22 April 2009

nyc:: the folk art museum

On my second day in New York, my parents and I took a little trip down to the Folk Art Museum near Lincoln Square. It's a tiny museum that I've been to many times before. When I was younger and needed a present for my mom for something, my first stop was always their gift shop. And now, she volunteers there (volunteers get a big discount, it's not hard to figure out why she picked up this gig) and she wanted to show me an exhibit they have on quilts inspired by Jazz and Blues music. The quilts were really impressive (no photography was allowed, you'll have to go see them for yourself!) and definitely inspired me in my goal to make a quilt this spring.

The gift shop is pretty great too. There's a lot of handmade items, many from recycled materials, and many items are made in other countries. I'll admit that since my mom started volunteering there, my collection of items from this shop has grown exponentially. The most recent addition being an amazing pair of hand crocheted earrings (I couldn't find them on the website) that were made in Nepal, I think.

I'll have a few more NYC photos to share tomorrow, before I leave for my next trip on Friday!

21 April 2009

nyc:: in black and white

Thanks for all the Schiller's love! Glad I could introduce some of you to that spot, you should all check it out if you're in the neighborhood! Here are some more photos from the trip. This was my first time (since my photography class in eighth grade) that I've used black and white film and I really liked it. There's definitely some figuring out to do, so if any of you have any tips--especially on shooting indoors, many of those photos were way overexposed!--I'm all ears.

When I was showing Jared these photos, he looked at the one of the men playing chess in Union Square and said "why is it that black and white makes everything look old?" It's so true. After I loaded this film into my camera, I kept finding myself in situations making me wish that I had color film in the camera (especially at the Alabama Chanin trunk show). Jared informed that this means I need to carry two film cameras- one with black and white and one with color. I suppose it's a good thing I have such a big bag now! (To be honest, most of the time in New York, I was carrying three cameras- my film camera, the lomo, and the polaroid spectra...my shoulder got a good workout!).

I have added some new Mother's Day, and other, cards to the shop today. Sorry I didn't get to it last night. Thanks!

20 April 2009

nyc:: at schiller's

Wow! Two posts in one day! I think this is a first, for sure. Don't forget to check out the shop :)

I'm not even sure how to begin sharing photos of my trip to New York, I have so many, and at this point I'm starting to think that I'm going to return from my next trip (I leave for San Francisco this Friday) before I finish posting all my photos from my last trip! Clearly I didn't account for film developing time when I was planning my trips :).

Schiller's is a restaurant on the Lower East Side that my mom and I have gone to a few times now, and I really love it. It's an old liquor bar and has an excellent vibe to it. My mom joked that she was the oldest person there, but hey...she was the one who told me about in the first place! We usually go for lunch on a weekday, when it's not very busy, but I'm sure it would be packed on the weekends. The food is good (I had an insanely rich mac and cheese), and the atmosphere is great.

It doesn't hurt that it's just a few blocks from MooShoes, meaning that lunch at Schiller's is pretty much always accompanied by a new pair of shoes! I have to admit that, even though I needed a new pair of sandals (which I got, thanks mom!), I really wanted to go to Schiller's so I could take photos of it. I snapped a couple more on the lomo, which I haven't developed yet, but I love how these turned out.

You can see more of my NYC photos here, I'll continue uploading them throughout the week.

shop update!

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had sunny beautiful weekends, I know I did. On Saturday, I got my hands dirty for the first time this season in my garden! I haven't planted anything yet, but we had our annual spring clean up at the community garden and it was awesome. Lots of new and old people came out and we worked together on this amazing community space. I'm really looking forward to my garden this year, I do think it's going to be my best yet!

So, the shop is updated with a LOT of stuff (these little sneak peeks are seriously just a fraction of what's there!). I know that a lot of people are struggling out there or are at least saving their pennies, I think we all are. I always try to make my goods affordable, while still valuing the materials and time that go into creating one of a kind, handmade items. In light of the economic situation (and my overwhelming inventory!), I've put quite a lot of goods on sale, so be sure to check out the sale section (which is chock full of coasters, utility aprons, and bags) as well as the other goodies.

Any purchases made today will be accompanied by a special extra little goodie. Also, just a note that any purchases made after this Thursday (4/23) will not be shipped until Friday, May 1 (I'll be out of town) so keep that in mind if you're thinking of Mother's Day gifts. I can always gift wrap and/or ship to someone as a gift, just let me know. (Note: I will be uploading more Mother's Day cards later, around 7pm CST). As always, let me know if you have special requests, I'm happy to work with you.

Thanks, as always, for all your support and encouragement. Have a great day!

16 April 2009

a little shop talk

Here's another take on the simple clutch I made a few weeks ago. This was inspired by the contrasting pleat in my bag that I also made a few weeks ago, which, by the way I've been seriously loving! For some reason, I did not envision how asymmetrical this design would turn out, but I'm so excited about that feature of it. Literally, while I was making it last weekend, I actually got kind of giddy about how it was turning out and said out loud "wow, this is going to be so cool." (I think Jared thought I was a little weird, not the first time, I'm sure) It became something I hadn't expected and I really love that.

I've been feeling very overwhelmed ever since I got back from New York and have been surviving off of many many lists (the fact that I'm going out of town again in a week isn't helping that, but it'll be great) so I'm going to finish the rest of this post in list form...

::There are three of these pleated clutches, along with a bunch more goodies over at the new i like you shop, which is having their grand opening next Saturday, April 25...for all of you local folks. I will, sadly, not be in town for it, but I highly recommend checking out their new space- it's super sweet!

::I will be having a little Mother's Day shop update next Monday. This clutch will be included, along with some cards and other goodies that all of your moms will love. I will also have a bunch of items on big sale since I've decided that it really is time to clear out some items so I can start fresh, so be sure to check out the shop next week. Also, I'll include a little extra goodie for anyone who places an order on Monday, just sayin'. I may pop in over the weekend with a few previews...

::I have some more spring goodies in store for the shop, that may or may not make it into Monday's update (and possibly for a craft fair next month...) so stay tuned for lots of shop excitement soon!

::I will be starting a shop mailing list to let you know when I'll be updating the shop as well as when I'll be participating in craft shows or other events that you might want to know about. If you're interested in signing up, send me an email at juliaedavidson[at]gmail[dot]com, just check the sidebar.

Okay, I guess that wasn't a very long list at all. But hey, it's almost Friday!! I've got some fun plans for the weekend, so I'm excited. Jared will be out of town, but I'll be doing a big clean-up at my community garden on Saturday, then hitting up the Textile Center Garage Sale (third year in a row, woot!) that afternoon. Sunday, I'm hoping to get some major sewing done (maybe a new skirt for my trip? possibly a quilt back completed? oven mitts? more shop goodies? the possibilities are just endless!). What are your plans for the weekend?

15 April 2009

it's getting a little warm for a cowl

So, it was sixty-seven degrees outside this afternoon. And amazingly sunny. It's perfect spring weather. Seriously. So naturally, I'm going to write about my new wool cowl. What am I, insane? I should be writing about summer skirts and my new sandals, and garden planning! Actually, this beauty is perfect for the morning bike rides, even though I know it'll be summer before I know it. Another plus of recently finishing this cowl, is that it'll be all ready to be worn once fall comes around. Yes, I was planning ahead, exactly.

I bought this beautiful yarn from a local artist back in December because I just couldn't resist, even though I had no idea what I was going to do with it. The skein was huge--560 yards! I actually contemplated making a vest, but I figured I would end up just a tad short. I finally decided on a cowl, and found this super fun pattern on ravelry. I had never done bobbles (she calls them bubbles in the pattern, but I like bobble better) before, but they were super easy. And I utilized my handy new skill of making cables with no cable needle. Seriously, I don't think I'll ever go back.

I finished this one up on the plane ride to New York, and have worn it a bunch of times since. It's the perfect length- long enough to pull up over my face a little, but not too long that it gets too bunchy around my neck. It also holds close around my neck, so it actually keeps me warm. And the yarn? SO yummy to work with, and to wear. I love the color and it is super soft. I think I only used about half the skein, so I'll need to figure out another project for the rest of it!

Pattern: Bubbles and Cables, by Birgitte Zeuner Yarn: Aisha Celia Designs, Ginger (worsted weight) Needles: Size 7 circulars (note: the pattern calls for dpns, but I found those way too annoying here and after many dropped stitches, switched to circulars. There is no need for dpns) Modifications: none! this was an excellent pattern

{on ravelry here}

14 April 2009

dipped in chocolate is good

Hello everyone! That was a nice break. I got back from New York last Friday, but have just been feeling quiet since then. Actually, I've been busy, lots and lots of crafting going on here, but I'll show you later this week...

For now, a recipe (what else?!). Tomorrow is the last day of Passover, by far my favorite holiday. There are many reasons why I love this celebration...the values that it instills to welcome the stranger and fight against oppression, the obvious application of the story to modern day social justice causes, and of course, the food. Most Jewish holidays have specific foods associated with them, often with strong symbolism. For example, charoset (a mixture of chopped apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and red wine) is supposed to represent the mortar that the Israelite slaves used to build the pyramids in Egypt. For Hanukkah, we eat fried foods, such as potato pancakes, to remember the oil that was only supposed to last one night, but instead, by miracle, lasted eight. As I write this, I realize that the recipe I'm sharing today has no symbolism that I'm aware of. But it is damn good.

Macaroons. It's possible that this recipe might be the first non-vegan recipe that I've published here. A few years ago, when I lived in Berkeley with the aforementioned tiny kitchen, I decided to host a Passover seder. My parents flew out from New York, Jared was there, my brother, cousins and aunt, along with about eight other friends of mine all joined in. I borrowed tables, chairs, plates, bowls and silverware from my friend's uncle. We moved our large plants
(we had a lot) and some of our furniture out of our living room (where the meal was to be held) and onto the balcony outside the apartment. I compiled, printed, and bound my own version of the Hagaddah.

This was a big deal for me. It was the first major holiday that I was hosting, and it was the second time that my parents were meeting Jared (the first was shortly after we started dating, so this seemed more important). I spent weeks preparing. Planning
the menu, researching recipes at the library, and testing out new dishes. My parents were semi-appalled that I planned to have a vegetarian (and mostly vegan) seder, but I was determined. Macaroons were always a cookie that my mom had made from scratch, but many people had only had the kind from a can (which are good- in their own, weird, canned, way). It's quite a simple recipe, really, and I was convinced that I could make it vegan, as I had done with a few others already. Twice, I attempted to use agar agar as an egg white replacer, with disappointing results. As I was about to attempt it a third time, Jared told me that he hates coconut. Oh. Well, then screw the experiments. This recipe is one that I'm just going to leave alone and enjoy the way it is. Some things are just not meant to be messed with (though I'll admit that the part of me that loves a challenge is still dying to figure out how to make these vegan, even if Jared won't ever eat them).

A note: instead of dipping these in chocolate, my mom always mixes 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips into the batter. I like that, but never remember to buy mini chips, and regular sized ones are just too big for the batter to hold together around them. And, after dipping them in chocolate this time, I don't think I'll ever go back.

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
3 small egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (for melting)

Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a bowl. Drop by 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. They will not expand, so you can put them pretty close together. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tips begin to brown. Cool before removing from the pan. While the macaroons are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once they are cool, dip the tops in the chocolate and set aside to allow the chocolate to harden. The macaroons will stay chewy with a crispy outer layer for a few days. Enjoy!

03 April 2009

five senses friday

taste:Link-ginger bread cake (recipe from Voluptuous Vegan...I'm too lazy to type it up right now, maybe I'll share it next time!)

-freshly baked bread as i use up the last of my bread dough before my trip (since i won't be able to eat it when i return...passover)

-more and more birds chirping
-the voice of an old friend i haven't spoken to in months

-cold air and sun all at the same time
-muscles that haven't been worked in a while, as bike riding season returns

-lots of piles and lists of clothes and other things for my trip to new york
-ducks, in the lake in the park, and the swamp by my house

Just a couple of quick notes...
::Thanks again to Abby for hosting this fun way to end my week! (Check out the comments on her post to see all the other people playing along)

::I'm headed to New York early tomorrow (7am flight, ugh!) to spend a few days with my family and friends and celebrate Passover. I'm not sure if I'll be posting at all, but if I'm not, you'll know it's because I'm having too much fun :)

::Lastly, thank you so much for all the nice comments about my bag. I had a couple of requests to make some for the shop. I do not have any plans for that right now, but I do accept custom orders so if you are interested in something, please send me an email: juliaedavidson[at]gmail[dot]com and hopefully we can work something out!

01 April 2009

at little t's

I've been really inspired by Abby's blog pretty much since I discovered it. One of the things I love the most is when she shows off different places around Portland that she loves going to. These little sneak peeks always feel like little vignettes and I finish reading wanting to check these places out in real life. I've tried to take more and more photos documenting the places that Jared and I go around Minneapolis. Now that I've had this blog for over two years, one thing I really like doing is going back and reading the archives to see what I was up to a year or two ago. Especially since I started this blog only a few months after I moved to Minneapolis, I feel like it's such a great documentation of my time here so far.

One thing I love about photos is the reminder of something special that they provide. It's not necessarily the subject of the photo that might be the something special, but whatever the photo is usually sparks a memory of something that may have happened just before or after the photo was taken. The first time I realized this was after a summer trip I took to Nepal when I was 16. While there, the group I was with worked on an erosion prevention project, building a fence at the top of a steep hill that surrounded a lake. We had to carry buckets of pebbles up the side of the hill and we did this (the traditional way) by attaching a strap to the bucket and putting the strap across your forehead while the bucket was behind your back, so you're using your neck strength. I have one photo of me and a friend with our buckets, almost to the top of this very steep hill, and I'll always remember that immediately after the photo was taken, my friend tripped and dropped his bucket and then we laughed as we watched all the pebbles tumble down the side of the hill.

But back to Minneapolis...One place that we used to go to a lot is Little T's (it's actually called Little Tijuana, but it was introduced to me as Little T's and I've never been able to call it anything else). Little T's might be the most inauthentic Mexican restaurant I've ever been to. It's greasy, has insanely tacky decorations, provides paper tablecloths and crayons to diners of all ages, and the bill is always accompanied by a handful of tootsie rolls. I first got to know it as an after bar spot, but it gets pretty crazy around 2am (when the bars close here), so we kind of stopped going (plus we're not usually up at 2am anymore, and if we are, we usually choose to just go home and go to bed than go get food).

Nowadays, we usually end up there when we're out doing errands on a weekend and realize that it's 3pm and we still haven't eaten lunch and we're both crabby and need something greasy! I took these photos back in January (hence the leftover holiday decorations) when we were still looking for a dog (life pre-Freddie, it's so hard to remember now!). We had just gone to two different rescue events and left empty handed. I was feeling especially disappointed and we had a little re-grouping lunch out before heading back home. I really like how these photos turned out (especially the one of Jared, maybe my favorite portrait of him yet) and now I'll always have a little snippet memory of that day.

{PS: Speaking of Abby, I'm really excited to be sponsoring her blog this month, head on over and check it out. And be sure to check out the other amazing sponsors too}