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  · 09-11-2013 · categories:mumbling ·
The second project that I created for Apothic is up on their Apothic Handmade page over at Facebook. This one is a studded leather gift box lined in dramatic red felt that is only glimpsed after the box is opened. I used a tiny padlock to secure the box. Go see how to make it, and enjoy.
Because this project involves wine please let me just say: Content intended for users of legal drinking age where this page is being accessed.
· comments  · 09-9-2013 · categories:craft ·
Do you live here in the Seattle area? Go Mighty, along with Crave and Rivet&Sway, are holding an event all about inspiration and setting goals. And Go Mighty will be giving away one $500 grant to help somebody cross something off of their Life List. The evening is free but do RSVP. I’ll see you there!
Did you know that Rivet & Sway is based here in Seattle? I did not. I’m excited to see the inside of their headquarters, and I’ll have to remember to wear my contacts in case we get a little time to try on some frames. (Yes, I know they make it really easy to try on frames in your own home via mail but there is something a little extra special going to the source.)
· comments  · 09-5-2013 · categories:events · seattle ·
The other week I had the pleasure of visiting the Sunset Idea Town houses in Seabrook, Washington. The houses will be featured in the October issue of Sunset magazine, but you can learn more about them online.
The Sunset houses were a lot of fun to tour – they pull together a giant amount of living space into relatively small footprints. All the space in the houses is used to the best advantage to bring in light and maximize views. The houses use materials from the area, like the crushed oyster shells used to cover pathways. The indoor and outdoor plants are native to this part of the country.
The idea houses are two houses with guest houses (called, charmingly, coach houses which are over the garage space) and which share and outdoor patio area. Brian Paquette, the designer, said that the team created a fictional family (cute!) while they were planning and designing the spaces. In the fictional family the grandparents lived in the larger house, their son and daugther-in-law with their little boy lived in the smaller. I fell completely in love with the shared outdoor area with the large fireplace (awkward photo taken from a third story window shown above). The outdoor space was on different levels giving each house it’s own areas, but altogether it’s a comfortable and welcoming courtyard.
Brian used art from a variety of West Coast artists to decorate the houses, I fell in love with all of it.
I adore this staircase, it’s simply photocopies of photos that have been Modpodged into place!
The wallpapers were incredible.
All of the upholstered furniture used fabrics used in the indoor and outdoor living rooms of the houses was by Sunbrella and I was surprised at how soft it all was. I admire how practical too, the ocean beach is a minute away so you know everybody will be dragging in sand.
The Idea Houses include rain barrels, edible gardens and other thoughtful features, like outdoor lights that have been hooded downwards to minimize light pollution towards the night sky. Stephen Poulakos is the garden designer and I loved his use of large and small plants in the courtyard to create cozy gathering areas. There is also a greenhouse and it smells amazing when you stick your head inside, it’s all ripe tomatoes and basil.
The houses look towards the huge ocean beach shared by the Seabrook community.
The houses were really well done and if you’re a design lover it’s well worth making a day trip (or longer, rent one of the Seabrook cottages!) to have a look at. Tickets for tours of the houses (including the outdoor spaces and two guest houses) are $17. While you’re there you can investigate Seabrook, have lunch in the pub and take a walk out on the beach. I’ve recently recommended this as a day trip to visiting relatives (in-laws even!).
· comments  · 08-26-2013 · categories:uncategorized ·
D.I.-Why?: Emily Matchar on the Allure of the “New Domesticity” | The Hairpin.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a sequel to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. Produced by Seth MacFarlane and hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson! at Kottke.
Why I’ll Miss Bunheads: Because I’m a Mess, Too | The Hairpin. What she said. I’m going to miss that show a lot, maybe even more than Gilmore Girls.
Luxe by MOO | Premium Business Cards. These look really nice, and really affordable. The example cards they show off are funny!
THL Talks: Tim Gunn on Why the Future is 3D Printed AND Handmade | The High Low.
Make my own deodorant? Check. | FreeTime, Ltd. A maker approved, DIY totally irritant-free deodorant. I’ve been having strange reactions to antiperspirants and the most basic and natural of deodorants lately (lucky me) so I’m going to try this. Via Mighty Girl’s round up of You Made This on Go Mighty.
· comments  · 08-22-2013 · categories:links · misc ·
· comments  · 08-12-2013 · categories:food · links ·
It’s been a quietly exciting summer in my neighborhood. After living close-ish to a little main street area the next neighborhood over we are finally getting businesses setting up just a block from our house here in Hillman City.
Tin Umbrella Coffee is a coffee roastery and shop that will be offering a coffee bean delivery subscription via bicycle! If you live in Seattle I’ve heard from Joya that they are looking to deliver as far north as Greenlake. My friend Naomi wrote more about Tin Umbrella them over at Seattle Weekly. Tin Umbrella’s opening was last weekend and the mayor was there, which was awfully cool. (Note to Seattle residents, they currently have a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.)
Spinnaker Bay Brewing is a women founded, owned and run brewery with a spacious tasting room. They brew strong beers in a traditional English style and the place has been hopping since they opened a few months ago. They don’t have food but they do have a rotating set of food trucks that come set up in their parking lot, which are also a very welcome addition to the neighborhood. Also, I’ve been learning to brew beer there for the past few months and it’s been amazing. (More on that later.)
I’m bursting with pride that I’ll have both coffee and beer that are actually made blocks from me, and made by people who really love what they do. You will all come visit me in my neighborhood now that there are places to visit, yes? Yes!
· comments  · 07-31-2013 · categories:seattle ·
· comments  · 07-22-2013 · categories:food · links ·
About an hour of Christian Marclay’s The Clock at Kottke.
The Story Behind the Lacoste Crocodile Shirt | Threaded.
The Maze. A mysterious choose your own adventure puzzle thingy.
Text to Morse code convertor. You never know when you’ll need it.
Sir Realism – Soul Searchin’. An indie game I really must finish someday soon, very clever idea. From a previous year’s Ludlum Dare.
Conjuring – Futility Closet. This card trick isn’t an illusion, but it’s really neat to do over and over to prove it true.
Checklist | Get Your Shit Together. A straightforward and very helpful guide to how to prepare your shit (wills, passwords, bank accounts, life insurance) just in case.
What TV show should I watch next? | Ask MetaFilter.
The Technium: The Clock in the Mountain. All about the Long Now foundation’s clock.
Amazon.com: PocketToolX Mako Titanium Bike Tool. This looks useful, and tiny.
Robbed! by Megan Seling – The Stranger. How bands and individuals can insure their instruments, and plenty of devastating examples as to why you should do this right away.
Giant Colin Firth Terrorizes London – The Atlantic Wire. I must see this for myself.
· comments  · 07-17-2013 · categories:links · misc ·
I want give a huge congratulations to Kirby Krackle on the release of their new album, Sounds Like You. The band worked really hard to get this out and it’s been great to watch as everything came together. It was also thrilling to see their album release show here in Seattle at the Triple Door pack the house. (Full disclosure: my husband Scott plays bass in the band so obviously I’m a fan.)
Both Kirby Krackle and The Doubleclicks released albums this week and I really like the thoughtful review up at Geekdad (spoiler, he liked both albums): Kirby Krackle, The Doubleclicks Present the New Sound of Nerd.
Kirby Krackle is headed out on a week-long tour, if you’re at San Diego Comicon later this week you can go watch them perform with Nerfherder (!!!). Here are all the dates:
- July 14th: Seattle, WA – The Triple Door w/ Molly Lewis, The Doubleclicks, and H2Awesome (FB Event)
- July 15th: Portland, OR – Things From Another World w/ H2Awesome (FB Event)
- July 17th: San Francisco, CA – Hemlock Tavern w/ DJ Dan and H2Awesome (FB Event)
- July 18th: Newhall, CA – Brave New World Comics w/ H2Awesome (FB Event)
- July 19th: San Diego, CA – The Merrow (Formerly Ruby Room) w/ Nerfherder and H2Awesome (FB Event)
- July 21st: Las Vegas, NV – Supanova Comics w/ Megaran, H2Awesome, and Danimal (FB Event)
· comments  · 07-15-2013 · categories:events ·
· comments  · 07-8-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
We aren’t doing anything special for this July 4th, unless you count sitting on our deck reveling in the sunshine. Ahhhh. But I do want to point towards my post from earlier this year talking about star shaped foods. I made these for the Oscars but hey, stars are versatile. I’m definitely going to make the star shaped corn chips again, they were easy to make and strong enough to stand up to guacamole but not so strong that they Captain Crunch the inside of your mouth. You know?
Other star foods I’m eyeing include the star shaped mini pies at Say Yes to Hoboken and, of course, the star shaped watermelon slices for fruit salad.
· comments  · 07-3-2013 · categories:food · holidays ·
Apothic wine asked me to create a project for their Apothic Handcrafted set of DIYs over on their Facebook page. I made this wine tote with a chunky leather handle after thinking about those two classic hostess gifts, wine and flowers. It’s created from two tall, skinny wine bottle bags that are secured side by side so you can bring along a bottle of wine and a bouquet or a baguette without fear of anything falling over or being crushed. You can give the tote as a gift, or do like I did and keep it all for yourself. I had a lot of fun creating this and it’s a good easy project if you want to learn to work with leather.
To see the step-by-step instructions visit the Apothic Handcrafted project page.
Because this project involves wine please let me just say: Content intended for users of legal drinking age where this page is being accessed.
· comments  · 06-27-2013 · categories:craft ·
So, Google Reader is shutting down in three days. Have you left choosing a new reader until the last minute? Me too. I have some good news though, Feedly has been hustling and is now browser based and easy as pie to sign up for. Yay for procrastination. Feedly is becoming the hub for a bunch of other services too, you can read all about it right here.
Back up your Google Reader feeds. Go to the Google Reader homepage and click on the gear in the upper right hand corner of the screen and choose “Reader Settings”. You go to a page with tabs, click in Import/Export. At the bottom you’ll see “Expoert your data – Download your data through Takeout”. Click on that, it’ll take you to a new page. Wait for it to load and then click on the red “create archive” button. Download and you’re done, high five.
You won’t need this archive to migrate to Feedly, but you will want to have it. For posterity. Or in case you decide to use a different RSS reader.
Go to Feedly. If you’re like me and you have not signed up for Feedly yet you’ll see a page with the option for “One-click Google Reader Import”. Click on that, sign into your Google account, accept those terms and that’s it. You’re all finished. Sweet.
I don’t use Google Reader to bookmark and save my favorite posts. (I put them here on this site, a habit I started pre-RSS. Gasp this site is old.) But I will note that Feedly also imported the few things I did mark as favorites inside of Google Reader, so you won’t lose those bookmarks.
Digg is also racing to be the Google Reader alternative, see this article at Wired: Inside Digg’s Race to Build the New Google Reader. I’m curious to see how that will work out.
Update: Also see this guide to the best readers by GigaOM, and a tool to help you get all your data out of Reader from somebody who used to work on Reader, the reader_archive tool. Both via Waxy.
Another update: The equally easy to use Digg Reader is available now. Also, Anna at Door Sixteen also likes Bloglovin’.
What Google Reader alternative have you adopted? Do you use a reader? Or do you look for blog updates on Twitter and Facebook instead?
· comments  · 06-27-2013 · categories:technology ·
I accidentally bought this jar of caramel sauce. I mean, I did set out to buy caramel sauce but I accidentally bought the vegan version. (I’m sure I don’t need to tell you but just in case I’ll point out that I am not a vegan.)
It turns out that it was a wonderful mistake because this is made with coconut milk and when poured over vanilla or chocolate ice cream the combination of flavors closely approximates the anticipation/love/scarcity I feel when eating a Girl Scout Samoa cookie. I will need to file this away for the “Girl-Scout-Cookie-!” mental alert that my brain gives me about three months too early each year.
· comments  · 06-25-2013 · categories:food ·