3.31.2011

the friendly french.

montreal
montreal
montreal
montreal
Salut! We're here in Montréal. We had a great day yesterday walking around the city. As always I can count on the great recommendations provided by friends of friends on twitter. As one of my Canadian friends, Anabela spread the word and Jane and Elizabeth gave me some great tips. 

We went to Patati Patata for some great burgers and fantastic poutine. Oh poutine. We got the classic poutine, but I want to go back and have their poutine piled with veggies, it looked so good. 


We also went to Schwartz for some famed smoked meat sandwiches. The place was packed, and it was an experience just to be there. Tyler loved it. 


We just walked around and popped into shops, it was such a lovely afternoon. 


Sorry for all the phone pics, I have a very weird but probably common fear of using my camera in crowded urban areas. When I travel I love to take photos, but I also like to just blend in, and just experience the city as if I lived there. I saw so many things but I just feel so awkward taking photos in cities. I feel like such a dork. I'm over-reacting, but I can't help it? Anyone else feel the same?

3.29.2011

pouf steps
pouf steps
pouf steps
The pouf lives in my studio. It's a perfect ottoman for my little sofa. Lately gigi has a hard time jumping on my sofa, because she's slipped on the hardwood floor a couple times and now she's scared to jump up by herself.

I thought the pouf would be perfect. But as you can see compared to her it's still pretty big. She was scared of that too, but with some peanut butter I helped train her to jump up on it and use it as a step up and down from the couch.

I even caught one of her "downward dog" stretches that she does like 500 times a day. I guess that's why they call it downward dog! It's my favorite yoga pose.

3.28.2011

when life hands you lemons...

meyer lemon curd
meyer lemon curd
So these are not pictures of scones slathered with vanilla bean flecked marmalade. Nope. Sometimes, things just don't work out. I may make many things, but I hope I don't come across as a perfect person. I have epic fails all the time (you just don't see them). The marmalade just wasn't gelling, and after an hour longer simmering than the recipe called for, it just wouldn't get up to the 220 degree finishing point. I could tell that it was finally almost there, and it was thickening, when a smell hit me that I knew was a disaster.

I burned it. Yep. I looked down and there was a circle of black in the pot. I couldn't salvage it, it got mixed in with the rest. So I dumped it, and I really thought long and hard about what I'd learned. To me a mistake can almost be more valuable than a success, even though it doesn't feel like it in the moment. I will conquer it someday. I don't like to be defeated.

So I took the rest of my meyer lemons and made a delicious curd. I spread it on our Sunday waffles, and felt a bit of victory.

3.25.2011

my knife skills are getting better.

marmalade
marmalade
marmalade
marmalade
My grandma loved marmalade. I have vivid memories of breakfasts at her house, usually because that is where I would get the most perfect fried-in-bacon-grease-runny-yolk-egg of my life. I always had two. My brother always had three. My grandma didn't like soft yolks, and after our breakfasts were made, she would sit down with a hard boiled egg and toast, and always spread it with marmalade.

For some reason I never tried marmalade, probably because my parents didn't like it, so along with many other things it was something I would have for the first time in adulthood, specifically in Denmark a few months ago. I had it on a freshly baked biscuit, and my citrus loving self was a little more than blown away.

Enter into my usual circumstance about being obsessed about something and then having to make it by scratch at home (fried chicken, cranberry orange scones, koldskål, junior mints, don't even forget about 2009, the summer of ice cream). I've been thinking about it since I got back, and I saw this recipe and decided to try it (modified a bit of course). Chopping up all those oranges as thin as I could took two sides of an abba album, and helped me decide that the next kitchen gadget I'm buying is a mandoline. 

Today I'm on the next step and I'll let you know how it goes! I'm just crossing my fingers I can get it to gel.

to anyone new popping over from poppytalk, hi! Glad you could come by.

3.24.2011

i've drank the kool-aid.

clogs
clogs
clogs
I remember pining for shoes, shoes made in a foreign land. They were the best leather and everyone who was anyone had them. I bid for them on ebay, I looked at them all the time to try and decide if all that money was worth it. And then I went for it, and bought my Dr. Marten boots. Just a plain brown with those all important yellow threads. I was in heaven! They lived next to my totally beat Dr. Marten sandals like a little foreign expensive shoe family.

That's the last time I remember feeling this way. Shoe decisions. You might have heard me mention clogs here and there, pin them on my very sparse pinterest, but I'm obsessed. I've been staring at these hasbeens for months. When a super sale (like Dr. Marten $$) popped up recently, I bought them on a whim. And then the color I really wanted in my size appeared, one pair left, so I bought those too. I live in a small town, so recently everything I buy online is just a trial to see if I like it, because I can't seem them in person. So now I'm trying to decide. Do I want them? What color?

I love the style, and the shape of them. The heel scares the hell out of me a bit though. I haven't bought or worn a heel for many years now. I just don't wear trendy shoes. I have like 4 pairs of shoes I wear right now. I'm in a bad shoe place. These walk that line (pun unintended, seriously!) while still being classic to me. I'm trying to take my wardrobe up a notch, but I'm always scared of sticking out too much.

When the light is better, and I'm feeling brave, I'll have to do a bit of modeling and then we can have a vote.

Maybe I've just been listening to too much abba?

3.23.2011

Oh, Canada.

sleet
our glorious backyard. For some reason I've never noticed how crooked that fence is. Gigi can jump through the slats. 

I think most people on the east coast got snow last night. We feel asleep to freezing rain clinking on our windows.

I need some help, sending my plea out to the always knowledgeable interwebs. We are leaving for Montréal next week! Tyler has a conference there and I'm so happy, I've been wanting to see this city for a long time. Poutine!

Anyone have any Montréal must-sees or tips? Our hotel is on the east of the Parc du Mont-Royal. But I will have a car. Tyler will be busy with his conference most of the time so I will have to venture out on my own, I don't have a good excuse to just be lazy in the hotel this time! Let's see if my french studies for 2 years in college even stayed with me? Pretty sure that's all gone. I was terrible at it.

3.22.2011

inspriation + 3 minute project

style
style
style
mini fix
mini fix
mini fix
Today I got out a few of my favorite magazines and was flipping through them for inspiration. I've said it before, but I love come home magazine, out of all my Japanese books, this magazine has everything. I adore the styling in these photos. I think this style is exactly the mood I long to have in my life, casual, and not trying too hard. I have a huge fear of looking like I tried to style my home and my clothes too much. I just want it to be. Does that make/not make sense?

While I was flipping though them I realized that all the little touches in these homes I love are so simple and small. So I had a bit of inspiration and decided I need to try and do a mini project everyday. Because all those little things just don't happen at once.

Remember my mason jar lights? I was looking at them today and realized I really don't like how shiny the lids look. So I grabbed a few colors of my washi tape, and wrapped them, not even very neatly, to make them matte. 3 minutes later and my first mini project is done!

3.21.2011

right now.

right now.
right now.
right now.
right now.
right now.
After a really long night of thunderstorms and cough drops, once again monday is giving me a rough time. We really don't have a good relationship, me and mondays.

I forget that I never really feel better until I head up to my studio, with my silent companion. Even if I'm not too productive, I like the quiet in my own space.

Listening to this. I can't wait for the leaves to come back. 

How's your bracket doing? Mine is doing so so, at least my team is doing well so far. Anyone else obsessed about sports like me?

Happy spring! What are you doing right now?

3.17.2011

my own pendleton.

pendleton
pendleton
pendleton
pendleton
pendleton
I opened up my Christmas gift from my sister, and even before my eyes saw it I knew what I was feeling, 100% wool. I was thrilled to pull out a truly unique blanket, handcrafted beautifully. I haven't been able to show it off because she needed to fix some things with it while I was home.

In Portland, Pendleton wool is an identity of the city. The blankets are coveted by many, and are a cherished heirloom. The ace hotel in Portland has beautiful custom-made blankets on their beds. They are amazing, warm, and $$$.  

Malorie took the end scraps that they sell at their factory store, and combined them together to make her own blanket. I love it so much! I think together all the different patterns create something modern. Some of the strips come already sewn to each other (wide white zig zag) and have original number labels still on them. These details add so much character.

I am still going to add a decorative blanket stitch around the edges (she didn't have time to do that, but I'm more than happy too), but with this beautiful sunny day, I just couldn't wait any longer to show it off. Thanks Mal! She knows me well. I'll cherish it forever.

3.16.2011

back to life.

leeks
new favorite
waffles
waffles
I'm trying to recover from a jet lag/cold/post-trip funk. Getting out of bed in the morning has become an ordeal, I'm trying to get back to a routine. This week I've done a few things to try and get back in a groove.

sunday waffles: I started making waffles every sunday, with a recipe from orangette (second recipe in post*). I made extra this week so I can recreate the magic every morning in my toaster oven + top with my mom's huckleberry jam.

cooking: I made a lamb stew yesterday. I think one of the greatest things in the world is deglazing a cast iron pot with a wooden spoon. I would be a professional deglazier. If that existed.

exercise: for about a month, I've been doing yoga everyday. I read an article in the New York Times, and now I'm stuck on Tara Stiles. I love her style of yoga. And her casual/almost awkward daily vlogging. my daily playlist.


*I modify the orangette recipe this way: instead of 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup buttermilk, I use 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt. It's what I always have on hand. 

3.15.2011

patina

collection
collection
collection
collection
I was so happy to go home and reconnect with family. Living across the country makes me really value that time more. I got to celebrate my grandpa's birthday, and spend some time with him. While we were home, I got to have a little vintage dream come true.

My Grandma was a collector of spoons. She had them lined up all around her kitchen, all different shapes and sizes. She ended up with over 300 spoons, collected all through her life. When any of her friends or family would travel, they would pick one up for her. She didn't have the chance to travel all over the world, but those spoons did.

My sister and I once had the pleasure of cleaning and polishing all of those spoons when I was younger, I think for some dance dresses my grandma had sewed for us (she was an expert seamstress). It was a lot of work, but I was so excited to be able to take down every spoon and look at it up close, and Grandma would tell us where she got them from.

My Grandma has sadly been gone for while now, but while we were home we were able to pick out some spoons from her collection. The whole family picked out their favorites, I probably picked the most. I couldn't resist! I picked the Charles and Di one first, with the shovel bottom and their faces on top. I have always loved that spoon.

I was really thrilled that I was able to have the first spoon that started her collection, a simple spoon she received from a pen pal in Denmark in 1949. It is beautifully engraved on the back with her name LaWana, and Denmark is spelled Danmark (the original spelling). That first piece to a collection is so special.

I obviously have a soft spot for collections and that I can have some of hers is like having a bit of her in my home everyday. I would love to have them beautifully preserved and displayed in my home forever.

3.14.2011

scrappy urchin

urchin
urchin
urchin

One thing that made the cross-country flights and 3 hour road trip home this weekend was a huge pampers box. It was the first thing out of baggage claim, and the young couple next to me exclaimed that it was the strangest thing they've ever seen on a plane. And then did a double take when I picked it up, obviously within hearing. It's a box. With stuff in it. Shocker.

What that box had in it was a blanket Malorie made for us for Christmas that she had to fix (post coming up on that, so awesome), and a huge duvet that we had in storage. It was destined for the pouf, or puff, or scrappy urchin, which is what I like to call it in my head.

I folded the comforter twice to make a square, and rolled 3 old bed pillows (to stand up vertically), put them in the center and gathered the corners together to make a compact round thing. The duvet is pretty necessary to make a smooth ball rather than the lumpy thing I had before when I used only pillows. I stuffed it in (two people would have been much easier) and closed up the remaining side that was still open.

I still need to use some gray fabric to line it so the white of the duvet isn't so noticeable. I almost waited to finish it until I could put that in, but I decided to just do it now, and make the easy fix later.  One tip, I used 1/8 wide elastic (around 2 feet) from my stash to close it, which made it really simple to tighten, and will make it easy to open up if I need to.

I would love to make another one that is solid, but I am happy that I used so much leftover yarn that now isn't destined to live in my stash forever. It was so easy to make that I'm sure another one will pop up someday.

3.11.2011

much too much.

baby time
baby time
Sorry I've been absent all week. I really meant to have updates on my trip back home but getting the flu and catching up with family, friends and 8 nieces and nephews have taken up a lot of my time.

I had to say goodbye to this little cutie yesterday when my sister went back home. He has grown so much since the last time I saw him when I was in town for little winter.

Today is our last day and I'm dreading the 12 hours of travel back home tomorrow. Have a safe weekend, especially to all those in the areas affected by the earthquake.

3.07.2011

junkies.

landing
denver
landing
boise

We arrived to our hometown, Boise Idaho this weekend after 12 hours of travel. We got here just in time to make it to my Grandpa's 80th birthday party, which was great. It has been amazing to catch up with my family, meet a nephew for the first time, and eating tons of great food. 

Which leads me to today. I'm not sure why, but sometimes when I come home and indulge on my mom's never empty pantry, I end up getting the dreaded "junkitis." And last night at 3am, I woke up and stayed up until 6am, sleeping in the bathroom. I felt so ashamed for this happening to me once again. It makes me feel like I'm 12, once again the only person in my family getting carsick on a road trip. Memories!

So today I'm resting in bed, Tyler and my mom taking care of me so I can get back to eating (moderately) all the things I have planned. I'm already feeling much better. And it snowed today. Happy Monday! 

3.04.2011

best day ever.

best day ever.
best day ever.
best day ever.
Today I stuck to my lazy hotel plan. Slept in, watched some truly crap tv, (bachelor), got some real clothes on just to walk to trader joe's and bought every treat I love there (dark choc pb cups, cheetos, vanilla joe joe's, virgils root beer, and more). Came back, got back into my pjs and just ate.
I knit, video chatted with my sis, and then went down to score some truly awesome free conference food. Tyler gave me his badge and I ate smoked salmon and other rarely cooked meats. I found a table and stood there trying to eat my food discreetly while also trying to cut lamb chops with a fork with much difficulty. At one point, I paused, took a deep breath and said to myself, "you can do this."

I thought I was getting away with it when some grad students from University of Texas came by and started up a conversation. I decided to just go with it, and when they asked me where I was from, I assumed Tyler's identity. I told them all about my research interests, and what year I was in, and agreed with them about yesterday's speakers. Luckily one of Tyler's classmates walked by and said hi to me as she passed so I felt like that cemented my story. I excused myself and got out of there while I was still ahead.

Now I'm back to my room with my knitting and peanut butter cups, and I think life couldn't get much better than this.
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