Not Martha

a few housekeeping notes

Look! I redesigned a bit. Well, I moved things around and changed out the font in my logo. Nothing too major. But it’s been something I’ve been trying to get done for a while now so it’s nice to have it done. I have a bit of final polishing to do but it’s getting late.

And I’d like to let you all know that I’ve decided to sell my own sponsorship space. If you’d like to advertise on Not Martha please click here to learn more.

· Comments Off · 03-31-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

It Sucked and Then I Cried

book cover for It Sucked and Then I Cried

Heather Armstrong will be signing her book It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita tonight at the Lake Forest Park Third Place Books, 7 p.m. I’ve been reading her site, Dooce, since before she was fired (?) so I am feeling a little protective, like I should be ready to punch anybody who is the real life equivalent of one of her comment trolls. Just try it, punk.

· comments [7] · 03-31-2009 · categories:books · events · seattle ·

cranky night pasta

pasta with cooked kale

This pasta is my go to dinner for nights when I’m feeling lazy but I still sort of want to cook but I can’t really decide just what I want and what’s the point anyhow. I first got the recipe from Shelterrific, pasta with broccoli rabe, and have made just a few changes to make it have a bit less fat in it (I know, I know, but it’s still good, promise).

I had a week where the idea of using a little pasta water slapped me upside the head. I read How Much Water Does Pasta Really Need? in the New York Times where Harold McGee talks about the extra starchy water created after boiling pasta in a smaller amount of water. (He reminded me of the description of restaurant pasta water in Bill Buford’s book Heat.) That same week I listened to the February 7th episode of Splendid Table where the tables are turned and Lynne Rossetto Kasper talks about the importance of adding pasta water. And then Shelterrific took Harold McGee’s recipe into their test kitchen.

cranky night pasta with kale

Boil some water, a bit less than you think you’ll need. Figure out if you have some blanched kale in the freezer, if not chop some fresh kale. (Sigh deeply at how much work this is.) Mince a few cloves of garlic. (A garlic press is totally acceptable here.) Dig the crushed red pepper flakes out of your mess of a spice drawer.

Put the pasta in the boiling water and set a timer. Get out a large frying pan and pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the center. When the pasta has about four minutes left dump the kale into the pot (two minutes if you’re using frozen). Turn on the heat under the olive oil. Just about when the pasta is going to be ready to come out add the garlic to the olive oil pan and cook until it’s just, barely, almost starting to turn golden.

Use a large strainer or slotted spoon or something to move the pasta and kale over from the pot of water into the frying pan. Add a little ladle of the pasta water. Move around so the garlic is mixed in well. Add salt and pepper and, just before moving it to bowls, a few shakes of red pepper flakes. Ta da!

If we’re really hungry I also make this chicken breast recipe (technique?) that I first found at The Kitchen.

surprisingly moist boneless skinless chicken breasts

Heat a bit of butter and olive oil in a pan. Dredge some chicken breasts through salted and peppered flour (add chopped herbs if you have any). Put the chicken in the pan and just cook it so that each side is turning golden. Put a heavy lid on the pan, turn the heat down to low and set the timer for 10 minutes. Walk away and don’t lift the lid. After ten minutes take the pan off the heat, lid still on!, and let it sit for another ten minutes. You’re done.

· comments [14] · 03-31-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·

links: the home

Oto rug collection at Apartment Therapy. Scott saw this up on my monitor from across the room and said how much he liked the line drawings, which turned out to be full sized rugs. We’ll have to look into getting one.

Door Sixteen shows us how to neatly paint a taped shape.

Shelterrific on MirrorMate Frames, which can dramatically change the way your bathroom or hallway mirror looks. (And I’m thinking of adding this to a list of things to remember when staging a house.)

Two shelves from Better Living Through Design: Pablo the Object Frame and the Cloud Shelf.

Sunset magazine on two Seattle shops, Watson Kennedy Fine Home and Urban Weeds.

· comments [8] · 03-30-2009 · categories:the home ·

thing I like: simple champagne stopper

champagne stopper on a bottle

Our upcoming nuptials mean we’ve been popping champagne corks more than usual. The last time we visited the lovely Kay she showed off this little champagne stopper that had little arms that grab underneath the rim on the neck of the bottle (where the twisted bit of wire grabs). So far, it’s worked great. We’ve even managed to keep the champagne bottle cold using our Vacu Vin ice pack, though at this rate we’ll have to invest in an attractive champagne bucket soon.

I found this champagne stopper at the grocery store in the wine aisle, but you can find them on Amazon, along with a few that are more expensive but have a bit of a nicer design: WMF Clever and Blomus.

· comments [11] · 03-26-2009 · categories:drink · shopping ·

links: beauty and shopping

The Art of the Tote, a blog kept by Eliza Truitt that is devoted to tote bags

What are your picks for mattifying moisturizers/primers for oily skin? at Ask Metafilter

How do I cover up my undereye circles without the concealer sinking into the skin creases and looking terrible? at Ask Metafilter

My dress at Posie Gets Cozy, she offered a free copy of her book to the funniest engagement story in the comments and they are well worth reading.

ScrapeRite Plastic Razor Blades, for getting off those pesky price stickers and such, at Cool Tools.

· comments [2] · 03-25-2009 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

fifth sweater: need some advice

wearing a half-knit sweater

I’ve made very little progress since my last report but I need some advice: Do you think I’m going to run out of yarn? I started with ten balls and have four and a half left. I need at least six inches more on the body and both of the sleeves. I know sleeves can use a deceptively large amount of yarn. Here are harder stats:

yardage: 93 per ball, I have 930 yards total, and have about 415 yards left
my gauge: 13.5 columns and 22 rows over 4″
needle: 10.5
yarn: Lana Grossa New Soft

The sweater right now would come out very large on me (I’m going for comfort not looks with this one) and I’m happy enough to rip back to mid-shoulder and make the sweater slimmer if I need. So, what do you think? Will I make it with the yarn I have left?

· comments [29] · 03-24-2009 · categories:knitting ·

bravo anonymous dad

I came across a story this morning about the miserable time a CNN reporter had after a family with some unruly kids were seated near him in a restaurant. To counter this I’d like to offer the story of what I observed last night in my own grocery store.

I was tired and hungry and after I grabbed a shopping basket the first thing I heard behind me was “Daddy I want to eat this right now!” Oh great, I thought, this family will probably be getting in my way the whole time I’m here (it’s a small store). But instead of the parent telling her no followed by shrieking outrage, a very calm father said “You cannot eat it right now because that’s not what we do. Can you imagine what this place would be like if everybody was eating their food right now? That’s why we buy it here and eat it at home.” “Oh.” the girl replied, and then followed with “Daddy I want that!” He kindly explained to her why they weren’t there to buy that (I think it was cheese) that evening but they’d have it again when it was time to eat that. The girl then said “Daddy! I want apples!” and I could see her leaning over in the seat in her cart reaching for apples. “All right,” the father replied “would you like the sweet ones like Red Delicious or the tart ones that are green? They’re called Granny Smith.”

I had to leave then but getting to observe this exchange of a father engaging his daughter when she was asking for attention instead of fighting against her unstoppable amount of energy made my whole outlook a bit brighter. Bravo, anonymous dad. (And, yes, I’m sure the family is not always that calm.)

· comments [29] · 03-24-2009 · categories:misc ·

links: food

South Indian Restaurant Menu Decoder Ring at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Map of chef recommended cheap eats in Portland at Brownie Points

Bacon of the Vegetable World, on caramelizing onions, at Tea and Cookies

and then you can make the caramelized onion and goat cheese cornbread at Smitten Kitchen

Growing Food on a Windowsill – Microgreens at You Grow Girl, via The Food Section

Girlhacker points us towards Kitchenaid mixer attachments and a holder for the three beaters.

· comments [6] · 03-23-2009 · categories:food ·

clutch envy

With an upcoming trip to Vegas I’ve been feeling the pull of getting a clutch, and it’s not exactly helping that Endless currently has a bunch of stuff on sale.

Matt & Nat Sade Clutch Jessica Simpson Sapphire Clutch

Black: Matt & Nat Sade* and Jessica Simpson Sapphire (yikes)

Hobo International Meg Clutch Hobo International Melia Clutch

Red: Hobo International Meg (see? it was meant to be) and Melia (that was fast)

Rampage Ludlow Clutch Rampage Stanton Clutch

Blue: Rampage Ludlow and Stanton

* Matt & Nat bags are vegan and I’m a big fan of their designs. Stopped at a crosswalk in Vancouver once I creeped suspiciously close to somebody just so I could read the name on her bag, and yup, it was Matt & Nat.

I’ve also fallen desperately for Moop’s The Letter Clutch. It’s beautifully handmade and would work better with what I wear everyday.

Moop's The Letter Clutch

· comments [19] · 03-20-2009 · categories:shopping ·

links: misc

The Game “In a Nevada desert, the ultimate fantasy adventure suddenly stopped being fun.” at the Seattle Times

The New South Ferry Terminal: See It Split, See It Change at Cool Hunting

Costume drama/Period film/tv recommendations? at Ask Metafilter

Brilliant but cancelled? What are some great, blink-and-you-missed them TV shows? at Ask Metafilter

A dialogue with Sarah, aged 3: in which it is shown that if your dad is a chemistry professor, asking “why” can be dangerous. at Kottke. My own dad is a chemistry professor turned engineer and I can tell you I feared having to ask questions about math or science homework because he would lean back and start with the teachings of Greek scholars and work his way up from there. Slightly related collection of fun chemistry videos.

Christine at Bodies in Motivation on the experience of hydrodensitometry weighing.

Defective Yeti on Mindfuck Movies

How do I get the happy pills? a question about the special Tylenol in Canada

The Untold Story of the World’s Biggest Diamond Heist at Wired

· comments [2] · 03-20-2009 · categories:misc ·

Cook’s Illustrated Make-Ahead Recipes

Cooks Illustrated Best Make-Ahead Recipe book

We’re lazy about weeknight dinners (too cranky to chop!) but find we’re really happy if we cook a bit on the weekends and have things like bolognese, prepped kale and pot pies in the freezer. In an effort to expand this I just picked up the Spring 2009 Cook’s Illustrated issue of Make-Ahead Recipes but I note with interest that there is also a The Best Make-Ahead Recipe book which I’ll have to add to my wishlist.

· comments [9] · 03-19-2009 · categories:books · food ·

links: craft

ribbon flower tutorial at The Storque, via Craftzine

DIY Origami Cherry Blossoms at Curbly

new: hable construction fabrics at Design*Sponge

fabric covered magnets at How About Orange

Sweet Art: A Tutorial on How To Make Fake Cupcakes at Cakespy. She leaves these around Seattle as nice-as-can-be guerilla marketing, genius.

· comments [4] · 03-19-2009 · categories:craft ·

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

This holiday came so quickly this year that I’m completely unprepared. In fact, I didn’t realize it was already mid-March until we encountered a St. Patrick’s Day parade crossing our path downtown last weekend. We have plans to seek out some Irish whiskey and a few beers later on in the evening but otherwise it’s too late for me to make anything. So I’ll just look at the picture of the Irish Soda Bread I made last year:

· comments [3] · 03-17-2009 · categories:holidays ·

upcoming Seattle small business stuff

There are three upcoming events you might be interested in if you have or want to start a small business and just happen to live in Seattle:

Grassroots Business Association Meetup – Blogging for Small Business
Wednesday, March 18th, 7 p.m. at Vermillion

The next meetup for the Grassroots Business Association will feature Kristen Rask and myself talking about blogging for small business. We’ll be focusing on the basics for somebody who has not kept a blog before, free tools, basic etiquette and ways to draw traffic.

The Lab at Velocity – Creative Business Growth
Thursday, March 19th, 6 p.m. inside of Velocity

Creative Business Growth: A Workshop With Local Experts will feature Grassroots’ own Andrea Porter and Kristen Rask along with other speakers.

Crave Business Shop Symposium
Monday, March 23rd

Kristen Rask, Andrea Porter and myself will be representing the Grassroots Business Association at the lunchtime event. Jessie from Cakespy will also be among the speakers.

· comments [7] · 03-16-2009 · categories:events · seattle ·