Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Making pumpkin cookies again

I'm always open to suggestions, so I tried my hand at the cookies that Lydia recommended after my last foray into the pumpkin cookie world; that is, I made the Pumpkin Butterscotch-Chip Cookies from Chow, but I used chocolate chips as per Lydia's instruction.

They were pretty good, but I think I might be sick of pumpkin cookies. Both recipes were a little too cake-like (I know, how is that a bad thing?). Of the two, I think I prefer the first attempt, but that's because I'm a sucker for icing. If I tried this recipe again, I would use both chocolate and butterscotch chips to shake things up.

Even though I've had my fill, I should tell you that these cookies went over really well at the meeting for which they were made. I'm pretty sure more than a few of those in attendance came for the food and not to discuss car co-op business, and they left satisfied thanks to this recipe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Steve Martin and Me

I want to say several things quickly. Most of those things have something to do with Steve Martin and/or tentative plans.

First, I don't know what's up with Steve Martin. I want to love him, but I have a hard time making it happen. I didn't really like his over-the-top performance in 30 Rock last week. It was too much! Most of his recent performances have been too much! I remember loving him dearly, so Michael and I have tentative plans to watch L.A. Story to see if we can rekindle the feeling.

Second, I was thinking about The Jerk (starring Steve Martin) because Zoe and Dan were talking about it, and that reminded me of the song You Belong to Me. I tracked it down and I thought I would post the clip here because it's my dad's birthday and he loves this song too. Don't you want to gobble up Bernadette Peters? And what about the trumpet? And Steve Martin's reaction to the trumpet?

Finally, while I was looking for that song, I found this:

It looks like I'm going to learn how to play the ukulele from a teacher named boozelele and it's all thanks to Steve Martin. That's the tentative plan anyway.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Change of heart

Remember how I said I was done with posters? On Tuesday? I take it back. I was just reading the Dec/Jan issues of ReadyMade, and I came across some beatiful posters that are available for free (including the one by Nick Dewar, pictured here).

The posters address current issues in a style inspired by American Depression-era posters. You can see the originals in Posters for the People: Art of the Works Progress Administration.

Now I need to find something along these lines so I can put an end to the reign of the ineffective thumbtack.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No more posters

I love Todd Oldham. We've been looking for new things to hang on our walls, and I'm pretty sure I need one of his Felissimo plates to display in a shadow box. I'm fond of the bird, the kitten and the bun. I would love to buy all three, but I think they would clash.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I agree with Jen: the Ace Hotel is reason enough to go to Portland.

Zoe, Dan, Michael and I were in Oregon last week, and - if I may speak for them - the hotel was one of the highlights of our little trip (check out the Flickr photos for more proof).

Dan and Zoe stayed at the downtown hostel, but the hotel was our base, so they were able to enjoy most of the goodness of the Ace Hotel along with us: Zoe snuggled into the couches in the lobby with a cup of Stumptown coffee and planned her photo-booth escapades while Dan hunkered down with the other laptops (dang school work) at the plank table that overlooked said couches. Meanwhile, I danced around our room and Michael spent a few extra minutes in the shower because it was so spacious and lovely.

We loved the snacks in the room, even though they were a little bit pricey. We ate the beef jerky but managed to resist the draw of the $8 chocolate covered hazelnuts.

We also loved the room service options, but never took advantage of them. A thermos of coffee from Stumptown and a cheese plate from Clyde Common (not at the same time, obviously) is in the cards next time around.

Finally, we loved the simple design of the room, especially the desk and the bed. We might even be inspired enough to make some changes to our own living space. A mattress on the floor just doesn't seem right anymore (it's not as bad as it sounds).

Yes. We loved the Ace Hotel. That said, we were also slightly troubled that it was able to target our tastes so well. But we were more pleased than troubled.

Guest post: Making thousands of little stitches

Here's what's on my plate this afternoon! I am keeping pretty good pace on finishing my first hand-stitched quilt in time for my mom for Christmas! Like many crafty things, hand-stitching is not hard, but it does require enormous patience. In order to achieve artful heights, I'm sure many years and millions of stitches are required. So here are a few stitches towards that goal!

Once you've got the quilt in the hoop, all smoothed out and ready to go, there are only a few things to think about: keeping the thimble on, and making sure that the stitches are as even and small as you can make them. The finished stitches are so satisfying and charming, if I do say so myself. Hand-stitching 'has a quality'. I feel just as conflicted as Alvy Singer saying that. I wish I could find the youtube clip to link here so that you know what I'm talking about. Sometimes youtube is NOT a friendly search environment. Homework for today: watch Annie Hall. Or read this (Scroll down to the tables)! Or close this window, dust yourself off, and do whatever you like! All will likely result in a super afternoon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Guest post: Making food with varying degrees of success

When I was uploading pictures of tonight's project, Margarita Cookies by my favourite internet lady, I saw how many other little episodes of recent kitchen activity I have documented to show you. Maybe there's a bit of a blogger in me after all.

Above you will see a loaf of bread that I made. It is not no-knead bread. I have eaten no knead bread that other people have made that I like, but my few attempts at it have been pretty hideous. So knead I did! It was fun, and this bread LOOKS good! It was, however, pretty flavourless. Toasted, yes. Not toasted, no. It's progress though, and I was happy with it over all. Rome wasn't built in a day, friends.

Next, pumpkin puree. I know. Cut up pumpkin. Boil with water until soft. Blend/process. TA DA! It was delicious though, and beautiful. But I didn't capture it's glory very well, so you get a cutting board picture. I used my puree partially for cookies, which Erin coincidentally ALSO made! See post before this one for details! We made the same cookies, completely coincidentally. I liked this. It was like running into each other by accident in outer space. What are the odds?

Which brings us to tonight! It turns out that my camera might be dying...what do you think? It's old, and I'm not too sad, since technology has really advanced in the last 5 years. etc etc etc. So anyway, the cookies! They are in the fridge right now firming up. There are a few steps involving refrigeration in this recipe, so I'm glad I read ahead instead of starting them after dinner, and getting the diss. I'll keep you posted on how they turn out!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ace Hotel Preview

I'm going to Oregon tomorrow! I'm excited for a leisurely weekend of exploring and staying at the Ace Hotel in Portland.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Making pumpkin cookies

After eating some pumpkin cookies with maple icing at Victoria's Pure Vanilla bakery last week, I tried to replicate them this week. The actual cookies were similar, but the icing was harder to copy. I have a hard time with icing, but I really like what I ended up with.

The recipe: Iced Pumpkin Cookie Recipe from All Recipies. I used the brown butter icing recipe in this post from Bakerella (except I used real maple syrup instead of maple flavouring). I think those Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies look pretty good too. Tentative plans!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Guest post: Making it across the finish line, as it were

I'm making a lot of things right now. I'm hand quilting for the first time! It's fun! I'm baking and finishing a second sock and that sweater is coming together. Not literally, but you know what I mean. I've been thinking about colour theory and sewing clothes. I've been thinking about that a lot.

I'll get to it. But not until after tomorrow night.