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Thriving on neglect: Houseplants and Medical School

April 20, 2015

A physician once told me that to survive residency, you have to be more of a weed than an orchid. She explained that you have to be able to thrive on neglect, with little sunshine…

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… being trampled on…

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…and with a lot of patience (which in my case comes from my loved ones who let you practice administering tests to them).MS3-3

So when I came home after two weeks working on labor and delivery to find that my under-watered-forgot-to-open-the-shades house plants were thriving, I felt pretty good about the weediness of my life and environment. In fact, I felt like the asparagus fern that shot up a sprout almost 3 feet tall in that short time was in fact trying to cheer me on. Have a look for yourself!

 

You could maybe also argue that the pile of laundry grew as much as the fern…

Spring Seedlings

March 29, 2015

Grisha has been busy, so the vegetable garden has fallen to my shoulders. I labeled a lot of paper towel rolls, with little insight into how illegible they would become after multiple waterings. That guarantees either an adventure or a disaster this year.

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I also started some sunflower seeds indoors. Last year, about 4 out of 30 clematis seedlings sprouted. Taking this into account, I started 90 sunflower seeds. All of them have sprouted. Do we dare plant them all outside?

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 We started with 10 allium bulbs last year. This year 19 sprouted!

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You might have guessed that my phone is filled with pictures of Oliver. You might not have guessed that it is also filled with pictures of moss. Some of the highlights are below, from left to right: moss in Asheville, moss on a stick and moss in the Open Eye parking lot. You are encouraged to take pictures of moss and send them to me because they always make me smile.

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I went to 5th Season to ask them why I can’t keep a certain fern alive despite over-watering it and then under-watering it and then showering with it for several weeks. Where do you think I went wrong? After hearing their thoughts and advice, I bought a bag of dried moss. I planted it alongside the fittonia that Oliver knocked over a few months ago which has been less-than-thriving since.

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Now is the time to get in your bets about whether this moss terrarium will survive given my green thumb history outlined above.

Unfinished Projects

March 16, 2015

I wanted to share some projects I have not exactly finished yet or that didn’t pan out as planned and never made it past beta testing. I apologize in advance for how many words are below.

“Paper isn’t leather” Inspired by this leather and canvas bind storing screen printed scarves in the SCAD store, I tried to make a similarly mixed-media bin with brown paper bags and linen. We still have it as a home-base for our stapler, but not surprisingly, it’s about as durable as a soggy paper airplane and probably won’t last one humid Carolina summer.

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“Over-coastered-hostess” Before a barbecue at our house, I compulsively bought a lot of felt and spent too much time cutting it into coasters. The guest to coaster ratio was probably 1:20. But I didn’t just stop there, I took the leftover felt and sewed it to other leftover felt to make a “matching” table runner. The runner was just bumpy enough to make each dish wobble as people tried to serve themselves. Hostess success!Unfinished2

 

 

“Winging out” Last year, I saved several dried out cicada I found while walking Oliver. One day before starting surgery, I tried to delicately cut off the wings with blunt craft scissors, made a mess and lost my fine-motor-confidence. Did you realize that I didn’t say what the wings were for? I still don’t know. Unfinished5

 

 

“Rotten soles” I wore these shoes through and then, naturally modge podged them with fabric. But what you didn’t know is that I then filled them with dirt and tried to plant grass in them. I left them in the front yard, rotting and molding and not growing anything, for over a year before I (or maybe Grisha) tossed them. It looked like we once had a scarecrow who decided to run away but couldn’t make it out of the mud in kitten heels.Unfinished6

 

 

 

“Grilling 101: The Book” The greatest indefinitely-postponed, semi-failure project has been a book my brother and I conceived¬† for my cousins birthday a few years ago. When we were younger, we used to love asking my cousins’ boyfriends questions like, “How many chest hairs to do you?” and “If you could have any tool in the shed, which one would you eat spaghetti with?” To us, these were important questions and we named the process of sitting down a boyfriend and asking him to bare his silly soul “grilling” . We wanted to write a book of some of the questions accompanied by absurdist photography in our very own style of absurdism. We started one day with the question “Where do you fall on the waffle-pancake continuum?” so we naturally made a breakfast spread trying to spell out the word CONTINUUM.

Unfinished4This took place in spring of 2013. That’s how long ago we started and paused this project. Hopefully, sharing it will revive it’s momentum in time for Eitan to visit again for spring break. Cross your syrupy fingers for us!

One dangerous inch

February 17, 2015

We got an inch of snow yesterday and the whole town shut down for a little bit. It made for good fun walking/skating Oliver around the block this morning.

Cement candle pillows

January 19, 2015

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Grisha has been busy with important home renovation projects. I have been using his “left over” supplies for a few projects of my own.

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I mixed up extra grout until it had the consistency of whipped cream that makes soft peaks. Then fill snack bags about two thirds full, making sure to squeeze grout into the corners.

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Squeeze the grout into all the nooks and then seal the top with as little air as possible in the bag. Then place cups or candles where you want their nook to be and weigh them down with coins or books. After 24 hours, the bags will start to feel hard to the touch. When they no longer give to the pressure of your finger, remove the weights and crack the snack bag open. I left them to dry open for another two days and then took them out of the bag completely to dry for another day. That may have been overkill.

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Make sure to sneak these into the construction zone! How deceptively comfortable they look!

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I also placed one into the master bath. No scratches or perilous falls so far. I would consider adding a strip of non-slip fabric to the bottoms if the porcelain is their permanent home.

Hanukkah 2014

December 22, 2014

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Eitan came into town, so we had a big latkah-fest with the family on the 6th night. Grisha and I arrived just in time to point out how crooked and fire-hazard-y the candles were in my parents menorah.

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The boys made fun of me for taking pictures with my PartyParty App, which I recommend if you like annoying people by sending gifs instead of photos. This year we tried latkahs with pepper jelly, which was a winning combination and will be back in the future.

We got some artisan gelt this year as a gift. Below could be the mash up that summarizes this years Hanukkah: Eitan, fancy gelt, Eitan and fancy gelt.

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We’re heading up north to see Grisha’s family next! Maybe we’ll even see some snow to top the flurries we had in North Carolina this weekend.

Recipe card dish clothes

November 24, 2014

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Grisha’s maternal grandmother used to keep track of all the cookies she made each year for Christmas. All dozens and dozens of them. She’d write down the recipe and the quantity and sometimes timeless notes like “so-so.” When Grisha’s parents visited, I asked them to bring the cards so I could photograph some of these cookie-cards to make dishcloths.

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I took pictures of the cards on white foam board and then used iPhoto to overexpose the background. This might be a misuse of the word overexpose, but it is definitely the misuse-slash-haphazard strategy that makes real artists and designs sick to their stomachs. So in an effort to let my language reflect my abilities: I basically just wiggled the controls until the background was white. You could probably do it too!

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Then I put the pictures into a powerpoint that was sized to be a yard of fabric. I adjusted them so that there could be two dishcloths per yard. I then clunkily saved this as a PDF, and then saved that PDF as a jpeg and then uploaded it onto Spoonflower.

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The fabric arrived. I snipped it in half (Grisha would model the half, not the snipping), and hemmed the edges.

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Viola! New dishcloths. Now only if I had a new stove to go with them.

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