Thursday, March 25, 2010

Like I need another hole in the head...

is how much I need another bag. But, mmmmmm... striped bags.
I feel ya, sister.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Painted murals

One idea I've been mulling over for a long time is the idea of creating a painted mural instead of a traditional headboard in our bedroom. It's an odd space and a traditional headboard (besides being expensive, hard-to-find, and impractical for a California King size bed we don't plan to keep for more than 5 more years), just won't fit with the window. The murals I like all seem to be trees. The big ones are made easier with a projector to trace the image onto a wall, but if you're truly gifted, you could probably freehand it, too. Here are some that I love:
Cherry blossom mural from Young House Love

One of several awesome birch tree murals in a nursery (also love the branch and birds mobile here!)

Birch trees in a grownup bedroom! From Design Sponge.

Fantastic 3-D tree & birdhouse mural from Ohdeeoh

Lovely simple tree mural, also from Ohdeeoh

This gorgeous mural would be insanity to create, but maybe in a "forever" house?

This simple tree mural allegedly only took 4 hours to make, and there's a tutorial on free-handing it!

Lovely, simple line-drawing murals from Australian artist Jane Reiseger. These are lovely and charming and whimsical, but look simple enough that even I might be able to handle doing it! A good reminder that a mural doesn't have to be complicated to make an impact. More of her murals at Ohdeeoh.

I know murals can sometimes be worse than wallpaper borders on the tackiness scale. A badly -done mural can totally ruin a good space. What do you think? Is it worth it to take a risk with some paint?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stuff and Sensibility

Last night we watched Michael Moore's new movie, "Capitalism: A Love Story",* which could be the subject of a whole other post, but DH and I were discussing it this morning (mostly the points where we felt the movie came up short), and touched on the pervasive feeling of "not enough" in our society/culture. How often do we hear people express contentmen with what they have and a lack of desire for more, better, newer, different? Appreciating what you have, knowing that you are enough and have enough, living simply rather than in pursuit of material gain-- these are goals I and I think many others of our generation share.

Oh, but it's hard to swim against the tide of wanting, of STUFF. It's so hard to train yourself out of the impulse to acquire when faced with beautiful things. But I also know that STUFF takes up physical and mental space, requires upkeep, and ties one down in a variety of ways, not to mention the environmental impacts of each person's consumption of physical goods. I try to find peace with this by a) only buying items that are necessary and useful and b) saving up all my "wants" for gift requests. Not a perfect system, but a start, perhaps. Anyone else want to talk about how they balance this in their own life? (Image from The Benchmark Institute)

(*Yes, I know the comma is supposed to go inside the quotes in American English, but I personally believe the Brits have it right in this instance, and since it's my blog, I'm going to follow the punctuation rules as I see fit. :P)

Aaaand while you ponder, here are a few of the pretty, spring-y things on my "want" list lately:

This gorgeous ruffled pie dish. (from The Kitchn)

Pretty much anything and everything from the new Liberty of London collection at Target, but especially this dress.

This print, for our bedroom (only $25!). It's just right. First Mother's Day present, anyone? (Spotted courtesy of The Lil Bee)

Happy spring!
your Material Girl

Tuesday food lust

It's one of my personal secular holidays-- Ben & Jerry's free cone day! (Awesome ice cream image from here.) I am taking my umbrella and standing in the rain for my cone. Maybe I can talk them into giving me an extra scoop? (For the baby, you know.)

It's not quite 10 AM and I have already planned 4 dinners for this week. And I'm adding the below to the "To make" recipe files. Food-obsessed much? Well, yes. And not ashamed at all.

Milk-braised fennel and Gnocchi alla Romana (which is really baked polenta-- not at all as intimidating as it sounds), from Lottie and Doof via Saveur.

Usually I find Martha Stewart too fussy and fiddly, but a few of the recipes in this month's issue... (Yes, I have a subscription. No, it was a GIFT.) Ahem. Several of the recipes in this month's issue spoke to me and my gaping, grasping hunger. The goddesses of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have not posted the recipes online yet, but here are facsimiles I found elsewhere:
Zucchini-ribbon "lasagna". Finally, a dinner I can share with the carb-free DH!
Crisp Baked Lemon Cod. I would probably use regular bread crumbs for this, since I don't care about being gluten-free, but its nice to know there are options for my gluten-free friends.
Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake. O.M.G. Yes, please. The link has a picture of this delightful confection and part of the recipe. (The other part looks like it's coming later.) I want this so much. I must not die without eating this.
And finally, Jim Lahey's no-knead whole wheat bread (pane integrale). This guy is the KING of bread, I am convinced of it. His stuff is so easy and so good. I meant to make his original no-knead recipe this weekend but never got to it. That may be a good thing, as it leaves me free to try to whole-wheat version!

The Foggy Bottom Fresh Farm Market opens for the season 2 weeks from tomorrow! (Not that I've got it on my calendar or anything...)

Other food notes...
Awesome young-farmer group the Greenhorns held a vernal-equinox hogget cook off last Saturday. (A hogget is a lamb under a year old that has never been sheared. I never knew that until now, but it made me connect it with the name of the farmer in Babe.) I wished and ached to go, but it was in upstate NY, just a little too far away for a short weekend's drive. I hope someday, in my next phase of life, to have an annual spring equinox lamb-roast tradition, too. (Vicarious enjoyment thanks to Jenna W. here.)
One spring, probably 10 years ago, I was driving through the Lake Champlain islands and stumbled on a vineyard where the owner, and older man from Greece, was roasting a whole lamb on a spit for a party. He let me try a piece. It was incomparably delicious, and I have been smitten with the idea ever since. It seems like a fitting way to mark the change of the seasons and embrace the return of life and growth and warmth.

Happy eating,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good ideas: Re-usable coloring placemat

This is a great idea to stash in the virtual "crafts" file for when le bebe is a bit older. A set could even be a cute (and cheap!) gift for a toddler or a couple of kids.

The coloring placemat from Wee Baby Stuff via OhDeeOh

Just Because

I know I before that I was going to post more... but then I got busy. Really busy. But not too busy to READ blogs. Never too busy for that. However, when it comes to posting, I think the perfect has been the enemy of the good. I've been feeling like I need a Focus and a Purpose or you, my 3 blog followers will be confused and annoyed by my randomness. But you know what? I follow a zillion blogs. I am collecting ideas from the internet all day. Mostly I print them out, and take them home and file them. Seriously, I have a specific folder I carry with me to and from work each day to collect the ideas I print out from the internet and file carefully at home, in my basket containing folders with names like "gardening", and "gifts", and "parenting". (Yes, I have a parenting folder even though I am not *technically* a parent yet. Don't judge. I believe in preparation.) Anyway, it occurs to me that that is stupid. I should be posting things here, so that they remain in a virtual collection, indexable and accessible anyplace there is internet access. And, heck, one of my 3 lovely readers might even find something I post useful or fun, or be introduced to a cool site they never would have found otherwise. Plenty of people have blogs that are just virtual collages, so why not me? It's not like I really have some aim to take over the world with my blog, so why all the insistence on Focus and Purpose? How about Just Because? (Well, because, Just Because can be hard for a type-A-ish personality like me, but that's all the more reason to give it a try.) Here we go!

This wallpaper (also pictured above) is seriously rad, but probably also seriously expensive. I think it would be awesome in a small bathroom. I am pretty sure DH would never go for it. (From That Girl via Basically Anything That is Awesome.)

I read Sam Harris' Letter to A Christian Nation and watched a talk he gave. He is an impressively smart guy. I am looking forward to watching his TED talk here. (TED is an interesting group that is about bringing smart people from different disciplines together and making their ideas accessible to all; you can learn more about it here.)

Making perfect hash browns, via the NY Times.

Found this "collage" site today through a link. Could be a dangerous time-suck. Crush Party

More tomorrow! Happy Monday!