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DIY, Home, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Spring, Summer

How to Mount and Care For a Staghorn Fern

Crafts and a Cat | How to Mount and Care For a Staghorn Fern by Kayleigh Kosmas

When it comes to home decorating, I’m a “less is more” kind of person. Maybe it’s due to having moved three times in two years and wondering, as I pack and unpack endless boxes of stuff, “why do we even have this!?” So in an effort to streamline, we’ve pared down on our possessions in the last couple years. Then earlier this month, we moved from a 500-square foot apartment to an 800-square foot one and found we had a shortage of things to fill it with.

Enter plants! I love how houseplants make a room feel instantly brighter and more homey. Unlike most decor items that add clutter but no utility to a room, plants are functional. They purify the air and are even said to improve focus, reduce stress and promote well-being. I’m not sure of the science behind some of those benefits, but having something green in every room makes me feel happy, and that’s reason enough for me to have lots of them around.

Crafts and a Cat | How to Mount and Care For a Staghorn Fern and Bisou the Cat by Kayleigh Kosmas

I picked up this staghorn fern for our bedroom, where it basks all day in bright, filtered light. Like air plants, staghorn ferns are epiphytic, meaning they grow on the surface of other plants rather than in the ground, and absorb moisture and nutrients through their fronds. Because of their shallow, rot-prone root systems, staghorn ferns kept as houseplants don’t do well in potting soil. Instead, a staghorn fern should be mounted on a plaque, which mimics its natural environment and doubles as a truly impressive art piece!

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Dessert, Food & Drink, Seasonal, Summer

Blueberry Mascarpone Tart with a Rosemary Crust

Crafts and a Cat | Blueberry mascarpone tart with a rosemary crust by Kayleigh Kosmas
Growing up, I had a major sweet tooth. I was caught more than once hoarding chocolate in my bedroom and it’s a wonder it took me until this year to get my first cavity. Now though, I have less of a taste for cloyingly sugary desserts and instead favor more balanced sweets, like this tart that’s filled with a creamy mascarpone custard, lined with a golden crust with a hint of rosemary, and topped with fresh berries. This tart is a great choice for entertaining since the fresh fruit makes it light enough to enjoy after a big meal. Plus, it can be made in advance and will keep well in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. There’s nothing wrong with making it just because, too! That’s what I did, and between P and me, it didn’t last more than a couple days.

Crafts and a Cat | Blueberry mascarpone tart with a rosemary crust by Kayleigh Kosmas

My favorite part of this recipe is that while it will look and taste really impressive, it’s actually very accessible. Any home baker can make it, no special bakeware or obscure ingredients necessary. Don’t have a tart pan? Bake it in a casserole dish! Don’t have a rolling pin? Neither do I, and I’m here to say a floured wine bottle works just fine. If you don’t like blueberries, you can swap them for strawberries, or raspberries, or sliced peaches or mangos. And once the recipe is broken down into a few steps, it’s pretty easy to make, too. Okay, now that you’re ready to make your very own fresh fruit tart (yes, YOU!), let’s dig in. Continue Reading

Cats, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Summer

Homemade Blueberry Chicken Cat Treats

Crafts and a Cat | Bisou Eats Homemade Blueberry Chicken Cat Treats by Kayleigh Kosmas

The combination of starting my garden late and the unseasonably cool weather we’ve had has meant most of my veggies are a little behind schedule. I have several tomatoes and a few peppers on each plant, but no signs of ripening yet. The same goes for my strawberries, which are still decidedly green. I’m hoping we’ll start to get some summer warmth (maybe by August?) to coax the garden along, but in the meantime there are plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to be plucked from their vines beyond my backyard!

Crafts and a Cat | Blueberry Picking by Kayleigh Kosmas

We ventured outside of Portland this week to visit Sauvie Island, a picturesque farming community just north of the city. I visited the island’s pumpkin patch on class field trips most years as a kid, and never realized just how much there is beyond the pumpkin fields! P and I had visited an organic farm on the island for fall squash a couple years back and decided to see what we could find there in the summer season. Luckily for us, blueberry season was in full swing! We grabbed some buckets, headed out to the fields, and tried not to go overboard. In the end we hauled about four pounds of berries home. I didn’t have the mascarpone on hand I needed for the fresh blueberry and mascarpone tart I’ll share with you later, so I decided to make something for Bisou first. Did you know cats can eat blueberries? They were an ingredient in a dry food Bisou used to eat, so I decided to try including them in some homemade cat treats.

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Cats, Home, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Spring, Summer

Homegrown Cat Grass

Crafts and a Cat | Homegrown Cat Grass and Bisou the Cat by Kayleigh Kosmas
Hello there, world! We’re in the middle of summer (a mostly cool and rainy summer here in Portland, but we’ll take what we can get). It’s a season where we’re lucky to enjoy bountiful fresh produce at farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and even from our own backyards. Most of the year, a lot of the fruits and vegetables we buy at the store are picked when they’re green, shipped hundreds of miles, and end up mealy and bland by the time they end up on our plates. But then summer comes, and that first fresh tomato slice or juicy bite of strawberry is a revelation! In my opinion, summer’s fresh produce taste even better when you’ve grown it yourself, because you know how much hard work went into sprouting each seed, nurturing the baby plants and harvesting your rewards. Why would anyone want a store bought tomato when they could have one plucked ripe from the vine?


Of course, apartment living can really put a damper on one’s dreams of cultivating rows of heirloom veggie. So up until this summer, our gardening has been limited to a couple tomato and pepper plants on a balcony, where they’ve survived, but haven’t exactly thrived. Then a couple weeks ago, we moved into an apartment that has an actual backyard. Anticipating the move, I started dozens of seeds a couple months back – heirloom tomatoes, peppers, a miniature melon! – which are now growing happily in raised beds the previous tenant left behind. Our seedlings went into the ground late, but I’m hoping for a long season that will yield at least a little backyard produce.

Crafts and a Cat | Homegrown Cat Grass and Bisou the Cat by Kayleigh Kosmas

Since I was on a gardening kick, and watching tomato plants grow in 60 degree weather is about as entertaining as watching paint dry, I decided to try my hand at an indoor gardening project with a super fast turnaround time. Added bonus: unlike our outside gardening ventures, this was one our cat, Bisou, would enjoy as much as I would. And so I picked up a packet of cat grass seeds, aka oats, filled a shallow pot with all purpose soil, and got planting! I made sure to use an organic potting soil (since Bisou would be eating the grass), and one without any manure (because…well, I don’t want manure in the apartment). I distributed the seeds, laying them sideways on the surface of the soil, and close enough that they were almost touching each other. Putting them this close together ensures a uniform, dense patch of kitty grass. I sprinkled a shallow layer of soil over the seeds to just cover them, spritzed everything with water, then set on the kitchen counter in bright, indirect light. Continue Reading