Monday, December 31, 2007
So as I fluff the pillows for 2007's big sleep and feel the eager breath of 2008 on the back of my neck, I find myself loosely wrapped in reflection. I spent the past few days puttering about my house, full of coffee and thought. I'm listing my 2007 feats here to help me figure things out, to allow myself to (as they say) recognize. I hope it moves you to make your own list, whether you choose to share it or not.
I turned 30 this year. My darling family sent me a gift for each year, each individually wrapped and stuffed together in one big exciting box. And I celebrated this milestone with (what else?) Meat Cake.
I also began erasing the unfinished details of a relationship gone very bad. This is part of the "worst" of my year and I'm, even now, getting rid of the evidence. I'm also still working through my feelings on the matter, as angerhurtregret tends to crave attention. But I'm proud of myself for...um, jeez...still being here...not playing dirty...and something new every single day.
Then my sister Bamboo moved in! Yippee! For her arrival, I had to quickly turn a room that had been an office/art studio into her new bedroom. The "junk room" had plywood subfloors, no window coverings or baseboards, and was covered in paint splatter. I didn't necessarily want to "finish" the room (install flooring) because, if she moved out quickly, I wanted the option of making the room messy again. So, I dismantled the stage tech shelving, fixed the holes in the walls, and painted the room. Then, using my limited resources (money not being one of them), I made baseboards from wallpaper, commissioned curtains from our favorite seamstress, and stained the plywood to look almost rich. And I done did it all by myself. Awwww, yeeeeah.
I made some new friends this year, both IRL and in the blogosphere. I also re-connected with some lost pals and grew a bit closer to those currently in my address book. Believe it or not, I planned and/or hosted my first grown-up parties (outside of a dorm room).
I auditioned for and got a part-time editor position with the much-revered Apartment Therapy (Chicago). This is my first PAID freelance-esque writing gig. Working for AT has not only created connections and opened up avenues, but has also hinted to me that I might be able to do what I love - to write - for a living.
And so I wrote. One of my short stories was published in an anthology called Further Persons Imperfect. This project is important to me on many levels. It's my first piece of published fiction. I worked with a tremendously dedicated and talented group of writers to create the book in full. I also conceived the book's design, roping Porcelain in as the cover model and lassoing another friend of ours to take the photograph. All in all, it was a successful collaboration. Since I had spent the early half of 2007 regretting joint projects, the efforts put into this book restored my faith in partnership.
Now onto my continuous struggle with King Neptune. I certainly can't say that I've won the war against His H2O Highness and I won't even dare say that I've won a battle (without knocking on solid, firm on-land wood). But I have held my own. This year, Neptune lashed out hard and obvious with one doozy of a Chicago storm. Flooding threatened my humble abode and I held it back. Recently, Neptune moved in, cloaked and insidious, with a behind-the-wall leak from my bathtub faucet. I (thought I) had the leak figured out and fixed. I patted myself on the back for the decent albeit amateur regrouting/retiling/recaulking job. I started to (foolishly) believe I could see Neptune coming. But, after all the repair work, he came back with the same exact sneaky leak that was there before. King Neptune, you're officially a jerk but I now see the value in our sparring because I'm learning from you. Whatever doesn't drown me, only makes me stronger (and more buoyant).
Lastly, there's design boner and all you guys. Each of you reading this is one more reason to write it. Thanks for making 2007 mean something, especially you, Porcelain. You're the best friend a little ol' scrap of Cardboard like me could hope for.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I have yet to purchase a real life tree. Every year I say I will and end up not. This artificial number has been the stand-in for the past couple years and I think it's pretty darn cute. It's small enough to stand on a table (or, in this case, on an ottoman) and it breaks in two for easily folding and storage. Paired with a softly scented "Tree" candle by Slatkin & Co. that Porcelain graciously picked up for me, this fir is almost as good as the real thing. I found all the shiny silver wildlife-inspired ornaments on my last trip to the Brown Elephant. See a detail HERE. And what goes perfectly with a faux tree, you may ask. A faux fire, of course. I prefer the kind that plays on the TV set, the DVD on loop variety which also plays traditional holiday tunes. That's how we roll at Cardboard's house.
The main show at dinner was turkey (and Celebration Roast for my vegetarian sister). There were mashed potatoes with an amazing shiitake mushroom recipe lifted from Porcelain & Hardwood. They also gave me a deliciously modified recipe for the most intense stuffing I've ever seen or been blessed to taste. Seen above is Bamboo's Spicy Broccoli (so much of the yum) and the jellied cranberry goo, straight from the can. Sadly, I drank too large a glass of egg nog with my pie and ended up, as my sister so giddily told her boyfriend on the phone, "barfing." Merry Christmas!
My sister and Mama C headed home a few short days after the 25th. It was lovely to have them although I feel a little guilty that we we didn't get out more. But I have a feeling that hanging around the house, snacking, and playing Snatch & Bang! (I swear that's not dirty) was exactly what they wanted to do too.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
• "Prayer II" by Sara Heinrichs (seen above)
• "Out of Focus Christmas Tree" by arkworld
• "Tis the Season" by SpatialK
• "Oh Christmas Tree" by SugarbearSteve
• "A Cup of Bokeh" by *Cinnamon
• "My Christmas Tree" by Paulo78
• "Christmas Tree Farm Sunset" by Sierra Springs Photography
• "Happy Holidays 07" by Zach Schwoebel
Friday, December 28, 2007
I first saw her a week or so ago and I haven't been able to stop thinking about her bulbous rose-colored body and kicky thread-wrapped feet. A few days ago, I returned to Two-Sided, a lovely Chicago stationery (etc) shop, and adopted her.
I love having her home and she appears to be happy with her new surroundings. She stands there; sometimes on one foot, sometimes on the other; and just makes me happy. But I've noticed that she also gets lost in thought and seems a bit melancholy. Like I said, reminding me of me.
She's definitely got a jaunty fun side but she's also quite shy. Oh, oops. Okay, like now. I think she needs some alone time.
For these reasons, I, Cardboard, declare this a Design Boner.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
• Even Napkins Get Festive
• So Much Blasphemy, So Many Giggles
• Local WI Spirits
• Either Lead or Get Out of the Way
• How To Buy (or Make!) an R2-D2 Trashcan
• The Toy Cabinet That Started It All
Friday, December 21, 2007
The Sensory Collection is designed to develop your sense of smell and taste and helps you recognize and articulate those smells and tastes. The kit includes 40 pieces of chocolate, 42 aromas, guidebook, flavor wheel, notebook, and blindfold (apparently for some party-trick fun). It kind of reminds me of a scene from the movie French Kiss. Kevin Kline shows Meg Ryan a wine-scent kit he made when he was a young French lad and she is quickly able to distinguish and point out the flavors in the wine she's drinking.
The chocolate sensory collection retails for a whopping $375, which seems like a whole lot for a bunch of chocolates and smelly air, but it also sounds like a lot of fun and you'd probably learn quite a bit. I'd love to hone in on my senses like that. Pretty nifty!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
• MWTWT Turned 500! Congrats, Leah! (seen above)
• All the Pretty at Cottage Living
• Cat Translation (via cuteoverload)
• A Cute & Foldy Workstation
• A Charitable Gift Guide
• The Jerboa: "...in terms of mammals, they have one of the biggest ear-to-body ratios out there."
• Ignore the Jerky Comments; They're Obviously Just Insecure
Friday, December 14, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Agrodolce vinegar - This vinegar is fantastic! Wonderful on salads. When we bought it the guy in the vinegar/olive oil section said it tastes great on apples.
Italian Balsamic tasting set - Hardwood and I are Balsamic lovers. After tasting some really amazing, sweet, tangy, syrupy Balsamic, we cannot go back to the harsh, cheap variety they sell at the supermarkets. I've always wanted to try this little sampler set to see the difference in aging.
Zingerman's breads are the bomb!!! You can't go wrong with any of their loaves. We always stock up and get several loaves when we are home. We chuck them in the freezer and heat them up when we're ready to use them. Our favs are Paesano, farm loaf, French mountain bread, and caraway rye (great for making Rubens).
Cheese - I just ordered a British cheese passport (which goes over the $50 gift guide limit) for Christmas with my family. But you can order individual cuts of cheese that fit your budget. You won't be sorry. I've ordered some of their Stilton before and it was wonderful. I'm really interested in trying their raw milk Stichelton. And you can never, NEVER go wrong with some good Parmigiano-Reggiano. Hardwood is a big lover of their cream cheese.
There are so many other great items that if I tried to list them all, this post would be outrageously long!!! Try any of their olive oils, mustard, honey, coffee or sweets and you'll be the hero of your Holiday get-together!
*Note: Zingerman's web site has been running really slow, so be patient or place your order via phone at 888.636.8162.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Oh I am so sad! A friend just informed me that Blueprint magazine is closing after the January/February issue. The web will now be its primary home and will occasionally appear as a special issue. I thought that their first couple issues started a little rocky, but once they got on a roll it was a great magazine. We'll miss you Blueprint!
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Toastabags, 2 for $10 at Firebox
Saturday, December 08, 2007
• Doobybrain Can't Get Over Nick's Dual Talent & Neither Can We! (seen above)
• Design Mom's Inspiring Christmas Card
• Guest Pet Peeves
• Jarring Cocoa (via At Home At Home)
• The Latest from Dirt Devil
• Mistletoe Mojito? Yes, Please!
• Felt Birds on a Branch
• Sounds Like a Road Trip to Me!
Friday, December 07, 2007
For these reasons, I, Porcelain, declare this a Design Boner.
*(Side note, if anyone has any idea of who makes this wallpaper, I would love to know! It looks very Art Nouveau, so I'm guessing it is probably original and probably not available. But we can dream!)
Thursday, December 06, 2007
When our BBFF (best blogging friend forever) Frugal Fag told us he was designing a t-shirt inspired by one of the great Sugarbaker monologues, we knew we had to get one. And we knew that we couldn't be the only Designing Women fans out there!!! This t-shirt and DVD would make any Southern Belle swoon.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Sometimes having a home just gets to be too much. I don't think it matters if you live in a castle or a shack, at certain moments, you'll find yourself buried under stacks of junk mail, misplaced furniture, and (cue enlightening ding!) piles of laundry.
The trick, I'm finding, is to just move on something. Prioritizing is great but, when you're overwhelmed, you have to start somewhere. That's why, right now, I'll be thinking about my laundry but I'm going to do the dishes.
Design*Sponge just published a mega-extensive Denver Guide to shopping. Compiled by Denver local, Jamie Kopke of designklub, the list tells us where to shop for modern furniture, thrifted goods, gifts, and tasties. It even highlights a couple unique Denver neighborhoods.
Denver is my hometown and bits of heart will always be scattered about Colfax or rushing down Cherry Creek. But even I don't recognize most the shops in this guide! To my credit, the last time I truly lived in Denver, I cared more about local bars than home furnishings. But, it appears Denver's got quite a bit going on. Yeah, D, bring on the homestyle.
I wasn't able to read the list thoroughly because going through it got me dangerously close to calling up United and asking for the next flight home. I mean, Chicago, you're swell and all, but you don't even know...
* I searched "downtown denver" in flickr to find this photo. What's crazy about this photo is that Las Delicias is my FAVORITE MEXICAN RESTAURANT OF ALL TIME. If you're nearby and quasi-vegetarian, order the #30 and you'll understand.
Photo credit: DulcePicoso
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
(I too need to make a blogging desk in the middle of a plush comforter with a steamy cup of cocoa near by...sigh...)
Monday, December 03, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
• Eco-Friendly Online Shopping
• Bossy's Hilarious "Core Secrets"
• Soft Storage
• A "Black and Crazy"* Bacon & Egg
• Ode to a Tool
• A MUST SEE Video for Every Blogger (via Dooce)
• Carol's BIG & Lovely Space
• "Stop Doing Drugs and Cleaning the House!"
* If you want to know more about this quote (and you do), rent Super Size Me and watch the extras.