Friday, November 22, 2013

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. milk.
{because i'm going through a phase. a glass a day}.

2. this flower market shot.

{and this lady who did such a nice job taking the photos}.

3. paperwhite bulbs.
{leftovers from a project, soon to be sprouted}.

4. this postcard.
remodelista market {and getting to go the market. so great to put so many names to faces}.

5. this empty window box.
empty box
{for being ready to be winterfied. (new word)}.

other things:
squinching. it's a thing and there's a 15 minute video about it.
a cocoon dress sounds nice.
lately: preoccupied by towels.
this over rice.

things by me in other places:
a portable balcony.
mulled cider recipe from olivia.
gifts for an urban gardener.
navigating the NYC flower market.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

Consider your cutting boards.

Last Sunday, after going to the grocery store, James and I wandered into a local kitchen shop to browse.

As we wandered among the shelves crammed with every useful and preposterous kitchen implement you can imagine, we came across a stack of whisper thin cutting boards. Well. We've been using the same awkwardly shaped and warped cutting board for the last seven years. As is wont to happen in a moment of weekendly weakness, I began stroking the svelte boards longingly.

We squabbled briefly over the size of the board we should get, then "compromised" and got one in the medium size, as I proposed. It's big enough so that the butternut squash won't fall tumbling to the floor, but small enough to balance on our tiny countertop and slide seamlessly into our cabinet. It's not the prettiest thing on the planet, but it's practical for the space we have. And storing ten tiny cutting boards in a tiny apartment is a lot harder than storing one regular-sized one.

The packaging on the board touts that the board is made from recycled FSC wood, which is lovely sounding, and I've been coming up with excuses for chopping things since coming home. Alas, this morning I did a bit of due diligence before squawking too loudly about my new found love and I've read a few disconcerting reports of a formaldehyde-based resin, so I've written a note to the manufacturer and am hoping to hear back soon.

Buying stuff is hard. Any favorite cutting boards out there?
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Friday, November 15, 2013

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. this robe.
{for not letting me how great it was until it was already mine.}

2. this winesap apple. winesap {for being the winner of all the apple beauty contests}.

3. this tea bag.tea bag {for appearing just when i needed it most.}

4. this bunch of oregano. oregano {for not dying before i rescued it from the cold.}

5. this calendar. calendar {for being so close to the end. i love the season that comes in the last few pages}.

other things:
i'm excited for this.
needed for nesting.
to make.
to (pretend to) make (patient teacher needed).
my choices for the perfect travel-related gifts.
even more of my favorite things.

things by me in other places:
brilliant or blasphemous?
photos of plants with a historical bent.
an interview with alea joy.
goodbye, little black bugs.
i need another windowsill.
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

on butternut squash soup.

butternut squash soup
Thoughts on soup, strung together.

Long winter nights are good for looking at neighbors. Not in a nosy way. At least not especially. Two nights ago, I sat on the couch tapping out a last-minute blog post, and looked up to notice that it had turned dark outside. Through the lights of neighbor's kitchen window I saw her standing at the stove, a gleaming stainless steel immersion blender in her hand. For butternut squash soup, I'm sure of it.

Spice blends are an awfully nice thing to have. We've been using Herbes de Romance that Claire made and sent off into homes after Ian and Amanda's wedding in September. Stirred into just about anything it's delicious, but tossed in with caramelized onions that become the base for butternut squash soup, it's at its best: rosemary, parsley, coriander, garlic, mint, onion, cumin, rose geranium, French tarragon and oregano flowers.

Butternut squash soup isn't always delicious. But when you make your own and steer clear of the gloppy sweet stuff steaming away in cafeteria-style restaurants, you realize it can be.

No need for an immersion blender or otherwise. Cook the soup down until all the bits have mostly broken by themselves and then smash the biggest chunks with the back of your wooden spoon.

Croutons make salads and soups and most everything else more enjoyable. We make them at least twice a week in our house. I have no regrets.

I've written this here before, but that post is a million and a half years old and begging for an update.

Butternut Squash Soup - a sort of recipe ripe for adaptation


1/2 large yellow onion, or 1 medium onion, sliced
olive oil or butter, a tablespoon or two
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
sea salt to taste
herbes de provence, or any other favorite spice blend that you're taken with, to taste

1. Slice the onion and mix with a tablespoon or two of herbs and sea salt (don't be stingy with either); cook on medium heat in a tablespoon or so olive or butter, until richly golden brown and melty.

2. Add the cubed butternut squash to the pot with the onions, stir until coated with olive oil and add water enough to cover the top of the squash. Cover and let boil away for 20-30 minutes or until the squash begins to break down.

3. Use a wooden spoon to smash any large chunks, or blend with an immersion blender if you must. Finish with a healthy pour of heavy cream.

4. Serve with freshly made croutons or slices of crusty bread. Or, if you're feeling very ambitious, make to serve alongside apple and onion hand pies with cheddar and sage.

More butternut squash comfort food, here.
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Friday, November 8, 2013

my week in objects, mostly.

five little things that made my week.

1. birthday packages for james.
{for arriving in the nick of time.}

2. this swiss chocolate.
{and james for sharing}.

3. these printed photos.
{for putting on the fridge.}

4. this glass stopper.
glass stopper
{for catching the light}.

5. this plant-y photo shoot at francesca's.
{more soon.}

other things:
curtains to separate 'rooms'.
2014 looks pretty.
one day young.
we love these guys. (they played at our wedding).

things by me in other places:
broccoli made delicious.
a thanksgiving tabletop.
napkin rings.
feral apples, etc.
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Monday, November 4, 2013



I don't know how to sail, but I'd like to. There's something satisfying about learning a wholly new skill and when it comes with its own special set of vocabulary, all the better. There's so much satisfaction in learning when to use new words, trying them out, seeing how they roll off the tongue or get stuck there.

I'd buy a small wooden boat and paint it a cheerful coat of white so that it gleamed. All alone, I wouldn't notice that my hair was getting matted or my cheeks were getting ruddy. There'd be too much else to pay attention to.

I'd fly a patchwork flag from the top of the mast and count up the barnacles on the boat bottom as prizes. If I was feeling generous, I'd bring along a friend, but mostly I'd set out for watery ambles by myself. A boat of one's own, you might call it.


On Saturday, James and I rebooked our anniversary sail and sat under a drizzly grey sky while a double rainbow arced its way across the city. It felt good to get rained on. Especially surrounded by all that glimmering gold.
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

Everything seems terrible at first glance.

Oh? You need a pep talk? Me too.

Here's the thing about moving into a tiny apartment: On the day that you move in, you will open the door to your apartment with your shiny brass keys that almost stick in the door because they are freshly cut and just for you. You open the door and experience a sharp intake of breath and a sudden urge to boot your boxes to the curb.

"Looks like there's only room enough for a mattress on the floor," you will say. "Everything has to go."

And then you will come to your senses, prodded gently, if you're lucky, by a supportive partner. You will realize that 3/4 of your boxes contain kitchen junk. You will begin to unpack those boxes, carefully unwrapping everything from newspaper. You will curse yourself for using newspaper in the first place. You will put dishes into cabinets covered in black smudges because you need them to be put away and this is not the time to be testing the plumbing.

You will realize there is just one way that the furniture fits into the space. You will slide it into place. You will split up your bedroom set, you will shove one chair into the closet and your kitchen table to the curb. You will find a new kitchen table on some other curb. You will carry it home. You will make yourself a cup of tea and realize that you're home.

Until that happens, the hunt will feel overwhelming.

We're in it now, friends: desperately seeking a moderately less tiny apartment. We are toying with the idea of moving away from our idyllic neighborhood to be closer to family and work. We are scanning endless apartment listings and meeting with smug brokers who tell us that our price range is impossible. They remind us that we're looking for an apartment in New York, as if that means that magically means we have money oozing from our ears. And suggest preposterous things like "maybe you could raise your budget and go out to dinner several fewer times each month." Ah yes, we've been meaning to kick that Per Se habit.

But we're holding on. Because one day soon, we'll find another tiny apartment that's just the right size for us. We'll unpack our dishes and rearrange the furniture and everything will fall into place, just like it did before. Same goes for you.

Photo found here, of course.

Tiny Apartment Survival Tips 1-82. (And some practical advice if that's what you're after.)
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