Friday, June 29, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. these pajama pants.pjs
{because sometimes starting the morning's work in pajamas feels pretty okay. 'specially clean and pretty ones}.

2. this summer fruit.
{because it was on my sister's kitchen table. ready for the taking}.

3. these sweet pillowcases.
{because they're from my mom. sometimes moms get it really right}.

4. these roses.
{because they were also part of my sister's genius pretty-making. hero of the week}.

5. this soap.
{because it's been keeping my underwear drawer smelling nice for going on five years now, and this week, we needed it to get sudsy}.

what little something made your week?

other things:

carrie's teaching a pasta-making class. gonna be so good. sign up.
mere hours left to fund this incredibly courageous project.
i wrote about veggies.
i also wrote about roadside farm stands. walker evans shot on polaroid. yes.
speaking of roadside stands. there's nothing prettier than a southern one.
i loved this post, re: iphones.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

make-believe: birthday.

on sunday i turn 28. it feels big. all i really want to do for my birthday is catch a few fireflies and eat cake. birthdays are for cake. there's no two ways about it. a birthday without cake is like a night without stars. can't have one without the other. well, you can, but that's awfully sad to think about. a little bit of rosé champagne and a festive ensemble aren't bad birthday accompaniments either.  so, here it is, a make-believe birthday. but the real one is coming up, i promise.

1. festive blouse 2. firefly catching jar 3. birthday candles 4. sparkling rosé 5. jewels 6. birthday cake 7. birthday clogs
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

buy in bulk.

i'm not talking about 45 rolls of toilet paper in one go. if there's one thing that living in a tiny apartment has done for us, it's been to help us think about the stuff that we accumulate. it's not just the hard goods we have to worry about. before they're used up, pesky comestibles can take up an awful lot of room. unless we want  to share our couch with an over-sized bag of basmati rice (fragrant and heavy pillow?), we have to think carefully about what we bring home from the grocery store.

in our place, we have just a few small cabinets to store food. a certain over-zealous "raisin bran flakes" buyer has quickly realized that, try as he might, there's just no stuffing that second box of cereal into the cabinet. you can bet your bottom dollar that thing's not gonna have a shot at countertop real-estate.

for the most part, we solve our space issues by buying from the bulk section at our local nutty-crunchy grocery store. this technique has the triple advantage of allowing you to buy just as much as you need, leaving lots of unnessescary packing out of the equation (we use sarah's cloth bags), and making you feel a special kinship with laura ingalls and pa.

if you do a little searching, you can probably find a grocery near you that purchases in bulk. basically, they buy lot of stuff at one go so that you don't have to. you can buy the amount of quinoa or rice or raisins that fit into whatever jar you have at home, and never worry about finding space for awkwardly shaped boxes and bags.

i like to use ball jars for bulk storage. at around ten dollars for a pack of 12, these glass jars are definitely the best bang for our buck. they come in tons of sizes (of varying price) so there are options for things we might like to have more of, like sugar or flour.  if we move back to a place that has shelves instead of cabinets, they're pretty enough to leave out in the open.

so there you have it: buy in bulk and use ball jars. two tips for the price of one (but if you live in a tiny apartment, you might have to reconsider that kind of deal).
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

barberry hill farm.

When James and I first started thinking about where we wanted to get married, I knew exactly the place where I wanted it to happen.  I imagined our wedding in the rear pasture of my grandfather’s farm. It’d be August, the dahlias would be huge, the tomato vines would be starting to get heavy with ripening fruit. We’d fill our bellies with all of summer’s best foods and sweat through the dog days, dancing the night away under a New England summer sky.
There was, however, something of a hitch. I don’t have a grandfather with a farm.
I didn’t spend all of my summers chasing butterflies in his back pasture. I always knew I had a rich fantasy life, I just didn’t know how much it would impede on this particular decision. I couldn’t bear to even think about wedding venues. We knew we were going to get married in my hometown but I wanted to get married in a place that really meant something to me. I couldn’t think of a spot that fit that description and could also play host to a big ole mess of a party. I’d entertained the thought of getting married in my parents’ back yard--the place where I actually did chase butterflies--but the house is up close to a main road and the noise from the summertime traffic would drown out even the most ardently spoken vows. I thought about a wedding on the town beach where I’ve collected whole bottles worth of sea glass, but town ordinances say no weddings during the summer months and I had my heart set on those August tomatoes.
I promise you, I had practically given up, frustrated and grumpy about my noisy back yard and stuffy town beach, when I realized there was a place, just up the road from my parents’ house that might be just fine. It wasn’t my grandfather’s farm, but it was someone’s. No surprise, I’ve always had something of a love affair with these particular neighbors’ house. Where mine sits on the road, theirs is tucked down a rambling driveway and sheltered by massive trees. You see fields of vegetables and cutting flowers before you ever see the house. If you walk along the road that passes alongside of it, chickens will cross in front of you. In springtime, we eat their multi-colored eggs.Kelly and Kingsley Goddard farm the land that Kingsley’s great uncle bought in 1909. Purchased originally as a summertime getaway from New York City, it was Kingsley that turned the place into a real working farm. It’s Kelly and Kingsley that have agreed to let us to get married there in August. I’m fairly certain there will be tomatoes.
These are photographs of their family, not mine, but I don’t think I could love them any more than I do. They’re from all the familiar places. Which is really what I was hoping for all along.

All images courtesy of Kelly and Kingsley Goddard. Read more about them their incredible farm, here.
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Monday, June 25, 2012

a garden party.

tea sandwiches | goat cheese, cucumber & chive
endives | tomatoes, feta, and toasted almonds
olives | lemon and salt
forget-me-not plates
forget-me-not plates
special delivery | butter lane cupcakes
cupcakes, eaten
cupcakes, sampled

on saturday there was a garden party. just for me. i'm not one for wedding showers, but with the big day looming just over a month away, my sister, cait, planned a little surprise just-because. she invited old friends and new friends and made all my favorite treats.  cupcakes sent from a faraway friend were delivered to our secret garden by my doting brother-in-law and we sipped on rhubarb iced tea and sampled all the flavors. there was nary a ribbon hat in sight, but there was a momma, who drove in two hours toting forget-me-not plates, just because i love them.
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Friday, June 22, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. ice.
{because without it, i would have been the one to melt}.

2. these new flips.
{because they were on sale. walking three miles in them  on day 2, ill-advised. i never learn}.

3. this parking spot.
{because it was so close to home and required no waiting around. new concrete sidewalk residue all over street and tire, somewhat more concerning}.

4. this tile.
{because it keeps the entrance to our building so cool. wanted to plop myself down on it all week long. yes, just like your family dog}.

5. frozen mango.
{because it's slightly tastier than #1 and was the perfect thing to snack on while i wrote}.

what little something made your week?

other things:
going to the premiere of this incredible film tonight. you should, too.
really good scarves.
this is thought provoking. especially during a very hot week.
my words on riding the subway.
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

make-believe: train to montauk

sometimes i like to daydream about little solo adventures. now that it's officially summer, i'm in full adventure-dreaming mode. truth be told, i'm not the best solo traveler. i like to bop around by myself for awhile, but come evening, i'm ready to chat with someone about everything that happened. here, a few things i'd like to take on a day-trip to montauk. i like to think i'd catch an early morning train and spend the day exploring and filling up my bag with beach treasures. come late afternoon, i'd be ready to wend my way back through the marshes to be home in time for dinner. of course, i had to include snacks and reading material to keep me company.

1. rita dress* 2. straw fedora 3. the great gatsby 4. pop-top bottle 5. chocolate bar 6. open oxfords 7. mason bag

*{sample sale loot and already snatched, but there are others}!

layout by erin boyle, photos from sources above
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

sweat the small stuff.

that's terrible advice. i know. especially from me. i sweat a lot of small stuff and a lot of that sweating only makes me...sweaty. but still, there are some things you have to fight against and in the world of tiny apartments, ghastly home 'improvements' are one of them.

anyone who's looked to buy a ceiling fan knows that there are some real doozies out there. anyone care for this one? but despite the horrific selection, there are some fans that are less bad than others. {hell, some are downright pleasant}. faux bois and gold ceiling fans are not among these. faux bois and gold ceiling fans that take up 50 % of my ceiling and replace a perfectly modestly-sized white ceiling fan that was broken and inefficient but for goodness sake didn't make me want to cry, border on tragic.

yesterday, i returned to my apartment to find our new friend staring down at me. james had beaten me home and i swear he almost didn't let me in, afraid of what i might do when i looked up. not that i really had to look up. the behemoth is so overwhelming that i could see it in my peripheral vision before i even had a chance to crane my neck. when i flipped the switch to see the thing in action, giant gobs of some other unfortunate soul's dirt spun off in all directions. la classe.

i didn't do anything about it last night. i crawled up the ladder to our loft, climbed into bed and cast sidelong and angry glances at the thing while i attempted to read myself to sleep. this morning, i emailed the landlord. i'm 100% aware that this makes me finicky and picky and generally out of my gourd, but seriously. i live in 240 square feet and i can't stand up straight when i get out of bed in the morning. forgive me while i sweat the oversized and ugly small stuff.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

radish and pea shoot crostini.

it's that time of year when crostini begins to appear on our dinner menu with almost embarrassing frequency. our neighborhood grocery knows what kind of baguette we prefer and by this point, when we walk in the door they're already wrapping one in brown paper.
this can't be helped. at the end of a hot day all i want is the crisp crunch of crostini topped with fresh vegetables. lately, it's radishes and pea shoots.
radishes & pea shoots in a bowl
to make them is super easy: slice up a baguette. (i like to cut rounds on the diagonal to make them slightly larger than they would be otherwise). rub a bit of olive oil on both sides of the baguette rounds and toast in the oven until they're just golden. as they cool, toss a bit of olive oil and lemon juice into sliced up radishes and pea shoots. a sprinkle of sea salt is delightful, but the radishes pack enough of a punch that you can forgo the pepper.
once the toasts are cooled, top each with a spoonful of fresh ricotta and add the dressed veggies. it's the simplest thing to make at home, and you can gloat from the comfort of our own kitchen table about the fact that you didn't just spend three dollars per piece. though, truth be told, sometimes crostini at a sidewalk cafe with a chilled glass of white wine is really the thing you need.
crostiniwhat are your favorite crostini additions? i'm always looking for something new to add to the rotation.
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Monday, June 18, 2012

sun tea.

a window ledge is the perfect place to brew a refreshing bit of tea. at our house there was hibiscus tea with honey and just a squeeze of lime. on repeat, all weekend.
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Friday, June 15, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. this returned envelope.
{and many others. because we had mail every day}.

2. this lemon cake.
{because i ate it for breakfast. cake for breakfast every day}.

3. this contact paper.
{because sometimes you simply can't afford to replace the nasty cabinet in your bathroom, and so you line it with fresh white contact paper even if it makes you cringe}.

4. this pretty bowl.
{because i didn't let it wreck my week. it was linden syrup in the making. i neglected it, but mold didn't. the whole thing had to be dumped. win some, lose some. at least i saved some for tea}.

5. this book.
{because you should all go read it, too. then we can chat}.

other things:
these favorite guys, together.
on collecting all that pretty linden.
these dresses were everywhere this week. but that first one really is spectacular.
an important (and speedy) read.
equally important, and touching.
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

make-believe: the minam river lodge.

my sister, laura, is a farmer. these days, she's planting a vegetable garden for a rustic resort deep in the oregonian wilderness. the place is called the minam river lodge and it's reachable only by foot, horseback or small plane. who wants to plan a trip? here, a few things that i imagine she could use on her grand adventure. the optimism badge is totally optional. i assure you, she's the most badass optimist i know.

layout by erin boyle, photographs from sources above {*seed packet photograph courtesy of country living magazine}
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

get a tool box. use it for tools.

i'm a woman and i write a blog. it's not a blog about art or culture or oral history or historic preservation or any of the other things that i went and got a fancypants graduate degree in order to pursue. it's about my life and it's an awful lot about my domestic life: my apartment, my food, my make-believe outfits. this makes me more than a little bit self-conscious. sometimes i think i should quit this blog thing, just on principle.

i know i should be unapologetic. mostly i am. but i'm just saying that i get a little worried about this whole lifestyle genre. maybe it's boorish or rude to say it, but this worry usually sets in around father's day. we don't have a television and so mostly we're spared the inane commercials imploring tv-watchers to rush out and buy grills and tool boxes for Dad. in lieu of commercials, i get gift guides. just after mother's day curtsies out, my google reader is inundated with gift guides imploring me to go out and buy clock radios and hatchets and awesomely rugged camping implements for Dad. what the what. i want that shite, too. so does my mom.

all of that is a roundabout and tormented way of saying that my absolute favorite items in my tiny apartment are my tool boxes. i have three. each of them is filled with tools and even though they take up about 3 of our 240 square feet, every inch of that space is well used. if you're going to be an independent person in this ol' world, get yourself a damn toolbox. it doesn't matter that you're not a dad or a grandpa or some monkey's uncle, you need a tool box and it needs to be filled with tools, not just glue guns.

with me?
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

a tin can lantern.

The last time I made this craft I had just turned ten, or maybe eight. In either case, I remember the invitations--oversized and with a picture of a cake with candles and a hot dog held over the flames. We hammered our tin cans on my parents' back porch and when we'd finished we marched with them to the golf course to float walnut boats with birthday candles across the pond. We returned to my house to find a bonfire and s'mores.This time around there were no campfire rituals, but the little lantern casts the same orange glow. If you have a hankering to make your own, head over to Pure Green
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Monday, June 11, 2012

lemony ricotta tart with garlic scapes

herbs, flour, butter
sage, oregano, and thyme. butter and flour.
herb dough in waxed paper
herbed dough in waxed paper bag.
garlic scapes.
lemon zest, ricotta, garlic scapes, and thyme
ricotta, eggs, garlic scapes, thyme, and lemon zest.
lemon ricotta tart with garlic scapes
tart, baked.

it's getting to be the end of spring and that time of year when the heat from ovens begins to feel oppressive rather than comforting. but in these delicious days when the sun shines longer than it will all year, firing up the oven and baking a tart is just the recipe you need to showcase the season's vegetables.

i'm a huge fan of the savory tart. it's easy to make, impressive to serve, and delightful to eat. i like this recipe because there's no need to precook the filling and the garlic scapes retain their sharp flavor. if you're not busy photographing your every step and wiping buttery flour off of your camera, the whole thing comes together quickly. served with a side of spring greens and a squeeze of lemon and you're on your way to reaching full-on springtime nirvana.

herbed crust recipe
1 cup of flour (plus more for rolling out the dough)
1 stick of cold butter (8 tablespoons), cut into pieces
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of salt
a few tablespoon cold water
a healthy handful of fresh chopped herbs. i used sage, oregano, and thyme, because that's what i had.

using a pastry blender (or fork, or food processor) blend together butter, flour, salt, sugar and herbs until the consistency is crumbly and none of the butter pieces are too big. using your own two hands, form the mixture into a ball, adding cold water by the tablespoonful to combine. place ball of dough into a waxed paper bag (or whatever you use for wrapping) and flatten into a disc with the palm of your hand. pop the dough into the freezer for ten minutes, or into the fridge for longer. when it's chilled, remove and turn disc onto floury surface to roll out. use your tart pan as a guide and roll into a circle large enough to fill the pan and its edges. pre-bake for ten minutes or so if you're of the persuasion that likes things done right.

filling (adapted from carolyn cope's recipe)
1 cup of ricotta
1 cup or so of chopped garlic scapes
zest from a lemon
a handful of thyme
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

combine all ingredients in a smallish-sized bowl and whisk with a fork to combine. pour mixture into your pre-baked tart crust and cook for 30 minutes, or until the middle of the tart has set and the pastry is thoroughly golden. serve hot or cooled. 

if you haven't had your fill of garlic scapes, make pesto.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. this geranium.
{because it's blooming again}.

2. this bag of invitations.
{because they were mailed}.

3. this striped shirt.
{because james needed to buy a few tank tops to help with a banged up shoulder. turns out they're cute}.

4. this to go cup.
{for taking on an early morning stroll}.

5. this bumble bee.
{just wiggling 'round in a little beach rose}.

what little something made your week?

other things:
wouldn't mind touring this historic house.
pretty hair ties.
i want to go here.
nikole's cake class sounds wonderful. but i'd settle for the fingerling chips.
this week on the equals record: a love affair with a park.

ps. new this week, sponsorship opportunities available on reading my tea leaves. rates were developed with independent designers, shop-keeps, and bloggers in mind. learn more, here.
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