November 30, 2011

Goodbye, November

NYC Photographer Jamie Beck

I'm a November's girl and love to remind Tim of this fact each fall like I'm telling him for the first time that November is my absolute favorite month. Every year, he listens and acts like I've never told him before.

Loving this moving photo as much as we are? They are dubbed "cinemagraphs" and created by the talented photographer, Jamie Beck. I've raved over Jamie's cinemagraphs before — find many more moving images here — and continue to be amazed with her work. Page through all of Jamie's musings and keep up with her new images via her blog, From Me To You.

I'll miss you November, until we meet again in 2012!

November 29, 2011

How To: Grow an Avocado Tree from the Pit

On a whim after incorporating avocado slices into some of the most amazing turkey sandwiches I've ever had (Tim sure knows how to transform Thanksgiving leftovers), we decided to take on a new "just for fun" project — trying to sprout roots and stems from avocado pits.

We're using the disclaimer "just for fun" because we've heard over and over how difficult it is to sprout avocado pits in the first place, not to mention it's nearly impossible to grow a fruit bearing tree if it works at all...

In hopes of sprouting the pit, we carefully opened the avocado, removed, rinsed and wiped the pit, then secured 4 toothpicks round the top (pointed side faces up) in a way that they would rest nicely on the rim of a glass. I was surprised at how easy it was to simply push the toothpicks into the pit with little pressure.

After successfully resting both pits atop their glasses and placing in a sunny windowsill, we carefully poured in water to cover about 2/3rds of the pit — not enough to touch the toothpicks, but enough to leave the bottom of the pit submerged.

From here on out it's simply a waiting, watering, and watching game. We'll continue to add water to the glasses as needed and if all goes according to plan, we just might see some root/stem action in about 3 weeks!

Did you try sprouting avocado pits as a child? If so — was it ever successful? We hear so many tales of failure that we're not expecting much, but who knows — we just might be able to make guacamole in 2-3 years time!

Wish us luck — we'll be sure to keep you posted.

November 28, 2011

Weekend Basics

1: Yeager is becoming a new regular here on the blog. Basil met up with his favorite weim friend once again for a doggie play date down by the James river wetlands. You'll never guess what happened — they played tug of war and keep away with sticks, Basil's favorite game (shocker).

2 , 5 & 6: It's becoming a Thanksgiving tradition for Tim to go hunting with my family at my aunt's horse farm (remember this crazy hunting photo of my dad a couple weekends back?). Not only did Tim get a chance to test out his new Muck boots, but we brought Basil along for the trip. He experienced his very first encounter with horses — both the horses and Basil seemed a little bewildered! The farm always has lots of surprises, like these little bird nests collected and placed on the porch.

3: Tim cracked into several black walnuts he found a few weeks back. It took him 2 separate sessions over the course of 2 weeks to get into them — see how he did it here. We definitely now understand the higher price of these shelled nuts as apposed to other varieties!

4: Of course Thanksgiving cooking, eating, and enjoying leftovers played a huge role over the course of our long weekend. We've got to give a big shout out to LittleDogVintage on Etsy for saving our Thanksgiving! Late Sunday of last week while making plans for all the dishes, we realized we were one roasting pan short. I hopped on Etsy to find this incredible yellow vintage Dansk roasting pan — Claire from LittleDogVintage was able to get it in the post faster than I know what for a pre-Thanksgiving arrival. Not only did the pan save Thanksgiving, it's become a new favorite in our kitchen!

P.S. In other news, we announced the lucky winner of the peanut pocket knife necklace giveaway who just so happened to be lucky commenter #58, Kim, who remembers her mom making them eat peanuts outside because they would always up end up in a "shell throwing fight."

Thanks to all that participated and stay tuned for future giveaways right here at 17 Apart!

November 26, 2011

16 Apart & Weekend Promotions

We've officially entered into the 49 day window where Tim and I are 16 Apart instead of 17 Apart. Not only did we enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving with family and good food, we also celebrated my 29th birthday, which as you can gather periodically falls right on Thanksgiving.

Here's a small sampling from the busyness and prep from our Thanksgiving spread. The whole house was filled with holiday smells and even Basil got his first taste of plain Turkey — it was a winner.

As a small way to show our thanks to each of you, we're hosting a handful of promotions to help get a jump start on the holidays while saving. Details on each promotion below:

1. Enjoy 30% your entire order of Contrary Jewelry plus free shipping when entering the code BFCM11 during checkout. Promotion lasts through the end of Monday, 11/28.

2. Enter for a chance to win this golden leaf shaped necklace in a giveaway hosted over on CraftFoxes. This necklace designs has been a customer favorite and one of my longest-standing designs in the shop.

3. There's still time to enter (through tonight) for a chance to win this peanut shaped pocket knife necklace hosted right here on 17 Apart.

We hope you all have a fun filled and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend as we head further into this holiday season!

November 23, 2011

Fall Garden Update

We're probably a little overexcited to announce we officially have broccoli growing in our backyard fall garden!

Little heads and florets of broccoli proudly and quietly emerged late last week from the plants we put in the ground back in September. We're especially thrilled at their appearance since we've been unsuccessfully trying to grow broccoli over the past year — plants have rotted, no heads emerged, and we almost gave up trying after this last round of planting. We'll keep you posted on the progress!

As you can see below, the garlic we planted is still going strong and looks like it will continue to flourish over the colder winter months. Funnily enough, when planting our fall garden we tossed a few seeds leftover from spring planting out and it looks like a couple volunteer pea plants took hold and have been making their fall debut.

Pea and broccoli plants

Outside of the broccoli, peas, and garlic you see here, we can say the rest of our garden is at a stand still. The other plants have either been enjoyed in home recipes or died out after the cooler weather came through.

After spending time over at my parent's home this past weekend, they sent us back with this fresh partial rosemary plant from their own garden:

We're keeping it fresh in the kitchen as of right now and still debating whether or not to plant it in a small pot for an indoor plant over the winter or dry it out for use in recipes and other projects.

Say it with me: Go broccoli, Go!

P.S. Speaking of broccoli, I hope you'll take a moment to check out my latest version of broccoli and cheddar soup recently featured over on Hills and Heights. While I wasn't able to use the broccoli from our garden yet, this is one for the recipe books — also, here's a quick recipe I whipped up for those leftover broccoli stems.

P.P.S. There's still time to enter our giveaway for one of Mary's peanut pocket knife necklaces — details here.

November 18, 2011

Richmond Virginia Hockey Memories

One might think becoming a hockey fan would be quite impossible growing up in Richmond, Virginia (not to be confused with Richmond, British Columbia) — not true for this fan. Even though professional hockey now exists south of the Mason-Dixon Line, in the 70's there were few teams in the southern market.

One exception to this general rule of thumb was right here in Richmond, which was actually a big hockey town in the 70's. Growing up here introduced me to hockey — namely the Richmond Robins "farm team" for the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers of the 70's were known as the Broad Street Bullies and most of the players came right here through our Richmond team and later winning the coveted Stanley Cup.

I have never played hockey or even put on a pair of skates but I've literally always had re-occurring dreams of playing hockey. The video below is a much tamer version and dream of a sport I love. I found it via Poppytalk while scrolling my reader — definitely a diamond in the rough for someone like me.
If you are a hockey fan like me who grew up never getting a chance to play — this video spoke volumes to me about the passion of growing up in a town where playing is a little more within reach and possible. Hope you enjoy!

November 16, 2011

Contrary Jewelry Giveaway: Peanut Pocket Knife Necklace

***Update: This giveaway has ended, find the lucky winner at the bottom of the post. Stay tuned for future giveaways right here at 17 Apart! ***

We're giving one of these Contrary peanut pocket knife necklaces away to a lucky reader! Full details below the dotted line (if you want to skip ahead).

To welcome the holiday season and show thanks to each of our readers, we're giving away one of these brass peanut shaped pocket knife necklaces, from my jewelry shop, Contrary. This design in particular gets more comments on it's quirky, cute, and edgy nature from people all over the world — it's been one of the most popular designs in the pocket knife line for 2 1/2 years now and would make a great gift idea for the holidays.

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Now down to business:
To enter, simply visit Contary, then leave a comment on this post and tell us your favorite way to eat peanuts. I have great memories of shelling them on the front porch when I was little — sneaking a taste of the salty shells.

Each of the following will earn you an additional entry:
  • Follow this blog by clicking the "join this site" button in the top right sidebar and leave a new comment on this post letting us know.
  • "Like" 17 Apart on Facebook , follow 17 Apart on Twitter, and sign up for our mailing list by clicking the button in our sidebar — leave 3 separate comments on this post for each letting us know you've done so.
  • Share this post by clicking the Facebook Like button at the top of the post and leave a new comment on this post letting us know you've done so.
  • Tweet about the giveaway including the following: "@17Apart is giving away this peanut pocket knife necklace:" along with anything else you'd like to include - then leave a new comment on this post letting us know you've done so.
The giveaway will end Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST; the winner will be auto-generated using and updated in this post shortly thereafter. Be sure to come visit to find out the winner and good luck!

***Update: This giveaway has ended, the lucky winner is commenter #58, Kim, who remembers her mom making them eat peanuts outside because they would always up end up in a "shell throwing fight." Thanks to all that participated and stay tuned for future giveaways right here at 17 Apart! ***

November 15, 2011

Muck Boots: My Wetlands are Here!

My Muck boots have arrived!

Mary and I laugh all the time at the fact I've owned and been wearing my L.L. Bean duck boots since before she was born. They've been "resoled" twice — a great service offered by L.L. Bean for anyone interested in either bringing a little life back into their own pair or looking for boots that promise to stand the test of time. They're like an old pal I look forward to re-uniting with each time I wear them. They've seen me through many "muddy" situations.

Here I am wearing them last autumn when we first got Basil.

All of this being said, while I have a true love for my dear duck boots, it's time for something a little more substantial. This is where I'd like to introduce you to my latest and greatest Muck boots! They are the Wetland version from The Original Muck Boot Company.

These babies are a field style boot that are 100% waterproof and can stand the test of comfort in any temperature range from 70 F to - 20 F. Amazingly easy to pull on and off (Mary sometimes needs help pulling her Hunter boots off). The Muck boots have a soft lining that can easily be rolled down and the boots slip right off. I've actually just been wearing mine with the lining halfway down with the bright orange lining exposed unless I'm truly going to the river or something of the sort. It looks like Muck already thought of this since their branding looks just as "in place" with the lining rolled down as it does up.

As a side note and speaking of wearing things that stand the test of time, I am wearing my grandfather's hunting jacket above which is a 1960's era Ted Williams sporting version sold only through Sears and Roebuck at the time. I am certain my grandfather did not pay this for the jacket and I would imagine more like $13-15 dollars. I love bringing this jacket out in the fall.

While my duck boots won't be going into full retirement, they'll most likely be in hibernation mode and taken out less frequently than my new Muck boots. I even have to admit, I'm contemplating getting another pair of the duck boots in here at some point... shhhhh.

Even Basil approves with little hesitation! After we snapped this pic of him, we later caught him dropping his bone down inside one of them — thinking it would be a great new hiding place.

Do you have an old favorite or standby pair of shoes or piece of clothing? I am all about paying a little more up front for shoes that last decades and believe it or not from dress shoes to tennis shoes I own several!

November 14, 2011

Weekend Basics

1 & 6. While Tim does not consider himself a betting man, a few weeks back he and a good friend from up in Massachusetts placed a gentleman's wager on the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the New England Patriots game. This wager is a seasonal tradition where depending on the winner, either a Virginia ham is sent up North for the holidays or two 2 pound lobsters are sent down South. By the looks of our lobster feast Tim prepared this weekend, I'm sure you can guess who won this year.

2. We'd like to wish Anna and Qrystyn a huge congratulations on their weekend wedding! While we've never actually met this couple, we're inspired and intrigued by them due to the fact they created a wedding registry partly consisting of Etsy items. Two of those items came from Tim's shop, Behind the Screen Door, which is how we found out about them (the groom's mother bought this antique butcher knife as a wedding gift since her son is a chef and had added it to their registry). If you couldn't tell already, we're suckers for the stories behind objects and just love knowing the future story of this cleaver in it's joyous new home.

3. Tim received a long awaited package in the mail which he hopes to share the contents of here on the blog later this week.

4. We made good on last weekend's wish to meet up with Basil's new weim buddy, Yeager (Basil is on the right). Tim and Yeager's daddy kept in touch over the week and set up a time for the pups to reunite in a new-to-us wooded park called Larus Park — what a beautiful hidden gem. Tim remarked when he got back how he's lived in RVA all his life and never knew about this park literally 4 miles from the house. Needless to say, Basil also had a full weekend.

5. Inspired by the "Pimento Cheese Please!" film screening we attended here in Richmond last week, Tim set out to perfect his own grandmother's recipe of this southern classic. Learn more about the documentary film by Nicole Lang (the filmmaker) here and find Tim's own recipe newly published on E.A.T.

6. I got a chance to visit my Aunt Donna's horse farm in St. Stephen's Church, VA to spend some quality time with my cousins from out of town and 100 year old grandmother. During our visit, my dad walked out in full camouflage headed down to the woods, so we all took the opportunity for a photo-op:

Too funny.

In other news, the Richmond Marathon took place on Saturday. Our house sits on the direct route about half way from the start of the race — each year we look forward to hearing the police motorcycles come through clearing the way for those first fast paced runners breezing by. It's always an exciting time followed by watching the masses of participants pass through in different getups. Tim was able to snap a quick video of the first runners coming by our house after we heard the police come through. You can't see it on the pace car but we are at the 11 mile mark and they came by at 54:30 which means at this point they were still turning under 5 minute miles:

November 11, 2011

Things We Loved This Week: Etsy Edition

Because I spend the majority of my days working on Etsy, I'm continually coming across the amazing work of artisans and vintage dealers. This week's finds all come from shops that stopped me in my tracks. We'd love to get our hands on any one of these luxurious pieces of work!

1. Vintage gramophone iPhone player; via Indian VS Indian.

2. 1940's French wire storage basket; via lovintagefinds.

3. Leather camera case designs for vintage cameras; via nelisgood.

4. Compost bin handcrafted from reclaimed barn wood; via legacybuilding.

In keeping with the Etsy vibe this week, we want to share a video we found inspiring. This handmade video portrait of Wild Hive Farm in Clinton Corners, NY beautifully shows how buying locally can directly effect the people and economies in your own neighborhood.

November 9, 2011

DIY Holiday Decorations: Metallic & Glitter Acorns

Looking for a quick and easy way to add a little holiday decor update to your home? I've got a project I just finished that's super simple, won't break the bank, can be used in all sorts of ways, and could be done with the kids — embellished acorns!

A couple weekends ago, Tim brought home a bag of acorns — I'd seen them beneath a tree in a random parking lot and made a comment on how I hadn't seen acorns like them before, thinking they'd be fun for some diy holiday decor ideas.

I was tickled that he'd grabbed a handful and after trying to look them up, I'm guessing they came from a post oak tree. Their shape is a little rounder, the tops cover more of the nut base, and they're a tad larger than the more classic varieties I'm used to seeing here around Richmond.

Here's what you'll need to make these embellished acorns:
  • Acorns of your choosing, wiped down of dirt and debris.
  • Spray adhesive, fine glitter of your choosing, and metallic spray paint of your choosing (any local craft store will carry these).
  • Masking tape or painter's tape.
  • Tweezers.
  • Scissors.
  • Newspapers or cardboard to protect your work surface and spray areas.
  • Small bowl for holding glitter.
To make the embellished acorns, simply cover either the top or the base of the acorn completely with masking tape — whichever side you want to remain completely natural. I mixed it up to get a varied final look, though you could choose to keep them all uniform if you are going for a specific feel.

to really get the masking tape to protect the full areas, I used tweezers to push the tape into all the nooks and crannies.

Once the tape is in place, spray a portion of the acorns with metallic gold colored spray paint. For the remaining acorns, apply a fine glitter by first using spray adhesive, then rolling in a small bowl of glitter. Sprinkle additional glitter over any bare areas to fill them in — do this while holding the acorns over your glitter bowl to save any excess.

Tip: Use spray paint and adhesive outdoors to make sure everything is well ventilated. Also, follow spray directions for best application (mine took a couple thin coats).

Set acorns aside for at least 1 hour to completely dry. Once dry, the tape is ready to be peeled and your finished acorns will be revealed. On the glitter acorns, tap excess glitter off as you peel the tape over a a trash bin or your glitter bowl.

There's just something about that moment of the final reveal where you realize everything went according to plan — no matter how simple the project may be.

They're now ready for use and there are so many creative things you can do with them:
  • They could be taken a step further and made into ornaments with the addition of a little striped baker's twine (holiday gift idea, anyone?).
  • Use them as seating place markers, or make them into napkin rings by stringing a little baker's twine around the stem and wrapping around folded napkins.
  • Wrap a little baker's twine around them (again) and affix them atop of holiday gifts as a cute and useful packaging topper.
  • We're going the more basic route by using them as a decorative update simply scattered across our holiday spread in an organic fashion.
  • They'd also look great grouped in a glass vessel or rustic bowl.
  • I'm sure you can think of more ideas!

I love how they look natural and fancy at the same time without screaming holidays like so many decorations can tend to do. When you're ready for something different, store these little guys in a Ziploc bag for safe keeping and use them again for years to come!

What seasonal elements have you been using or plan to use in your holiday decor this year — have any old favorites?

November 8, 2011

Richmond Food Collective Canning Swap

Saturday Tim and I attended our first canning swap, organized and hosted by The Richmond Food Collective. The RFC is a local group interested in sustainable food practices and sharing that knowledge with all who will listen.

Since it was our first time attending the swap and our first time canning, we brought just 4 jars of the banana peppers Tim preserved earlier this month and 2 smaller jars of apple vinegar we made a few weeks back:

Upon arrival, we were welcomed with hot apple cider brewing fresh on the stove, homemade snacks and plenty of labeling supplies for marking our canned goods with information on storage and any important dates/instructions.

We got there fairly early into the swap and it was funny as each new person came in how everyone would watch and wait to see what they had brought to the table, trying to decide what each of us would be taking home. Seeing what everyone else made and brought was so inspiring — both Tim and I left eager to tackle more recipes next season.

Everyone was so willing to share their techniques and tips for best practice when it comes to canning. For example, we learned adding grape leaves to jars can be a great natural solution for keeping vegetables crunchy. We were pleasantly surprised to see all 4 jars of the peppers go pretty quickly and we got more questions about how to make the apple vinegar, which was fun to explain how simple it can actually be.

Side note: While in Erin's beautiful home, I couldn't help but admire her diy framed coffee sack as art on the wall. I thought this was such a clever idea and use for coffee sacks that we just may try at some point ourselves. You may remember the laptop sleeve and dog bed we've made from coffee sacks Tim brought home from Blanchard's Coffee — such a fun material for projects!

The whole get together and swap was awesome in the fact that we were able to share and get feedback on our own canning adventures and leave with a variety of other canned goods we learned about while there. On the way home, Tim and I were already brainstorming what we could do for next year's swap and loved the idea of being able to pass on what we considered a surplus of our own vegetables to those interested and nab what they considered a surplus of their own goods.

We left with 6 different cans of goodies including homemade sauerkraut, dilly beans, hot salsa, pumpkin apple chutney, strawberry syrup, and kimchi. Hot salsa and dilly beans didn't make it a full 24 hours — I'm trying to save the pumpkin apple chutney for Thanksgiving, we'll see if it makes it...

P.S. For those of you running your own creative endeavors, find a specialized merchandising report full of tips and key dates to remember I put together to carry you through the month of November and approaching holiday season: here, on the Etsy blog.

November 7, 2011

Weekend Basics

Our print edition of Kinfolk Magazine finally arrived on Friday! It came from a limited batch of 1500 reprints — while we love online magazines, this was one we wanted to be able to flip the pages of in person and savor.

2 & 6: I heard about a local "canning swap" in Richmond put on by the lovely ladies over at The Richmond Food Collective. Mary and I went with 4 jars of banana peppers I canned and 2 jars of the apple vinegar we made together — we didn't come home empty handed and are looking forward to sharing what we found in a future post.

3: Mary began working on a little diy project with these acorns she hopes to have complete and ready to share later in the week.

While riding around town this weekend, we stopped at one of our neighborhood dog parks to let Basil out to stretch his legs. He does really well in the car, but we like to break it up when we can. It just so happened there was another weim at this park with the other dogs. We were probably over-excited just because we rarely see/meet other weims here in Richmond and love watching Basil play with them. I'm not sure if it's like this with all dog breeds, but there is a definite difference in the way Basil plays with other weims — it's like they connect on some level and know they are related. They seem to run and play in tandem, staying on the same level at all times. In any case, the weim's name we met this weekend was "Yeager" and we hope to run into him and his owners again!

5: The farmer's market had fresh ginger this week. I'll admit that ginger in it's freshest form with stems and leaves still attached is a new concept to me. We learned a lot about how to use it and picked up a fresh piece of our own to experiment with and try to learn more about — like how to grow it (maybe).

November 4, 2011

Things We Loved This Week

1: Hot sauce butter recipe; via Lottie + Doof.

2: Loving the modern mixed with industrial feel of this laundry sink; via Pinterest.

3: Vintage brass fox door knocker by buffalowinter on Etsy. 'Tis the season of the fox after all.

4: Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life. Beautifully illustrated and educational take on the dissection of farm life by Julia Rothman. We've been seeing this shared all over the place and can't wait to get a copy of our own — we're thinking this just might be the perfect gift idea for those interested in or dabbling in diy homesteading this holiday season.

5: Favorite camera settings wrist tattoo; via Pinterest.

6: Unbelievably good. Zara has launched a Kids collection.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend. The weather is beginning to noticeably cool here in Virginia, signaling the change in season. Tim found this amazing video capturing a beautiful murmuration of starlings on the River Shannon in Ireland — the starlings signal that winter is on the way. Enjoy.

November 3, 2011

How To: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

This week we've been enjoying snacking on freshly roasted pumpkin seeds we made ourselves with the leftovers from the drilled Halloween pumpkins we completed a little over a week ago. They are such a savory seasonal snack we look forward to making every year after lighting up our jack-o-lanterns.

Honestly the recipe we use for these couldn't be simpler and if you happen to have any seeds leftover from your own carving endeavors, we hope you'll give it a try. Simply adjust ingredients based on your own pumpkin seed quantities.

  • 1 1/2 dried pumpkin seeds — we let ours sit out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet after scooping and separating from pumpkin innards until they were dry to the touch, about 2 days.
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine seeds, melted butter and sea salt in a bowl, then transfer to a baking sheet and roast 45 minutes until browning.

It's that simple. Use as a healthy fall snack or to top salads and soups. You could really incorporate any of your favorite spices into the base ingredients to give them a different taste or kick them up a notch. You could also try using any kind of fall squash seeds if it's past pumpkin season in your home!

Mary found this recipe on Cooking With my Kid for caramelized versions of the seeds we just might try next year. Or maybe we'll do half and half since she's the one with the sweet tooth.

P.S. Thanks for all your anniversary well wishes!
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