Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Do me, Don Draper!"

(she seems to say)

Yes, that's me, new employee at Sterling Cooper. I am so ready for Mad Men to return. So, so ready. Meanwhile, this little application made my day.

As you requested, Stacey!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The one where I discover Charley Harper

Going through some blog backlog today, I discovered this entry on the Purl Bee about the arrival of the Charley Harper needlepoint canvases at the store. My those look nifty, I thought, maybe if I just google Charley Harper....OH MY GOODNESS.

Good thing it was a slow day at work cos I was just consumed with all things Charley Harper for a good thirty minutes. I mean, I sorta want all of these prints. All of them. Well okay, the one above, Upside Downside, is probably my favorite. I got a birthday coming up in a couple months and all. I'm just sayin'.

You know I had to find a polar bear one. Isn't it to die for? It's called Scary Scenario, although I'd much prefer he had called it something like Bestest Friends Ever. This one costs more than the Fryes, so it's out of the question. Sigh.

Mr. Harper did have a way with giving his works the most clever titles. The one above is called Last Sunflower Seed. Bwah! I love it.

I adore this one, called Gregarious Grosbeak, and it's one of his works that's been converted to needlepoint. They sell it at Purl but are currently sold out. If I had it though, I'd totes pick up doing needlepoint again. I haven't done it in ages, but I'm certain I'd be quick to remember. Seems like everyone in the world's mom taught them to sew as a child, but my mom was less on the sewing and more on the needlepoint when I was growing up. Wouldn't you agree mom? I can remember her teaching me how to do this and really enjoying it. And then I didn't so much miss the sewing bit.

I love how they're very modern, mid-century feeling, but still have this folksy vibe about them. They're quirky and charming and heavy on the birds and cats and dogs and raccoons and owls and I must have one. I must. This one is called Birch Bark & Birds.

Thankfully many of his prints, originals, lithographs, etc. are available for purchase. Do yourself a favor and go browse through them - I love them all so much I just can't stand it. They also have calendars. Maybe I'll treat myself to one later this year..

Charley Harper: Bam. Add it to the wish list.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Woman of the Year

Have you seen this movie? It has been collecting dust on my DVR, so today I finally got 'round to watching it. Of course it was so good, now I'm convinced I can't delete it. At least, not until I get it on DVD. I already want to watch it again.

It was their first movie together, their very first. The chemistry is really astounding. The dialog is genius (it's no surprise it won the Academy Award for best original screenplay). And it's all just so funny and smart and romantic. Just genius. And don't get all women's lib saying, "Why does she want to make him waffles at the end?" Just remember, this was 1942. Women were supposed to want to make men waffles.

I think, considering the movie is 67 years old, it feels incredibly relevant. And did I mention the chemistry? Yeah.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cover models

I was just reading about this book Chicle the other day, and though the idea of a book all about the history of gum is fascinating, what really grabbed me was its cover.

Oh my gosh, isn't it amazing? I want it blown up to poster size and put on my wall. It's SO GOOD. It didn't take much searching to find its designer, David Drummond. He even has a blog where he chronicles his book designing exploits, sharing his covers and some insight into their creation and what inspired them.

It's not something one usually thinks about, is it? Book cover design? This one was great. According to David, "The only stipulation was that concept had to feature a cigarette prominently." Naturally.

He also does some book catalog design. I love this image. Thanks for sharing your work with us David!

As for the boots, yes I decided to keep them, I was a little worried about how much I'd be able to wear them, what with my new work dress code (no jeans), but I'll just stock up on more skirts and corduroys for the fall. Plus, as several people pointed out, these are Fryes and will last forever. Anyway, I'm going to use the freelance paycheck I've got coming to me to pay for them. I deserve some sort of treat for cranking out those two projects. They were so not fun and at the time I would have much preferred to be doing something else. So in exchange: boots.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Boot survey

Dear readers,

I accidentally bought these boots over the weekend at the Nordstrom's sale. You see, a very nice saleslady tripped me, and I fell into them, and they looked so divine that I bought them. They are Fryes.

Should I keep them? Despite being on sale, they were very expensive and I am having buyer's remorse. Pls respond via comment.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Romanticizing camp

This time of year, I always start missing camp. Yes that camp. The good, old-fashioned summer camp. I have this weird romanticized obsession with it. Although I am totally not an outdoors, let's jump in a canoe, sit outside and get eaten by mosquitoes, type of person. I much prefer a summer spent on a beach. But in the rear view mirror, oh those camp days look fine.

I wanted so badly to scan some of my old camp pictures for this post, but unfortunately they're all in storage with the rest of my stuff pre-2002. So instead I'm gonna pull on an old fashion spread done for a magazine that is no longer, but that I once loved and worked for. This stuff never goes out of style.

Yeah, that's the one.

Of course I never looked that lovely and refreshed at camp. I spent my summers at this camp, in central Louisiana, and it was always hot as hell and we had no AC in the cabins and were in constant state of sweaty grossness. And we liked it that way.

Our days consisted of meal times and game times and a little bit of prayer times. Yeah, it was that kind of camp. I can remember getting daubed with paint on my cheeks to designate my team and then tearing down the hillsides in a bout of capture the flag or something similar to the sounds of "It's the End of the World as We Know It" blasting over the loudspeakers.

We made friendship bracelets like they were going out of style (um, they were) and wasted our afternoons playing four-square and gorging on junk food from the canteen. We went to dances and stood awkwardly in corners and we ended each day with milk and cookies in the dining hall. We bonded for life.

To this day I can't smell Pantene (especially Pantene in a musty, non-air-conditioned bathroom) and not think of my time there. Ah memories.

It's totally the wrong season for it, but all this talk of camp reminds me of my burning desire to one day own one of these camp blankets. The Pendleton Glacier National Park blanket never goes out of style. Add it to the wish list.

And of course at camp, I'd need a bandanna to wear 'round my neck or my forehead to keep the sweat at bay. These days, I'd pay homage to my dear sweet Astoria (and therefore Queens) with this uh-may-zing new bandanna from the great Etsy seller Hand Over Fist.

Oh my gosh, add it to the wish list. Now.

Meanwhile, who am I kidding? My camp days are solidly behind me, so instead I'll just settle in and listen to the "Notes on Camp" episode of This American Life again. It's probably my favorite. Well, one of them. There are so many after all.

Happy summer everyone!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

High on pie

I am so lime'd out right now. And yet I keep going back for more... Back in early May, I spotted key limes on sale at Newflower Market and decided I needed to tackle a key lime pie from scratch. Certainly, you can make a key lime pie with just regular limes, but I doubt it tastes as yummy.

The only downside to making it as intended? Those key limes are tiny, and you've gotta squeeze a heck of a lot of them to get the juice you need. Luckily they usually aren't too expensive. I think Newflower had them on sale for 20 for a $1? But that was a couple months ago (I'm a slooow blogger). What you really need to focus on is the patience in squeezing them all. And dang, it is so worth it.

I think this was the last slice. I'd already blown through most of it (and shared some with good friends) before I remembered to take a picture. As for the recipe, I just did some googling and found there wasn't a lot of variation in what goes into it. So here's the recipe I used, swiped from Epicurious:

Key Lime Pie

For crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from 9 crackers (yeah, I got the boxed graham crumbs - I'm all for saving steps.)
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh or bottled key lime juice (But don't use bottled. Short cuts are okay when it comes to graham crumbs, but not citrus juices in my opinion. This took me about 30 key limes.)

For topping
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake crust in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool in pie plate on a rack. Leave oven on.

Whisk together condensed milk and yolks in a bowl until combined well. Add juice and whisk until well blended (mixture will thicken slightly). Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven for 15 minutes. Cool pie completely (filling will set as it cools), then chill, covered, at least 8 hours.

Just before serving, beat cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Serve pie topped with cream. (Full disclosure, despite having some heavy cream on hand, I also had a half-empty thing of Cool Whip from when I made 'lazy man's strawberry shortcake' the week before. That's right, canned biscuits and Cool Whip were involved. So make the real stuff if you want to, but if you go for the frozen "whipped topping," I won't judge. The lime juice on the other hand...)

By the way, did I mention before that my oven seems to run a bit hot? A tad? Well, I bought one of those in-oven temperature gauges and it says that it runs one hundred degrees above what it's set at. No wonder everything's been burning! However, now I'm noticing that when the oven is totally off, that same temperature gauge says it's like 300 degrees in there. So I think it's broken too. Will the oven mystery never be solved? Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, it's no wonder that my latest and more recent lime creation is an icebox pie. Better to be safe than to be without pie.

That's what I always say.