Another sketchbook filled. Although I cheated a bit on this one, since I used the back half of the book for journaling. There are some sketches for future cards mixed in here, mostly for the new holiday cards I’m still working to perfect. I’m so far behind on them this year. Usually I try to have them wrapped up by September, but somehow it’s already half over! How did that happen? Is this month flying by for you too?
For a while we’ve been coming to terms with the fact that our nearly 10-year-old, fairly dilapidated microfiber couches were going to need replacing—particularly the loveseat that often doubles as my home office. I really destroyed that thing over the years with my constant sitting, lounging, and spilling!
Seating has always been a touchy spot for Daniel and I, since he’s more interested in comfort than aesthetics (it’s similar to our ongoing salt and pepper shaker argument years ago). Well, we finally found a loveseat replacement we could agree on—The Hamilton Sofa from West Elm. It’s super comfy, has that classic mid-century vibe I love, the removable cushions can be unzipped and re-stuffed if necessary, and I think the leather will be easier to keep clean. Best of all, it was on sale! The plan is to keep it until I’m a super old lady. I’ve never had leather furniture before, so if you have any cleaning/conditioning tips for me, do tell.
Daniel and I spent last week in Norway! Norway has been on our travel wish list for a long time, but it’s so huge we had to choose a small area to see since we only had a week. We decided to limit our visit to Lofoten, a chain of islands up north. We definitely have a “type” when it comes to vacations—remote, secluded, and beautiful. Lofoten delivered big time!
The area was not very “touristy”, but nearly all the locals we met spoke English. They were so friendly and welcoming, too. Every time we visit Europe I’m awed by everyone’s language skills! How do you guys do it? I feel like such a dummy for only knowing English and a tiny bit of Spanish.
If you love beautiful nature and hiking I’d definitely recommend visiting Lofoten. Maybe go a bit earlier in the summer than we did, because by late August a lot of businesses had already closed for the season. We had heard horror stories about Norway being expensive, but we found that in the Lofoten area we spent the same at restaurants and on groceries as we do at home. (Gas, on the other hand, was crazy expensive.)
Ok, picture time! This is Reine, an unbelievably gorgeous fishing village. It looks completely different depending on the weather, so we visited several times to experience its full range of loveliness. Sunny was our favorite.
Anitas Sjomat in Reine served us the best fish burgers and fish soup we had in Norway, and the restaurant welcomed guests with a wagon of terrifying (and pungent) dried fish heads out front. “Stockfisk” (dried cod) is Lofoten’s big export, and boy is it stinky. The fishermen dry it on huge wooden racks by the water all over the islands.
Haukland was my favorite beach, and the perfect picnic spot. The water was teal and clear. It was like being in the Caribbean (albeit a bit chillier—which I prefer anyway).
This is just a roadside view. Almost all the roads in Lofoten wound through unreal mountain and coastline landscapes like this. Daniel patiently pulled over every time I got the urge to photograph, love him.
One of the two stoplights we hit during our trip. The only traffic jams we came across were caused by sheep in the road.
This is Yttersand Beach. Raise your hand if you want to live in a house with a grass roof on a Scandinavian beach.
There were a few drizzly rainy days during our visit, which made the little village of Henningsvær look extra mystical.
Here’s Utakleiv Beach in all it’s rocky glory. How is this place real?
This is our Airbnb rental. We had never tried Airbnb before, and the whole experience went perfectly. We made sure to pick a rental that had lots of good reviews, and it didn’t disappoint. The house was on a small lake, and we couldn’t resist a sunset paddle one night.
I posted a handful of other Norway photos over on Instagram while we were traveling.
Mabel turned 7 last week, and Oliver’s 9th birthday is coming up, so I made them doggie cupcakes to celebrate! They were actually pretty tasty. Apple and peanut butter go so well together. I started nibbling one and would’ve eaten the whole thing, but the dogs were giving me a pitiful we-thought-those-were-for-us look.
Oliver was terrified of the birthday candles, but the scent of peanut butter was too much for him to resist!
It’s crazy how different my dogs’ personalities are. As soon as I gave them the go ahead to eat Mabel stole Oliver’s cupcake right out from under his nose, smeared it all over the floor, and began scarfing it down as quickly as possible. I scooted Mabel’s abandoned cupcake over to Oliver. He daintily ate the biscuit off the top, licked off the peanut butter icing, and carefully kept the cupcake on the plate as he ate. Love these pups.
Doggie Cupcakes Recipe:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cooking oil (or apple sauce)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons honey (optional)
1 cup shredded apple
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
additional peanut butter for frosting (optional)
dog biscuits for garnish (optional)
Whisk the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla extract, and honey together in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in the shredded apple. Sift the flour and baking soda together, then stir them into the peanut butter mixture.
Spoon the batter into a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. They won’t rise too much, so you can fill each liner to the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are browned and spring back when pressed. Cool completely.
Before serving frost the cupcakes with peanut butter and remove the cupcake liner. Garnish with a dog biscuit.
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.
My favorite grapes are in season! Have you ever had scuppernong grapes? They’re native to the southeastern US, and I can only get them this time of year. In addition to having a name that is absurdly fun to say repeatedly in funny voices, they are delicious! They taste different than standard red or green grapes. They’re more complicated somehow. They manage to be sweet, tart, and zippy all at the same time. To me they taste like wine in fruit form, since The local vineyards often wine-ify them.
The skins are very thick so I only eat the grape guts. They’re pretty tedious to eat between peeling and deseeding, but I must love fruit tedium since I’m also obsessed with pomegranates.
First I cut them all in half like so.
Then I dig out the seeds with a fingernail and pinch the bottom of each grape half while slurping the flesh directly into my mouth. It’s kinda like eating raw oysters (except not disgusting—sorry oyster lovers).
You may have noticed that my updated site is up! Now my blog pictures are so huge, it’s practically offensive. It should be easier to read/shop Wit & Whistle on your mobile phones now, and my new e-commerce system will make it simpler to find what you’re looking for in my shop. Just let me know if you notice anything that seems screwed up. I still have some tweaking I want to do, but overall it’s done. Ta-dah!