Form submitted successfully, thank you.

Error submitting form, please try again.

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: all the rest.

Wrapping up the last of my parent’s remodel here – I thought I would give you a brief peek at the rest of the house.

The living room was a small, low ceiling room with original wood floors, dingy white walls and some nice mid-century modern furniture (which wasn’t staying, as it belonged to previous owners). Oh, and no overhead lighting whatsoever.

cottage_livingroom_before_2

cottage_livingroom_before_1

My parents painted it a pale yellow (are you sensing a theme here yet?) and bought some built-ins and a couch from ikea to keep it fresh and simple:

cottage_livingroom_after_2

cottage_livingroom_after_1

The couch was originally white, but they ended up having to get a denim slipcover because they just couldn’t handle the dirt/dust any longer (living by orchards can be quite dusty). So we decided to roll with it, and assembled a ship/ocean gallery wall behind the sofa. The huge oil in the middle? They picked it up down the street at a yard sale for 20 bucks. That frame alone is worth the price of admission…

They plan to refinish the coffee table (also a garage sale find), and I am still trying to convince my dad to let me paint that ceiling fan white…

The paintings were collected over time – a watercolor from the Paris flea (we brought that back from our trip in 2009 – they watched Cam the whole trip), an oil from the Philippines, paintings by friends, etc.cottage_livingroom_after_4

The dresser my mom also picked up for a steal: I love the marble top (surprise surprise) and wood patina:

cottage_livingroom_after_3

The wing chairs are from Pier 1 (like this but in blue), their scale is small, which is good for a small room:

cottage_livingroom_after_5

Next up, the dining room! Here is the before, it was acting as a sort of den:

cottage_diningroom_before_1

And here is the after:

cottage_diningroom_after_1

Including a shot of it set up for thanksgiving dinner (20 people!):

cottage_diningroom_after_5

The fireplace is in the dining room:

cottage_diningroom_before_2

They simple painted the built-ins and removed the upper shelving:

cottage_diningroom_after_2

A little arranging by color:

cottage_diningroom_after_3

And mantle prettying:

cottage_diningroom_after_4

And, done!

Finally, I have some shots of the hall bathroom.

cottage_bathroom_before_1

Too small a room to easily capture in one shot.

cottage_bathroom_before_2

Old linoleum, old glass shower door, cultured marble.

To keep the costs down on this, they simply replaced the old vinyl with hexagon floor tile, replaced the mirror and fixtures and painted the vanity and walls.

cottage_bathroom_after_4

cottage_bathroom_after_2cottage_bathroom_after_3

And in my opinion, a new toilet (or at least toilet seat!) is always very, very important.

That’s the last of my parent’s little cottage ranch makeover! Thanks for playing along! If you want to catch up, you can read more on the original inspiration, the front of the house, the amazing backyard, and the kitchen remodel.

Hope you’re having a great week!

 

valentine’s night in.

Happy Valentine’s day, friends! More importantly, happy Friday! Do you have big plans for the night/weekend?

Matt and I love to eschew traditional Valentine responsibilities (no big dinner out, no expectations of a romantic gift, simple fresh grower’s bunch of grocery store flowers, etc). We skip the pressure, the baby sitter $$$ (if your sitter is even available on a night like this), and the general fever. Instead, we put our kids to bed a bit early (after a fun kid dinner and movie) and cooks ourselves a royally awesome meal right at home. It’s crazy fun, and you can splurge on excellent ingredients, light some candles, put on jazz or mood music, and sink into a romantic night at home.

IMG_1415

Here is last year’s dinner that we made…

IMG_1417

Filet Mignon with herbed butter, roasted truffle potatoes, roasted broccoli, balsamic glaze.

Just to be geeky about it, I made a little movie from a video clip that Matt took last year. I’m embarrassed by my chubby (but clean) hands all through the video, but I’m showing you anyway!! It’s a fun way to show that special restaurant-style plating (stack that food up high! Include an herbed butter and a plating glaze!) can elevate a meal to the next level and make it super special.

Plus, I’m feeling sentimental and I love this song (sung by my favorite Maude Maggart):

Tonight’s menu? We picked up two small lobster tails from Trader Joes, and I’m planning to make a filet/lobster surf and turf with bearnaise sauce and creamed spinach.

Hope you have a delightful evening!

If you’re spending it alone, I hope you will enjoy a fun movie, good book and the most delicious take-out you can possibly imagine. Hugs and love all around!

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!

 

 

instagr.am { the month of january }

IMG_1979

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

IMG_1988

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

IMG_2001

{ …fought and bested Darth Vader… }

IMG_1998

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

IMG_2017

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

IMG_2023

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

IMG_2024

{ yup, two perfect yolks. }

IMG_1982

{ 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! }

IMG_2018

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

IMG_2025

{ 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.

sweet_potato_tagine_1

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.

sweet_potato_tagine_2

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.

sweet_potato_tagine_3

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:

cottage_backyard_before_6

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):

cottage_backyard_after_17

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

Another before:

cottage_backyard_before_5

And after:

cottage_backyard_after_16

Doesn’t the yard look huge in comparison?

There’s a little storage shed in the backyard…

cottage_backyard_before_1

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

cottage_backyard_after_1

What a difference a door makes…

cottage_backyard_after_2

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

cottage_backyard_before_4

Which now is much more hospitable:

cottage_backyard_after_4

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:

cottage_backyard_after_14

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

cottage_backyard_after_13

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:

cottage_backyard_after_15

Croquet, anyone?

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

cottage_backyard_after_5

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

Bean poles…

cottage_backyard_after_7

cottage_backyard_after_6

Artichokes and other perennial plants…

cottage_backyard_after_8

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

cottage_backyard_after_12

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…

cottage_backyard_after_10

And here are the chickens strutting their stuff…

cottage_backyard_after_11

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:

cottage_backyard_after_3

Inside coming soon. I promise. :)