Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Oh, Summer

It's still Summer in Iowa, despite the troubling lack of blog posts and the dwindling days until all our fellow students return.

But it's definitely still Summer.
In fact, yesterday we used the air conditioners for the first time: it was beautiful.
In other news, we've been keeping up our usual routines,

here are some beautiful dried cherry bran muffins I made a few weeks ago for our weekly Craft Time. friends came by and sewed and knitted with us, and we all ate muffins and scones (by Mallory, sadly not pictured) and drank tea from matching cups.

Moreover, with the intense heat we've been having, we've been trying to use the stove less and the oven almost never.
It's hard, I have a definite urge to bake some beer bread, but we've been coming up with more creative, no-cook dishes.
My favorite recently has been this quinoa and black bean salad from I added halved cherry tomatoes from our community garden. I'm in love with those cherry tomatoes-- in my life, I have never tasted a more flavorful tomato.

It rained, so it's cooled somewhat. As much as we love this Summer, we are looking forward to fall, which we anticipate to include leg warmers and homemade bread. Sounds about perfect.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

lazy lunch break

Oh, man. It's been a little while since the last post.

Unfortunately, I won't be addressing any of the promised upcoming posts. But I have been sewing things, reading books, and writing letters.

Today's lunch break was appropriately summery and relaxed - lots of laying around reading, chatting, and drinking coffee. After Sidonie left to work, I got some letter-writing done, on cute thrifted notecards with flowers and birds on them.

One of my latest sewing projects: something actually needed, a place to keep my pens and pencils.

I'm very pleased, and my zipper-installation skills are improving considerably. My first attempt, on a skirt, went less smoothly at first. The skirt and a french press cozy will be posted soon, maybe. Directions for the pouch came from Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing, which I love. Another project (a secret one) from that book is in the works.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

upcoming updates!


Soon to come, updates concerning:
-our newly-made clothes
-haircuts and hairdyes
-bicycling in skirts
-summer fun!!!!!
-pitchfork music festival this weekend in chicago, hurrah!

Friday, July 6, 2007

rhubarb love

I got some rhubarb from the farmers' market yesterday, and baked some delicious rhubarb scones.

Unfortunately, all I have is a mac-cam picture. The rhubarb pieces looked really pretty, though, sitting in the bowl coated in sugar. Jewel-colored and sparkly, kind of like those bead-encrusted fruits that some people hang on Christmas trees or put in bowls around the holidays.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

faire le pique-nique

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, the last day of June?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

delicious fajitas

The other night for vegan pot-luck we made seitan fajitas (with homemade tortillas, salsa and guacamole). they were amazingly delicious and I really liked this bright summery photo.

Mallory was the creative genius behind all this, as usual.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

crunchy hippie bag

A long time ago, probably right when I got my sewing machine, my little sister asked me to make her a big slouchy bag. I knew exactly what I was going to do right away - a version of this pattern from tiny happy with a remnant piece from Ikea and thrifted plaid that has been sitting around forever, with a freezer paper stenciled tree.

I drew and cut out the tree a long time ago, and finally got around to making the bag to put it on. I'm pretty happy with the finished product, even though I wish the straps were thicker, like the other bag I've made from this pattern.

Of course, it's not nearly as durable and practical as our trusty canvas-and-reflective-tape mailbags.

Monday, June 25, 2007

weekend project

Last Friday was a good day for crafts.
Among other things, thanks to the Make Magazine Weekend Projects podcast, I learned how to fuse plastic, and I put to good use some of the millions of plastic grocery bags the previous tenants left in the kitchen cupboard:

I'm really excited about the result.
So that's my new durable grocery bag, hanging in its place next to some of our aprons and my mother's cloth poster, Vignobles de France.

The rest of the weekend was spent trying to think of other uses for fused plastic, here's what we came up with:
Shower curtains (checkerboard pattern)
Grill cover for wet-weather grilling
Rain bonnet

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Grinnell Auto Club 34th Annual Vintage Auto Show

Mal and I walked over to Central Park for the auto show. We were impressed with all the Powesheik County license plates -- who knew there were so many charming cars in our neighborhood?
It was a sizeable event with rows and rows of cars, with cotton candy and t-shirts for sale, and some guy blaring The Beach Boys' California Girls as we walked down the row of 1950s pickups.
Perfect way to round out a good weekend of getting out of Grinnell (if only briefly), breaking our Moratorium on Spending, and seeing old friends.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Housewarming Party

One week ago, Mal and I hosted the housewarming event to end all (of our) housewarming events.
We cleaned, we showered, we dressed up, we entertained.
But more than anything, we cooked. A lot.

On the spread that night:

Marinated mushrooms, served with black and green olives

Chutney & cheese toasts with freshly made date/raisin chutney
and cherry tomatoes skewered delightfully with mozzerella and basil

Hummus, baba ghanouj (not pictured) and pita chips

Baked, cheese-stuffed pears (not pictured)

Chocolate truffles
and baked brie with walnuts, served with apples

Thai rice cake (my first time attempting it-- So. Good.)

also strawberries and mint champagne,

and gin & tonics and whiskey sours, too.

So basically it took a long time, and was totally worth it.
With the oven on pretty much all day, our house definitely was warmed.
And after a sligthly smaller brunch the next day, all the food was eaten.

This report was a little duanting. Now that it's out of the way, we will be able to produce more exciting entries, including updates on Mallory's sewing machine, which has been recently repaired to working order, and my red roadbike, lately rescued from College Security for a minimal storage fee.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

job perks

These flowers just started blooming near the railroad tracks. I picked one while I was walking my mail route. They might have been blooming earlier, but I didn't see them while I was whizzing by on my bike. I should walk more often.

My job is pretty nice. Mostly, I get paid to sit in the air conditioning reading books, magazines, and craft blogs, and three times a day I take a short walk around campus. While I was walking by today, a construction worker asked me if I was enjoying the (hot) weather. I said yes, and he said "I wish I were!" I'm glad that my job isn't lifting windows and pouring concrete, because I wouldn't be able to enjoy the heat at all.

And my boss baked us cookies. What a good day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Weekends at home

Mal and I each spent the weekend in our northern homelands.
As far as I can tell, she bought some great teas at the farmer's market and maybe went to a bookstore or something.
I went to my dad's retirement party, saw a lot of friends and family I haven't seen in awhile, and got away with only eating one brat the entire weekend. To be very honest, it was delicious.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Winding down week one

Things are definitely coming together here at apartment no. 1, the #1 apartment.

The living room is, bit by bit, getting clean. Yesterday we had tea and toast around the coffee table, which will become an end table as soon as we get a real coffee table. Either way, we're both in love with that table and those dishes, of which Mallory has a very complete set.

And meanwhile I've become obsessed with embroidery. I'm currently working on this little tree to hang on the wall, and struggling to slow down so I can enjoy it longer.
That's about it. I love this life.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Please Mr. Postman

I'm working in the college mailroom for the summer. I walk a mail route to the campus offices three times a day, but otherwise I sit in the mailroom all day, listening to the same horrible Top 40 radio station every day, which plays the same songs over and over again. I'm particularly sick of 'Girlfriend' by Avril Lavigne, so when it came on for the 30th time today, I'd had it. I turned off the radio, plugged my laptop into the stereo, and made this playlist. Every song is somehow tied to mail or letters.

Please Mr Postman - The Marvelettes
Letter From an Occupant - New Pornographers
Box Full Of Letters - Wilco
Letter From Belgium - The Mountain Goats
Tear Stained Letter - Johnny Cash
P.S. I Love You - Beatles
Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
Elevator Love Letter - Stars
Return to Sender - Elvis
Death Letter - The White Stripes
Lightning Strikes The Postman - Flaming Lips
The Letter - PJ Harvey
If She Wants Me - Belle & Sebastian
Another Postcard - Barenaked Ladies
Why Don't You Write Me - Simon & Garfunkel
Postman - Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers

Other suggestions are welcome, of course. I think this may have started a string of themed playlists. I had forgotten how much fun they are.

Oh...and I'm Mallory. The other occupant of this adorable apartment for the summer. I feel like summer in Grinnell is finally kicking off. Today I went to the farmer's market and bought herbs to plant in pots and put on our porch. Pictures of those will come soon. I also bought bread and jam, and ate it while listening to an oldies band, because Thursdays are Music in the Park days. For the rest of the summer, though, no buying bread. Once I master a good whole wheat sandwich bread, there will be no need.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Late May in Japan

So my Iowa Summer begins in Japan, really, where I'm spending a too-brief two weeks. this picture comes from an section of park, kind of a pen, really, enfenced to keep the giant green rubber balls from rolling away or being carried off by a band of gaijin hooligans like us.
after the park we took off for a few days of camping in the mountains.
absolutely wonderful.
summer goals accomplished: none.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Summer Goals

Summer Goals
1. Bake our own bread
2. Make our own ice cream
3. Lay in the sunshine
4. Bike to Rock Creek lake; repeat #3
5. Create pretty things
6. Drink black coffee from matching cups, despite the Iowa heat