There hasn't been anything particularly exciting going on around these parts lately, but at the same time there is so much happening!  Parker and I have been loving watching the plants grow around our new place.  There are so many surprises.  There are passion flowers completely taking over one of our sheds, wild poppies growing in the side yard, blooming cactus, and more strange mushrooms and wildflowers than I could ever dream of.

I planted a vegetable garden in the front corner of our yard, and after what seems like forever, some of my little plant babies are starting to really take off.  This is a photo from a few weeks ago.  The tomatoes have gotten so unruly that it was difficult for me to photograph without everything just looking like a big wad of green.  I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do to contain the sprawling plants, so for now they run free and reign as the rulers of the garden patch.  


Hibiscus Mint Iced Tea

Giving people suggestions for how to prepare a beverage is a scary thing.  When you think of someone being a snob about a particular subject, it probably involves a beverage.  You have your OG beverage snobs, aka sommeliers or wanna be sommeliers.  There are your run of the mill, I only drink craft beers, probably do a little home brewing snobs.  And the worst snobs of all, coffee snobs.  I don't understand your pour over coffee, I just don't get it!

Anyways, I am getting sidetracked.  This is my recipe for Hibiscus Mint Iced Tea.  I am no expert on this subject, but I like the way it tastes when I prepare it this way.  I'm sure there is a scientific method to this somwhere.  This recipe is not it, but it makes a pitcher of some tangy, delicious tea.  Simple enough.

Hibiscus Mint Iced Tea
1/4 c. loose hibiscus tea
1/8 c. loose peppermint tea

1. Boil a kettle of water.  Make your tea concentrate by pouring about a quart of water over the tea leaves.  I just use a quart size mason jar and fill'er up.

2. The tea leaves will float.  When they sink the tea is ready.  This should take around 5 minutes.  I don't worry about time too much though.  Sometimes I forget I was making tea and don't get around to the next step for upwards to 30 minutes.  It turns out just fine

3. Pour the tea concentrate into a pitcher through a sieve to remove the tea leaves.

4. Add 3/4 quart of water (just fill the mason jar 3/4 of the way full) to the tea concentrate.

5. Chill until ready to serve.

Oh, and if you wanna look like you know what's what in a trendy coffee shop, watch this video.  It reassured me that tea people are more "zen" than coffee folks.  I would imagine iced tea people are totally the zen-ist.  I mean, we don't sit on porches and favor rocking chairs over all other forms of seating for no reason people!


Growing Wild

The back half of our property is a completely wooded hill that ends at a little creek fed by water trickling over our neighbors dam.  A short hike down the hill feels like you are in a different world full of flowers, bees, and a chance to accidentally run into a stinky woodland critter you would rather not bother. 

Now is the prime time for exploring the back hill.  Not only are the wildflowers going crazy, but the hill will become overgrown with beggar's lice later in the season.  A trip down the hill during the summer is just asking for an afternoon of picking stickers out of your shoe laces.  

One of the coolest things Parker found recently are these flowers.  We have been calling them octopus flowers, since those curly tines look just like octopus legs with little suckers.  I looked it up today, and it turns out they are officially called Blue Curls.  What a waste, right?  It would have been way better if they were called octopus flowers.  Colloquial names gotta start somewhere though.  I hereby ordain these octopus flowers.  Pass it on.    


Dust is Settling

I do not have a clue how home renovation blogs exist.  The experience of buying and renovating a house, even an ultra small one (we sit at just under 900 square feet), is the most frustrating, exhausting, and all around stressful experience in the world.  I'm pretty sure this isn't an overstatement.  All the grey hairs on Parker's and my head serve as proof!

After months of constant nailing, painting, caulking, grouting, and sanding, the chaos has clambered to a manageable rhythm.  We are no where close to being done with even half of our planned renovations, but we have the most important (aka: kitchen and bathroom) spaces fixed up.  We took some time to recuperate this winter, and are now working on our remaining projects at an even pace.

Another big change is our lifestyle.  I was laid off from my job early this year, and Parker and I have decided that a lifestyle where I primarily work around the house is something we both wanted.  I still have a job with the bed and breakfast.  But my full time job right now is working on the house.  With the extra time, I was able to put in a garden for the spring/summer, and work on tons of little projects to make our lives a little more comfortable and beautiful.  Everyone knows that decorating has always been a passion of mine, so I'm so happy to have time to work the type of  projects that matter to me.  


Product Profile: Dog Waste Bag Dispenser

I walk my dogs a lot.  I live in a town home right now and the yard is seriously minuscule.  Look in your bathroom, that is probably about the size of my yard.  So, I walk my dogs several miles a day to make up for the whole yard thing.  When we first moved into the town home I made full use of my pockets when we would walk, shoving the waste bags, my keys, and maybe a few snacks for Abby and Banana in there.  But, I had one problem with that.  Not all of my pants have pockets.  Sometimes I want to wear my workout shorts or leggings when we go walking.  So what did I do?  I shoved everything in my sports bra (not treats, I'm not that gross!).  Its really not comfortable sweating all over plastic waste bags, and worrying that your house key is going to fall out of the bottom of your bra leaving you stuck in the minuscule yard until Parker gets home from work.

I decided to make a little pouch to hold all of the walking necessities.  The pouch has a carabiner so it can clip onto your belt loop if you have one, or just leave it clipped on the leash (that is what I do).  The pouch has a button hole on the front so you can easily thread the first waste bag from a roll through the hole and pull bags off one at a time as you need them.  I also put a pocket on the inside to keep your keys safe, and the treats organized.  I don't know how I lived without this for so long!

Right now I have several bags available at Austin Gift Company on South Lamar in Austin.  The online shop is a work in progress, so I will have a small selection of my products available here real soon!