Monday, November 30, 2009

hello december

but first, some novemberly things...

thanksgiving olive fingers

crafts fairs and flea market finds...

one, two, three, four, five happy guys...

tiny santa's, tiny snowmen, trees, some with feathers...

a sweet autumn wedding...

a challenging trail run for my husband...

christmas projects slowly coming together....

goodbye november. i can say it was a great month for our family, delivering the most beautiful weather here on the california coast, maybe one of the prettiest novembers i can remember. it was perfect training weather for my husband, he ran in a 40 mile trail run last saturday. although he did great and i'm proud of him, i think he's glad novembers over. while he was running through the foothills and backcountry, my sister and i walked through the flea markets and crafts fair in town. after i found the cute things above, we passed by a country wedding, so simple and serene, november winds were gently blowing leaves like confetti for the happy bride and groom. i do love this time of year.

welcome december!

♥ lori

Sunday, November 22, 2009


are these the sweetest most tiniest apples you've ever seen? the smallest hardly larger than a coin.

today i watched a little yellow finch out the window, knit for upcoming birthdays and christmas (can you see the love going in?), walked in the marsh with my husband and drew a name for the book giveaway.

congratulations sally anne! please let me know if you'd like me to send it off now or if you'd rather wait and i'll try to get it autographed for you on december 3rd.

thank you everyone for playing along. wasn't it fun? if only i had a book to send to each and everyone of you.

wishing you a beauty full week ahead.

♥ lori

Thursday, November 19, 2009

not a book review, yes, a giveaway

This is not a book review.

Okay, it is, but it's not a review review,

this is more of a love letter, to this book, My Nepenthe.

Dear My Nepenthe, I fell in love with you the first time I read about you in Sunset Magazine, Sunset called you a valentine to one of the most beautiful places to eat in the world- Nepenthe Restaurant in California's Big Sur.

We were planning a road trip up through Big Sur and I made a mental note to stop at one of my favorite places on the coast, Nepenthe. This time to purchase a copy of you for my own. Not giving too much thought to the future, we passed by on our way north, reasoning we'd have plenty of time on the way home to stop. It turns out, we did, almost three hours time before The Phoenix was to open that Sunday morning. Of course we didn't have to wait, I could have added you to my Amazon cart or gone to my favorite local bookseller. But I could see you in the window.

You were beautiful.

So, we waited. And now your mine. You are everything I love about a book, the content being the obvious start, but... there is the extraordinary feel of your pages, what kind of paper is that your wearing? I carry you around all day, taking peeks inside, teasing out all your treasures. There are many, indeed. Recipes, family history, photos, oh so many gorgeous photos.

I can't remember the last time I had such a crush on a book.

Romney Steele the author of My Nepenthe has much to be proud of. I am proud of her and I don't know her.

I hope she won't mind if I quote her...

"My Nepenthe is a story about food, family, and the culture of place, and how it all unfolds around the table and why that matters."

Would you like to fall in love with My Nepenthe too? All you have to do is leave a comment telling me you don't think I'm crazy for falling in love with a book, or, just leave me a comment and I'll choose a winner (pull a name out of a hat or some such fair thing).

And for heaven's sake, please go to here, here or here, for a proper review,(you will see that My Nepenthe won Best Regional Cookbook for 2009 by Epicurious). I told you, I am not a book reviewer. :)

Before you go, a recipe from my lovely, um Romney's lovely book,

Pumpkin Spice Cake

(Bohemian Wedding Cake)

1 cup whole-wheat flour (not pastry flour)

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground clove

1/4 tsp nutmeg

pinch salt

1 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree (about 1 3/4 cups)

1/4 cup molasses

3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Sour Creme Frosting

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

About 2 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan, knocking out any excess flour.

For the cake, combine the whole-wheat flour, white flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, stir together the oil and brown sugar, mixing well. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Mix in the pumpkin puree and then the molasses. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert and cool completely.

For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Sift in the confectioners' sugar and mix well. It should be thinner than a typical cream cheese frosting.

Place the cake on a cake plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top and all over the side. Freeze any leftover frosting, or reserve for muffins or cupcakes.

p.s. Romney will be in Santa Barbara on December 3rd, for her book. I'll try to have it signed for the lucky winner. Good Luck!

♥ lori

Sunday, November 15, 2009

to do with dreams

Hazel Images

Here are some pictures of scenes from our week. We've been busy.

The first photos show another project I've been working on for these children here.

I invited my grand babies to help. They took to the task immediately, carefully decorating the stockings with bits and pieces that they thought belonged to the correct gender. I said not to worry too much, that Kago and Kwena, Penyo and Thandi and all the others would be sure to like them. The only instruction I gave them was that they make them with all the love they had. While they were busy, they talked about what we could fill them with. They had a lot of ideas. I think they are already full of love, but we'll still add some treasures before they are finished and get sent off this week.

The second set of photos are taken in Santa Monica, somewhere near Wilshire and the beach. It's a place my daughter has been going to often these days, for casting calls. This wasn't a call though, she got a job. This has always been a big dream of hers, since she was a child, but one she had to wait for.

Now, I am more than happy to offer support. We had a great time, there were so many people, makeup artists, wardrobe, cameramen and trailers. We'd exchange glances when she was ordered around. Laughing about it all later. She's in a good place for it now, it's not so serious, and it'll be helpful in her life as a single, working, college student, Mom.

While she was in filming I was reading and knitting. When the makeup/ wardrobe people saw what I was doing they ran to a trailer and grabbed their own bags. Then my daughter came out, saw me and laughed, there I was surrounded, all of us knitting together, me, giving impromptu lessons. I was even asked for my email, for further questions.

Earlier, one of the crew asked me if I was registered, I had to laugh at that too. The closest I'll ever come to modeling are the photos my husband takes, here I am in this months If you go look, you'll see what I mean. :)

Carefully pasted here in my journal, is the last photo, my dream. One of them. Thank you Photographer's Forum for liking my photo. I'm exceptionally happy.

Dreams can motivate us, move us to better ourselves and to do for others.

"I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. "

Henry David Thoreau.

To all our dreams.

♥ lori

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

adventures in marriage

Looking for a place to celebrate our four year wedding anniversary, that would also fit into a three day weekend, we decided on the Central Coast town of Moss Landing. Our get~a~way to this tiny place (population 300) located on the shores of Monterey Bay seemed perfect. We found a lovely Bed & Breakfast located right at the mouth of Elkhorn Slough
the largest salt marsh in California aside from San Francisco. Almost right from our B & B we could go for a paddle, take a hike, walk to dinner, even go antiquing. And, as a bonus, we'd take the route through Big Sur on the way up.

Packing our enthusiasm and kayaks we headed north...

Big Sur, California

There is no place like Big Sur.
It's magical, mystical, meditative, magnificent.

Here is the mouth of the Big Sur River at
Andrew Molera State Park.
It's a short hike from the highway to the shore,
about one mile.
Walking along the river, we saw deer.

We're here! at the Captain's Inn. We can hear sea lions barking out on the water and the fog horn blowing. I can tell this salty air is going to give me an appetite.

My husband, sweetie, ordered the
Romance package as a surprise.
These roses were among the treats waiting for us in our room!

Dinner was fantastic, prepared with local and organic foods. This restaurant doubled as an art gallery.
We could dine and admire the colorful paintings.
We sat under a portrait of Frida.

Next morning we are up and out with the tide to paddle the Elkhorn Slough.The only things up with us were the otters, sea lions, seals, many birds and...

Pelicans! lot's of them. Good morning guys! they hardly gave us a glance, we watched them preen for awhile (holding my breath, because good grief they smell!)

And then we got busy paddling. The slough goes about six miles inland, where it finally comes to an end. We wanted to see it. All six miles of it. Which would be twelve miles round trip. We agreed that I'd go as far as I could and then Chuck would tow me if I needed it. Which I was pretty sure I would. It's a long way to paddle even when your in shape!

After a few hours of blissful nature watching and kayaking, we hugged our boats together and floated along while eating our brownbag breakfast, compliments of the Inn. Seals popped up their heads, as curious of us as we were of them. They have such soulful eyes. You wonder what their thinking.

We made it! we're at the end of Elkhorn Slough. We found another put in place, you can launch your kayak from either end it seems. We also found these all white pelicans! they were very shy and wanted nothing to do with our bright blue and yellow boats. I got photos with my film camera, but these will have to do for now. They are really lovely.

And then, not more than ten minutes into the return, the wind picked up, I felt fatigue setting in, not to mention a nice blister on my thumb from the paddle. Chuck looked at me, smiled and winked, your getting towed honey.
I wasn't going to be stubborn like I normally am.

Here is what it looks like with the tow line attached.
We made it back in half the time, since we didn't stop for quite as many photos. And I helped. A little.

Back in the harbor we passed this huge group of Harbor Seals, it was hard to get a good photo because every time I put down my paddle, the current would pull me towards them. These guys are in normal resting behaviour, but if they feel threatened they could stampede and you don't want to be near that in a little kayak. So, the camera had to get put away. Bye guys!

Back to dry land to eat and explore the town a bit...

It feels so good to walk after six hours in a boat...

The temperatures were perfect, for a romantic get~a~way...

Even the sunset made it's contribution to this weekend

On our last night we went to this fabulous fish restaurant, walking through the harbor at night was especially lovely, all the lights twinkling on the water. We clinked our iced tea glasses (still no champagne for me, yet...) and ate delicious lobster and halibut. And to die for chocolate cake. Ummm.

Going home now, back through magical Big Sur,
we've one more stop to make...


A favorite place, this famous restaurant

Perched on the majestic cliffs of California's Big Sur

mosaic by Kaffe Fassett

"Nepenthe has become a cultural icon synonymous with Big Sur and the free-living bohemian lifestyle"

And really tempting food

If you'd like to read more about Nepenthe, this beautiful storybook with recipes is available at all good book sellers, or you might just want to go to the Phoenix Gift Shop to get your own copy.
Bohemian Tales of Food, Family, and Big Sur
Romney Steele

More magic, California's Giant Redwoods

One last stop before home, we saw more of the white pelicans here at Morrow Bay, on our way up the coast. Chuck's out there getting photos of them, while I wait i'm thinking what I liked best about our romance weekend. He always wants to know. Was it the hikes or the dinners?
the paddling or the roses? the pelicans?

It's always the same for me. I'll tell him I liked best that
I got to go. It's always a privilege. And even better,
that it was with him.

I also like sharing here too.
I hope you've enjoyed.