Not Martha

Sponsor Thank You – A Shepherd’s Tale, the blog of the Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm

cute baby ram from Marthas Vineyard Fiber Farm

A huge thanks to Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm for being a sponsor again this month. I’ve already talked about what the farm does and that they had the first ever Yarn CSA (great gift for a knitter, with an option for raw fleece for that spinner in your life, just saying).

If you haven’t checked out Susan’s blog, A Shepherd’s Tale, I’d like to take a moment to encourage, no insist, that you do so. It’s an amazing insight into just how much work and how much joy goes into keeping a huge flock (is that the right word) of sheep and goats and everything else she does for her business. In the last month she has documented how the farm has had a whole bunch of little ones born, this one, Alabama, is so darn cute, just look at this happy face, had a birthday (happy belated birthday!), shown us Arno’s Big Adventure, showed off some new yarn, such a great color, let us watch the chicken hunt, has the annual Shearing Day festivities complete with food and music and demonstrations of spinning (hello, excellent reason to be a shareholder!), shown off happy sheep and goats (I love the picture of one perched on top of the rock).

Then Susan went to Texas where she held a dyeing demonstration, got some darn good cowboy boots and visited the cowgirl hall of fame, announced some fabulous shareholder benefits, announced Shepherding Camp, and then travelled off to PEI to drop her annual load of fleece off to get it all spun.

yarn from Marthas Vineyard Fiber Farm

People, this is more than I do in a year and she managed to keep a blog. I’m flabbergasted.

Susan also has frequent giveaways, and even if you aren’t a knitter her posts on things she thought we might like are full of incredible stuff to explore. As always you can watch the lamb cam and see pictures from the farm of goings on around the farm and recent births. A Shepherd’s Tale is an awful lot of fun to keep up with.

· comments [7] · 05-30-2009 · categories:sponsor thank you ·

Curio Confections in Seattle

Curio Confections in Seattle

I had the chance to spend a delightful afternoon at Curio Confections with a friend, sipping cool wine on a warm afternoon and eating as much yumminess as I could handle. Everything here was so good I kept wishing I hadn’t eaten lunch. I chatted a bit with one of the owners who told me that the place is still a work in progress but I found everything about it to be charming already. They are set in an old house and have seating in the front as well as in a back room with lots of windows that felt like a bright porch in the afternoon light. Curio Confections has only been open since the 23rd, and until next week they can only accept cash so come prepared.

Curio Confections
5509 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(Near Pizza Pi and the Historic University Theater)

In the mornings they have coffee, and in the evenings they offer beer and wine. On Sundays they offer a brunch menu. When we were there they had pastries as well as pot pies, a quiche and a delicious looking baked potato casserole, so stopping in for dinner would be well worth it.

They offer a bunch of charmingly packaged confections to go:

Curio Confections in Seattle

Curio Confections in Seattle

Curio Confections in Seattle

Curio Confections in Seattle

Curio Confections in Seattle

Curio Confections in Seattle

This Nougat de Montelimar bar is the one that DeLaurenti sells, along with a selection of the caramels:

Curio Confections in Seattle

We split the adorable lemon meringue you see above and this incredibly tasty combination of raspberries and nectarines (I think) topped with tender lemon shortbread:

Curio Confections in Seattle

I had a glass of the Moscato, which was crisp and cool and had all those summer fruit flavors you want on a sunny afternoon.

Curio Confections in Seattle

I also tried the Pates de Fruit, the darker one was blackberry and Maggi declared it tasted just like summer:

Curio Confections in Seattle

This was just amazing, this is a Brie Caramel and I really wish I had bought every last one before I left. It was infused with the sort of deliciousness that is hard to describe and I tend to just want to insist that you go, now, and try one yourself:

Curio Confections in Seattle

I bet the Goats Milk Caramels, pictured above, are equally as delicious.

I wish we could have stayed long enough to become hungry again and eat dinner, here is a shot of a pot pie in the pastry case:

Curio Confections in Seattle

They also have an amazing range of gift boxes and tags, which I was told are all made by one of the owners:

Curio Confections in Seattle

Curio Confections in Seattle

Curio Confections in Seattle

Let’s look at the adorable lemon meringue again, shall we?

Curio Confections in Seattle

See also: write up in Daily Candy. And thank go to Curio Confections for allowing me to take pictures!

· comments [21] · 05-29-2009 · categories:food · seattle ·

Sponsor Thank You – MirrorMate Frames

Sponsor Thank You - MirrorMate Frames

A big thanks to my second sponsor, MirrorMate Frames. They create custom sized frames that fit around a mirror creating a more polished look. When you order the frames they cut them perfectly to size, and you assemble and apply the frames yourself. They also take into account if the mirror has clips that hold it to the wall and if the mirror is snugged up against another surface, like a countertop or backsplash. The MirrorMate site has very clear instructions on how to measure and how to install the frames, they also have helpful videos for both. You can order a free sample of any frame. Everything they carry is made in the USA and they are doing their best to be a green company. I love that this company was created by somebody who couldn’t find an easy way to frame a large mirror. MirrorMate frames certainly are a simple solution to making a bathroom mirror look a bit more polished, or if you need to do a bit of staging in preparation to sell your house.

· comments [10] · 05-28-2009 · categories:sponsor thank you ·

DIY hair styling spray

DIY hair styling spray

I like Bumble&Bumble Surf Spray, it does a nice job of bulking up my fine hair and creating some lift at the roots. But man is it expensive. A while back I ran across this simple DIY version at Makeup Alley (registration required, worth it). I find that it works pretty much the same and it this has become my everyday product. Note, the salt in it does give a matte finish to your hair, so if you like shiny this won’t make you happy:

1 or 2 teaspoons epsom salt. Available at drugstores.
1 or 2 generous squirts of hair gel. Make sure it’s water based, water should be one of the first ingredients. I used Pantene Volume Gel because it was on sale when I went looking, the original instructions used half Dove Shine & Define and half TIGI Creative Genius.
4 ounces water.

Combine in spray bottle, shake well. I had a B&b surf spray bottle left over, it has a nice misting thing going on. I think any spray bottle should work out ok.

I also use B&b Thickening Spray, and the main ingredient in that is hydrolyzed wheat protein. So of course I did try to reproduce this as well. I thought wheat protein = wheat gluten, right? Turns out, not at all. But before I learned this I bought a bag of Bob’s Red Mill vital wheat gluten powder and mixed 1/4 teaspoon in about six ounces of water, shook it up and sprayed it. The spray nozzle almost immediately gummed up and stuck, and the gluten left to settle in the bottle floated around until it found each other and formed a blob that floated on the surface menacingly. And when I tried to clean it out it stuck to the inside of the bottle, the outside of the bottle, the sponge and the sink so tenaciously that I ended up tossing everything except for the sink. So, don’t try wheat gluten. Subsequent and equally uninformed trials with bread flour went about as well. You’ve been warned.

It only took a second of Googling (yes, hello, why don’t I do that first?) to find that you can actually buy hydrolyzed wheat protein. According to The Herbarie it does not actually contain gluten, and it “constitutes a unique hydrating complex offering a combination of moisture-balancing and film-forming properties that work synergistically to give hair better body control”. I might just buy a few ounces and see if I can make a home version of the Thickening Spray as well.

· comments [35] · 05-27-2009 · categories:beauty ·

Spring planting

herbs in a pot

We spent yesterday getting a late start on planting things. I’m an uninspired gardener, I like picking out plants and making grand plans (this year I want to grow hops in the front yard that will climb up to the roof of our porch!) but I have little enthusiasm for the follow through with watering and pruning.

This year I’m going to see how growing herbs in a container full of organic soil from our hippie market goes. (I’m aware that the rosemary will grow very, very well here but I’m afraid of what might be in the soil in our yard, so a container it is for the time being.) Here are the tags, which I’m sure to loose. Two kinds of basil, that just sort of happened:

herb tags: basil, rosemary, thyme and tarragon

Scott decided on some artsy-and-invasive sorts to grow in staggered pots in the corner of the deck that we rarely use:

horsetail, watch out!

And an asparagus fern to grow in my Grobal Baby pot:

asparagus fern in a window

· comments [9] · 05-26-2009 · categories:the home ·

links: cocktails

Pimm’s explained by a real British person, in this case our beloved Paola of mirrormirror. At Shelterrific.

Benedictine Caviar and Cherry Heering Caviar recipes for the Singapore Slingshot, at Spirits and Cocktails. I think cocktails might be the thing to finally get me to learn to use that sodium alginate stuff.

Classic Cocktails? at Ask Metafilter.

The best wine importers, at Slate.

· comments [6] · 05-22-2009 · categories:drink ·

links: seattle

Treehouse Point, you can stay overnight in a treehouse. Via Offbeat Bride who is right, it would be a wonderful place for a wedding.

Metafilter is turning 10 and throwing parties to celebrate. Nothing here in Seattle? Maybe we really do do that Seattle Freeze thing.

The Stranger’s Happy Hour iPhone App!

Couch, on Western. You choose the couch and fabric and he goes off and gets it made for you. Anybody buy a couch here? How was the experience?

Public access beach camping? at Ask Metafilter.

· comments [3] · 05-22-2009 · categories:seattle ·

Folklife and The Brick

Scott, my musician husband, has some upcoming shows that are pretty exciting. This weekend he is playing here in Seattle at Folklife (Sat. 12:20pm, Alki Court Stage). I’ll be there with my camera attempting to get a picture of him in action when his eyes aren’t closed. (I’d never make it as a rock photographer.)

Then on June 6th Explone, Scott plays bass, is going to be at The Brick in Roslyn, WA. The Brick and Roslyn you might know as the setting for the tv show Northern Exposure which was a favorite of mine so I’m geeking out over the idea that Scott is playing at The Brick. The Brick itself is a reason to visit Roslyn, it’s the the second oldest continuously operating tavern in Washington, the oldest operating under the same name continuously. It’s got a 1890 jail cell (Drunk tank), prohibition tunnels, head stones and [a] boiler in the basement, a working 23 foot running water spittoon at the base of the bar, one of the last in the nation and in which they have an annual water spittoon boat race.

If you live around here and are looking for a little weekend getaway might I suggest you come to The Brick? Suncadia is nearby and you could stay in a nice lodge room and, uh, golf the next day. Seriously though, we’ve visited Roslyn before Suncadia was built and again last year and the town has changed a bit, it looks a bit spruced up but I’d be curious to find out what the locals think about it’s presence.

If you have any suggestions on things not to miss nearby please do let me know, we’re making a weekend of it.

· comments [12] · 05-21-2009 · categories:events · seattle ·

links: tech

Gridr Buildrrr via Swiss Miss

Plastic Logic Reader at Cool Hunting

Pogo Sketch, a stylus for the iPhone

What was the first website to hide troll’s activity to everyone but the troll himself? at Ask Metafilter

This is how Social Media really works at A Whole Lotta Nothing. See also Online Marketing 2009, snort.

Crabble iPhone Stand at Mighty Goods

What are the most fun and useful iPhone apps? at Ask Metafilter

· comments [6] · 05-20-2009 · categories:iphone · technology ·

Grassroots meeting – Craft Show Vending A to Z

Grassroots Business Association

The next Grassroots meeting is tomorrow, Wed. May 20th, and the topic is Craft Show Vending A to Z with Moxie who is President and Director of Vendor Relations for Urban Craft Uprising and sells her own good at Made by Moxie, and Kristen Rask who owns the shop and gallery Schmancy and does the Plush You! show each year.

The response for this meeting was so big that we cannot fit into our usual meeting space so please note the meeting has been moved to the Richard Hugo House, not too far away from our usual spot at Vermillion.

The unanticipated change of venue came with needing to pay for the meeting space so, pretty please, if you could come with a donation to help us cover costs for the meeting space and the handout for the meeting we, the Grassroots people, would deeply appreciate it. We are of course thrilled that the group has grown, and I for one am pleased as punch that we are big enough to fill such a cool place. As much as I’d like to be able to say we, the organizers, have no trouble covering costs for the group, the reality is that we are ourselves small business people and independent shop owners and we’re feeling the pinch from the unexpected expense. So, contributions to help out will be met with gleeful appreciation.

· comments [4] · 05-19-2009 · categories:events · seattle ·

links: food

Two salads from Smitten Kitchen endive and celery salad with fennel vinaigrette and broccoli slaw.

What is your favourite curry house on Brick Lane? at Ask Metafilter. Friends who live in the UK were telling me about Brick Lane and I’m determined to visit it myself someday.

Why doesn’t Hazelnut/Almond flavoring taste like their namesakes? at Ask Metafilter.

New tricks for your coffee at Brownie Points.

Pizza Porn at Splatgirl Creates.

Table Salt Cones at Instructables.

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes at Joy the Baker.

Pasta? Cake? Pastacake at Edible Crafts.

I’d like to somehow caffeinate the cookies I bake. at Ask Metafilter.

· comments [5] · 05-18-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·

links: misc

Examples of repurposed inventions? at Ask Metafilter

Who’s the Dr. Phil for the Dan Savage audience? at Ask Metafilter

Business card folded to make handy things for your iPhone at Core77, scroll a bit to find them

Your NPR Name at Lianablog

17 cool magnet tricks at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

The Stranger with Gordon Hempton, the man behind One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World. I appreciate this, on our last retreat and relax style vacation Scott and I found ourselves at an isolated lodge on top of a foothill with a view of the Cascades, which was all lovely except that every five minutes an airplane would roar overhead. When we were out hiking it was exactly as Mr. Hempton says, “When a jet is flying overhead, your aural world has shrunk.”

· comments [6] · 05-15-2009 · categories:iphone · misc ·

thing I like: small hair clips

Karina brand hair clips that I dearly love

These are my favorite hair clips, the ones I nearly always have with me. The clips aren’t too big or too small, they are nicely lightweight and won’t slide out of my fine hair. Two clips will hold up my messy French twist securely for a day. The teeth and handles of these clips are finer than other claw clips this size and, I think, blend into my hair a bit better than chunky style clips do. I have stockpiled a few pairs of these over the years and despite being comparatively delicate looking they only break when I accidentally step on one. They are Karina brand and I find them here in Seattle at Bartell drugstores, usually on a special display rack near the new makeup displays. I will be sad when I can no longer find them. (Shown here with a quarter for scale.)

· comments [8] · 05-15-2009 · categories:beauty ·

iPhone apps I like these days

Twitterrific – There are tons and tons of apps for Twitter, but I’m lazy and have kept using this one.

Stitcher – Lovely app that I use to catch up on public radio shows because I’m often too lazy to download them. It allows you to listen to all sorts of radio and podcasts and includes preset playlists or you can make your own.

Stanza – I swear I read more books because of this app, and it’s been perfect for reading in bed. You can configure all sorts of things that appeal to my nitpicky self, text size, alignment, font, page brightness, page turn style.

Public Radio Tuner – Because I got tired of carrying my radio around the house with me when All Things Considered was on. Allows you to listen to a huge number of public radio stations that stream. A new version, the Public Radio Player, is coming along soon.


Glyder – An enchanting flying game I’m completely smitten with. Everything about it is surprisingly soothing, and when you crash you lose very little, your character just reappears on a platform nearby. You have a few different kinds of goals to achieve (jewels to gather, trips to take) so you can be as meticulous or not as you’d like. The huge scale of it’s interior world is comparable to Shadow of the Colossus, the heights and depths you can explore are impressive and unexpected. And there are no controls you need to jab at, it’s all played by gently tilting your iPhone as your girl with wings sweeps through the air.

Drop7 Lite – This is Chain Factor for the iPhone. I lost much of last November to Chain Factor so it’s dangerous for me to have this. The lite version is newly addictive because it saves up what you score given X number of moves.

Rolando – A joyfully fun game. They are releasing Rolondo 2 soon and in the lead up are updating Rolando with a couple of new levels each week.

Archibald’s Adventure – A nice little platformer/puzzler that doesn’t frustrate me too much. An amazing amount of levels.

Bobby Carrot Forever – A blocky puzzler like Chip’s Challenge, incredible amount of levels. It doesn’t allow you to skip over levels though, and I’m currently stuck in an ice world I don’t find all that interesting. I think a few more Bobby Carrot games have been released as well.

Some other things I was excited to see, the point-and-click variety of games coming to the iPhone (it makes sense).

Submachine series, I played these in a browser and they stood out as very well done.

Myst for the iPhone. I played this on the PC what seems like ages ago, and I wonder how well the gameplay translates on a screen that is so much smaller.

If there are any apps or games you think I should check out I’d love to hear about them.

· comments [18] · 05-14-2009 · categories:iphone · technology ·

Cleveland Stadium Mustard

stadium mustard vs. ballpark mustard

The May 2nd Splendid Table included a segment on the history of Stadium Mustard in Cleveland, including explaining why there are two kinds, Stadium and Ballpark, and why one is sold at football games and the other at baseball games. I grew up knowing this as what mustard was, all that yellow stuff seemed strange to me when I first encountered it later in life.

Me? I fall firmly on the side of Authentic Stadium Mustard, and it seems half of Cleveland agrees with me. More about the mustard at All Things Cleveland, and at Chowhound. (Image from

· comments [9] · 05-13-2009 · categories:food ·