Not Martha

The Lab at Velocity

images from Matte Stephens

A Seattle Design Meetup has emerged from the Design*Sponge Biz Lady night and I couldn’t be happier. It’s being called The Lab and the first event will be April 16th at the South Lake Union Velocity store and the guest speaker is Matte Stephens, who is moving from Alabama to Portland, Oregon. More details will be announced as they are finalized.

A big thanks go to Paola of Mirror Mirror and John Tusher of Velocity for setting this up. To read more about how it emerged see this entry at Paola’s blog and her entry on The Lab with more about Matte Stephens can be found here.

· comments [6] · 03-18-2008 · categories:events · seattle ·

knitting, some notes

I’m currently paused between projects. I merely have to install the orange zipper in the freshly lengthened gray Ribby Cardi. I feel shameful having a sterotypical unfinished object sitting there, staring at me, reminding me about itself being unfinished.

In the mean time I’ve been swatching some yarns I picked up at a fire sale at Hilltop Yarn in Seattle. [Read more →]

· comments [23] · 03-18-2008 · categories:knitting ·

a few St. Patrick’s Day links

How to make green beer at Readymade

How To Cure Your Own Corned Beef … in Time For St. Patrick’s Day (except that I’m too late for this too!) at AT

the food of the irish: beef and guinness pie at Shelterrific

· comments [4] · 03-17-2008 · categories:food · holidays ·

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Last night I made Adelaide Bartow’s Irish Soda Bread from Cooking The Hard Way (via Tastespotting). We were out of butter so I sent Scott out for some and we ended up with this cheerfully appropriate Irish butter.

Last week I was watching the episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown makes corned beef. I was considering making that but when I re-read the recipe I found it needs to sit in the refrigerator for ten days. Oops. But I have to say, having Irish soda bread ready to eat when you wake up in the morning more than made up for it.

I made it in my Target Chefmate cast iron pot simply because Cooking The Hard Way showed hers in a dutch oven and I love any excuse to pull it down off the shelf, but you can simply use a casserole dish of some sort. The recipe calls for a pudding pan, anyone know what that is?

I have been considering getting the new-ish Target 6.5 quart cast iron Chefmate dutch oven to go with my smaller one. I’m interested to find that it appears to be exactly the same as the Tramontina pot that Cook’s Illustrated recommended a while back. Did Target decide to simply rebrand the pot for people still looking for the Chefmate name?

· comments [30] · 03-17-2008 · categories:food · holidays · recipes ·


I’m hoping to find time to make chocolate filled eggs but Easter is coming so quickly this year. Here are the links I’ve been gathering:

Chocolate Egg How-To at Martha Stewart. Note, the drying time for the emptied and sterilized egg shells is two to three days. I would like to do a praline center, like these eggs that Dean & Deluca carries each year.

Golden Chocolate Easter Eggs by Francisco Migoya, an instructor in baking and Pastry Arts at The Culinary Institute of America New York, shown at Apartment Therapy. These include various chocolate filling variaions.

See also the Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs at this Curbly video podcast, and Dyeing Eggs Naturally at the Martha Stewart website.

Mighty Goods has up Easter guides: Easter basket guide, Easter baskets for babies and Easter baskets for grown ups.

I love the candies that high end stores carry around Easter, if only to work as inspiration. Dean & Deluca’s Easter Sweets is one I check each year. I love the fizzy-candy filled chocolate frogs. (Why couldn’t the Harry Potter theme candies be more like this?)

Williams-Sonoma Easter candies are simple and sweet. I’m admiring the chocolate pea pods and carrots.

I’ve already mentioned how much I like the Hotel Chocolat’s UK Easter Colleciton with the thrillingly large eggs filled with a large variety of chocolates.

I would love to hear about any Easter candy or Easter projects that has you inspired this year. Give me some ideas!

· comments [27] · 03-14-2008 · categories:holidays ·

links: craft

Bust Craftacular: “You are cordially invited to BUST Magazine’s first ever Spring Fling Craftacular in Brooklyn! DATE: Sunday, April 27 from 11 am to 9 pm LOCATION: The Warsaw in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 261 Driggs Avenue.” Photobooth and raffle, awesome.

Plush You now has it’s own site at, and you can still keep up with what is going on at the Plush You blog.

Chicknits on joining the sleeves to the body of a bottom-up raglan (mostly) seamless. Did I consider ripping back my still as of yet zipperless gray Ribby Cardi? Yes I did.

I like the collar on this Anthropologie sweater.

Prettyknits Jackie O cardigan is fantastic, but sadly patternless PDF pattern here.

Really nice gathered scarf by Bag ‘N’ Trash, via I Like Lemons.

Egg dying for the all-too-soon Easter, Dye eggs with stuff from the produce aisle, via How About Orange and Indie Fixx.

Spoonflower on-demand fabric printing! Yay!

turn slippers into a joystick, at Unplugged

make your own binding tutorial at Posie Gets Cozy

shrink plastic ring tutorial at Craftzine

I really like these felted nesting bowls at Design*Sponge

cute oilcloth bag at U-handblog

Note to self: learn grafting

Homemade Cardboard Magazine Box at Instructables

R2D2 Knit Hat Pattern via Craftzine

Lovely Studio Bon textiles, via Design*Sponge.

A Floorcloth for the Refrigerator at Canvasworks Floor Cloths

· comments [12] · 03-13-2008 · categories:craft ·

links: the home

Soften Sheets with Baking Soda at Re-Nest

What should a homeowner know about electricity in the home? at Ask Metafilter

wall graphics from harmonie interieure at Swiss Miss

Plantorb by Perch at Charles & Marie. Oh how I wish I didn’t know I would break this.

I can’t stop thinking about fridges and winter. Would it save much energy to freeze gallon containers of water outdoors and put those in the fridge now and then? at Ask Metafilter

What’s the secret handshake that gets me access to the interesting/unusual materials that designers and contractors can get ahold of? at Ask Metafilter

a siljan shoe rack for narrow places at Ikea Hacker

Help! Where can I find modern lampshade frames? at Shelterrific

Do you have a household emergency plan? at Shelterrific. I, too, have been watching too much Jericho and it’s making me want to stockpile cans of beans.

How can I make my “welcome mats” unwelcoming to cats? at Ask Metafilter. We finally made our front landscaping beds unattractive to the neighborhood cats (layer of chicken wire, landscaping fabric, then lots of big bark chips), but now we hope to discourage them from lounging on our front porch.

What do we ask a contractor and how do we ask it? at Ask Metafilter

Bathroom Renovation Filter: DIY vs. Contractor at Ask Metafilter

Bathtub faucets: Not so complicated! at The Shelter Life

Miraentuinterior, large wall murals. I love the boat. I lost my reference link for this one, sorry.

Putting Together an IKEA Kitchen at AT. I like the wall of wine bottles.

jazz up your bed frame with digital print at Ikea Hacker

Danny Seo’s DIY Wood Veneer Table at Re-Nest

Fiction Mirrors by Jean-Marie Massaud at AT. So cool.

· comments [2] · 03-12-2008 · categories:the home ·

j-me shoe rack, coupon code

Jamie from J-Me wrote to offer a 15% discount on his fabulous stainless steel j-me shoe rack. Just use the coupon code BOOM when you check out. Thank you Jamie!

· comments [1] · 03-12-2008 · categories:shopping · the home ·

Design*Sponge biz lady meetup in Seattle

The other week I attended the Design*Sponge Biz Lady Meetup. It was a very good night and I learned a lot. Grace’s talk on writing press releases was fantastic as it came from the perspective of somebody who read a lot of them for her past job. Her notes are here (note: PDF). And John Tusher of Velocity has most interesting stories to tell. Thank you to Grace for holding such a good event!

· comments [1] · 03-12-2008 · categories:events · seattle ·

what to do about a broken CFL, learned the hard way

Yesterday I was carrying a standing lamp up some stairs when my general lack of awareness of the space around me caused me to knock it into the ceiling. The bulb hit at the correct angle and made that strange popping noise before exploding into tiny shards that fell down around me. I shook myself off and vacuumed the glass out of the berber carpet. I was washing my hands when I remembered: oh right, CFL bulbs contain mercury.

I went to the internets to check and, after running off to take a Panic Shower, found some news that made me feel a little better and a little worse.

Apparently, a Hazmat team does not have to get involved in the case of a broken CFL bulb. Most of the resources I found on how to clean up and dispose of a broken CFL bulb repeat these guidelines from the EPA:

    Before Clean-up: Ventilate the Room
    1. Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
    2. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
    3. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.
    4. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
    5. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
    6. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
    7. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

Great. But, my bulb broke over my carpet (not to mention myself). What about that? Am I supposed to duct tape all the carpeted areas and hope a mercury contaminated shard of glass doesn’t embed itself into the bottom of my foot in a couple of weeks?

Happily a bit later on I tracked down the full EPA guidelines that include:

    Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug
    4. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
    5. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
    6. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
    7. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

    Disposal of Clean-up Materials
    8. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash.
    9. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.
    10. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.

    Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Ventilate the Room During and After Vacuuming
    11. The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming.
    12. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

This thread on this broken compact flourescent bulb question at Ask Metafilter makes me feel a bit better as well. Basically it says that while mercury is never a good thing to have around, the amount in a broken CFL won’t be fatal, but careful clean up is probably important.

Still, needing to carefully ventilate my home due to my possibly mercury-contaminated vacuum the next few times I use it, this doesn’t sound so (macroscopically) eco-friendly to me.

Then again, I have been hoping for an excuse to buy a nice yellow Miele vacuum with, swoon, automatic cord retraction for a while now.

· comments [59] · 03-11-2008 · categories:the home ·

up to

L.L. Bean Weather Challenger Jacket
A friend of mine has this jacket and gives it high marks, and I love that it comes in a gray/black combination, so many jackets for women only come in sherbet colors.

my eyebrows
I had my eyebrows shaped for the first time. I went to the Wax Bar here in Seattle and it was a good experience. Also, they can serve alcohol, so if you’re feeling nervous this is a nice place to be.

Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton yarn
This is lovely and soft and comes in colors fit for grown ups. I was lucky enough to get this at a recent 50% off yarn sale, and I think it was worth battling the crowds.

Manischewitz barley shape egg noodles
When thrown into soup they are like teeny tiny dumplings.

Dwarf Complete
This is a fun puzzle game created by On of Eyemaze. It was commissioned by the onine RPG game Lineage II, but you don’t have to be into that to enjoy this game. If you get stuck you can find help at JIG Casual Gameplay. This was a good distraction for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

· comments [24] · 03-10-2008 · categories:up to ·

Hotel Chocolat

I recently got the Goody Bag for every Season from Hotel Chocolat (see the US site as well), a nice little tote with rope handles. Inside was a variety of chocolates, all of which were quite good, and the presentation was fantastic.

Caramel Canapes These are a good sized piece of milk chocolate with a caramel chip and caramel candy pressed into the top. The milk chocolate is creamy and does not fight with the caramel flavors. The caramel candy is a little bit salty and a little bit buttery and a little chewy and a little crisp, very good indeed. One is big enough to be satisfying and small enough to count as being conscious of how much you eat. These were the ones we came back to night after night.

Raspberry Creme I’m not a big fan of white chocolate, and this bar didn’t do much to sway me. While the dried raspberries were full of flavor, the bits of the bar with raspberry swirled in tasted overly sweet and the fruit did not taste fresh, a second taster declared it reminded them of Strawberry Quik. The seeds of the dried raspberry got caught in my back teeth and necessitated a bit more chewing and maneuvering than I would have liked. My mom, however, liked white chocolate and would have found this bar wonderful.

Milk Rocky Road This bar we liked, the milk chocolate went well with the crisped rice, and the smaller candy pressed into the top added crunch and an almost malty dimension of flavor.

The smell coming from these reminded me of orange when I initially opened them, and I could not shake that impression. The hazelnut praline inside was good, not too sweet.

Milk Chocolate Dipper for a hot drink This one wasn’t labeled so I was unsure of the flavor until I used it. I dipped it into a cup of hot chocolate and the outside melted beautifully, allowing me to pop it into my mouth, it was hazelnut. I got quite a few dunks, the candy was very creamy and delicious while hot. I wished I had another.

The chocolates are very good, but the strength of Hotel Chocolat is, I suspect, in the presentation. Just look at the easter eggs, the variety of mini chocolates inside the Extra Large Rocky Road to Caramellow Easter Egg is stunning, and the engraved easter eggs are beautiful. The chocolate slabs are over a pound and dramatic as large bars. I’m kind of in love with the selection of Little Things. I find the Chocolate Dipping Adventure (reviewed at Baking Bites) especially appealing. I suspect it would be the perfect thing to bring along for a hotel getaway night.

The selections at Hotel Chocolat would be great gifts, they are presented and shipped with care (mine arrived tucked into a temperature sensitive box with a cold gel packet). Hotel Chocolat a full line available for the UK, as well as in UK shops. The US Hotel Chocolate site has smaller selection, but ships from their warehouse in Boston.

· comments [12] · 03-7-2008 · categories:food ·

links: tech, cameras, websites

Spore for the Nintendo DS! at Kottke

Most of us are familiar with the web 2.0 look – bright colours, big fonts, rounded corners, gloss and reflection effects – but what sites are breaking free of the stereotypes and pushing design boundaries? at Ask Metafilter

single serving sites at Kottke, also see the recently created Is Kottke Kottke?

David Byrne’s Radio Station is “his two-hour loop of new, wonderful, delicious tunes.” At Cool Tools.

What is the best FREE storefront type websites that don’t use payment gateways? at Ask Metafilter

Help me learn HTML and CSS. at Ask Metafilter.

Big Cartel for small businesses (it is compared to Etsy), at How About Orange

What is the perfect wii (or maybe ps2) game to play with my lady? at Ask Metafilter

“These folks, apparently named Kevin and Amanda, accept submissions of people’s handwriting. If they like yours, they’ll make it into a font for you for free. You can also download all the handwritten fonts they’ve ever made.” at How About Orange

Help me know what people who sell online ads know. at Ask Metafilter

Live View Digital SLR Cameras at Digital SLR Guide

What Does a “Live View” Screen Add to a Digital SLR? at PDNOnline

review of the Olympus E-330 (EVOLT) Digital SLR at DP Review, look it’s got a tilting screen!

· comments [2] · 03-7-2008 · categories:technology ·

follow up: bacon cup, bacon basket, bacontainer

Well! The post about making cups out of bacon got quite popular on teh internets. It was linked to from a bunch of sites and I had a nice little spike of traffic. The fifteen minutes is over now, and life can continue as usual.

I have a bunch of bacon cup things I wanted to follow up with:

  • Alternate name suggestions: bacon basket and, my favorite, bacontainer.
  • From Laura: “If you run bacon under cold water before frying, it won’t shrink. I bet if you refrigerate or put the bacon cups in the freezer to get really cold before baking, it’ll reduce shrinkage.”
  • From Luke: “To reduce shrinkage, you need bacon that has not had water injected into it following the curing process…Ideally you want properly dry-cured bacon. only this will not shrink when cooked.”
  • Lots of suggestions for using turkey bacon since it will shrink less while cooking.
  • Kim advised: “According to America’s Test Kitchen, a generous amount of salt in the pan to catch the drippings will help cut down on the smoke.”
  • William suggested putting a tray or dish with cold water below the bacon to catch the drips, that way the won’t flare when they hit and the oven won’t get smoky.
  • DavidG suggested using the non-stick foil from Reynold’s.
  • Kara wondered if something could be set up using carefully molded parchment and those silicone tying bands.
  • Jamaila considered using silicone baking cups. I have some of these but I feared that they would never get clean afterwards.
  • A few people suggested using the microwave – either forming hot bacon after it comes out of the microwave or making it on paper cups. I don’t have a microwave (tiny kitchen, no space) so this will go untested.
  • There were a few mentions of bacon clothing, and somewhere out there I found a picture of a bacon bikini which I will not be linking to from here. It looked slimy.
  • Filling suggestions included: pecan pie, scrambled eggs, mini quiche, chocolate ice cream, mashed potatoes, meat loaf and a number of requests for simply more bacon.
  • Doing a little post-creation research I found examples of using a slice of Canadian bacon or pancetta in a muffin tin as a cup for a baked egg. In San Francisco I had the baked eggs at Doidge’s a few times, it came in a ramekin that had a ring of bacon on the inside. All this to say, I’m certainly not the first to make shaped pork prodcuts.
  • Annaramma made a very successful bowl out of veggie bacon (more photos).
  • I came across some photos of scrambled eggs in small bacon cups on Flickr, made by getthebubbles.
  • Pancetta Cups with an egg baked inside at Iron Stef, see also eggs in a Canadian bacon cup.
  • I also found Beer Cheese Cupcakes W/ Bacon Cheddar Cream Cheese Frosting, and the Bacon Cheese Baconburger.

The excuse I had to make bacon was because I was invited to a delightful bacon themed pot luck held by Gluten-Free Girl and her husband, The Chef. You can see pictures of all the bacon-y food on her site. It was all absolutely, amazingly delicious. A few people in the comments suggested adding croutons to my bacon bowls as the bread part of the BLT, and keeping it gluten-free was my reason for not doing that. Though, somebody else was smarter than I and bought gluten-free croutons at Whole Foods for their fabulous BLT on a romaine leaf.

· comments [29] · 03-5-2008 · categories:food ·

links: food

5 KitchenAid Hacks at David Lebovitz, OH MY GOSH there is a confectionery coating pan attachment for the KitchenAid!

bittersweet granola at The Kitchen

Super Simple Nutella Ice Cream at Chocolate and Zucchini

Unhappy Meals, I’ve been meaning to read all the way through this since last year.

Candy? Or fruit? the Ambrosia apple, at Voracious.

Pairing Wine & Cheese Curds at Seattlest

Please tell me about the coffee I’m often served in restaurants after dinner (especially in hotels) and at event receptions (especially in hotels). at Ask Metafilter

Cracking discovery as woman opens egg to find another one inside it, via Chow.

baked eggs in a bun, how lovely, at Everybody Likes Sandwiches

How To Brew Ginger Beer, at Wired

The Big Reveal: Introducing The FN Dish, Congrats Amateur Gourmet!

Blood Orange Jelly Smiles at The Kitchen

Note: Blue Moon white ale is owned by Coors, I found this out last year and felt a little devastated, at The Food Section

Kraft Foods, Inc. is set to unveil its newest breakfast offering, called Bagel-Fuls — frozen bagels filled with cream cheese. at The Food Section

What is the best recipe for a castle shaped cakelette pan? at Ask Metafilter

Kim Frizzelle’s Never-Before-Revealed Apple Pie Recipe (Confidential to Mom: Obama Made Me Do It) at The Stranger

Faux Sushi, using large marshmallows as the pressed rice!, at Cumcumbersome.

Are there any decent-tasting whole-wheat pastas? at Ask Metafilter

pasta with slow-simmered leeks and prosciutto at Gluten-Free Girl

spicy chickpea stew at The Kitchen

OXO Food Scale, this looks like a sturdier version of some of the shipping scales I’ve seen on Amazon

Bake and Shake, Food Goals ’08: Grow a pear in a bottle, I so wanna do that too

Cloudburst Frosting at Posie Gets Cozy

Tetris ice cube trays, at Neatorama

homemade devil dog, ding dong or hostess cake at Smitten Kitchen

Spicy Oven-Roasted Chickpeas at The Kitchen

What is the hands-down best salsa recipe ever? at Ask Metafilter

I love lasagna. at Posie Gets Cozy

How to Open a Durian Fruit at The Kitchen

Food Safety 101: Safe Temperatures for Poultry and Meat at The Kitchen

Tea Pantry, I love Jasmine Pearl tea, at Mighty Girl

Cinderblock Sugarcubes, shown at Craftzine

What are your favorite things to put on pasta (besides tomato sauce)? at Ask Metafilter

I love these, Real chocolate eggs. Brown egg shells, emptied and cleaned, filled with chocolate and hazelnut praline. Tasty beyond belief. at Taste Spotting. You can buy them at Dean and Deluca.

· comments [11] · 03-4-2008 · categories:food · recipes ·