Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sneak Peak

As I prepare to move I decided it was high time to post a sneak peek as an homage to this little light-filled Lorimer Street perch of an apartment, because who doesn't love sneak peeks, inspiration, and getting a glimpse into others' homes? These photos were taken this past winter just following a cleaning binge, before things got messy with multiple dogs and roommates.

Welcome home!

This holiday wreath stolen from a work party is actually still up because I've been too lazy to take it down

Corner of the living room designated as "entryway." Stool found on the street. Need to remember to wear my apron more often.

This is where the cooking magic the world's smallest kitchen!

DIY tablecloth turned valences

Every winter I hang paper snowflakes to bring some cheer into the season. They've since been taken down. The far wall is filled with artwork and photography by me, friends, and family.

Due to the world's smallest kitchen, appliances had to make their home on one of the living room endtables, cozied up by a DIY table skirt cut from an old sheet.

The green directors chairs were handed down from my grandparents to my parents, who didn't want them, but I wanted them - they are so comfy! There used to be four, but silly roommates didn't realize that when the fabric rips, you can replace it instead of throwing the whole chair out! The chair on the right is happy to be sporting a new makeshift fabric seat.

Futon found on craigslist originally came with a blue behemoth of a mattress that was always falling off. Best thing I ever did was get this new futon mattress from Ikea instead of buying an expensive couch. I like having a place for visitors (aka primarily my sisters) to sleep. Instead of buying new "couch" pillows, I used ones from our vast collection of bed pillows with an Indian blanket* to round out the color.

My boyfriend built this dining table with his dad for his first NYC apartment. The chairs were built by his grandfather several decades earlier and I love the layers of peeling paint colors.

Looking from the living room into the bedroom. Found the adorable bread box on the street. I store dog treats in a glass jar to keep them handy. Old film reel found at a stoop sale with the eventual goal of turning it into a clock. In the meantime, it looks neat enough.

My dresser found at Salvation Army marked down to half off for $35. Still life painting by my grandfather. Keyboard I never play thanks to the complaining downstairs neighbors.

Boyfriend's dresser/TV stand. I've always hated having that huge movie poster distracting from the TV but we couldn't find any other place for it. Giant walking stick picked up one one of our hikes.

Can you see the dog in the painting is also lying on the bed? Can you tell Spencer is a lazy dog?

I put this little shelf (handed down from Meag when she jetted off to Argentina) to good use as my nightstand/desk.

The armoire that just gets passed from tenant to tenant because god knows how someone managed to get it in this apartment or how anyone could get it out. Boyfriend's pipes proudly accent the top.

Boyfriend's desk space. We were browsing an antiques/collectibles store at the beach and he just had to have that Rooster artwork.

Recapping all of this reminds me just how "green" my furniture is, most of it being secondhand, except for a few Ikea splurges. Happy to have a home filled with meaningful items picked up together along the way - all of that means more to me than a shiny new Pottery Barn look. What do you like about your home?

* not PC I know but that's what he calls it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Long Ride Back

The ride up to Elaine's wedding was just under five hours, but I took my time coming home the next day - more than eight hours - involving several stops along the way.

Had a burger and beer for lunch in Watkins Glen, a cute little country village at the foot of Seneca Lake. I also stopped in an antique store there to pick up a spice rack and vintage sugar canisters for our new apartment.

Followed signs for the Delaware Delicacies Smokehouse several miles off the highway deep into the Catskills woods. We joked that we would be the ones getting smoked, but we actually found ourselves at a legitimate business. The guy catches eels in the river behind his property and smokes it along with other fish and meat onsite. We picked up some smoked salmon, cornish hens, and even an eel, although I still haven't tried the eel because I'm a little afraid.

The next stop was Beaver-Del Campground, of this wedding's fame. I wanted to check it out because Beaver Del sounded like it would be awesome place to camp - right on the river with excellent fishing and a bar/restaurant onsite. Unfortunately the sites aren't private enough for our standards, just in an open field, and it's close enough to the highway to hear the white noise of cars zooming by. But the property is really bucolic and they have an awesome log cabin beer hall, so I can see how it would be a great venue for big camping parties.

Then it was my turn to drive, so I followed a back road along the winding river for a fun while, until the road abruptly came to an end...on the highway! I don't do highway driving anymore because I have a phobia of merging. But there I was, on the highway ramp and I had to drive forward and it turned out okay.

I drove all the way from Liberty other words not very far, but it was my first time on the highway in three years! Maybe someday I'll be a real driver again. Afterward we treated ourselves to Stewart's ice cream. And then we continued on our way, with another couple hours to go and some more traffic to get stuck in.

A Wedding on the Lake

They say that rain and sunshine both bring luck to wedding, each in their own way, and if it's true, then my friend Elaine and her new hubby Mike are doubly lucky...

It was pouring less than an hour before their wedding, as I arrived at our motel. The rain stopped on our drive over to the winery, leaving a looming gray sky. But amazingly, the sun came out with brilliance during their vows. No one was expecting that just an hour earlier! Much later, the night turned damp and dark with lightning strikes dotting the distance.

The venue itself, Glenora Winery in the finger lakes, was really lovely. The ceremony was beautifully set under a tent on a gently sloping hill with a view of Seneca Lake. The reception was held at the vineyard's restaurant with tables inside and cocktails and dancing outside on the covered deck.

Elaine's mother put together the flower arrangements, and Elaine participated in a bike ride to win the bouquets for herself and her bridesmaid Meredith.

I had never before seen my friends looking so elegant!

They wrote their own vows as testaments to their love for each other, which made everyone teary eyed.

The reception tables were simple and lovely, with little jars of flowers and pine trees to take home as favors. (I planted mine and then put it in a corner of the deck the dogs couldn't get at...and then forgot about it, so I'm not sure it's going to survive...)

I'm such a crybaby that I cried twice! Their slideshow was especially moving and sweet - photos of their families and friends growing up - recognizing the community that raised and supports them and had gathered for their wedding, followed by photos of the couple's milestones together, which I appreciated having not seen Elaine much over the past several years.

The bouquet toss was hilarious - no one wanted to catch it so we all just watched the bouquet sail over our hands and plop on the floor!

We got drunk on Glenora wine, relived old dance moves and huddles on the dance floor, had fun into the night, and planned on bringing a bottle of wine to the dock back at the motel but everyone fell asleep instead.

I only wish I got to see these girls more often.

Congratulations again and the best of luck to Elaine and Mike!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fourth of July BBQ

We had a small dinner party for Fourth of July with all the quintessential fare. No Fourth would be complete without corn of the cob (first of the season from a Jersey farm); potato salad and coleslaw; strawberries & blueberries for dessert; and grass fed burgers with all the fixings: lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and pickled swiss chard stems.

Oh WAIT something there is not like the others - pickled chard. But I happened to have a whole lot of swiss chard in the fridge and didn't know what else I'd do with all those stems, so I tried to pickle them, adapting this recipe from the New York Times. The pickled stems were just okay for snacking, but great on the burgers, adding a little brightness and vinegary complexity.

I also spruced up the average coleslaw by including broccoli. Inspired by Smitten Kitchen's broccoli slaw, but a world away. With a mustard-based vinaigrette instead of mayo because we were already getting plenty of mayo in the potato salad. The coleslaw was a hit and I'd make it again.

On a side note, we didn't get to see any fireworks (thanks a lot to Macy's for leaving all of Brooklyn in the dark) but I didn't care.

Pickled Swiss Chard Stems
1 bunch swiss chard stems (discard the leaves for cooking another time)
3 tbsp (?) olive oil
3 tbsp (?) vinegar
1 tsp pickling spices (can be bought at supermarkets)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Salt

Cut stems in pieces 1/2-inch wide and 2 inches long. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add stems and simmer for 10 minutes until chard is softened. Drain and place stems in a small jar. Combine oil, vinegar, pickling spices, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour liquid mixture over stems into jar. Let marinate at least a few hours before serving. Keep in regrigerator up to two weeks.

Mustard Broccoli Slaw
1 head broccoli
1/2 head of cabbage
few carrots
1/2 onion
3 tbsp (?) olive oil
2 tbsp (?) vinegar
3 tbsp (?) mustard
2 tsp (?) sugar
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
1 tsp dried thyme

Thinly slice broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and onion (or use slicer blade in food processor - but I handsliced because I'm afraid of the special slicer blade). Combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients and add more oil/vinegar/mustard/sugar/salt if needed*.

* (?) Note it's been a few weeks since I made these recipes so I don't remember the exact processes, and I tend to just kind of throw in ingredients and adjust to taste, so take these measurements with a grain of salt.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Handmade Paper Invitations

My friend Gina is fascinated by paper making, so when I saw these handmade paper invitations featured on Homespun Weddings I thought I'd put them up here as a little inspiration to her. Theartofmegan and her hubby made these lovely invitations from scratch for their wedding and even included a tutorial for making your own paper. Enjoy!

PS. Gina started a blog with lots of pretty photos of her new adventures in the wilds of Colorado. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Secondhand Clothes

I try not to buy clothing brand-new. I usually check out thrift and consignment stores first to see if I can find what I need. I also don't really like shopping (trying on clothes that never fit - sounds like fun!), which helps keep me from buying too much. Inspired by Josyln's Things I bought Thursdays over at Simple Lovely, here are the "new" clothes I've gotten since April when the spending hiatus ended:

Boots from Sweet Virginia, a darling little boutique recommended by a friend that sells used, vintage, and reworked attire. However, the store is so little that, because I was the only one in there and I took my time looking at things, I felt awkward like I needed to buy something. Hate that. So it was a mistake to get these boots because they're too big and the bottoms are too smooth, making them slippery and dangerous in snow and rain.

These shoes from Buffalo Exchange, the consignment store in my neighborhood fit all my qualifications: comfy, nice enough to wear to work, black goes with anything for everyday wear, and sandal-like for hot summer temps

Tie dye dress stolen from my sister. She never wore it, but all it needed was some stitches to make the slit up the back less risque.

Hippie dress from Buffalo. Can't wait to wear this and the tie dye one to the bluegrass festival this weekend!

The cutest red halter dress, again from Buffalo. It was the perfect hostess dress for my Memorial Day BBQ and for my friend's upstate winery wedding last weekend.

As well as a spluge on one "new" item:
Multipurpose Teva sandals I had my eye on for a year before I made the purchase last week. Sustainable cork, eco-friendly company, waterproof uppers, nice enough to wear to work, comfortable enough for every day wear and long walks, sturdy enough for easy hikes. Worth the cost! A friend of mine liked them so much she went out and bought them this week too!

Still on the lookout for a dressier dress for other weddings coming up this year.