Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The office

I'm slowly adding personal touches to my office. The squirrel is the latest addition. I bought it for $3 at a church rummage sale that takes place near my work every Friday. I suspect it's meant to hold walnuts, but I'm using for things like hand lotion and lip gloss. One of my coworkers tripped out when she saw it because her grandma used to have the same container.

I was recently commenting to a friend about how small details can often pull a whole room together. That squirrel is certainly working his magic in my office. On a similar note, I need to take a photo of the bear lamp that has helped me reconnect with my bedroom. I seem to have a fondness for wildlife decor these days.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guest post: Making Strawberry Jam

And so another ambitious jam season begins. This weekend Marc, Erin and I headed out to Saanich to collect a piece of the spring/summer bounty. Strawberries were at the top of the list, although SunWing: I could not love you more.

So, jam! This winter/early spring, I really had to ration the jam I managed to make. This year, I hope to avoid this notion, or delay it, by making quite a lot more than last year.

I use a Nigella Lawson strawberry jam recipe with one major difference. I like her recipe very much (balsamic vinegar! no pectin!), but she doesn't process her jam in a water bath. A lot of the British recipes I've looked at don't bother with this. I can't totally abandon it though, so I process it for 10 minutes. It hasn't led to any problems with consistency or anything like that, and it makes me feel better, so I figure it's worth it.

I hope to seduce Erin with the ease and payoff of all of this.

I'm thinking I've got the payoff part in the bag, don't you?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Making Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Another trip to the farm called for another strawberry rhubarb dessert recipe. This time I made a Bowen family favorite. You'll see from the amount of sugar involved that it's easy to love!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Adapted from a recipe by Lorraine Bowen (my mother-in-law)

Put 2 cups of rhubarb, 2 cups of strawberries, 1 cup of white sugar and 2 tbsp of flour in a baking dish and toss. Combine 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 1/2 cup of room temperature butter and cover rhubarb mixture. Bake for 45 minutes at 300.

Design Inspiration

I've become addicted to the sneak peeks on Design*Sponge. The sneak peeks are photo tours of people's homes. They aren't just any people of course; most seem to be designers of one sort or another. I really like these recent peeks, in particular:

> Hannah Berman of Pie Bird Press (see photo)

> Nick Dewar of Nick Dewar Illustration

> Missi Pawlecki and Brian Caviness of Birds of Ohio

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Remember when I told you about my fondness for Swedish twee? I have another band recommendation: Suburban Kids with Biblical Names. I bought their album #3 from iTunes, and the word EXPLICIT appears in red text beside all of the songs in my library. It doesn't make any sense.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last but not least

Marc has added his photos to our wedding Flickr group, and they are beyond.

Making Strawberry Rhubarb Fool

I'm pretty sure there's nothing better than picking strawberries and eating the ones that are too soft to keep until later, the ones that are warm from the sun.

I picked a bowl of strawberries at Dan's Farm on Saturday, and after we froze some and ate some more, I decided to make the Strawberry Rhubarb Fool recipe from my Fresh cookbook.

The crazy simple recipe goes something like this: simmer a cup of chopped rhubarb with a half cup of water and a half cup of sugar for 20 minutes. Add a cup of strawberries for five more minutes. Blend. After cooling, fold into two cups of whipping cream that you whipped during the simmering. Cool some more.

The fool was super tasty, but I felt strange eating what is essentially a bowl of whipped cream; it felt both too indulgent and not indulgent enough. Next time I think I will serve it with a piece of angel food cake. I also wonder how it would work in an Icebox Cake, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to find out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

More autographs

Sarah and Lydia gave me permission to post photos of their David Sedaris autographs too. This experience makes me want to buy one of those autograph books to keep on hand for the next time I meet a notable person. Remember those books? I used to bring them to camp, and I think I still have a couple kicking around. I like the idea of collecting signatures.

If you're wondering why I have all of these photos of David's handwriting and none of the man himself, it's because he requested that no one take pictures. Some people didn't listen, but we did (our seats were too good to get away with anything).

David Sedaris in Victoria

The David Sedaris reading at Bolen Books was great. I'm glad I went early because I had a great seat, but if I had to go back in time, I'm not sure that I would wait three hours to get his autograph.

He tried to guess my sign: "Erin the Scorpio?"

I didn't know what he was getting at: "Is that a thing?"

Then he guessed Sarah's sign correctly. I'm always awkward with celebrities.

The Internet tells me that "Stay Asian" is one of his favorite slogans.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Are you anybody's favorite person?

Brie sent me this short Miranda July movie (starring John C. Reilly), and I need to post it here to make sure you see it too. Also, I like using my blog to make sure I remember things like this.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

More photoshop projects

I have a new blog banner (for those of you reading me on your RSS feed)! That other one was driving me insane, so insane that I couldn't make myself fix it for months. After some begging and gnashing of teeth, Michael has tentative plans to make me a new one that will feature some thought bubbles, but I figured that I needed something to carry me over. I can handle making an interim banner, yo.

I just wrote about our wedding invitations, another Photoshop project, at Things Worth Making. It's a computer project kind of day, I guess.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Making wedding invitations

While our wedding invitations were a true collaborative effort, Michael did all of the Photoshop tinkering. I hovered behind him though, which totally helped.

I came up with the concept for the front of the invitation. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was inspired by all of the letterpress artwork that I was checking out on Design*Sponge. I might have been thinking about the circus too. And maybe the golden ticket.

I wish we could have had long cards that read "INVITATION" instead of "INVITE," but we were limited by the size of envelopes we could find in town. We ended up buying gold cards and envelopes at Island Blue.

I'm all about taking the easy way out, so I was ready to print the cards at Island Blue too, but Michael decided to do it at home. This turned out to be a bit of a nightmare because our printer had a hard time figuring out how big the cards were, but it all worked out in the end (with minimal cursing). Most of the invitations were red on the front, but some were blue.

Because he's a glutton for punishment, Michael printed the envelopes too. They were cute, but I forgot to take a photo before we sent them away.

We decided to keep the invitation text simple, following the standard birthday party invitation format:

For: Michael & Erin's Wedding
Date: Saturday April 11, 2009
Time: Ceremony at 7:30, Cocktail party to follow
Place: Habit

To RSVP, guests were asked to send postcards from their city of residence. You can see a photo of how that turned out here.

We were able to keep our invitations simple because our wedding was so small; there was no need for a map or hotel information because we were in contact with everyone who was coming. Also, we didn't register anywhere, so we didn't need to worry about those details.

We didn't make our thank you cards, if you're wondering (we got some of them here), but that hasn't hastened the thank you card writing process. We have a lot of gratitude, but we also have a lot of distractions.

Back on the horse

I've been having a love affair with my bike this summer, even though we had a little relationship hiccup last week.

You see, I've been biking to work since April, and sometimes I even bike around at lunch. This is a photo I took during one such lunch break:

I road my bike to Dallas Road and read my book in the grass before snapping some photos. It's always great to get away from the office, especially when you live in Victoria, but then - all of a sudden - it wasn't so great. I had a bike accident in James Bay on my way back to the office.

This is the long and short of the accident (which I posted on Facebook last week):

"It involved an old lady and a car door and some very responsive breaks. I didn't hit the door, but I did flip my bike. I landed on my left side (my left cheek hit the pavement). Of course I was wearing a helmet, but it didn't help much."

I was stiff and tender for quite a few days, but I feel fine now, less than a week later.

After the accident, I took a few days to collect myself before I got back on my bike. I took this photo while exploring sans bike. I'm really into the rhododendrons this year.

I rode my bike to work yesterday and again today, and it feels right. I had a similar bike accident in Vancouver eight years ago, and I didn't get back on my bike for years. I didn't want that to happen again.

Maybe my love is stronger this time around.