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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.

Book O’ Cards

November 10, 2014

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We save all the letters and postcards we get. For a while we displayed them on the mantel, but overtime it was getting full. We couldn’t whittle down favorites, so we decided to put them in a book and initiate the coffee-table-book-phase of our lives. I had tried to finish this before Grisha’s parents visited because his mother is a card-making-rockstar and I wanted her to see how much we appreciate her cards.

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I got my book at the PTA Thrift Store in Carrboro. Make sure it’s a hard cover book with a width smaller than the diameter of  your binder rings. I got a book whose title I liked and whose contents could be used in other projects.

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For the drilling, I made a paper template of where I wanted the holes. I chose the spacing to fit the majority of my cards. Grisha drilled straight through the book and there was some fraying on the exit-side. Next time, I might ask him to go halfway through on each side to try and reduce that. Next time of course depends on filling this one up, so keep those beautiful letters coming. 🙂

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Grisha has this heavy duty hole-puncher that his grandfather owned. I think its one of those beautiful they-just-don’t-make-them-like-they-used-to pieces.

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Enjoy! Click on the picture above to see the book in stop-motion-action. Maybe you’ll even see one of your masterpieces!

Workcation

November 7, 2014

Grisha’s parents visited this week, just in time to scrub the deck clean for staining and build a heavy duty retaining wall. We sure are a fun couple to visit, especially if you like hard physical labor. We did have a few good afternoons and even got to visit the Orange County Studio Tour.

 

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In addition to experiencing lots of art, the tour is a good way to see rural parts of the county, who owns horses, and who has sad-pumpkin faces.

 

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Every year we try to visit Peg Bachenheimer’s encaustic studio, which is surprisingly very clean and filled with educational cards about the encaustic process that always make me want to go home and melt candles on canvas (it’s not that simple).

 

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In addition to touring, there were Oliver snuggles, tropical drinks at Straw Valley, and an epic re-potting. This plant was in the corner of the deck and had to be moved so the deck could be cleaned, go figure. Once we got it upright, it was evident that the corner provided the perfect environment for  all the leaves to grow crookedly towards the sunshine. Now the entire head of the plant is about 60 degrees off mid-line from the trunk. Perfectly positioned to give passersby paper cuts from the spiky leaves. Again, so much fun to visit.

 

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You won’t ask us for a favor again

October 27, 2014

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We started off strong with a no-pets-on-the-furniture rule. Then my friend went to Asheville for the year and asked us store her loveseat. We tried to tell her that it would get covered in dog hair, that it would smell like Oliver but nothing dissuaded her. She left it with us. We got a coverlet just to be safe, in case Oliver brushed up against it or it turned out to be a magnet during shedding-season.

But one day, somehow, since this couch wasn’t our couch, Oliver figured out that the rules didn’t apply there. Like a neutral haven of snuggling two feet off the floor. He is almost inseparable from this love seat. And who are we to interfere? The worst friend-favor-doers ever.

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Please show us these pictures of Oliver snuggling and sleepy and calm in a few months when my friend reclaims her loveseat and we regret that this rule is forever broken.

Scrap Exchange

October 20, 2014

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I visited the Scrap Exchange‘s new location this weekend. You know, to make sure I still knew where I could get old National Geographic magazines, yards of stickers with the letter U and slides of strangers’ house warming parties. Just in case.

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Someone will just have to visit and see if the new location is as inspirational as the previous location.

Felt pots

October 12, 2014

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Roll a terracotta pot onto to some leftover felt and cut out a rainbow-shaped piece that will cover it. Pin that piece tight around the pot.

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Sew or staple along that line and remove your pins. If you sew, I recommend not lazily assuming you can just use the sewing machine on the floor. It is a bad idea. Add a double row of reinforcement, cut off the extra on the seam. Leave about 1 cm on the bottom and the side-seam and 3 cm on the top. Deglove the pot, roll the sleeve inside out and reinsert your pot.

Purse-string sew the bottom, but let me save you the shivers and tell you that needle nose pliers and extra suture is a bad idea because needle + terracotta = worse than nails on a blackboard. Tuck the top into the pot, fill with dirt, plant away.

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UPDATE: A beloved pet knocked over this plant after seeing a squirrel  and it shattered the terracotta pot inside the felt. The felt kept the mold of the pot, with the exception of a thumbprint from where I lifted it to seat it in its new home: a bowl. Sounds like it’s time to re-pot it again.