Not Martha

the state of my state

We started this year with a bit of fixing up. We had a new bumper put on our car from a little accident (we were stopped at a red light and were tapped from behind by giant pickup truck which appeared to suffer no damage whatsoever), we had our bathroom floor tiled and had a heated floor (luxurious!) put in at the same time. And just when we were settling in to having things back in order our clothes washer started leaking. Sad trombone. So we’re looking at having it fixed (do people still do this?) or getting a new one. We’re also saying goodbye to any money we had hoped to putting towards a sunshiny winter getaway. Ah well. We got to ease our disappointment while sitting at a local bar with neighbors watching our football team win the Super Bowl, which was pretty darn great.

Last month I went to the Altitude Design Summit to speak on a panel and part of that was to talk about how blogging has changed drastically over the last few years. What we talked about was put much better by Grace of Design Sponge in her State of the Blog Union post last week. I also like what Jean Aw wrote in her Restart: 2014 post for NOTCOT. Both of them come to the conclusion that though it feels like things have spread so far apart with all the social media channels there is plenty of room for more fun to be had in the upcoming year. I like that.

As for me I have a few things I want to recommend to you, I need to talk about our big trip last November and I’d like to redesign this site (it’s been far too long). I had a few small projects in mind but both failed during the proof of concept stages. (Though, those involved getting to eat cake. Even failed cake tastes good.) How has your year been going so far?

· comments [14] · 02-4-2014 · categories:mumbling ·

Trip update: heading out to the hills

We are at the point in our trip where we are heading out to more remote areas and so I’ll be hitting pause on my Kinder Egg A Day posts until we have returned to a place where I don’t feel so guilty spending time at my laptop. I’ve got a few posts lined up to fill in while we’re busy chasing rainbows. See you soon!

· comments [2] · 10-29-2013 · categories:mumbling ·

What I learned on my summer break: brewing beer at Spinnaker Bay Brewing

Hello there! Apparently I took a summer break from my website. Sorry about that, I didn’t set out to make it a slow summer around here but I had to admit that my I needed a break. Meanwhile my attention was elsewhere, I was learning to brew beer!

In the spring a women founded, own and run brewery named Spinnaker Bay Brewing opened in my neighborhood. I basically marched in there, introduced myself and negotiated my way into getting to learn how to brew beer. Pushy yes but, hey, free labor for them. Here is what I’ve learned.

Beer is like theater: In the background people are putting a lot of effort into something that is huge and sometimes messy and occasionally dangerous. And then at a specific time people arrive so you scramble to make the experience as good as possible for them. In both cases there isn’t a necessarily a large amount of profit to be had, you do it because you love it so damn much.

Beer is like sewing: When you learn to sew you quickly realize that it’s almost 75% ironing. Brewing beer is 75% cleaning up and equipment maintenance. There is a lot of improvising when you need to troubleshoot and a lot of creative problem solving. Clearly I love it.

Community: Having a brewery a few blocks away as spot to gather means I’ve met neighbors that I wouldn’t have otherwise and I’ve gotten news on what’s going on in the neighborhood that isn’t the sort that is put into print. The brewery focuses on partnering with other businesses who are local, they bring food trucks into an area that might not otherwise be a draw and even the spent grain from the brewing process is given to Farmer Wayne who feeds it to his pigs. (Do we see a brewery pig roast in the future? Yes, yes we do.)

Persistence: Sometimes when you’re brewing beer the mash gets stuck, meaning there is a clog. When you’re dealing with 80 gallons of hot liquid and grain you cannot just give up and start over, you have to find a way to fix it. Is this a metaphor? Yes, yes it is. Getting to peek behind the scenes at the brewery means I get to see the owners unstick a lot of situations, take a moment to celebrate and then tackle the next thing. It takes a lot of strength and I admire them deeply. And I’m not just saying that because they refuse to let me pay for my beer.

The kitchen of the future: The liquid that becomes beer is very sticky and spills are inevitable, but in a brewery we simply hose everything down and leave it sparklingly clean. I really wish it was that easy, and that much fun, to clean my own kitchen.

This summer I wore out a pair of rubber boots and four pairs of gloves. I also learned that I can lift a 55-pound bag of grain (though I do look hilariously awkward doing it). It was like doing crossfit in a sauna, except for all that beer that negates all the hard physical work.

I’ve been generously loaned a pretty serious homebrew setup so expect to see some potentially failed beer brewing experiments here on my site in the next few weeks.

· comments [5] · 09-11-2013 · categories:mumbling ·

Mansize Tissues

I’m back from a trip to England! And Wales! We drove on the other side of the street and walked along the tops of bluffs on footpaths and saw the Dr. Who Experience and had cream tea and got really familiar with a few stops of the Underground and saw Book of Mormon and opened Kinder Eggs and gawked at cheese in Cheddar and watched the path emerge from the water from the top of Saint Michael’s Mount and looked the wrong way for traffic before crossing the street. But mostly our group spent time passing around a bad cold, which I was unlucky enough to have for the days we were in London where it was cold enough to snow and yet there was no way I was going to take a whole precious day to sit and be warm and still indoors.

Since we now have Uniqlo and Lush and Muji shops and Boots aisle in Target here in the US it’s harder to find new and fascinating things in the UK, but we succeeded! Behold something called “Mansize tissues”, shown above next to a regular sized tissue. The Mansize tissues are big, almost hanky sized, and I love them and I wish we had them here in the US. So, who knows somebody in the tissue industry and how quickly can we get these things here in the US and can we rename them something less sexist but still offensive like Texas Tissues or Supersize Tissues? Anyhow, they made having a cold slightly less miserable.

· comments [28] · 03-25-2013 · categories:mumbling ·

Happy New Year

Happy new year! I hope your celebration is sparkly.


Gold polka dot garland at BHLDN. (It’s on sale!)

DIY Gold-Leaf Polka Dot Ceramics at Vitamini Handmade.

Three DIY cocktails for New Years at Refinery 29.

Edible star glitter decoration at Fashionably Bombed.

Bubbly Champagne Flutes. (No longer available, sad trombone.)

DIY styrofoam and toothpick decorations at The Sweetest Occasion.

· comments [5] · 12-28-2012 · categories:mumbling ·

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I hope you’re somewhere cozy and surrounded by people you consider family. And I hope you stuff yourself until you cannot do anything more than sit on a couch and drool at the television. We are hanging with family in a large rental house near a lake where we are scouring the shore for acorns and skipping stones. I hope you are similarly happily situated!

· comments [0] · 11-22-2012 · categories:mumbling ·

Camp Mighty

Later this week I’m headed to Camp Mighty. This will be my second year and I’m excited to see the people whom I met last year, I’m happy to revisit the hot tub at the Ace Hotel, I can definitely use a little shot of sunshine and I’m anticipating what things will come into my attention that I never new were there before. I was terrified to revisit the Life List that I submitted last year because, honestly, I have not focused on it very much. But you know what? When I reviewed my list I was able to cross off six things. None of them were huge or contributed to big world changes but being able to check them off was so thrilling. And then, of course, I added six new ones and I tried to make them a little bigger. This upcoming year I’ll schedule time to step back, take a look through my list and see if there are any connections to those things I want to do and the with people I know that can point me in the right direction that might normally go overlooked or shuffled away in a haze of routine.

Part of Camp Mighty is raising money for Charity Water. Last year the camp as a whole got word that we’d reached our fundraising goal in the middle of the weekend and we all cheered, it was a moment. Earlier this Autumn we got the photos, some shown above, of just what our fundraising managed to do. Our funds went into buying a drilling rig called Yellow Thunder which will bring 40,000 people clean water each year. Wow, people.

The people behind Camp Mighty also very recently announced the opening of Go Mighty, a site where people can share their goals, view those of others and connect to get stuff done. Registration is open so go, go on!

· comments [2] · 11-13-2012 · categories:events · mumbling ·

I have joined Instagram

I have joined Instagram. My assimilation has been completed.

popsicle covered with pie crust crumbs
Bicycle-delivered pie ala mode popsicle with pie crumbs, from Six Strawberries who biked in to serve guests at a wedding at Gasworks Park. It was perfect.

ferris wheel at sunset
Approaching magic hour at the Seattle ferris wheel.

turtle carved out of a watermelon
Turtle fruit salad, at the same wedding mentioned above. (There was also a serendipitous Blue Angels fly over, knights fighting for the bride, rice krispies cake and beautiful paper bouquets. It was pretty darn great.)

sculpture at UW campus
Looking up at the three brick monoliths on the UW campus.

· comments [4] · 08-10-2012 · categories:mumbling ·

Parting Ways With My Wisdom Teeth

Next week I’m saying goodbye to my wisdom teeth. Nothing drastic, it’s just time. In preparation I’ve been reading wisdom teeth advice and a few horror stories over at Ask Metafilter. I particularly like the question about the Tooth Fairy for adults. Here are my plans so far:

  • Smoothies, green juice, ice cream, mashed potatoes and jello.
  • Regular tea bags to chew on and peppermint tea to refresh. (Apparently my mouth won’t taste so good, surprise.)
  • Bags of frozen peas to press on swollen chipmunk cheeks.
  • My mascot, pictured above, of a plush Monster Tooth made by Sew Dorky that I bought a few years back knowing that someday it would be needed. I will hug or pummel it depending on how I feel.
  • Journey on the PS3 and the awesome Amanita Design games from the latest Humble Indie Bundle.
  • And to read I’ve already started Game of Thrones. I was afraid that I’d get all the characters confused but so far it’s been no trouble.
  • The ability to sit on my couch feeling sorry for myself for a few days.

More information always makes me feel less nervous about new things like this. Did you have your wisdom teeth out? What do you wish somebody had told you before? Any advice on something I should have ready to go just in case?

· comments [136] · 04-26-2012 · categories:mumbling ·

Spring cleaning for my brain

I’ve found myself in the middle of some lack of inspiration and I decided to give into it. Recently it feels like nothing I try really works out: my very cool Easter project idea failed spectacularly (but I still have hope that I can do it for next year), I bought a pair of really comfy shoes I wanted to tell everybody about only to find that they squeak loudly when I walk, I cannot seem to capture what I want in my photographs. Graaah! Feel the power of overlapping small frustrations add up!

As part of my downtime I’ve decided to declutter the house, Spring cleaning for the house as well as my brain maybe? Shown above is a collection of keys that both Scott and myself have somehow collected over the years. With the exception of one we have no idea where any of these keys might work. There was a Nissan key in there and neither of us has ever driven a Nissan. That padlock was from my high school years and I couldn’t remember the combination even back then. So I’ve tossed the keys and my house became that much literally and figuratively lighter. High five, it’s working.

I’m making slow progress because I’m a very lazy person at heart. It’s overwhelming because this is the first place I’ve lived in for more than two years at a time as an adult and, predictably, I’m finding the amount of stuff you can shove into closets and forget about is incredible. Turns out I’m way better at shedding stuff when faced with the imminent threat of having to carry it all to a new home. These days it’s easier to pull everything out of a closet, toss a couple things and put it all back in, only a little more orderly looking this time. All the work and sense of satisfaction with none of the desired results!

I really need to get motivated, like Hulk Smash! style motivated. So far my plan is:

  • Highbrow: Watch and re-watch this TED talk by Graham Hill on less stuff equaling more happiness. I found this though a article by Jessica Adamiak that I will revisit when I need to remember bullet points.
  • Lowbrow: Watch episodes of Hoarders because nothing will inspire a craving for minimalism in me faster. Maybe I’ll write a prescription for myself to watch one per week.
  • Read Dinah Sanders’ Discardia. It’s in Kindle forrmat as well as good old fashioned book. Something I like from the first chapter: “Your first Discardian act should be to let go of feeling bad about what you haven’t gotten done by now.” Done! (I know Dinah from way back, hi Dinah!)
  • Rearrange my digital life as well. I need to set up a schedule (shudder) for backing up my iPhone, computers and cameras. And back up those back ups somewhere not in this house. I also need to rearrange and weed my bookmarks, Google Reader lists, Twitter lists, Gmail labels and be a better Facebook citizen. My hands feel heavy just thinking about all these things, but I know they’ll break me out of my current “I wonder if The Hairpin has posted anything new?” form of comfort surfing. Or at least I hope.
  • Remember that trash and recycling pick up is early on Friday mornings. Remember that on Thursday afternoons.
  • Acknowledge that crunchy snacks are a vital part of the process for me. Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls are on the top of my list.

But I also could use help! Do you have any good motivations? Resources? Playlists? Scare tactics? Share, I beg you, if only so that I know I’m not alone in my sea of half-emptied closets.

· comments [54] · 04-20-2012 · categories:misc · mumbling ·

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 ·

update and blips

Hello there. Last night we updated the WordPress for my site and, of course, it broke a few things. Most have been smoothed out but it also made my RSS feed temporarily loose it’s mind. So if you’re seeing truncated posts or really, really old posts in your reader please ignore, we’ve fixed it. I hope.

· comments [5] · 10-7-2011 · categories:mumbling ·

one picnic, three good ideas, two weird cookies

We spent a happy sunshiny day at a birthday celebration picnic on the edge of the sound this weekend. Mary and Dave Sheely are smart picnic planners. (I think it’s because they are from Ohio and Ohio people know how to picnic.) I took note of a few things.

three good ideas:

Instead of paper plates we used these smaller fast food containers, which I loved because I always manage to flip a regular sized plate over at picnics. These fit in one hand so there was no dramatic flinging of foods. At least not accidentally.

Two La Petite Ecole dark chocolate cookies used for a s’more. Delicious!

A layer of sour cream is used as an oxygen barrier for the guacamole. Brilliant. Also, sour cream!

two strange cookies:

The Triple Double Oreo. Three layers of cookie, two double-stuffed layers of white and chocolate filling. I came to the same conclusion as Serious Eats, that it tastes pretty much like an Oreo.

Keebler’s Coconut Dreams caught my eye because, hello, Samoas anybody? They definitely tasted a bit different because of the milk chocolate, but if you are really craving Girl Scout cookies in the off season these might be satisfying.

and a dog on a paddle board:

and a sunset:

· comments [18] · 08-22-2011 · categories:mumbling ·

what I’m up to

four leaf clover in my front yard

Stuff is going on! It’s very exciting.

I contributed a project to 10 Simple Sunday Afternoon Crafts which is published over on the shiny new Kirtsy, whose redo launched earlier this week. Lookin’ good ladies. Huge thanks to Blogstar for inviting me along. I showed how I use woodgrain contact paper to repurpose various tins to use around the house. Yes that is a band-aid on my finger and it got there due to a paper cut unrelated to my project and the various sharp edged metal things I had been wielding for it.

Make Grow Gather had me on for an episode of Lazy Summer Radio and I talked about how much I like to find four leaf clovers. (The one pictured above was found in my front yard just last week.) Thanks again Kelly, come back soon!

For the next few weeks I’ll be participating in a Project Runway challenge thanks to the good people at HP, who sent me a TouchSmart computer! I’ll be doing my own version of the challenges the contestants are given, at least in digital format. I’m completely underqualified to do this so the results might be, well, let’s just go with interesting.

I’ll also be keeping an eye on the Project Project Runway girls (Just Crafty Enough and Craftroom) who recreate the challenges on dolls. I loved what they did last season and I’m glad they are doing it again.

I have a list of good stuff over at Supermarket. Narrowing it down to 10 items was very difficult, I have about a hundred more bookmarked. Seriously.

I’ll be speaking at Schoolhouse Craft here in Seattle. I’m doing a panel on blogging with Blair from Wise Craft and Molly from Orangette. We’re doing Blogging 101 on Friday, Sept 23rd at 12:30. The conference will be a collection of great people talking about the business of craft. If you need a recharge this will be where to do it, I came away last year feeling more inspired than I had in a while.

My husband Scott has a few notable shows coming up. He is 1/2 of Kin to Stars, the other half is the very awesome Jerin Falkner. Their very first show is coming up in over a week at Egan’s in Ballard (Seattle) on Saturday, August 6th at 9p.m. More details on their Facebook events page. See you there? He also plays with Explone and among their upcoming shows is a benefit to help cover the medical costs of a great girl who needs some help: We Heart Tracy Dart at The Bridge, 7pm on Sunday, August 7th.

· comments [8] · 07-29-2011 · categories:mumbling ·

a few things

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 [4] · 06-15-2011 · categories:events · mumbling · seattle · shopping ·