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hello there.

Well, whaddya wanna know?  Here's the plain and simple truth:  My name is Rebekah Tennis and I love design.  I love paper, the way it feels, its weight and texture.  I love extra special touches on little things: homemade tags on gift-wrap, old stamps on an envelope, and twine on nearly everything.

My husband, business partner and all-around solid rock Matt would probably tell you that he likes tools - lots of 'em, finding the perfect way to do something, taking things apart, and precision in everything. 

So you might as well have guessed by now... we are the perfect match for an old letterpress studio. Together we farm rice and have three adorable and active boys ages 5 and under.  This keeps us fairly busy, but whenever we have a spare moment, we crank up our 102 year old Chandler and Price platen press and pull some prints, or whip out a card line on the Heidelberg. 

There's more, oh yes, there IS more - but that's what this blog is for.  Take a look around, get to know us, our great town of Chico, California and our beautiful presses.

a little cottage ranch kitchen.

Here it is at long last… the before-and-after shots of my parent’s little cottage kitchen remodel!

If you recall, my parents moved to Chico and bought a tiny ranch fixer-upper on a roomy acre. I first shared with you the inspiration for the kitchen remodel (which I was privileged to design and shop for) back in January 2013. Yes, that’s a long time ago. Don’t judge. Then, in late November I showed you the front of the house, and last week the magnificent backyard. So, now, are you ready for the kitchen?

To refresh your memory, this is the before:

cottage-style ranch kitchen: before

This kitchen is teeny-tiny, and given the 1100 square feet total in the home, that part wasn’t about to change. We were working with the space that we had. But we hoped we could make it function a lot better and have it be much prettier!

Here is the original mood board:

cottage kitchen mood board

So, how did it turn out?

Without further ado…

cottage-style ranch kitchen: after

A cozy yellow-and-white galley kitchen.

As you can see, in the before, a water heater cabinet took up a significant amount of the kitchen space (and storage):

cottage-style ranch kitchen: before

Nope, that’s not a pantry folks. Just a water-heater closet. Solution? Moving the heater to the garage, and freeing up a bunch of cupboard and counter space.

cottage-style ranch kitchen: after

On the other side, the wall oven on the left (which was teeny-tiny at 24 inches) took up a significant amount of valued cupboard/counter space as well. And, the kitchen wasn’t utilizing its whole space – see that 30″ bit of bare space on the right until the window? (We had to stop the cabinets at the window as the counters are higher than the window frame).

cottage-style ranch kitchen: before

Well, we moved the oven into an all in one unit with cooktop (upgraded to gas!) and situated the fridge into the bare space… creating a work triangle of sink, oven and fridge:

cottage-style ranch kitchen: after

Here’s the small cooktop and non-functioning microwave:

cottage-style ranch kitchen: before

And the new gas range with butcher block counters flanking…

cottage-style ranch kitchen: after

On the other side, the sink area felt dark, and the single sink was tiny and very shallow:cottage-style ranch kitchen: before

The deep double farmhouse sink and glass cabinets lighten and brighten the space so much:

cottage-style ranch kitchen: after

Here are more bits and pieces:

cottage-style ranch kitchen: bits and pieces

Glass-front cabinets flank the sink, kitchen towels and artwork hang on the galley wall.

They used the extra piece of butcher block to top a table under the other window… adding more farm-style counter space to the room.

ccottage-style ranch kitchen: view

Mom sewed the curtains out of painter’s drop cloths (a very affordable way to go).

Close up of the penny tile and butcher block (oranges from the navel tree in the backyard):

cottage-style ranch kitchen: yellow penny tile

And a last little far away shot of the whole room:

cottage-style ranch kitchen: after

This remodel was done on a tight budget, but it was not diy (they hired contractors to complete each step). Here is a brief run down of resources (since I’m sure you’ll ask!):

Cabinets: Ikea (Lidingo)

Countertop: Ikea Numerar Butcherblock (Oak)

Backsplash: Merola Penny Tile Round Vintage Yellow (from Hope Depot)

Over the sink light fixture: Home Depot

Gas Range: Frigidaire Gallery with Convection

Farmhouse Sink: Ikea Domsjo Double Bowl

Faucet: Danze Pull Down Kitchen Faucet, Single hole in Chrome

Flooring: Oak strip, to match existing living room floor

Hardware: Pulls (Amerock Retro pull in satin nickel) Knobs (Amerock Inspirations knob, satin nickel)

That’s about it! A new kitchen, that is simple sweet and cheery (and came in under budget, as well!).

Up ahead: the living room, dining room and hall bath got a little refresh as well! { the month of january }


{ a couple of snowy runs up at the cabin over new year’s. so cold and yet delightful. }


{ we surprised Cameron with his first ever trip to Disneyland, where he:  }


{ …fought and bested Darth Vader… }


{ …ate with the critters… and generally had an awesome time. I can’t wait to take the littles when they get older! }


{ tulips, because in my heart it’s spring. or I’d settle for raining, at least! }


{ farm fresh eggs from my parent’s backyard coop – what do you think that gigantor will yield? }


{ yup, two perfect yolks. }


{ speaking of eggs, here are my three very favorite morning things, aside from my early workout: crossword, salad scramble, and coffee. If you had told me this two years ago, I would have said you were crazy. completely crazy. back then I didn’t even eat breakfast! }


{ so, so, so, so, SO glad to be over the nasty pink eye. look, the whites of my eyes! oh how I missed you! }


{ it’s that time of the year again… NSS design time! the wheels are turning and new cards await. }

Catch me tomorrow for the big cottage KITCHEN REVEAL!

sweet potato chickpea tagine.


Popping in here with a quick recipe. I’ve been totally crushing on tagines lately! Perhaps it’s the winter weather (no that can’t be it, because we haven’t been having any), perhaps it’s the abundance of root vegetables at the farmer’s market (likely) or maybe just that cozy soup/stew feeling you want to have as the days are dark early and the nights set in cold. Regardless, Moroccan-influenced cuisine fills that spot perfectly.

This recipe is a corruption of true Moroccan cooking. With a tagine stew, I use what I have on hand, so the ingredients vary greatly. Also, I have an adorable tagine pot (similar to this one) which I have used on a number of occasions to cook the stuff, but now, with four strapping men that eat around here (seriously, those littles can EAT!), I cook this in my big cast iron number on the stove. Any pot would work.

I like to roast my vegetables. When the kids get up from nap, as we settle into the evenings activities, I chop up whatever root/squash/vegetable I’m using, toss it with a little olive or coconut oil, and put the tray in the oven for 20 minutes. It’s easy, takes no time at all, and I can always find a use for those vegetables in my dinner prep, or the next day. Roasted sweet potatoes? Delicious. Roasted butternut? Check. And don’t get me started on roasted broccoli and cauliflower…. yum.

So, you could skip the roasting part (the sweet potatoes will cook in the stew if you do), or you can roast them and add their sweet charriness and crunchy but soft texture right at the end of cooking the dish. That is what I recommend.


I apologize that I don’t have any process photos for this recipe. Like I said, it was a last minute idea, as I ate leftovers for lunch the next day, to post this recipe.


This stuff is good, folks!! And pretty fool-proof too.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Tagine

3-4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp (at least) Garam Masala spice (or a blend of your own spices: cloves, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper – you can and/or whatever you have on hand)

1 14 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

2  14 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice (or fresh if they’re in season)

1/2 or 1 14 oz can coconut milk (I know this doesn’t sound very moroccan, I’ll explain later)

3/4 cup Dried Apricots, chopped (or raisins if you don’t have these)

Fistful of fresh cilantro

Slivered Almonds

Cubed cooked chicken thighs (if you have a meat-eater who can’t tolerate the idea of vegan food)

Toss the sweet potatoes in coconut oil (my favorite) or olive oil  and roast in a 450° F oven, for about 15-20 minutes. Meantime, sauté the onion in a little olive oil until soft, then add the garlic and spices and let it get very aromatic (if you were cooking or adding raw chicken you could do so here and brown it completely). Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and coconut milk, bring it to a simmer. Add the dried apricots and cilantro, season to taste. Garnish with slivered almonds and cilantro, and serve with basmati rice or couscous, or by its delicious self!!

*A note on the coconut milk – I used it because I was out of vegetable broth (the normal liquid ingredient) and it delighted me with it’s light creaminess and curry-like qualities. So, I recommend it. This is all fusion food anyway! :)

The substitutions are endless – don’t have sweet potato? Try butternut squash (yum) or parsnips. Out of Apricots? Any dried fruit will work, although maybe not pineapple. Parsley for cilantro, add other veggies, the possibilities abound with your imagination. Mediterranean olives are an excellent addition.

What food are you crushing on right now? I’d love to hear your current go-to recipes!


a little cottage ranch backyard.

Here it is! The beginning of the rest of the roll-out of my parent’s little cottage ranch makeover. Remember I shared with you the front of the house and yard way back when? Remember the original inspiration/moodboard?

Well, I thought I would walk you around to the backyard today. The grounds of this place are really what make the property fantastic. It’s a modest small little home on a long acre – an acre which my parents decided to use and refresh every inch of. You’ll see what I mean. Let’s take a look!

This is looking out from the back patio, before:


You can’t see back very far because there are a lot of scrubby bushes and a no-longer-in-use dog-run blocking the rest of the lot.

Here is the same space after (shot in November):


They added wisteria to the trellis, removed the broken lattice top and generally cleared EVERYTHING but the trees out.

Another before:


And after:


Doesn’t the yard look huge in comparison?

There’s a little storage shed in the backyard…


Which got some new siding, a new door and a fresh coat of paint:


What a difference a door makes…


This jungle-y area is the to the right of the shed:


Which now is much more hospitable:


You couldn’t even see the birch in the “before” shot, but if you look hard, you’ll find it hiding in the back corner, being swallowed alive by bushes. ;)

But I haven’t shown you the best part! The back-backyard. I don’t have any “before” photos of this area, but trust me, there was nothing back there. Nothing fantastic, anyway.

Here under the shady redwoods is a barbecue area:


And a treehouse for the grandkids (built of salvaged wood from a scrap building in the backyard):


They’ve kept it intentionally short and simple as my kids are very young – but it can expand and add on as they grow!

From that barbecue area, here’s the view back to the house:


Croquet, anyone?

Head even further back, and you will find my parent’s pride and joy:


The garden. You should have seen it in the peak of summer!

Bean poles…



Artichokes and other perennial plants…


The back fence which they added in (there’s an almond orchard behind them):


And, on the left, a chicken coop that they built reusing the dog run and the lattice from other parts of the yard:

cottage_backyard_after_9Pretty cute, right?

There’s also a little potting shed at the end of the chicken run…


And here are the chickens strutting their stuff…


Since they transplanted out the misplaced rooster, it’s been a lot more peaceful around the coop. ;)

I think that’s just about it, but here, we can head on back to the house:


Inside coming soon. I promise. :) { the month of december }

Please excuse the blog silence. I’ve been trying not to beat myself up about it! So many things have been happening (along with many sicknesses) and sometimes, just sometimes, the internet world and the real world do not get to collide for a while.

But!! If you’ve stuck with me, thank you. I’ve had an amazing month of designing new cards, hiring another printer in our studio(!) and keeping up on goals and ideas. In fact, I HAVE processed all the images of my parent’s cottage remodel and have scheduled to share them with you next week. Thanks to all of you who inquired and stayed on me about that! I’m glad you want to see them!

Meantime, here’s a short weekend photodump. December, actually (if you can even remember that long ago!)

It started with a tree….


{ When you have a really tall tree, string the lights on while it’s on its side. Much, much easier. }


{ The finished tree. Tada! About as good as it got for Christmas decor photos this year. }


{ Lettering on the window of our studio for holiday open hours. Yes it was cold, but it hasn’t been cold since! Sadly. }


{ At the open studio. All of our open house events were a blast! }


{ I rearranged the furniture in the living room. Not sure if it will stay this way! }


{ Cameron and I are very, very goofy. Him always, me sometimes. }


{ We printed the *very* limited edition beer label for Sierra Nevada(!) Matt had me not share it with you because they hadn’t  officially released it yet, but the minute they released it, it was gone!!! Sold out!! Le sigh. }


{ the PhotoPolymer for said label. }

{ Printing demostrations. }


{ A three-boy cuddle! They are growing up fast. }


{ A letterpress-inspired wine label. Printed via thermography. You get the irony. }


{ Of all my children, this one is the grinniest. :) }


{ Lastly – double pink-eye from Christmas to New Year’s stinks the big time! I’d to thank my children for being virtual petri dishes of disease. }

That’s it, folks! Stay tune monday for the big cottage garden before/after reveal!!

{ happy 2014 }

Hello friends – happy January 1st!

We here at Wild Ink Press and the Tennis clan (lets face it, our letterpress studio is a full family business!) wish you the best and the brightest for 2014.


As we tuck into our new year’s goals and resolutions (I LOVE resolutions, by the way! more on that later), we hope you join us for another year of letterpress, home projects, family, and randomness here on the blog. It promises to continue to be the roller coaster ride we know and love here at Casa Tennis.

I thought I’d share a couple of pictures of my boys, as they are growing so fast (taken by my uber-talented friend Stella at Eikon Photography):


Cameron, now six, can’t make a real smile on command for the life of him. This is the closest we’re going to get until he’s 20, I’m afraid. His New Year’s resolutions are to read books on his own and to be able to build tough lego kits.


Lance Parker (which we often call him to delineate between him and his grandad), is three and a half. We also call him “grinny”, because this seems to sum up his personality. His goal is to dress himself, all the way down to the toughest of button holes, and to spend as much time with mommy in the kitchen as possible.


Eric Kip is two and a half and is just as solid and jovial and fearless of a guy as he looks. He is not remotely intimidated by his big brothers, and loves to keep up with the pack. His resolutions (crafted by mommy, of course) include going on the potty only and learning to sleep in a big boy bed so he can finally move in with his brothers! Party in the boy’s room!


Matt and I took a photo almost exactly like this 12 years ago, as we were on the verge of becoming engaged. It was minus the inquisitive child of course. ;) Nowadays you can’t even take an anniversary picture without some kid rushing into the frame! Happy interruptions.

Our big 2014 goals? Train a new printer. Take more hikes. Do more letterpress, more farming, and more in our church and community. Go on more hot dates!

What are your goals for the new year? Are you excited for new beginnings? I’d love to hear about it!

Wishing you a beautiful and enriching New Year.