Flowers and Jars and Other Good Things

Just some little things today…

Flowers and Jelly Jars

We go through a lot of strawberry jelly in our house.  The jars make the sweetest give-away vases for flowers from our yard.  This little bunch went to the teacher at open house last night.  The chocolate mint tucked between the roses is the happiest “mistake” in our yard.  It smells soooo good.

Bamboo

On Saturday, I went to Ranch 99 to get a new sun hat for our beach day with the boy.  I had no cash in my wallet and the hat didn’t cost enough to meet the minimum charge amount, so I came home with three stalks of bamboo too.

The bamboo focused my Monday thrift store visits to a search for the perfect jar.  This is the one I chose.  It’s huge.  HUGE.

Batik Stamp Bonanza

A few years ago, I discovered this beautiful batik stamp in a box of my husband’s collectibles.  At the time, I had no idea what it was.  I only knew that I loved it.

Husband isn’t completely sure just where it came from – maybe something from his departed grandmother – but it started an obsession for me.

I look for reasonably priced ($8 to $12) batik stamps wherever I go.  I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and to receive a few others from a friend.  I also have two from Anthropologie.

There are plenty of very high-priced batik stamps in the world, but half the fun for me is stumbling onto a bargain.  Maybe that’s why it filled me with such joy to find an entire lot of them priced together in a clearance sale on etsy.  Woohoooooo!  Now I just have to figure out how best to display them.  For the moment, they occupy a big wooden bowl on my table.  I think my favorite is that curvy floral on the top right.

 

Ooo la la buttercream…

I am so excited by the arrival of my latest purchase from The Good Cook book club.  Meg Ray is my new hero.  Cake for breakfast – I love this woman!  Can’t wait to visit one of her shops in person someday.  I’m aiming for the Ferry Building location in San Francisco.  Wanna go with me?

Corner Cupcakes

Speaking of sweets…

I finally caught up with the Corner Cupcakes truck.  Yippee!

I ordered a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and another called a “full house,” which was the most divine combination of lemon cake, lemon curd, and lemon buttercream laced with toasted coconut.  There was coconut somewhere else in there too.  I’m sure of it!  Deeeeeelicious.  And kind of melty.  It was hot yesterday.

The chocolate cake was very good, but I am not a huge fan of the extra strong vanilla flavor in the buttercream I chose.  I prefer a mere hint of vanilla or none at all, so next time I will just order a different frosting!  There will be a next time because there is much taste bud joy in that truck.  I am excited to try other flavor combos.

All of this reminds me to ask if you are as happy-dancing-footed as I am over the pending arrival of Nothing Bundt Cakes in Mission Valley.  Yes?  Yes!  It will be nice to have one closer than Del Mar or Poway.  Maybe we can all go together on opening day.

What little things are cheering your life this week?

I hope you’re having a Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

Rose Bowl Flea Market and Pasadena

I met two friends at the Rose Bowl Flea Market yesterday.

It was a long day and the weather was chilly, but we had a great time!

One of my friends knows the market like her own backyard, so she played navigator.  That worked well for me, because I got turned around at the end of just about every aisle.  😕

We shopped for hours, saw very few things twice, and still didn’t cover even half the venue.  The Rose Bowl Flea Market is BIG.

The parking is free and plentiful.  The 9:00 a.m. general admission is only $8.00 and worth every penny.  You can pay more to get in with the early birds, but my friend cautions that sometimes vendors are still unpacking before the regular crowd gets there.

Deep in the rows, there is a lady who makes caramel apple muffins from scratch in her own kitchen and sells them for $2.00 a piece.  My friend buys one every time and raves about them, so I was happy when the three of us arrived at her booth well into the morning and still found three muffins left in the basket!

They were really delicious – sort of an angel food cake with a center of brown-sugared, tender, appley goodness.  Yesterday was nothing, if not a thoroughly delightful food day.  More on that a little later.  😀

Another vendor sells art plates from old books.  There are stacks and stacks, black and white as well as color, as beautiful and varied as the people who buy them.

The bibliophile in me grimaces at the dissection of what were surely amazing whole volumes, but I appreciate the art in the single leaves and I couldn’t go without this page:

Not far from the front entrance, there is a vendor who sells colorful tablecloths from Provence.

French linens are very cheery, usually made well, and have always appealed to me, but they are typically out of my price range.

I stopped at this booth because she also has a table full of batik stamps!  Woohoo!  I chose this one for my collection:

I also picked up this teeny little rabbit for my blue and white family:

a tiger clicker for my son:

and a small gift for a friend. 😀

As always, there were a few things I regret leaving behind.

Most of those were slightly out of my price range, but are regular items that I could acquire with better planning on a future visit.

Some were unique items I just wavered on and will absolutely never see again.  I guess that’s okay.  If I waver, then they’re probably not meant to be mine.

On our way to the exit gate we stopped by the food vendor area to say hello to my mom and Lou, who had also driven up for the market.

They arrived after we did and were taking a quick break, but were heading back in for a little more shopping after we headed out.

Departing from the Rose Bowl was an adventure.  😐  I lost my car, worked up a sweat looking for it, and finally had to call my friend to enlist her navigator instincts to find it.

Then I sat sheepishly behind my wheel and watched as she deftly moved a giant traffic barrier by hand just to get me pointed in the right direction.  So embarrassing.  😳  Funny, but embarrassing.

At least this all helped me to warm up after being so chilled by the cloud cover.

I followed my friends into Old Town Pasadena for a little more shopping and some late lunch.

My favorite store this time is Lula Mae.  Teeny, charming, colorful and packed full with “gifts of wit & whimsy” –  this is definitely my kind of place!

My friend and I both left with Andy, the Black Sheep:

I love him.  He is made of cast iron and weighs a LOT.  Don’t ever wanna drop this boy in my tiled house with my bare broken feet nearby.  Oy.  Gotta find just the right place for him.

I was amused when I got home to find that Lula Mae had wrapped Andy in French Fry tissue.  So funny.

From Lula Mae’s clearance bin, I picked up this hand-stitched house ornament:

and this cloth Tooth Fairy bird:

I love the idea of this, but I will probably just hang him from my Christmas Tree since we have something else for our son’s Tooth Fairy exchanges.

I rounded out my Lula Mae purchases with two yards of wired chenille ribbon.

I have a definite weakness for pretty ribbon, especially when it has a drastically reduced price.  🙂

That about covers my purchases for the day, but the treasures I brought home also included two amazing gifts from my friend.

She gave me this spectacular chair:

and this gorgeous, charming butter dish:

I am in love with this big Sun Lion.  In love.  The colors, his face, his swirly handle tail – all of him.  In. Love.  Thank you, Leighann!  😀

And the chair.  It’s beautiful.  😀  In fact, it’s officially the nicest thing in my house.

The most unusual shop we visited is definitely Gold Bug.

I’m not sure the merchandise is my taste exactly, but it is very intriguing and I wish I’d stopped in on a slower day and hadn’t felt so claustrophobic.  It’s a very small shop and there were a lot of people in it.

If you’re in the area, particularly on a weekday, you should definitely stop by.  It’s unique and has a lot to look at.

For our very late lunch we went to Mi Piace, one of my favorite places in Pasadena.  Wait, have I been anywhere else?  Who cares!  Mi Piace is really good.

Unfortunately, they were completely out of the Butter Nut Squash Ravioli with browned butter and sage.  Big, disappointed, collective sigh.

We buried our sorrows in good hot garlicky bread chunks served with balsamic and olive oil.

I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo with julienne vegetables. It was priced a too high and would be more enjoyable with a small green salad (priced separately – grrrr), but it was extremely good.

For dessert, I ordered this Mi Piace Special:

It was three layers dark and white chocolate mousse and cakes, topped with black and red raspberries and accompanied by a beautiful puddle of kiwi and strawberry coulis.

My only complaint with this dessert is that it came with that completely white, unripe, unappealing strawberry.  I would have left that off the plate.  I just pushed it aside.

I devoured the rest of it, feeling only mild guilt for denying my husband any leftovers.  They wouldn’t have kept on the three-hour drive home anyway, right?

My friends and I parted company shortly after our meal.  I headed south and they headed back to the high desert.  We all had a great time and I can’t wait to do it again.  Maybe in March or April??

Love you guys!!

P.S.

The best moment of the day was when Bob Harper from Biggest Loser (or his clone??) finally left his table facing ours, so that we could relax and eat without his fitness guru-ish-ness monitoring our mouthfuls. 😦

The worst moment of the day was the insane coughing fit I had on exiting Lula Mae.  😳  Mortifying.  It was the kind of thing that makes strangers pull their kids in close and flee.   Embarrassing.

The stupidest thing I did was forget to bring water into the market.  $5.00 per bottle if you want to buy it there.  Ugh!

The smartest thing I did was bring my big purple purse.  Not super attractive, but it’s lightweight, cavernous and durable – perfect for shopping!

P.P.S.  While I’ve been typing this morning, the little boy has been stapling paper and drawing scenes from his computer games…

wearing my two oversized sweatshirts at the same time…

eating cheetos…

and being very sweet.

I sure love this little boy.  I missed him yesterday.

Gotta go play now.  Catch you tomorrow.  Maybe.

Happy Monday!

♥♥