Friday, November 09, 2012

Brad Pitt, Furniture Design, and Housekeeping

Brad Pitt is designing furniture now. I like this table, though I'm not fond of glass tables in general. Unless I had someone on staff to wipe and dust it hourly. Sadly, I don't think the design would work so well in wood ... or with the pile of newspapers, books, bags, cups, and dishes that usually adorn our dining table. More at NYT Home and Garden.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Lazy Jane's, Lazy Day ...

Went to lunch with a friend today at one of my favorite spots, Lazy Jane's. Afterwards we took a stroll down the street and popped in at Hatch Art House, where among lots of other cool things we were amused by the paper mache work of Steve Wirtz. They were mostly dogs, with a few cows thrown in, very ... personable. Usually with a sassy sentence or words collaged on their sides. It seems that one can sign up for classes to make your own sassy dogs ... that might be quite fun. 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Tuesday, September 04, 2012


This little camera could save me a lot of heartache.
Focus after taking the picture. I love the 21st. century. Lytro



KEES: Custom 3D printed iPhone cases

Wow. Brave new world. When is this technology trickling down to my little studio?

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Caketrope of Burton's Team - Chocolate Bites Back

In keeping with the current baking theme ... a film by Alexandre DuBosc.
My favorite part is the running rabbit, and then seeing the face from the bird's eye view. Though the morphing walnuts are a close second. They do rather look like brains, don't they?

In search of the perfect lemon bar . . .

This one by Ina Garten comes within striking distance, but I'm not all that fond of the thick crusty top. Overall, though . . . pretty divine. I think I'm looking for a recipe that doesn't have that crusted top, but also doesn't have that odd foamy effect at the top that requires the dusting of confectioner's sugar to disguise. I believe this recipe avoids that foamy top by using a larger amount of flour in the recipe, which seems to kind of float to the top in the way that Bisquick Impossible Pies works.
smitten kitchen suggests a few changes, including a variation for making a thinner lemon layer. I like the thicker lemon layer, but I wanted  a thicker shortbread also, which proved to be harder than just doubling the recipe. I don't like the lemon layer to seep underneath the shortbread at the edges, so I doubled the shortbread recipe and built up the sides, but alas, as in the original, the sides tended to s-l-i-d-e down while baking. What to do? I think . . . though I haven't tried it yet . . . the solution lies in the recipe for pie crust I followed the other day, which was to bake the shortbread with an aluminum foil liner and plenty of pie weights (or dried beans). I'll just have to try it again. Too bad for me.
My tips, besides the pie weights for the shortbread (which can't really be a tip since I haven't tried it yet  . . .)
1) Line the pan with non-stick aluminum foil (both ends) to simplify getting them out of the pan and cutting.
2) Allow to completely cool and refrigerate, preferably several hours, before attempting to cut them. It might even help to put them in the freezer for a bit if you're in a hurry.
3) Dust confectioner's sugar on them after they are completely cooled. If not having them
right away, you might wait until just before serving to dust as the bars will absorb the sugar over time.
In the meantime . . . still looking for the most perfect recipe.

Friday, April 13, 2012

To Sir, With Love

Latest movie on a sleepless night - "To Sir, with Love"
Filmed in 1967, so I definitely remember the clothes, the hair, and the music. The teens here are pretty tame actually, comparatively speaking . . . and the dancing? 
Best things about it:
Sidney Poitier. 'nuf said.
Lulu singing "To Sir, with Love" in the 60's.
How many times have I belted out that song in the car or the shower.
And here's a new-ish clip of Lulu singing the title song in 2008: Wow ... looking and sounding really great! But I'm curious about how someone doesn't get absolutely sick of singing one song for forty years. 

Birth of a Book

Birth of a Book from Glen Milner on Vimeo.

I'm still on a book jones . . . more posts to come about and for and celebrating and making books. Here's a little film on the making of a book that I came across on the Raincoast Cottage blog. Seems apropos in light of the current happenings in the book publishing world, where words like anti-trust and monopoly and price-fixing are being bandied about. I'm still considering where my thoughts might fall in the controversy, but I have to say that while I love my e-book reader, I still also love the printed book. In my ideal world I would get to have, if I wanted a book for my library, a printed copy and as a bonus for buying the printed book I would get to have an e-book for a pittance to keep on my devices.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2011 Happened III

It appears that showing up at the end of the day on a Sunday is the 
  way to go. Imagine people winding up and down. They weren't there
                             when we were there! No pictures allowed in the exhibit, so what 
                             follows are the non-exhibit pictures.

I do like it when there is art everywhere. This is the entry booth.

And this is the Mississippi River Visitor Center, just inside the doors of
the museum. And that's Melanie, standing on a map of the Mississippi
                           River Basin, printed right on the floor. Love that.

                        We didn't see a lot of the rest of the museum, as we were there pretty close
to closing time. A lot of the museum is geared towards small-ish children.
                        But this exhibit was tailor-made for me. Little automatons . . . many, many
                        of them. This tiger has a fish swimming around and around in his head 
                        as he's typing.

Cat and cat puppet!

Right outside the museum, the other direction from the charming little square,
is the Mississippi River, complete with steam-powered showboats. 

                       This is the view to the right of the museum on the way out. 
Not picturesque in the same way as the charming square or the Mississippi
                       River, but after seeing this picture I love the lines and colors in it.

2011 Happened II

Yeah, the Mall of America.
It's good if you can get there when other people are not. 
Good luck.

 Checking in with the Lego Store from above is always fun.

Nickelodeon Universe. We didn't do rides this time. 
The first time we (as in the two older daughters) were here was 
when it was called Camp Snoopy and Peanuts characters ruled the day.

Just outside Cirque du Soleil's Ovo

                   A restaurant inside the Mall of America that serves this outrageously 
                   fabulous dessert called a S'more Brownie. 
                   The restaurant is appropriately named Crave.

            Headed for the Science Museum of Minnesota to see the King Tutankhamen exhibit. 
            We found ourselves in this little square just a block away from the museum.
            The street was all brick cobblestones, and right next to the St. Paul Library and just
            as charming and cute as all get out. And the parking was free that day to top it off.

            This was the view across the square from our parking space.

            And there was a purple car. When youngest was small, we paid her a dime for
            every purple car we spotted. She made a good bit of money that way. (But not a lot!)


2011 Happened

           I was telling a friend yesterday that 2011 was kind of a bust for me, which it
           kind of was in certain ways,
           but it turns out as I look back at pictures . . .
           there were some good things that happened that year.
           I cleaned out Studio I. Here is one of the "before" pictures.
           (There are more, but I won't subject you to that. And the "after" 
           pictures will come later.)
           It's actually a work still in progress, but much progress has been made.

           I went to Minneapolis/St. Paul twice.
           Once with my mom, and once with two of my daughters.
           And both times I got to see my daughter and son-in-law who live in MN.
           So that's a big 2011 bonus.

           The most exciting thing I saw in Minneapolis was this statue of
           Mary Tyler Moore flinging her hat into the air.

               "Who can turn the world on with her smile.
                 Who can take a nothing day,
                 and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile . . . "

                "You're gonna make it after all . . . "

             Minneapolis has cool manhole covers. I once had 4th and 5th grades design
             and paint manhole covers on pizza cardboard circles, and then underneath
             the cover they drew whatever imaginary world they wanted. I put them on the
             floor of the hallway on "Back to School" night and people could lift the cover
             on a kind of hinge I made to see the world underneath.

            And no trip is complete without stopping in at IKEA.
            I wonder how many people (I'm imagining little boys, but I could be wrong),
            think that the toilets are not for display only.

             Hot lunch! (and how many of you are thinking of the original "Fame" now?
             No? Go here.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Joy of Books

via Colossal


An annual exhibit at the AIGA National Design Center presents the best in book design and book covers published in 2010 in the 2011 competition.
All of the book covers are in the design archives here.
A few of my favorites ...

This book is a memoir of two years in the life of a Jewish librarian in a Boston prison. The portrait is made up of colored library date stamps.

This is one of my favorite reads of 2011.

And this one was gifted to me by my daughter for Christmas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book of the Month Club

Via Spoon & Tamago

The concept is a mobile pop-up book shop, and this second iteration was called Numabookcat
This sculpture in books is great, but there's more. After a conversation with the bookseller and the exchange of 4200 yen, you would be mailed a book every month for a year based on this interview. Kind of like telling your fortune in books. 
How often would the book selection be just right, I wonder?