Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Balcony Gardening

Living in an apartment is always tough when it comes to creating a home with less of a "temporary" feel. Lately I've been trying to warm our space up with buying lots of plants to put not only inside our apartment, but creating a nice place to hang out on our lil balcony since we get good sun throughout the day, not too much, not too little. In addition, my husband Eric has been inspired to plant some vegetables in buckets, which are also known as SIP buckets (sub-irrigated planters). It basically looks like this:
Eric got some organic seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds. A couple months ago we planted Arugula, Golden Swiss Chard, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce, and Dragon Carrots. So far the lettuce and carrots are winning...we think it might be a little too cold still for the others and they may need a second run.
On Sunday he planted our summer vegetables, since it is warming up now. Yellow Peppers, Pruden's Purple Tomatoes (a large heirloom beefsteak), and Pickling Cucumbers.

We also have lemon basil, oregano, and cilantro. The cilantro was doing really well until it got hailed on a few weeks ago. Yes, hailed on. Apparently it only hailed in our little part of Irvine too. It was nuts.
I can't wait to eat the fruits of our labor.

I've been into all the flowers that are popping up around the nurseries lately, and today I bought a Hibiscus shrub and potted it, along with a dozen and a half mini succulents! I am a novice gardener, so I hope I did an ok job. It's just nice to be outside on a nice day potting these little guys. Here's the before and after:

And all potted away, with Freesia and Bonsais in the background:

Moving from flora to fauna, we bought a hummingbird feeder. At first I wasn't sure if it was bad for the ecosystem, but everything I have been reading online says that it's fine for hummingbirds, since it's not their main source of food. It's kind of a quick grab and go, and their speedy little metabolisms burn everything off right away. I've just read that you shouldn't put any dyes in your feeder and just use a sugar-water solution. So, we got this cute one and filled it up and the hummingbirds visit us several times a day!
Today I took the feeder down to clean it, and our usual visitors were very confused, flying around where the feeder usually is and couldn't find it! Guess now I know we have our "regulars".
Our apartment is definitely starting to feel more cozy and I'm realizing that I should count my blessings as to what I have and how to work with and make the best of it, rather than being bummed out about the things I don't have!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Promotionary Pie

Last Saturday was one of my favorite co-worker's last day before he transfers for a promotion, so I wanted to do something special for him. Last Friday and Saturday were both 80 degrees and beautiful, so I thought a key lime pie would be appropriate! It was pretty easy to make, with just a handful of simple ingredients. I used a couple pounds of fresh key limes and juiced them all by hand, which was pretty time consuming, but in the end you could taste the difference! Here are some photos:
This was basically it as far as ingredients go!
Processing the graham crackers and almonds:

Fresh out of the oven:
...and the finished product:

Congratulations, Nick! Don't forget about us lil guys, okay?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

...all up in the interweb!

Hello friends! I have decided to jump on the blog train because lately I've been feeling the need for a creative outlet. I've tried blogging in the past but have been unsuccessful because I think I lose focus on what it is that would be fun to read or write about. This time I plan on taking a different approach, one where I can post stuff about things that I love to look at, make, and do - and leave it at that. I think I over thought things a little too much in the past. 

Well here it goes, with my first inspiration coming from an article in Real Simple Magazine: Make the Most of Small Spaces. I thought this would be appropriate since it's Spring Cleaning time. Speaking of Spring, I also wanted to share a picture of my current favorite flower, the ranunculus!