Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chronicle Books Seed Keeper - Organize, Record and Store

I received this seed keeper as a gift recently (thanks Mom and Joyce!) and am excited to share how I am using it!

seed keeper, seed storage, seed organizer,
If you've read any of my previous postings, particularly my Welcome page, then you know I am fond of memory keeping and scrapbooking. As soon as I saw this organizer I knew I would be pulling out my supplies to personalize it.  For the cover, I added some number stickers for the year and a photo that I mounted on cardstock. The photo I used was from the previous year's garden, in keeping with the theme of vegetables scattered around the outside cover. 

On the inside front cover, I used rub-ons to add my name and that crown, and glued in some die-cut butterflies.  For the seed packet keepers I used a black pen to write (in cursive, which I still love) the names of the plants, and stamped the 'date purchased' with a date stamper:  

rub-ons, die-cuts, black inkflow pen, date stamper, Calendula Ball's Improved Change
On the back of each seed keeper I stamped the date the seeds were planted, and wrote a few descriptive words from the seed packet backs:  

seed organizer, seed keeper, seed storage, Sweet Pea Henry Eckford
The are several pages of gardening tips and some gardening resources followed by this page for notes, which I have been using to keep track of the events in my garden (I added the '2014' stickers):

seed organizer, seed keeper, gardening notes
And lastly, I recycled an envelope by gluing it into the back cover so I have a place for the photographs I'm taking this season:

garden notes, garden snapshots, garden photos, garden photographs
garden notes, garden snapshots, garden pics, garden photographs
I hope you've enjoyed this tour of my seed keeper book.  If you are interested in any of the supplies I've used or would like to know more about the seed keeper book, leave me a comment!  Thanks for looking!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Bike Ride

Knowing that the weather was going to warm up considerably and that the sun was going to be out for the day, last Sunday Jimmy and I got on the bikes for the first time this season.
single speed Bridgestone, 10 speed Miyata
Single Speed Bridgestone and 10 Speed Miyata
Our destination was the Hays Memorial Park, an Asian-inspired garden,  where we enjoyed a picnic lunch of artichoke pasta salad and raspberry tea:

Hays Memorial Garden

The first ride of the season is always the most exciting; warm sunshine, the smell of new life, and being outside all day...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Depression Cake

This cake is dairy free, and if you love chocolate, well, you may just love this recipe! I have been making this cake for more years than I care to admit.  The recipe was given to me by a friend who called it Depression Cake.  That reference, of course, being to the Depression Era here in the United States which lasted (roughly) from 1930 to about the mid-1940's, when things like milk, butter and eggs were costly.  Here's the cake in its 'bare bones' state, so you can see it's chocolatey goodness:

chocolate cake, cocoa powder, cupcakes
As for toppings I like simple, I like easy, and I like natural.  On this particular day I whipped some cream using my Kitchen Aid mixer and piped it on with a Wilton #22 star tip, added some sprinkles and we were ready to celebrate Takeo's birthday!

chocolate cake, cocoa powder, cupcakes

Here's the recipe:
Depression Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Assemble and have ready:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix dry ingredients.  Make 3 holes for oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.  Pour cold water over all.  Beat well.  Spoon into cupcake paper-lined tins. Bake about 25 minutes; check starting at 15 minutes.  Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

For a 9x13 cake, bake about 45 minutes, checking at about 30 minutes.

Substitutions: The only ingredient I have ever substituted is honey for the sugar, which is usually half the amount of honey as sugar.  When I do use sugar, I use turbinado.  I'm thinking those on a gluten free diet can substitute another kind of flour, but I have not tried this myself.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Flower Viewing

At this time of year in Japan, many people are excited for Hanami, or flower viewing, of the many cherry blossom trees throughout their country. We are fortunate here in the 'Emerald City' to have many blossoming ornamental cherry trees to view as well. Recently, Jimmy asked me to go on a little neighborhood jaunt for some flower viewing of our own, because he wanted me to see this one particular tree - an ornamental plum blossom tree.  So, I put on my old  Keds, and we went for a walk...

plum blossom petals, old Keds, concrete, reflection
Here's just one image - my favorite kind; a close up of the blooms:

Plum Blossom
Did you find the bee?
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