Not Martha

links: beauty

Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so. » Moroccan Oil. For your hair, looks magical.

Trainer Tells All – What I Have Learned About Health and Fitness. “The eat low-fat advice was the biggest health disaster in the last 30 years.” Via Kottke.

Beauty 101: Your Eyeliner Woes, Solved – Jezebel.

· comments [15] · 04-13-2010 · categories:beauty · links ·

links: the home

New Under Cabinet Lighting: Utilitech Xenon Lights Product Review | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn.

Round Up: Ideas and Sources For Displaying Family Photos The Supersize Version | Apartment Therapy DC.

Organizing Computer Cables with Binder Clips | Apartment Therapy Unplggd. Very simple, and not all that bad looking.

vertical garden how-to « in the loop, at CB2. We have a perfect spot for one of these! via Shelterrific.

How to store your cashmere | The Working Closet | Work It, Mom!.

Derek Powazek – You Already Have A Green Thumb. On growing houseplants.

Starched fabric wall decal experiment | How About Orange.

Ruche: DIY – Wall Decor from Ruche’s Lookbook. I’m looking at #3 Natual Peel-able Wallpaper. This is one of the first times I’ve seen a picture of it done.

DIY Glass Bubble Chandelier at The Small Notebook.

Building a Stacked Wood Fireplace Mantel at The Small Notebook. I really wish we had a fireplace, and I’ve thought about making one but I’ve never found any fakes as appealing as this one.

· comments [0] · 04-12-2010 · categories:links · the home ·

Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs

Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs

I’m happy to let you know about the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs happening here in Seattle August 13th to the 15th. It’s three days of classes and talks on how to thrive as a small business owner focusing on those who work in the handmade realm. The conference is located in Capitol Hill and the meeting spaces are split between two very cool venues a short block apart. It’s surrounded by restaurants and boutiques and you’ll be getting to visit the best parts of Seattle while you’re here, and hang out where people, well, hang out.

The speakers and classes are incredible. The speakers include Lauren Bacon from Raised Eyebrow Web Studios, Lisa Congdon, Jessie Olsen of CakeSpy, Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty, Becky Stern from Craftzine, Faythe Levine of Handmade Nation, Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching, Garth Johnson of Extreme Craft, Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes and the guys from Wexley School for Girls.

If you own a small businesses and struggle to find people who you can commiserate with, or want to swap tips with others who sell on Etsy this conference will be your new best friend. They are offering an Early Bird rate for all three days of the conference if you buy your ticket before June, or you can buy a one day pass for any of the three days.

Conference for Creative Entrepreneurs

· comments [0] · 04-11-2010 · categories:events · seattle ·

Moore & Giles traveling Airstream showroom

Earlier today I was headed to Venue when I spotted this Airstream outside of Blackbird. I briefly wondered what sort of food Moore & Giles were selling before getting close enough to see that it is actually a traveling showroom for leather goods.

They even have chairs welcoming you inside where you can see more of their things.

They’ve traveled all the way from Virginia and they’ll be at that spot in Ballard today at tomorrow. They’ll be in Seattle outside Mario’s on Friday the 16th before heading to Portland and San Francisco.

Their craftsmanship was impeccable, the company started with shoes and upholstery and know how to stitch something together. If you’re curious and stop by to see what they have I might also mention that Blackbird’s oldey timey candy shop is about ten steps away.

· comments [7] · 04-9-2010 · categories:seattle · shopping ·

links: misc

When To Stop With BSG? – Battlestar Galactica – io9.

Hamster-sized Caesar Salad — Cute Overload.

An Entirely Other Day: Preadolescent Panopticon. This reminded me of Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age.

Still Married After All These Months | Nothing But Bonfires. I feel the same way, after being together for 11 years, something small but fantastic changed after we were married.

Cool Tools: Stretching.

Area 51 vets break silence: Sorry, but no space aliens or UFOs | Seattle Times Newspaper.

The Coachella Review: The Payoff Will Be in Good Karma by Steve Almond. I already lost the place that pointed me towards it, but it’s a good read about payment for writing by Steve Almond that takes apart the idea of contributing for free based on the spirit of the project.

How to guarantee your luggage won’t be lost or stolen next time you fly: – Barking up the wrong tree. Via ifindkarma

· comments [6] · 04-9-2010 · categories:links · misc ·

Liberty of London for Target peacock, um, skirt maybe?

peacock fabric pillow

When the Liberty of London stuff arrived at Target I went there the day of thinking it was going to be another Orla-sized rush. And it was, by the time I arrived most everything had disappeared. I really like the peacock feather print above and I bought the last two peacock pillows thinking I’d, I don’t know, make a skirt. Trouble is there isn’t enough fabric in the two pillows to make a skirt. So I kept them trying to decide if I wanted to find a way to use the fabric in a skirt, somehow. Panels maybe? Or maybe they will go with my theoretical future couch and whatever way we decide to decorate the tv watching living room and I could actually use them as the pillows they are meant to be? A month passed and I finally talked myself into returning them. Then on my way to buy a dish brush at the other end of the store I spotted a pile of new peacock pillows, more than enough to make a skirt. So now I remain undecided. What do you think? Commence project skirt? Or will that lead to (minor, silly) heartbreak?

· comments [39] · 04-8-2010 · categories:craft ·

links: travel

Vacation rentals, private rooms, sublets by the night – Accommodations on Airbnb. Via SwissMiss.

How To Make Sure Flying Doesn’t Suck Out Your Soul | Nothing But Bonfires.

Jordan Ferney | Oh Happy Day!: Paris Guide.

Finnriver: Visit Finnriver.Someplace nearby that I’d like to visit.

· comments [3] · 04-7-2010 · categories:links · travel ·

Portland, I love your food trucks

a fried pie, opened to show pot roast and cheese inside

A few weekends ago Scott and I took a very quick trip to Portland primarily to sit on a West Elm couch to see if we liked it. (We did, but sadly it’s too big to fit in our living room.) While we were there the weather was good and we were able to eat two meals outdoors, I think this for me marked the real start to Spring. I didn’t get pictures of lunch, pulled pork and bratwurst, but we were very happy to stumble upon a pod of food carts after walking past some crowded restaurants. We sought out some Whiffies Fried Pies the next morning and they, along with shared poutine from Potato Champion, were the perfect hangover cure for a night spent celebrating warm evening weather on the hotel’s rooftop bar (oy). I will also point out that Whiffies and Potato Champion have vegan menus as well, just let them know and your food will be done in their vegan fryers. (p.s. Take cash.)

really good poutine, fries with gravy and cheese curds on top

Should you find yourself in a similar impromptu Portland trip I will point you towards the Food Carts Portland website, they provide very helpful reviews of everything and even break down the carts by location.

· comments [19] · 04-7-2010 · categories:food · travel ·

Sweater Quest

Sweater Quest book cover

I just finished reading Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini and today I’m happy to be able to ask her a few questions. Sweater Quest is the story of knitting Alice Starmore’s Mary Tudor sweater pattern within one year. If you’re a knitter you might understand why that sounds far easier than it actually is. If you’re not a knitter you should know that it’s an insanely complicated sweater for which the pattern is out of print and difficult (and expensive) to find, the yarn hasn’t been made for years, and the knitting technique is intricate. It was an interesting read, I learned all about Alice Starmore and why she has the reputation she does, there are meetings with lots of the biggest knitting celebrities, trips to knitting meccas, historical facts about Mary Tudor, and musings on why we knit.

One of the things you ponder in the book is whether your sweater is really an Alice Starmore design since you didn’t use the original Alice Starmore yarns. I do not knit with wool and one of the first things I learned to do was substitute yarn so this concern about authenticity was something I’d never considered before. Did you have any further feelings on the this in general or about your Mary Tudor in particular after the book was wrapped up?

For most designs, substituting yarns is no big deal. You might wind up with an object that doesn’t drape or feel like the original but who cares? You’ve made something that pleases you. With Starmore, it makes a huge difference what yarns you use because she is a master at color. Swap out any one skein and you’ll wind up with a mess — and I know this because I tried to do just that. I saved the swatch from that misbegotten disaster and it is hideous.

I’m still not certain is my Mary Tudor is a true Starmore, frankly. I used a yarn (Spindrift) that is very, very close to the original Starmore yarns but isn’t identical. I substituted one color in the blue background bands. It might be close enough to a Starmore to fool the non-connoisseurs. But I wonder how it would fare if put next to the original.

So tell us, did you hear from Alice Starmore or her people once this book came out? Did you ever consider writing to her during your project?

I haven’t heard from Starmore or her official people at all. I have been vigorously taken to task by a few people on Ravelry who claim to be her bosom buddies. But, given the nature of such things, you can be almost anyone you want on the internet. So, really, who knows?

Frankly, I’d love to hear from her and wished that I could get her side of the story directly from her mouth. The publisher’s lawyers were twitchy, however, and I was firmly advised to not make contact. I’m not thrilled with this, mind, but will abide by their advice, even though I wish the world were a different place.

After finding how carefully and how well Alice Starmore uses color, if you were to do another Alice Starmore sweater would you seek out the specific yarns called for? If somebody else was going to tackle a Starmore would you recommend they get the particular yarns?

If — and it’s a big if, given how many other things I want to knit — I ever take on another Starmore sweater, I would get even more obsessive about it, which is hard to imagine, I know. I’d track down all of the original yarns, just to see if it really does make a big difference. For those who aren’t quite as compulsive as I can be, I’d say to just do what you feel is right. To get the best result, you have to use wool, I think, and swatch like a mighty knitter who swatches. Other than that, just do it – because if you can manage a decent knit stitch, you can do Starmore’s Fair Isle.

Do you ever get requests from people who would like to see your Mary Tudor in person? (I have to admit I would.) Are you taking it on your book tour with you?

The Mary Tudor is my constant traveling companion. She doesn’t eat much but does take up a lot of room in my bag. I still get a little thrill when the audience at a reading makes appreciative noises, even though I know it’s wrong to take such pride in a sweater. There are some pictures online, if you can’t make it to where I am, see it here.

Is there any significance to the knitted border design on your book jacket?

Not that I know of. I’ve been working on getting the jacket designer to confirm that the yarn in the main picture is Lamb’s Pride. The designer thinks it’s hilarious that anyone would ask that sort of question about stock art. Clearly, he doesn’t know knitters.

Indeed, thank you Adrienne!

Adrienne will be at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA on April 15 if you’d like to see the Mary Tudor for yourself, and you can keep up with her on her website, martinimade.

· comments [10] · 04-6-2010 · categories:books · craft · knitting ·

links: craft

Design*Sponge » diy: test tube vase.

Fabric basket and bin tutorials | How About Orange. blog : Easy-Threading Sewing Needle.

Ruche: DIY – Wall Decor from Ruche’s Lookbook. These large paper wall decorations are amazing, and luckily they show us how to make them. I think these would be great for a wedding or party. Via Design*Sponge.

Que Sera cardigan: Knitty Spring+Summer 2010. I like this one, too bad I sold all my Blue Sky cotton a while back.

DIY Tiered Cupcake Stand Tutorial | Via Edible Crafts.

Draft & Sew a Custom Fit Reversible Coat. This is amazing, and she talks you through drafting your own coat. Via Craftzine.

Design*Sponge » diy project: ikea celeber decal food jars. Love this!

Jordan Ferney | Oh Happy Day!: Quilts. A quilt made from Muji map handkerchiefs, neat.

Free black and white wedding printables | How About Orange.

· comments [1] · 04-6-2010 · categories:craft · links ·

the books on my desk right now

a pile of books, listed below

Looking at this reminds me that I seem to never have received my copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman) that came as part of last year’s BlogHer Food conference, bummer. I spent some summers in Oklahoma on my uncle’s farm, nothing as large as the ranch Ree and her family live on but there were fields, cattle, chickens, a barn with a loft (and soft hay below to land in when you jumped off), a swimming hole, very hungry greyhound dogs to feed dinner scraps to each night and a huge, endless sky. The farm was just outside a small town and checking Google maps now I can tell you the town has all of six streets. I’ve been joking with Scott that our next house needs to have neighbors that are further away, as in blocked from our view by the curvature of the earth. Bet those summers in Oklahoma influence my desire for a bit more breathing room.

a 1.5 inch corona bean after an overnight soaking

Wish I had a photograph of endless sky for you to put right here but instead this bean will have to do. For Easter weekend I made the Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans recipe from Super Natural Cooking that I first made for cookbook club. This time I managed to track down some corona beans at ChefShop. Holy rhinoceroses people, these beans are huge and only get huger when you soak them, then they puff up quite a bit more when cooking. It was like eating magic beans. They are delicious, I highly recommend you track some down sometime. And taste one half way through boiling, they taste like chestnuts.

· comments [13] · 04-5-2010 · categories:books · shopping ·

links: Easter

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally, Without a Store-Bought Kit | Serious Eats.

Design*Sponge » we like it wild: fresh eggs. Tiny flowers arranged in natural color eggshells, sweet.

Goldbunny Crackers for Easter ~ Cupcake Project.

Vibrant Eggs, Dyed Naturally | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn.

Indie Fixx » A fun Easter egg dyeing technique.

Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes (with marshmallow Peeps, too!) | The Cookbook Chronicles.

poppytalk: Happy Hippity Hop!. I like this secret message egg.

What wonderful things for grownups can be hidden inside standard plastic Easter eggs? | Ask MetaFilter.

· comments [1] · 04-3-2010 · categories:holidays · links ·

Easter Surprise Eggs (the easy version)

colorful Easter eggs

Earlier I made Chocolate Easter Surprise Eggs. I really enjoyed making them but realize, of course, how complicated they were. I am clearly a crazy person. Here is something similar but much easier to make. To sum up: dyed eggshells filled with candy and/or toys and sealed at the bottom with paper.


a yellow egg with a tag that says Crack Me


cracked egg, with candies spilling out

You will need:

  • enough time to let dyed eggs dry overnight
  • one dozen eggs (or however many you’d like to make)
  • boxes of both regular and neon McCormick food coloring
  • assorted candies or toys small enough to fit into an egg
  • mini muffin papers, or paper nut party cups, or regular paper, or big roundish stickers
  • glue
  • a cookie cooling rack, or skewers stuck in some styrofoam, or six sets of takeout chopsticks stuck in a vase (for drying the dyed eggs upside down)

Handy but not necessary:

  • an egg topper or a Dremel

colorful eggs in tissue paper grass

These are a re-do of surprise eggs I made ages ago. (I think that was one of the first tutorials I put on this site.) I took inspiration from both Kinder Eggs and Cascarones, eggshells filled with confetti usually cracked over the head of a friends or family. (Note: some of the images below were reused from my earlier tutorial, so they might look familiar.)

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· comments [138] · 04-1-2010 · categories:craft · holidays ·

links: Easter

Fancy Flours — Detailed Embellishments : Egg Shells. Emptied, pre-sterlized brown egg shells for you to use to serve your Easter dessert out of. Wow! Thanks to Susan for letting me know about these. They also have silver eggshells!

What should I call my adults-only, secular, cocktail-intensive Easter egg hunt on the invitations? | Ask MetaFilter. I’m with the person who said: “Adults-only, Secular, Cocktail-intensive Easter Egg Hunt. I don’t think that this can be improved on.”

CakeSpy – Egg-stra Special: Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict for Serious Eats. blog : Color Eggs With Kool-Aid.

Design*Sponge » diy project: ukrainian eggs made simple. blog : Striped Easter Egg Dyeing.

Easter Cake (with a sweet surprise inside) · Edible Crafts @ CraftGossip. This is so neat.

Taste Test: Chocolate Easter Bunnies | Serious Eats.

· comments [3] · 04-1-2010 · categories:holidays · links ·