Friday, May 28, 2010

Roadtrip!

Goodbye Ohio...

Hello Phoenix. 

Two totally different but pretty cool places. 

Posts may be more sporadic this week (not that that's anything
entirely new), as my dad and I are roadtripping it up across the continental u.s.!

If anyone knows of some must-see spots along the way, please do tell! We're probably taking the middle route, which is the fastest at (only) 2,050 miles and includes some combination of something like 70, 44, 40, and the 17 from Cleveland to Phoenix.

It should be fun, and I'll try to take some cool pictures along the way! Maybe I'll be able to capture and explain what it is about the hills of New Mexico that make me love them so. Perhaps then people won't look at me funny when I say just that. Wish me luck! 
<3<3<3

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A past adventure and cool signs!

Awhile back I visited Bar Harbor, Maine with Brandon and some friends. While we were there we stumbled upon the A&B Cafe, which was right around the corner from our house. This little whole-food type cafe has some delicious smoothies, but what made me smile more than the smoothies were the hand-lettered and quirky drawn signs posted throughout the store. Have a peek...
A&B Cafe Sign
A&B Cafe Signage
A&B Cafe Muffins Sign
A&B Cafe Berries Sign
A&B Cafe Produce Sign
A&B Cafe fruit Sign
A&B Cafe Mushrooms Sign
A&B Cafe Cat Sign
A&B Cafe Sneaky Sign

And my personal favorite...

A&B Cafe Flavor Sign

I really enjoy the simple stylized animal illustrations, and the one with the alligator just cracks me up. Displays like these are one of the reasons I love going into little markets and stores. They help remind you that there are people behind the products we buy and that not everything has to be super structured and uniform to communicate information. Plus the little signs add color to the store and emphasis the palette that's already there.

<3<3<3

Monday, May 24, 2010

So it may be overplayed...

And they may rhyme "you" with "you," but this song still makes me smile. And I like that the video has some cultural flair. It just makes me want to dance (in the privacy of my own home)! <3<3<3

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A quick little project...

Brandon's dvd display/rack has driven me nuts for a while now. It's a nice display, but that calendar sign on top was not-so-pretty and made it look like the scavenged floor-model it was. So, when I last visited, I got crafty while he was at class. Here's the super-simple improvement...

Before:

Calendar-dvd rack: Before
and After:
Calendar-dvd rack: After
Calendar-dvd rack: After
It's just a simple little improvement that, I think, made the stand look more like a modern dvd display than a cast-off. And, bonus(!), I think he likes it! haha. For the images I pulled up a youtube clip of an old movie reel and screen-grabbed the individual numbers. They look a little grainy, but it gives it that old movie feel. I measured the sign, created a photoshop document the same size and dropped in the images. Then I printed them out, trimmed them up and dropped them into the slots. Have you done any little improvements like this on found or thrifted (or scavenged) items? Immediate results are nice sometimes : )
<3<3<3

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Little Kitties

I love this little illustration. If you know who made it, give a shout out! I found it floating around on tumblr.
Lately I've been finding that I'm really enjoying simplified drawings and designs.
<3<3<3

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A little Japan

A few weeks back I promised some photos from Japan, and I have yet to post them! So here are a few. It was difficult to narrow down the choices and also sad to look at them because so many were out of focus due to my dirty UV filter. Sad face. But it was still an awesome trip with a few good photos and many good times. Click on photos for descriptions (in flickr). Notice all of the color! 
Yamaha Shop
Subway Stop
Indoor Cherry Blossom
In Our Room
Dressed up outside the Kawasaki Daishi Shrine
Dressed up outside the Kawasaki Daishi Shrine (back)
amusement park nestled outside Dressed up outside the Kawasaki Daishi Shrine
Shibuya Crosswalk
Harujuku Entrance
Hachi!
Colors on the Street
Sign?
These are some more general pictures. Later, I'll follow up with food and tokyo tower adventure photos and a fun pattern entry. If you like color and cute things and crazy foods, you should definitely consider visiting Japan. I wish I had taken more photos of people, because the girls have this pretty feminine and frilly style that I love. But they are tiny, so they can pull off all of those flouncey layers. 
<3<3<3

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scrumptious Sundays: (Yes, on Monday!) Super-Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sorry folks! I forgot to post this yesterday, and it just must be shared immediately!
This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe of all time, which is saying a lot, because I've tried many varieties and am very serious about my cookies. Originally, I received this recipe from a friend's awesome mother who ran her own bakery, and I've since found it floating around the internets as well. So below, for your baking pleasure, you'll find some cookie documentation and the fantastic recipe.
Cookie Ingredients
Eggs for Cookies
"Butter"
The secret ingredient? Butter-flavored crisco. Some people think using shortening is weird or immediately associate it with lard, even though it's vegetable based. But it makes the cookies perfectly crunchy on the outside and chewy and gooey and the inside. So trust me, just try it
Cookie Mix
Cookie Dough
Cookies Cooling

Stuff:

3/4 cup Butter-Flavored Crisco 
1 1/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
A little milk (no more than 2-3 T)
1 tablespoon Vanilla
Egg
1 3/4 cup flour (I haven't tried whole wheat)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda (A little less than 1 t gives you chewier cookies)
1 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate, semi-sweet, dark, or mix it up!)
1 cup nuts (optional... I usually leave them out just to avoid allergy issues)

  • To Do...
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter-flavor crisco, brown sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Blend in egg. Pour in a little bit of milk while blending, and continue to add until creamy (instead of sticky looking). Do not exceed 2-3 teaspoons. 

  • Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Gradually add flour, and blend well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips (and nuts). Drop rounded Tablespoonfuls  of dough a few inches apart on baking sheet (do not grease). 

  • Bake at 375 for 7 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies or 10-12 minutes for crisp cookies. Watch your cookies carefully, for the perfect cookies (in my opinion), they need to come out when they look almost undercooked, and the edges are JUST beginning to brown. If you take them out when the tops brown, they will be very crunchy. 

  • Cool on baking sheet for two minutes (I usually move them with a spatula across the baking sheet when they first come out because they tend to stick a bit if you leave them in place). Remove to cooling rack. Makes just under 3 dozen cookies when I make them! 

  • Let cool just a little, pour a glass of milk and enjoy! So much better than the store-bought dough. You also might want to sample some of the dough, if you're not too worried about the eggs and such ; )

Let me know if you make them and love them as much as I do! 
<3<3<3

Colors, Books and Spaces.

I love books and I love colors, so these spaces are really exciting! Someday (soon), I'd love to have a large shelf or wall space devoted to a growing book collections.







I love this whole room so much!

How about you? Do you like amassing books, or are they just clutter to you? Or do you enjoy the large coffee table version (I have some of those too, hehe)?

Right now, my books are in stacks along the perimeter of my wall, waiting for me to get my butt in gear and do my bookshelf revamp! Hopefully I'll do that soon...

<3<3<3

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hey Starbucks Lovers.

Apparently Starbucks read my entry on iced coffee and saw that the travel cup I raved about would be the next big trend. When I walked by the coffee shop in the grocery store, I noticed a basket full of familiar looking cups.
This iconic cup look-a-like is, deceivingly, a reusable tumbler much like my awesome portable cup. I actually went to Starbucks the other day and wondered if they could make the drink in my cup but didn't ask because I figured they used their disposable cups to measure ingredients for their drink. So what a good solution this is for those iced beverage lovers out there! Like my cup, this one is dishwasher safe and bpa free. I don't visit them very often, so I'll probably stick with my homebrew for now, but if you drink a lot of Starbucks, you might consider picking one up! ($12.95 for a grande and $14.95 for a venti). 

<3<3<3

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Banner & Smaul Camera

Ok, so I stole "smaul" from my buddy Anna Z., but I just love saying it like that. Anyway, do you like the new banner? I originally planned to spell out "doodled" in yarn, but my results were less-than-stellar. This one came out much better, I think. But what do you think? Like it, love it, hate it? Did you like the old one better? I'd really like to know! It's difficult to judge your own work, so let me know if it looks lame or doesn't exemplify doodled well, and I'll get to working on another.

In other news, I visited Savers the other day, and found this little gem for $3.99! I love it! It's so little but had some weight to it, and the lens is removable and manually focussed.

Pentax 110 auto
Pentax 110 Auto, so smaul
When I got home I did a little research and found that the Pentax 110 auto is one of the smallest SLR cameras ever manufactured, and it has a decent following even today (manufacturing discontinued in 1985).

It uses a 110 film cartridge, and sadly, the last provider haulted production of the film last year. You can still find it online, but I'm trying to decide if it's worth the splurge or if I should just enjoy my little camera as the pretty object it is.


Have a lovely day!

<3<3<3

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Scrumptious Sundays: Blueberry Scones! Plus, Amity and Sound.

One warning: this is a longish post. 
For some reason, I just don't like making jumps.

Last weekend my good friend Allen hosted an "Evening of Amity and Sound"— and what an appropriate title! The evening was filled with good friends, amazing music and a few tasty treats.

Colors at the Arts Center
The boys of Amity and Sound
The gentlemen of "An Evening of Amity and Sound" (a bit out of focus)—Allen Shepard, Zachary James Dodds, and Tobie Milford

I made a batch of fresh scones for the event, and they seemed to go over well with the crowd. The previous week I also brought some into work (after I mailed some out to a few special people), and my coworkers said they were tasty too! Hopefully everyone was telling the truth, because now I'm sharing the recipe with you.


Fresh Blueberry Scones Recipe (From allrecipes.com)

These scones are soft and dense, not hard or tough.
Baked Scones

Stuff...

2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, chilled
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 egg
  • The Lonely Egg

To Do...
-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
-Cut butter into mixture of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt (you can use a pastry blended or two knives to cut in the butter, but don't expect it to blend in completely, just get the butter into smaller pieces and they will distribute through the scones when you mix the dough) pieces
Scones Batter Preparation

-Add blueberries and toss to mix (rinse off your berries first and pat dry with a towel)
Berries

-In separate bowl beat together cream and egg, and slowly pour into dry ingredients, stirring with rubber scraper until dough forms.
-Once the dough forms, knead just until it comes together, 3 or 4 times. Don't overhandle or the scones will be tough.
-Divide dough in half. On lightly floured board, shape each half into a 6-inch round and press out with your hands. Mine were about an inch thick. 
-Cut into six wedges (you can cut those wedges in half for smaller scones and twice the yield).

Scones Baking
-Bake on ungreased sheet about 20 minutes at 375 degrees. 

Powdered Scones
-Serve warm... I sprinkled one batch of mine with powdered sugar after baking and one with brown sugar before baking.

Enjoy, and let me know how yours come out! I made a little flag from a toothpick and triangle of paper to label the stack of scones, but I forgot to take a picture of the final product : /


<3<3<3