Blog Archive for 2009

12/29

paint

12/11
I’m in the studio painting again today, listening to the radio and watching another storm front come in. I think this is my favorite part of my job: pulling all the abstract ideas and inspirations together and watching them turn in to a new group of prints. Today I’m working on travel and city-scapes… hopefully I’ll get to share them soon! The main challenge is not getting distracted by all the other holiday and house things I feel like I should be doing. I can’t believe it’s already December 11th! I always get so busy this time of year that I don’t get to fully turn my attention to the holidays until, like, Christmas Eve. And this year there are house projects in the mix, too. We’ve been burning the midnight oil trying to get some of them done, though. Here’s our updated project list:
-build a new trellis
-put up chair rail and crown molding in living room (nope, still not done)
-re-tile the kitchen where the microwave/hood was removed (not to code)
-line blanket closet with cedar
-paint the bedroom
-remove the bathroom vanity
-paint the bathroom
-install new vanity
-build a shed
-insulate and sheetrock the attic
-level the yard
-garden!
You may notice that the bathroom vanity has been removed, but we haven’t gotten around to installing the new one yet. Yeah, that’s been a bummer. Turns out, the one we liked (and bought) has a plumbing mechanism that’s incompatible with our water hook-ups. And I thought that would be the easy part. Silly me.
Osama “‘Sama” Moore, 1993 – 2009
I had to say good-bye, long distance, to my kitty yesterday. While the entire bird population of Minneapolis and vicinity is surely heaving a great tweet of relief right now, we will miss him terribly. He was an avid hunter (despite our efforts to keep him leashed and belled), squirrel chaser, catnip mouse lover, and sunny-spot lounger, with an independent spirit and a regal manner. Still, he found lots of time for cuddling and lap-sitting, and purred loudly when content. He was born to a feral cat in the back alleys of Uptown, Minneapolis, but was taken in by a friend one January night when the temperature dipped to -20. She couldn’t keep him, and she knew I was dying for a cat, so she passed him on to me. He was named for a friend of my roommate at the time (long before I was aware of the terrorist of the same name, just to dispel any rumors) who told me the name means “lion” in Arabic. It seemed fitting at the time, and he certainly lived up to it. After a long and cushy life, he succumbed to kidney failure, probably the result of his mad lust for corn chips. We will cherish his memory.

yellow

12/08

It never did rain yesterday, but was cold and cozy anyway. After a day of painting prints in the studio, Dave and I decided to take on the bedroom, and painted it a sunny yellow. I’m still getting used to the color, but it’s wonderfully warm and rich, and I think it’ll look really nice with the dark wood furniture. It’s been pretty funny getting up to speed on all these home projects – we now own paint rollers and extenders, grout spreaders, a miter saw (!!!)… even real spackle. Gone are the days of using toothpaste to fill picture holes.

The paint we used is Mythic from our local Ace Hardware, and I love LOVE it. It’s totally non-toxic with no VOCs, has almost no smell, and goes on nice and thick. It dries fast, too, which is a bonus. Plus, their graphic design is fabulous. Check it out for your next DIY paint job!

yellow

12/08

cozy…

12/07

… that’s how I’m feeling today. I woke up to the surprising news that snow is expected in the area today (I know, I know, I’m getting a big eye-roll from my mother and most other midwesterners, but it’s pretty rare for the bay area) and I’m having my morning coffee, listening to Vivaldi on the radio and trying to keep my toes warm. I’m working on a new collection of prints today, which means I get to stay in my studio and sketch and paint while it rains outside. Sounds like a good day to me!

We were out of cereal this morning, so I decided to use up the leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving pies by making my mother’s fabulous pumpkin bread. It’s actually her zucchini bread recipe (which I realized I promised to share in August and never did – oops!), modified for pumpkin, and it’s delicious. She makes huge quantities of it every year, along with cranberry-orange bread, and gives it to everyone she can think of. I wish I’d taken a picture of the pumpkins before I baked them, because they were so cute, but that kind of foresight has just been too much for me lately. Here’s the recipe:

Emily’s Pumpkin Bread

To prepare the pumpkin:
Use a small thumbelina or baking pumpkin, cut into quarters and cleaned of seeds. Turn pumpkin skin-side up in a baking dish. Boil water in a kettle and add about 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking dish. Cook for 2+ hours in a 350 oven, adding water as necessary, until pumpkin is soft and falls away from skin easily. Let cool and scoop out pumpkin. Process in a blender or food processor until smooth. Or you can just use the canned kind.

Ingredients:
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups pumpkin
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. clove
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix iin the order given. Pour into greased loaf pans and bake 1 hour at 350 Makes 2 loaves.

… and breakfast!

While I’m at it (and on the cozy theme), here are a few pictures from Thanksgiving that I meant to upload last week. We had such a nice time, and a delicious feast. We cooked all day, as well as a good deal of prepping the night before, and I was struck by how fulfilling it was to take the time to really focus on preparing the food and making a beautiful meal. One good way to honor and give thanks for the food that we are lucky enough to have access to.

Attention all sewists and craftivists! My friend Britt Bravo recently forwarded me a site from allpeoplequilt.com advertising the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge. I think it’s a really nice idea. They’re encouraging people to make pillowcases which will be donated to women’s shelters, hospitals, foster children and nursing homes. They’ve even included free downloads for pillowcase patterns. So if you have a little extra time over your holiday weekend… get sewing!

I’m finishing up a few last projects this morning, and then am starting on the ridiculous number of dishes that we’re making for dinner at our place tomorrow. Hosting Thanksgiving at our house is always dangerous: I hit the cookbooks, and before I know it I’m preparing 15 different dishes for 6 people. Total overkill. There are just so many gorgeous recipes I want to try, and since it only happens once a year… well. Here’s what’s on the menu this year:
-herb brined turkey
-creme fraiche mashed potatoes
-sweet potato casserole
-stuffed mushrooms
-wild mushroom stuffing (for the vegetarian)
-sausage and pecan stuffing (for the carnivores)
-root vegetable gratin
-creamed onions
-mama Stamburg’s cranberry relish
-cranberry sauce
-green salad with pomegranate and goat cheese
-pumpkin pie
-pecan pie
-dave’s buttermilk pie
Like I said, total overkill. This year I’m promising to keep it to 3 pies, though. Half a pie each sounds about right to me. I hope everyone has a great holiday, with much to be thankful for!

I have some exciting, non-house related news today – I just made the final color tweaks on my new collection of fabric, Monaco! This is a whole new process for me, because this time, rather than just designing the prints and turning them over to a fabric company to produce, I’m working with a mill to have the designs printed on organic cotton. I still have a lot of little details to work out, but it’s an exciting process and I’m learning a lot. It looks like the final product should be here and available for sale on my (reworked) website in May, which seems like a long way off, but (considering all that I need to get done before then) is really just around the corner. Yay! Here’s a little preview of the new line:

two weeks in

11/10

It’s now been two weeks, and we’re still unpacking. I can’t believe we have this much stuff! I’m at the point where I’m not sure I can take any more wandering around the house in search of the right box for whatever it is I’m looking for, and so have put on a little more “let’s get this over with” steam. It’s finally starting to look a little more like a place where people live, rather than a disaster area, which is giving me hope.

In addition to just unpacking and finding places for all of our belongings, we’re also getting a crash course in the responsibilities of home ownership. In the last two weeks, we’ve had the plumber here 3 times, 2 electrician visits plus someone to fix the furnace, the AT&T guy (twice – he had to fix some wiring), PG&E guy, plus various installers. We also had a nice housewarming present from Mother Nature: on an unusually windy day three days after we moved in, our front trellis collapsed into the street, carrying about 500 pounds of wisteria vine. We have yet to tackle that one, other than trimming about 2/3 off the top off the vine so that cars can pass on the road.

As daunting as it’s been, though, it’s also been fun. For someone who loves projects, this is a dream come true. Here’s a little peek at our current project docket:
-build a new trellis
-put up chair rail and crown molding in living room (nope, still not done)
-re-tile the kitchen where the microwave/hood was removed (not to code)
-line blanket closet with cedar
-paint the bedroom
-remove the bathroom vanity
-paint the bathroom
-install new vanity
-build a shed
-insulate and sheetrock the attic
-level the yard
-garden!

Here are a few photos of some of the neater areas of the house:

Well, the move happened this last weekend, and though my life is a chaos of boxes, our house is beginning to feel like home. It feels really good. There are a million little details to take care of, including getting our internet set up (thank you, Starbucks wi-fi, for this update), but it feels like it’s coming together. It’s been really sad to move out of our old place – so much good stuff happened there, so much life – but as we dismantled the familiar spaces and boxed our belongings, I started to feel like I could let go. I’ll miss our spot right in the middle of things, I’ll miss our neighbors and our lemon tree and the Arizmendi pizza and bakery around the corner. I’ll miss the political statements posted regularly on the marquis of the Grand Lake Theater down the street, and the farmer’s market on Saturday. But I’m sure we’ll find a lot of new things to love in our new neighborhood. I’m looking forward to getting everything settled so we can start exploring our new city.
No photos today – I think the camera is still in a box somewhere – but I’ll post photos of the new place as soon as we get a little more settled in. I hope you’re all having a good week!