Archive for February, 2008

Flower Room

Posted by laura on Feb 22 2008 | Making

I’m sitting at the kitchen table, writing this post with my beautiful neighbor, who is 9. We’re going to tell you about the transformation of my daughter’s bedroom, which is being turned into a garden room this week. The first step was to pick a new color. Ten years ago, when my husband and I bought our home, we painted this particular room a cheery yellow. Now it is leafish, as my neighbor says. 

 Here’s the masking and early cutting-in…

room1.jpg

room2.jpg

As always, the prep work takes WAY too much time. But we had fun – two solid days of prep and painting, and we had a lovely new green room. Then we thought it would be pretty to paint some leafy shadows on the wall. A little hard to capture with the camera, but here are some attempts:

room3.jpg 

room4.jpg 

My friend says that with a little bit of work, it’s getting prettier! She thinks that “transforming it into a beautiful garden room is a great idea,” and that “it does work.” Hooray!

More updates to come… 

4 comments for now

Hot Wheels

Posted by laura on Feb 21 2008 | Uncategorized

My latest favorite nickname for our 4 year old is Ricochet. It’s such a dashing yet accurate name for this guy – particularly since he stopped using training wheels about six months ago. But the other day he informed me that his nickname is NOT Ricochet. It’s Hot Wheels. (Also apt, seeing how completely devoted he is to his hot wheels collection and to cars of all makes and models.)

So today, Hot Wheels told me, “I love you from always to New Mexico.” Which, as you know, is kind of a lot. 

no comments for now

New Wheels!

Posted by laura on Feb 21 2008 | Bicycle

Last weekend we went up to Petaluma to scout the consignment stores for a nice old cabinet or armoire for our art/guest room, and we came home with this!

rockymtn1.jpg 

Nice armoire, eh?

So how exactly does this happen? How do you head out for a nice old armoire and come home with a shiny new bike with internal hub gears and disc brakes? Particularly when the type of bicycle you’re pining for looks something like this?

_electraamsterdamclassicgr.JPG

(Electra “Amsterdam” series bicycle photo courtesy of bikeportland.org)

Well, here’s how it happens. First, you try to find an Amsterdam style bicycle here in the US and find that they’re just a tad more expensive here than there. Next, you go on a scouting trip for a completely different item, in charming Petaluma, California. You stroll down Petaluma Blvd and wander into the Sonoma Bicycle Company, just out of curiosity, and ask them if they carry any bikes that would work nicely with, say, an xtracycle. Turns out they do have a great bike that looks like it would work well for your daily commute with the kids, and will you look at that? It has all kinds of nice additional perks, like the aforementioned gearing and brakes, as well as fenders for those rainy day rides. Then you decide that it’s a great bike and you really like it but it’s still more than you can spend, so you thank the great guys at the shop and move along. At this point things get good – they send someone out after you to chase you down and tell you that they’ll sell you the bike for a ridiculously fantastic price!

And that’s how an armoire gets turned into a brand new bike. 

rockymtn2.jpg 

 

 

1 comment for now

Bicycle Love

Posted by laura on Feb 18 2008 | Bicycle

My good friend Amy from mom go green included a great link in her comment to my working bike post. The blog she linked to is Copenhagen Bicycle Chic, and it’s a site I visit regularly for biking inspiration. Here is a city that knows how to bike. Certainly not the only city – there are plenty of places in the world where the bicycle is actually viewed as a very reasonable form of everyday transportation. But shoot – these folks have some style! You have to check it out. There’s more bike greatness to be found at The Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog

Here in Marin, where I live, there seems to be some unwritten rule that you cannot possibly hop on your bicycle without a minimum 95% lycra content to your clothing, not to mention loud endorsements printed all over said clothing. So I get great pleasure from photos of people around the world, riding their bikes with umbrellas, high heels, building supplies, pets – you name it. Why not put some style in your ride?

Some of my other favorite bike fashion/attitude sites are:

The Sartorialist’s bicycle section. I’m no fashion plate, but I love seeing people who have a great sense of style. This hugely popular blog posts photos of people with terrific style, and it’s fun and inspiring even for someone like myself who is not really connected to the fashion world at all.

The Velocouture pool over at Flickr is good fun too. Just folks on bikes – but again, with less spandex and more style!

There’s a family in Seattle that keeps a great blog called Car Free Days, and I love their family biking attitude. Now that I (finally!) have an order in for my own xtracycle, I get lots of inspiration from this family – you should check out how nicely they tricked out the Mum’s bike. It’s beautiful!!

And finally, here’s a photo that should really inspire us to think about our car/bicycle ratio. It’s from, surprise surprise, Amsterdam – courtesy of a great bicycle parking post on the David Baker + Partners Architects website. Check out this parking garage:amsterdam_bike_garageproject_large.jpg

NOW we’re talkin. 

4 comments for now

Lego Love

Posted by laura on Feb 15 2008 | Making

Despite having a veritable valentine production agency in our house for the past week – we made over 50 of them between our families, schools and teachers – do you think I have a photo to share? Nope. Someone should fire the production line manager. Oh wait – that’s me. Hm.

So for want of any nice hearts and flowers to share, I thought I’d post a little lego love.lego2.jpg 

We’ve been the extremely lucky recipients of a wide assortment of lego – from gift kits to yard sale finds and hand-me-downs. So much so that we have one of those storage ottomans filled with the best collection of lego bits – any random handful can bring up a bunch of standard blocks, plus a fuselage, a window, an astronaut, a knight’s shield, three kinds of wheels and that little grey piece of undetermined lineage. Hours of entertainment.

2 comments for now

Livingstones

Posted by laura on Feb 11 2008 | Great design

For far too long, I have been (not so) secretly coveting these amazing felted furniture pieces called livingstones.

livingstones1.jpg

 They’re just the most beautiful things – like oversized stones from the beach. Foam inside and felted outside, they range in size from sofa down to basketball. I just love the look of them and only wish they weren’t quite so expensive.

Check them out at livingstones - but be prepared to fall into a profound state of longing. The photos on the site are gorgeous. Wouldn’t you just love to make a pile of these in a corner of your house and jump in? All the benefits of a good leaf pile without any of the prickles!

1 comment for now

Scones & Stitches

Posted by laura on Feb 10 2008 | Knitting, Tasty

Some things get better with age, and a good cookbook has got to be one of those things. I always fall for an old cookbook that’s worn, has a few stains, and is filled with notes on the pages like ‘double the spices’ or ‘less sugar’ or ‘blech!’ (I know what you’re thinking – ‘less sugar??!’) At some point the cookbook almost becomes a journal, and I often wish I had cookbooks like that from my grandmothers. I would just love to know which recipes they relied on and which seemed crazy to them. It would be such an interesting glimpse into their lives.

About ten years ago, Mum gave me a King Arthur cookbook (the 200th anniversary one) and it is one of my go-to books. I appreciate the approach they took; really delving into ingredients and methods to help the reader develop beyond the recipes into a more intuitive baker. My copy is certainly well loved – a few of the pages are threatening to pop out, and there are certainly plenty of stains and notes and bookmarks. I may not be a truly intuitive baker yet, but I’ve certainly learned a great deal.

One of my favorites is the basic scone recipe, which is widely open to interpretation.

scones.jpg

These are Saturday morning orange raisin scones. The change here is that instead of buttermilk, I sour the milk with half a cup of fresh squeezed orange juice and half a cup of milk, with an egg mixed in. Doesn’t that sound delicious? With orange zest mixed in as well, it gives the scones a great flavor.

Also on deck for the weekend was my first foray into a light and lacy kind of knit scarf. Here is a silhouetted picture of questionable quality:

scarfsilhouette.jpg

The recipe is from Joelle Hoverson’s Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and although I didn’t get a shot of the final product, it has a great cobwebby feeling to it when it’s done. For some reason, my brain constantly misfires when I try to refer to a knitting pattern. I always, always say recipe first and then think, hmm that’s not quite right. But what is the difference, really? They both give you ingredients and instructions and timing. I’m a fairly new knitter, so I’m wondering if people’s knitting books ever end up like their cookbooks, with notes and creases and loose pages? Maybe less crumbs – although there’s a knitting group that meets at the Starbucks up the street from us, so the crumb factor might be pretty much the same for them!

2 comments for now

Working Bikes

Posted by laura on Feb 07 2008 | Bicycle

working bicycle 

Check out this great working bike. No matter how many little comments a certain person in my household makes about its cranky gears or its general age and infirmity, I still love it. It was a super cheap San Francisco Bicycle Coalition bike swap find, and we have become fast friends. Now that everyone in our family is riding solo, I’ve taken the child seat off the back, and I think it’s really working that dashing new silhouette. (Also, it no longer sounds eerily like the rattling overhead cargo bins in an ancient 737 as I taxi down the bike path!)

I took this shot at the end of a great bike commuting day. We dropped the first child off at elementary school. Doubled back to drop off the second child at preschool. Rode downtown to work. At the end of the school/work day, picked up first child, rode to grocery store. Both cyclists brought in bike baskets to shop with and pack up the groceries in – somewhat bewildering the perpetually grumpy bagger. (Every grocery store has to have one official Grumpy Bagger. Hey – that would be a good name for a band!) Stopped for a snack break. Then picked up second child from preschool, rode home, took picture.

See how noble this bike is? Groceries and all. Don’t tell it that I’m planning to buy a new bike. I don’t want it to feel threatened, because I still love it.

Here is a look at Ricochet’s bike:

redbike3.jpg

Check out the mud on the back of that thing. Now close your eyes, and visualize the racing stripe up his back! 

2 comments for now

Mardi Gras

Posted by laura on Feb 07 2008 | Making

We had some young friends over on Tuesday, and we decided that as it was Mardi Gras, it would be very wise of us to make some masks. 

Here they are:

mask1.jpgmask2.jpg

mask3.jpgmask4.jpg

Looks like that last mask spilled its wine all over the table before the photo shoot, doesn’t it? You’ve got to keep a close eye on those Mardi Gras masks. They’re party animals.

Everyone had a wonderful time putting these together. They had an even better time when I told them we were having pancakes for dinner! 

 

no comments for now

When Life Gives You Lemons

Posted by laura on Feb 05 2008 | Tasty

This weekend, my lovely neighbor Joan gave me some lemons from her tree. These lemons were gorgeous. Please see Exhibit A:hands holding lemons

(Let the record show that my above statement refers only to the gorgeousness of the lemons with no stipulation as to the quality of the fingernails.) The lemons were so lovely, I thought long and hard about what would do them justice. Then it hit me – I would make lemon bars to take to the superbowl party we were attending that afternoon. Excellent! It would be a no brainer – I’ve made lemon bars, oh, at least 18 times before and they were always perfect.

Well, it pays to brace yourself for the worst. I grew up right outside of Boston, so this comes as second nature to me, although it never seems to sting less just because you knew better. I thought they were a little wiggly looking when I finished baking them, so I gave them an extra five minutes. Plus I let them cool completely in the pan – just took the whole thing over to the party and cut them there. Well, the word ‘cut’ is a little bit of a stretch in this case. I scooped a couple out and left the rest in the pan in dismay. Here’s the thing, though – lemon pudding is pretty tasty!

lemon bars.jpg

(If this bar doesn’t look soupy to you, it’s just because it has had two days to try and get its act together.)

no comments for now

Next »