Not Martha

taking down Christmas

a rack and some envelopes

One of the most asked questions about my Christmas Tree Ornament Mobile was how I was planning on storing it. Some people were curious how much space it would take to store, others wanted to know how I would do it without it getting tangled. So, here is a photograph of everything that comprised the mobile excepting the ornaments themselves. The ornaments went back into their packaging (in this case tubes about the size of rolls of wrapping paper which will be easy to store with the paper). Otherwise I took the mobile one set of string lengths at a time starting with the outer rings and working my way in. So, I took off all the longest strings, tucked away the ornaments, took off the hooks, looped all the strands and tucked them into an envelope together. I used orphaned envelopes I had left over from various greeting and Christmas cards, so they are all reused. I have separate envelopes holding each set of string, numbered from longest to shortest, on bag holding all the ornament hooks, I left the hooks on the grid rack itself on, so it will be a snap to reassemble the next year we use it as the spacing is already in place. It’s flat, and just about as big around as my wreath so they’ll be stored together.

· comments [4] · 01-31-2011 · categories:christmas · craft ·

The Beauty of Different

Karen Waldron and Jason Parker

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a book reading even for Karen Waldron (Chookooloonks) reading from her just-out book The Beauty of Different at Lucid Jazz Lounge here in Seattle. It was an extraordinary event. She was backed up by the Jason Parker Quartet during her readings and they played songs in between. I don’t know much about jazz but those men were talented. Karen’s readings were warm and inviting and she sure knows how to charm an audience. She talks more about the night (and has better photographs) over here and hints that there could be a West Coast repeat, if it is anywhere near you a urge you to go. Congratulations on the book release Karen!

Jason Parker Quartet

The book is filled with stories, wisdom, advice and Karen’s breathtaking photography. And instead of bookmarks she has these promotional post cards for you to send off to friends far and wide, I think they are awfully sweet:

postcard for The Beauty of Different

· comments [10] · 01-28-2011 · categories:books ·

links: technology

What do I need to set up a little photography studio at home? | Ask MetaFilter.

Email Etiquette for the Super-Busy :: Tips :: The 99 Percent. Via Swiss Miss.

Help me buy a new laptop! – laptop upgrade windows | Ask MetaFilter. I’ve bookmarked a response here by Mister Fabulous talking about waiting for Sandy Bridge processors to come out.

swissmiss | Proxlet. An app that will allow you to mute users on Twitter for a set amount of time, among other things. Nice.

A List Apart: Articles: Smartphone Browser Landscape. Via The Sam Barnes on Twitter.

Design*Sponge » biz ladies: top ten etsy web apps.

WordPress › Broken Link Checker « WordPress Plugins. Via Simply Recipes on Twitter.

How To Keep Facebook from Humiliating You Today at Valleyway. Via Heather Champ on Twitter.

· comments [5] · 01-27-2011 · categories:links · technology ·

links: food

The Food Lab: A Better Way to Caramelize Onions (Plus, French Onion Dip!) | Serious Eats.

Sweet Tooth: Dessert Meets Design: Kate Spade’s Glitter Cake, via Edible Crafts.

Maple Bacon Popcorn | KCTS 9, via @luciag on Twitter.

Gravy IN Biscuits: Tasteologie Week In Review (NOTCOT). Awesome.

Oat Soda Bread Recipe – 101 Cookbooks.

Small Batch Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls – kitchenmage. It’s just what I asked for!

The Perfect Soup Dumpling – CHOW. (Video!) Shows how they get the soup in the dumpling.

WORLD OF AWESOME: Duck Bacon. Duck! Bacon! Alert my husband, a recent lover of duck.

Food Trend Prediction: Finger Limes | The Kitchn. I really want to try these.

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Salt But Were Afraid to Ask – Voracious. I was gifted a bunch of salts for Christmas and might need to hold a salt tasting party, like the one mentioned here, to get a good idea of all of them.

· comments [2] · 01-26-2011 · categories:food · links ·


Landing at Seatac Airport

On my way to the Altitude Design Summit I was sitting in the central terminal and listening to the conversations of the people around me because they all seemed to be talking about the sculpture we were sitting beneath. It’s called Landing, it’s enormous, and it inspired my Christmas tree ornament mobile. It was created by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter, is made of 2800 individual sculptures suspended from the ceiling depicting a snow goose landing on water, the image is mirrored in the water below. As you walk around it the image changes, being a clearer outline from various points.

Landing at Seatac Airport

It’s stunning, the first time I saw it I stopped in my tracks, and when you get closer you see that the small cast objects that make up the image are varied. The goose above the water line are origami, below the water line are salmon, and depicting the various water elements are lots of different objects familiar to the Pacific Northwest.

I took a few quick pictures while I was at the airport, but I’ve borrowed some below to show the sculpture more clearly. If you’re headed through Seatac airport I recommend making your way through the central terminal (where most of the shops and restuarnts are located) to have a look.

Landing at Seatac Airport

Image credit: Ralph Helmick

Landing at Seatac Airport

Image credit: Ralph Helmick

· comments [20] · 01-25-2011 · categories:travel ·

notes from Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Blogging

first screen of the Harder Better Faster Stronger Blogging session

Image by Erica Reitman of Design Blahg.

I’m back from the Altitude Design Summit and simultaneously exhausted and energized. I got to meet and hang with amazing people (hello all the amazing people! I miss you!).

Here is a quick list of the resources mentioned in the panel I was invited to speak on called Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Blogging. I was up there with Susan Brinson of House of Brinson and Erica Reitman of Design Blahg, who put together the fantastic slide show used in our talk. Big thanks Erica.

  • Skitch for screengrabs. Allows you to made edits and draw on top of the image. Jing is another screen capture tool.
  • Outbrain for related posts. Works with many blogging platforms, gives you stats on what posts are getting the most attention.
  • Evernote for organization. Can organize and sort your information from mobile devices as well. Allows you to save text, images, links and audio notes.
  • Pinterest for sourcing and inspiration. Community currated and full of pretty stuff.
  • Squarespace for blogging. Allows for non-coders and coders alike to have lots of control of the look. (Full disclosure, Squarespace sponsored the panels. Fact, the Alt Summit website was created and is hosted on Squarespace.)
  • Google Alerts to let you see what others might be saying about your site. Sends emails periodically or collects the alerts in a feed. You can monitor any search term.
  • Mention Notifier to keep up with Twitter mentions. Sends you an email or text message any time you are mentioned on Twitter, works with any search or hashtag you’d like.
  • Zinio app for reading magazines. Lets you read all your magazines on your iPad or iPhone.
  • Twitter, obviously. Tweetdeck and Hootsuite were the favorites for the many ways you can sort and organize multiple accounts and searches.
  • Photoshop actions for quick image preparation. Setting up your own actions means a photo can be ready for your blog in one click. You can also download actions created by others to get some very pretty looks going on.
  • Instapaper to read things later. Saves a long form article in a very readable format and lets you read it later on computer or iPhone, downloads it so you can read when offline (hello air travel).
  • Flickr for photos. You can store, share and sort your photos, as well as use search with Creative Commons licenses if you need to find something specific. I’ve been using it for years and people still regularly find my blog from a photo they saw shared on Flickr.
  • RSS Reader to keep you organizes. Google Reader is the favorite choice. Use Helvetireader for a minimalist skin and Feedly provides a magazine like layout.

I want to add my own little tip. I never quite got into the habit of using another site like Evernote or Digg to collect the things I come across, instead what I do is to quickly bookmark/favorite/star/like (in a browser/email/Flickr/Twitter and on my phone) those things I find as I’m surfing but don’t have time to blog about them in that moment. And on Fridays I schedule a block of time, usually it only takes half an hour, to revisit and sort through all those items. I clear them out, which makes me feel like I’m tidying up and is a nice way to end a week, and usually I rediscover something I really dig but would have forgotten about. My method may not be as technically awesome as using a service to draw everything together, but I find that it allows me to move quickly through my week and think more carefully about if I want to include something in my blog later on when I’m more focused.

· comments [22] · 01-24-2011 · categories:technology ·

buckwheat pancakes at The Kitchn

I’m late to mention this! My usual weekend breakfast of half-pancake-mix buckwheat pancakes is up over at The Kitchn (thanks guys and gals!). I even talk about my technique of prepping bacon to always have it in the freezer so we never have to go to the store on a Saturday morning. And since I didn’t actually give a recipe I pointed those who are more awake in the mornings towards Tea & Cookies recipe for Lemon Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes, which they adapted a bit. There you, lots to try out.

· comments [9] · 01-21-2011 · categories:food · recipes ·

links: beauty

The Oil Cleansing Method – A simple, cleansing facial massage for clear skin!, via Ask Metafilter.

Nothing’s Dry in Seattle Come January – Voracious. On the concept of Dry January, I’m bookmarking this mostly for these words: “What’s the benefit in withholding for 30 days only to get annihilated in a ‘YAY! I can drink again’ extravaganza?” Replace that with food and it’s how I feel about dieting.

Simple Homemade Body Scrub | Prudent Baby.

No masks please–just a little makeup! – cosmetics makeup foundation | Ask MetaFilter. Lots of recommendations for mixing foundation with moisturizer.

· comments [16] · 01-20-2011 · categories:beauty · links ·

links: craft

7/365 Ferrero Rocher at Westfield – Kris Gough. Wow a large set of hanging ornaments in the shape of a tree (cone). It’s like a huge, way way better version of my Christmas tree ornament mobile.

See-Through Valentine Candy Favors · Edible Crafts. I love containers you have to destroy to open.

How to turn old clothes into new clothes – diy fashion remake | Ask MetaFilter. Great list of DIY sites.

· comments [2] · 01-18-2011 · categories:craft · links ·

to new things

chocolate mousse frosting on yellow cake

Thing #1: a new frosting. The other week I made a cake. I used a boxed mix (Alton Brown once said it was ok on Good Eats and I have at least one other person who can back me up on that) so I could concentrate on trying out a new to me frosting recipe.

I’m normally a chocolate cake and vanilla frosting sort of gal, but loved this frosting from the start. I had it first at, I think, our Cookbook Club’s gathering for Cookin’ With Coolio. @gfrancie (Twitter) made it and a bunch of us demanded the recipe. She sent us to this entry over at Au_Gout, that’s the recipe I used. Turns out it’s a recipe from Joy of Cooking, gosh I love that book and must get myself a copy soon. (I have a copy on cd, back when I got my first computer I thought it would be all fancy to have my favorite books on my computer. Once I moved into a larger place and the walk from my desktop screen to the kitchen was longer I saw the error of my ways as I started needing to print out recipes.)

chocolate mousse frosting on yellow cake

(Hey! Look over here! The Chocolate Mousse Frosting recipe from Joy of Cooking is viewable on Google Books.)

My first try at the frosting was good, but not quite the unbelievably fluffy result I remember. I think I need to whip it longer, which means I’ll just have to try it again and make cake after cake until I get it perfect. Oh darn, that sounds just awful doesn’t it?

chocolate mousse frosting on yellow cake

Thing #2: a new cake server. Above is my new cake server, I’ve needed one for years but never seem to remember until the point at which I’ve just cut a wedge out of a cake and find myself trying to pull it out while balancing it on a knife. This time I was prepared, yay for small victories.

chocolate mousse frosting on yellow cake

Thing #3: a new laptop. This is the first blog entry I’ve created on my new laptop. Hello world. It’s the first new laptop I’ve ever owned, and only the second new computer. (My first new computer would be a then-zippy but bulky desktop I bought from Gateway for my first apartment. I had the computer and a desk, a futon and a ficus tree happily for a year but never got around to buying a dining room table for that place.) I’m used to having machines that are cobbled together from corporate cast offs and bits scavenged from Re-PC, I’ve happily waited for downloads that take ages no battery life whatsoever. But I recently realized that a good laptop would make a lot of sense so I talked myself into spending the money (some slow breathing was necessary) and I now have something fast and light and it’s so very delightful, if unfamiliar. I’ll tell you more about it, and the process of learning all about all the new fangled computer talk, when I get back from the Altitude Design Summit.

· comments [18] · 01-18-2011 · categories:food · mumbling ·

links: misc

The beach glass machine – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Having visited Glass Beach last year and found it lacking in glass bits big enough to actually collect from having been picked over, I find this awesome.

The Evolution of the Starbucks Logo. Does anybody else think this looks like the Starbucks mermaid is (cue dramatic music) coming for you? Like in an Angels from the current Dr. Who sort of way?

swissmiss | Nerd Merit Badges.

The new Zodiac, at Kottke. According to this shift I’m actually a Virgo, which fits me much better than Libra. update: Oh wait, nothing has actually changed. Or something.

· comments [18] · 01-14-2011 · categories:links · misc ·

links: travel

Top 10 Worthwhile Tourist Attractions in San Francisco and Top 10 Ways to See San Francisco Like a Local at Mighty Girl.

Albert Kahn Museé et Jardin « NoemiCan. A very inexpensive place to see pretty gardens in Paris, great tip.

Searching for all-inclusive resorts in Mexico | Ask MetaFilter.

law student needs cheap vacation, cerveza | Ask MetaFilter.

mirrormirror: Go Love Your Trailer Park Hicksville Trailer Palace. I want to, uh, go to there.

swissmiss | AirBnB.

· comments [10] · 01-13-2011 · categories:links · travel ·

links: food

spicy gingerbread cookies | smitten kitchen.

Na Miotle » Icing is not difficult :). A church made entirely from royal icing. I’m late to see this one, but it’s well worth a post-Christmas look. Via Edible Crafts.

The Easiest Cookies Ever. So Easy, They Aren’t Even Cookies. (But They Are Excellent.) | Blog con Queso.

Homemade Hot Pockets | Prudent Baby.

Cthulhu, Destroyer of Pot Pies « Creative Noms. Not sure how I missed this, an excellent Cthulhu version of my tentacle pot pies.

gluten-free buttermilk biscuits from Gluten-free Girl, for all my (many many) gluten-free friends.

Pop Rocks Rice Krispie Treats · Edible Crafts.

Roast Vegetable Cake · Edible Crafts.

Chestnut Cutter | Flickr. I want one of these!

· comments [10] · 01-12-2011 · categories:food · links ·


Pinch salt and pepper set by Craighton Berman

It’s here!

Pinch salt and pepper set by Craighton Berman

Our Pinch salt and pepper set designed by Craighton Berman arrived and brightened what was the dark end to a gloomy and rainy day.

Pinch salt and pepper set by Craighton Berman

Pinch salt and pepper set by Craighton Berman

It’s more lightweight than it looks, and deceptively sturdy. I wanted one of the ones from his first run through Kickstarter because they were made here in Seattle.

Pinch salt and pepper set by Craighton Berman

It’s a great size. The pepper ball is pleasingly plump and sits in the base hovering over top of the Maldon sea salt (my favorite). It’s delightful to use. I’m in love with my salt and pepper set. Is that wierd?

· comments [15] · 01-11-2011 · categories:food · shopping ·

links: technology

swissmiss | Time Flies. An iPhone app that flags the stuff you haven’t done in a while, yay.

swissmiss | CSS3 for Web Designers.

Black*Eiffel: Jambox. That’s it. I want one.

swissmiss | 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web.

9 Eyes, tumblr by Jon Rafman. Interesting Google Street View screencaps presented without comment, via Kate Consumption on Twitter.

FingerGaming » Eyemaze’s Free Dwarf Complete Arrives in App Store. I played this game in the browser and really enjoyed it.

swissmiss | Awesome Highlighter.

Looking for a 14″ or 15″ Windows 7 laptop. Should I wait until Sandy Bridge makes its way out into the market? | Ask MetaFilter. I’m also contemplating a new laptop purchase and this thread has convinced me to (sigh) wait for SB to come out and either get that, or see if the prices on the i3/i5/i7 processors drop.

A Private E-Book Lending Library | Slog. Good idea.

Why a Former Best Buy Employee Recommends SquareTrade’s Warranties Over Geek Squad’s, at Lifehacker.

· comments [3] · 01-10-2011 · categories:links · technology ·