Sunday, December 26, 2010

happy christmas

A day late but we're all still celebrating right?

I decorated our little tree (a real one for the first time) with handmade cranberry garlands, felt garlands, and clove decorated mandarin oranges. Super easy, super sweet.

Now I'm off to continue the holiday celebrating with good friends at a Fiddler Fest! Homemade challah bread and a bottle of wine in hand. This should be epic! I shall report back with the details...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

how to be alone

Beautiful, perhaps inspiring, but definitely beautiful.

Monday, November 22, 2010

a good day

A good day in our household is when james is gifted a bottle of scotch as a thank you from a satisfied client...

...and when I see something truly fantastic outside my kitchen window...

Is that...a giant cat in a tree? Maybe...How 'bout we take a walk for a closer look...

Yep!! One of our neighborhood owls!!

A good day indeed!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

attention knitters and crocheters!

I'm jumping in the holiday knitting season with an idea that's been brewing since Spring...

I have a friend, Jes.
Jes and her friend, Michelle, are midwives headed to India.
They will be joining up with a monumental project.
A Maternal and Infant Health Care Project in Bihar.
Bihar has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.
Jes, Michelle, and their team will be providing holistic pregnancy, birth & post-partum care, and education in 40 rule villages throughout Bihar.

I'm not a midwife.
I don't have hundreds or thousands of dollars to give to this cause.
I am a friend who knits and has some extra yarn lying around.
I have several friends that knit.
I have an idea.

Last year I had been doing some knitting for the Knit One Save One project for Save the Children, which sounds a bit similar to what Jes will be involved with in regards to reducing the infant mortality rate around the world through basic care and education. I really enjoyed being able to use my talent and give in this way, but kept wondering if there was some other organization or ministry I could do this for--one I had a personal connection to. Then in May, I received a newsletter from Jes and without really thinking I quickly sent her an email asking if the donation of handmade knitted/crocheted infant hats would be something useful and worth the effort. She quickly replied with an excited YES! This is a great idea and that her and Michelle had prayed specifically that God would give people creative, out of the box ways to parter up with them.

As of today, Jes is still in New York awaiting her visa (pray it comes through quickly!), but just emailed me saying she'd like to get the ball rolling on this anyway, and that she has a New York contact that will be meeting up with them in India mid-January and will be happy to take hats in their luggage.

All that to say, if you'd like to knit up or crochet a few infant hats with me, let me know and I'll arrange to gather them up and mail them off to New York! My goal is to send them out the last week of December.

Here are some basic guidelines:
-Use any infant pattern you want (there are LOTS of free patterns out there - google it)
-Use a soft, washable yarn
-Pray for the mother and baby and their family
-You may include a personal note to them as well

You can read more about Jes and Michelle and their India project at their website:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

and so here is fall

Welp, I was right. The 30 days of beauty project did take me until the fall to get 'er done. But I'm glad I finished it. I even received a Beautiful Blog "award" by another blogger. Super cool, huh?

Fall is in full swing around here and with fall brings our anniversary. This weekend, we celebrated our 4th year. Yea Team O'Bryan! Every year gets better and better. Seriously. Sounds cliche, but true. To celebrate, we got away from the city for a few nights and stayed in a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright style home in Park City. (James knows the owners. They were away for the week and they graciously let us stay there.) What a treat to wake up with a nice steam in the steam room! A little grand piano playing and knitting and leisure reading here and their. A gallery stroll? Why yes, thank you. The owners have quite the art collection. And of course we did get some tv time in on one of their many giant screen tvs. We looked for a hiking trail to enjoy the beautiful fall colors, but it was muddy and freezing so we decided for a yummy coffee instead. We also ate at O'Shucks/Ahh Sushi. O'Shucks is downstairs, Ahh Sushi is up. You can order from either. 1/2 price sushi at 5pm. Yes! Could there be a better place for us to celebrate? I think not. It was a great weekend and a much needed mini vacation for us.

It's time to get back into the rhythm of the season. Knitting, holidays soap making (excited to try a new fragrance - Bay Rum), bulb planting - a first for me, preparing the house and garden for the winter, tea enjoying, unfortunately not a lot of baking though...I got a great deal on a gym membership so there will be some getting-in-shaping instead. They have tvs there, people! Lots of them! (I know, I know! I talk about tv as if it were food but hey, try living without one for a spell.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

day 30 :: 30 days of beauty

fall walks in crunchy leaves

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

day 26 :: 30 days of beauty

breathtaking reminder of His promises

Saturday, August 21, 2010

day 25 :: 30 days of beauty

heirloom beauty from our garden

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

day 24 :: 30 days of beauty

a magical summer night with The Swell Season - absolutely perfect

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

day 21 :: 30 days of beauty

ragged, tired, old and worn; still lovely and beautiful
(a quilt my mom gave me made by my dad's aunt maudie)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

day 20 :: 30 days of beauty

fresh baked bread - a true delight

Monday, July 19, 2010

day 19 :: 30 days of beauty

definitely a beautiful sight for 100 degree weather
(a Mint Julup at the High West Distillery enjoyed on our date day to Park City yesterday)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

30 day of beauty :: day 18

dear Dave, our resident dragonfly
(not the same dragonfly james heroically rescued last summer, but definitely related)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

summer lovin'

things I'm loving right now...
  • sunscreen - a generous gift from God to the fair skinned
  • a tv free home
  • a seeming cool Summer thus far
  • great fruit & veggies from street corner farmer stands
  • late night summer fun with friends
  • NPR (as if I didn't listen enough to their podcasts, with no tv we do listen to more radio now)
  • finishing great books - last one "Redeeming Love" - a re-read (not at all a fan of Christian romance but this is a brilliant exception)
  • sewing
  • nightly neighborhood walks with my james
  • Greek yogurt
  • sleeping with the window open
  • bats visiting our pond
Happy summer everyone! I hope you are making time to enjoy it and finding delight in the seemingly small thing.

Friday, July 9, 2010

day 17 :: 30 days of beauty

summer tea delightfulness in mamma's backyard

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

better get to livin'

Just saw this and loooove eet! How many times do we want to say this to a friend or even wish our friends would stop coddling and say this to us?? Dolly, as annoying as your endless chippery is (and as fake are your boobs are for that matter), your cheerful spirit does seem genuine and it's contagious and I can't help but like you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

day 15 :: 30 days of beauty

quite the variety of backyard birds this year

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Insert dramatic sigh here. Lots of little things going on in these parts and in my brain... I saw a "bullet post" on another blog and thought, "Brilliant!" This is how I think anyway-- in random bullet points. Why not blog that way? James (affectionately and usually patiently) calls my random, blurted-out points "squirrels" (a reference to Dug in the movie Up). Here we go...

  • Veggies now growing in the square foot garden. What would I do without that method? Not garden. Peas, onions, carrots, lettuce, strawberries (which need to be moved - add to the to-do list), pickling cucs, cilantro, tomatoes, basil, eggplant, and crook necked squash. Now just a little patience and warm weather please.
  • Requested dishcloth knitting in the works for my dear grandpa. Man he loves those things! I believe he's the biggest fan of the knitted dishcloth and should get a prize.
  • We've been growing our own sprouts for sandwiches. Well actually I've been growing them, james has been eating them. Way less cost and way less waste.
  • Hey what's up with that kid in my neighborhood and his whistle?? Ever since we've lived in dear Copperton, at least a few times a week we can hear him blowing that whistle up and down the street.
  • Sebastian has a new name to add to his list. "The Bastian". Affectionately called by two of the cutest little girls I know (his other names being "Little Dog" "Little D" "D" "D Dog" "Sea Biscuit" and "Warden").
  • The pond has been redesigned, yet again. I believe this will make it the 4th edition. I'm thinking it's going to be a yearly thing and have yet come to terms with the idea that everything I try to plant around the pond will be moved at least once, sometimes twice, a year. Poor plants. Uprooted and relocated. Sorry little friends but somethings I just can't control.
  • I may need to start a book of james quotes. Yes, some people can write books about their quotable kids. I have a quotable james. The latest being, "I'm not perfect. I'm just awesome." I would have to agree.
  • New camera severely desired. I have put one on my Christmas and birthday list, yes, in June.
  • The urge for sewing...ravenous. Actual sewing... non-existent.
  • Trip to grandma's with my mom to quilt, in the works.
  • Needing a vacation is about at an 9. Planning stages are at a sad 0.
  • 4.0 - the GPA James is still holding. Yes, he is amazing.
  • Learning that I thrive in routine, but forcing myself to change it up, is doing me good.
  • Birds we've seen in our backyard already this year: azuli buntings, red winged blackbirds, western tanagers, black headed grosbeak, and of course the ever loved commoners... robins, starlings, doves, hummingbirds, and house finches.
  • We're wondering what the owls have been up to. I'm guessing vacation.
  • Craving new music! Suggestions are welcome.
  • Speaking of music...Lee Dewyze, I heart you and you made me cry - several times.
  • Crystal Bowersox you are a gem and I know you will go far. Plus, your hair is awesome and I wish we were friends.
  • Bat house in the planning stages.
  • Traded our giant, intrusive t.v. for a truck camper. Actually we gave the t.v. to james' brother in trade for full custody of impulsive, $100 (split between us and him), KSL purchase. More on that later...dum dum da dum
  • Loving the food co-op we joined and looking forward to the farmer's market share this month.
  • Sugar cravings have reached their all time high. I may need to seek professional help.
  • I seriously loath cooking lately. Just sick of it. That and doing dishes. However this may get me out of the rut. (thanks Hope!)
  • Would like to go on a de-clutter rampage. Seriously, it's getting bad. (Hope, i'm not stalking you, trying to copy all your good idea, okay? just sayin'!)
  • Loving my newly potted up succulents!
  • My morning ambitions far outweigh my actual energy levels.
  • Pondering a gym membership.
  • Loving this quote..."A clean house is a sign of a life wasted." (I have no idea who to give credit to...sorry whoever you are!)
  • Been dreaming a lot about rescuing children from precarious situations. Dream interpreters, you know who you are, email me.
  • Must craft something to obtain backyard shade. Our tree is not growing fast enough and our lovely new umbrella is not yet portable. I'm thinking I'll try this.
  • At the current rate, my 30 days of beauty photo challenge will be done by fall.
  • Wishing one of my hobbies was running.
  • Just realized these bullets are the equivalent to tweets. No, I don't twitter.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

day 14 :: 30 days of beauty

warm sunny spot dreaming of summer fun

Saturday, May 15, 2010

day 13 :: 30 day of beauty

james' babies

it's like walking into the sun in there

Yesterday my mom and I went to Ikea (loooove that place!) where we found some fab orange curtains for our uninspiring bedroom. Yes, orange, people. I will not apologize for my love of this color. But...I will admit it's quite intense as a window covering. I think I will be sewing a liner into these brilliant babies. As the light was filling the room this morning, my james said something that really sums up the otherly planet feeling of the room ..."It's like walking into the sun in there!" Don't you agree?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

day 12 :: 30 days of beauty

large cup of coffee on a snowy first day of May

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pop Tart & maple syrup gems

Another relationship revelation...

James: "How did I marry someone who doesn't put butter on Pop Tarts?"

Me: "WHO puts butter on their Pop Tarts? Weird!" Of course I'm pouring delicious maple syrup on low fat vanilla ice cream while saying this.

James: "Well, I've NEVER met anyone who puts syrup on ice cream."

Me: "OK we're even."

I love these little moments of discovery...only to be unearthed by seemingly simple, everyday life. Gems. Valuable little gems.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

latest sewing project

I've finished the little curtain project for our kitchen sink and also one for a counter (pictured) that has a great shelf for storage, but lends to a view of unsightly clutter. It was quite simple. No pattern. Rough measurements. A quick fix. Why didn't I do it sooner?

The ribbons were a plan B decision. Plan A was to find some sort of rings or clips (similar to shower curtain rings) because the rod the curtain attaches to does not come off (I think it's designed to hang dish towels and pots and pans from little hooks in classic IKEA style)-- making it impossible to sew a simple pocket and slide it on. Like most projects in this house, that would have been waaaay too easy (insert sarcastic "wwwffff" sound here). The ribbons are a bit more frilly than I desired, but it will do.

Oh and the fabric is IKEA and "James approved" of course.

day 11 :: 30 days of beauty

bathing beauties
with the addition of a shallow ledge in the pond,
the birds have found it makes for an excellent private bath

Saturday, April 10, 2010

day 10 :: 30 days of beauty

caught a picture of this little guy in flight during the sunrise this morning

Monday, April 5, 2010

a glimps of my childhood

Last Christmas my brother dug out some albums from my dad's record collection. What a trip to our childhood that was! Among the eclectic assortment of musical memories, we found The Point by Harry Nilsson. Oh how our family loved that album!

Yesterday, my brother put it on a cd for me. I've listened to it 3 times already. Including on the way to work today. Certainly made a Monday commute most awesome.

Here's a clip from the 1971 movie version of The Point with one of my favorite songs from the album, Think About Your Troubles. I love, love, love the animation. Beautiful!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

day 8 :: 30 days of beauty

one of my most treasured friends, lisa, and her beloved Sugar Pie

Saturday, March 13, 2010

day 7 :: 30 days of beauty

beautiful gerbera daisy on an otherwise dreary day - gift from my beautiful momma

Sunday, March 7, 2010

day 6 :: 30 days of beauty

pining for Summer today with a yummy, peach galette

Saturday, March 6, 2010

day 5 :: 30 days of beauty

making my bed this morning I stopped to admire the beautiful
handwork on my vintage pillowcases - cherished, family heirlooms

Monday, March 1, 2010

bit o' bird drama

There was a bit of bird drama here yesterday and if you know me personally or have been following my blog at all, you know my love for birds and that it runs in the family (you can read a bit about that here). After yesterday, I'm happy to report my bird love is rubbing off me and onto my james. Here's how it all went down...

I was looking out our back window marveling at how many birds were in the backyard bellying up to the ol' bird feeder and happily bathing in the pond. I called james over to marvel with me when he noticed there seemed to be a feathered friend struggling in the water. Before I could even suggest he go out and check on it, he was out the door to the rescue. I mean he ran it out the door--didn't even put shoes on!

There was indeed a bird drowning in the pond. James "fished" him out with a little net we, for some reason, had leaning against the back of the house. He gently laid him on a rock and we hoped he would just shake it off and fly away. After about 15 minutes of hoping, he was still just sitting there--not moving at all, just "panting".

By this time I was really upset. I absolutely HATE seeing creatures suffer, especially birds. Thinking back on my novice birding experience, and knowing that birds need warmth when they are in shock, I suggested we move him to a warmer place at the side of the house in the sun. James carefully moved him. After about 20 minutes at that location he was still just laying there, shallowly breathing. Oh this was horribly hard for me to watch! I was really nervous he would just give up and die or that a cat would get him or he would just freeze to death. Yes, I know that everything has its time to die but I did not want to witness this little guy's demise.

While james sat by I went into the house and did what any modern bird lover would do and googled "what to do for a bird that almost drown". Seriously--that was my exact phrase. I came upon a web site of a "bird rehabilatator". The web site suggested to get a box with a lid, line it with a towel, place the bird in the box with a heating pad under it to keep it warm and set it in a dark quiet place for a few hours then check on the bird and go from there. We did just that and left for dinner at my folks house.

I was dreading coming home because I did not want to find the bird dead, which I knew was more than likely. However...when we did return home james, my hero, looked in the box. NO BIRD TO BE FOUND! He had crawled out of the holes on the side!! Hooray!!!

Regroup. OK. So the next feat was to find the bird. I quickly realized we may have celebrated prematurely and a bit of dread soon came over me because I knew it was more than likely the bird freaked out and was hiding behind the fridge or some random place stressing out and would die.

After about 10 minutes of frantically searching I found him in a plant on top of a cupboard in the kitchen....and miracle of miracles he looked like a completely different bird!! I'm not kidding. When james put him in the box he had to literally prop him up with the towel because he was so weak he couldn't stay upright on his own.

I finally recognized he was a beautiful house finch. When we met eyes he ever started chirping!! James and I were thrilled and baffled at how this little guy made it!

Here's a little video of him flying around the house.

After a good half hour or so, he finally perched himself on top of the box lid which by yet another miracle, I slowly carried out the front door. From there he flew into the big elm tree in front of our house.

WHEW!! What a relief I tell you! Oh and it's good to know my hubby has a soft spot for creatures and the guts to deal with my sometimes over the top emotions for bird life.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

day 4 :: 30 days of beauty

lots of activity in the backyard today - precious little piggy birds

Saturday, February 27, 2010

day 3 :: 30 days of beauty

the place where we commune
(The right lighting makes everything beautiful.
Try it by adding a low-light lamp to your dinner table.
It really makes for a cozy, beautiful meal.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

day 2 :: 30 days of beauty

very fragrant grape hyacinth - a birthday gift for my friend Lisa

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

day 1 :: 30 day of beauty

an early surprise valentine today from my mamma and daddy david

Sunday, January 10, 2010

a list for 2010

Well hello there! Isn't it nice to see I haven't forgotten my little space of the blogsphere? My season at the busy bakery is over, whew! So now I have a bit more time for creativity and crafty-ness. I've been pondering what my first post of 2010. An apology to 2009 for my disgruntled attitude in my last post did cross my mind, but I'll let that sleeping dog lie. A list is always the way to go.

  • Make soap with our Irish stout home-brew. Yes, soap + beer = the best of team O'Bryan
  • Curtain to cover underneath the sink which thanks is due to an unfortunate discovery of our kitchen drainage situation
  • Salted Caramel Coco-beer Cupcakes - made with home-brew of course
  • Commit to this photo/blog challenge...30 Days of Beauty There is probably no better way to keep me posting!
  • Sew some reusable grocery bags (my current ones are just boring box store logo-ed ones) oh and I'd like to make a reusable lunch bag like this one made out of oil cloth
  • Continue my health quest and try for another 15 lbs
  • Make felted covered soap - great for camping!
  • Continue our financial quest to be debt free, progress is being made!
  • And of course knitting: Loving this Wurm hat and this lovely sweater (which would be my first adult sweater) and I know this is crocheted, but OMG is all I can say!!! I mean really!! If you are a Ravelry member, a must for EVERY knitter and crocheter, type "afghan" in the pattern search. There are some crazy beauties there.

Please note this list is subject to change on a whim!