Baking: smart cookies

Just putting a normal batch of cookies in the oven, right?
Wrong! These are totally non-normal and awesome cookies. Because they came out of the freezer. But they're homemade. I know it's confusing but just hold onto your hats and I will explain my brilliance. Honestly it was super simple, I just like to make it sound more fancy. I made a big batch of cookie dough and then I took some of it, rolled it up in parchment paper and layered them in a zippered freezer bag. Now, whenever I've got a cookie urge (which does happen more than I'd care to admit) I just take out one packet of cookies, slice off circles (each one make approximately a half dozen cookies) and bake the right up.
And it was a really good batch with fancy vanilla, studded with pecans and chocolate chunks. Yum.


Making:celestial party favors

With my friends bachelorette party fast approaching I've been nose-to-the-grindstone trying to finish the last project in time for the festivities. It was asked that I make some sort of accessory for all the attendants like a hair clip or brooch and it was important to come up with an interesting theme of some kind. I've many times seen groups of girls with matching flowers and I just wasn't feeling feathers, and then while trying to come up with things which would justify large amounts of glitter I came up with it.......stars! Fittingly enough the bride and groom to be met at an establishment called moon.

First I cut out what seemed to be a million stars and coated them in glitter. I used one large star as the base of the hairclip, and cut short wire pieces to attach smaller stars to radiating out from the middle. I tried different patterns, there are some that are bigger and some with all the small stars grouped to the side.

I was very happy with the end result, and hopefully the silver will be basic enough to go with what everyone is wearing (don't want to upset anyone or mess up a bridesmaids vegas bachelorette party now do I) but they will serve well as fun party favors and sparkley identifiers for all the girls.

Now of course the beautiful bride to be couldn't be left out of this glittery extravaganza, and while brides at bachelorette parties are typically seen wearing novelty veils of some kind, I figured why not make her a star headpiece too........only bigger! and more sparkles. This was built onto a headband as she has shorter hair and I wanted to make it more elaborate and didn't want to risk it slipping off. I added a small veil in the front onto which I glued more mini rhinestones. Then I misted the whole thing with a thin layer of spray adhesive and shook another layer of smaller iridescent glitter for some more depth and of course added sparkle.

I know it's a bit over the top but I really like glitter. Alot. And I feel like I even help back a bit, I mean I didn't make an enormous moon with shooting star for the top so I think I deserve a pat on the back for staying my own hand when it comes to my desire to make everything just a little bit more........wild. I do love these kinds of projects, where people who know I am 'crafty' come to me with interesting requests and then let me go wild and wield my glitter with pride, it's very rewarding.

So here is to a weekend of frivolity and champagne, and then a lifetime of love for two wonderful people.


Baking: soup basics

I've been asked more than once how I make soup. Do I follow a recipe? Do I have a plan even or am I just going about this all willy nilly? The answer is all of the above but without the recipe part. So I decided to take a photo of each stem as I made a pot of soup from whatever I found in the fridge and pantry. I figure if a picture is worth a thousand words I don't need to write anything about these ones:


What I ended up with was an amalgamation of things, sort of a tortilla soup/mexican chili/lentil stew type mess definatly 'fly by the seat of your pants' but super tasty.

As I've always said, soup is easy, you don't need a plan just leftovers. And it is perfect for rainy days.


Making:bridal chickens

Sorry for the absence again. No real point in my grovelling apologies, it just happened my computer was hospitalized again. Critical and near fatal after two agonizing weeks without I have my technological safety blanket back.
However do not fall under the false impression that due to lack of computer nothing was happening in my world. I have actually been getting up to all sorts of shenanigans. The biggest and most exciting project I am unfortunately not able to discuss at this time but I did have some fun with rubber chickens!!!

A bachelorette party is swift approaching and my friend called upon me to make some party favors, decorations etc for the event. One idea was to decorate a rubber chicken (due to personal significance, long story)and I though, I can do you one better, get me two rubber chickens and I will make little bride and groom accessories. I mean, bridal chickens has such a nice ring to it right?!
This project resulted in what was probably the most entertaining supply buying excursion I've ever experienced. Me and my friend wandered around Joanne fabrics bemoaning the fact that they did not have an impressive enough array of glitter options. Then we stood at the cutting table where we had asked the assistant for 1/8th of a yard of white sparkly tulle, and when she asked if it would be enough I said "oh yes that's more than enough for a nice full skirt" and when the woman gave me the you're crazy look, I said "it's for a rubber chicken" Much hilarity ensues.

So I got my supplies, and sat down at my desk and made a tiny rubber chicken hat. It was so cute everthing sort of snowballed from there. If the rubber chicken had a hat and his vest needed tuxedo lapels and rhinestone buttons. Then I felt something was still missing so I made a bow tie for his scrawny chicken neck. Perfect. The bride got a full ballarina skirt and a star hairpiece with veil to match the theme of the batchlorettes (more on that later).

My friend who will be bringing this cute couple to Las Vegas for the main even is over the moon excited with them. I think they look a bit like Abe Lincoln and Giselle but they are so clearly in love that it's perfect!


Making: a new project

So I've been super busy working on...stuff. Not really able to reveal what is going on in my studio but does involve piles of reference books and therefore multiple trips to the library (there is a branch just blocks away). The other night I was drawing with ink so furiously I had ink in my eyebrows!
Hopefully I can share more at some time, but right now I have to keep working. Hope everyone is staying dry, it's pouring here but I love working for hours at my desk with a rain soundtrack so fingers crossed have a productive day!


baking: goat cheese and onion tart

For some reason I couldn't decide if I was craving breakfast-y food for dinner, or more traditional fare and I just had this underlying feeling that I ought to bake something. Because, you know, it's been days since the last time I turned the oven on and that's just wrong. So I ended up on this idea of making an onion tart. I then remembered I had a log of goat cheese I'd bought in a crazy diary spree at the grocery store (five kinds of cheese, yogurt, butter and heavy whipping cream and yes I know I have an obsession but I don't intend to do much about it). Anyway back to the story at hand. There was no particular plan for this dish, and no method of attack it was just executed start to finish like a dance I already knew the steps to. And in a way that's exactly what it was; such simple and familiar steps just combine together like this. So I will tell the tale of how I made this delectable delicacy in just a few simple steps.

First I turned on the oven (maybe 375 ish) then I cut two onions into little skinny pieces and cooked them on low in a little butter with the lid on until they were clear, and then I turned the heat up a touch and browned them. Next I made simple pie or tart crust and pushed it into my pan, in this case a spring form cheesecake pan cause I figured that would make it easier to remove when I was done. I slid the crust in the oven to prebake for about 15 minutes and while that was going on I mixed goat cheese with some of the cream and Greek yogurt I had lying around in the fridge. I also added a ton of dill, and stirred it up until it was smooth and even. After that all there was to do was remove the shell from the oven, fill it with goat cheese filling and the onions I'd already cooked and put it back in the oven for somewhere between 30-35 minutes, I sort of lost track. But the point is, I knew by the smell and sight of it that it was ready. The warm cheese smell became unavoidable in the apartment, and when I opened the oven door the cheese filling was browned and had settled into a firmer consistency. The hardest part of this scrumptious treat was waiting for it to cool to dig in.


making: a more interesting corner

For some reason this weeks been, and seems it will continue to be, crazy busy. So I'm just popping in real fast here to show a quick look at a corner of my very white and empty stairway that I decided had to be covered with something. So I just went through a pile of old Polaroid's and picked all the ones with clouds and sky (that's most of them, it was sort of my thing for a while) and hung them with removable artists tape in a grid wrapping around the corner.

I really liked the result and it makes me smile every time I go up or down the stairs. One large space of white wall down, many more to go.

making: an art wall

If I could only do one thing to make a space feel like home to me it would hanging artwork. I know it's a finishing touch and seems like it should be after paint, and furniture and rearranging and who knows what else, but I like to hang artwork right away.

The new apartment is not exception, in fact with expansive high-ceilinged white walls, the need burns brighter than usual. It helps that during the packing, moving, unpacking, I unearthed a whole section of my art collection that I had previously forgotten that I had, and I really wanted to frame,group and hang some of these great pieces that had been languishing in a box for far to long.

I decided to tackle the big wall in the living room first, and with the dark and modern furniture (courtesy of my roommate who previously had her own fully furnished apartment and therefore just transferred all of that stuff here) I decided to stick with black frames only. I also figured this would unite seemingly disparate artwork, or at least that's how I hoped things would pan out.

Luckily for me I've got a whole slew of black frames in various sizes so I pulled all the plain unadorned ones and started picking work I felt I would like to see each day. Quickly a pink and blue and gray theme emerged, as well as a trend of animals, and I decided to go with that.

Now all I had to do was decide what went where, so I laid all the frames on the floor and started fiddling around with combinations. I didn't want two pieces of a similar size and tone next to each other, nor did I feel like grouping all the blue on one side, so I spent a good patch of time (about as long as it takes to bake off a batch of cookies) shuffling about, moving one here and switching these two out and hemming and hawing until I felt that I had settled upon an arrangement I felt was comfortably mixed and random without being a jumbled mess.

After that all I had to do was punch some holes in the wall and hang it all up. I am pretty meticulous about measuring so there was only one time when I had to make two holes for one frame, and other than that the hanging of the work proceeded very uneventfully. This was the end result. I feel it's a nice balance, but like everything, I very well may move stuff around, and don't think I won't switch artwork out as the mood takes me. I could completely change all the pieces for a totally different feel, who knows.

PS: you should note the amazing vintage typewriter collection in the image above, it's my roommates and it's pretty awesome, though I have to remind myself occasionally that I cannot use these typewriters as I would so very much like to!


my new space

For a while, my room in my new apartment looked a lot like this:

In other words there were piles of stuff everywhere and it was a mess of chaos. So i got down to it and decided to wrangle in the crazy. Of course it's still a work in progress, and it is a pretty tight space so it's difficult photograph but I did my best to capture some snaps.

As you may notice, I've put a rolling rack against one wall to hang all my dresses, as I've filled the rooms one closet with my desk. This was a nice solution because I like seeing all the pretty colors and patters, I mean why shouldn't clothes serve as decorations for a room as well as the body? It also worked out well because hidden behind these curtains is a mysterious double door that leads to the living room. I of course decided to block off that doorway as I didn't feel there was any need for it, and my 'closet' rolled into its nook perfectly.

The wall opposite my rainbow organized dress collection is the only real wall in the room (four walls, one is windows, one is the door to the living room, one is the closet/office) so I wanted to do something interesting but not overwhelming on this wall, as it's really my only space for 'display' one might say. I went with a few of my favorite framed pieces, a four leaf clover and a pair of bird wings, all in vintage frames, and what has turned into a collection of wooden embroidery hoops. This is one of those collections I totally didn't set out to collect, it has just sort of become a collection, and I really like them empty I am playing around with the idea of stretching fabric in them as well. In the corner is a light I made by folding origami 'lanterns' out of parchment paper and putting them over white Christmas lights. I like the twinkle of holiday lights, but this dulls them down to a nice year round glow.

I've already shared my closet work space and fun hanger jewelery organizers so that's it for now, like I said the room is small, and I'm trying not to clutter it too much. This is a far more comfortable living situation, and feels much more like 'mine' than the inside of a suitcase. However, I'm sure I will tweak it here and there, and I promise to share those tweaks as they happen.


baking: warm and cozy dinners

It was very cold all last week, and rainy with some serious wind. So I found myself pretty hungry most evenings after braving the elements on the way home, and ended up making a variety of cozyifying meals each night.

There was a spicy stir fry with veggies and glass noodles, cheesy risotto with asparagus and sweet potatoes, a coconut chicken soup and spicy chorizo black bean soup. All warm comforting meals, all kept me cozy throughout the week.


baking: international pie day!

So today is International Pie day, as in March fourteenth, 3/14, 3.14......see how that works? I however forgot this auspicious occasion until someone reminded me as I was leaving work this evening. Which created a bit of petite problemo, as I had zero fruit in the house.

Now one of my favorite things about my new neighborhood is all the little grocery stores. They remind me of some of the smaller neighborhoods I wandered through in different part of Europe, with all lots of delectable looking veggies outside to lure you in. So once I remembered this tasty fact I just made a point of stopping by my favorite one on the way home and picked up blackberries and peaches. Then I took them home, washed them, cut them up and cooked them down with some lemon juice and brown sugar until the smell wafting about the kitchen made my mouth water.

Next I whipped up some dough. Little bit of this, little that, some almond meal, some cinnamon and such. Oh and butter of course. That 's essential.

All that was left was rolling up some little circles, filling them up with fruity goodness and folding them over into little half moons and baking them up. And them consuming them one by one. yum. Happy International Pie day, everyone! Now go make your own pie cause I'm not sure I can spare any of mine.


Making:a work space out of a closet

So to me the most important thing for me to have in my living space is a place to work. A desk, office, studio space etc. However, in the new apartment I moved into my room wasn't a whole lot bigger than a bed and so arose the dilemma. Where to put a desk or table? Did I just not have one? or crowd the room further with extraneous furniture which I would inevitably run into and be annoyed by. Nope. It was time for some creative thinking. It was time to look at spaces differently, and in this case that meant looking in the closet. Because the closet in this room was big. Like magical wardrobe with a magical land in it type big.

Well maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but still, it was definitely a place for a cloffice (that's office in a closet for those who don't know the lingo).
So I enlisted my very handy father, who conveniently is a carpenter, cabinet maker and masterful creator of furniture which perfectly fits my spaces. It's not DIY it's HFDIFY (that's handy father does it for you). So we looked at the close (after first removing the garish gold rimmed mirror doors to better access the full space) and made some measurements and then he turned to me and asked how many drawers I wanted on my new desk. Awesome I know. So away he went and then three weeks later he showed up with a truck full of little boxes and various wood pieces which he magically assembled into a monster desk which is perfectly fitted into my massive closet.

Of course when it was first assembled, it was a mess, all piles of boxes and bins of supplies and needing to get everything squared away so for a while it looked a mess. But then I started putting things in the drawers, which are about 20 inches square and can therefore fit a whole heck of a lot of tools and supplies. It might be a bit jumbled in there but look at how much stuff fits! Amazing.

It may not be organized, yet, but just look how much of it fits in there!
Also, while we're discussing drawers, I just need to point out the incredible cuteness that's these drawer pulls. Remember those toy animals I was so enjoying photographing in little nature scenes, well their eventual demise led to this totally awesome way to open some desk drawers. Toy taxidermy at it's finest and a totally charming solution if I do say so myself. And I do say so.

So in conclusion, thanks to some creative thinking and a really skilled father I've got an amazing work space all set up. Now all I've got to do is get to work...


Making:jewelry display

It's a gorgeous Saturday (despite some bitingly cold winds here, I'm still determined to dress like it's summer) so you shouldn't be at a computer but outside enjoying it.
However, while I had a moment I wanted to show a little sneak peak here of a bit of my space I've successfully finished, organizing my jewelry. My jewelry collection is rather prolific in it's size and yet I am constantly forgetting what I have and will even forgetting to put anything on at all as it's all packed away. Out of site out of mind and all that. So I needed something that put at least a selection of it in plain view, and this was my solution.
The idea came to me one night when I looked at the dress I'd set aside to wear the following morning with the jewelry I intended to wear with it and I realized that I could use hangers on the wall to display my jewelery. I could even hang my glasses on one as well, since I'm developing such a collection of those too. Here is what I've ended up with.

I used a suit hanger for the necklaces and a skirt hanger with clips for earrings. So far I'm pretty happy with the results and have noticed I am definetly wearing more jewelery so I would say it is a successful project, and one in which I only used what I already had on hand which is nice as well.
More projects are in the works, I will update as I finish things.


triumphant return

So, it's been a while. In my defense, I started a new job. Then I moved into a temporary sublet so that I could better hunt the elusive perfect apartment from within the city. That got pretty crazy, with a record high of over twenty apartments in on week, often several in the evening after work and lots of frantic dashing from one neighborhood to another. Luckily, in a hopefully not too surprising twist, I found a fantastic flat in a great part of the city.
It is a beautiful corner building with a gallery downstairs and a big tree outside my window. And while the apartment as a whole was very airy and spacious (much wider than average hallways, tall ceilings, generous windows) my room was the smallest, and came with the bonus of one wall with huge double doors leading to the living room, do there are defiantly some interesting design challenges to conquered in this smaller space, but I've never been one to back down from a challenge so I'll just face those one at a time.
So there has been lots of packing, moving and unpacking going on in my life and while I'm still gradually settling into the space, I figured I would say hello, and no I didn't fall off of the edge of the world and there is a silver lining to all this chaos I just went through in that moving means decorating and renovating and lots of new projects. New projects to share. So I will be documenting each little adventure here as it happens, and perhaps in time I will be forgiven for my temporary absence? Fingers crossed all is forgiven, and now I am going to go unpack another box.