A Break From Blogging

Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm back from my adventures in the Southwest, but I'm going to take a break from posting to my blog for a couple weeks. I promise I'll be back soon with more recipes and projects. In the meantime, here are some things I'm loving right now that are worth checking out:

Plenty by Diana Henry. We've been cooking out of this one a lot, and it's a keeper.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I picked this up at Sante Fe's Collective Works bookstore when my Kindle broke on the trip (side note: Books never break, I like this about them). It's an unusual and ontriguing book that made me cry (in the best way possible, of course).
Feist's Metals album. I wasn't crazy about this at first, but after hearing her perform live in Marfa, I have a new appreciation for this disc. Give it a listen and let it grow on you--it might just be the best thing she's ever done.

Mountain Man. These gals were the opening act (and back-up singers) for Feist. They're fantastic and sound unlike any other band I know.

Painter Elaine Coffee, whose work we saw at te S. R. Brennen Galleries in Santa Fe, is a new favorite.

Off to the Southwest

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm headed off to the Southwest for a week! My husband and I are taking a little road trip from Santa Fe to Austin, stopping at White Sands and Marfa on the way. These snapshots are from my last adventure out West almost in the fall of 2006 -- I can't wait to be immersed in this amazing scenery once again.

Letterpress At Home

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I was intrigued to discover that Paper Source is now selling an at-home Letterpress Machine. Paper Source says that the tabletop machine from QuicKutz allows you to create homemade letterpress cards and crafts. However, I'm not entirely clear on how it works. At $170 dollars it's not cheap, but it might be a worthwhile investment for the avid crafter or for a bride planning to DIY many of the elements of her wedding. Has anyone use this product before? If so, would you share your thoughts?

Clever Bathroom Storage on HGTV.com

My sweet friend Jen recently asked me to contribute an idea to a story for HGTV.com, and I was happy to oblige. For the 'Clever Uses for Everyday Items in the Bathroom' feature I suggested using a silver mint julep cup to hold make-up brushes and the like. I loved Jen's own idea of using a wine rack for towel storage (below). You can see the other seven ideas by heading over to the slideshow on HGTV.com.

Bookmarked: A Girl and Her Pig

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm going to run out of room for cookbooks, if I actually buy all the ones I have my eyes on. April Bloomfield's just-released A Girl and Her Pig is among the titles I'm currently coveting. I wrote about how much I enjoy Bloomfield's cooking a while back.

New York Flower Show Dinner Dance

Yesterday I popped uptown to check  out the New York Flower Show Dinner Dance's tablescapes. Each year, The Horticultural Society of New York (aka "The Hort") asks floral designers to create centerpieces for their annual dinner dance. Fortunately, you don't have to buy a ticket to the pricey party: The Hort invites the public to come preview the tablescapes in the afternooon before the event. This year, The Hort asked floral, fashion, and interior designers to tackle their chosen theme of 'Couture en Fleur.' The results were a lot of mannequins wearing dresses made of flowers and foliage. It was fun to see all the wild, fashion-inspired displays, but most of them were nothing you could recreate at home.

However, I was very inspired by the table designed by Petal Design Studio. The team from Petal Design Studio opted for a long, lucite box as the base of their arrangements, which were domes of flowers (mostly roses and ranunculus) and succulents pressed into floral oasis. Any reasonably crafty person could recreate something similar, and I loved that the low-slung arrangements didn't cut off any of the guests from one another.

April Showers

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The very nice team at the MoMA Design Store asked me to help them celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Tibor Kalman’s Sky Umbrella. As a long-time member of the MoMA, I was happy to agree to participate and support the museum's excellent design store. I also happen to be a big a fan of the umbrella itself, which appears to be a plain, black model from the exterior, but features a blue sky with clouds on the underside of the umbrella. (The playful fluffy clouds always remind me of the sky in Magritte's 'The Empire of Light,' which is part of the permanent collection at MoMA.)

 MoMA Design Store asked me to "photograph or feature the umbrella in your own, unique style and setting." They usually say that April showers bring May flowers, but this year, May flowers started appearing in March and we've had very little rain. As a tribute to this unusual spring, I chose to shoot the last of the tulips in my front yard with the Sky Umbrella as a backdrop.

In honor of the Sky Umbrella's 20th anniversary, MoMA is generously offering a 20% discount on all versions of the Sky Umbrella on momastore.org. Simply enter the code “SKY20” upon checkout; the offer ends on April 30, 2012.

Jens Risom Block Island Home

Monday, April 16, 2012

Every time I see photographs of Jens Risom's pre-fab weekend home, I find myself thinking it is pretty near to perfect. The house was first featured in Life magazine in 1976. From what I understand the house still stands on Block Island.

Dyeing Your Wedding Dress?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I didn't expect it to happen to me, but I've found myself getting a little sentimental about my wedding dress and haven't been able to myself to sell it on eBay. I know that I'll never wear it again, and it is highly unlikely that another woman in my life will want to wear it, so I've been toying around with the idea of dyeing it. Please excuse my very lame Photoshopping skills, but I have "dyed" my dress a light gray above, as a rough estimate of what it might look like in another hue. Would it be worth the $50 to $75 to have it professionally dyed? Would I wear it?

I've also doctored a shot of my bridesmaid's dresses to look like it's been dyed black. You'd get a lot more wear out of a black party dress than a pale blue one, wouldn't you? New York magazine recommends Metro Custom Dyeing, metrodyeing.com, and I'm tempted to give it a try. So, dear readers, has anyone tried to do this with a dress?

UPDATE: My sweet friend Jane wrote to tell me the following, "I took 3 dresses. Two were cotton and came out beautifully. The third, which was silk, shrunk so much that I can't wear it anymore (they warned me this might happen). Now I wear that one as a shirt. The color was great on all. One thing to consider is what the thread is made of. Often times, it won't dye--I didn't mind having "contrast stitching" on my dresses, which I now do. I dye a lot of my stuff myself, and ultimately I wasn't convinced that what they did was that much better than what I can do at home with a box of Rit."

Hardware Style: Pipework Series

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Some day I will write and produce a craft book in which every project is made from items from the hardware store. In the meantime, Nick Fraser's Pipework Series can serve as inspiration. This coat rack and candelabra made entirely from plumbing parts is pretty darn cool, right?

Admired: Falcon Enamelware

Friday, April 13, 2012

I've spotted Falcon Enamelware in several publications, but was dismayed to discover that the company only ships to the U.K. Surely, there's a U.S. shop that stocks the enamelware, but their site doesn't list any stocklists. Does anyone know if these products are available stateside?

UPDATE: Peter from Falcon Enamelware informs me that they now ship to the U.S. -- hooray! I also noticed that Terrain is carrying some of Falcon's products on their site.  

Flo's Clam Shack

Thursday, April 12, 2012

We spent last weekend up in Newport, RI to celebrate my sister's 30th birthday. The whole weekend was a real treat, and I am even more in love with Newport than I was before. Our first stop after arrival was Flo's Clam Shack in Middleton, RI (just across the causeway from Newport). My husband and I had spotted Flo's on our last trip to Newport, but we'd just eaten lunch when we discovered it, so we didn't stop in. I'm glad I got the chance to go back: Flo's is the quintessential, salty, New England clam shack. I love everything about it, right down to the styrofoam plates and the far-from gourmet beer selection (Heineken in a can is perfect with fried clams, FYI). If you ever find yourself in Newport, stop by for some clams and a lobster roll -- you'll be happy you did.

I failed to take any photos of Flo's these were culled from Yelp.com and Flickr.

At Home on the Range by Elizabeth Gilbert

While perusing McSweeney's website I came across At Home on the Range, which comes out next week. At Home on the Range is a decades-old cookbook written by Elizabeth Gilbert's grandmother (yes, that Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame). Here' McSweeney's description of the book:

"Recently, while moving into a new house, Elizabeth Gilbert unpacked some boxes of family books that had been sitting in her mother's attic for decades. She discovered a book called At Home on the Range (or, How to Make Friends with Your Stove) by Gilbert's great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter, and soon found that she had stumbled upon a book far ahead of its time. In her workaday cookbook, Potter espoused the importance of farmer's markets and ethnic food (Italian, Jewish, and German), derided preservatives and culinary shortcuts, and generally celebrated new epicurean adventures. Potter takes car trips out to Pennsylvania Dutch country to eat pickles and pork. She travels to the eastern shore of Maryland, where she learns to catch and prepare eels so delicious they must be "devoured in a silence almost devout." Part scholar, part crusader, Potter reveals the source of Gilbert’s love of food, and her warm, infectious prose."

It sounds like an interesting book, and I think it's promising that McSweeney's has chosen to publish it. if it were any other publisher, I would suspect that it as just another opportunity to capitalize on Gilbert's name. Plus, proceeds from the book benefit two non-profit organizations, ScholarMatch and 826 National.

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