Not Martha

A Big Thank You

Thank you so very much to everybody who entered the giveaways last month, wow there are a lot of you. And another huge thank you to all the businesses that were so generous, I am honored that you all were so happy to share with my readers. Awesome all around, clap clap clap! Here are my gift conspirators, in order of appearance:

And I’ve got a few offers and announcements for readers if you’d like:

School House Craft is offering a 20% discount to readers for any ticket combination they buy for the conference here in Seattle in September. Enter notmartha when you get your tickets.

This Charming Candy is offering 10% off of items in their Etsy shop, enter NotMartha10years at checkout. Good through Friday night, June 3rd.

Product Body is offering 15% off through June 15th (one use per customer). Enter NOTMARTHA15 when you’re checking out.

Crystalyn Kae is holding a studio sale here in Seattle this Saturday, June 4 from 10am to 4pm at 5611B Phinney Ave N, Seattle WA 98103. There will likely be a few things that won’t have appeared in the regular collection.

Whew, ok, thanks everybody!

· comments [7] · 06-1-2011 · categories:mumbling ·

May Birthday Giveaways!

a cake with ten candles

Hi, hello, hi there. This May marks the tenth year of Not Martha, ten years! A whole decade! To celebrate I’m holding giveaways each weekday in May filled with stuff I love from people I know. It’s gonna be fun.

Looking back at the archives I see the first post was on May 22nd, 2001 and I only posted six things that month. The very first post to this site was about a kit that helps you put gifts inside of balloons (sadly, a dead link), the second post was about a long time love of mine the Meathead (miraculously it’s still there, it’s a plastic skull covered with red jello then layers of cold cuts to be served at Halloween and the reason I called my meatloaf hand the Meat Hand), my third post was a list of stuff I liked including retro video games, cookbooks and dishes made of sugar. Posts four, five and six are regarding Fluevog shoes that leave hoof prints, gasses that preserve a half empty bottle of wine, and the article in Salon that mentions a magazine that would be published sometime later that year, it was called “Readymade”. Taking just the first six posts into consideration I’m gonna go ahead and say this here site hasn’t changed much in the past decade. It really doesn’t seem like that long.

Each giveaway will take entries for about 24 hours and the first one will be tomorrow morning. Good luck everybody!

· comments [31] · 05-1-2011 · categories:mumbling ·

a few things

[brightly colored eggs on a magazine page]

A few quick links to places Not Martha is showing up elsewhere.

The April 2011 issue of Family Fun magazine has a version of my Easter Surprise Eggs, shown above.

Delish shows my Chocolate Easter Surprise Eggs in their list of Awesomely Decorated Easter Eggs.

Parent Map magazine has both versions of Easter surprise eggs in their round up of fantastic ideas for dyeing and decorating Easter eggs.

Not Martha is #19 on the list of Top 150 Makers Blog List, so a huge thanks to all of you who come visit me here, we’re # 19! (I guess it doesn’t make a good chant.) We’re in good company, and there are a whole bunch of site that are new to me there.

· comments [12] · 04-15-2011 · categories:mumbling ·

RSS Woes

Hi everyone. There is a bit of trouble with my RSS feeds. We moved some stuff around the other day and it broke something else, and when we went to fix it yesterday it seems to have truncated the posts in readers, which was not my intention. Hang on for a bit and we’ll fix it. Sorry for the trouble and thanks for letting me know it was happening.

· comments [11] · 04-13-2011 · categories:mumbling ·

photos from the Altitude Design Summit

Oops, I put together these pictures ages ago and completely forgot to post them. I didn’t manage to get many photos from the Altitude Design Summit, but here they are anyhow.

[ Design Mom wearing my flower pin while introducing Project Runway alums! ]

Here is Gabrielle Blair wearing on of my felt dahlia pins while introducing Mondo and Seth Aaron from Project Runway. Thrilling! I can hardly believe she was one of the organizers for this conference, a tremendous amount of work, and weeks later moved her whole family to France. Her tour of the amazing house that they’ve rented have been fantastic.

[ Seth Aaron and Mondo ]

Project Runway’s Seth Aaron (a WA resident!) and Mondo. Awesome.

[ shiny red keyboard with a double happiness symbol on the Enter key ]

HP was showing off some of their computer designs and I loved this double happiness symbol on a netbook designed by Vivienne Tam.

[ my feet in my sort-of Victorian boots ]

My feet while sitting on the floor at a panel (I crept in late and all the seats were taken).

[ blazing orange pink sunset ]

Amazing sunset #1.

[ shots of tequila with tall cold beers ]

Tequila and beers!

[ yellow balls of butter next to a menu decorated with yellow balls ]

I like how the butter matches the menu. This is just before getting to hear DJ Spooky speak.

[ blazing sunset #2 ]

Amazing sunset #2.

[ balloons floating at the ceiling with paper glasses silhouette cutouts hanging from them ]

The entrance to the Girls With Glasses and Kate Spade party.


The Girls With Glasses and Kate Spade party bag, we got fun fake glasses and a Tassi and a sample of Kate Spade’s new fragrance Twirl.

For some travel and behind the scenes photos, click more. [Read more →]

· comments [13] · 02-22-2011 · categories:events · mumbling ·

Happy Valentine’s Day wishes

Chicago Dog at Po Dogs in Seatte

Yesterday Scott and I set out in search of a banana split. Since we were hungry and Po Dogs* was nearby we stopped for a hot dog first. And suddenly our day turned into A Quest for Phallic Foods. While eating we discussed other phallic foods and up with categories for processed (sausage, corn dogs), natural (asparagus, cucumbers) and sweet (twinkies, eclairs). There are many more foods but my attempts to force them into a cohesive meal failed.

When we ordered the banana split (I won’t identify the location, see the rest of the sentence for the reason) it came with banana chunks, ice cream and toppings layered in a cup. In a cup! That, my friends, is not a split. I didn’t take a photograph though I do wish I could have captured the look on our faces as we first saw the cup. Apparently The Quest for Phallic Foods will continue.

Here is to wishing for you that the people in your life are unfazed by a not entirely successful quest, and that you have so much fun questing that you hardly even notice.

* The Dub-T Dog (nacho cheese sauce, crushed potato chips, ketchup and mustard, like a drunk-hungry late night trip to the 7-Eleven) is delicious. As is the Texas Dog. However, given a choice of only one hot dog I go fairly traditional and order the Chicago Dog (celery salt FTW).

· comments [15] · 02-14-2011 · categories:mumbling ·

to new things

chocolate mousse frosting on yellow cake

Thing #1: a new frosting. The other week I made a cake. I used a boxed mix (Alton Brown once said it was ok on Good Eats and I have at least one other person who can back me up on that) so I could concentrate on trying out a new to me frosting recipe.

I’m normally a chocolate cake and vanilla frosting sort of gal, but loved this frosting from the start. I had it first at, I think, our Cookbook Club’s gathering for Cookin’ With Coolio. @gfrancie (Twitter) made it and a bunch of us demanded the recipe. She sent us to this entry over at Au_Gout, that’s the recipe I used. Turns out it’s a recipe from Joy of Cooking, gosh I love that book and must get myself a copy soon. (I have a copy on cd, back when I got my first computer I thought it would be all fancy to have my favorite books on my computer. Once I moved into a larger place and the walk from my desktop screen to the kitchen was longer I saw the error of my ways as I started needing to print out recipes.)

chocolate mousse frosting on yellow cake

(Hey! Look over here! The Chocolate Mousse Frosting recipe from Joy of Cooking is viewable on Google Books.)

My first try at the frosting was good, but not quite the unbelievably fluffy result I remember. I think I need to whip it longer, which means I’ll just have to try it again and make cake after cake until I get it perfect. Oh darn, that sounds just awful doesn’t it?

chocolate mousse frosting on yellow cake

Thing #2: a new cake server. Above is my new cake server, I’ve needed one for years but never seem to remember until the point at which I’ve just cut a wedge out of a cake and find myself trying to pull it out while balancing it on a knife. This time I was prepared, yay for small victories.

chocolate mousse frosting on yellow cake

Thing #3: a new laptop. This is the first blog entry I’ve created on my new laptop. Hello world. It’s the first new laptop I’ve ever owned, and only the second new computer. (My first new computer would be a then-zippy but bulky desktop I bought from Gateway for my first apartment. I had the computer and a desk, a futon and a ficus tree happily for a year but never got around to buying a dining room table for that place.) I’m used to having machines that are cobbled together from corporate cast offs and bits scavenged from Re-PC, I’ve happily waited for downloads that take ages no battery life whatsoever. But I recently realized that a good laptop would make a lot of sense so I talked myself into spending the money (some slow breathing was necessary) and I now have something fast and light and it’s so very delightful, if unfamiliar. I’ll tell you more about it, and the process of learning all about all the new fangled computer talk, when I get back from the Altitude Design Summit.

· comments [18] · 01-18-2011 · categories:food · mumbling ·

Po Dog and living in the future

hot dogs from Po Dog in Seattle

The above is a photo of the hot dogs Scott and I split at Po Dog here in Seattle last week. We had a Chicago Dog (all sorts of traditional toppings and yum), a Seattle Dog (cream cheese and chives, better than you might suspect), and a something dog with bbq sauce and crispy onions (interesting but not my thing). They were having an anniversary special so all the hot dogs were $1 each, a happy surprise. But the hot dogs is not why this particular Sunday night was neat.

Quick set up: A beloved Seattle restaurant, Canlis, has been celebrating their 60th birthday by hiding menus with 1950s prices ($4 broiled lobster, $4.25 filet mignon) all around Seattle, one per day for 50 days, and putting hints on Twitter. The person who finds the menu gets to eat cheap. (p.s. Canlis was were we went for our first anniversary.) Ok, back to the hot dogs.

We were sitting there checking Twitter (not our normal MO but we’d spent all day together on an epic area rug quest and we’d mutually and contentedly agreed we had nothing more to talk about, also the music was very very loud, also I was hangry) and the Canlis hint appeared on Twitter. It said “Annie Reed follows her heart. 1:07:22″. So I Googled Annie Reed and IMDB informed me it was the main female character in Sleepless In Seattle. Obviously the numbers are a point in the film. I thought we were done for but then we remembered that we have Netflix streaming on my phone. So we loaded the movie, fast forwarded to 1:07:22 and found the scene where Meg Ryan is fake-driving into Seattle then turning a corner at Western and Broad, which was of course where the menu was hidden. We’d found the menu without even getting up from our booth at the hot dog place! Yay for living in the future! By then the menu had been found by somebody living really close to the hiding place. The $1 hot dogs were a nice consolation prize.

· comments [8] · 11-19-2010 · categories:mumbling · seattle ·

feeling lighter

white balloons seen against a blue sky

Hi there. It’s been a while since I’ve posted much of substance here. Part is summer laziness, part is stuff I’m still working on, but mostly it’s because we finally got ourselves back to making our house a bit prettier. The intersection of houseguests and a plumbing emergency (nothing drastic) kick started us on the projects we’d been contemplating and we’ve been riding the momentum. Like, we bought a couch (Ikea, Karlstad, dark gray, with ottoman!) and we’re arranging the other bits of the living room that can now fall into place. I’m also excavating my sewing room and it’s, well, it’s a process. Not a pretty one. We’re back to the familiar cycle of going back and forth from the hardware store and having various surfaces in our house covered in paint chips and drywall anchors.

But I’m feeling lighter. Getting rid of things I no longer need, hauling things to donate, making room for a bicycle. A delayed spring cleaning, if you will. So that’s what I’m doing right now and I’ll hopefully emerge soon with some good information to share. Like how to not hit a kitchen sink pipe when hanging a curtain rod. For example.

white balloons seen against a blue sky

· comments [8] · 07-19-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

Mastin Studio

us in a field at Discovery Park

I have one of those out of sight, out of mind things happening. I completely failed to mention our photo session with Mastin Studio a few months back. We were met by Kirk Mastin and his wife Robin (who happens to have a great food blog, A Chow Life) to have pictures taken at Volunteer (oops) Discovery Park in Seattle. The day was was rainy and did bad things to my hair, Scott forgot to bring his suit jacket, I struggle to act natural in front of a camera, and despite all that it was a lot of fun. Kirk and Robin are charming and made us feel completely at ease. If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in the Pacific Northwest I can recommend them.

us in a field at Discovery Park

(The heat is hitting us here and we’re having one of those rare 90-degree days so looking at these photos is nearly giving me nostalgia for cooler temperatures. Nearly.)

· comments [17] · 07-8-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

anniversary cake

chocolate cake with white icing

The other weekend I wanted to make cake. So I did. Two, in fact, but neither was good enough for me to offer a recipe for. I’ll just have to keep working on that.

chocolate cake with white icing

And on Saturday Scott reminded me that it was the 10 year anniversary of us packing our stuff into a truck and driving from Cleveland to San Francisco. We didn’t have an apartment ready to move into, it was the year 2000, dot coms ruled the world and everything was crazy and exciting. So we put ten candles on the cake to mark the anniversary.

chocolate cake with white icing

A few months after we arrived the dot com bust happened and suddenly nobody had jobs.

chocolate cake with white icing

I never liked living in San Francisco.

chocolate cake with white icing

Nobody ever seemed happy. Muni left us stranded far too many times. The city had a way of feeling too crowded and creepily deserted on the same day. A trip to the grocery store shouldn’t have been as challenging as it was.

chocolate cake with white icing

Ages ago Megnut put a story on her old site about finding a parking spot for her car that she didn’t need to move out of for a while. She went back to check on her car every few days but didn’t drive it. One day she found a nasty note left on her windshield accusing her of parking too close to another car, a car that the person leaving the note had actually parked near her car. I nodded my head when I read it. San Francisco was like that.

chocolate cake with white icing

Of course there were circumstances that made our time there gloomy. The dot com party was over. September 11th happened while we were there. The Ferry Building was under construction and all I ever knew it as was of a boarded up, deserted seeming place on the water. (It was two blocks from the office I used to work in and when I think of all the glorious lunches I didn’t have there I cry a little inside.) We were subletting our apartment and needed to keep off the radar of the building managers, which made doing laundry a covert operation*. The retail area of the city I walked through each day on my way home was rapidly closing up and I watched it decline bit by bit. Once we tried to take a visiting friend to lunch and couldn’t find a place that didn’t have a two hour wait, we drove around the city hungry and embarrassed. Nothing seemed good or easy, nothing ever clicked, I never experienced any moments where things simply went right.

chocolate cake with white icing

I feel like San Francisco didn’t want me to stay, and I’m glad we didn’t try. I love Seattle.

All this said, San Francisco is an awful lot of fun to visit these days. The Ferry Building is filled with yum, that block of deserted building I used to walk past every day on my way home from work is now a very nice mall with a Bloomingdale’s and a Beard Papa’s. Miette has two charming shops that I wish I could visit daily. There is more and more good coffee, fabric and yarn. It’s like the city was sleeping while we were there but has since woken up and found itself having a really good hair day.

* (I did run into one of the building managers once and couldn’t escape a little chat. I ended up having to tell her I was the apartment renter’s girlfriend, something he had requested I do. It was awkward because the building manager knew that he had recently gotten married. I’m nearly ready to recategorize this as one of those memories that is funny.)

· comments [49] · 06-11-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

Weekend report

[three four leaf clovers, mountains in the background]

I found three four-leaf clovers!

[extra large marshmallows]

It’s hard to tell from this picture but these marshmallows we found at the grocery store were enormous. I was delighted.

[a pancake that cooked with a pattern that looks like woodgrain]

Scott made this pancake that looks like woodgrain.

[cake with a crumb layer of frosting]

I decided to make a cake, chocolate with white frosting. This is my first ever crumb layer.

[candles illuminating the cake]

Scott remembered that ten years ago Saturday we packed our things into a U-Haul and drove from Cleveland to San Francisco without an apartment ready to move into. Adventure! So we put ten candles on the cake.

[juniper berries soaking in vodka, other spices ready to include]

We started making a new infused gin from this recipe at Gourmet magazine. So far it smells much better that my first try.

I also started watching Glee (and am hooked), took a nice slow stroll through a p-patch in a Seattle neighborhood we’re contemplating moving to, got my hair cut and made chimichurri sauce for the first time.

· comments [25] · 06-7-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

Three Weekends

[a beautifully decorated cupcake]

It’s been a busy few weekends around here, and I actually took some pictures. Above is a pretty show cupcake from Cupcake Camp three weekends ago. I turned up too late to eat cupcakes (apparently 5000 cupcakes were consumed in about half an hour!) but just in time to see the cupcake eating contest, the aftermath of which looked like this:

[empty milk containers and used cupcake wrappers]

[carrots carved to look like flowers in a yummy rice dish]

The next day I headed to spend some much needed outdoor time with Tea and Cookies and friends. Her chirashizushi pictured above was delicious and so very pretty. I am usually very sensitive to the flavor of fish in a dish, but I couldn’t detect that this had a fish stock base.

Two weeks ago Scott headed to Chicago for a gig with Kirby Krackle, but I barely had a chance to miss him.

[pizza, with pizza-cutting scissors]

On Friday I had dinner with Maggi at Via Tribunali where they really will bring you shears to cut your pizza if you ask about them.

[a pug!]

We walked to Molly Moon’s for ice cream afterward and ran into Cakespy and her adorable pugs on their way home from work, the pugs hung out while we stood in line. I got salted licorice, it was good but very unusual.

[cobbler in jars on the bake sale table]

The next morning I dropped off the cobbler in jars for the bake sale then headed out to get some product shots for the felt flower brooch. Later that day I went to attend a Seattle Food Bloggers event where Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, came to chat with us! I practically attacked her afterward to tell her about my summers in Oklahoma and she was nice enough not to call security on me. I also butted in to get a picture, which didn’t turn out!

[a drastically backlit Ree Drummond and myself]

But I feel better because she has one just like it on her site, we both forgot to adjust our cameras for the backlighting. After that I figured it would be too crazy to go back again and get her to sign my Pioneer Woman Cooks book. Ree pulled her own camera out of her bag and it was a huge Nikon that was covered with flour, which I thought was just awesome.

And last weekend we headed to a family wedding and some visiting in Pennsylvania and Ohio. After we had picked up our rental car and were on our way I got word that my felt flower brooch project had been published over at Holidash, so I used my iPhone to put up a post I’d prepared before we left to announce it. But, tragedy!, the image I had used for it was corrupted and was showing up half gray. And this is the part where I get to love living in the future: thanks to the iPhone I was able to borrow one of my own images from the Holidash site, upload it my site and republish my post with the new image. All from a rental car speeding down the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Neato.

[a Sonic cup]

This is my first ever time at Sonic, and my first ever cherry limeaid. It was yummy. As we were sitting at the drive-in we watched a horse drawn buggy come through the parking lot and pull into a small covered parking space meant for buggies just outside the Walmart. I realized it had been ages since the Amish were a part of my usual surroundings.

[menu at the wedding]

The wedding was in Hershey, PA and the menu reflected that. The beef entree was Cocoa Crusted Tenderloin with White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes. It sounds strange but was amazing. And yes, there was a chocolate fountain at dessert, I doubt they could have gone without one considering the location. It was fantastic to hang out with aunts, uncles and cousins and hear all the stories from weddings and gatherings past. My family is a bit crazy in the most wonderful way.

[souvenir penny imprinted with a unicorn]

Somewhere along the Pennsylvania Turnpike we found a machine that churned out these unicorn souvenir pennies. I’ll keep this in my wallet just in case I encounter something IRL that requires a unicorn chaser.

[cute dog playing tug of war]

Then we were off to Ohio to visit more family. We got to hold a very tiny brand new nephew, walk through the model home of the sort that Scott’s sister and brother in law just bought, be impressed enough with the reasonable price of houses in Ohio enough to briefly consider moving back, play tug of war with Simon (the very cute and well behaved dog you see above), and seek out a kids guitar as for a niece’s birthday present. It has these handy stickers to help in learning:

[a small but serious guitar]

And I got to use my camera to help explain to a nephew how the sepia colored crayon got it’s name:

[a picture of crayons taken with the sepia setting]

It’s been so much fun, but last night we arrived home to a house that is utterly disorganized. It’s time for some serious spring cleaning. But first some beer.

· comments [14] · 04-29-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

Our First Anniversary

blue shoes

Today is our one year anniversary of being married, so last night Scott and I made ourselves look presentable, put on our wedding shoes and went to have dinner at Canlis.

dessert plates with Happy 1st Anniversary written out in chocolate sauce

How sweeet is this? They took the care not only to ask about what we were celebrating that night, but also to write a special message on our dessert plates. The long, thin candles that adorned the plates were anchored in a chunk of pineapple, I must keep that tip in mind.

a cheery red kitchen timer

Scott looked up the table of traditional and modern anniversary gifts and went with modern, a clock. Or in this case, a kitchen timer meant specifically for me to keep on my desk to help with all that toast burning I’ve been doing lately. It’s even red to match my office. Thank you sweetie, it’s perfect. And it’s already saved breakfast.

· comments [33] · 04-21-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

least expected places

fortune reading Put down your chopsticks and get involved in Census 2010!

Dear census people: Oh creepy! First you sent us a letter to let us know the census was going to arrive, then the census arrived (which we filled out and returned), then you sent a postcard to let us know the census should have arrived. And now you’re in my fortune cookie. Cut it out.

p.s. Should you ever be in Seattle the hand shaved noodles at Shanghai Garden are excellent.

update: To be a bit clearer, actual fortunes were printed on the other side of these slips of paper, I knew that the Census Bureau had purchased space on the back of the fortunes, I think it is important to make sure that people know why being counted matters, and I applaud the Census Bureau for doing something with such a sense of humor. I was just surprised to be so incredibly well informed that the census was going on.

· comments [27] · 03-30-2010 · categories:mumbling · seattle ·