My mixing bowls, from the outside in:
The big yellow bowl was purchased during the summer I worked in the costume shop of the Santa Fe Opera during college. My roommate and I bought this on a trip to Target when we realized we needed popcorn, booze and warm blankets to make it through the summer. The dry air and cold nights there resulted in me getting strep throat for the first time in my life. We didn’t have a television in our apartment and I couldn’t afford a computer so my roommate bought me one of those black and white flocked posters that come with markers for you to fill in, you can still find them in drug stores. It was a stained glass window, or something. I was so bored I spent hours trying to figure out how to fill it in so that none of the colors would be next to one another. I also read The Mists of Avalon. Twice.
The two largest orange bowls were purchased the second year that Scott and I lived in Seattle, when we rented a house in Ballard. It is a short walk away from where Delancey opened up after we moved away, how I wish we still lived there. It was a three-bowl set from Williams-Sonoma and buying them was one of those “I’m finally a grown up!” moments for me. After only a few weeks I broke the smallest bowl in the set, my favorite one, when I dropped it while doing dishes. It cracked right in half. Which make me feel not so much a grown up. The rubber feet on these bowls are light blue, a detail which I adore.
The medium orange bowl was purchased earlier this year at a Ross that opened in my neighborhood. The Ross was clean but shockingly sparse, more like mostly empty Goodwill. It was incredibly depressing and a bit disorienting. Suddenly there was this shiny orange melamine bowl looking like it was waiting just for me. Then I found a second shiny orange bowl a little further down on the shelf. They are just about the size of the bowl I broke, so I bought both.
The smallest four (orange, green, yellow, blue) were a birthday present from Scott last year and they make for very happy prep. The blue one is so cute and petite, it’s smaller than a teacup, that I find myself just holding it because I find it so pleasing. Scott bought them at the Moma store while he was in New York with Kirby Krackle. He also visited Mood during that trip simply so that he could snap a picture for me. I wasn’t jealous at all.
· comments  · 06-30-2011 · categories:dailyphoto ·
The other day we bought new bicycle helmets. I chose a Giro Indicator and I like it because it has a little adjustment wheel on the back so it fits snuggly but it’s not headache inducing, and it’s really well ventilated. It was on sale at REI, and the one I picked (White/Silver) is even cheaper on Amazon right now. Yay for bicycling.
· comments  · 06-29-2011 · categories:dailyphoto · shopping ·
· comments  · 06-29-2011 · categories:links · the home ·
I never showed you the pictures of the red velvet cupcakes I baked back in May! I baked them in, wait for it, jars. I made these for two bake sales that just happened to be on the same day, so I made a whole lot of them. I used the Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe from Pinch My Salt. I made two batches and filled 48 four-ounce jars. I think there might have been batter left over, maybe? It seems like it was so long ago, but I can tell you for certain that I filled four dozen jars.
I filled the jars about 1/3rd of the way full with batter, after baking this left enough room at the top of the jar for frosting and sprinkles. (I do wish I’d bought larger jars, four ounces seemed so itty once I got them home.)
There is something very satisfying about rows and rows of brand new and just cleaned jars.
Know what I need to remember to do? Keep track of which cubes of butter come from the same stick when I cut them up to allow them to soften. I made two separate batches and just sort of had to guess how much was half the butter. Oops. For the record I have seven cutting boards and I never think I have too many.
I finally bought myself some sheet pans that are the right size to hold my Silpats. The Silpats help keep the jars from sliding around. I tossed my other odd-sized (and badly mistreated) baking sheets and have not missed them. Apparently I need seven cutting boards but can get by just fine with two jelly roll pans.
The red food coloring looks crime scene-y. Know how much food coloring goes into each batch? A lot. I think my brain didn’t comprehend how much it would take so I ended up doing a last minute run to the grocery store for more. (There is always one thing that makes me end up at a grocery store at 11 p.m. I don’t mind though, grocery stores at odd hours can be an adventure.)
I traced the jar lids onto paper, scanned the circles into Photoshop, designed and printed out labels on cardstock and cut the circles out by hand. (Scott helped, he’s awesome. He also helped pipe frosting and sprinkle red nonpareils more artfully than I did.) These labels were cut to fit just between the layers of the jar lids so they wouldn’t require any adhesive to keep them in place, making the jars easy to wash and reuse. The other side of the label lists the ingredients. I included some small spoons attached to the jars with silver elastic cords that I bought at a packaging supply store. My favorite thing to use the little jars for is to shake just enough vinaigrette for two, three or four salads. I also save seeds in them. (The Canary Bird Vine will live to see another year!)
I always have nightmares that I’ve misspelled something on a label. Creme cheese frosting? Cram cheese frosting? Cream chese frosting? Cream cheese frosing? This keeps me up at night.
· comments  · 06-28-2011 · categories:food ·
When Scott and I moved from Ohio to California we had the types of mobile phones that only make calls, remember those? While exploring our new state we would go to places that were amazing (the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite, the beach right there on the real actual ocean) and call our parents and say “guess where we are!” It seems like we blinked and here we are with phones that take photos and send email and so many ways of sharing our experiences with photos and video online.
I was thinking about this the other day when Posterous got in touch to talk about about their Posterous Groups and privacy. They want to let us know that Posterous is an easy way you can share thoughts, photos, video and documents just with the people on your list. So Scott and I decided to take a mini summer vacation to try it out.
We went for a one-day road trip. These are all photos we sent to our family Posterous Group (meaning each time we sent a photo it landed in the email of our family members almost right away) and which would be completely private except for the fact that, well, I’m showing them to you here. Below is what we learned on our trip:
East of Seattle are a few places that make for a nice day trip without it being too long of a car ride, which is especially nice if you have kids in the car or, like me, get car sick pretty easily. First on our list was Snoqualmie Falls. We drove up to the just-redone park where you can get some great views of the falls. On the day we visited the water was rushing harder than we’d ever seen it before and the wind was picking up the mist and covering those of us on the viewing platforms.
Since the photos only go to your Posterous Group you don’t have to worry about sending a slightly unflattering or just plain boring photo to a list or site where more people than you’d really like can see them. You mom loves you and wants to see your pretty face no matter what. (I was so cold and my hair was getting very wet in photo above. Hi Mom!)
Posterous is free (yay) and super simple to set up. It does two things, it works as a simple blogging platform to allow you to share whatever you’d like with the world, and it also allows you to set up Groups to share words, images, video and attachments with only those you’d like to while keeping it nice and private from everybody else. People in your Posterous Group can also send items to share so exchanging information or keeping in touch is as easy as possible. Examples! You need to see some examples, go here on Posterous to peek at some sites. And look! The Maker Faire Daily is a Posterous site, awesome.
The Salish Lodge is perched on the land just next to the falls (you can see it in the first photo of the falls above). There has been an inn in that spot since 1919 (the current one was was rebuilt in the 80s). Salish Lodge has an amazing brunch menu and in particular the Country Breakfast is famous for being enormous and must be attempted at least once. Brunch and then a nice stroll along the park trails to view the falls is a good start (you might need to walk back and forth through the park more than once to recover from the meal). I hear the rooms in the lodge are nice. We’ve never stayed at the lodge but we have lingered in the lobby while pretending that we’re staying there.
When you send a photo out using Posterous the email arrives in the inboxes of your group with the sendee being your own email address, so there is no confusion over who the message is coming from. Score one for making it easy on your family.
The town of Snoqualmie is a very short drive just down the road and they display old trains all along the main street, which grew up along the train tracks there. A lot of them are available for you to climb on and in, I felt like we were getting away with something. We also saw a large wedding party out to get a group photograph (the bridesmaids were wearing navy dresses with bright yellow accents, it worked surprisingly well). We also saw a couple on bicycles who were both wearing large paper crowns and totally owning the look, I liked them immediately.
The photos you send to your Posterous Group are also collected in your Posterous account, all neat and tidy and together. You don’t have to worry about sorting them or uploading them somewhere else later. I really fell for this feature, the album of the trip is ready for you right away with no extra work. Nice.
Snoqualmie also has train rides out of the Train Museum! We watched as one passed by, we were a bit jealous of those on board. Scott’s nephew and his dad would love this, so we have a reason to return.
Posterous sizes, orients, hosts and generally makes good the photos and video you send. Get your family members set up to all post to the group and this feature might also eliminate you getting emailed giant photos of your niece at her dance recital that take forever to download and are sideways when you open them. (Can you tell this happens to us? This happens to us.)
The next town over from Snoqualmie is North Bend. It’s a sweet little town surrounded by looming mountains. One is Mount Si, a popular hiking spot which we have yet to take on, I hear the view at the top is amazing. I’ll take their word on it. North Bend is also home to Twede’s Cafe, made famous by Twin Peaks. We didn’t stop and have pie, we should have had pie!
On the way back to Seattle we stopped at the historic XXX Root Beer Drive-In in Issaquah. The walls are covered with old rock-and-roll posters and souvenirs and classic car stuff, it’s really something to behold.
While we were out we sent photos with descriptions and notes using the email on my phone and the Posterous app (requires iOS 4) on Scott’s iPhone (there is an Android app as well). My iPhone is older and takes the grainy photos you’re seeing, Scott’s iPhone is shiny-new and takes nice photos. I also played with his Hipstamatic photo app that day, I like it.
Since we were on vacation we took the opportunity to order the XXX signature burger, an enormous creation that is about 10 inches across. That mug of root beer? Also enormous. We split both but didn’t finish either. Ok, maybe one of us finished their half of the burger.
It seems like every time we stop at XXX Root Beer there is a classic car show in the parking lot next door. Shiny and red!
Because the things you send to your Posterous Group only get sent out to your list (in our case family) you can show off your vacation photos immediately without letting the whole internet know something like: “Look! We’re at the Grand Canyon! And we’re obviously nowhere near home right now so go ahead and steal that giant television I posted a photo of last week!”
You can tell the people who make Posterous like you. They make it easy to share information with everybody, or just the ones that you’d like, using whichever way is most convenient for you. You can post using an app, by sending the information you’d like in an email (either from your computer or from your phone) or by using the Posterous website itself. Basically anywhere you might be. Handy. And Posterous knows just what to do with the words/photos/video you send when it gets there. I’m really impressed with the care that they put into everything.
Just so you know: This is a sponsored post from a company that I like.
· comments  · 06-27-2011 · categories:technology · travel ·
Arugula Salad and Vinaigrette 101 « Tea & Cookies. Thank you Tea! I know how to make salad dressing, but I don’t know how to make it good, so I can use all the help I can get.
Sauced: Chimichurri Sauce | Serious Eats : Recipes.
Chicken Salad-Slaw, The Ugly Green Chair. Simple and yummy!
On Whiskey and Grease: Pappy Van Winkle – Grantland. A new quest! It looks like it’s possible to find it here in Seattle.
1022 south, a bar in Tacoma that I’m going to visit soon. Found via this article in the NYTimes which I missed until recently.
What’s Cookin, Chicago?: Pizza Stuffed Pretzels. I must try these.
Seattle Blogger Invites Bakers to Overcome Their Pie-Crust Fears – Voracious. Shauna (Gluten-free Girl) has started a virtual pie making party! July 5th, be there.
angry chicken: homemade bean burgers. My college cafeteria had fantastic black bean burgers and I’ve been looking for something similar lately.
· comments  · 06-24-2011 · categories:food · links ·
Look, I know these have been around forever but our household just got a hold of one of these for the first time and we really like the Egg-Perfect egg timer. In case you are in the camp that has not yet encountered this I will fill you in: should you like some soft or medium or hard (but not too hard) boiled eggs this little gadget sits pan with them. As the temperature rises the outer edge of the Egg-Perfect changes color, it has markings for “soft/medium/hard” so you can pull your eggs when they are just right. Awesomeness. And more accurate than any time based method I’ve tried so far.
Update: I should add that the egg timer seems to work just as well if you steam your eggs instead of boiling them. I started steaming eggs after, I think, a Good Eats episode mentioned that the whites wouldn’t turn out as rubbery. So far so good.
· comments  · 06-23-2011 · categories:food ·
It’s not well known but one of the best views in Seattle is from the Observation Deck of the Columbia Tower (one of our skyscrapers). To get there you take a bank of elevators up to one floor and transfer over to another bank of elevators and, hold on, what do you find as you’re walking past? A Starbucks! A Starbucks with a pretty great view.
Above is one of the first views that greets you from the Observation Deck. I’ve circled the Space Needle in orange to show you how tiny it seems from the Columbia Tower. See? Cute.
Here is the proof of the Starbucks. It’s free to get up to it, by the way.
To get to the observation deck you take the bank of elevators in the North Lobby to the 40th floor, pass by that Starbucks, then take those elevators to the 73rd floor. Follow the signs to the left. It’s about $5 per person to get in and then you find yourself looking down at the Space Needle, which is pretty cool. The views are nearly 360 degrees and on a clear day you can see all the surroundings mountains. It’s far cheaper than the Space Needle, involves a whole lot less waiting and zero souvenir photographs. (The Space Needle, though, does have glass elevators and a rotating restaurant.) It’s one of my favorite places to bring visitors. And not just to show off that yes we really do have Starbucks everywhere.
update: Not too long after this I found myself taking a picture of the Columbia Tower from the top of the Space Needle for comparison.
· comments  · 06-22-2011 · categories:seattle ·
· comments  · 06-22-2011 · categories:food · links ·
· comments  · 06-21-2011 · categories:uncategorized ·
Making the Sassy Pillowcase Dress: 20 Years Later | xoJane. Awesome. My mom actually sent me my old Sassy’s last year, I really need to spend an afternoon slightly drunk with friends going through them all.
Make Your Own Stationery: Pop-Up Cards | The Hairpin. More pop-up cards!
o l g a j a z z y :Cable Braided Necklace. A clever and simpler than it looks pattern to use up that little bit of good yarn you have floating around. Via Craftzine.
julies blog: Flower Hair Clip Tutorial. A nice and quick project to create some pretty folded-felt flower clips.
Sophie-World: Rubik’s Cube photo collage. This is really clever, let guests fill in their own photos with colored backgrounds to create a huge Rubik’s cube for the table.
· comments  · 06-20-2011 · categories:craft · links ·
Last week I had the opportunity of getting to visit the headquarters of Wilton for a peek inside their operations, a bit of cake decorating instruction and a look at the frenzy of the annual Wilton tent sale. It was pretty neat.
The first thing I learned? I’m not so great at wielding a frosting tip. It’s going to take a great many more hours of practice. We learned stars, rosettes, zig-zags, shells, vines, leaves and buds. I am only confident at leaves.
We learned how to do that nifty basket weave! It’s more simple than you might suspect and is therefore worthy of showing off and pretending like it was a lot of work.
This is the camera crew who was around all day. At first I found it disconcerting but by the end of the day I might or might have not have been looking straight into the camera while wearing a tablecloth tied around my neck like a giant bib and saying “I like my dress more than I like my dignity.” You may never know.
One of the new-to-me things from the day were these shaped rubber bands that easily hold the end of your pastry bag. So easy to use! So smart!
I also learned that I’m not a natural when it comes to working with fondant. I’m supposed to have a whole bunch more finished objects on that yellow square there. My final flower had a lot of assistance from the instructor. As in: she did it for me.
We got to take a tour of the props rooms, the photography studio and the studio space where the designers create camera perfect cakes (we weren’t allowed to take photos in there since they were getting ready for future things, but oh my gosh I wish I could show you what their cake closet looks like, it’s amazing.)
Then we had a short cake decorating competition! We had an hour to come up with a theme and decorate some pre-made papier mache cakes. Our team went with what we knew how to do, basket weave (learned about three hours earlier, mind you) and making use of the many pretty sugar flowers offered on the tables. You know what seems easier and faster than it is? Cake decorating. Know what’s worse? Cake decorating with a film crew in the room. We barely finished in time. I have heaps of new respect for those people in the cake decorating competitions I see on television. I have to admit, though, it was a lot of fun.
We took a tour of the official Wilton School where they hold all the classes, and there was a class going on so it was really cool to get to see works in progress. They have a great setup with overhead cameras and giant screen so you can see the instructor’s hands. I intend to return and learn how to blow sugar bubbles next year. The picture above is the only one I grabbed, it shows foam hair curlers propping open pieces of a fondant bow while it drives. Clever.
Afterward we took a tour of the test kitchens were Wilton assures that their recipes will turn out the same in your kitchen. They have a two sided kitchen, one with a gas stove and the other side with an electric stove. We were all crowded into it so I don’t have a decent photo, but it was reassuring to see that they use the same household appliances we do.
One of my favorite things was the wall of Wilton history. Apparently the company was started to teach people how to decorate with boiled and pulled sugar! This black and white photo shows off decorated cakes that one must actually crack the surface of to get inside. (I so badly want to do this! A pinata cake, how fun!) Later they joined forces with frosting decorators and formed classes closer to what we’d think of today. In the Depression they practiced using mashed potatoes instead of buttercream since sugar was rationed.
We happened to be there during the annual Wilton Tent Sale. (Did you know this was a thing? I did not!) It was enormous, like visiting a Costco on Saturday afternoon full of nothing but cake decorating supplies that are 75% off. The best sellers? Clear vanilla and parchment paper, smart shoppers those. Not shown: the giant whoopie pie pans, and a whole stack of my personal favorite, the skull cake pan. I talked two casual browsers into buying the skull cake pan while I stood there. Seriously.
Then it was off to dinner where all our cakes were displayed.
And our cake won an award! Ok, everybody’s cakes won awards! We got “Most Contemporary”. Go team contemporary! Huge shout out to Nosh With Me and Mommy Hates Cooking for being quick with the frosting and having quite the eye for flower placement. These awards were made from real fondant and frosting and somebody put a lot of work into making about thirty of them, so thanks, they were lovely.
You know what I didn’t get? A lot of photographs of all the awesome people. Here is everybody I met (some in person at long last, some for the first time, everybody was amazing):
Thank you Wilton!
One last note: if you’re ever going to take a cake decorating class don’t wear a mostly-white dress. Trust me on this one.
· comments  · 06-17-2011 · categories:food ·
· comments  · 06-16-2011 · categories:links · technology ·
Earlier this month Product Body offered a discount code and a few people had some trouble, so she’s fixed it up and extended the deadline through the end of June. Enter NOTMARTHA15 for 15% off when you’re checking out. Valid for everything on the site except the Scrub of the Month club, use as often as you’d like.
I’ll also mention that School House Craft is still offering 20% off for any ticket combination to the conference. Enter notmartha when you buy your tickets. This will be good up until the event (in September!).
And finally there is a pretty neat thing happening here in Seattle this Thursdsay, June 16th:
Moveable Type coming to Seattle’s Central District!
June 16th, 5-8pm
at Miss Cline Press shop
2370 East Cherry (cherry & 23rd ave)
Join us for a printing party to welcome the Moveable Type national tour on its first stop in Seattle.
Moveable Type is a mobile print shop built into the back of an old delivery truck. The truck is owned by Kyle Durrie, the proprietor of Power and Light Press in Portland, Oregon. Kyle is starting a 9+ month tour across North America. The idea is to combine her two passions of traveling and printing. Now, the truck is ready and the adventure is just beginning. Her first stop in Seattle will be in the heart of Central District at Miss Cline Press shop.
During her trip, Kyle will be visiting schools, art spaces, city parks, music and arts festivals, craft shows, parties, and anywhere else that has an interest in learning about printing the old fashioned way.
Moveable Type will be setting up its mobile print shop outside Miss Cline Press on Thursday, June 16th for an evening of printing demos, studio/truck tours, and tall tales about life on the road. This event is free and open to the public, and participants can expect to get their hands dirty and make a few prints to take home with them.
A priceless opportunity! Hope to see you there.
More info and tour dates:
· comments  · 06-15-2011 · categories:events · mumbling · seattle · shopping ·
· comments  · 06-15-2011 · categories:food · links ·