12.24.09: welcome to my life

1: you wouldn't get a matching tattoo with me?
2: winona forever.
1: they wouldn't have to say anything. they could be awesome barn owl tattoos.
2: i just don't like tattoos.
1: so you're saying you married me in spite of mine?
2: yes.
1: i know what my next tattoo is going to say.

12.21.09: crafty MF (the princemas tree post)

i realized a few weeks ago, for reasons that are difficult to explain but nevertheless terribly logical, that our first christmas tree in our new digs needed to be a prince-themed tree. beyond purple lights (acquired posthaste from the purple store, where folks were predictably enthusiastic about my project), i didn't really know what i'd be using; in an early draft of ornament plans, for instance, i was going to buy little peach glass orbs and wrap them in yellow lace as a tribute to the assless pants of '91. in another, i thought about raspberry berets made of acorn caps (i did end up finding my old hoard of acorn caps, but the idea was still unforgivably twee). i didn't end up using lace at all, which would invalidate the whole tree in some circles - but the wall of lace at mood didn't inspire me, and i ultimately decided to work with something like a 1:9 lauren:prince ratio. this is how the music craft tends to go down; judge me if you must.

ornament project #1: fragrant little cinnamon symbols. i printed out an image of prince's O(+>, turned it into a stencil, and then made my mom's handy-dandy cinnamon garland dough (ground cinnamon mixed with applesauce). i spent most of sunday afternoon a few weeks ago cutting symbols out of the dough and, most likely, laying the groundwork for a serious dowager's hump (we didn't have our kitchen table yet, so i sort of hunched over the counter). cut out by hand, internet. i was going to make seven because, well, duh, but i wanted to account for breakage, so: twelve.

my name is prince!

i then baked them for a few hours and left them out to harden up for a week; the apartment's been all spicy-smelling and fancy as a result. i highly recommend this project, especially if you've already got cookie cutters in your desired shape.

cinnamon sign

ornament project #2: felt doves. these fellows were trickier to figure out than the symbols had been; in their first incarnation, executed with a glitter pen, they sort of looked like jailhouse tattoos (going for photorealism with something other than decoupage was a terrible, terrible idea). i then went more mod and ended up with a compromise.


these fellows are backed with tweed outdoor fabric, which gives them golden backsides. a nod to '91? i made twelve of them as well.

mid-tree dove, funkily lit

i toyed with the idea of a star that looked like the kid's studded purple coat from purple rain, but that was a bit too literal. i compromised with tree scarves instead of a tree skirt.

tree scarves

put 'em together, and...

the magic of princemas

merry princemas 2 all, and 2 all a good night.


we've reached that magical faster-than-a-speeding-bullet time of the year in which i turn, briefly and dramatically, into an efficient person. as an average jane i'm mellow and rather flaky, but my mutant form is a handy one: most stressors make me stealthy and handy. it's also hard to take holiday madness seriously after how the rest of '09 has been: after bed bugs, losing our little cat, the kafkaesque process of buying our first apartment, and getting pneumonia, am i really supposed to care about closing an issue of the magazine with a vacation-hobbled office and a few TKs on my gift list? most of my errands involve quality time at the art store, and those are the very best kind of errand. bring on the nog-related difficulties, i say. not actually nog-related, though, if you please; nog is a little gross.

the projects can get questionable as they pile up, though. transported as i've been by the process of assembling a prince-themed tree, i decided it'd be a good idea to make little raspberry berets out of acorn caps. alas, the ones i'd collected for halloween were pitched to make room for homemade salad dressing (long story). after consulting with the lovely local acorn cap expert, i decided to let central park guide me; if i happened upon suitable materials, clearly the universe wanted me to craft them up.

alas, the caps (had become sketchy)

dommage. the locals have gone warped and grotty, as plant materials in extreme conditions are wont to do. proof that the beret idea was irreparably silly. in happier news, we're bringing a tree home tonight, and i'll be inflicting the rest of the craft nonsense on you soon. go go craft!

12.07.09: the dirty dozen, part III {twelve seasonal things}

it's difficult to be both ill and gracious: it'd be nice to channel beth march from little women, but sometimes we're fated to be lucy westenra from dracula. i was doing pretty well until saturday, when i missed the two big parties of our holiday season (one of which began on a bus; o, vehicular parties!) in one fell swoop. joe put on workin' with the miles davis quintet just as i was feeling especially sorry for myself (i also missed yesterday's bust holiday craftacular, which featured animals for adoption this year), and i actually started crying with frustration. i really hate jazz.

when i regained my manners, i got back to combing the web for clever presents (every day is cyber monday when you can't leave the house) and finishing our holiday cards. i communed with the cat and got started on handmade gifts, joe represented us on the bus, and decorum was restored.

09 one of my last pre-pestilence acts was a spin around midtown to ogle the holiday windows. i have yet to make it up to bloomingdale's and barneys, but i have a feeling that the "compendium of curiosities" (read: alice in [couture and] wonderland) displays at bergdorf will remain my favorites. this mini-tableau in particular felt like lewis carroll via david lynch; very black lodge.

day 118: bergdorf window

10 speaking of holiday fripperies, if you're the sort who paints his or her nails for fancy dress occasions, let me save you some trouble. i hadn't bought nail polish in years (i just find the colors i like in the beauty closet at the office), but i went out of my way to find this stuff:

essie chinchilly

it's an essie color called chinchilly, it works on everyone, and it matches everything. it even elevates bedhead (or not, but pretend for me). you're welcome.


the dirty dozen, part II {twelve seasonal things}

pneumonia, she is an adventure in self-discovery. in the past few days, i've learned that my disdain for hypochondriacs has made me the worst sort of stoic: i ignore serious shit (like, you know, coughing blood*) in service of this weird lady-machismo*** that impresses no one. it's the same sort of impulse that led me to eat a handful of semi-raw habaneros on my honeymoon in london: just weird, and i suffered for it. per doctor's orders, i'm stuck at home until tuesday and on three kinds of antibiotics (and a self-prescribed bowie-on-vinyl cure; predictably, low is the best soundtrack for being in a room you can't leave). no stoicism in 2010!

05 on bowie, i read a rather entertaining take on his life (marc spitz's bowie) a few months ago. it's imperfect (though spitz mentions blade runner a few times, he doesn't mention that the note bowie sent with flowers to his brother's funeral is a quote from the movie), but it's full of excellent anecdotes, including the following, from when bowie and brian eno were recording low at a château in france:
The château was wired with an elaborate and clunky bank of synthesizers collected by Bowie and [producer Tony] Visconti. Eno would saunter into the main room, pick up a small keyboard, and begin pressing buttons. Occasionally he'd ask Visconti what these instruments were meant to do. One, the Event Harmonizer, he was told, "fucks with the fabric of time." Eno grinned and loudly declared that they must use it as much as possible.

06 i have a weakness for themed christmas trees (see: the war on christmas, harrison ford in the cupboard), and i realized as i was falling asleep the other night that the new apartment might need a princemas tree this year. decoration research led me to the purple store ("for people who love purple and those who shop for them,") and i'm going to go ahead and declare their 6.5 foot, pre-lit purple palm tree the acme of western civilization. that might be the azithromycin talking, but can you be sure?

07 i also finally got around to reading black postcards, better known as That Memoir in Which Dean Wareham Shits on Everyone. i like dean wareham the musician (both galaxie 500 and luna were fine bands) very much, but i went back and forth on whether or not i wanted to support his snark; happily, used copies of black postcards are cheap these days. the book isn't as vitriolic as i'd expected it to be (wareham's biggest enemy is a bad hotel), but it did yield a few amusements.
Every French interviewer asked us about the Pixies. They figured that since we were from Boston, we must love the Pixies. Nonsense. We had no love for the Pixies.

Sometimes Galaxie 500 got lumped in with this whole shoegaze movement (we were later dubbed protoshoegaze), but we had nothing to do with it. We didn't listen to Ride, Chapterhouse, Lush, Slowdive, Moose, or even the Jesus and Mary Chain (who were derisively known as the Jesus and Money Chain back home in our world).

All the bands hung out in this amazing backstage area, enjoying the barbecue and the sun and the scenery. All except the Ramones, who stayed in their trailer and had pizza sent up from town. This was very punk rock of them.

And what about the Edge? What was he, ten years old, calling himself the Edge?
What if I decided I wanted to be called Cool Breeze?
"The Edge is cool," said Sean [Eden].
"The Edge is not cool," I said. I don't think U2 is cool. Remember that awful video from Red Rocks, where Bono prances around with a big flag, singing, "All I have is this guitar, three chords, and the truth"? I have not forgotten.

I have a theory: If you put four monkeys in the studio for a year with [Daniel] Lanois and Eno and [Steve] Lillywhite, they would make a pretty good record, too.


day 119: trees are dyin'

that last one was a bit of a cop-out, but the pestilence tires me, internets. forgive.

so, princemas tree: yea or nay?

*which, incidentally: way less attractive than baz luhrmann would have you believe it is.** i have never looked less like nicole kidman in my life.

**i really hated moulin rouge!.

***not marianismo, mind you; that sounds lame.


brief interview with a glamorous x-ray technician ruling out pneumonia

(with apologies to david foster wallace)

A. i asked for you specially.

A. that's how it is in the busy places, with all of the scratching of the doors.

A. no one hears me the first time.

A. i don't think, baby. i just take pictures.

12.01.09: the dirty dozen, part I {twelve seasonal things}

what a fortnight it's been, internets: mystery illness (that made me miss the pixies show last monday and is yet ongoing, hooray!), our first overnight guests in the new apartment, new blogging work at the office, thanksgiving, risotto-making injuries, the action just never stops. though i haven't been especially forthcoming, i've missed you.

01 one of the big hits at our t-giv table: crack pie, a butter-and-sugar-and-butter-and-eggs-and-butter-and-oats concoction we discovered at momofuku milk bar with jacob and megan. there are no photos of the two crack pies i prepared, for they never really got plated (we ate right from the pie tins); the sugar tremors they induced would've ruined the shots, anyway. i'll make them again, though i'll cut the butter down a bit and be sure i have a few ectomorphs about to bat cleanup.

02 i was also quite pleased with last thursday's edition of no-knead bread, a recipe i've used five times in the last month. i added a few teaspoons of fresh chopped rosemary before i set it out to rise and cracked some sea salt over the top just before chucking it into the oven, and it was glorious.

no-knead bread

it's been reported that joe's pork (for it was a pork thanksgiving) was toothsome as well; as the resident vegetarian with stuffed sinuses, i can't even tell you what it smelled like, but apparently we all had fancy bacon auras for the next few days. oh, ventilation.

03 as we'll be hosting a holiday get-together or two later this month, we've decided to acquire a dining table. a dining table! we've never had one, and are disproportionately excited. it will probably spend most of its life in the kitchen and catch mail and magazines while we eat at the coffee table in the living room, but i feel this is a legitimate grown-up milestone nonetheless. as it happens, we already have dining chairs (a quartet of teak n.o. moller model 84s we stumbled across at a thrift store in chelsea) and we have a fairly good idea of the sort of table we want (something from blu dot's strut line). we're having a bit of an issue with color, though: which, o internets, would you pick (click on the 'strut' link to see the options)? the kitchen-space looks like this, though we'll probably be adding wallpaper at some point and, you know, the rest of the apartment isn't nearly as nude now.

04 speaking of wall-clothing, i spent part of last week's sick day (singular, for i am an idiot) turning toilet paper rolls into a quasi-seasonal wall hanging.

day 111: craftin' like...sue grafton?

bear in mind that i shot the finished project after an unconscionable amount of chloraseptic.

how was your holiday? which table-shade do you fancy? should i spray paint the toilet paper rolls silver? (metallics say 'holiday' to me. i think it's a publishing industry thing.)


101 in 1001 {II}: 038 cook with 12 ingredients I’ve never used before [ongoing]

07: dahlia tuber. joe and i were nosing around a vegetable stall at the union square greenmarket a few weekends ago when one of the younger farmers turned to us. "those are dahlia tubers," he said, gesturing to a bin of homely potato-ish things at my hip. they're totally edible." i quizzed him: best raw or cooked? (raw.) how much would i need? (not much). what did they taste like? (floral, which...i guess i should have seen coming.) were they expensive? (no.) did they keep well? (sure, you can slice pieces from a single tuber all winter.) sold! i plucked a fist-sized fellow from the bin and brought it home, where it languished in the crisper until last friday. then, in one of my Ill-Advised Late-Night Baking Fits, i made this.

dahlia bread

dahlia bread (adapted from plantlady2's gardenweb post)

- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1 c sugar
- 1 c grated dahlia tuber
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 c flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon

preheat oven to 350 degrees. in a medium bowl, beat two eggs until light and foamy, then discard a quarter of egg mixture. add oil, sugar, dahlia, and vanilla, then mix until combined (don't go crazy, but you want a homogeneous mixture). combine and jumble up dry ingredients in a second bowl, then add to first bowl and stir together only until blended. pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for approximately one hour, or until surface is golden brown and fairly firm (i started checking at 50 minutes and took my loaf out at around 55, as i recall).

joe had already gone to bed by the time the bread was out of the oven and cool enough to eat, but our friend jacob (in town from iowa and perpetrator, as it happens, of some of my all-time favorite dahlia arrangements at his wedding last october) was brave enough to try a piece - and liked it! i did as well, actually: it was crumbly and fragrant, and the little silvers of dahlia added a mysterious note of spiciness (it was, in fact, quite floral) that paired well with the cinnamon. the original recipe called for baking soda, which we left behind in our hell's kitchen refrigerator and hadn't yet replaced, so i subbed in additional baking powder without cutting down any of the other ingredients; i think the lower pH of the resulting batter was rather nice. pounce on dahlia tubers if you see them, internets! you'll intrigue house guests and feel like a faerie queene at the breakfast table.


much has been made of jessica valenti (of feministing)'s interview in last week's times magazine - specifically, of her comments about bust. quoth jessica,
Bust used to be a feminist magazine, but now it’s more crafty and about making things out of yarn. I’m not a D.I.Y. feminist. I once tried knitting a scarf but threw it away after 15 minutes.
my reaction to a tired jab at DIY is predictable, but i've been rather surprised by how strongly i respond to what bust's debbie stoller calls "girl-on-girl crime." online discussions of craft movements and what it means to be a modern woman, partner, feminist, and so on are hardly new; hell, i feel late to the party, and i've been blogging since 2001. what does feel new is the squandering of what previous generations of women worked so hard for - that is, that calling ourselves what we like, mothering and working in proportions of our choosing, marrying or partnering and knitting or not knitting are all non-issues. the rights themselves are one thing: what i love is that those options are givens now, and that we can make those choices without drama. like any adolescent, though, the internet loves its drama, and we're re-living the mommy wars, judging the hell out of each others' weddings and partnerships, worrying about what others' craft projects say about us. i've worked at a women's magazine for nearly five years now; my work is a lot of fun, and it's occasionally important. it's also turned me into the sort of person who's bored shitless by invented conflicts and lady issues that, honestly, were resolved before we were born (and i am infinitely grateful for that).

let's spend our time figuring out what to do about the stupak-pitts amendment. i promise, sincerely and from the bottom of my heart, that my handmade halloween costume isn't about you.

sneakers and i have had a complicated relationship over the last few years. the day after joe and i were married in oxford, i bought a pair of feisty yellow and black golas that had been making eyes at me from a shop window on the high street; they promptly gave me spectacular blisters, and i had to wear flip flops for the rest of our honeymoon (sorry about that, belfast). the golas and i warmed to each other eventually, and we were close (even, i admit, at the office) right up until they fell apart last year. i've since turned to running shoes at the gym and ballet flats for everything else. i haven't even flirted with sneakers - which is impressive, i feel, given that joe shops for them all the time.

i then wandered into bess, where i met a pair of used white converse all-stars. they were covered with pyramid studs and ballpoint pen, they fit me perfectly, and they cost $60. "sixty?" "no," the guy at the counter said, "one sixty for the low ones." actually, i misheard him the second time as well; when i got home and looked them up online, they were $260. upcycling, buying handmade, and encouraging design are all near and dear to me, but...oh, who am i kidding? i'm poor. i plagiarized with gusto.

woefully perforated shoe

i messed around on ebay in search of a used pair of chucks that would fit as well as the ones i'd tried, but they're not unlike aggressively used jeans (in that people keep them until they disintegrate) - hence these blinding white fellows. (i figured the leather had a better chance of holding up to the studs than canvas would.) they're covered with big ugly holes because i made the beginner's mistake of ordering 1/2" pyramid studs, which are gargantuan. i didn't admit the error until i'd finished a whole shoe; the poor thing looked like lil jon.

studded sneakers (interior)

after a week and a second delivery from studsandspikes.com (heh), i was ready to have a go with dainty little 1/4" studs. they're much more difficult to anchor, thanks to their size, and i ultimately needed a craft knife to perforate the leather. i owe said craft knife (and the needle-nose pliers i found at a dollar store) at least three fingertips; that first round of studding, starring a bent fondue fork in place of an awl, was an episode of super surgery waiting to happen. with the right equipment, all i had to do was perforate, place, and bend, over and over and over.

studded sneakers (exterior)

and so! i need to dirty them up, my spacing is a smidge uneven, and i'll probably need to line the interiors with something like electrical tape (those tines, even crimped in against themselves, are a bit scritchy), but: sneakers! in other news, can i stud that for you?


101 in 1001 {II}: 064 visit the russian tea room [completed 11.15.09]
i started getting messages from the hudson union society a year or two ago. i think they have something to do with my association with the overseas studies program at college (they were originally the oxonian society), but who can say? every so often i'm invited to interviews, lectures, and so on. two weeks ago, they dropped me a line about "a rare and surreal evening with the legendary david lynch." that mysterious sonic boom you heard at the beginning of the month? that was me, on it like dale cooper on pie.

dress was "at least business casual." i wanted very much to accessorize with my log; joe assured me that that would be deeply uncool. i settled for what in my head was a tip of the hat to mulholland dr.

we learned we were going to the russian tea room after we bought the tickets.

chandelier, russian tea room

it's a regular venue for the society, but i think it was (cough) rather uniquely suited to the speaker this time around.

we were told to take an elevator to the third floor; it stopped on the second and opened into a room full of trees hung with ostrich-sized easter eggs. "isn't that him?" "yes, but he's not ready yet." we continued up to a mirrored room and had blisteringly expensive glasses of wine. it was extremely difficult to tell whether the creatures on the chandeliers were bears or apes.

lynch spoke for an hour or so, gamely retelling the stories of how george lucas shipped him up to skywalker ranch to try to talk him into directing return of the jedi and of how he had a chocolate shake at bob's big boy every day for seven years (and saw the man who inspired him to create frank booth there). he was most animated as he spoke of transcendental meditation, and had a great plosive poom! to describe the moment of transcendence ("beautiful!"). he exclaims single words quite a bit. he is, as advertised, not fond of discussing what things mean. "if you just saw the movie, you saw it. that was what it was, right there."

day 102: david lynch at the russian tea room

i didn't think i could be one of the audience members who asked him if he considered his filmography representative of "the ocean of creativity," so i asked him why he climbed into the dumpster behind bob's one day. "because i had a feeling the shakes weren't really made of ice cream," he said.


in the three weeks we've been in the new apartment, we've put up a grand total of one picture; the others are clustered at the edges of the bedroom and the living room like seventh graders at their first dance. it takes time to know where pieces should live, you see; i can hardly be expected to hang the debbie harry needlepoint above the sectional before the sectional materializes* (before the holiday guest visits begin, o furniture gods, if you are merciful). the marina towers painting could hang above our bed, but what if the bedroom stayed white? we did manage to figure that out this weekend; it did not.

day 094: down pipe

this is down pipe 26, a deliciously deep grey by farrow & ball. it's somewhat costly paint, but it's excellent paint; i decided it was worthwhile to spend a bit more for the good stuff (and two cans, even two fancy cans, aren't so very much anyway).*** i found said paint via the lethally stylish ab chao, whose paradoxically airy down pipe louisiana bedroom (inspired by abigail ahern) has been pinging around design blogs for the past few months. check out our insta-velvety wall, you guys:

day 095: grey corner

we weren't trying to make our room a louche den of mystery,**** but as i finished the second coat yesterday evening, little faux-goth lauren back in 1996 sat up straight with a sudden premonition of future excellence. you're welcome, baby bat.

*we've been told that this could take up to twelve weeks, for we ordered it in "charcoal" (the nerve!) rather than "walnut" or "ale."** i miss the instant gratification of craigslist furniture; new shit is overrated.

**has using beverage imagery for upholstery fabric ever been a good idea?

***the hypersaturated color is fantastic, and the paint itself is zero VOC by EPA standards. i'm also a firm supporter of f&b's marvelously english color names (other favorites: porphyry pink, dead salmon, churlish green).

****speaking of, we accidentally knocked off a 101 in 1001 {II} list item (065 have a drink at a sneaky-sneaky hipster bar) by following friends to the hideout in brooklyn on friday. note to self: bourbon and orgeat play very well together.


101 in 1001 {II}: 038 cook with 12 ingredients I’ve never used before [ongoing]

04: key limes. our friends with relatives in florida fell over laughing when i showed them one of the grape-sized mexican key limes i ended up ignoring the health-care-related whole foods boycott to buy back in august; i'd apparently compromised my ideals for the runtiest limes on the eastern seaboard. i argued that their size wouldn't affect the eventual excellence of a key lime version of giada de laurentiis's unstoppable lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glaze,* and i was right; the awkward process of juicing in miniature did leave me with arthritic little crone-hands, however, and i know just which exotic fruit to curse when i'm unable to play the piano someday. in conclusion: key limes make fine cookies and sublime pie,** but i probably don't need to bake with them again (unless i find myself in florida).

05: sunchokes (aka jerusalem artichokes).

jerusalem artichoke

(how 'bout that bubble wrap presentation! there was a lot of that for a few weeks there.)

these rooty little things were pitched to me as tasting like a cross between artichokes and potatoes, which (if blackened and thrown in a taco) would make them the perfect food. in practice they're neither as scary as the alien grubs they resemble nor quite as chompable as advertised, but my impatience as a roaster could be to blame: our oven at the old apartment handled vegetables unevenly, and my little sunchokes (tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a few whacked-up shallots and cloves of garlic) were subsequently either velvety and winning or surly and a tiny bit fibrous, depending on where they were in relation to the heating element. everything sorted itself out in the next day's reheat, though, and the apartment smelled fantastic; sunchokes will come home with me this winter. that mysterious hybrid flavor (a bit taterish, a bit chokesque) is worth investigating.

06: mochiko (aka sweet rice flour).

mochiko (sweet rice flour)

(i also baked while we were moving. i have the attention span of a gnat.)

i feel i deserve double credit for baking with mochiko; i had neither used it nor known of its existence prior to this recipe (i adore the green tea mochi that sometimes materialize at sushi restaurants and japanese grocery stores, but i'd never devoted much thought to what went into them). the food librarian's blueberry mochi cake (via my friend sara) promised exotic, gluten-free chewiness,*** so i scored a box of the good stuff at the soho dean and deluca and got baking. straight out of the oven and warm on a napkin, this cake is dazzling: its texture is unusual without being off-putting, and the flour's whispery sweetness (paired with a bit of tartness from the wild blueberries) is light and sophisticated. a few days in the refrigerator (as we're no longer the destroyers of cake we were in our twenties - most of the time, anyway) weren't especially kind to the leftovers, so i'd recommend this as a decadent breakfast or dessert item for company (that is, people who can eat it right away) - but i'd certainly recommend it.

*george's (excellent) idea.

**that i will continue to purchase from the pros.

***wheat and i are cool, but some of us need an alternative to cupcakes; i hear that.


say what you will about beautiful families, adoring dogs, and cottages left intact after dragon attacks, but from where i'm sitting, the very best greeting at the end of a long day comes from a stack of boxes from the oxford university press.

mah OED


when i was a wee lass, we didn't mess around on halloween: my mother has an art degree from stanford, and she put it to good use in service of the holiday and our whims. each of our costumes was completely handmade,* and many of them were so well received that they were re-used by friends and neighbors over the next few trick-or-treating seasons (artichoke costume of the late '80s, i salute you). she still has a hand-feathered bird costume she made when my sister was a toddler, and it still drops jaws. said sister has her own art degree now (and is plugging away at costume design in grad school); the family tradition of bringing it each october has survived and gotten ever more feisty over the years.**

...which worried me when i decided to be the log lady. last year's bowie costume didn't involve a lot of sewing, but it called for enthusiastic face-painting; i got my effort in, after a fashion. i did some fancy ebaying to find a proper sweater coat and wig, but the former ended up being too big (the log lady is frumpy, but she isn't portly) and the latter arrived from hong kong...today, actually; getting a sweater from old navy and turning another wig into a bob (lauren: "hey, would you wear this while i chop it up?" joe: "no!") hardly seemed like a proper tribute to the fam. so (in the convenient absence of ponderosa pine) i made my log.

log as burt reynolds?

like most of the soft pieces i've built, it's primarily felt; this time i sprang for decent wool felt rather than the crappy stuff from the local art store, as i knew i'd be detailing the hell out of the bark (it will be a long time before i applique again) and i wanted it to retain its shape (and be washable, which turned out to be important, as i carried it around all night at a bar).

log embroidery detail: the revenge

inspired by an extremely timely copy of jenny hart's embroidered effects,*** i tried my hand at some simple rings for the cut edges of the log and branches; given that it's the first time i've ever embroidered, i'm pretty happy with how it came out.

log embroidery detail

(that's stuffing sneaking out around the stitches; i sort of forgot to do the detailing before i constructed and stuffed the log.)

i also had a go at one of lovely amanda's favorite pastimes and spent a lunch break in central park gathering acorns and caps. i hot-glued a pair back together (you know it's craft if you melt glue), convinced them to stick to a pair of leaves i cut from log-scraps, and glued all of that to a safety pin. boom! brooch.

log lady acorn brooch

(you can see a bit of glue behind the caps, but that's a little cobweb rather than glue in the front. sometimes it's important to wear cobwebs.)

my log and i had a lovely time on saturday; a few people thought i was a tree-hugger and a few more thought i was carrying a giant cigarette (?), but the occasional twin peaks fan's happy shrieking was more than enough. log on, internets.

*which was especially impressive when i chose to be, say a telephone receiver, or autumn. you were patient, ma.

**my dad's side has its own techie subspecies of enthusiasts: for their semiannual halloween party this year, my godparents made a dvd invitation complete with easter eggs.

***jenny hart is my crafting idol; i've seen her at events in the city for years now, and i'm still too starstruck to roll up and say hello.


I carry a log--yes. Is it funny to you? It is not to me. Behind all things are reasons. Reasons can even explain the absurd. Do we have the time to learn the reasons behind the human being's varied behavior? I think not. Some take the time. Are they called detectives?

log lady

i will translate


ours is a short-haired marriage (for demonstrable reasons), exhibit A:

day 084: blitzkrieg bob

anne geddes, watch your ass.

10.28.09: "it is not to me."

1: ...and besides, spending days and days making a really lovely detailed cloth version of a log instead of carrying a real log is kind of lynchian,* wouldn't you say?
2: [silent]
1: what if i told you it was stuffed with severed ears?

in other Lauren's Log Lady Halloween Costume news, i got a note from the ebay seller from whom i purchased a brown wig two weeks ago: alas, the wig is still without a tracking number somewhere in guangzhou province (notes to self: read fine print in item listings. do not buy fake hair from china.). it will, however, be here by 11/14! (do not buy fake hair from china.) happily, my friend sarah has an extra brown wig that she dug out of her closet on my behalf last night; judd (her husband; yep, same judd) brought it to work today and will be messengering it up here. is messengering fake hair lynchian?

*from "david lynch keeps his head," one of my all-time favorite david foster wallace essays:

A Rotary luncheon where everybody's got a comb-over and a polyester sport coat and is eating bland Rotarian chicken and exchanging Republican platitudes with heartfelt sincerity and yet all are either amputees or neurologically damaged or both would be more Lynchian than not. A hideously bloody street fight over an insult would be a Lynchian street fight if and only if the insultee punctuates every kick and blow with an injunction not to say fucking anything if you can't say something fucking nice.

cocktail hour chandelier

we concluded a truly epic wedding season this saturday with the union of our lovely jersey barbecue hosts, megan and patrick, and a wild celebration in west orange. say what you will about the less lovable parts of the garden state, but it was in its glory this weekend: i actually didn't mind our getting a bit turned around on the highway en route to the reception, as it bought me another fifteen minutes of roadside leaf-peeping. joe and i also broke out our "name that (meowed) tune" time-wasting game, so four fifths of the car* spent the last bit of the drive to the manor meowing "we are the world" as soulfully as we could (judd really outdid himself on the cyndi lauper and michael mcdonald parts). a long weddingless winter is on the horizon, but we have my little sister's wedding in the hazy future to sustain us: baby jo and her excellent boyfriend, chris, got engaged this past friday, and they tell us their first dance will be "as the world falls down." if she rocks sarah's ball gown (a distinct possibility, as she's getting her MFA in costume design), i can die happy.

*george was the holdout. in his defense, he was driving.

10.23.09: to say that bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all

twelve things i brought home from my desk-hoard this week:

01 a pink hammer
02 five hundred pyramid studs*
03 six bricks of sculpey**
04 a broom
05 two yards of brown wool felt***
06 tapestry needles****
07 a glass cloche
08 tovah martin's the new terrarium
09 a momofuku galley
10 a pendleton blanket from procter & gamble kansas city (SEPTEMBER 1968 - WORLD SAFETY RECORD)
11 pictorial webster's
12 a large wooden basket*****

i'm hustling to acquire furniture for the new apartment because we'll only have space for it for another few days, you see. it's a compulsion, the hoarding of craft supplies and blankets and weird office giveaways.

*for making a pair of these. that was a strange order to place; i called joe to let him know the paypal charge to our account from studsandspikes.com was mine.

**to make a brooch for my log lady costume, and for our housewarming party. in related news, a coworker told me the other day that shrinky dinks still exist; this will be the best housewarming party ever.

***also log-related.


*****ditto, in spirit if not in practice.


i've been trying to put my finger on what it is about the last few generations of blog trends that's so very alienating. at some point i started feeling like statler and waldorf in the balcony on the muppet show; like many a blogger before me, i've taken to missing The Old Internet, and get off my lawn. online shopping is now a fabulous thing, of course, and as a researcher i can hardly complain about the databases that have gone virtual, but...the blogosphere is getting a bit desolate. at some point it stopped feeling like a good party and started feeling like a bedroom with a bunch of magazine clippings taped to the wall (by a semiliterate teenager). i love a collage (and magpies), but seriously, why can't original content be the status quo? where'd everyone go, and why are the stragglers all wearing the same shirt?

i don't know that i'd care for a web with universally personal sites. i do care - quite a lot, actually - for taking a collective breather from the echo chamber of #followfriday, tumblr, flickr-as-stock-photos...you get my drift. let's stop dumping on things we're tired of seeing and mimicking things we find; let's put out.

my-damn-self monday? media fast monday? maker's monday, if you're into brown liquor? i'd like to see a day devoted to blog content that's utterly original. start the week with fresh writing and images; hold off on the links and snippets and shout-outs for a bit. tell me what you did over the weekend instead of showing me what you want to buy. if your site is topical, make it a manifesto day rather than a meta day. what if i said all the cool kids are doing it?

10.20.09: milestone postcards

closing night on the LES, cont'd.

we burned two and a half hours of chilly october daylight around a conference table on friday afternoon. i spent most of that time signing my name and/or nodding while making earnest faces at our attorney (part of that was to demonstrate my hard-earned understanding of new york real estate; part of it was our bonding over the improbable revelation that she had a three-legged cat). after the previous owners (finally) pushed a hedgehog-sized pile of keys across the table at us and wished us well, we dashed into a drugstore down the street, grabbed little bags of cheez-its and big cans of heineken, and took a cab to the lower east side.* champagne toasts are nice and all, but we wanted to make it to the new digs before the sun set.

we did, just barely. "i wish we could stay," joe whispered.** "we need the cat," i whispered back.

rick and judd

so we took the subway back up to hell's kitchen, where our broker and dear friend judd sang us some bowie. good people, our people.

*joe told his mother about that when he called her a few hours later; she said that when she and his dad bought their first place in arizona thirty years ago, they spent their first night sitting on the floor with coors and beer nuts. heritage!

**though we closed on friday, we couldn't move until monday morning.


101 in 1001 {II}: 010 buy an apartment [completed 10.16.09]

day 071: our keys

10.12.09: a dreaded sunny day

101 in 1001 {II}: 052 visit at least 3 cemeteries in the new york area [01/03 as of 10.10.09]
amanda and i coincided at columbus circle and took the train out to green-wood for angels and accordions, a concert / dance performance / semi-goth hoedown. i had my very first whoopie pie (an early birthday treat) among the headstones; it was excellent.

day 066: tree-angel (3 of 3)

van ness-parsons

silhouettes, graves

accordion, repose

(full set here)

10.08.09: recycled magazine bows

day 063: recycled magazine bows

i like to think of myself as a budding assembler of things, but the truth is that i'm happiest when i'm hacking them up (which is convenient, what with my being a magazine editor). i'm especially fond of hacking them up for gift wrapping, so this clever how-to (from jessica jones, a graphic designer in chicago) made my morning. if you've got five minutes, a magazine, a pair of scissors, and some combination of a stapler, tape, and glue, you've got these boys. jessica also worked her magic with a map of chicago that turned out beautifully. i tried to follow suit with a map of the adirondacks that had been living under my desk, but the thicker paper is trickier to arrange properly; i prefer to work with food photos (that little guy at top left is crudités and ellie krieger's green goddess dip; the center strip is broccoli). chop chop, internets.


slight modification to my imaginary career plans: i'd like to be an Wedding Afterparty and Wrap Party Photographer.

vince giordano and the nighthawks

joe, dave, beverages

unmaking the band

mystery model (2 of 2)