Monday, June 30, 2008

Confessions of a polygamist crafter

My latest article posted over the weekend on CraftStylish: check it out here.

Beans revisited

July 4 weekend usually means a lot of barbecues and potlucks. If you are in need of an awesome side dish to go with your fancy-pants or down-home grillin', consider this recipe for my mom's baked beans. They are sublime.

I'll be making them for a cookout tomorrow night. Yum. Savory candy.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

That's a spicy (duck) meatball!

Today is my birthday, a big one, and it's been fun of love and joy. I went to New York for the weekend and spent time with my best friend Alison, my cousin Amy and her husband Paul, and my pal Ben. Last night, we headed to Perilla for dinner, as I wanted to blend my love of Top Chef, pop culture, good food, and good friends.

As Alison and I were prepared to grab a cab, the heavens opened up and wept. Or more accurately, they sobbed all over us. Cabbies laughed at us, I fell off the curb because the water level was higher than the curb and I couldn't tell where it met the street. Alison was drenched, while I, armed with an umbrella, stubbornly (and ultimately futilely) refused to give my hair over to the elements. We jumped on the subway and, after wandering around the Village for 20 minutes, found the restaurant.

All was soon well.

Please indulge a bit of navel (or piehole) gazing, as I run down my meal:
  • Gin and tonic (with some boutique gin), natch
  • Spicy duck meatballs with quail egg (Ben had risotto, Alison had the special: fois gras with cashew/banana mash and pomegranate sauce)
  • Hanger steak with creamed spinach and sunchoke purée
  • Alison ordered creamed corn and I helped myself to several spoonfuls of the insanely good side
  • Vanilla scented doughnuts with both Meyer lemon sauce and chocolate sauce (which Ben and I are munching on in the photo)
The meal was just perfection. There was no weak link. I often wind up wishing I'd ordered something else. That didn't happen here. The meatballs were perfectly spicy, the hanger steak was the most flavorful beef ever, and the doughnuts, oh my goodness, the doughnuts! I don't even like doughnuts that much, but apparently it's my new favorite dessert as evidenced by this post.

I can't wait to go back to Perilla, even though there were no Harold Dieterle sightings.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Musings from Philly

I've been in Philadelphia just over 24 hours and have had more gin & tonics than I've had all year.

My thought after the third G&T tonight with Melissa at Snackbar:

"Gin & tonics and pickles go together like peanut butter and chocolate."

I suspected I was brilliant. I knew I was happy.

Last night, I was downing them at Coquette with Sacha, Jared, and Brian. I was flirting with Bob the Bartender (same bartender, different bar, as when I tried to come on to the hired help three years ago). Brian, a gifted illustrator, whipped up a sketch for me on the paper tablecloth. Sacha is a brilliant photographer, as evidenced by her portrait of me and her other insightful photographs. Somehow, she managed to see inside my fabulous, mellow (read: drunk) soul.

Tomorrow, New York City. Jared helped me pick out an appropriate ensemble that will withstand four meetings all over Manhattan and a long train ride into Brooklyn.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The new ’do review

I couldn't deal with hair in my face any longer so I had Jeffrey Porter at Sean Statton Salon take a whack at my hair yesterday. He foxed me out with serious bangs and I love the results. What do you think?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Modern Knit t-shirts

When I was in Leavenworth a few weeks back, I hit up the charming Wooly Bully Yarns and bought the cutest t-shirts from Modern Knit. One is a classic mudflap pinup girl but she's knitting. The other, shown here, shows the fleece of a sheep, numbered in order of most to least desirable fibers. How cute is this?

You live for the fight when it's all that you've got

My day started off great. I got a cuppa joe at Caffee Ladro and noticed the trivia question on the chalk board.

Who is the drummer for Bon Jovi?

Child's play for a child of the 80s and a diehard Bon Jovi fan. I might win a free latte but who cares? My love of useless trivia and Bon Jovi blended together in one magical moment.

While I love JBJ, I also like Tico Torres.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I heart Value Village

Rob and I strolled around Capitol Hill last night and before we hit the bars, we rocked Value Village. While I passed on the yellow leather bomber jacket and the fake Dooney & Burke bag, I did snap up some craft supplies. A bag of spools and a bag of crochet and rug hooks (with a circular knitting needle thrown in) each cost $1.99. You can't beat that with a stick.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Enjoying small doses of summer

Seeing spots has not kept me from a vigorous social schedule. Along with Jenna, Joey, and Kate, we struck out for the Mariners game last night. While the Mariners are not exactly setting the world on fire, they did manage to take one from the Florida Marlins.

But what do I care? I just went for the food.

Seattlites assume that it's the garlic fries I beeline for. After all, it's garlic + fries. Nothing wrong with that equation. Some assume (because they can see into my soul) that I am dying for a Polish sausage. Good guess, as evidenced by this post. Oh, this one too.

But no, when I go to Safeco Field, I hurriedly walk around the concourse until I find Dixie's Barbeque. Dixie's started as a side business to a mechanic named Gene and quickly earned a following on the Eastside (Bellevue, to be exact). I don't get to Bellevue much so it's a real treat when I can settle down with a barbeque pork or brisket sandwich and get to work. Dixie's has the hottest hot sauce known to man and in fact, the sauce is called "The Man."

And yes, I've met the Man. And it was love at first bite.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A few pictures from gay bingo

Life's rich pageant was on display at Saturday night's prom-themed gay bingo (sponsored by the Lifelong AIDS Alliance). Jessica and I were smokin' hot, while poor Rob was peeved that he didn't win the blackout game.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

MRI? Let's get one!

As a few of you know, I've been experiencing weird spots in front of my eyes for nearly a week (let's call it an "aura"), which I finally realized aren't part of a low-grade migraine. After getting checked out my by G.P. and an opthamologist on Friday evening, I had to get an MRI this morning.

This sucked dead bear.

I wasn't claustro or anything but I wasn't able to turn it into a spa experience (which I always attempt to do).

The good thing was that, in the way Carilyn took care of me on Friday night (thanks, lady!), Jessica kept me giggling today. We have been doing "Kelly" impressions all weekend (if you haven't seen Liam Sullivan's shoes video on YouTube, check it out NOW), so it was only natural that, when walking through the basement of Swedish Hospital on a quiet Father's Day morning, we started joking around about the procedure (it beats thinking that I had a mini-stroke). So I really cracked up when Jessica said, "MRI? Let's GET one!" and I responded "This MRI is three thousand dollars. Let's GET it!"

You'll understand why this is funny when you see the video.

Jessica had the bright idea to go to House of Hong afterwards for dim sum. I think my fortune (see the photo above) is right on the money. It definitely knew what I wanted to hear.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Portland recap

Check out the lovely Michaela Murphy's recounting of our crafty spree in Portland here. It was a perfect day, down to the salty nuts we shared on the car ride home. (What Michaela left out of her piece, however, was the creepy clown I spied on a shelf at the Knittn Kitten.)

Family ties

As many of you know, I'm working on a book of outdoor crafts. Since I don't get out as much as I'd like, I've been asking friends and family to keep an eye peeled for feathers, pine cones, sticks, shells, etc.

My mom is a member of the funeral detail at her American Legion in Coloma, Michigan. She had wrapped up a funeral in my grandparents' cemetery so she went off in search of their graves. As she happened upon them, she also found a birds' nest laying on the ground. She made sure that there were no eggs or birds anywhere and brought it home for me. Maybe Grandma and Grandpa Hamlin are helping out as well...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My new summer necklace

I found this today in Portland at Redux, which is across the street from the too-cool-for-school Doug Fir Lounge and Jupiter Hotel. It was created by artist Stephanie Simek and I think it's gorgeous, delicate, and slightly disturbing. Happy birthday month to me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

While on the subject of my humble Michigan origins...

Check out this NPR story on my hometown that aired last week. A world-class golf course in Benton Harbor; is hell freezing over?

Rockin' graduation gift

Along with her mom, my high school friend Sheila (Go Lakers!) made this quilt for her son's (gulp) high school graduation. Isn't it gorg? She used Cody's jerseys and t-shirts for the quilt, which I'm confident will make him the BMOC when he hits the college scene.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Check me out on Craftstylish

I'm posting some blogs on Craftstylish. Check out my first post, where I talk about how my Myers-Briggs type keeps me from being really creative. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gorge-ing myself

I've been living it up in Southwestern Washington, hanging with my pal Ann and her family. Yesterday, after I had warned Ann that I was seriously out of shape (under-promise and over-deliver, as she likes to say), she took me to the Columbia River Gorge for a 4.6-mile (roundtrip) hike to Angel's Rest. The view was spectacular and, thanks to the Advil I had stowed in my butt pack, I made it almost all the way down before my knees locked up on me.

Today, was all about Portland and crafts, as we met with a couple of crafty authors for breakfast, hit several shops on NE Alberta (namely, Bolt, Close Knit, and Collage), and swung by the launch party for the latest issue of Craft magazine. I almost fell asleep in the chair when we stopped for pedicures on the way home.

Life is pretty great.

A sampling of my books