1–10 of 19 entries from the month of: July 2014

Late July in the Desert

July 31st

Americans just say prickly pear

 

This morning, Nelson and I made our rounds in the neighborhood as the morning sun peaked over the eastern Valley’s mountains, greeting us with rays climbing high through wispy clouds. Phoenix in July is, to put it mildly, rather toasty. Today’s high is expected to be 109. The desert being hot in summer is no more news than Stockholm being darn right chilly come January.

As we wandered, I considered what makes this time of year different — if you stop to notice. For example, those morning clouds. By this time of year, there are typically only two types of clouds: those thin, barely there streaks of white so high, they trace the sky like faint cobwebs. Or, their alter egos: the fat, gray to pearl white, angry monster monsoon clouds that grow and climb like waves, higher and higher, like smoke rising. With any luck, these beasts crack — sending a flood of water and relief to the desert floor, shaking us all, temporarily. During an even brief monsoon rain, the temperature can drop 15-20 degrees in a matter of a few minutes. It is not at all uncommon to see children playing and screaming outside in puddles, soaking up the change in an otherwise hot routine, like the typical summer New York City photos of children in the boroughs delighted by an opened fire hydrant.

The canal system that circles Phoenix, otherwise known as the turquoise necklace, is stocked with fish. The carp help keep the muck down, being bottom feeders. And there is muck. And rusting shopping carts. And other detritus, as public waterways go. Occasionally, you see fishermen on the banks — but not this time of year. The ducks, too, are gone. They’ve fled to cooler waters, even locally, with their gaggles of babies who are now starting to look more like petulant, curious, teens. The canals are shallow enough I can imagine the water temperature is hot by now. As such, the fish rise to the surface, flopping like miniature humpback whales. It is the oddest sight, but there they are: olive green, whiskered fish, flopping and carrying on, rising and diving, seeking comfort of the morning air on their scales, I imagine.

There are the other lovely desert-specific gems of summer: prickly pear fruit coming into season, the smell of wet desert after one of those rains — oh creosote! You bewildering, enchanting smell!, the jewel-toned bougainvillea and birds of paradise blooming everywhere, with their sprays of red, pink and hot orange.

As a city dweller (who dreams of a country life), I am also terribly fond of how easy traffic is this time of year. Phoenix in late July may not have many perks, but one is fewer people are willing to ride out the heat. My commute is half as long, which is much appreciated considering there is only so much a Civic’s air conditioner can manage at 109. Also, I am thankful for how casual this city is by now. While I still do not agree with flip-flops and shorts in the workplace unless you are a lifeguard, it is nice that no one expects heels and a dress, or a suit. Manhattan last summer was squelching hot in an entirely different way, but that city does not relent with the fashion. The men on Wall Street were dressed to the nines and there was always some woman on 5th Avenue who looked like she had superior genes, allowing blown out hair and gorgeous attire when everyone else was trying to hide sweat stains.

Phoenix is many things, but rarely dog-eat-dog. Which is a good thing, because right about now, my dog has pancaked himself on the kitchen’s tile floor, pressing as much of his belly against the cold as he can. And while he knows he will have to rest this way, panting for an hour or so after our morning adventure, he still wakes me each morning with expectation and excitement to go! Let’s go now!

That’s Phoenix in the summer time – finding the good and excitement where you can, and finding a cool, quiet spot in between.

~K

 

 

 

 

Posted in
Arizona, Community, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (4)

Carnitas!

July 28th

Last night we had a bit of a terrier party — whose parents enjoyed carnitas and corn risotto stuffed poblano peppers.

Carnitas Night

Same dog: small, medium, large.

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

Carnitas Night

 

Another fun, easy night at the Heirloom Hacienda. Great company, good food, happy dogs.

~K

Posted in
Community, Heirloom Hacienda
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Winner!

July 25th

Yes.

*Image totally swiped from Instagram. Lovely and NOT mine

 

Hey! Remember when I said I’d give a pencil pouch to a random commenter?  Well, good news. If you commented, you get one. I’ll be reaching out for details this weekend.

Because one of the only little joys in life sweeter than new school supplies is great mail.

xo,

K

Posted in
Domestic Art, Handmade goods, Heirloom Hacienda
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Giveaway: Back to School Pencil Pouch

July 22nd

One of the best parts of going back to school? New school supplies. I often find myself wandering the school supply aisles even now, some ten years since leaving graduate school.

Pencil pouches

(I am the same kid who saved my babysitting money to hit the Sanrio store in southern California each summer on family vacation. I wanted Hello Kitty everything.)

Pencil pouches

As such — a few charmed zippered pencil pouches. How great is this pattern? It provided the perfect chance to use a few random earrings I’d saved, sadly having given up on finding the pair. Voila: a trio of sunny pencil pouches ready for the new school year.

Pencil pouches

Interested in having one? Leave a comment telling your favorite back-to-school story and I’ll pick one comment randomly to win a pouch. I may just send along some Hello Kitty stationery too.

Pencil pouches

 

xo,

K

 

*Comments now closed. Thank you, all!

Posted in
Domestic Art, Handmade goods, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (18)

July 22nd

Prescott trip!

I am newly in love with all things embroidered and cross stitch. Pair this with my love of vintage linens (or perhaps to explain this love) and I’m coming up with a ridiculous number of projects.

{Side note: Does anyone else fight tears when they see vintage linens or quilts in a thrift store? It breaks my heart so much effort and work goes into these items — love for the recipient no less — and that they are eventually discarded. Ug. As the daughter of a quilter, I cannot imagine my mom’s stuff ever landing in a Goodwill. It would feel like discarding a piece of her.}

I spotted these hand towels this weekend in an overpriced, yellowing heap in Prescott. Unwilling to pay $18 per towel or napkin, I snuck a photo instead. I have enough arts and craft supplies to open a camp for the children of Arizona at this point. I’m guessing I can find what I need to create something similar.

Also — my friend Sue pointed me to this site the other day. How cute are the vintage napkins? I’m also thinking now of cutting up some of my vintage sheets to make pillow cases that actually fit the pillows on my bed.

 

~K

Posted in
Domestic Art, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (0)

Get Away

July 21st

This weekend, we got away for a quick break north to Prescott — where it was mercifully a good 20 degrees cooler.

Prescott trip!

Prescott trip!

Prescott trip!

Prescott trip!

Prescott trip!

Prescott trip!

Prescott trip!

Prescott trip!

Prescott trip!

Prescott trip!

Three cheers to: excellent coffee and breakfast burritos at The Raven Cafe; fun thrift, the courthouse weekend art show, great people watching, time away alone with the man I love, and did I already mention the cooler weather?

Yes. Sweet Mary and Moses, I cannot wait for another break. I’m melting this summer.

Thank you, Prescott! We’ll be back soon.

xo,

K

Posted in
Arizona, Blessings
Comments (6)

Cable Wrangler

July 17th

Hiding cables

 

There is something about a pile of cables that drive me nuts. I really didn’t like the way this corner of my home looked. There was a power strip underneath this piece of furniture and a dozen different cords running amok.

 

 

 

Hiding cables

 

Gah. See the edge of the power strip in the center? If you sat on the couch, you could see the tangle of nonsense.

 

 

Hiding cables

 

In December, I found this wood carrier at Goodwill for $3. I wasn’t sure how I was going to use it, but I thought with a bit of an update,it could be placed restroom to hold rolled washcloths or other necessities. In six months, that plan hadn’t happened. I found it the other day in a closet and was newly inspired.

Hiding cables

 

With a bit of leftover house paint and some paper market sacks, I got to work on my idea. The first phase involved several coats of paint to cover that lovely basket design, and other wear and tear.

 

Hiding cables

 

And then a bit of glam. I love gold accents.

 

Hiding cables

 

I then asked for help to drill a large hole in one end. And got back to work with the paint touch ups.

Hiding cables

Hiding cables

Hiding cables

 

A girlfriend gave me these for Christmas. They came in very handy; I stuck them to the back of the side table to wrangle a few of the larger cords, including the power strip.

Hiding cables

 

I then ran the router and wireless thingy’s cords through the hole and placed them in the newly painted box. With a few zip ties — cords wrangled.

Hiding cables

 

To me — this is a big difference. It is easier to clean around (I can lift the container to sweep and mop, rather than trying to deal with a tangle of technology), and there aren’t a dozen cords beneath the side table to collect dust.

Cords done wrangled.

Also: three cheers for using what you already have!

~K

Posted in
Domestic Art, Heirloom Hacienda
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Saving Summer

July 14th

I’ve made more pesto in the last three months than ever before. The basil has done very in the garden this season, and when that ended — I’ve been buying these Trader Joe’s $3 bouquets.

Making summer last

With a bit left, and zero desire to once again make or freeze the same recipe, I threw the remaining leaves with a good olive oil in the food processor, and then into ice cube trays. Now, when cooking Italian food, or eggs, I can drop one of these in the frying pan. I may be sick of pesto today, but I’m sure next month I’ll be ready for fresh herbs again.

Making summer last

Making summer last

Making summer last

(Be sure to spray Pam in the ice cube tray before)

The smell of basil and tomato blossoms will always remind me of summer.

~K

Posted in
Domestic Art, Heirloom Hacienda
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Pots!

July 13th

Succulents

Once upon a time, I lived with three of my girlfriends in a house that was falling down. Like the three little pigs, but we likely had less to eat. These were the salad days — I was out of college, working my tail off to make ends meet. They were still in college, working their tails off to make ends meet.

We had a lot of fun that year, including hosting Mini’s wedding shower and seeing Rebecca get engaged. We also all sat on Kacey’s denim blue couch and watched as the towers fell, one after the other on that bright blue Tuesday morning in 2001. Six weeks later, we were on the same couch watching as our hometown Arizona Diamondbacks took the World Series.

It was a strange, terrifying and exhilarating time. I loved living with those girls. We came up with the most ridiculous reasons to have people over, including craft outings — like painting pots. One afternoon our living room was full of young women wielding paint brushes. Terra cotta be damned! The results were pathetic, but fun was had all the same.

As such, I can’t paint a pot today without thinking of the Broadmoor. So many fun memories in that crazy, rambling house.

Succulents

 

Succulents

SucculentsSucculentsSucculents

 

Far from perfect, but perfection is so overrated. They’ll be filled with succulent starts soon enough.

IMG_9859

Succulents

Succulents

Succulents

Desert living!

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Flora and Fauna, Heirloom Homestead
Comments (1)

Pattern testing

July 12th

Headbands

I am putting together a book proposal and trying a few new patterns. These headbands are so very handy when it is drippy hot outside and you just. cannot. get. those. damn. bangs. out. of. your. face.

Phew.

Headbands

That does the trick.

Wishing you cool thoughts and less annoyance — however you may come upon it.

~K

Posted in
Domestic Art, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (2)