Friday, August 31, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. this cup of coffee.
{because it was had with j., on a sunday}.

2. this tiny package.
{because it has all our wedding photos. getting them ready to share. soon, soon}.

3. this plum.
{because it's still summer}.

4. this necklace.
{because even though i thought the long seed beads that i bought to make it were bronze and even though i'm sad that after two days of wearing it's become clear--pun intended--they are indeed plastic, i still like it}.

5. this yellow rose.
{for just putting it all out there. i'm looking for lessons here}.

other things:
this sale.
good tips for newbies.
old bones.
let's go here.
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

make-believe: a morning walk

lately i've been accompanying james on morning walks to the subway. he usually leaves our house around 8:15. if things are going as planned by that time i've published my morning post and my eyes have just started to bug after an hour of staring at the computer screen in the semi-darkness of our apartment. a walk outside at this point does a world of good. i'm usually not showered and properly dressed at this point, but i like to slip on easy shoes, some old jeans, and a baggy sweatshirt and to bring along just what i need: an over sized wallet for my phone & keys and a mug of something warm and caffeinated. a phone-sized lens would mean i could capture the early morning bustle with my phone and a pretzel croissant would send me right over the moon. alas, this is only make-believe.

1. sweatshirt 2. key chain 3. wallet* 4. tumbler 5. gold flats 6. wide-angle phone lens 7. pretzel croissant

*shelter is a reading my tea leaves sponsor, but this is not a sponsored post.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.


well, that's not a tip. it's more of a sigh. books. 

in our tiny apartment my relationship with books goes something along the lines of can't live with them, can't live without them.

before moving to new york, james and i always had an apartment filled with books. we had favorite childhood books and favorite college books, and a rotating cast of mandatory graduate school books and a sizable collection of oversized and exasperating art books. our various homes have been so full of books that we even developed a really fun game wherein i organized books according to subject and height and author's last name, and james shoved them back in the shelves at random for me to find later. thrills!

yesterday, i had lunch with my brilliant friend reina (who is also a tiny apartment dweller in this large city) and she asked me what i do with my books. i'm sure my face fell. the truth is, we haven't come up with a very good solution. mostly, we forced them onto our parents, surreptitiously off-loading boxes into attics and basements of their more spacious homes. but the problem is this: we haven't been able to truly keep the books at bay. they creep back in. it's too easy to slink into our neighborhood bookstore and bring half of it home. once the books are here they mostly land in a small pile on top of our dresser or they get shoved indecorously into the spot between the bed and the wall. it's a bad scene. but here, a few book-related tips, from someone who admittedly hasn't mastered this:

1. this one strikes again: hold on to what you love, part with what you don't. even if, like us, you don't have room for an actual bookshelf, keep around a book or four that you really love. you never know when you might need them. when you do accumulate new books, think carefully about what you keep. pass what you've read onto a sister or a friend or a used book store. if you have the time or patience, sell them online (and have it out with your author friends re: royalties).

2. so does this one: rotate your goodies. especially those big art books. choose one or two to keep out, and put the others in a box under your bed. when you get tired of le corbusier, ogle some o'keeffe.

3. get a library card.

4. make like one of my sisters and invest in a kindle.

5. revisit that tiny space between your bed and the wall and see if you can't actually wrangle something that approximates a book shelf (yes, this one's mostly for me).
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

a little housekeeping.

with september just around the corner, i've got a few new sponsorship slots opening up with updated rates. if you're a small business owner or blogger and think reading my tea leaves could be the right place to promote your work, pass me a note and i'll send along a shiny new media kit.

in the meantime, enjoy this crepe myrtle. this little clapboarded house is just around the corner from us in brooklyn, but to me it looks just like something i'd have stumbled across in north carolina, way back when

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Monday, August 27, 2012

husk cherry compote.

husk cherries or ground cherries or cape gooseberries, these sweet little morsels have as many names as they do flavors. ask four different people what they taste after biting into the tiny orange globe and each will likely say something different: strawberry or pineapple, tomato or apple. suffice to say, willy wonka would be impressed. 
a member of the nightshade family, and a close cousin to the tomatillo, these guys are sometimes referred to as husk cherry tomatoes and can be used in savory chutneys or salsas as well as in sweet treats. 
we've been eating tomatoes by the fistful around here, so i opted for something that would play up the husk cherries' natural sweetness. even with cooler evenings, our tiny apartment is still doing a terrific job at trapping heat. a quick compote over ice cream seemed like the perfect compromise.
after removing the papery husks, i had about a cup of fruit to work with. the technique is simple enough: a cup of husk cherries plopped into a sauce pan with a 1/4 cup of sugar and the juice of half a lemon. i let the whole mess simmer until all of the little globes had burst and melted into each other. after cooking, i added just a few drops of pure vanilla extract and spooned the concoction over my all time favorite vanilla ice cream.
icecreamhot and cold, sweet and sour, it's the perfect dessert for the last weeks of summer. and easier than pie.
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Friday, August 24, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. this bowl of watermelon.
{and the others. not even minding all those seeds}.

2. this army jacket.
{because it was paul's. i might be the only pacifist utterly enthralled by war stories}.

3. these stripes.
{because sometimes gross is also good}.

4. these thank you notes.
thank you notes
{because i finally scratched a few off the list}.

5. this pot of summer foods.
{tomatoes and peaches and peppers for making chutney. we ate it all week long}.

other things:
floral jeans.
hanging pots.
a crafty evening.
flowers and other things.
pretty place cards.
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

make-believe: back to school.

i'm not one to rush seasons along, but the end of august has always gotten me excited for school to start, whether i was actually ready to kiss summer goodbye or no. we've been having slightly cooler temperatures in the morning and evening around here lately and i won't deny that a little breeze feels awfully nice. there's no school for me this fall, thank goodness, but james is headed back to teaching (full time, go guy!) next week. here, a few favorites for shifting gears from summer to fall, whenever it is that i'm ready to.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

revisit what you've stowed away.

tiny apartment dwellers know better than anyone the importance of stowing things neatly away. we've covered this a lot here. but before we get too devoted to packing things up, here's a simple reminder to take things back out again. 

this basket is the proof. it lives in the dark recesses of our under-the-stairs closet. until two days ago it was filled with exactly two things: a) a zipped madras bag full of congealed nail polishes and disintegrating emory boards b) a zipped velour bag full of hair elastics and barrettes. 

shameful. i know. why post-1999 i still own a velour bag filled with anything, i'm not sure. 

but herein lies the problem with tight storage: you get so gung-ho about making things fit into tiny spaces that sometimes once you get them there, you forget what exactly lies in that dark recess. once upon a time, i'm sure i had in my mind that this box would be used to house toilet paper rolls. then one day, i decided to move the file box that now sits under it, on top of it. this was surely the last time i opened the basket until this past weekend when i stood mouth agape at my utterly inappropriate use of space. but i rallyed. toilet paper has been moved from its inglorious home on the closet floor, file box has been once again relegated to bottom rung. towels are still folded on top, because with 12 rolls of toilet paper, that basket is full. and even though life in a tiny apartment usually means going without the supersize-me style toilet paper packs, needing to rush out every two days for emergency rolls is no one's idea of fun.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012


bookmaking class
on sunday night, i was invited to take a bookmaking class by coursehorse, a website devoted to helping eager-minded folks in new york city find classes. at a moment in this city when the quest for self-improvement and skill-building can be stymied not by a dearth of classes but a near over-abundance, coursehorse is doing a pretty awesome job at helping folks to sort through the noise and find classes they most want to take.
bookmaking class
i, for one, knew i wanted to take an art class and was able to sort by borough, date, and subject matter to find a class that worked for me. i was delighted to find one called the hand-made book: an introduction. the class was held at brooklyn central and visual artist and bookbinder, caitlin wheeler, taught a tableful of us three different styles of binding. we each walked away with a little bundle of newly bound books.
bookmaking class
i'm excited about using my new binding skills to make little paper pressies for friends, and if i'm feeling especially ambitious, i might even endeavor to bind a wedding album. caitlin was an excellent teacher: organized, cheerful, and kind, not to mention super talented. she brought some of her work along for inspiration, and wowza.
bookmaking class
i was so glad for the opportunity to meet a few new friends, use my hands, and perhaps most importantly, spend a few hours doing something new.  it's nice to stretch the old mind, you know? if you're in the area and seeking similar creative inspiration, i recommend using coursehorse to help you in your search. many thanks to them for the opportunity.
bookmaking class
and now, please admire my handiwork. not bad for an amateur, eh?
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Monday, August 20, 2012

whiskey and peaches. a cocktail.

my uncle duane officiated our wedding. there's been some debate over the use of the term officiant since he's neither ordained by a church nor, that we know of, a sea captain. he's not possessing of any of the various credentials usually required at such events, besides, of course, the most important, which are a keen way with words and a deep love and affection for the couple getting married. we went with our gut and had the legal stuff taken care of by a generous family friend.

ever since i was a little girl, my uncle has jokingly offered me a glass of strong liquor at family gatherings. while doling out glasses of port or calvados or some other decidedly adult treat, he would whisper me an invitation for a glass of scotch, or better, whiskey. i never took him up on it. but for our wedding, he made a gift of a large bottle of four roses kentucky bourbon. and i obliged.

this week, we mashed it together with peaches that had seen their better days. we added fresh mint and lemon and enough simple syrup to make things sweet. the recipe was a riff on this one, with more peaches and club soda to make it zing. the drinks were served on tiny georgia peach napkins from a dear california-friend who not only reads my words but knows precisely what i love.

i know cocktails are usually a weekend treat, but a monday in august seems as good a time as any for a little indulgence.
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Friday, August 17, 2012

my week in objects (mostly).

five little things that made my week.

1. these farmer's flowers.zinnias and snapdragons and friends
{because sometimes only the brightest will do}.

2. these six people.
{because even if they're not objects, they made my week}.

3. this picnic basket.
picnic, en route
{and the carrier}.

4. this quilt.
{pieced together from scraps sent by friends and family and masterfully made by linda. just for us}.

5. this tiny cup.
{for nestling so perfectly into the grass and hiding my wine from passersby. some rules need to be broken}.

other things:
not just backpacks. also killer tees.
we already know this, but still.
i want about a million of these.
a sweet set.
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

make-believe: new york city tourist.

this week james and i have gotten the chance to hang out with some of our very favorite new york tourists. la famille guyot, with whom i lived for almost a year in france when i was 22 came to celebrate our wedding and they've been living it up in the city that never sleeps ever since. yesterday we met them for a raucous game of bowling to escape the rain and this make-believe is a little tribute to them: a pretty umbrella for running between drops, a trusty backpack, a sweatshirt to temper blasts of air conditioning, a metro card for exploring comme il faut, waterproof sandals for quick-drying and washing off sludge, a compass necklace for orienteering, and an admittedly out of date, but terribly good looking guide to the city.

1. shiny umbrella 2. backpack 3. sweatshirt 4. metrocard 5. waterproof sandals 6. compass necklace 7. guide book

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

sometimes, too much is okay, too.

since our recent nuptials (thank you for all of your v. sweet notes) we have become the proud owners of a near-to-complete set of beautiful, made in the usa, absolutely delightful in every single way, dishes. they aren't fancy, but in our eyes they're perfect. we cannot wait to use them for sunday brunches and thanksgiving dinners and celebratory lunch-e-ones, and all those sorts of things that dishes in sets of ten are useful for. for now though, we've been using them mostly in pairs. two bowls, two plates, maybe an extra here or there for side dishes or salads. one night last week my sister came for dinner. we were three and for the hell of it, i'm pretty sure we used about four dishes, each.

here's the thing: i know that it doesn't make practical sense to cram a dinner service for ten into 240 square feet. but if you recall my love-hate relationship with our cabinets, you know that we have kitchen storage in abundance and with the moving around of a few jars of lentils, we managed to find a place for everything. we made sure to keep just a few dishes in places that are easily reachable and to stash the rest in more difficult-to-access corners. they were empty anyway, so i'm chalking this all up to using every available inch. don't worry, we've not taken to storing dishes in the shower.

ps. on the morning before the wedding i did a little radio piece. you can listen here, if you'd like. forgive my rambling.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

a minimoon in pictures.

james, moped
queen anne's lace, house
lobster traps
james, walking
james, beach
me, from behind
we had all the sun and sand and new england accents a girl could ask for. we got too tan, ate too much seafood, picked blackberries until our fingertips hurt, and gave terrible instructions to the one person we were brave enough to ask to take our photo together. i'm not an expert on these things, but i'm pretty sure that's how honeymoons are supposed to go. thanks for indulging me in yet another romantic post. we're still all a flutter over here.

ps. besides the obvious ones, some of these photos were snapped by james. details on flickr.
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