As a season is about to turn, I often find myself daydreaming of what’s to come. This winter I daydreamed of long spring walks, sans coat, where I could feel the heat of the suns rays and see the buds of the plants that are about to bloom. In spring, I daydreamed of the warmth of summer, where I could walk barefoot into the backyard, feeling the grass below my feet, as I water our garden. And now, as we are heading into fall, I’ve found myself daydreaming
A few weeks back, I stood washing bottles*, feeling frustrated (about what, I can’t recall – which speaks to it’s importance), and overdrawn. It was a trifecta of emotions/circumstances, and was leaving me in a downright foul mood. As I maddeningly scrubbed, rinsed and repeated, I saw a leaf fall from the birch tree that stretches into our backyard. It was one of those late summer falls, where the leaf isn’t hastily carried to the ground by wind or rain, but rather, does a lilting, dancing, float to the ground. That float, while only five seconds, was just long enough to bring me back to the onset of last spring. To the memories of my holding Kian beside the windows of our home, pointing to the trees, and explaining that those chartreuse buds were leaves beginning to unfurl with life. ‘We’ would chat about the fun and carefree times that were about to follow as we headed into the warmer months.
So much has changed in ‘those warmer months’. While only 4-5 months have passed, it feels like a years worth of change has occurred. Much of that feeling comes from Kian’s growth, but also, in how Ricky and I have better grasped that elusive balance of parenthood, our relationship, and our individual selves. It’s strange to feel like time is flying, while at the same time, feel like more has happened than time should have allowed. That disparity in feeling versus actuality, is something that I’m realizing is a component of parenthood. Life feels full in a way that I’ve never experienced. That means that those precious moments are both more plentiful, as well as quick to pass as they are replaced by another.
Reflection and perspective are hard to come by during times of feeling overdrawn – even if all the reasons for it are good. It’s easy for my mind to fill with the ever-present needs of life. When I’m able to tap into a deeper headspace though, it resonates loudly. I’m reminded to cherish these moments, and to acknowledge their fleetingness; to recognize that to be overwhelmed and overdrawn is not bad, but rather, it is as a sign that my life is full and well rounded in it’s successes, obstacles, and challenges; and to be forgiving to myself and to my loved ones, because despite the frustration that may sit at the surface, deep down, forgiveness and understanding are what I truly desire and would hope for in return.
Without fail, leaves will always be a mark of time. They’ll be an opportunity to check-balance where you are and where you have been, and a reminder to let go of those things that are not consequential and meaningful to your life, and to cherish those that are. I hope that as the leaves begin to turn golden and fall, and then emerge again green, that I will remember that five second float.
*which any parent can attest to being the worst.
Seasonally inappropriate post here, but when you’ve had a top lingering in your mind for a good 6 months, you address it. I love that I say this, while I can think of a tower of unfinished (and arguably more important) projects that lay scattered throughout our home at this moment. But, we’re not talking about responsibility and priority here; we’re talking about clothes and their ability to infiltrate your mind.
That’s what happened when I first saw this top. It was the cropped length, fitted sleeve, classic aesthetic, playfulness of the back opening, and the slightly romantic feel of the rosette trimming. So in essence, every part of it. The problem was that I just couldn’t rationalize spending that much on a top, especially one that, although highly loved, won’t be considered a closet staple (it’s now on sale though!). I figured that I’d keep it in mind during my thrift/consignment/craft store trips, and if the stars aligned, I would find a way to work a version of this top into my closet.
Those stars aligned, my friends. Oh yes they did – and all on one (to be melodramatic) fateful outing. I came across the sweater first – it is fitted, but not overly so, the color is spot on, and it is soft to boot (oh hey, cashmere/modal blend). For $19 it was not only perfect for the job, but would also make a nice addition to my closet in the instance that I couldn’t find a floral tape. Yet, I did find that tape. It’s not perfect, as sewing a rigid woven tape on a stretchy sweater knit can be tricky (you have to be able to stretch that neck over your head after all), however the aesthetic was spot-on. It took me a couple of hours, and some inevitable [for me] seem ripping to hand sew it in place – which was thankfully accompanied by both some chatting with my mom and catching up on Fixer Upper (I love those Gaines’!)
I’m really happy with how the final product turned out. It is a much simpler riff on the inspiration, but it exudes the heart of what drew me to it in the first place. While I won’t be wearing it any time soon, I look forward to being able to slip it on once fall hits.
I vividly remember the feeling that I had as I walked through the multi-colored house, each room boasting it’s own rich shade of the rainbow, and ate bite after bite of sweet and juicy height-of-the-season peach. The sweet-tart tantalizing feeling crossing my tongue, as my eyes swept each room with curiosity. On a family vacation, already filled with excitement and a childhood sense of freedom, that peach, and it’s fresh-sweet taste, put a sealing memory on that moment.
This was my first food memory – not a decadent slice of silky cheesecake that we ate around our family table after a valentines dinner; or a perfectly cooked plate of tender and creamy polenta with wine stewed pork, that was shared over a dinner with a growing friendship; but a perfectly ripe peach with a dusting (but to be honest, I was a kid, so probably a mound) of sugar on top.
These rosé soaked peaches evoke that same feeling for me – with a little booze to match the older version of myself (and to make up for the fact that I’m not on vacation…). The peaches are silky and sweet, while the syrup is crisp with an earthy note of rosemary. They are delicious on their own, paired with ice cream, served over a slice of sponge cake, or blended into a frosty drink. In whatever way they’re consumed though, make sure it’s paired with a side of ‘carefree’.
1/2 c. of sugar
1/2 c. of water
1 sprig of rosemary
5 medium, or 4 large, ripe peaches
1 c. rosé
32 oz. jar
Place the water and sugar in a pot, and heat until the sugar is dissolved – giving the pot a swirl every now and again. Meanwhile, wash and dry the peaches.
Once the sugar is fully dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and submerge the rosemary. Leave to steep for 20-25 minutes.
Cut your peaches into quarters, and remove the skin.* Once all skins are removed, cut each quarter into two (totaling 8 slices per peach). Place peaches into a sterile jar.
Remove the rosemary sprig from the simple syrup, and stir in the rosé. Once combined, pour the syrup over the peaches, and seal the lid.
Refrigerate for 24 hours (48 if you can mange it), then enjoy!
*If the skins are being stubborn, I’ve read that pouring boiling water over them will help to ‘slip’ them off.
If there’s one thing that I have in excess, especially compared to how often they’re used, it’s bags. I could spew a Bubba Gump-like list of the variety of bags that are stashed around our house, but I’ll spare you the time that it would take to skip over those lines, while trying to find where the purpose of this post picks back up. The thing is, there is always a use for a bag, which makes them practical, right? That’s what went through my mind at least, when I came across this felted wool-look tote for a mere $5 at Target.
For that price, I felt I was getting a steal for the thickness and realistic look of the ‘felted wool’. On the other hand, for that price, it made sense that the straps were very evidently inexpensive. That’s exactly the type of project the draws my eye, one that has a solid base with which I can build upon. I knew that simply updating the straps with real leather would give it more of a luxe look, while adding a strap closure would add some interest.
For as simple and subtle of an update as this was, I am really digging the outcome. In fact, I can happily say, with much thanks to having a child that requires me to [what feels like] pack our home every time we leave, that I am using it on a near-daily basis.
See the steps I took below!
I used my sewing machine to punch the leather, after which I hand sewed the straps to the bag. Word to the wise – make sure to remove the thread before ‘punching’, unless you love an unnecessary session of seem ripping.
It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since I last spent time on this blog. I honestly thought it had been one – which pretty clearly conveys how fast (and apparently unaccountable) time feels. While I haven’t actively worked on this blog, I have thought about it often. With each project, recipe and trip I have taken, I’ve thought, ‘maybe I’ll blog this.’ However, it’s been a very full two years, in ways both big and small.
We purchased our first home, where we’ve happily been able to sit the grass without having to visit a park, play music as loud as we’d like, and get our hands dirty in making it our own.
We became a family of three, which has rocked our world in the most beautiful, exhausting, and rewarding ways.
I decided to pause my career to stay at home with Kian. We take a lot of walks, visit parks and the library, babble to each other, sing songs (many of which are made up, and truthfully, pretty terrible. Thankfully I don’t have a discerning audience.) and as of late, play the game of ‘how long should I let him explore that, before it becomes a hazard’. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Traveled to Italy (Siena, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre), Georgia (Atlanta, Savannah, St. Simons Island), Southern California (L.A., Palm Springs, Redlands), Michigan (a tour of Ricky’s childhood cities, ending in East Lancing for a wedding), Minnesota, and a few in-state getaways.
Visited very few new-to-us restaurants, but fine-tuned our take-out circuit, and did a lot of recipe exploration. As of recent, my favorites have been making kitchen staples, like these no-knead bread and almond milk recipes.
Finally succumbed to my love of coffee and became a daily drinker, as well as grew a pretty notable preference (some could call it an obsession) with sour candy. Two rather insignificant changes that make me exceedingly and frequently happy, so I’m claiming them as notable.
Putting our space, and hopefully an inherited green thumb, to good use; first with our veggie garden, and more recently with filling in our garden beds.
I’ll have to admit, that the one thing I’ve felt to be missing, is enough creativity. I’m hoping that this space will help to create and hold me accountable for finding more of that in my life, and that you’ll get inspired along side me!
Using materials leftover from this project, to make a simple necklace/bracelet set. I have a feeling that these will be in heavy rotation!
An early morning breakfast date with Ricky. The effects of his jetlag…but more-so, my need for him to jump my car battery. Made lemonade out of those lemons!
The days are getting longer…and it’s making me infinitely happy!This flower is a major trooper. Would you believe that it’s been hanging around for four weeks now? It left it’s buddies in the dust two weeks ago.
After making this necklace, plus one for my mom, I had all of two gold pieces remaining. As the rule of thumb goes, items in ‘odd’ groupings (rather than ‘even’) are more pleasing to the eye. Therefore, I knew I would need a few beads that read stronger than these gold pieces, in order to create the necessary balance. While I was hoping to making a bracelet, I realized that all of that bulk would end up bothering me (and would probably having me standing lopsided), so down the necklace route I went.
As it turns out, I had all of the beads that I needed on hand. (While I’d like to attribute that to resourcefulness, in reality, it’s probably because I’m a craft supply hoarder…but, I digress.) I had recently bought these blue beads on impulse, and thought that they would be the perfect ‘statement’ piece for this necklace. Add to the mix some tubular beads, which I got from deconstructing a thrifted necklace, and some square beads that were leftover from this project…and bada-bing bada-boom, a necklace was created. Well, that is if you want the spark notes version.
Truth be told, I had a go-around with this necklace. Turning the tubular pieces into vertically oriented beads required a fair amount of finagling, and the need for a craft store run (to think that for once, I could complete a project without one…silly). Then, after having strung the beads on chain, to the result of a sloppy mess, I had to restring it on wire to give it the support it needed (which of course led to another craft store run).
The trials were worth it though, as I am so pleased with how this necklace turned out. Plus, I learned a few things along the way, which is always a bonus; and practiced some patience, which I suppose is healthy. 😉 See the steps I took below…
Eating from the Biscuit Box…which was adorable to the eyes and sensational on the taste-buds. Plus, I got to enjoy in while sitting in some beautiful Seattle sun. If you ever try it, I would highly recommend the bao biscuit. If they’re offering their biscuit bread pudding with orange-rosemary caramel…don’t even hesitate, just get it.
Working from Cafe Fiore, and tapping into some serious inspiration. It always amazes me how much a change of scenery can influence your creativity.
Watching the city light up at Kerry Park, and walking the total eye-candy neighborhood that surrounds it.
Celebrating a friend’s birthday with a weekend trip to the Leavenworth area, where we got to take in these views…
Hi, I’m Caitlin!
Welcome to Blanche & Thirteenth - a site that's one part craft, one part food, and one part lifestyle. I'm a mother, a creative, and a cuddle advocate; who has a deep appreciation for colorful food (mostly naturally occurring, but I like to strike a good balance ;-) and taking adventures. Join me as I find ways to get my hands a little dirty, fill up our bellies, and seek out celebration in daily life. Want to know more...