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.)