Thursday, May 31, 2012

make-believe: wave watching.

i've always had something of an overly active imagination. in that spirit, a new series imagining accompaniments for favorite pastimes. not saying i need any of these things, but sometimes it's fun to imagine them. if you'll indulge, i'm playing at make-believe.

today, accompaniments for a white-hot summer day spent wave watching. toes in sand, book in hand, sun glinting off the water.

1. the wave watcher's companion 2. linen espadrilles 3. iphone case 4. sunglasses 5. beach towel 6. alain in blue

layout by erin boyle. photos sourced from links above. 
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

buy a fan.*
make it one you like.
clean it often.

three tips for the price of one.

beyond the difficult-to-reach window in our bathroom, we have just one small window in our apartment. just the one. as mentioned before, our window overlooks our neighbors' expansive back patios. a new neighborly duo moved in last month. they've installed bamboo fencing and a grill and seem to have invited all of their friends and family for weekend shindigs. we gaze at them moony-eyed from our tiny window, but to no avail. i suppose we'll need to toss them a tin can telephone line to give  the message that we're coming over for dinner.

all of that is to say that i relish our window. our solitary window is our only link to the verdant back yard of our neighbors and i am loathe to seal it off and block a full quarter of it with a window air conditioner. call me crazy, but i rather enjoy listening to birdsong, and when there is one, there's nothing more delicious than a breeze.

the one caveat with this system: prop a fan in front of a new york city apartment and before you know it, it has attracted just about every greasy, black, inexplicable bit of grit and grime the city has to offer. make sure you can pry your fan apart and give it a good scrub.

quickie poll: air conditioner or fan? i'll be writing more on the subject over here, soon.

*this is ours. we've had it for five years. still going strong.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

strawberry rhubarb cobbler.

there are some things that are worth being particular about. red strawberries are one of them.
cut up
it's a sad thing indeed to bite into a piece of fruit masquerading as a strawberry and find the inside hard and white and the fruit sour. holding out until strawberry season to sit down with a whole bowlful of heart-shaped fruit and no plans other than to devour each one is worth every minute of the wait. turning whatever you can't devour straight away into a cobbler, well that borders on brilliance.
on the list of things not worth being particular about? having a strawberry rhubarb cobbler come out of the oven running all over the place and staining your white dish towel.
biscuit uncooked
chalk it up to juicy strawberries or impatience and dig in with two spoons. hearty dollops of barely sweetened whipped cream make everything better.
we ate ours on the steps of the church across from our apartment, our tiny space made far too hot from the heat of all that cooking to stand it a moment longer.
two skillets and enough cobbler for dessert after lunch and dinner.

strawberry rhubarb cobbler
recipe adapted from mark bittman's recipe for cobbler with blueberries. tweaking it a bit more might mean less juiciness, but as you know, i've decided not to be particular about a little extra juice.

2 cups strawberries, hulled and cut
2 cups rhubarb, sliced
1/2 cup sugar (i used a bit less)
8 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. heat oven to 375 F, toss fruit with half the sugar and spread into lightly greased pan(s)
2. in a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar. add the butter and blend (bittman suggests a food processor, i used a pastry blender). beat in egg and vanilla by hand.
3. drop mixture onto the fruit by heaping tablespoons. bake 35-45 minutes until golden yellow (his words, not mine and perfect description, don't you think?). serve straight away topped with copious amounts of homemade whipped cream.
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Friday, May 25, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. the rain.rain
{it didn't make my week so much as define my week. so. much. rain}.

2. this blanket.
{because we were thrilled to be announced its lucky winners. it's the nicest damn blanket we'll ever own. thank you, brahms mount}.

3. this chair.
{because i sat in it and wrote all week long}.

4. this tiny bottle.
tiny bottle
{because i added it to my collection and because it was just the right size for a wispy chive flower}.

5. this jar.
{because so far this week it's held strawberries and olives. the reward for buying artisan foods when you should be subsisting on ramen}.

what little something made your week?

other things:
this dress.
these shoes {for sunnier days}.
ana finds the prettiest unmentionables.
james is going to talk turtles here. tomorrow. next weekend.
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

equals record.

another happy announcement today of a new collaboration. elisabeth thurston fraser and miya hirabayashi of You+ME* have spearheaded the equals project: a three tiered project that's part print quarterly, part online journal, and part philanthropic call to action. i was utterly delighted when the pair contacted me a few weeks ago to see if i might be interested in contributing, and i'm even more excited now to announce that i have a weekly column over in their space. my first installment of city flower: notes on living simply in a big city went live this week. if you have a moment, i'd be delighted if you hopped over and had a read. just be prepared to stay awhile, there's lots that's good over there.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.


paint your apartment--or ask your landlord to paint it--before you move in.

let me start this off by saying that we have a really nice landlord. he's friendly. he's flexible. this post should not be taken as a criticism against him. nor should it be taken as a criticism against our delightfully mop-haired super.

that being said, our apartment is about 140 different shades of white. beyond the white, the walls are host to a variety of other shades including coffee splatter, scuff mark, and my personal favorite, grease spot. farrow & ball, if you're looking to add any of these gems to your 2013 colour card, call me. i've got some good specimens.

a multi-shaded apartment is nothing new for us. our last apartment didn't just have multiple shades of white, it also had multiple finishes. eggshell sidled up next to semi-gloss which found its way into a fraught relationship with flat finishes painted onto the doors.

we're hoping to undertake a new paint job* this summer. but here's the catch: we're already all moved in. obviously. and in this place, there's no "other room" to shove a couch or dresser. there's also only approximately 8 inches of spare space around our bed and any wall. we're not really sure how we'll pull this one off.

if any of you find yourselves in the position of moving any time soon, take my advice and get the landlord to agree to paint the place before you move in. and by paint i mean all the walls, in the same color. if you do, you'll walk into your new spot and angels will sing.

*we're not painting anything gray. that's just a pint of paint borrowed from a friend for a little picnic basket overhaul.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

hibiscus tea.

i've been wanting to do a post about hibiscus sun tea ever since the weather started getting warmer. unfortunately, save a few delightful weekend days, there hasn't been too much sun for tea making lately. luckily, the stuff is just as good warm with a spoonful of honey. tart and sweet, here's hoping it's a harbinger for sunnier days.
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Monday, May 21, 2012

a routine for sunday.

we have a new weekly ritual: a walk to brooklyn bridge park on sunday with picnic basket and cozy blanket. snacks, the newspaper, and a little bit of shade complete the picture. what's your weekend routine lately?
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Friday, May 18, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. this jalapeno margarita.
jalapeno margarita
{because it was spicy and refreshing, and had outside}.

2. these lights.
{because this week it was warm enough linger under them, even after the sun was going down}.

3. this asparagus.
{because it got all roasted and salty and good}.

4. this little bundle.
{because there's finally a shop that sells a decent baguette within a (shorter) walking distance. three times this week}.

5. these tall flowers.
window box
{because i had to walk up close to see if they were real. they were}.

what little something made your week?

other things:
speaking of jalapenos.
in lieu of cake, we're having something like this at our wedding. hope it's as pretty.
i'd take a pair of these for the summer.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

pure green.

in case you missed the news on twitter yesterday, i'm happy to announce that i'm a new contributor over at the pure green magazine blog. if you have a minute, hop over to see my first post, but don't blame me if it gives you a hankering for an icy drink.

photo by suz in colo.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.


buy baskets with lids.

maybe this doesn't seem like a very good tip, but i'm telling you, it's useful.

before we moved into this apartment, james and i had about 10 different baskets. we used them to stuff throw blankets and winter hats. one was reserved for onions, and their ever acculumating peels, and another held cloth napkins and pot holders. each of them was totally serviceable but when it came time to move, they were the first things to go into the tag sale pile. if you tallied up their total square footage, i bet it'd be around 10. and we couldn't spare to lose even one square foot around these parts.

last week i found a basket whose presence in our tiny space was justified. in fact, its uses are manifold: hider of the new york times weekender by day, resting spot for a hot cuppa by night and picnic basket for any old time that we find a minute to enjoy the great outdoors.

nota bene: i gave the lid a quick wash with a paint brush and some grey paint. i had to cover an unfortunate apple tree stencil and i like the look of a light brush stroke.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

barnacle bags.

i've been doing a lot of biking around the city lately (though a busted wheel this weekend slowed me down a bit). with all of this exploring, i'm in the market for a simple and lightweight backpack to tool around town with. this morning, these organic canvas packs from barnacle bags struck my fancy. simple and sweet. what do you think? do you use a backpack?

images courtesy of barnacle bags1, 2, 3, 4

UPDATE: today marks the one year anniversary of barnacle bags. hop over to lissa's blog for a chance to enter a special anniversary giveaway!
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Monday, May 14, 2012

roses, one year later.

this weekend marked one year since james and i first looked for apartments in brooklyn. a year ago i had just been offered a job, i hadn't yet finished grad school and we had two days to find something decent enough to live in. we saw lots of terrible apartments, but we also saw lots of roses. they kept us going after seeing a fifth closet advertised as a bedroom. now, a year later, i've quit my job and we're still figuring out our life in brooklyn. some days feel pretty topsy turvy. but the roses are back, some things are sure.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. this slice of pie.
{because one slice and two forks is just about right when it comes to pie}.

2. this little guy.
{because this week was more about emails and applications than objects, and i felt like he was looking out for me}.

3. these chive blossoms.
{seems like every window box in the neighborhood has chives growing. pretty and tasty}.

4. these bikes.
{because even if i don't ride as as often as james would like, when i do agree to go for a ramble it's awfully fun, especially if i get to lead the way.}.

5. these fabrics.
{picked out last week. measured this week. muslin draft in two}.

what little something made your week?

other things:
thank to adrienne for inviting me over.
really excited about this project.
these quilts had me at gossamer.
i ripped my pajama pants this week. i'll take these as replacement.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

partners in preservation.

if you've been reading along for awhile now, you'll know that i'm a real sucker for old buildings. james and i met because i was down in georgia sweating it with the best of them to repair dentil molding and to strip lead paint from doric columns (james was saving sea turtles. different strokes). last week, partners in preservation announced that for the first time ever, they're opening up to the public their decision about where 3 million dollars of funding for historic landmarks will go.buoys
the waterfront barge museum anchored in red hook is one of the contenders (more about my favorite destination neighborhood here and here). we stopped by to say hello on a lazy sunday, but we hear that on some nights, the whole barge gets a shakin' with contra dancers. yeehaw. if you're a fellow lover of places creaky and old in new york city, hop over and cast your vote.boat
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.


get a tiny dish rack.

or forgo one altogether.

you'll notice that this is mostly a photograph of an empty sink.* this is not an accident.

dirty dishes--and i'm taking this one step further--drying dishes are the enemy of apartment sanity.

let me back up. i'm going on the assumption that most tiny apartment dwellers don't have a dishwasher.** without a dishwasher, dishes have, on average, four different places they can be: in the cabinet (or otherwise put away), on the table (piled high with yummy food), in the sink, or in the dish rack. save the lovely moments of shared mealtime rituals when the things are on the table, i'm voting that mostly dishes should be in cabinets, or on shelves, or wherever they can be that's neat and tidy.

piles of dishes in the sink is an obvious no-no. if you think back to your college living quarters, i'm sure you will agree. i once spent a summer working on nantucket. 1 house, 12 people, 1 kitchen sink. there were lots of dishes.

unfortunately, dishes in the sink aren't the only enemy. dishes drying in the rack are also a thing to contend with. when you have a big dish rack (or even a few extra inches of counter space), it's awfully tempting to let things pile up. last night's dinner dishes linger until the morning where they become breakfast dishes. a new pot comes out at lunch time and gets added to the mix.  an afternoon snack adds a plate or two and by the time dinner rolls around again, you can't find your garlic press and your serving spoon is wedged ungracefully beneath the colander and your favorite serving plate. the whole situation becomes like a more complicated version of jenga in which you need to use brute force to wrestle out the pieces.

a tiny dish rack means you whip out a hand towel and actually dry the things. if you have a buddy around, the experience can actually be quite pleasant. whistle while you work and all that jazz. once the dishes are dry, there's no sense in not putting them away. and just like that, your apartment no longer resembles a jumble sale and you can access your sink without fearing that already clean dishes will tumble back into the fray. serenity.

*if you look hard enough, you can see the corner of the dish rack behind the sink, we have this one.
**don't get me started on counter-top dishwashers
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