Sea Holly, Winter Berries, and Brass

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It's almost December and just over three weeks until Winter is official, so I tracked down my favorite wintery cuttings to assemble arrangements for the house. I've always kind of been in love with Eryngium, also known as sea holly (and by others as thistle) when it's paired with red berries. Hypericum is nice, but I've also used rose hips. These usually hold up for the season (especially if you clean up the stems, removing leaves), as they remain a beautiful red when they are dried--they are a good investment!

Tonight the girls and boys split up for dinner.  The girls and I headed to Backyard Bird Shop after Juniper's violin lesson for a few more supplies for our shepherd's poles, because we are creating a food court for our backyard birds.  We have a lovely assortment of finches, thrushes, and nuthatches in our new backyard, all of which are loving our feeders (look for a post soon about how we put them together).

P.S.  This beauty is on my Christmas list for this year.  I think it will look beautiful in the garden, don't you think?  I'm told the paint will last if a coat of lacquer is brushed over it annually.

Adam made homemade stirfry for he and Sam. The girls and I went out for sushi after doing a little shopping, complete with mochi for dessert.

Remember Simple Decorating for Christmas from a few days ago?  Well, I loved Heart and Hand's centerpiece with the cypress/sage/pine bundles so much that we now have one for our living room.  It looks lovely and festive.

The sea holly and winter berries coupled with candle tapers and greenery already have our new home feeling festive.  Next week, we will put up our first Christmas tree in this space.  Looking forward to creating those memories with Adam and the kids.

P.S.  There is something that feels like winter about brass (even faux brass).  I am thinking of adding an oversized, circular,  brass-framed mirror for the upstairs bathroom, but that will be another post for another day.
x o , Karli

To Wallpaper or Not To Wallpaper?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
I love this space of our new 1955 ranch, which is original to the home, but has been painted, cabinet doors have been removed, and hardware has been changed out (I would venture to say the original 1955 hardware wouldn't have been worth saving anyway).  But this space can be really great, and I am toying with an idea and wonder what you think!  Here is what it looks like now:

I envision finding framed glass cabinet doors at The Rebuilding Center to put back up, but they might take awhile to find and modify.  Behind the cabinet doors, I am wondering about this look:

Image credit: Lonny
 Ideas, guys?  This is wallpaper I'm considering—I think it can look brilliant in small spaces, though, such as in Christiana Coop's San Francisco apartment.  I'm thinking about the same beautiful Queen Anne (Ebony) Wallpaper by Rifle Paper Co. for the backing that she used.

Queen Anne (Ebony) Metallic Screen Printed

And new hardware for the cabinets, a new slab for the countertop (material, still thinking about, but probably wood), and then, of course, the cabinet doors I have yet to find--leaded glass with diamond bevels, hopefully.  Let me know what you think--send those design links my way!  x o ,  Karli
P.S.  Yesterday I wrote a post about refuge.  I love the idea of refuge, the feeling of a refuge, the place where one feels safe, loved, and nurtured.  This morning, Bob Dylan's song, "Shelter from the Storm" was playing in the car on my way to the airport to pick up the kids from their Thanksgiving vacation in California.
"I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form

Come in, she said

I'll give ya shelter from the storm"
--Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks, 1975 

P.S.S.  Send your design ideas my way!

The Power of Refuge

Monday, November 27, 2017
I have been in love with vintage bubble lights for many years, but now those have been upstaged in my mind by Terrain's Stargazer bubble lights--they are truly gorgeous and come in stunning colors.  And their winterberry lights in white or red?  Beautiful and lovely.  I will say that in the world of bubble lights, one string of seven vintage bubble lights is the perfect length for one fireplace mantle, and looks amazingly homey when paired with evergreen trim (this also hides the cord).  My tried and true string of seven will have to do for now, as I'll have to save up for the Stargazer strands!

Now to shift gears, as I have been wanting to share with you the wonderful story of the Kam Wah Chung Historic Building and Interpretive Center in John Day, Oregon.  It is a story of refuge in suffering and healing in sickness and pain.

Kam Wah Chung means "Golden Flower of Prosperity", and this place was a hub for Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century.  During a time when many Chinese communities were attacked, this place, started by Ing Hay and Lung On (originally from Guangdong Province), was a haven for many and a support system for the local mining industry.  OPB made a short documentary about this place, which can be found here.

Ing Hay was a master pulsologist, establishing an herbal medical practice with at least 500 herbs, and was skilled at mixing these herbs into curative and/or restorative solutions.  He treated Chinese and non-Chinese patients, and was known as "Doc Hay"--some in the area can still recall their grandparents or great-grandparents telling stories of being treated by him.  At Kam Wah Chung, you will find a rattlesnake immersed in rice wine, also known as "snake wine", which produced a tonic utilized for medicinal purposes.  Later, many un-cashed checks were found in a trunk as many of Doc Hay's patients were very poor.  Lung On, his partner, would often assist those who were facing persecution, writing letters or translating as he was fluent in English and a sharp businessman.  This place was multi-functional, serving as a post office, library, and lodging quarters in addition to being a general mercantile and office of Chinese medicine.  

Picture from Kam Wah Chung Museum's Heritage site

When visiting John Day, be sure to visit both the Historic Kam Wah Chung Building, as well as the Interpretive Center.  The place has been frozen in time and contains one of the largest Chinese medicinal collections in the United States.  This place is an example of how in the face of great persecution, human beings are able to create a haven, giving rise to something good in the midst of great adversity.  I have always felt a great sense of internal gratitude for our Chinese ancestors who helped build this country through hard labor in an intolerant and unjust environment.  I feel sadness at the great hostility the Chinese were subjected to during a time when they were trying to escape an economic depression and famine during China's Great Migration.  The Chinese immigrants found a healer in Ing Hay, a helper in Lung On, and a haven within the walls of Kam Wah Chung. 

Today is a different time, but for many, it is a scary, unstable, and unpredictable time.  I notice people every day rising up, creating something good, and standing up for what is right.  We all need a place where we can go to feel safe.  My refuge is my backyard, where Nature flourishes and many backyard birds flit back and forth between their feeders and nearby trees.  Where is your refuge?

Niki Brantmark uses this quote in Lagom, and it seems apropos here:

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is a society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not Man the less, but Nature more."  

--Lord Byron, Childe Harold, Canto IV, Verse 178

Simple Decorating for Christmas

Sunday, November 26, 2017
Homemaking has become somewhat of a lost art for many of us, not for lack of wanting to, but for lack of time.  So, in the spirit of simplicity, I have to point you to these simple ideas for Christmas decorating found on Apartment Therapy
Love this centerpiece (as well as the price) for our coffee table this winter:

P.S.  Tomorrow is Cyber Monday, and Etsy is full of wonderful things!  Let this post be a starting point if you plan to shop online tomorrow.  x o x o,  K a r l i

Supporting Local in Portland

Friday, November 24, 2017

I'm not even a little bit into commercial shopping, and have always had a hard time with Black Friday . . . but local sales for Christmas--count me in!  And I consider Oregon-ish to be local, by the way.  One of my favorite places to find local handmade crafts for Christmas gifts is the Garden Home Holiday Bazaar.  I've been once, and can't wait to attend this year.  I love to discover artists new to me, while reconnecting with my old favorites! 

Another treat is Crafty Wonderland Art + Craft Market.  I'm all about keeping money in communities and supporting artists in their craft.  Shhhh!  First 100+ guests receive amazing gift bags.  Get your pre-show tickets now--otherwise, free admission!

I always look forward to Golden Tickets in Multnomah Village and Hillsdale.  Each business chooses their own deals throughout the season.  If you spend a certain amount at Annie Bloom's, for example, you will receive a Golden Ticket to Topanien (last year they were giving away a wonderful gift basket to the selected Golden Ticket in the box).  I LOVE Topanien!  Also, the Turkish linens, kitchenware, soaps, and tiles in Indigo Traders are the best in town, and they often serve Turkish coffees to perk up even the most tired of the tiredest shoppers.  Love this store!  (p.s. my top three favorite stores in Portland (besides the others listed in this post) are hiding in this paragraph!!)

Shop at Tilde!  Support makers--not all local, but a store in support of the arts.  Many of my favorite Etsy artists sell their work here.  I double-heart Tilde.

Decemberville in Sellwood!  Most stores are running sales and there are many stores to visit!  Check it out this coming weekend, December 2nd!

I think that about wraps up my favorites for Christmas shopping. I heart local. I heart community. I heart supporting local community. Happy shopping! xoxo, Karli

All I Need

Thursday, November 23, 2017
I'm not gonna lie, the best winter fruit salad was a big hit at the potluck today on the unit!  It complemented the turkey, mashed potatoes, pies, rolls with homemade honey butter (YUMM-O), and homemade stuffing splendidly and colorfully.

By adding more of the "lagom" philosophy to my life, I felt more centered this holiday, more focused on simple pleasures.  The pumpkin spice latte my husband brought me tonight at the end of a long shift, because he wanted me to feel a part of Thanksgiving on a work day (hence, the pumpkin spice)!  Knowing that he spent over an hour by bus to meet me after spending a full day raking the wet leaves from the yard, because he knew it would make me happy.  The many messages and voicemails my girls left me throughout the day from their Thanksgiving celebrations, even when I didn't ask them to.  Being able to share a laugh with a patient, despite the untimeliness of their acute illness.  The aroma of cinnamon sticks left floating in the hot cider, which lingered throughout the day from the crock pot in which they steeped. 
Today wasn't what I wanted, which would have been to be with Adam and the kids, but it was all I needed.  Today brought me thankfulness and contentment as I stepped away from an agenda I might have believed I had more control over and left myself open to what the day had in store with me.
"Not running from something
I'm running towards the day
Wide awake" --Eddie Vedder, Better Days
Amelia wrote last week in her note to me about my upcoming day, "it might be fun and it might not be".  Days become better when we allow them to be what they will be, and greet them with grace and acceptance.

The Best Winter Fruit Salad

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
 Tonight I made The Recipe Critic's "The Best Winter Fruit Salad" for day shift's Thanksgiving potluck on my nursing unit.  I used all Organics to You produce and tossed the whole lot with Hanna's Honey, freshly squeezed lime juice, poppyseeds, and chopped organic mint.  YUMM-O, as my Australian Mom says.
And we just received a new box filled with winter goodness, so I'll have to make another bowl for Adam, the kids, and I this week.  This recipe is SO good.
My backyard compost bin is going to love me lots when I layer this with the brown cedar and pine needles I raked up this afternoon.  My fingers look cyanotic from breaking apart two pomegranates for this recipe.  I definitely changed it up and used what fruit I had (apples, red and yellow pears, clementines, pomegranates, bananas, kiwis, the biggest, most delicious mango EVER, and sliced grapes.  Toss it with lots of local honey and lime-poppyseed goodness and you have yourself a pretty tasty treat.

The Best Winter Fruit Salad
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 large apple peeled and sliced
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • 2 large bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 3 clementines, peeled and separated
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  1. In a large bowl combine apple, pear, bananas, kiwi, clementines, and pomegranate seeds. Lightly toss.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together honey, lime juice, poppy seeds, and mint. Drizzle over fruit and toss until coated. Serve.

Tuesday Finds

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
1. A Cup of Jo's post on unconditional love.

2.  Dave Adamshick's post on Romanesco for Portland Farmer's Market:

3. Nicolette Tabrum's stencil patterns on the Bekvam Ikea Stools:

4.  Finally, SF Girl's post, Winter Bookworms.


Monday, November 20, 2017
One of my favorite design bloggers, Niki Brantmark, of My Scandinavian Home, has written a book that belongs on every coffee table: Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy LifeLagom means "not too much and not too little--just right", and Niki's book is the perfect example of this.  Pages are simple, yet beautifully displayed, with short lists of ways in which to incorporate balance into life, relationships, and the world.

I love the layout of this book, which includes recipes and crafts that are uncomplicated, yet add lagom to one's life in easy ways that are meaningful.  String up some rowan berries for the holidays, bake some cinnamon rolls, or make a winter bird feeder.

There are beautiful quotes within the book, such as this one by Victor Hugo:  "Don't educate your children to be rich.  Educate them to be happy, so they know the value of things, not the price."

Learn about fika (fee-ka)(n): taking time for a coffee, treats and conversations with friends.

I love the life philosophy behind lagom. I look forward to using some of Niki's ideas in my own life, and continue to deepen my life in meaningful ways. I would highly recommend ordering the book. Also, check out How to Infuse a Little Swedish "Lagom" Into the Holidays This Year over on Apartment Therapy.

Comme ci, comme ça

Friday, November 17, 2017

Amelia left this note on my nightstand this AM so I would see it when I awoke for work.  It might be fun, and it might not” meant that whatever the day brought, it was okay.

So often I only think to myself, “I hope I have a good day”, but don’t allow myself to accept the day that isn’t good.  The truth is, it’s all good if we can accept it.  Comme ci, comme ça.

How About That

Thursday, November 16, 2017
I love CuriousBloom's 20-inch modern Christmas wreath!  I think I might splurge.

Today the rabbits were neutered, so Ernie can safely move into Burt’s two-story rabbit condo. We are grateful to Rabbit Advocates for all their advice.  Burt and Ernie were still pretty sleepy in this picture from surgery, especially Burt (the dark lop). We feel badly for them, but their owner is a nurse, so they are on a respectable pain management regimen.  Rabbits are prey animals, so they hide their pain. We are taking good care of them!

Awww, they are so sweet. How about that.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017
"Look to the clock on the wall

Hands hardly moving at all . . . 

Time, time, ticking on me

Alone is the last place I wanted to be"

--Brandi Carlile

The lyrics of this song really speak to my experience with deep sorrow and loss, some valleys were just so low I didn't know how to climb out.  But I did climb out, and when I did that, the Universe offered a gift to me, my Australian husband, Adam.

I met Adam in New Orleans in the late summer of 2014 by chance in the oldest bar in America, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, on the corner of Bourbon and St. Philip.  I was down there visiting a friend from nursing school, and he was traveling through the US and Canada with Contiki.  We only had a 2-hour conversation, but during that time we exchanged details.  Weeks later, Adam came to Portland to see me and we fell in love.

Then this happened:

And just like that, in the mysterious way life does, there was a gift I didn't see coming.  As I have let go of the way I thought life was supposed to work out, I have had the courage to walk into a life I never imagined was possible.

These days I relate more to these Brandi Carlile lyrics:
"I think it's time we found a way back home
You lose so many things you love as you grow
I missed the days when I was just a kid
My fear became my shadow, I swear it did
Wherever is your heart I call home"

I Think I Said That

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
The girls and I were listening to Talkin' World War III Blues on the way to school this morning.  We drive to school now, as we moved a little further SE into Milwaukie, a community we are loving.  The lyrics of this old Bob Dylan song go something like this:

Well, now time passed and now it seems
Everybody’s having them dreams
Everybody sees themselves
Walkin’ around with no one else
Half of the people can be part right all of the time
Some of the people can be all right part of the time
But all of the people can’t be all right all of the time
I think Abraham Lincoln said that
“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours”
I said that

Bob Dylan Live in Quest, Toronto (1964)

Today I felt like being outdoors on this fine November morning, so I checked out a Cultural Pass to the The Portland Japanese Garden from The Ledding Library in Milwaukie, and was on my way.

It's been a decade since I've visited this place, and it is just as beautiful as my memory of it.  The first time I went, Sam was two years old, and I was wearing him on my back in an Ergo.  10 years later, I visited with my husband Adam, and Sam is now twelve years old and in the 7th grade.  A lot of years have passed by since 2007, but the trees are all still here, shedding their 2017 leaves, and have only grown more beautiful with time.  And I think a few of those koi are still kickin' around from ten years back, too.  Time stands still at the Portland Japanese Gardens, and I think I said that.

It's Been Awhile, Part II

Monday, November 13, 2017
From by Kristin Espinasse

L'amour n'est pas une dette à rembourser, il ne fait pas de crédit, il n'accepte pas les ristournes. - Federico Moccia

Love is not a debt to repay, it does not issue a credit, it does not accept rebates.

Hello, again, eight years later.

I think I'd like to pick up blogging again.  In the past eight years, so much has happened in my life, in your lives, in our world . . . .  Social media sites have evolved into something I'm not sure is intentional enough for me any longer.  So, I'm going back to the blogosphere with more intention, a deeper sense of self, and renewed purpose for how this blog might be a source of connectivity for myself and others.

 So, hello, dear friends and family.  I'm still here.  And, it's been awhile! 
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