I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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Archive for January, 2009

January 15, 2009

the royal tenns, in stitches

I almost died when I saw this:

I would say almost anything reminiscent of the Royal Tennenbaums is genius, purely by association.

From easy to miss, who apparently has some needlepoint skills in addition to excellent taste in movies. Maybe I need to take up needlepointing?

January 15, 2009

DIY new years cards from the trusty gocco

The last Thank You card is going in the mail this morning, (yesssssssss), and as promised, I’m rewarding myself with the posting of our New Years cards.

New Years cards are great. They say,” we were thinking of you and want to spread good tidings and warm fuzzy thoughts to you and your family;” but see here’s the thing… you don’t have to send them out BEFORE Christmas! It’s genius! You can send them in January and no one thinks they are late. If you can keep a secret, New Years cards are just “holiday” cards that are overdue… see where I’m headed here?


Does anyone else ever get nostalgic for your gocco screens once you’re done printing a project? they are so neat, but so fleeting… their life cycle I mean. I love these colors, especially the bright orangey pink. I think it’s one of my current favorites. So I am commemorating it’s short life here on my weblog.

(Don’t ask why I used a plastic fork to mix the paint. It was all I could find at that moment, okay?)

Also, aside from playing in paint and mixing pretty colors that don’t come in tubes, even from japan, we have the actual cards:

And our custom greeting that I bet no one else sent this year. huh? huh?

So that’s them. I kind of secretly wanted to line the envelopes will all sorts of pinky red patterned papers, but that was sounding completely insane as I plodded my way through the Thank You list. See, even former brides have limits. Not many, I admit, but they are there… watching over us, keeping our crazed post-wedding brains in check. The plan is, next year I start lining the envelopes early, say October, before my brain realizes it’s a bad idea. So crafty I am.

January 14, 2009

alice waters’s minestrone

To start, let me just say that this soup is highly delicious.

We’re on a new program at our house right now. It involves making big batches of food that we can eat during the week, with the hope that we cut back on eating out, eating at the whole foods/gelson’s salad bar (gelson’s is especially vile, IMO), and eating food that isn’t thoughtfully prepared. So making a huge soupy thing on Sunday turns out to be a nice staple to have through the week.

We also have an impressive stockpile of winter squash (you remember these guys, right?) lazing around the backyard and kitchen, so priority number one was to make something (ANYTHING) that used squash in some way. Good old Alice. She is such a trusty kitchen friend. This minestrone seemed deceptively simple on paper… which is probably the point of the book, duh. But it’s sooooooo good. Did I mention that already? I ate 2 HUGE bowls on Sunday. Huge as in we were eating out of small serving bowls. So that’s 2 SERVING BOWL size portions of soup. Anyway, she gives her standard summer minestrone recipe with seasonal variations which all sound really good.

If you’re handy with the wooden spoon and chef’s knife, and can read well enough to follow this recipe, you should make this soup.

The pump:

The friendly herbs:

Wintery Minestrone
(adapted from The Art of Simple Food).

1 1/2 cups dried cannellini or great northern beans (I used great northern because whole foods didn’t have cannellini in stock. but I do love cannellini…)

Soaked over night, drained, and cooked in filtered water until soft. Salt towards the end of cooking and reserve cooking liquid. Set aside.

Heat in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat:
1/4 c olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled & finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped

Cook for 15 minutes until sofritto (new word for me! though I think this is just Italian for mirepoix, non?) is tender and tasty on it’s own. Salt a teeny bit during the cooking, as Alice instructs, so the soup develops flavor as you go.

Then add:
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
leaves of 5 thyme springs
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
4 bay leaves (I used fresh, because we have them growing outside, but dried is obviously fine… though maybe you need less?)
2 tsp salt

Cook for 5 minutes or so. Add:
1 small can of tomatoes, chopped
2 bunches Lacinato kale, chopped into bite size pieces.

Cook for 5 minutes, Add:
3 cups filtered water

Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Then add:
4 cups cubed pumpkin or any orange flesh winter squash (Alice uses butternut, but I’m sure she would approve of my homegrown substitution)

Taste, and salt if necessary. Cook until squash is tender… about 10-15 minutes.

Finally, add the
Cooked white beans and 1 cup of their liquid (or more depending on how much is needed.)

Serve with grated Parmesan. (not shown… I had to take this the next morning. FOR THE LIGHT. Beacause I hate yellow compact fluorescent lightbulbs. The things we do for the earth, I tell you.)


I’m going to submit this to this month’s GROW YOUR OWN, which is a first for me. Fun! I feel so INVOLVED. New year, new me. You know?

Also, would anyone like some spare pumpkin? We have like 2/3 of that one left in the fridge.

January 13, 2009

officially a poladroid convert

seriously, this is the best toy since… well, camera bag.

and winter afternoon light is sooo pretty for taking pictures.

January in our yard = rose hips, paper whites, seed pods and carnival colored camilias.

(Thanks jora for reminding me to download poladroid. I don’t think I can live without it ever again.)

January 12, 2009

does domino do flowers?

just checking because seriously, these are so great. yes, we love Zooey. But i think i might like the weedy flowers better? Is that bad?

I love them because they are rustic but just sophisticated enough. and they look like they would be easy-ish to replicate on your own… i mean, as opposed to balls of roses or 4 foot tall centerpieces, if you know what i’m saying.

Hoot & Heart did a few similar arrangements (similar to the first one, that is) for us and they were just beautiful. I still have a ton of dried pieces I salvaged before we left for Australia. I’m kind of a nostalgia junkie that way.

ANYWAY, point is: you could make something similar to these yourself if you were doing your own flowers.

And also, if you haven’t seen The Go Getter starring Z.D., you should. It’s a beautiful little road movie (shameless plug coming up) produced by a friend of ours. And M. Ward does the soundtrack. Which is perfection.

January 12, 2009

our wedding: DIY succulent centerpieces

Kay, I’m just going to jump into the week here with a long wedding post. Ready?

These are easier than you think. I swear. But of course it means collecting a cohesive body of vessels, growing big pots of succulents for months before you’re ready to harvest, and then being willing to pretty much massacre them, PLUS go to the nursery to buy extras to fill in the spaces. But I think it’s kind of worth it!

Utter carnage on the back patio. Which was accentuated by my use of the huge coconut-hacking cleaver for the flower foam. You’ll notice that the big pots are nearly cut clean of plants. But the best part about succulents is they just grow back. So loyal, they are.

So here’s how you do it. Procure vessels. Buy flower foam. Soak flower foam in water. Cut pieces of foam to fit into vessels. Hack apart succulents. Arrange clippings into flower foam/vessels in pleasing manner. If necessary, fill space around the outside of the vase/pot with either little pebbles or spanish moss. VOILA!

Thanks to our super florist for both agreeing to share the centerpiece load with me AND giving me excellent pointers on putting these babies together.

My mom still has tons of these around her house in San Diego and they are totally happy 2 months later. She mixed them with poinsettias and cyclamens for Christmas-y spice and they looked great over the holidays. If you’re not attached to your vessels (or you don’t plan to resell most of them like I do) these would be excellent favors for your guests. I’ve got a few around our house too and they seem to be pretty happy, even the ones I actually planted in soil, in the pots with no drainage. (For these you need to start with a layer of pebbles below the soil so the roots don’t rot, FYI).

Allow me one eco-friendly soapbox moment… succulents you grow and arrange yourself make the earth soooo happy. Having hundreds of roses imported from Ecuador, not so much. And yes, we did have a lot of our flowers done (most excellently) by our florist, Hoot & Heart, but for the most part they try to source organic, in-season flowers so we feel okay about that.

Maybe I should do a little DIY tutorial on these… would that be useful to anyone out there?

January 9, 2009

friday morning…

filtered light, sun, fog.

hope everyone has a happy wintery (whatever that means for you) weekend.

January 8, 2009

pretty, simple wedding dresses

Kay, i KNOW i’m already done with the bride thing… but i have many important friends who are not. My friend Katya is looking for dresses now so OF COURSE i immediately volunteered to go dress shopping with her. It’s like once you are married you are a wedding expert who must spread your magical wedding knowledge dust on all who plan weddings after yours. I hope my friends tell me when they’ve had enough.

Nicole Miller 09

These dresses have potential, no? I was doing “research” for Katya, I swear. I am such a good friend. Sacrificing precious internet surfing time on wedding dresses…

January 8, 2009

urban craft center in santa monica

I stopped at Peets on my way in to work this morning and was AGAIN reminded of this super neat little addition to Santa Monica: the Urban Craft Center. I can’t wait to really check it out… as in, go inside instead of taking creepy stalker-like iPhone pictures through the glass.

Being that one of my 2009 resolutions is “remember how to sew,” I think I’ll need to investigate their classes. I mean, I at some point did know how to sew, but I don’t do it enough and the whole bobbin thing just mystifies me for some inexplicable reason. But I do have a sewing machine, so I am fully committed dusting it off this year.

It looks like their schedule comes out this week. yay.

January 7, 2009

pretty winter garden decay

Due to the massive distraction that was our wedding, I severely neglected our garden last season. In fact Brock actually forbade me from spending time in the backyard on the weekends. Probably for good reason. Here’s how the week would go…

Monday night, me freaking out about number of things on my list for wedding, Tuesday tired from work, overwhelmed, drinking wine on couch to relax self, unmotivated to do anything (due to 1/2 bottle of wine), by Friday state of panic because I’d completed exactly nothing in the space of a week. Saturday morning: gardening time!

See, so that’s what your other (often better) half is for… to remind you that you were nearly in tears all last week because you had so much to do (but refused to do anything), so it would seem reasonable that you should take Saturday and Sunday to make a teeny bit of headway with the wedding project. NOT spend the entire weekend weeding and mulching and taking pictures in the backyard.


Anyway, he was right, and now the vegetable patch is a brambly rotting jungle along the back fence. But in the early morning light, it’s kind of beautiful.

The squashes won’t stop coming. These were waiting for us when we returned from Australia. And there are still a few more on the way, though we’ll see how they do with the recent cold and rain.

Luckily now I’m allowed to get back out in the dirt and start over for next season. This year we’re doing raised beds. Yay, projects!