Not Martha

Looking back at 2011

I’ve never done a year end look back, but this afternoon was gloomy here and I found myself going through my archives. Wow, I am so grateful to all the new and old friends who made my year amazing and I am super duper grateful to have amazing and kind readers who give me advice and help and a reason to keep making weird stuff. Here is to 2012 bringing great things to you all! The list below is more of a reminder for myself but feel free to poke around:

In January I was lucky enough to get to speak at the Altitude Design Summit and though I didn’t get to see Karen Walrond there she came through Seattle on her book tour for The Beauty of Different so I got to give her a hug anyhow.

In February we had a relaxing visit to Guemes Island and I got to have a spend lots of time visiting both a hot tub and a fireplace.

In March I made a Leprechaun Trap cake with a secret rainbow, I got to see how the Flying Hippo Brewing Company does it’s thing and I met with a group of really wonderful bloggers here in Seattle.

In April I made Easter Surprise Eggs and Stars In Jars for a bake sale at Cakespy. Somewhere in there was a weekend trip to Portland.

May held a month of giveaways to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this site, thanks again to everybody who participated.

June held an amazing trip to see the Wilton headquarters and Posterous sent Scott and I on a road trip. I also made red velvet cupcakes in jars for a few bake sales and I was taught the secret of peanut butter cup s’mores.

In July I met Marie from Make and Takes for the first time, I got to visit with Kelly and do a little podcast about Summer, I made lots of grapefruit tarragon infused vodka but got no photos of the finished product. We went on lots of bike rides and saw this giant jenga game at a street fair. I also got into a minor car accident (other party’s fault and thankfully the insurance people agreed) and spent a few weeks driving a rather large car around and missing my little Golf.

In August I went on lots of picnics and HP invited me to play along with Project Runway and I got to show Whitney from Ugly Green Chair and her mother some of my favorite Seattle spots.

In September I took an incredible trip to NYC to see the Project Runway finale taping (thanks again, HP!) I spoke at the Schoolhouse Craft conference with Molly from Orangette and Blair from Wise Craft, I got my nails done for the first time, I went apple picking, I made pie crust lattice cookies meant to sit over a mug of cider, attended the Design*Sponge book tour crafting event (so much fun) and my house had a major water leak leading to a new water heater, new furnace and new flooring.

In October I made Zombie Head Cheese, got to meet Jack Bishop from Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen (what a thrill!), I visited an Alpaca farm, got to see a bunch of local bloggers at a dinner sponsored by West Elm to celebrate the opening of the Seattle store (hi everybody!) and thanks to Yolo Colorhouse I had the opportunity to redesign my bedroom. It’s still my very favorite room in our house.

November was all about visiting family and learning about boiled omelets, visiting new and old friends at Camp Mighty, and visiting other websites to offer a few projects.

In December I made 3D Gingerbread Trees, created a cocoa customization kit, got to hang with some fabulous Seattle bloggers and got to see Debbie Stoller while she was in town on the book tour for Bust DIY Guide to Life, I got to show Whitney a Seattle that was considerably gloomier than her last visit, and the amazing oil painting arrived from The Commission Project which made for a wonderful Christmas.

My mascots for this year include Portal 2, Biscoff spread, Pliny the Elder, the Mia, Glitch, many, many hours of podcasts and the comfy new padded dining room chairs where my butt is currently planted.

Happy New Year everybody!

· comments [9] · 12-31-2011 · categories:mumbling ·

3D Christmas Tree Gingerbread Cookies – the outtakes

3-D Christmas Tree

Earlier I posted about how to turn a tree shaped cookie cutter into one that is interlocking and standing (shown above). I wrote about the way to interlock three cookies but I wanted to say that I started this project by using the same 8 inch tall cookie cutter and much thinner dough to make trees that used six layers that slotted together. I made them in the same year I showed the gingerbread houses that perch on the edge of a mug. Here are some photos that I took waaaay back in 2009:

3-D Christmas Tree

I made small ones that used three cookies, and large ones that used six cookies:

3-D Christmas Tree

Trouble was that the larger trees curled, the layers of dough wouldn’t cool flat no matter how careful I was, leading to them looking like this:

3-D Christmas Tree

It had a nice geometric look but just lacked a certain amount of charm and, dare I say it?, looked like beef jerky. Also, it required rolling dough out to a point where it was unreasonably thin. Still, at that point in time I was a bit caught up with interlocking as many cookies as I could.

3-D Christmas Tree

The smaller trees were flat and looked fine but I’m happier with my current version using thicker dough that allows you to decorate the edges. My lesson? More isn’t always better. Um, less is more? That sounds better. Ok, Happy Holidays everybody I’ll see you in the near year!

· comments [8] · 12-22-2011 · categories:christmas ·

3D Christmas Tree Gingerbread Cookies

3-D Christmas Tree

I made 3D Christmas Tree Gingerbread Cookies for Christmas. They slot together and don’t require icing to hold them up. Below I explain how to 3Dize your own cookie cutters and I also provide printable templates in case you don’t have a tree cookie cutter you like.

3-D Christmas Tree

3-D Christmas Tree

3-D Christmas Tree

3-D Christmas Tree

Click through for a how-to.
[Read more →]

· comments [36] · 12-21-2011 · categories:christmas ·

links: shopping

Best Place to Purchase Large Modern World Wall Maps? | Ask MetaFilter.

Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling | Lovely Package. I have got to sniff this perfume sometime, I love gin.

The 2011 Good Gift Games – The Morning News and defective yeti — Good Gift Games Greatest Hits.

The Cadillac of eyeglasses? | Ask MetaFilter. From the question: “I have $1000 in a health savings account and three weeks to spend it or lose it. I’ve decided to buy the world’s awesomest pair of glasses.” I giggled at the suggestion of getting ten pairs of Warby Parker glasses. Lots of suggestions for NYC options here.

· comments [3] · 12-20-2011 · categories:links · shopping ·

links: christmas

How to: Make Modern Perforated Christmas Trees » Curbly | DIY Design Community. These look like the porcelain ones from West Elm, nice job.

12 Days of Christmas Gifts | Mighty Girl. Love!

MinuteFrame: Order a framed photo in less than one minute. This one is the service of a friend of a friend, and I have not tried it but it looks so darn handy. Very simply you upload a photo to have printed at the 5×7 size, they do the printing and framing and ship it to your giftee.

mirrormirror: Christmas Cupcake Decorating at Trophy Cupcake. Paola includes tip numbers and notes on technique for some fancy cupcakes. They look great Paola!

Calvin and Hobbes Snowmen Truffles · Edible Crafts.

Festive Topped Jars at You Are My Fave. Simple and very impressive! Via Edible Crafts.

Felted Bell Ornaments – the purl bee. So sweet.

· comments [4] · 12-19-2011 · categories:christmas · links ·

elsewhere: gift guide up at Juniper Moon Fiber Farm

Just a quick note, today I have a gift guide up at Juniper Moon Fiber Farm, and they are giving away some of my favorite Crush On You body scrub from Product Body. Yay!

· comments [2] · 12-15-2011 · categories:uncategorized ·

book: The Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

This is The Bust DIY Guide to Life and I desperately wish I had this book when I was around high school age. They’ve collected things from the magazine and included a whole bunch of new stuff on everything from decorating to beauty to savings and lay it all out in clear way that makes me feel like I could take on the world. The book is thick, over 360 pages, and is like a nice heavy textbook. I appreciate that the projects include real life needs like how to lower the front of a waistband of an a-line skirt and how to cut your bangs so that you won’t regret it. There is information on sewing, cooking, gardening, financing a small business and even a nude paint-by-numbers. Debbie and Laurie, I love the book!

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

Bust DIY Guide to Life

· comments [5] · 12-15-2011 · categories:books ·

links: beauty

Dior Addict Lip Polish in Fresh Shine : Hair Thursday. I think it’s time I found some new lip gloss, and with such an enthusiastic recommendation I know where to start.

Advice for dying hair silver | Ask MetaFilter. I myself don’t have any additional silver haired needs but there are lots of good links to advice and techniques in this thread.

The Guide to Bold Lipsticks | The Hairpin. Good advice on how to prep yourself to shop for bright lipsticks. Note: video.

exfoliation 101: the face | Ask MetaFilter. This is a question from somebody with very sensitive skin and while the responses cover the whole spectrum there is a lot of good information here.

How to carrot facial at Petite Elefant. Simple and fresh as can be.

· comments [4] · 12-14-2011 · categories:beauty · links ·

amazing Gingerbread Brownstone from Kitchen Table Scraps

Gingerbread Brownstone made by Kitchen Table Scraps

Have you seen this amazing Gingerbread Brownstone made by Kitchen Table Scraps? Even better, she shows how to make it including shaping the rounded front windows, adding all the detail and lighting it from the inside. Super greatness.

Gingerbread Brownstone made by Kitchen Table Scraps

· comments [3] · 12-13-2011 · categories:christmas · food ·

Make and Takes for Kids

Make and Takes for Kids

Marie of the fabulous site Make and Takes recently came out with her first book (yay Marie!) called Make and Takes for Kids. It covers 50 weeks of seasonal projects easy enough for kids, and you too, to take on. Each is clearly explained and photographed and they all have a bit of cleverness that makes me want to make them myself. This would make a great gift for any crafty family and would give them a year full of activities while reflecting on holidays and seasons. If you’d like to read more about it go visit the Make and Takes for Kids book page.

Make and Takes for Kids

Make and Takes for Kids

Make and Takes for Kids

Make and Takes for Kids

· comments [6] · 12-12-2011 · categories:books ·

The Portland Bazaar

The Portland Bazaar

Are you near Portland (the one in Oregon) next weekend? I highly recommend heading to The Portland Bazaar. It’s filled with excellent handmade goods from makers curated by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. The sneak peaks are enough to make me weak in the knees. And I hear that West Elm is serving breakfast to the first 100 people in the doors, nice. There are also DIY classes, book signings and demos including chocolate tasting and terrarium making. If I didn’t have something to be at up here in Seattle I’d be making my way to Portland to join you lucky things.

· comments [3] · 12-8-2011 · categories:shopping ·

links: christmas

German Pyramid Cake – The Crafts Dept. Eeek, I want one.

Peppermint Rice Krispies Treats · Edible Crafts. I love the candy cane hook so they can hang on the mug, so clever!

Christmas Tree Meringue Cookies | Bakers Royale. Reminds me of the Christmas tree Duchess potatoes.

Gingerbread Playdough Homemade Gift for Kids · Edible Crafts. I want some of this.

DIY Holiday Gifts Advent Calendar – CHOW.

Sprinkle Bakes: Christmas Coal Candy. Via Edible Crafts.

The 2011 Good Gift Games and Good Gift Games Greatest Hits – The Morning News.

· comments [3] · 12-6-2011 · categories:christmas · links ·

DIY Stocking Stuffers

I contributed a project to DIY Stocking Stuffers. There are 12 projects in all and each one is pretty darn great. Thanks to Kirtsy and Blogstar for having me!

· comments [21] · 12-5-2011 · categories:uncategorized ·

links: food

Pumpkin Beer Cupcakes | The Geeky Hostess.

Why Beer Growlers are Bad for your Brew: The Bon Appetit Foodist.

Edible shot glasses | Luxirare. So nice, as always.

Soda: The Dubious History (And Great Flavor) of Vernors Ginger Ale | Serious Eats: Drinks. When I was a kid I thought Vernors was terrible, I should try it again and see how I feel about it now.

Buttered Rosemary Rolls | The Pioneer Woman Cooks | Ree Drummond. Using frozen rolls, easy. Via Sundry Mourning.

· comments [9] · 12-1-2011 · categories:food · links ·