out – so exciting. My next post will highlight the save the date and the process we went through to make them .