Not Martha

more tiny kitchen storage

I needed a place to hang some kitchen utensils but I didn’t have any space in my kitchen except for the side of the cabinet next to the sink. Trouble was I couldn’t find any bars short enough for the 11-inch depth of the cabinet. I spent way too long thinking up the obvious answer: use a cabinet handle instead. (Since they attach from a screw from the inside of the cabinet* the handle would’t work as a solution for a wall.)

Note: This is obviously not something you would do to kitchen cabinets you like a lot as it will leave rather large holes. I do not love my cabinets.

I wanted to use hooks that wouldn’t fall off the bars (hooks shaped like an upside down 6 instead of an S) so I had to choose a handle the hooks could slide on to. I bought 9-inch Attest handles from Ikea and Grundtal hooks that you can find in the bath section of Ikea (they fit the Grundtal kitchen stuff as well).

The only thing I took care about was to make sure the lower bar was set high enough so that the things I hung there wouldn’t hang down past the bottom of the cabinet. We transfer dirty dishes from that side, through the sink and to the dishwasher or dish drainer on the left side of the sink and I could foresee becoming frustrated by knocking into the tips of the kitchen tongs if they hung too low. I was afraid my kitchen might look cluttered with even more stuff hanging out in the open, but so far it simply looks cheerful.

* I had to take some time to make that not sound naughty, I mean, the easiest way to say that is that they attach by a screw from behind. You know?

· comments [35] · 08-16-2007 · categories:the home ·

for·tu·itous

for·tu·itous

1 : occurring by chance
2 a : coming or happening by a lucky chance
2 b : Having in your possesion both The Baker’s Edge pan and David Lebovitz’s lovely, skinny The Great Book of Chocolate which just happens to contain a brownie recipe adapted from that of Katherine Hepburn.


The recipe was simple and oh so pleasurable to make. Did I tell you this is the first time I’ve made brownies? I finally get why they are a favorite to make for bake sales and picnics. So easy, and so loved by those eating them.


It looks like lava, delicious lava.


It came out all in one piece! Also: M for Megan. Or Mine, all mine.


It’s like having dotted lines to follow.


Each piece was perfect.

The Baker’s Edge pan was so nice and sturdy and very easy to clean. I used a wee spritz of Baker’s Joy and the entire pan of brownies slid right out.

The Baker’s Edge site has a whole bunch of recipes that I’m looking forward to trying including Friendship Bars from David Lebovitz, Cinq-Cinquiemes a la Pistache from Clotilde Dusoulier (Chocolate and Zucchini) and Blackberry Cobbler from Baking Bites.

The Baker’s Edge pan was created by passionate people with a good idea and it’s sold by their small company, so it’s one of those all-around feel good products. You can read the story, and find out a bit more over at Clotilde’s post. You can buy the pan at the Baker’s Edge site, or over at Amazon.

Next they’ll be offering a lasagna pan sized perfectly for boxed lasagna noodles.

· comments [38] · 08-15-2007 · categories:food ·

making the stove a happier place

I needed to brighten up the wall behind my stove. I was going to have a mirror cut to just the right dimensions and hang it back there so it would look unobtrusive. After a few months not getting around to that I spotted the Zoe Circle Wall Mirror set over at Apartment Therapy. (I’ve seen similar things in past years, possibly at CB2?) It made me think of those individual round mirrors you can buy at craft stores, so I went and bought some along with some 3M Picture Hanging Strips, which act in a similar way to velcro but have the advantage of holding well and removing cleanly. (I love the Command line of 3M adhesive products.) Also if I should, say, ignore a pan of spitting hot tomato sauce that gets little tomato colored dots all over everything, I can simply pull the mirrors down to wipe off the wall and put them back up when I’m done.

I got one 10-inch mirror, three 7-inch mirrors, three 5-inch mirros and a package of five 3-inch mirrors. The total for the mirrors was just about $13. Now, they aren’t as nice as the pleasing 9-6-3 inch dimensions as the Zoe mirrors above, but they’ll do.

I spent some time (ok, like three hours) arranging paper cut outs artfully:

I liked that last on the best and attached the mirrors using the 3M strips.

It stayed up for just over 24 hours before I decided it wasn’t right. Maybe another, sleeker kichen could pull this off, but not mine. I pulled them off the walls – so simple! so cleanly removed! I decided to go with simply putting three 10-inch mirrors together back there:

When I returned to the store I was derailed briefly by the discovery of octagonal mirrors with beveled edges. I thought maybe those would look cute hung in a row behind my stove? Maybe? But I stayed with round ones, and Scott has voiced his preference for circles over octagons, decision made.

I like them as a temporary measure until I have the money to build the kitchen of my dreams. They pull over light from the front windows and make the stove sunnier.

· comments [38] · 08-14-2007 · categories:the home ·

up to

experimenting:
Baker’s Edge pan
I love this, more later.

getting used to:
new haircut
I went to Derby. I think I like it but it’s so different. (Apologies for the Simpsonized picture, I tried and failed to get a good photograph of my hair.)

using:
Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray
I also got the Surf Spray, I think they work well but I don’t have a huge base for comparison. I’m new to this whole hair styling thing.

looking forward to:
Columbia City Farmers’ Market
More peaches please.

reading:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Suicide King
I grabbed this book to read on vacation but didn’t realize this until I’d started reading — it’s a choose your own adventure story. Awesome.

· comments [23] · 08-13-2007 · categories:up to ·

links: crafts

If you have a crafty or design oriented business here in the Pacific Northwest please go vote for Seattle in Design*Sponge’s Biz Ladies Vote. Grace will bring a Biz Lady Nights meetup to the top five cities. Wouldn’t it be super cool to have one here? Voting closes Monday at 8 a.m. (Eastern time I believe) so vote now, or tomorrow, after you’ve had some coffee.

It’s Indie Fixx’s First Anniversary and they are celebrating with a prize bag give away filled with items from fifteen indie shops. Details and how to enter here. Happy Anniversary Indie Fixx!

I got word that the old craft segments from the Martha Stewart television show have been put together for a new series on the DIY Network. The show will be called Martha Stewart Crafts and it will begin airing in November of 2007. Set your Tivo wishlist now.

I should have it done in time for the next movie: Harry Potter Dark Mark Illusion Scarf, thanks to Sara for the link!

How to wind a center pull ball via Craft.

Hambly rub-on designs at Decor8.

Handbag product review at Fashion-Incubator.

Super cute DIY garden clogs using shoes from a dollar store. (Warning: music plays when you visit that site!)

I like this fabric basket that Craftlog made from The Crafter’s Companion. (Note to self: buy that book.)

These are clever – Beanie Baggie, a weighted drawstring bag made to hold your yarn so it won’t roll away while you’re knitting.

DIY shrinky dinks via Craft.

A pattern for knitted flip flop socks at Rostitchery.

· comments [9] · 08-10-2007 · categories:craft ·

the rasterbator, attempt #2

I was eager to try another version of my picture through the Rasterbator since I wanted something larger than my first one, so last night I went back to work. I changed the width from five sheets of paper to eight, and the dot size from 15 mm to 50 mm. Here are the new dot sizes next to the old dot sizes:

It came to 40 pages. Thinking of my poor ink catridge I phoned Kinko’s to see how much it would cost to have it printed there – 89 cents per page for a total near $35. More than I wanted to spend, but still not a bad price for some really big artwork, especially if you don’t have a robust printer. I snapped a new color cartridge into my printer, set the print quality to Draft and had at it.

I really like the result (compare to the first one):

But this is interesting, it’s easier to make out my face in that photograph there than when you are actually stand at that spot and look up at the picture. You can only really turn this into an image of two faces if you stand in the far corner of the dining room and squint. It wasn’t entirely successful, if I had the energy I would change it again so that it was the same width but using a 35 mm dot size. I do think it’s neat that I managed to make a picture so large that you cannot actually view it while standing in the house, or something like that.

Here is a detail of a few pages hung up:

· comments [15] · 08-10-2007 · categories:the home ·

embarrassingly named but cool, and free

I finally got around to using the Rasterbator to put an image at the top of our stairs:

Except for a few places where my printer confused the color brown for the color green (or is possibly running low on ink) I like it. But next time I’m going much, much bigger.

The Rasterbator is a free program that takes a high quality digital image, blows it up as big as you’d like, and gives it to you as a PDF file broken up over a number of pages. You print and trim the pages then hang them up. The program allows you to control how large the final image is, how large the dot size is, and whether or not to print out cut lines for each page. There is an online version you can use, as well as a downloadable one that does not have size or resolution limits. The Rasterbator has been around for a while and I’ve seen it mentioned in magazines like Readymade and Blueprint, but it only recently started doing color images.

The first image I tried out was of Mount Rainier during an impressive sunset from this picture:

But I didn’t put it up, it was easy to tell it wouldn’t nearly as well as faces. Faces are so instantly recognizable that they make for a much better large, slightly blurry image. And it’s a lot of fun to see a really large picture of yourself.

Here is the detail of a few pages so you can see how the dots look up close:

I trimmed all the pages just inside the cut lines, and I stuck it to my wall using the wonderful, removable, repositionable Scotch Clear Mounting Squares, I used one square for corners where pages meet. These will make it easy to put up a new image whenever I’d like.

update: The very next day I put up a new version of the image which is larger, go see it.

· comments [22] · 08-9-2007 · categories:the home ·

links: the home

I give up, I really want the coat check tree.

Design Sponge gives us a good sofa guide.

The Germinatrix gets some homemade sun jars!

Silouette window shades at AT:SF.

Where can I find a huge work table? AT:SF.

Floorplan software, AT:Chicago.

Goo Gone Spray Gel works as an ant repellant? AT:LA.

What kind of toaster do you have, and do you like it? at Ask Metafilter.

Good posters from Yee-haw Industries, at Swiss Miss.

· comments [4] · 08-8-2007 · categories:the home ·

buying a house: things I have learned

– You will come to an immediate and shockingly clear understanding of what “property value” means.

– Get the home inspected. Don’t skip this because you think you need to act quickly. (This advice comes from three separate parties, including my parents.)

– Start the garden or landscaping early. You can shop for chairs in the winter but that shrub you’ll be planting to block out the view of the neighbor’s window won’t grow itself.

– Buy all white dishes, buy dishes that are all the same, they are so much easier to fit into kitchen cabinets this way.

– If you get narrower glasses and mugs you can fit more into the dishwasher.

– You cannot move your neighbors farther away from your house, no matter how hard you want to.

– Be very grateful of quiet and polite neighbors. Greet them cheerfully whenever you happen to both be outside.

– Don’t hate on the stove in the place you live while you’re house hunting because the house you buy might have the exact same stove.

– Don’t hate on the cheap, off white formica countertops in the place you live while you’re house hunting because the house you buy might have the exact same countertops.

– When it appears previous owners have done unspeakable things to the drywall around light switches and outlets, those generic plastic extra large covers you can find at Home Depot are your friends.

– Taking the time to rewire the switches and outlets with shiny new white ones makes a remarkable difference. But, goodness, turn all the electricity off at the source!

– Taking the time to label all your breaker switches will save you a lot of time you would otherwise spend shouting “This one?!” “No!” “This one!?” “Not it!” “This one!!?” “Nope.” every single time you want to turn some electricity off.

– When house hunting don’t be too wary of the Harley parked in front of the house across the street, it might turn out to be owned by really friendly lesbians!

– If you have not met your neighbors yet a delivery of cookies with a card at Christmas will be not go unappreciated.

– Having a finished basement means all-natural air conditioning for those two really hot weeks in the year.

– Go to the block party.

– Yard work still sucks when you own the yard.

· comments [36] · 08-8-2007 · categories:the home ·

shrinky sheets and various jars

We recently gave two homemade sun jars as gifts and I was lucky enough to have some inkjet printable Shrinky Sheets from the Readymade store to make the gift tag with. My lovely assistant, Scott grabbed some sunny clip art and created the tag. We made it big, printed it, and then I cut it out:

We baked according to directions while I really really wished I had a window in the door of my oven, watching shrinky plastic shrink is the coolest. The final product had curled itself (always a risk when shrinking larger shapes) but it emerged just fine:

I knew the color would intensify (there is a note about that in the instructions) but I didn’t expect it to darken to such lovely shades of orange. The text is still readable, and it makes a lovely substantial gift tag. I only wish I had thought to include the recipients names on the tag, your name in a shrinky plastic tag would be pretty cool.

While I’m speaking about sun jars I was lucky enough to encounter the real object — for those just tuning in the Sun Jar is a lovely rechargeable light in a jar made by Tobias Wong, mine is a DIY version made using these directions for the home-made sun jar at Instructables. Ok, I was lucky enough to encounter the real thing during a visit to stunningly be-decked home of Paola, who sells the Sun Jar at mirror mirror, her online boutique of wonderful things.

The real Sun Jar is very well made, the frosted finish feels etched, and there is a molded white plastic cup inside holding all the little bits that collect solar energy and power the LED light. This means you don’t get any shadows of wires or dark spots when the jar is on, which you do with the DIY version. And this is something I didn’t realize – the real Sun Jar is waterproof so you can leave it out on a porch or a deck all year long and it will be fine. I’m pretty sure my DIY version could stand up to some outdoor time but I wouldn’t risk it in day-long rain. After adding up the cost of the materials for the DIY version and comparing the quality of the light with the finished product I have to say the price tag on the real thing is worth it.

Another thing which I’ve been coming across is using strands of small LED lights to replicate fireflies in a jar. You can see one for sale on Etsy, and two (slightly technical) blinking versions at Instructables – first and second. Doing a little Googling turns up a little battery powered blinking light kit made especially for this. I’m definitely going to make myself a firefly jar, how sweet.

Molly at A Foothill Home Companion recently wrote to tell me about a similar project she made – glow in the dark stars suspended from the lid of a jar to create a gentle night light for the windowsill of a bedroom. It’s simple and lovely, thanks Molly!

· comments [19] · 08-7-2007 · categories:craft ·

up to

reading:
Lulu Dark and the Summer of the Fox
Modern day teenage girl detective.

flipping through:
the latest Craft Magazine
I love the police line scarf on the front.

going out to see:
The Simpson’s Movie
They tell you which states border the state Springfield is in.

anticipating:
Getting my hair cut, with bangs.
Here is a Simpsonized version of how I hope it looks:

playing:
Daymare Town
It’s strange.

· comments [5] · 08-6-2007 · categories:up to ·

links: food

Baking powder buscuits at Laura Dot Cooks.

Cool jazz ice cube stirrers shaped like little guitars. Scott looked over my shoulder just now and indicated that he’d also like to have the guitar and amp in the picture. At AT:LA.

How to poach chicken at The Kitchen.

Help me start eating more salad at Ask Metafilter.

Bacon Salt: Food of the Gods, or Actually a God? Extensive tasting notes on this “vegetarian kosher zero-calorie seasoning salt that tastes just like bacon”, at Seattlest.

Tillamook’s macaroni and cheese contest, via Citizen Rain.

Giant lego cake pan at Consume.

Chocolate and Zucchini makes Caramelized Chicken with Green Olives and Prunes (and gives the recipe) which is really, really delicious. I’m lucky enough to know that because it’s the same recipe as the Chicken Marbella that Lulife made for the food swap. I miss that chicken.

Ice Bar: Bullshit or What?, with information from a scientist and everything. At the Slog.

Oh baby, Hearst Castle shortbread recipe, at 101 Cookbooks.

Frito Pie 101 at The Stranger.

· comments [10] · 08-3-2007 · categories:food · recipes ·

from the farmer’s market

food from the farmers market

One of my Envirosax held one dozen eggs, two large peaches, four sausages, one pound of small wild plums, four tomotoes, and one bagette. (Forgotten: goat chese, but it would have fit just fine.) I was awfully glad I had it in my purse.

· comments [14] · 08-2-2007 · categories:mumbling ·

links: beauty and shopping

Enthused about a toothbrush, the Colgate 360, at Swissmiss.

Nigella Lawson’s line of goods is available online, at Anh-Minh. I like the tin of classic cookie cutters.

Save yourself, hand crank radio, at Product Dose.

How to prevent forehead glare for guys, at Ask Metafilter.

I keep seeing these mentioned everywhere, but that doesn’t make me like them less: lampshades for wineglasses. Put a tealight in the glass and slip the shade on top, instant table light. At Mighty Goods.

Sweet, fingerprint wedding bands, at Popgadget.

· comments [9] · 08-2-2007 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

Orcas Island is nice

I was asked to be a speaker at BlogHer in Chicago this year but I turned it down as I was attending the wedding of some friends. Do I regret not going to BlogHer? Yes, but that regret was tempered by some outdoor soaking tubs with a view of the water off of Orcas Island.*

The wedding was amazingly well done, the couple rented out the entire Doe Bay resort and filled all the cabins, yurts and camping spaces with guests so everybody there was only separated by a few degrees despite living as far away as Tel Aviv. The weekend was beautiful, even the salad was pretty:

We stayed in a dome that was perched on a cliff over the water. It was a bit of glamping as we had a real bed with real linens. I am also finding that if you are able, bringing along your own down comforter is a must. Luckily we have an old olive colored duvet cover which is perfect for dragging through the outdoors. Here is the view through the plastic windows of our dome:

From here you can see the point of land where the ceremony took place, it had an amazing backdrop of water and islands in the distance.

We took a few extra days to stay on the island once the wedding was over, and after searching through all your excellent recommendations we decided to stay right there at Doe Bay in a cabin. The cabins were really nice and we had some good porch time at dusk. We did island things – lots of eating on decks, watching sea birds and gazing at views from way up high. I even managed to avoid getting a sunburn or breaking my sunglasses.

I want to show you the wedding invitation because it opened up like a little adventure all it’s own… [Read more →]

· comments [20] · 08-1-2007 · categories:mumbling · seattle ·