Monday, June 30, 2014

Glowing gardens, picnic necessities, dining al fresco

Our garden at home is tiny, but we love our petite oasis, especially right now when things are growing and blossoming. And we're starting to eat our suppers outside. Don't you love that? So of course we have a Soji solar lantern obsession; they are tucked into branches and hanging from shepard's hooks. We have several of our volcanic ash buddhas nestled into some wavy grasses (one lost his head during shipping a few years ago; Robert glued it back on and it's held up through our nasty winter, sprinklers, and a few close calls with a stray pétanque ball). Of course, we have all manner of trays and serving pieces and glassware that we can drag outside, and we use it all, all the time.

Only problem is, we're getting all these wonderful new garden/entertaining accoutrements in the shop, and guess who wants one of everything? The good news is, we can't really do that (or risk jumbling up the garden too much)... so there's more for you to choose from! Great pieces are rolling in daily; here's a little taste of some of our favorites. Get ready for the 4th of July, and beyond!

New shapes and colors in Soji solar lanterns; the orange is gorgeous

Each lantern casts a different kind of light and looks beautiful during the day

In love with this silky, saffron Soji

Turquoise, so pretty against greenery

And the red is very festive

Hand-blown glass solar tea lights for your garden

Fun mason jar mugs with perforated tops (for your beer, while playing bocce)

Mason jar sippers for lemonade (or gin & tonic) 

Do not fear the ants: they are merely a part of your sturdy melamine picnic plate – so cute!

Reusable, dishwasher-safe, fancy plastic picnic silverware

Insulated totes for picnics or potlucks

More insulated totes: to carry wine... or an entire chicken dinner

Love these for outdoors: wine/juice glasses in a wire carrier

Happy 4th of July!

Sweet gazebo for any corner of your garden

New garden art from our local artist

Owlish votive holder hangs from a branch 

Quail family trots across the edge of the garden

Our new salts, and tiny tagines to store/serve salt at the table: how about those for your red, white & blue table?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

16th Anniversary celebration: a smash success

Wowie. Thanks to all of you who attended our 16th Anniversary celebration last Saturday, June 21! We loved seeing so many of you: longtime clientele who've been shopping with us since day one, and new folks who just found out about us. It's a little hard to believe that the years keep slipping by (we must be having fun, right?) – the only proof is seeing your children and grandchildren growing. When we first opened, there were a handful of pregnant new-mommas-to-be who shopped with us, and now those kids are driving and looking at colleges. NO!

Anyway, we were thrilled with the turnout, and got lots of hugs and good wishes. What could be better?

We served up lots of champagne and sangria, four dozen cupcakes from Ida's, cookies and cinnamon rolls and pastries and treats... Robert fired up the barbecue for our Bruschetta Bar, and it was quite yummy. It's a great idea for casual dinner or cocktail party, by the way. Get lots of good artisan bread, slice it, grill it, brush with good olive oil, then let people slather on the toppings they like (including prosciutto and some good cheese).

We made a fresh tomato, basil, pine nut mix that was very summery and lovely. Just dice up fresh, ripe tomatoes, toast a panful of pine nuts (then let them cool), tear up a lot of basil and mix it all together. We drained the tomatoes after cutting, then added a few drizzles of olive oil.  Add salt and cracked pepper, and voilà, instant summer. You could add little bits of good, creamy buffalo mozzarella, too. We didn't salt our version, since we were putting out our new Jacobsen infused finishing salts... so you could choose your taste. I liked the Pinot Noir-infused flake salt with this topping.

Our other main topping was an artichoke pesto(ish) that we made up: so many people wanted the recipe (even though there really isn't one: we figured it out as we went along) – so here's the basic idea. We took three cans of artichoke hearts (the ones in brine, not oil), drained them and chopped finely. Sauté a couple of shallots or small onion and a clove or two of garlic (depending on how much you like) in good olive oil. Add a cup or so of chopped pancetta (Trader Joe's sells it already cut up: in a small plastic container, near the cheese section) and cook through. Drain and cool that mix and add to the artichokes. You could also add some toasted and cooled pine nuts and/or roasted capers. Then stir in about half a cup (probably a little more) of whole milk ricotta, to bind everything together and make it a bit creamy. Add salt and pepper, and you're good. If you want to add a little heat or additional flavor, you could snip some chives into it. Again, we didn't salt this one, so we could do a little sprinkle of our infused salt: the Lemon Zest salt was great with it.

I managed to snap a few pictures before we were inundated...

Peonies from our garden at home, mixed with lovely purple lizianthus

Simple toppings set out to add to the grilled bread

Three kinds of olives and our fab new Jacobsen salts

Robert gets the bruschetta rolling

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Totes and handbags – you just can't have too many

Okay, maybe you can have too many handbags, but none of us is close to the limit, right? I have a bad obsession with totes, especially. One to carry all my work stuff. One for overnight trips. One for extra business stuff. Forty or so to choose from when I go to the market. If I took kids to soccer games, I'd definitely need one just for that. So when we got all these new totes in just a few days ago, I started justifying how several of them would make the most perfect beach bags. If only we went to the beach more often! If we had a little cottage in Cannon Beach or Manzanita, that blue stripey one would be hanging on a hook in the entry. Or maybe the red stripe. Or the damask. So many to choose from. Some are great for travel; some for everyday. Clutches for evenings out on the town, and cool little strappy phone cases with room for cash and cards (operate your phone without taking it out of the case). Better come take a look!

Read to the kids (it's fun with all our new books)

We have a real soft spot for children's books... and went a little crazy on the ordering because of it. They make the best gifts for kids, especially if you sit and read it with them! Here are a few pictures of just some of our new titles; the upstair attic room is filled with new books.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Flea Market Love

It's hard to believe that last Saturday was our first Vintage Flea Market of the summer. Just yesterday (or so it seems), it was the dead of winter and we were mapping out dates, sending info, organizing, planning. And here it is!

Have to say, this was a great kick-off to our flea market season. We had a full house of vendors, and lots and lots of shoppers, despite a busy day around town with graduations, weddings... and (unfortunately) the start of the Two Bulls fire in the afternoon. There were sooooo many good things at the market, and prices were fantastic, as always.

Thank you to all our wonderful vendors, who brought so many good finds, worked hard (it is a long, long day that starts at 5am for most), and created such beautiful and enticing booths!

The next market is Saturday, July 5, from 10-4 (remaining markets are on August 2, August 23, and September 13). You can pick up a reminder calendar at the shop, or check our website for dates and info. Some of our vendors will be at every market; some can only do one or two per summer, so it is always different, always unique. Here are some pictures from the June 7 market: