the ravenna girls

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backyard round-up September 18, 2010

Filed under: design,house before and afters — ravennagirls @ 10:14 pm
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As summer winds to a close and we pick the last of the warm-weather veggies from the garden, I wanted to take a look back to how our patio shaped up after all the work to get it installed. We pushed hard through the spring to lay the pavers, built some garden beds, and planted grass seed to fill in the gaps. Then, the most important step: accessorize!!

Folks have asked where some of our favorite decor came from so we thought we’d post some pics and sources.

The table is our salvaged masterpiece from Smith + Hawken shelving and and IKEA table base. If you like the look but don’t want to DIY, here are some similar options at West Elm or CB2.

Black Enamel fire pit, similar to this one. Ace Hardware

Citronella candle in galvanized pot, a gift from our friend Heather, you can see her tutorial here.

Green acrylic patio chairs, Crate & Barrel.

Turquoise chair cushions, IKEA

Dansk enamel pitcher, Vintage. Find one similar here.

Striped cocktails glasses, IKEA

Solar table lamp, IKEA.

Fruit bowl, CB2

Candle and ceramic tray, IKEA

Blown glass vase, Cargo Portland

Although this Seattle summer wasn’t the best, we had a chance to have several wonderful patio dinners and afternoons of lemonade, surrounded by these bright colorful accessories that we love.

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yellowstone September 9, 2010

Filed under: adventures,travel — ravennagirls @ 12:19 pm
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….here we are at the hot springs…

 

b and i took a little roadtrip recently.  We drove from Seattle to West Yellowstone, Montana (with stops in Ennis on the way there and Bozeman on the way back).

 

It felt like summer.  

Also, did you know that Yellowstone is like crazy huge?  I had no idea.  

so we drove and drove and drove.

Montana had a big sky.

 

 

me, driving …

over river and through the woods and through mountains and farms….

Once at yellowstone we hiked and hiked and hiked until my feet hurt.  Seriously do you know how big that place is?  We stopped at a visitor’s center (the new one at old faithful), and they had a video playing that said you needed 1 and a half days to do the whole loop.  Are they crazy???  Do those people ever get out of the car????

Anyway, we saw lots. 

out to clear lake…

and up to a ridge near the yellowstone river.    see all the calcium carbonate deposits along the raging river?

One day we hiked down into a canyon at another point of the Yellowstone river.  Going down was easy peasy…but climbing back up was a different story!  We saw some amazing and massive waterfalls along this hike too. 

 

What I loved best of all… was that the park was so huge… you didn’t always have crowds everywhere.  Sure, the major sights to see had people, but there were plenty of hikes on paths less travelled… including this trail, which popped us out of the forest and onto the shores of Lake Yellowstone.  I am a lakes-and-mountains type of girl…

mmm mountains…..  beauty that no picture will ever describe, no matter what lens I use.

 

Another vacation-love was was the deliciousness of pb&js and huckleberry ice cream.  It’s like summer in food form.

oh, and we saw old faithful erupt. It was amazing! {also amazing was how accurate those scientists are at predicting those eruptions!}

 

Probably though the craziest and most unique places in the whole park were all the areas where water, minerals, and heat all came together — the geothermal features.  Places like Dragon’s caldron where smoke poured out and mud bubbled… and the Paint Pots which looked like hot piles of paint running together and through little pools… and Mammoth Hot springs which was, well, mammoth.

 

I had no idea that Yellowstone is the middle of a volcano..

It was also designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978…making it the second World heritage Site we have visited this year.

Now, I am not going to lie to you.  The smell at all these geothermal features was kind of like leaving hundreds of deviled eggs outdoors in 95 degree heat for weeks.  But, I’m blogging so you can’t smell that.  Lucky.

Totally worth it though.  This was at Mammoth, which was amazing. 

And this is from the top lookout at Mammoth Hot Springs.  I loved how the rusty orange seemed to run right into the crystal blue pool before it trickled down the terraces the calcite had formed over time.  Evidently, during seasons where there is a lot of water at the springs… several inches of rock can be added  to terraces each day.  Crazy!

 

 

And, just in case you wanted to touch the pretty colors…. or were wondering if there are railings around there….

 

Oh!  and i forgot to tell you about the wildlife that came with us!!  Luckily we didn’t see any bears.  Getting my lunch stolen was not on my vacation to do list.  Although, B let me talk like Yogi Bear quite a bit.  : ) We did see TONS of Bison.  Often one or two at very close range even.  But one day we saw (and heard) a herd very close to us.

 

 

We also watched this little big bison family one afternoon. That baby bison was SO cute.  I mean not as cute as the twins, but pretty cute for a bison!

 

And then one day a huge bison decided to escort us down the road and over a bridge.  Luckily we did not look appealing to him.  And we stoped moving whenever he turned around and glared at us with his horns.

 

Mr. Bison, remember – please stay to the right if you are a slower vehicle… the signs say so!

Mr. Bison replied, hey I have a sign with my picture on it that blinks and another sign that says ‘slow down for wildlife’… so I win!

 

Hehe.  Bison humor for you.

Anyway, we had an AMAZING time.  By the end… we looked like this expression found here, in this mud pool.

Can you see it?

 

And on our way home, we drove through some pure beauty.  Big sky, bigger clouds, rain and sun-rays pouring through the distance.  Magnificent.

 

I am not ready for the end of summer.

 

 

Wedding Wreath August 30, 2010

Filed under: celebrations,crafty,diy,friends and family,Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 12:37 pm
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Last weekend there was a big celebration. Our great friends Jackie and Dave got married, and it was a beautiful day, ceremony, and party.

Mr. and Mrs. Dave and Jackie Wilson!

Their wedding was at a farm in Snohomish, WA, and was full of wonderful DIY touches. Vintage fabric napkin rings (seen below), recipe cards at the table, and upcycled tree ring cake stands made the day truly picturesque. We hope that even though the wedding is over, our crafting nights can continue!

Isn't the barn pretty??

For the front door of the barn, Jackie asked me to reprise last winter’s felt ruffle wreath in a summer version. We used upcycled fabric (bed sheets) acquired at thrift shops. I left the edges unfinished to give a softer, frayed look. I tried a couple different attachment methods (i previously used straight pins into foam for the felt wreaths), but because of the flimsiness of the fabric, i settled on hand sewing each petal in place.  Long story short, I loved making this wreath but I won’t be selling them on etsy 😉

 It looked terrific on the door next to the other warm tones, and i was so glad to be able to contribute to their special day.

Bonus Pic! The twinsies at the wedding.

 

harvest and fall crops August 27, 2010

Filed under: house before and afters — ravennagirls @ 9:12 pm
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Our backyard garden is doing wonderfully!  It must be all the warm weather and sun we are getting.  YAY!

Here is a look at what the yard looks like today:

Dahlias are in full bloom everywhere.

Tomato plants are huge.  Tons of flowers… still waiting on the actual tomatoes though.

Cukes have lots of flowers and a few small baby ones!

Peas are still doing well… they are nearing the end of production though.

Lettuce is still doing great… and we are eating salads a lot.

We have completely harvested all of our small onions and shallots….

(only like 1/3 of the onions….)

Probably the most exciting thing lately is that we have planted our new fall starts that we bought from Cascade Edible Landscapes…..

When we planted them two weeks ago:

 

And today:

Pretty cool!

There are ten varieties of plants…including califlower, brussel sprouts, spinach, radicchio, kale, and a few more things….  stay tuned for when we eat them….hopefully!

 

slaw: two ways August 3, 2010

Filed under: food,Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 9:20 pm
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Over the last 3-4 weeks, we have had a lot of cabbage around the house. Its been coming like gangbusters in our CSA box which is actually sort of nice because it spoils less quickly than some of the other greens.

For a get together at our place a couple of weeks ago, D asked me to make a slaw to go with some grilled meats and veggie kabobs that we’d be serving. I made use of the green cabbage that our CSA box had delivered, baby fennel (also from the CSA), along with carrots, broccoli (leftover from kabobs), and walla walla sweet onions. I knew I wanted to find a new yogurt based dressing option for a couple of reasons. I don’t really like mayo, firstly. Also, its always nice to cut a few calories where you can and explore some lighter textures that you might not always see with typical southern cole slaw I had seen Giada make Perfectly Crunchy Slaw on her show a month back, so decided to start with that recipe.

Fresh, summery ingredients

Crunchy Yogurt Dressed Slaw

Adapted from Giada De Laurentis Perfectly Crunchy Slaw

Ingredients

1/2 green cabbage, shredded, about 2 cups

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated/sliced (in food processor)

1/2 sweet onion, sliced

2-3 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, about 1/2 cup

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

2 tablespoons sour cream

 3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Use a food processor with slicing blade to shred cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and sweet onion (this takes literally 4 minutes, its awesome). Baby Fennel will need to be chopped by hand.

In a large bowl, mix together the cabbages, carrots, fennel, endive, cranberries and pine nuts. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, honey, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well until coated.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

 

Light, crunchy: summer in a bowl (and vitamins too!)

Then, last week our book club continued our summer tradition of picking a book on food writing (complete with recipes), then having a potluck dinner of different flavors. We read David Lebovitz’s Sweet Life in Paris. Once I stumbled upon Peanut Slaw i knew i had my recipe. I love love LOVE peanut sauce in all forms and i LOVE slaw, so it was the perfect combination. This is a delicious different spin on cole slaw, but its a really nice change of pace and its tangy and wonderful. (Note: this recipe isn’t very photogenic, so I didn’t bother, ha! I mean, its cabbage doused in peanut dressing, and it looks pretty much like you’d imagine. But make it. Despite its appearance, its delicious. I had it twice this week). David Lebovitz is primarily a pastry chef, but you can find more of his recipes including savory ones here.

Peanut Slaw

David Lebovitz

Ingredients

1/4 c. smooth peanut butter (I used crunchy, i know, maverick)

1 garlic clover, peeled and finely chopped

2 tbsp peanut oil

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp water

1/2 c. roasted, unsalted peanuts

1 small bunch radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled and shredded

1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped

6 cups green or red cabbage (DL cautions against using napa cabbage whose leaves are thin and will wilt quickly with the acidic dressing)

Coarse Salt

Directions

In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, garlic, peanut oil, lime juice, soy sauce, and water until smooth.

Toss in the peanuts, radishes, carrot, parsley, and cabbage, mixing until everythings coated. Taste, then add a bit of salt and another squeeze of lime, if necessary.

Make these both! They’re a great way to incorporate veggies into a side in a simple fresh and delicious way.

 

summer popsicles July 20, 2010

Filed under: food — ravennagirls @ 4:21 pm
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there is nothing I love more then sun with an icy sweet treat on a stick.

This weekend I had time on a Saturday afternoon to go rollerblading.  I have not found that type of time on a Saturday since probably before the house.  After my second loop around Greenlake, I decided I needed a little snack. {yum!}  A trip to the local produce shack left me with a giant tub of blueberries and one even larger filled with plump red strawberries. Yum!

As I ate in the yard… I realized just how much fruit I had… and just how much I wanted a popsicle.  I remembered Orangette’s homemade popsicles and how B and I had bought a popsicle mold at Ikea recently. {these are accurately named ‘Midsommar’}

Genius!

I motified her recipe a bit to my taste…

Mixed Berry Popsicle

1 cup washed berries ( i used blueberries and strawberries)

1/2 cup non fat vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt {most recipes will say ONLY use whole milk yogurt.  but really, that is too thick for my taste.  I enjoyed the combination}

2 packets of splenda {or 4 teaspoons of regular sugar}

3/4 cup orange juice {I used fresh squeezed, without pulp}

Blend all ingredients together in your blender for a minute.

Fill in your popsicle molds.

Freeze. {My first popsicles froze and were eaten around dusk time that night… so after about 3 hours in the freezer.}

Eat.

Enjoy summer!

 

 

The Strawberry Shortcake COOKIE July 2, 2010

Filed under: food — ravennagirls @ 9:58 am
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Perfect for any summer party you might be throwing or attending this weekend.

Yum strawberries!

Because really …………strawberry = summer.

 

recipe via martha… and makes about 3 dozen yummy cookies

  • 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
  • Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
  • {special note from d, nothing to do with cookies….  kudos to the chalkboard writer at the capitol hill cupcake royale.  I walk by your sign at least twice a day.  Your writings on July 1 were genius.  And it worked –  I bought a cupcake. 

    Visit your local cupcake royale – if you are lucky enough to live in Seattle – and get the July cupcake of the month…. the Strawberry 66.  According to the chalkboard out front, if everyone eats one of these… summer WILL come. 

    And if you don’t, and we never get summer this year… I WILL hunt you down AND  feed you a Strawberry 66 until the sun remembers where we live.}

    happy 4th of july! 

    (and next week we will talk about how fast the year is going because it seriously was just january, right….????????)