Not Martha

A Good Weekend

a blueberry muffin and coffee mug at Curio

Breakfast and knitting at Curio Confections.

small white scissors sitting on my knit hat

I like these little white scissors from Muji, the cover means I can throw it in with the yarn without worry.

a small sewing kit with scissors and three colors of thread

And while I’m at it, it amuses me that the Muji travel sewing kit only comes with white, gray and black thread.

cherry blossoms and blue, blue sky

a cherry blossom, close up

Then a stroll through the Arboretum to look at blossoms.

my bamboo tongs in front of the open oven, with a slice of bread under the broiler

And Sunday we decided that despite how much I like my bamboo tongs*, we really should get a new toaster.

* Dwell recently asked me about my favorite kitchen item and I went on and on about my bamboo tongs.

· comments [11] · 03-8-2010 · categories:mumbling ·


Petrie sofa from Crate and Barrel, sob

Please allow me to be dramatic for a moment. I just found out that the Petrie sofa from Crate & Barrel is no longer available (sort of) and I’m upset. It was perfect, soft fabric, just firm enough, deep enough. Scott and I sat in a lot of sofas and it was clearly the winner for us both. People, I love this sofa and we’ve been saving up to buy one for two years. Just last week we talked about finally getting to place the order for it. We were excited, a milestone! We would finally ditch our futon and sit on actual furniture like real adults! (We can pretend to be real adults.)

Today I was cutting through the store and decided to visit the couch (I do this a lot, I’m embarrassed to admit that) and found a “Limited Stock” sign hanging on it. I asked about this and was told that the company that makes the fabric (the nice, soft, not scratchy at all fabric) is no longer manufacturing it, I think they might be going out of business. So now the Petrie is only being sold in the natural and brown fabric, and only what they have left in stock (we only really wanted gray, with my clumsiness white would last about ten minutes in our house, oh look I just dropped pizza sauce on the futon* and I just don’t get excited over brown). They are looking for a replacement fabric, so there is a faint glimmer of hope, but with my luck the replacement fabric will be something durable but scratchy. It looks like I’m stuck sitting on this futon (which I bought in 1998 (!!!) when I had my very first solo apartment in Cleveland, that’s like two thousand internet years ago) until I find new couch love.

Kena non-flip flop, sob

While I’m wallowing let me also mention how sad I was to discover that Teva is no longer making the Kena style flip flops. These had the squishy rubber flip flop sole but didn’t have straps that went between the toes and were the answer to my prayers. I showed restraint in not buying dozens of pairs and now I wish I hadn’t shown said restraint. I have one pair and I’ll have to make sure I use them well. In the mean time EileenSideways on Twitter has encouraged me to try the Olowahu style. As a fellow nothing-between-the-toes person she says she can tolerate them. I trust you Eileen.

Ok, my pointless pity party is over.

* Not kidding about the pizza sauce. Ok, so maybe I should be eating in the dining room instead.

· comments [56] · 02-7-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

what I’ve been up to, in grainy, low-light photos

I’m pulling images off my various picture taking devices. My current on the go camera isn’t so great, so please consider these something more like picture notes:

a small cup of delicious hot chocolate

Spiced hot chocolate from Sweet & Savory, sipped while chatting with Tea. I had also ordered a latte before remembering the hot chocolate so when we parted I was very! caffeinated!

(p.s. Her book The Butcher and the Vegetarian: One Woman’s Romp Through a World of Men, Meat, and Moral Crisis is coming out soon and the book tour kick off event is Feb. 8th at University Bookstore here in Seattle.)

a bold of red and black patterned fabric

This is a reversible black and red fabric I’ve been meaning to make something from. It’s expensive though so until I have a solid idea I just go visit it at the fabric store.

yellow, orange and purple carrots in a roasting pan

I bought fancy carrots for dinner one night. I’m still very much in love with tossing them with olive oil then sprinkling with ginger, cumin and chili powder and roasting them. Never though I’d like eating roasted carrots so much.

blurry picture of Explone on stage

Scott playing bass with Explone at The Crocodile!

Trophy Cupcakes sticker

two cupcakes with coconut

Trophy cupcakes, both coconut themed. The one with swirled icing was a Samoa cupcake, yum.

close up of a light fixture made using food jars

two walls lined with wooden shelves

Light fixture and new wine wall at Delancey. If you live in Seattle and have not eaten there yet I continue to encourage you to do so. Seriously great.

a small, barely pink cocktail

My long time favorite drink, The Jasmine: 1.5 oz gin, 3/4 oz lemon juice (about one half a lemon), 1/4 oz Cointreau, dash of Campari, shaken hard over ice. It’s not sickly sweet (despite being pink) and tastes a bit like grapefruit juice.

Crafty Superstar book

I got a sneak peak of a book Kristen is in, Crafty Superstar, at a meeting of Grassroots. update: You can order an autographed copy (now with swag!) from Crafty Superstar.

olive oil in a glass jar

Olive oil, taken during some rare sunlight.

close up of water droplets caught in moss

Moss growing on top of the map structure on a hike at Cougar Mountain.

a reusable water bottle with illustrated poppies on it

The water bottles at my local market always catch my eye. This poppy design in particular is one I stop to admire.

oversized hood on a shirt

I very deeply hooded shirt at REI that I’d like to make a sweater version of.

red shoes with polka dots

Amy Karol (aka. Angry Chicken) came to town with her book Bend The Rules With Fabric and I got to see some of the items in the book in person. It was great to meet you in person Amy! I also got to meet The Black Apple and ask her all about appearing on the Martha Stewart show. I also got to meet Wise Craft and ask her all about her family’s Komforte Chocolates business. (Ramen Noodle! Tortilla chip and lime! French toast! You love these already.)

two vases shaped like birch trunks, but shiny chrome

Silver faux birch vases on clearance at Joanns that I wish I had bought.

a skirt on a hanger

detail of ribbon detail on skirt, it is sewn down to form flowers

The pictures above are horrible, and I apologize for what they are doing to your eyes, but I really wanted to capture this detail. The skirt here is at Gather in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle and I loved it except for the fact that it was wool and, to my sensitive skin, unbearably itchy. So I tried to quietly take pictures of the ribbon detail, which I intend to use on a skirt soon.

waffle piled with brie, bacon and basil

A leige waffle with bacon, brie and basil from Sweet Iron Waffles. I was ready to dislike this restaurant because their website looked suspiciously slick, but the waffles are delicious and they use lots of local ingredients, including Sheherd’s Grain Flour, and use the same super-huge pearl sugar that I used when I made liege waffles. Eaten while having a sanity-restoring visit with Maggi.

me in a mirror wearing a trech coat and boots, mostly all in black

Me trying out new clothes for our trip to Paris during a shopping trip to REI with Scott. We were out to track down the perfect jacket for him. He switched favorites mid way through which resulted in us visiting four stores in one marathon day, but coming home with the grail, I mean jacket. (It was on clearance and unavailable on the website and the madness took hold, we couldn’t stop until we had the object in our hands.)

My lesson from the day? I need to re-learn how to get out of a car while wearing a skirt.

· comments [29] · 02-1-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

back from the Altitude Design Summit

I just got back from the Altitude Design Summit where I spoke into a microphone for the first time ever. Here is the microphone in question:

the microphone from the speakers table

It was fantastic to meet the ladies on the panel in person after talking with them in a few conference calls before: Erin from Design For Mankind, Kathryn of Snippet & Ink and Joslyn of Simply Lovely, who was a fantastic moderator, thanks Joslyn.

The hotel was comfortable and so huge I got lost. Three times. I nearly got lost in our room. My roommate was Gayla Trail from You Grow Girl whom I’ve talked with via email for years but had never met in person. I got to look through her new book Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces (coming out February 2nd). That’s her on the cover! For the record Gayla is a most excellent roommate.

Here is part of the view from the room:

a view of a grand building and the mountains beyond

I had been on the fence about getting a better point and shoot camera (I’m not dedicated enough to lug my Canon XSi, which is one of the smaller DSLRs), but after this weekend I have declared one is necessary. My current camera is disappointing with indoor light and I didn’t find myself bothering to pull it out often. I’m still leaning towards the Canon S90, though I plan on taking a look at the cameras recommended in the comments there (thank you, everybody!).

me, nervous before, well rested after

This is me in the elevator on the way down to do the Designing Your Community panel. Before the panel I was a mess of nerves, but somebody (Gayla, I think) told me that after ten minutes I would calm down and it would feel normal. She was right. The next morning I treated myself to a room service breakfast. I look much calmer no?

I was really excited to meet Maxwell from Apartment Therapy, Grace from Design*Sponge and Heather from Dooce (who was sweet enough to sympathize with my nervousness even though she was getting ready to announce her deal with HGTV the very next day) and to get to sit and talk with Jean from NOTCOT (whom I’d met before at the Broad Summit). They all put on an informative and entertaining keynote, no small feat at 8 a.m.

I hear there is going to be an Altitude Design Summit next year, and if you’re interested in going I can say it’s well worth it. I learned a bunch and met a whole lot of people I’d been hoping to, it was positively thrilling.

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· comments [12] · 01-25-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

teh internets invade my fridge

a grocery list with one item, and a note that says First Post!

I keep a grocery list on my fridge, after doing some post-Altitude Design Summit grocery shopping and tearing off an old page I came back to find Scott had added an item and included this note. He couldn’t help it.

· comments [7] · 01-25-2010 · categories:mumbling ·

housekeeping notes

Just a note to say that I’ve made some changes to the site that allow for bigger pictures and text, and in the process I broke some pages that I’ll be cleaning up tomorrow. But now I must sleep. Goodnight.

· comments [6] · 12-18-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

weekend in Portland

my weekend in Portland

Last weekend Buick loaned me a car for the weekend* to drive down to Portland and attend the Northwest Food and Wine Festival. Scott was busy being a rock star with Explone so I took my friend Maggi, I couldn’t have had a better partner in crime for the weekend!

We ate so, so very well. Buick put us up at the Benson Hotel which has a beautiful lobby and a very comfortable bar in the lobby that invited a little lingering. We checked in and headed to Fenouil for a hosted Tweetup. Fenouil is fantastic and and full of energy, and the upstairs has a nice view down overhead the kitchen. The front of the restaurant has a patio just off of a small city park and I wished it was warm enough to sit outside, it must be amazing in the summer.

my weekend in Portland

That night we had a late dinner at El Gaucho, which is connected to the lobby of the Benson by a secret door. We ate steaks and one delicious Caesar salad. We got to watch some very dramatic presentations of kebobs brought out on flaming swords, very entertaining and probably will be a destination for us in the depth of this upcoming winter when we are desperately needing some distraction from the cold and the gray.

The next day at lunch I had the pleasure to meet Brett, the man behind Food Carts Portland, and Valerie who keeps The Wine Dog Review and gave us some tips on what wines to make sure we sampled at the festival.

my weekend in Portland

We had a few hours to explore in the afternoon and made our way to the Waffle Window. Yum, and the indoor seating was most welcome on the chilly afternoon. We happened to stumble across the Yarn Garden and couldn’t help but go in for a little look around.

my weekend in Portland

The festival itself was a lot of fun, there was an overwhelming amount of things to sample and nibble. The standouts for me were the estate pinot noirs from Johan Vineyards. I also took note of the Phinny Hill Vineyard Carmenere from Tertulia Cellars that has an interesting story. Apparently it was thought mostly lost when it was rediscovered being grown in Chile and sold as Merlot, you can read more here at Wikipedia.

my weekend in Portland

Amazingly we managed to find ourselves hungry later that night and walked a few blocks to Chez Joly, whose food we had sampled earlier at the festival, and had a lovely meal. Our waiter mentioned that they had a sparkling wine made from raspberries that night so we both ordered a glass. It was so lovely that we both ended up buying a bottle on our way out (and the waiter was sweet enough to comp us both a second glass, which made our walk home a bit tipsy!). The foil and the label are pink and it’s almost too cute to stand. I’m not normally a sweet drink type of girl but this was lovely, and has an alluring fresh raspberry flavor.

my weekend in Portland

On Sunday we visited Pine State Biscuits. I ordered the grits sampler and was shocked to find it came with a piece of fried chicken, a very happy shocked. The food was amazing and very welcome on a cold dreary morning, but the process of ordering and waiting was quite a challenge on a Sunday as the very few tables are up for grabs. I’m glad we opted to get our food to go, even though all the patrons were perfectly nice I couldn’t have coped with vying for a table.

my weekend in Portland

You’d think we would never be hungry again but on the drive back we needed an excuse to use the On Star service that was in the car, and which we’d been encouraged to take advantage of. The only thing I could think of was where the nearest Burgerville might be. (I couldn’t handle the idea of eating a burger, but a milkshake for lunch sounded quite nice). We were given the miles and exit number of the next one and milkshakes were acquired and enjoyed.

my weekend in Portland

And how was the car? People, it was nice. I was driving a 2010 Buick LaCrosse and it was quite the experience. The drive to and from Portland is a familiar trip to me and often feels unending but this time I we were arriving well before I expected. I even found excuses to keep driving around after I dropped Maggi off at the end of the weekend.

* Being offered a car to try out for a weekend? Totally not something that happens to me. My thanks to Buick for giving me the opportunity.

· comments [12] · 11-17-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

On Losing Weight, Slowly

I lost 25 pounds this year, yay! It took me a while to figure out what worked for me. Here is the short version:

30 Day Shred DVD


Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine


Gilmore Girls DVD


How I Met Your Mother DVD



Slightly longer that would be: working out two to three times a week with the 30 Day Shred DVD and/or my Schwinn 430 elliptical machine while watching Gilmore Girls (or How I Met Your Mother) and eating carefully.

The Exercise Bits

I don’t want to be outdoors, running makes my knees hurt, it rains a lot here and it’s dark in the winter. I’m cranky and ugly when I break a sweat. I’m not motivated by competition or by being around people so a gym was not an option. I know I cannot be the only hermit who needs some exercise, so I’m writing about everything I’ve done in the hope that it will help somebody else. You can do it! Alone!

30 Day Shred was an easy choice, it’s 18 minutes of exercise with a bit of warm up and cool down. By the time I get to the point of either being exhausted or bored it’s over. It wasn’t easy, and I remember being able to do little more than standing and gasping for air during more than a few sessions, but once I got used to knowing it would be over sooner than later it made me work harder. It’s a good mix of strength and cardio and while I frequently swear at the television screen I still use it as my primary work out. I ignored the “30 days” in the title altogether and just did level one until I could get through it without stopping (which was a good long time). Then I’d do the next level and start all over again with the gasping. Levels two and three involve larger motions and are less repetitive, and to me feel like they go by faster. So if level one is making you nuts try level two.

I’ve written about this before so I’ll be brief, I love my elliptical machine. The big point for me about this particular one is this: After trying out a bunch of models I found that the Schwinn 430 (as well as the newer Schwinn 431) have foot pedals that are closer together and create a much more natural stance for me and my short legs. We’ve had ours for almost two years and we still both use it regularly.

[Click to read much, much more:] [

· comments [100] · 11-5-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

BlogHer Food recap

The Ocean

I had a great time at BlogHer Food this past weekend. It helped a lot that all the events were located in my old stomping grounds so I (sort of) knew my way around. I stuck to the photography classes for the day since I have this very nice DSLR that I, shamefully, still don’t know how to use properly. I learned a few new things, and heard the phrase “read the manual” in all three classes. (I did! None of it stuck.)

I was grateful to the people in the audience who pushed the question – what is a good light source for those of us who live in places where it is dark in the winter months? The answer was these Lowel EGO tabletop fluorescent lights. They stand on their own and cast light that makes everything look nice. This tip comes from Jaden at Steamy Kitchen, who talks about them and shows off some photos taken with one Lowel EGO and two lights on either side (which she prefers). She also points us to this set of two Lowel EGO lights with a seamless background sweep and set of background papers for $200.

The Girls

I want to say hello to people met and ran into at the conference. I saw a whole bunch of Seattle people including Gluten-free Girl her husband The Chef and their adorable daughter, Tea and Cookies, Not Without Salt, Savory Sweet Life and Cook & Eat. (Lara taught the Advanced Photography class with Matt Bites and the notes are up right here at Still Life With.)

It was really lovely to run into a few people I’ve met before: Patricia from Brownies For Dinner and Carrie Oliver from Oliver Ranch. And I was pleased to bump into Recipe Girl, The Food Librarian, Just Jen Recipes and Inuyaki. (I know I met more people, but my ailing memory fails me, please email to remind me!)

I was completely overwhelmed to meet Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks whose site I’ve been reading forever, and has been an internet presence longer than that. (Did you know she was one of the people who started ChickClick? Memories!) I practically attacked David Lebovitz in the hallway when I managed to find him in a moment when he wasn’t mobbed by fans. I had a few too many Silver Fox cocktails when I finally got to say hello to Elise of Simply Recipes at the after party. I wish I had found Ree of The Pioneer Woman because I wanted to tell her about my summers spent on my uncle’s ranch outside of Amber, Oklahoma.

A huge, huge thanks goes out to Ugly Green Chair for spending all weekend with me, shuttling me to and from the airport, shopping for emergency jeans, eating at Town Hall, witnessing a girl fight outside of the W (?!), regaling me with tales of Burning Man until late into the night and amusing me on Sunday when we were both too cranky to wait in line for brunch (the brewery was a good idea!). It was so very awesome to finally meet Formation of Me and Shutterbean and it was a huge awesome surprise to meet Joy the Baker. It was a pleasure to get to accidentally rename a cocktail with all of you.

· comments [16] · 09-28-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

BlogHer Food

I’m off to the BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco this weekend. If you’re going to be there say hello. I’ll be the shy one in the corner.

· comments [2] · 09-25-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

back from being Receptioned

welcome bag of snacks for wedding guests

I’m so very tired today. Scott and I returned from our wedding reception in Ohio yesterday, went to bed really early and slept for a solid twelve hours. The week was a blur of planning and prepping, the party went really well and all the usual things applied (we didn’t get to spend enough time with anybody! we didn’t get enough pictures! I didn’t get to eat dessert!) A huge, huge thanks to all the far flung friends who came, especially Steph and Ryan (miss you guys!) and Cinnamon and Andrew, whom I’d never met in real life and was very honored to have attend (we’ll have to make up for the missing breakfast soon).

I don’t have pictures back from family and friends yet, but here is what I pulled off of my cameras:

perogis from Sokolowskis University Inn in Cleveland

We had lunch at Sokolowski’s with my mom and stuffed ourselves on perogis. (Oh perogis how I love you.)

The Waynes!

We stayed in the secret and fabulous upstairs apartment of a member of the recently reunited Waynes. Wish we could have seen the show.

breakfast at Luckys Cafe in Tremont

Laurie took us to the most amazing breakfast in Tremont where we ate outdoors at Lucky’s and lingered as long as we could, it was a lovely morning.

There were a few places in Cleveland I was hoping to get to but we ran out of time. I really, really wanted to grab another Ramos Gin Fizz at the Velvet Tango Room, wanted to have dinner at Lola’s (last time I went there they were still in the Tremont space and we stumbled in there by mistake not knowing right away how incredible it was that we had a table without a reservation), the best corned beef sandwich at Nate’s Deli in Fairview Park, and the new (to me at least) Greenhouse Tavern, the first certified green restaurant in Ohio.

update: The New York Times published this travel piece just after we returned, 36 Hours in Cleveland, and they mention a few of the places I like. In the slideshow they also recommend Big Fun (think, what Archie McPhee used to be).

favor bags, assembled

Scott and his dad helped me assemble the favors including the letterpressed cards from Iron Curtain Press, caramels from Curio Confections (Brie Vanilla Bean, Espresso Hazelnut, and Goat’s Milk). The favor bags are from Martha Stewart, but we discarded the paper tops and used handmade tissue paper flowers instead.

We gave people staying overnight bags of snacks and water. I was second guessing this option after reading this thread at Ask Metafilter, but considering we all stumbled back to our rooms around 2 a.m. I suspect everybody else appreciated having a bottle of water and some pretzels as much as we did.

Salt Fork Lodge reception room, with the last of the sunset

Our reception was at the Salt Fork Lodge, held in a tall open room with a view of the sunset. Afterwards we all moved outside to a private bonfire area and had smores. I hadn’t seen the lodge or the grounds before so I was thrilled with all the spaces, the lodge was very comfortable and accomodated our crazy group of family and friends with seeming ease.

Martha Stewart pom pom decoration lit from inside using tiny individual LED lights

Since we were decorating from afar the Martha Stewart pom poms were a great option, I assembled them at home, shipped the flat to Ohio and all we had to do was open them up. The ceiling of our reception room was too tall to hang things from so we used them as centerpieces. They are lit from inside using a few little LED lights. We took these outdoors later on. More pictures and details soon, I shed my camera before we moved outdoors so I’m hoping somebody else got good photographs of the ourdoor decorations, I am looking forward to telling you how we did them.

· comments [27] · 09-15-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

thanks for coming to our Yarn Yard Sale

Wow, a lot of people came out for the Yarn Yard Sale. We had been worried that we would just be dragging all of our stuff home at the end of the day but most everything was sold. I’m so glad, thank you all for giving our stuff good homes.

Sadly, I also sold some buttons I didn’t mean to. If anybody knows the lady who bought my bag of buttons could you have her get in touch with me? My grandmother’s buttons, which have a lot of sentimental value, were mixed in with them. I’m a fool, I know, and should have kept them safer. I’m heartsick over this.

· comments [10] · 07-27-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

Happy 4th

Happy 4th of July. We’re hiding out in the coldest part of our house until it’s time to head out to BBQs. I recently bought a new SD card for my littlest camera and found that most of the photos I grabbed from it so far have orange in them:

two pictures of sangria

Basil peach sangria currently chilling in the fridge. We have four BBQs this weekend (yay!) so I’m making a lot of sangria, these are the two for today.

ceiling of Trophy Cupcakes

Despite seeing them everywhere I still love the large tissue paper poofs, you can find instructions for how to make them here at Martha Stewart (also here).

mirror pic in my dining room

Hello from my dining room!

· comments [12] · 07-3-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

a question for my readers, that’s you guys

In order to make the sorting and keeping of links a bit easier I’m (finally) getting around to keeping them in Delicious. I have two options for having WordPress publish links from my Delicious account to this here site automatically, and neither of them are ideal, meaning I cannot keep the links grouped by category the way I have been doing up until now.

I could have each link in it’s own post, in which case the post would retain a tag (aka food, shopping, crafts) or I could have all the links I gather publish all together once a day or so, in which case they wouldn’t be tagged or categorized.

So, which is less annoying for you to read?

· comments [12] · 06-9-2009 · categories:mumbling ·

this weekend in Seattle

Here are the things I won’t be doing this weekend because I’ll be in Roslyn, WA watching Scott rock out at The Brick

  • going to the Punk Rock Flea Market
  • getting a free scoop of frozen custard from the just-opened Old School Frozen Custard
  • attending a good old Midwest style cookout in a friend’s yard (this one stings the most)
  • going to the rock show Saturday, 8 p.m., at the Comet for the film True Adolescents that here showing with SIFF. The film has it’s last showing Saturday at 1:30 and I encourage you to see it, it’s set here in the PNW and Seattle and was funny and touching and filled with excellent Seattle music. It was made by Craig Johnson whom I had the pleasure to meet at a meetup with Adam (Amateur Gourmet) when they were in Seattle a few years back.
  • going to see Orangette, Gluten-Free Girl, Roots and Grubs and Cook & Eat talk about food writing at the U Village Barnes and Noble, Saturday at 1 p.m.
  • getting to each brunch at the Corson Building for the first weekend it’s offered

Roslyn, you better make it worth it.

· comments [11] · 06-5-2009 · categories:mumbling · seattle ·