Not Martha

Design*Sponge book tour in Seattle

Last night Grace was here in Seattle on the Design*Sponge at Home book tour and I was lucky enough to get to attend the crafting class that she’s holding as part of book tour.

Here is Grace demonstrating stamping our designs into wax. Hi Grace!

Know what we did? We wood burned our own wax seals. And then we got to practice stamping them into the hot wax.

In retrospect it seems incredibly dangerous. I mean, we were sitting in a store with wood floors that was filled with clothing and hanging paper decorations. Our tables were cluttered with exacto knives, hot pokers, matches and flammable wax. It was incredibly fun.

I managed to not accidentally set fire to myself or Melanie, whose hands you see here demonstrating how to do some wood burning. I’m very clumsy so reporting I didn’t burn Seattle to the ground comes as a great relief as well as a point of pride.

If you’re headed to one of the book tour events all I can advise is that you get there early, the line for her book signing wound through the store, down the stairs, out the front door and down the block. Congratulations Grace!

Also in the store that night was this installation by Matthew Parker. These were all hand folded geometric paper shapes and it was, there is no better way to say this, really cool. His business card says “stay rad” on it. Awesome.

· comments [9] · 09-30-2011 · categories:books · events ·

blog book tour: 1, 2, 3 Sew

Hi there! Today is a stop on the blog book tour for 1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Projects—Bags, Accessories, Home Accents, and More written by Ellen of The Long Thread. The book is filled with happy and useful projects and has a whole section for organizers. If you head on over the the book’s page you can find a preview of some pages, and you can also see the book trailer on YouTube. It’s stop motion and I’m sort of in love with it.

There is also a free tutorial for the Market Tote which is completely adorable. I must make one.

Next up on the blog book tour is Modern Kiddo, and you can see the whole schedule right over here.

· comments [6] · 07-14-2011 · categories:books · craft ·

May Birthday Giveaway: Embroidery Companion

Embroidery Companion

What’s going on here? My site started ten years ago this month and to celebrate I’m giving away something each weekday. Because I like you.

Today I’m tickled to have a copy of Alicia Paulson’s second book Embroidery Companion: Classic Designs for Modern Living to give to one lucky winner. Alicia is one of those people I’ve known online for almost as long as I’ve had an internet connection, and whom I’m happy to say is just as awesome and warm in person, and I adore the love and care she puts into all her work. Her take on embroidery shows a fondness for the past but has a modern and cheerful way about it. She also has a delightful blog, Posie Gets Cozy where she talks about food, dogs, gardening and the joys of hammocks. And she produces patterns for sewing, crochet and embroidery as well as offering the occasional carefully compiled craft kits which sell out crazy fast, her latest was the Daisychain ABC Sampler, and I love her felt Christmas ornaments. You can find everything at her online shop Rosy Little Things.

If you’d like to win the copy of Embroidery Companion please leave a comment with this post and, if you’d like, answer this question: What is the first craft you remember doing? Though my mother has evidence of earlier creations the first thing I remember was using cut fruit as stamps to decorate t-shirts on a rainy afternoon during a vacation. Your turn, you’ve got until Friday, May 27th at 10 a.m. PST to enter, the fine print applies. Good luck! Closed, thank you so much for entering!

· comments [349] · 05-26-2011 · categories:books · craft ·

May Birthday Giveaway: Gluten-free Girl and the Chef

gluten-free girl and the chef

What’s going on here? My site started ten years ago this month and to celebrate I’m giving away something each weekday. Because I like you.

Today I’ve got a copy of Gluten-free Girl and the Chef to give away, it was written by Shauna and Danny Ahern who do the site titled, you’ve perhaps guessed, Gluten-free Girl and the Chef. I talked about Shauna’s first book a few years back when I spent the day being gluten-free and discovered gluten is everywhere, including my toothpaste and my hair product. At the time I met Shauna I knew one person who had celiac, and since then I’ve met many more. It seems like every one of those I’ve met has gone through a struggle with what they cannot eat anymore and this is where Shauna comes in, she is a generous, happy, glowing soul who focuses instead on all the goodness one can uncover while eating gluten-free and she shares that. This book was written after she married Danny, the chef in the title (and one awesome guy, if I may say so), and the book covers a love story (romantic sigh) and lots of recipes and beautiful inspiring photos.

Do you live gluten-free or know somebody who does? Then this book is one you’ll want. To enter please leave a comment with this entry and, if you’d like something to talk about (I love reading all the stories!), here is a question to answer: Do you know somebody with celiac? I’ll go first: When I was living in San Francisco I learned about the disease from a co-worker who had been diagnosed earlier that year, it was completely new to me. Now it seems that a startling number of people I know have celiac. Alright, you’ve got until Thursday, May 26th at 10 a.m. PST to enter, the fine print applies and as always good luck! Closed, thank you for entering!

· comments [359] · 05-25-2011 · categories:books · food ·

May Birthday Giveaway: CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life

CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life book cover

What’s going on here? My site started ten years ago this month and to celebrate I’m giving away something each weekday. Because I like you.

Todays giveaway is coming to you from the future. Well, sort of. Jessie Oleson, whom you might know as CakeSpy, has a book coming out later this year (late September is the most informed date I have heard, things change but this might not!) it’s called CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life and she is happy to send a copy to one lucky winner. Just, you know, in September when the book actually exists. CakeSpy, as if you don’t already know, is lover of all things sweet, purveyor of the history behind our favorite desserts, a most excellent illustrator with a certain favorite character (Cuppie, pictured here), has a column at Serious Eats, a real brick and mortar shop here in Seattle, and a rabble rouser when it comes to the question of Cake vs. Pie.

If you’d like to win a (future) copy of the CakeSpy book just lease a comment with this post, and if you’d like please answer this question: Are you Team Pie or Team Cake? I hereby publicly declare myself Team Cake, pies are great but cake has a power I cannot deny. Ok, you’ve got until Saturday, May 21st at 10 a.m. PST to enter, the fine print, as always, applies. Good luck. Closed, thanks for entering!

· comments [407] · 05-20-2011 · categories:books · food ·

May Birthday Giveaway: Grow Great Grub

Grow Great Grub

Today I’ve got a copy of Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail. This book has a perfect combination of the information you need to grow your own food in containers, planting beds or community gardens, what to plant, how to care for it, and heaps of beautiful photographs to inspire you. I’m very intimidated by gardening and I find this book to be comforting. She covers everything I might like to grow but doesn’t bury me in too many options. There are even recipes, tips on keeping or preserving and a section on how to can. This book is both a great place to start, and has lots of information for those gardeners who are looking to polish their food growing skills. And if you don’t already follow it Gayla’s site You Grow Girl is full of great information. Gayla is one of those people whom I’ve known online for years and years. (I find myself saying that a lot lately!)

If you’d like to win a copy of You Grow Girl please leave a comment with this post. You’ve got until Tuesday, May 17th at 10am PST to enter, the fine print applies. Here is something to talk about if you’d like: Have you ever eaten anything you grew yourself? I am terrible with plants so the most I’ve managed is using my own rosemary and thyme, but my dad is a gardener and grows blueberries and wild strawberries (which are delicious). Ok, good luck! Closed! Thanks for entering.

· comments [497] · 05-16-2011 · categories:books ·

May Birthday Giveaway: World of Geekcraft

World of Geekcraft book cover

Today is a bit of synchronicity, my month of giveaways coincided with the blog book tour for World of Geekcraft, Step-by-Step Instructions for 25 Super-Cool Craft Projects. The author is Susan Beal, a super cool lady who writes for Craft, Stitch, ReadyMade, CraftStylish,, has her own site at West Coast Crafty and whose many books have appeared on my site before (most recently see Modern Log Cabin Quilting). But more importantly she is one of those people whom I’ve known online (and in person) forever, very close to a decade. To learn more about the World of Geekcraft book check out the blog and you can find PDF instructions and templates for the Pow! Zap! Magnets right here. The book tour is headed over to House on Hill Road and Public School tomorrow, go and visit.

If you’d like to win a copy of World of Geekcraft please leave a comment with this post. You’ve got until Friday, May 13th at 10 a.m. PST to enter, the fine print applies. If you’d like something to mention answer this question: What was your favorite geeky tv show or movie when you were a kid? Me? I’m gonna have to go with Buck Rogers. Alright, good luck! Closed! Thanks for entering!

· comments [300] · 05-12-2011 · categories:books · craft ·

May Birthday Giveaway: The Wilder Life

cover of The Wilder Life

This here website started ten years ago this month and to celebrate I’m giving away something each weekday. Because I like you.

Today I’m thrilled to be able to offer three lucky winners (that’s you! and you! and, yes, you!) a copy of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. Wendy’s site, Pound, was among the very first I started reading way back-in-the-day and I followed along as she investigated her love for Laura Ingalls Wilder. I somehow missed out on the whole Little House experience and I have to say I’m jealous. (Anne of Green Gables? Frodo? Susan and Lucy? All yes. Little House? I’m feeling like I have to catch up to the rest of you.)

If you have an affinity for Little House this book is for you. To win a copy please leave a comment with this entry, and if you’d like something to talk about answer this question: Have you ever worn a bonnet? I’ll go first: Yes! But not on purpose. I remember my aunt making me wear an acclaimedly homemade bonnet one the moment I visited Oklahoma. Shortly thereafter we went through a drive-through, which I think was Sonic. I feared they had cameras and could see my polite bonnet wearing shame. I knew the adults were getting away with something because my older and younger cousins were not required to wear bonnets. Luckily the pointing and laughing were kept to a minimum. Ok, embarrassing childhood snapshot time is over. You have until Tuesday, May 10th at 10 a.m. PST to enter, the fine print applies, good luck! Closed, thanks for entering!

· comments [428] · 05-9-2011 · categories:books ·

May Birthday Giveaway: The Butcher and the Vegetarian

cover of The Butcher and the Vegetarian

About this: My site started ten years ago this month and to celebrate I’m giving away something each weekday. Because I like you.

Today I’m thrilled to have a copy of Tara Austen Weaver’s book The Butcher and the Vegetarian to give away. I read this book when it first came out and I’m running late as I type this so I hope you don’t mind if I quote myself:

Tara takes us through the time in her life when she, raised a vegetarian, is advised to take up eating meat to help solve some chronic health troubles. The stories of her trying to figure out how to buy and cook meat are both hilarious and filled with a thoughtful exploration of how to balance the personal and environmental ethics of eating meat. She gets very close to the subject, visiting ranches and farms that are gentle to both the land and the animals, going through some of Michael Pollen’s arguments and spending a day at Meathenge. She finds some very good food and people. Tara doesn’t take any more virtuous than thou stances, and approaches each question looking fairly at all sides. That makes it sound boring, I admit, but I assure you it’s not, the book takes a journey that moves along briskly. I love it when I find an author whose words ring very clear in my head, and Tara is one of those.

If you’d like grab this book please leave a comment with this post. And if you’d like answer this question: Have you ever made a big change in how you eat? I’ll go first: In the past few years I’ve been eating what would be considered healthy and I discovered that it’s far more delicious than processed food, something I admit I would not have believed before I made the switch. Ok, you’ve got until 10 a.m. PST Saturday, May 7th to enter, the fine print applies, good luck! Closed! Thank you for entering!

· comments [237] · 05-6-2011 · categories:books · food ·

May Birthday Giveaway: Super Natural Every Day

Super Natural Every Day cookbook

This month Not Martha will be 10 years old. Ten years! To celebrate I’m holding a giveaway each weekday, they’ll be filled with stuff I love made by people I know. Here we go.

I’m super happy to have a copy of Heidi Swanson’s book Super Natural Every Day to offer as our first giveaway. Heidi’s site, 101 Cookbooks is one of those sites I’ve been reading for years and years and our cookbook club chose her first book, Super Natural Cooking, for our first meeting and everything was a delicious success. With Super Natural Every Day Heidi has given us simpler and quicker recipes that I cannot wait to make. The book is broken up into Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks, Dinner, Drinks and Treats and has a collection of tips that I’ve found myself trusting Heidi to know. (Eggs from really awesome small farms actually are more difficult to peel! It’s not my imagination!) Did I mention this book is vegetarian? It is. I hardly noticed though. I ate dinner just shortly before I am typing this and the photos are making me hungry again.

You want this book. To enter please leave a comment with this entry, you have until Tuesday, May 3rd at 10 a.m. PST to enter, the fine print applies. If you’d like please answer this question: Have you ever cooked with dandelion greens? I’ll go first: I have not, but there is a recipe for Chickpeas & Dandelion Greens in this book that is very simple (seven ingredients!) and I’m gonna try it. Alright, good luck everybody! Closed! Thank you for entering!

· comments [707] · 05-2-2011 · categories:books · food ·

giveaway: Modern Log Cabin Quilting

Modern Log Cabin Quilting book cover

I’m so pleased to be showing you Susan Beal’s latest book, Modern Log Cabin Quilting, and offering a sweet giveaway today. You can read why Susan loves log cabin quilting and view projects from the book made by others at the Flickr group.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting how-to pages

This book introduces you to log cabin quilts, gives you all the information you need to sew your own, including tools and techniques, and offers a range of projects.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting bright furrows quilt

This is the Bright Furrows quilt, I like the cheerful colors. There are a whole range of quilts using both huge blocks and lots of small ones. There are a number of special quilt projects including a t-shirt quilt to save those worn out shirts that hold memories, an Anniversary quilt and the cozy Winter Woolens quilt.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting northwest modern quilt

Above is the Northwest Modern quilt, I like how it’s random. There is also a whole section on household items like tea towls, aprons, pillow cases and a pincushion.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting red cross handbag

I like the Red Cross bag which uses both corduroy and cotton fabrics. There are a nuber of bags, including a super simple drawstring bag, a zipper pouch, and a market tote. (A way to use up your fabric stash and make gifts at the same time!)

Modern Log Cabin Quilting charming camera case

This Charming Camera Case is easy (and uses some stealth velcro).

I’m thoroughly charmed by the quilts and projects in this book, they are fresh and inspiring. So I’m very happy to have both a copy of the book and a fabric kit to give away. If you’d like to enter please leave a comment with this post, and if you’d like please do take the time to share any quilting projects (or disasters) you’ve undertaken. I’ll go first: I’ve never quilted anything! Clearly I will have to change that very soon. You have until noon Pacific time on Thursday, April 7th to enter. The usual fine print applies. Good luck! The winner as chosen by the Random Number Generator is #45, Emily. Congrats! And thanks to everybody for entering!

· comments [469] · 04-4-2011 · categories:books · craft · sewing ·

giveaway: Let’s Panic About Babies!

I want to give big congratulations to both Alice Bradley and Eden M. Kennedy because their book, Let’s Panic About Babies! How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant Who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy You Life, Liquefy Your Brain, and Finally Turn You into a Worthwhile Human Being comes out today! I had the pleasure of meeting them both at the Broad Summit a few years ago where they announced they’d just gotten a book deal so it’s extra exciting to get to hold the book in my hands. They are both hilarious women who have written a hilarious book. The kind people at St. Martin’s Press have given me five copies to give away as well as a “Panic Break” gift basket which includes an electric “back” massager, a stress ball, an anti-stress bath soak, a meditation CD, Anne Taintor shot glasses, a Subversive Cross Stitch set and of course, the book!

I’ll be lazy and quote the back cover instead of attempting just tell you how funny the book is:

Babies. Maybe you’re thinking of having one. There might even be one inside you right now, draining nutrients from your system via a tube growing from its midsection. Or maybe you’ve already got one around the house, somewhere, and you’re responsible for its continued survival. You’re saddled with a a helpless being whom you’ve agreed to house and feed and love with all your heart for the rest of your life, more or less.

Either way, you’re confused, you’re frightened, and 911 won’t take your calls anymore. But don’t despair! Let’s Panic About Babies! is here to hold your hand and answer some important, age-old baby-related questions, including:

  • How can I be sure I’m pregnant? (Torso swells gradually until baby falls into underpants.)
  • Did I just pee myself? (Yes.)
  • What happens if I have sex curing my pregnancy? (Your baby will be born with a full, lush beard.)
  • How can I tell if I’ve chosen the wrong pediatrician? (He/she can’t pronounce “stethoscope.”)
  • How do I make sure my baby loves me back? (Voodoo.)

From the moment they’re created until the day they steal our cars, our babies demand center stage in our lives. So join Alice and Eden as they tell you (and your lucky partner!) exactly what to think and feel and do, from morning sickness to baby’s first steps. They know everything!

Ok, if you’d like to enter to win a copy or the fabulous gift basket please leave a comment with this post. The fine print applies, and with my deep apologies I have to tell you that prizes can only be sent to the US or Canadian addresses. I’ll let the Random Number Generator choose the winners at noon, PST on Friday, March 4th. Good luck!

Done! Congratulations to Angela, Jenn, Sarah, Eugenia, Wylie and Patti!

· comments [562] · 03-1-2011 · categories:books ·

my bedside stack of books

[ stack of books by my bedside ]

Here is the current stack of books next to my bed. I have to admit it’s easier for me to read using the Kindle app on my iPhone because it disturbs Scott less so I find myself reading paper books less, I’ll have to fix this.

Things We Love, by Kate Spade. I got this in a gift bag at the Altitude Design Summit, and you can view it online right here.

99 Drams of Whiskey: The Accidental Hedonist’s Quest for the Perfect Shot and the History of the Drink by Kate Hopkins. This was a Christmas gift and I have yet to really get into it but I think I have a crush on the author already.

The Beauty of Different by Karen Walrond (Chookooloonks). Karen came to Seattle to do a very unique reading. I’m highly enjoying the photos and stories.

Crafting a Meaningful Home by Meg Mateo Ilasco. I’m in love with the projects in this book.

Prudent Advice by Jaime Morrison Curtis (Prudent Baby). Such good advice dispensed with a bit of humor, I occasionally find myself reading these aloud while Scott cooks dinner.

Home from the Hardware Store: Transform Everyday Materials into Fabulous Home Furnishings by Kathleen Hackett and Stephen Antonson. There is this brilliant thing they did using molds for cement pathways.

I Felt Awesome: Tips and Tricks for 35+ Needle-Poked Projects by Moxie, who will be teaching a needle felting course on March 5th in NYC while she’s there for the Needle Felting Extravaganza. If you live nearby I insist you attend, she’s awesome.

Coralie: The Graphic Novel by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by P. Craig Russell. I’ve been waiting for the images from the movie to fade in my head before reading this. Nearly there.

Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon. I still miss this series. Reminds me that I also have yet to get into the graphic novels that make up Buffy Season 8.

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. Small knitting projects are the best sort of knitting projects.

Handmade Living by Lotta Jansotter. Food, decorations and inspiration, it’s been so nice to page through this bright book after a gloomy day.

disclosure: Each of the links above is an affiliate link with Amazon. If you should happen to buy a book after clicking on that link I get a little bit of money that helps cover cost of hosting for this website.

· comments [19] · 02-24-2011 · categories:books · shopping ·

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 ·

The State of My Pile of Cookbooks

a pile of cookbooks

Clearing away decorations yesterday revealed that the stack of cookbooks I keep in my dining room has grown. From top to bottom:

Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson who has the site 101 Cookbooks where she has lots more delicious and healthy recipes. Super Natural Cooking was also the focus of our very first cookbook club and was liked all around (unlike the later Cookin’ with Coolio which was, well, interesting).

Not Your Mother’s Casseroles by Faith Durand who you might recognize as the editor over at The Kitchn. Most of these are able to be assembled and possibly frozen ahead of time, there are breakfast casseroles, I predict I’ll be cooking a lot from this book this year.

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. I also have the iPhone app which is handy when I’m standing in the grocery store wondering if I have everything I need.

Biscotti: Recipes from the Kitchen of The American Academy in Rome, The Rome Sustainable Food Project. I spent a summer in Italy, uh, some years ago and have been meaning to learn to make excellent biscotti ever since.

52 Loaves: One Man’s Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust. After getting caught up in the no-knead bread craze I find I miss bread and want to start making it again. That and I appreciate working through something obsessively.

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food. “Gain firsthand insights from interviews with researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs, writers, and more, including author Harold McGee, TV personality Adam Savage, chemist Hervé This, and xkcd.” Gosh I love this book.

The Everything Cast-Iron Cookbook by Cinnamon who is a maker of bags at Poise and writer of the One Good Meal column at Gapers Block. I’ve only managed to make a few things from this book but look forward to many more.

The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009. I am frankly disappointed with myself because I didn’t make time this past holiday to bake any cookies at all. I’ll just have to make January an equally acceptable cookie month.

The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together by Lorna Yee who writes at Cooking Through China and a food writer at Seattle Magazine. These recipes make just enough for two and are great to make together.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by, obviously, The Pioneer Woman. I have yet to get up the courage to take on the Cinnamon Rolls (the recipe makes 50!) but we have plans to take on the Rib-eye Steak With Whiskey Cream Sauce this weekend.

I’m Just Here for the Food by Alton Brown. It’s been available for a while now but I still use it as a what’s-going-on primer.

Bake!: Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking. I had no idea who Nick Malgieri was before this book made it’s way to me but I was immediately drawn in by the obvious enthusiasm, clear instruction and pretty pretty photos.

The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair of, you guessed it, Steamy Kitchen. It’s almost as good as having a relative show you how to make new dishes.

Baking Illustrated by the people of Cook’s Illustrated. I trust them, and need all the extra instruction I can get.

Conspicuously missing from the pile:

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef by Shauna (Gluten-free Girl herself) and Danny Ahern. It was named one of the Best Cookbooks of 2010 by the New York Times. Yay! I was very grateful to get to spend an afternoon at her house making Gluten-free Cake Pops with Jessie from Cakespy. Double yay!

· comments [20] · 01-4-2011 · categories:books · food ·