Wednesday, June 24, 2009

there's no place like home

Yes, yes, I'm still alive. Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Please be patient with me while I try not to freak out over the next few weeks.

Things are off. I'm stressed. I'm confused. I'm completely uninspired. I'm in a weird place in life right now and I'm trying my hardest to get myself together to sort everything out...where to go, what to do. Sales absolutely suck at the shop, which automatically makes me question whether or not I made the right decision to open this place at all. Talk about bad timing! I know I'm not the only one suffering here. Lots of little places are struggling too, unfortunately, but it kills me sit here every day and wait for a small miracle. Money is running out, and I won't even touch on my lack of patience. Ahh, yes, what to do. I have some major decisions to make relatively soon if things don't turn around. We shall see.

I'd do anything for a little peace of mind right now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Can't seem to sharpen these up any more, but hey, it's a bee eating a praying mantis head. What more could you possibly ask for? I watched him for a long time, scurrying around in the garden, carrying this head with him wherever he went. He'd dive face first into this thing every couple of steps and just chow down. Pretty neat.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Woodstock, NY

A perfect day. Great weather. Fabulous company. Sweet little shops. Sarah's was closed. No Bob Dylan. Lots of Buddha. Freakin' fantastic lunch. Inflation. More inflation.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I find it funny that I used to hate Sundays as much as I did. I suppose I can blame it on my job and the fact that every Sunday automatically meant a return to the office the following day. I love them now and I find that most of my quiet time each week takes place on a Sunday. I spent the day around the house today, cleaning up, playing around in the garden, running around with the dog and her new basketball, making more ice cream (blueberry this time). A quiet day...calm, peaceful and reflective. And I scored some amazing macro shots of a yellow jacket eating the head of a praying mantis. Yes, you read that right. I'll post them tomorrow after I've cropped them down a bit. Pretty crazy stuff! Hope you found a little peace in your weekend.

More photos here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Hey, thanks for voting in the shoe poll! It came down to such a close call at the end! After the polls closed, and once the extra votes that came in via e-mail were tallied, a final vote for the blue shoes tied it up. Whatever will I do? I'm not sure at this point. I've owned Keens in both orange and black, so the pale blue and green are totally new territory for me. I wear more green than blue, but I currently own a pair of beat up, old blue sneakers in the same shade and they seem to match with everything. Tough choices. Thanks for your help! Still not sure about what I'm going to do.

The shop will be closed on Tuesday the 16th because Nabua and I (and maybe my mom, too) are taking a little road trip to one of my most favorite places on the planet...Woodstock! I adore the town so much and I'm never there enough. I miss it! On the agenda for the day: shopping, lunch, lots of photo taking, and a visit to this little shop. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't seen any of her shops yet and I'm mad at myself for it. Sorry, Sarah! It's about time I did something about that. I can't wait!

Photos and a recap of the day to come. Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Birthday spankin's

Lots of birthdays this month, that's for sure. But the one person I absolutely cannot ever forget when the month of June rolls around is the lovely Ms. Randi. Randi and I have been friends since kindergarten where we used to hand out the clay for the teacher (what a bunch of little butt kissers we were!), and we've been friends ever since. In fact, we've been together so much and for so long that people started questioning whether or not we might be more than friends. Ahh well.

Anyway, happy birthday, Randi! You're one of the sweetest and most honest people I know and I'm glad the years haven't torn us apart. Now get your butt back to New York! We miss you!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the polls are open!

Which do you prefer?


Please cast your vote at the top left hand side of the page. Thanks in advance! I can't make this decision alone!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I'm not sure who's responsible for deciding which books to place in the display windows at the Market Block Book store (next door to my shop), but whoever you are, you're killing me! I swear I must see twelve different books that appeal to me on a weekly basis. The one book I've been glued to lately (mostly at the shop, but I daydream about it when I'm home) is "The Home Creamery" by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley. Are you familiar with this? You might want to get acquainted with this book.

After reading "Plenty" and loving every single second of it, I feel really compelled to not only support local farmers, but to make more of my own food before relying on the supermarket for a quick fix. We don't consume a whole lot of dairy in our home, but we've been talking more and more lately about how that might change if we started making our own dairy products. That's where this book came into play. I'm so enthralled with the recipes inside and the seemingly simple techniques to make things like feta, butter, mozzarella, yogurt and sour cream make me wonder why I haven't been making my own dairy treats all along. I find myself asking that question a whole lot lately about a lot of our favorite food goods.

I'll keep you posted on any experiments as we go through the book, but I highly recommend giving this a read. There's lots to learn in those pages!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

happiness is...

...homemade ice cream. Yup. Never got the fascination with homemade ice cream before. Just seemed like a whole lot of work and a whole lot of "hurry up and wait". I found a great little electric machine on sale at Target during my last visit and snatched it up assuming I'd try it out once and forget about it. It would inevitably retire to the gadget graveyard in the basement, but I figured I'd only be out twenty bucks, so no big deal, right? I was wrong, wrong, wrong. This little puppy has a permanent home in my kitchen cabinets and I hope it lives long enough to crank out the ever-growing list of ice cream recipes I've found online.

Ben and I made the trek to Gade Farm on Sunday afternoon in search of the fresh produce we couldn't find at the farmers' market on Saturday. Besides, I'm still on the lookout for cute "cottage garden-esque" plants for the front beds and Gade is the best place for inexpensive-but-hardy perennials. Anyway, the farm stand had the most amazing fresh strawberries at a price we couldn't pass up, and it dawned on me that we could christen the new ice cream maker with homemade strawberry ice cream. Gade also carries milk, cream and half-and-half from local farmers, and well, you know about Shirley's eggs already. Voila!

We headed home and got started. I opted for the traditional or "old fashioned" ice cream base that needs to be cooked. It takes a lot more time than its more modern, instant sister recipe, but hey, that's what Sundays are for, right? I followed Emeril Lagasse's recipe, and it was completely and totally messed up (sugar measurements differ on the ingredients list versus the actual directions, there's vanilla listed in the ingredients but it's not mentioned in the directions at all, AND the cooking time was way off), but we made our way through it. If you decide to try this out, cut the sugar in half, add the vanilla seeds to the custard before it's completely thickened, and keep a close eye on the custard as it cooks.

Folks, I'd be lying if I said that this wasn't the best ice cream I've ever had. Strawberry ice cream isn't my favorite by any means, and I don't mean to toot my own horn, but holy shit was this good! Every single ingredient came from local farmers except for the vanilla and sugar (you could always use honey instead, but good luck with finding local sugar) and that made me feel great! It's definitely an eggy treat, so if you're not into the hand-churned or French style ice cream, this may not be for you. I recall Ben mentioning that the aftertaste was fantastic. Sweet fruitiness.

So now I'm searching the internet for ice cream recipes to test out. Some of the front runners:

White Chocolate Ice Cream

Do you have any favorites???

Photo courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Birthday spankin's

Just wanted to wish the happiest of happy birthdays to my dearest friend, Mr. Alex Thayer. Mr. T and I have been through some amazing times over the course of the last ten years or so (has it really been that long???), and he is one of my most favorite people in the entire world. It's incredible that our friendship has held up over such a long period of time, especially considering the 2,883.23 miles between us.

So happy birthday, Alex! Thanks for being so rad.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Birthday spankin's

Haaaaaaaaaapy happy birthday to the most recent addition to the New Wives Club, Mrs. Kate Geurin!

Even though we haven't known her all that long, it feels like she's been our friend forever and I can't imagine our little circle of friends without her. The perfect blend of sweet and sassy, smart and goofy, laid back and just plain old fun. You rock, Kate! Hope this is a wonderful birthday for you! We love you!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Shirley's girlies

Ever since my Verizon days (also known as "hell days", or "the most hellish ten years of my life"), I've had the honor of buying free range eggs from my friend and coworker, Shirley. Shirley somehow manages to operate a small farm in the area in her free time and she has quite the family of chickens and ducks running around. In the warmer months, her girls lay anywhere from a dozen to several dozen a day, leaving Shirley with way more eggs than she can handle. She brings them into the office and sells them to anyone who might be interested. I'm lucky enough to have them delivered to the shop as often as I can, and I'm incredibly grateful.

We're all well versed on the benefits of eating free range eggs and how they compare to commercial eggs from the supermarket, so I'll spare you the soapbox routine and just say that everyone should find a local supplier and make the switch. There's an amazing difference in size, color and taste, and they're just so pretty I find myself taking the camera out whenever I hard boil a batch for Ben. So pretty, and I love the difference in color when they're wet and then dry. Who knew eggs were so fascinating?

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I just want to thank all of you who helped out with my last post or sent links to me via e-mail. Every single one of you helped greatly and I can't thank you enough.

I met with an old friend on Tuesday night to discuss a new tattoo idea, and in case you were wondering, that's what the botanical drawings are for. I'm starting my left sleeve, finally, and I'm so excited about it I could scream! I showed him some ideas I had based on drawings from the mid 1500s and late 1700s. I like the idea of antiquated imagery translated onto my skin. Conveniently enough, he pulled this book down from the shelf that had every flower I was looking for, drawn in the exact way I was trying to describe. Awesome luck, eh? Anyway, he's working some designs out now and I'm eagerly awaiting a call back so we can get this ball rolling! It's been far too long, and if you have tattoos, you know how addictive this can be. It's about time I got back into that chair.

Monday, June 1, 2009

help, please!

Does anyone know of any decent websites where I can find old botanical drawings of flowers? I've asked about this before and someone gave me an amazing link, but since then that link has gone missing. I'm pretty desperate at this point. In the meantime I'll continue googling, but if you know of any gems out there, I'd really appreciate the pointers.

Here's a sample of what I'm looking for, but I don't really care of the illustrations are in color or black and white: