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 ·

links: shopping

I want to invest in good quality lady’s undies that are not too frilly but also well made and will be comfortable. Do these exist? | Ask MetaFilter. Target stopped making my very favorite undies so I’m also searching for a new brand.

Cheap, Cheerful Flowers For Your Next Party | The Awl. How to juj grocery store flowers.

swissmiss | BuckyCubes. Cubes! I think I have just found my go-to Christmas gift.

Splurge vs steal! « Door Sixteen. The iHurst DIY kit for a make your own diamond encrusted replica human skull.

The Crazy Target Experience :: Missing Missoni. – Modern Kiddo. The Missoni stuff was so gone from my Target as well. I got there so late that they’d even taken down the displays indicating where the stuff used to be.

Cool Tools: Coby CV198 Noise Cancelling Headphones. Noise cancelling headphones are an absolute must have for air travel. Must.

The Cat Ball. I don’t have cats (allergic) but I suspect they’d get a big obsessed over this. It’s made by a local Seattlite! I’m thinking presents for your feline pets, yes?

Cool Tools: Fels-Naptha.

· comments [21] · 09-29-2011 · categories:links · shopping ·

Project Runway finale runway show weekend wrap up

Has it really been over two weeks since I got back from my trip to Fashion Week in New York where I got to see the taping of the Project Runway finale? Darlings I owe you details! Please forgive me, I’m afraid I’ve been distracted by the many, many tradespeople coming and going from our house (which will survive! And it looks like we’ll be getting new floors! Oh boy!) Most of these pictures appeared in my previous entries, sorry about that. Before I get to wrapped up in remembering: Huge thanks to HP for such a great experience!

When I got to the hotel HP was in the lobby waiting with champagne. This was fabulous and I hope that you too get to be greeted this way some day. My fellow bloggers, Jaime (Design Milk), Ez (Creature Comforts), Kelly (Design Crush) and Susan (Freshly Picked) were already lounging in preparation for heading out to see some Fashion’s Night Out spectacle. I got to meet Susy Jack, she’s as super nice in person as you’d think. Sadly I didn’t have time to get to the Missoni for Target pop-up shop that was set up in Central Park that evening. Do you know how much I regret that? A lot. Even though everybody is so over the Missoni thing already it would have been fun a week and a half ago, I promise.

The next morning early (very early West Coast time!) was the runway show at Lincoln Center. One of the details of the weekend that was downright decadent was that the hotel they put us up in, The Empire, was half a block from Lincoln Center. Some of the girls had views of the big fountain. It could not have been better. Also? That morning I headed out for coffee and some left behind essentials (I will never get the hang of packing) and a Starbucks and Duane Reade were just around the corner on the same block. It took me like seven minutes to get back to my hotel room. God I miss New York.

We filed into the tent that held the runway show. Know what? It looks exactly like it looks on television. Except during the actual runway shows there are giant tv cameras on huge robot arms swooping out over the audience.

I took pictures of our feet standing on the white runway, which is at floor level.

Heidi wore sparkly pants.

The runway shows were fabulous! And over far too quickly! Just like on the show! And in case you were wondering, we don’t know who are the final three. We watched ten (eleven? twelve?) runway shows, one for each of the contestants that was on the show at the time of the taping. So even if I wanted to I could not tell you who was in the finale episode. Project Runway is crafty like that. [Read more →]

· comments [7] · 09-28-2011 · categories:misc ·

apple picking

Jones Creek Farm, with foothills in the distance

Last weekend was the annual apple picking trip I take with a group of friends.

a half polished apple

I’ve decided I’d like to work part time as an apple polisher and part time as a four leaf clover finder.

a branch heavy with apples

We were at Jones Creek Farm, which has looong rows of apple trees that are labeled. My favorite find was the Pink Pearl apple which is green on the outside and pink on the inside. Sadly they weren’t quite ripe so we didn’t bring any home. (That picture above aren’t Pink Pearls, by the way.)

a rotten apple with an accidental face

And I found this accidental face in a poor fallen apple.

· comments [10] · 09-27-2011 · categories:misc ·

new Komforte Chockolates flavors

Komforte Chockolates

As you read this I’m probably speaking at School House Craft (it’s three whole days, you can still join us!) with Blair of Wise Craft and Molly of Orangette. Among the perks of getting to do this was a great lunch at Blair’s very awesome and welcoming home, getting to see her amazing string art and being gifted the new flavors of Komforte Chockolates bars. The Apple Pie + Graham is deliciously comforting and the Savory Ramen is challenging in the best way. I liked it, a lot.

· comments [5] · 09-23-2011 · categories:food ·

links: misc

Self-Publishing Doesn’t Have to Suck | Slog.

How old is your globe? At Kottke.

How to Start a Cookbook Club « Tea & Cookies. This is the cookbook club I belong to, and it’s as easygoing as they say.

Cool Tools: Maglite/Niteize LED Upgrade.

Another Argument for the Oxford Comma | Slog. “… highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector.” Exactly.

Pamie » Confessions of a Mighty Summit Convert. I was at the Broad Summit (two years ago) and the same awesome experience. Maggie and Laura know what they are doing and they like you. (Thanks again awesome ladies!)

PAX Primer – The Morning News. Someday I will attend PAX, I mean it’s right here.

Innovation Starvation | World Policy Institute. By Neal Stephenson.

This Pig Wants To Party: Maurice Sendak’s Latest : NPR. A touching interview.

· comments [2] · 09-22-2011 · categories:links · misc ·

Skillet Street Food

Last weekend we escaped from our poor beaten up house and had a mid afternoon meal at the Skillet Street Food diner. They make bacon jam and started the business in an Airstream. I found a new favorite beer, Port Brewing Wipeout IPA. This also marks the first time I had been served beer in a jar.

This is a Fried Chicken Sandwich with “fennel seed crust, pickled and charred jalapeño aioli, kale, potato bread”. It’s even better than it sounds. And there is kale so it is good for you. No, it is. Be quiet.

That day we lucked into the booth in the corner and among our views of hipsters walking adorable dogs was this view of a hipster talking on the phone while perched on a fire hydrant. As Scott said, it was like we were in Portland.

· comments [15] · 09-21-2011 · categories:seattle ·

School House Craft is this weekend!

School House Craft

The School House Craft conference is this weekend! I’m lucky to be on a panel with Molly from Orangette and Blair from Wise Craft. We’re speaking on Friday on Blogging 101. Will I see you at the conference?

· comments [6] · 09-20-2011 · categories:events ·

links: craft

Painted vessels – The Crafts Dept. How to make dipped or swirled painted vessels, and how to set the paint. So simple!

Tiny Animal Origami at Design For Mankind and Giant Origami at Design Mom.

How to Print DIY Patterned Fabric » Man Made DIY | Crafts for Men.

Crepe Paper Source at Oh Happy Day, including where she buys crepe in San Francisco and Paris.

Ballet Flats Tutorial

MegAllanColeCrafts’s Channel – YouTube. I love Meg Allan Cole and her entire channel is great. Right now I especially love this video for Neon Colorblock Heels.

Modern Parents Messy Kids: Book Week: Preparing for Preschool with a Personalized Photo Book. This is so sweet! A book of what the new school room will look like to make it familiar place for your child.

A new Kraftwerk-inspired LED tie kit? – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. “Now, if you’re anything like us, the most important question going through your head at this point is something along the lines of ‘why am I not wearing a tie like that right now?'” Exactly.

Butterfly Shrimp and Other Fun With Laser-Cut Nori – Seattle Restaurants and Dining – Voracious.

· comments [0] · 09-19-2011 · categories:craft · links ·

what I’ve learned so far from having a flooded house

About 24 hours after I got back from my trip to New York I was standing under streams of water coming from the ceiling of my sewing studio. The water was there because our hot water heater had failed rather dramatically, and the water was in streams because the flood control guy had poked a few dozen holes in the ceiling to let the water out. Our poor house with it’s surprisingly watertight foundation had been flooded from the inside. (Dramatic music queue here.) I got to make a phone call to a plumbing service where I actually opened by saying “Hello, I am having a plumbing emergency!” Happily the guy on the other end was way more in control than I was and talked me through the process of turning off the water to where it was leaking from.

As I type this all of our stuff is has been migrated into areas of the house that managed to avoid the deluge. I cannot get to my television or the computer that holds most of my files, or to the window for that reason. Our bathroom sink is on the back porch. Startlingly large portions of our Pergo is in a trash dump somewhere. The picture above is the view over my laptop looking at the contents of my office closet that are currently in hoarder-like piles in the dining room. Industrial strength dehumidifiers, blowers (they look like giant hair dryers) and heaters are chugging away for three to seven days to dry out all the soaked bits of wood and drywall that I now know what look like from the inside. Our living room carpet ripples like water when you walk over it since it’s lifted by a cushion of hot air. Our office and bathroom are currently 125 degrees to dry out the layers of wood beneath the flooring. We have these many yellow tubes delivering hot dry air into the space above the ceiling and it looks incredibly creepy. If I could keep this around through Halloween I’d totally throw a party in this room.

But you know what? It could have been so much worse and we’ve kept in perspective. Drinking has certainly been involved. So far we’ve paired initial shock with tequila, waiting for the asbestos test with beers and the presence of giant heaters with chilled white wine on the deck. I’ve slept really well because we have white noise machines running on both floors of our house. It’s surprisingly exhausting having work people tinker around your house all day, waiting for this company to do X so that they can do Y. The other night we decided it was very late and we started getting ready for bed only to find it was 9:30 at night.

Here are a few things I’ve learned, or at least think I’ve learned, from this experience:

  • Tradespeople will try to help you if they can since they’ve seen this many times before, but there are limits to what they’re allowed to outright tell you. If they seem to be speaking carefully or in a code it’s because they are, so listen closely. One of our guys actually had to ask me the same question three times with his straight man comedy timing intact before I figured out what he was trying to communicate. (He was also a ringer for Paul Blackthorne and I expected he would pull out a hockey stock/wizard staff at any moment.)
  • Your homeowners insurance might cover the extra electricity used by all the machines that are drying out your house. Both our flood guy and our insurance lady let us know about this. Which is good because it’s taking a lot of power. As in, we turned on a fan the other day and our lights dipped. We had to unplug the stove (yay for the excuse to get take out!) to allow access to our only 220 outlet for the big heaters.
  • Don’t be afraid to push for more aesthetically pleasing solutions. Because I insisted that an overflow pipe run through the back wall of a closet instead of through the closet itself the flood guy was able to have a good view of what was going on with the flooring under our tub, and as a result we might not have to rip up a large portion of our bathroom floor to see under there. Also, resale value is a very legit argument. Also, nothing the previous homeowners had done will make any sense, brace yourselves.
  • You will suddenly become unsentimental. I have so much stuff! Where did this stuff come from? I think if I had a removal company come take it all away I wouldn’t miss it. Or much of it. I am seriously considering a move to minimalist after this. Or maybe just ruthless. We’ll see.

And so, wise and experienced people, have you had a big and inconvenient house disaster? What did you learn from it? School the rest of us so that we will be prepared!

· comments [46] · 09-16-2011 · categories:the home ·

links: travel

Where should my husband and I have a lovely anniversary dinner in Seattle? | Ask MetaFilter.

Quick! Outdoor NYC spot for beer | Ask MetaFilter.

9 Portland Doughnuts We Love | Serious Eats: Sweets.

Put it on Your List: Washoe House | Mighty Girl. The suggestions from commenters are also fantastic.

mirrormirror: Fancy Hotel of the Week Hotel Monaco, San Francisco. And a recommendation for a great PNW trip planner.

[Contest] Where to Eat at Pike Place Market: A Local’s Perspective | The GastroGnome.

· comments [3] · 09-16-2011 · categories:links · travel ·

Missoni for Target

Missoni for Target items with zig zags

As you might know the Missoni for Target stuff was briefly in stores earlier this week. I say briefly most reports it was all gone about an hour after the stores opened. Modern Kiddo has a great report from the scene, complete with a spy picture from Shutterbean showing some shopper taking four whole carts of stuff.

zig zag skirt made by Erin MacLeod

When I saw the Missoni line I saw something familiar. The picture above shows a skirt I bought from Erin MacLeod. I think the skirt was made from a vintage fabric and is similar enough that when I put a picture on Twitter last Thursday Natalie asked if I was sitting in the Missoni for Target pop-up shop that was going on that evening. Sadly, no, I didn’t make it to the pop-up shop.

By the time I made it to a Target the day it was released the shelves that formerly help Missoni items were bare. I encountered one other Missoni hopeful and by the time I left she’d only found one child’s sweater. So, do you think Target will do another run of the Missoni stuff? Should we all brace ourselves for round two?

· comments [20] · 09-15-2011 · categories:shopping ·

Fantasy Project Runway Challenge, episode 7: the one with fabric patterns

What’s going on here? HP invited me to play along with the current season of Project Runway and sent me a TouchSmart computer to create my own designs. Along with creating designs I decided to write myself into the show. I am not doing well.

This episode was the one where the designers create their own fabric design, get it printed and then use that to create a look. And this one was where they used HP computers like the TouchSmart I have! My design is above and my swatch is here:

Here is what I had to say about what inspired my swatch: “In high school I was a bit of a misfit geek and loved the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series of books by Douglas Adams (I even had the set of original radio show recordings!). The number 42 plays an important role in the stories and I still note when it pops up around me. I wanted to use it as a symbol but didn’t want to slap 42 all over my fabric so I translated it into binary, cranked the kerning really tight so the numbers overlapped and then used that as a stripe. The sexy librarian look was inspired by my high school job as a page at my local library.”

And here are the accessories from the Piper Lime accessories wall that I chose:

Those shoes are almost exactly like the ones I wore to my very first job interview. That was the place where I ended up learning how to build websites. Ah, memories.

I’m going to have to skip the storytelling today my lovelies, we are dealing with this situation. I went from Fashion Week to a flooded basement in less than 24 hours! It could have been far worse though, knock on wood (or Ikea particle board).

· comments [18] · 09-14-2011 · categories:misc ·

links: the home

Dewit: Pillows – AB Chao. Simple instruction on throw pillows, what size, how many and where to put them.

FRÄCK Hack « Manhattan Nest. An adjustable bedside light, such a great idea.

Shift Space Design – Philadelphia, PA. I love these modern planters and yard accessories. They are expensive but so nice and clean looking.

Refreshing Vintage Wood The Brick House. A nice how-to with favorite products.

· comments [2] · 09-13-2011 · categories:links · the home ·

HP Project Runway Designer Reunion Party day!

There are more pictures on Flickr and even a video!

update: I’ve written a recap of the whole trip in case you’d like to know what I got up to.

· comments [8] · 09-12-2011 · categories:misc ·