Aprons = Awesome

August 31, 2010
Question: Jessica, why do you wear an apron while cleaning the house? Does it help? Keep your clothes clean? Is there any practical reason why you wear one? Is it perhaps whenever you can find the slightest excuse?

Today we're going with the vintage pink - what can I say, I'm feeling extra girly today!
Answer: Aprons = awesome. Not only do I feel like a domestic superhero, but also like a dainty lady - and man, it's like crack to me. And since moving to WA, I'm noticing there's a lot more apron love up here...

The Red Barn Antique Show

August 30, 2010
 This past weekend we decided to take my inlaws to the Red Barn Antique show down in Cheney - and they loved it. It was kind of like a mini Farm Chicks show, with vendors, really good food, live music, and plenty of rustic farm treasures. While we strolled around we were treated to the musical stylings of the "Honeybuckets" - a group of middle aged men wearing vests and doing cover songs. Hilarious. I found a few antique aprons and some things for the shop, and tasted the most delicious lemon cookies EVER. Overall, I say it was worth driving the last 7 miles on that dusty dirt road...
The sky is so BIG up here!


August 27, 2010
 Congrats to Laura - our randomly selected winner - who won our S+P Shaker & Etsy Gift Certificate Giveaway!!! 
Thank you to everyone who entered!

My wonderful in-laws are in Spokane for the weekend, so I'm off to show them around our lovely town. Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Invitation Tutorial

August 26, 2010

I am getting so excited...La Lune Events is hosting a Harvest Celebration in September up in Hayden, Idaho...and Alisa and I have been busy planning and gathering pieces for decor, and finalizing the menu. Guests will dine on an al fresco menu straight from Alisa's garden - think pesto, beet & goat cheese salad, roasted vegetable, raw kale salad...plus some pasta yumminess, fresh baked bread, and individual home-baked pies in short little mason jars. With a guestlist of about 30, we are going to be busy!!

Yesterday we finalized and sent out our invitations. Yikes, it felt like these suckers did not want to be sent out. One thing after another...but finally they came together, and look pretty good if I do say so myself! They were actually pretty easy, so I thought I'd put together a little tutorial for those of you who like to throw parties and make your own invites. 

Check them out after the jump!


Happy Birthday Dad

This is one of my favourites from our wedding - we kept joking that Dad was going to fall down those stairs...

Today would be my dad's 52nd birthday. And although he passed away a few years ago, we're still celebrating and remembering his hilarious storytelling, goofy laugh, and great personality.There is no one else in the world that could make you laugh like Dad could - no one weirder - no one more intent on being creative and loving - there is no one else like him. Happy Birthday Dad! We all miss you.

The Guest Bed Debacle

August 25, 2010
 So as you know from my previous post on entertaining house guests, we are welcoming Mom and Pop Roy up to Spokane for a long weekend visit. We are so excited - taking them to our favorite spots, going on scenic walks through the park, introducing them to drinking chocolate (!!!) - it's going to be a blast. In preparation for this visit, it was of paramount importance to get the guest room in order. I should say that the guest room is really Matthew's office, but we've adjusted and made room for a nice comfy bed. After hunting down acceptable mattress and boxspring, it was on to the bed frame. Normally this wouldn't be hard for us - the frames at Ikea are pretty good, affordable, and they've got some great designs out right now. 

Then it hit us: we're not in Kansas Sacramento anymore. Long gone are the days when we could spend a Sunday afternoon leisurely strolling the halls of Ikea....we're in Spokane now. And the nearest Ikea is 5+ hours to the West. (Yet another reason to LOVE Seattle.)

Plan B: Craigslist. I'm almost as happy hunting down treasures on Craigslist than trolling through Ikea - I've found some amazing pieces...and a lot of them in the FREE section. One man's trash is another man's....well, I was hoping for bed frame. No luck. But I did find one for $20. Success! 

Or so I thought. 

It broke. I could tell the story...but I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate the use of that many expletives. 

Back to Craigslist - this time we found an even better frame - solid oak, that once I paint white will be splendid! I get it home, drag it into the office, set it up with Matthew, and realize..........WHAT THE?!?!

The bed frame is long. Too long. Like fall-into-the-dark-pit-at-the-end-of-the-bed kind of long. 

At this point I almost cried. But lately our motto has been "You just have to laugh." So we did just that. We laid on our backs and just laughed. After some careful maneuvering, we've got it to where we won't lose the in-laws in the dark pit of despair, and with some cute sheets and pillows - I actually quite like it. 
Moral of the story: never underestimate the insanity that is the Guest Bed!

*** Don't forget to enter our GIVEAWAY! which ends tomorrow!***


All grown up - It's Giveaway Time!

August 23, 2010
Well folks, we're growing up over here at Roy Joy.
It's time for our first GIVEAWAY!
One lucky winner will receive this pair of Vintage Porcelain Salt & Pepper Shakers and a $10 Gift Certificate to the Roy Joy Etsy shop

How does one enter, you may ask?

For one entry: leave a comment on this post.
For two entries: leave a comment, become a follower.
For three entries: leave a comment, become a follower, 
feature this giveaway on your own blog (or if you're blogless, Facebook will do.)
{Be sure to leave a comment to let me know you have done so!}

If you're already a follower...and still want three entries: leave a comment, feature on your own blog, and post on Facebook!

You have until this Thursday, August 26 by 8 p.m. to enter. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday morning. 
(Because everyone likes a little present to celebrate the end of the work week, right?)

Good Luck!


August 22, 2010


I love having house guests. Fun dinners, late night talks, culinary adventures, photo shoots, nostalgic storytelling, laughing so hard your abs ache...I just love it. 
As I contemplate welcoming my in-laws this weekend for the first time in our new home, it makes me think of how house guests serve another purpose: they make me get my act together. 

If it weren't for house guests... 

....The piles of unorganized papers, magazines, and other random bits would still be sitting on the dining room table....

....The art room would still have a layer of projects/thread/scissors/tape/fabric swatches/?!?/ etc.covering all horizontal surfaces....

....I'd convince myself that the floors could go another day without cleaning....or sweeping....

....We would eat cereal for dinner....again....

I better stop there. 

Yay for family coming to visit!!!

Chicken Tamales

August 19, 2010
I was hit with the urge to make tamales the other day - and have such fond memories of the last time I made them with some CA friends from work. This time it was just Matthew and I, but it didn't take us long to make a huge pile for the freezer. We decided to use a pretty basic recipe, and add embellishments with each meal (i.e. different sauces, cheese, garnishes, etc.)

Green Chile Chicken Tamales
(Makes one batch of Tamales; we ended up making 4 batches and yielded around 35 tamales - it just depends how big you make them.)

Corn Husks
2 C Masa Flour
2/3 C Butter, melted
2 C Chicken Broth

6 Chicken Breasts 
2 Cans Chopped Green Chiles
2 Yellow Onions, quartered
3 Garlic Cloves
A few dashes of Salt & Pepper
Dash of Red Pepper flakes
1 large can of Green Enchilada Sauce

The night before you plan to make the tamales:
Soak the corn husks in cold water overnight so that they become pliable and easy to fold. Put the chicken, green chilies, onions, garlic cloves, and spices in a crock pot. Fill the crock pot with cold water straight to the top - leaving a couple inches of room. Cook on low overnight. In the morning remove the chicken and shred. Set aside. Use and immersion blender to blend the chicken broth and make sure the onions, etc. are well incorporated.

When you're ready to make the tamales: 

To make the masa: 
Combine the masa flour and prepared chicken stock in a medium mixing bowl. Do not overmix. Add melted butter and mix until just combined. I did this with my hands instead of a big spoon, etc.

To make the filling:
Combine shredded chicken with a bit of the chicken broth - just to slightly moisten the mixture. I also had a can of green enchilada sauce on hand, so I mixed a bit of that in as well. I did not add cheese, as I wanted to keep the tamales very basic.

To assemble the tamales: 
Take a corn husk and flatten it on your surface. Take a small palmful of the masa mixture and spread it onto the husk. Think more right to left than up and down. 
 Add a bit of filling. Make sure that the masa is smooth and that the filling is evenly spread. (This is to avoid a mouthful of masa with no chicken...with is not that great.) Fold the right side in, then the bottom up, then the left side over. Tie each tamale with a strip of corn husk to secure it together. I like to tie it in two places - top and bottom - just o make sure it stays together during steaming.
 Once you've got a pile of tamales, steam them for aprox 30 minutes, or until the masa easily pulls away from the corn husk. Make sure that you place the tamales standing up in the steamer - so your filling, etc. doesn't ooze out.
Once steamed, top with your favorites and enjoy!

The Golden Couch & Fish Lake

August 18, 2010
12:14 p.m.
 Call from Matthew - "Did you get my text message?" I have not. Wait for text to arrive. See a picture of a fabulously vintage golden yellow Baldwin-style couch. Heart rate increases. Best part - the huge FREE sign. 

12:15 p.m. 
Call Matthew back - Yes, yes, yes, yes I want it. He wins Husband of The Year award for finding this beauty. Can it fit in the back of the truck?! He'll call me back.

12:17 p.m.
Well it would...except we still have the full sized boxspring we just purchased off craigslist - in the back of the truck. My screams are heard across the land - Nooooooooooooooooooo! "Don't worry" he tells me. He'll drive the 30 minutes home from EWU, pick me up and drop the boxspring in the garage, and then we'll go pick it up together. HUSBAND OF THE YEAR. 

2:00 p.m. 
After lunch, we depart for Cheney - to see if the magnificent yellow couch is still there!

2:35 p.m.
IT"S STILL THERE! Quick - put it in the truck before someone else takes it!


Post yellow couch extravaganza, we decided to stop by Fish Lake - a beautiful little spot complete with lily pads, willows, and a sandy beach. Numi went wild! 


Tuesday Joys

August 17, 2010
 Colored pencils in clear glass

 Summertime iced coffee in a mason jar

 A sweet card from a happy Etsy customer! I was so surprised to get it - totally made my week.

Vintage suitcases - to be added to the shop soon!

Making white bean, sausage and kale soup with Alisa. Our freezer is officially stuffed.

My crazy excited husband - tomorrow he meets with his Graduate adviser to discuss the fall quarter.


An Abundance

August 11, 2010
  "She belongs among the wildflowers, she belongs somewhere she feels free." 
-The Time Traveler's Wife 

Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the morning berry picking with MR - up in the lovely farmland of Greenbluff. As we drove NE out of Spokane, the clouds kept getting bigger, the mountains rose up, and suddenly we were hit with the shining beauty of golden wheat fields, orchards bursting with fruit, and more blue sky than you can imagine.

A left turn on a dirt road led us to Knapp's Farm - a quaint and beautiful farm on top of a mountain, drenched in sunshine and awaiting our berry picking baskets. After meeting the owners we were driven out to the far end of the berry crop, and there began out hunt.
 We started off with Tayberries (a blackberry/raspberry hybrid), then found a few (albeit tiny) black raspberries, and then finally the good old red raspberries themselves. After two hours of employing the "MR Method" - kneeling on the ground and looking up, under the bushes in order to find the best berries - we hauled our buckets back to the scales, hands stained purple and big smiles on both of our faces.

 I can't tell you the feeling I got up there on that mountain - free, up in the air, connecting with nature, partaking in the bounty of the crop. I could have spent an entire day up there...the air seemed clearer, cleaner, and the sunshine felt better. I think we got something like 8 pounds of berries, but I'm ready to go back. Had we not been surrounded by other berry-enthusiasts, I probably would have twirled around singing "the hills are alive" a la Julie Andrews.

Upon returning home we were faced with the reality of 8 pounds of berries. So I decided to make another batch of jam, and then flash froze a tray full to help us beat the dullness of winter. This morning we made whole wheat raspberry waffles and we've been snacking on berries since.

Have we had enough?  Well, I suppose I could take a break from berries...but peaches will be ready for the picking in a couple weeks...and I can only imagine the poundage we'll gather from that trip.

Can you tell that I love living in Washington?!