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19 posts from July 2008

31 July 2008

Jonathan Adler Needlepoint

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I've never been a great fan of Jonathan Adler's stuff before, but have to admit to hugely liking his new needlepoint pillows.

There's a great photoshoot of his Palm Beach house in August's Elle Decoration UK where we can see the pillows in action.

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I'm thinking that mod lady with too much eyeshadow would look very fine on here, once we've got round to painting the wall.

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Oh and extra points to anyone who can tell me where to source that light fitting hanging above the purple chair (with the green curtain behind).

30 July 2008

The Very Definition of Pleasure

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Well I knew they were irresistible, so I didn't even bother resisting. Here's what arrived in the mail the other day and they're even more beautiful in person than they are online

The covers are stunning and the paper inside is smooth and expensive.

There really is nothing more satisfying than a beautifully-made book, particularly when you discover that Valley of the Dolls has somehow metamorphosed from being the trashy book you read for the sex scenes as a teenager, into a great classic of feminist literature and can therefore be read without guilt.

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28 July 2008

The Cabin in the Mountains

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This weekend was spent swimming in crisp, emerald lakes; listening to the wind in the aspens; messing about in boats; gazing in awe at the Milky Way and Jupiter's moons through a telescope; hunting Sasquatch in the woods and swinging on Sky chairs...

.. all courtesy of our lovely friends who have just acquired a rather luxurious log cabin in a valley near Leavenworth

Sometimes we are very, very lucky indeed.

25 July 2008

Wii Fit and Paul McKenna Weight Loss Challenge - Update

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Two weeks ago

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Two weeks ago

Well here's a quick update on my 'progress'.

Apart from a couple of days off when I went camping, I've been Wii Fitting every day and also following the Paul McKenna eating guidelines, though not doing the self-hypnosis CD very often.

And I've managed to lose a grand total of 0.8lbs in two weeks. I also think that when I peer at the photos above, my hips and mid-section look a wee bit trimmer - a testament to all the frantic stationary hula-hooping I've been doing.

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Here's my BMI according to Wii Fit. My immediate goal is to get out of the 'obese' category. I'm actually quite pleased with my progress so far, as I've been socialising so much recently, so I'm going to keep going for another two weeks.

Here are some specific thoughts:

Wii Fit

God, I love this machine.  It's fascinating to see how much more addictive it is than normal exercise - just because you get to set 'records', compete with others in the family and have your progress monitored in a very precise way.

The yoga and strength exercises focus very much on developing balance and core muscles and I do think my posture has improved. I've been doing strength training once a week with a trainer and she's been noticing that I do appear to be noticeably stronger.

People have been scathing about the aerobic exercises, but I'm certainly sweaty and exhausted after I've finished doing them.  I love the rhythm boxing, find the hula-hooping to be hugely hard work, and it's scary to me that I seem to prefer jogging in place on my rebounder following a cartoon dog round a cartoon island than going out in the fresh air and jogging outside. 

Paul McKenna

Well, if it does end up working it will be fabulous, because I can't tell you how much I've been enjoying my food these last couple of weeks.  I've noticed that when I follow my body my eating patterns change a lot.  I eat more in the mornings and more after exercise, but then really only want to eat a very small supper.  That's been the biggest challenge for me so far - making delicious food to eat in the evenings and then realising I can only have a very small portion. I've been very good at eating when I'm hungry (what a pleasure that's been), very good at eating what I want to eat (I've been eating crisps!), moderately good at savouring what I'm eating, but still need to work (a lot) on stopping when I'm full.  

I'm also finding it scary but motivating posting pictures up on the Internet, so you're all going to have to put up with wobbly fat pictures for a bit longer.

24 July 2008

Back to the 80s

With les Rita Mitsouko. Just reminding myself of one of best songs/videos of the 80s (she says dating herself horribly).

Paper Cuts

Aren't these just insanely cool?  I'd love to buy one for the Husband's birthday, but I presume they're also insanely expensive.  By Danish artist Peter Callesen, via Tula's fabulous Whorange.

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23 July 2008

The Lab

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This month's Lab is tonight at Velocity's South Lake Union showroom as usual. 

It features Lauren and Emira talking about their book and website The Boss of You which markets itself as 'everything a woman needs to know to start, run, and maintain her own business.'

I really hope to be there - I feel like I've lost my 'mirrormirror' mojo in recent months and need to be reinspired -  though at the moment it's not entirely clear to me how I will manage to fit it in between unpacking, laundry, repacking (we're off to our friends' cabin in the mountains this weekend), Rolfing, training and er, actually working on my business.

Another date for your diary is the next Lab on August 20th which is entitled Bring + Brag   - a show and tell night for local creative people to showcase their art, products, or business. 

I know that some people who read this blog fit into this category, so this is a golden opportunity to 'market' yourself and your wares to an audience of Seattle creatives, retailers and bloggers among others.

If you want to take part then email the lovely Ali at Velocity and I look forward to seeing you next month.

Sweetpeas

Look what showed up on my kitchen windowsill the other day.

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If you plant seeds in the Spring, they turn into flowers!  Who knew?  (I really love these short stubby apple juice bottles from Martinellis).

21 July 2008

Camping!

Or, if this child dares ever to complain about her childhood, I'll refer her here.

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God Washington state is BEAUTIFUL sometimes.  More pictures on my Flickr.

17 July 2008

Studmuffins

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This morning - given that low-lying fog had scuppered our plans to go to the beach - the Minx and I made essential preparations for our forthcoming camping trip into the wilderness.  These choco-chip muffins come courtesy of that seminal work, Usborne's Farmyard Tales Children's Cookbook

This was actually our first time ever making muffins. I suspect it won't be the last.

Spoonflower

Oh I'm way behind other blogs on this one, but I'm very excited by the development of Spoonflower, 'the website that allows anyone and everyone to print their own fabric'.

It's still in beta, but basically you upload your own textile design (full instructions on the site) and they'll print off a length of fabric in that design.  They will also ship to the UK.

This is such a 'duh! I wish I'd thought of that' business idea.  It's obviously going to be huge and the potential to print on all sorts of different fabrics (currently they only offer mercerized cotton) and possibly even use it for things like wallpapers and rugs is enormous. 

Not to mention that in future they're hoping to allow people to buy other people's designs through the site, which will be one in the eye to all the 'only to the trade' fabric designers.  I think there are going to be some interesting copyright issues going forward though. In the meantime some beautiful fabrics are starting to crop up on Etsy.

unikko_001_loresI've never designed a fabric pattern in my life, but I have received an invitation to use the site (while it's in beta it's by invitation only, but they don't seem to be too difficult to get hold of) and the temptation to bring out my latent Tricia Guild is enormous.  After all, it surely it can't have been that difficult to design the Marimekko Unikko poppies?

I  just wish they were doing canvas or upholstery weight fabrics as I want to make CUSHIONS.

The Spoonflower guys are also writing a great blog about setting up and developing their own business. I'm particularly enjoying their little podcasts.

14 July 2008

Hello petal!

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I want these VERY badly.  Unfortunately I don't have suitably skinny legs and it isn't Mother's Day.

11 July 2008

Wii Fit and Paul McKenna Weight Loss Challenge

OK, so this is all very off topic and self-indulgent, so if you're here for some nice pics of cushions or something then it's probably best to go now.

As I've mentioned before, I've not been very happy with my weight since the Minx was born (and was hardly thrilled with it beforehand, to be honest).

I was doing Weight Watchers at the beginning of the year and managed to lose a bit, but I do find all the weighing and measuring and logging food etc to be very tedious, and I really didn't feel it was improving my already warped relationship with food.

I've recently been reading a book by Paul McKenna called I Can Make You Thin which I've been finding really interesting. 

He's very 'anti-diet' and instead suggests following four simple rules.

- Whenever you're hungry, EAT.  I've been trying this for two or three days and it's a revelation to be able to go and find food whenever you feel hungry, instead of trying to hold out until the next mealtime.

- Eat what you want, not what you think you should.  This is amazingly difficult to get my head round. So many foods are labelled 'bad' in my head. But I've been trying to consciously examine what my body feels it needs when I'm hungry,  and not eat stuff I don't really like and which isn't emotionally satisfying just for the sake of it, or else eat treat foods just because I can.

- Eat CONSCIOUSLY and enjoy every mouthful.  Again, really difficult for me.  I'm always picking stuff out of the fridge or eating on the run or at my computer without really noticing what goes in my mouth.

- When you think you are full, STOP eating.  The most difficult one of all.  I actually eat quite a good diet, with very little junk and processed food.  But I do eat the most enormous portions (not helped by living with someone who's 6'2" and naturally skinny).  I just love my food. So now I'm trying to pay attention to when my body feels full, and it's scary just how small portions have to be.

And that's it. The rest of the book is full of NLP stuff and before-and-afters and also includes a self-hypnosis tape, which is relaxing if nothing else.  He's also put out a 90 Day Success Journal, which is probably a bit of a waste of money as it mostly encourages you to record whether you followed the rules with a daily inspirational thought, but I've got it anyway as I like the thought of having a bit more focus for 90 days. 

In addition I've finally managed to score a Wii Fit  which, on the first day of using, appears to be much, much more fun than going to gym, though I don't quite understand why. So I'm going to commit to playing on the Wii Fit for between 30 and 60 minutes every day for the next 90 days to get some basic exercise in.

And that's it.  I'm doing this post to challenge myself to stick to this regime for the next 90 days.  I'll post updates every couple of weeks (Paul McKenna suggests weighing yourself only every two weeks if that) and hopefully some gobsmackingly gorgeous AFTER shots at the end of September when the 90 days is up.

This bit is absolutely not self-indulgent.  In fact it's probably one of the scarier things I've ever done.  But here are some BEFORE pics of me in tight-fitting clothes, online for all the world to see. 

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07 July 2008

Chocolate lily

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Isn't this just the most gorgeous creature?

This is apparently an Asatic Hybrid Lily 'Dimensions' that I planted in my garden this spring and promptly forgot about.

Part of me feels like I need to rein in my predilection for very dark flowers soon before the garden looks like something out of the Addams Family.  The other part of me wants to gather up great bunches of these and put them in every room in the house.  (I should have bought more than three bulbs).

Those of you in the US who share my delight in dark flowers should visit the Chocolate Flower Farm which is based on one of the local islands and specialises, amazingly enough, in chocolate-coloured flowers and vegetables.

While you're here, here's a completely gratuitous picture of a bee on the lavender.

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06 July 2008

Independence Day

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Pic courtesy of James, who wasn't as drunk as he should have been

So around forty adults and an entirely unnecessary number of children under 5 climbed up to our roof deck one balmy summer's night.  And this is what they saw...

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Top two blurry pictures by me.  Bottom sharp pic by James.

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Drunk in charge of a camera again

I yet again had far too many margaritas to be safe in charge of a camera and also forgot to take any pictures of the food or of the extremely cheesy red, white and blue decorations, or of the Stars and Stripes and Union Jack fluttering gently together in perfect harmony. 

The Minx rushed around all night waving a Stars and Stripes and being taught to say 'down with the King' by our friends.  There will be beheadings.

Seattle excelled itself once again.  God bless America.

04 July 2008

Let them eat cake

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Preparations are underway for what is rapidly becoming our traditional party to celebrate 'America's birthday' (which is how we explain things to the Minx) or Britain's liberation from the US depending on your perspective.

This year I'll try and stay sober enough to take a few pics. This is the only one from last year which wasn't fatally blurred.

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03 July 2008

Bedroom Schemes

One day soon we ARE going to get to getting the inside of the house painted (we've got quotes and things but I just can't bear the thought of the disruption) and I am starting to think about colour schemes.

Of course, the bedroom will be very much dictated by the presence of the Emma Gardner rug , which I realise I haven't really shown you in all its glory.

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I also recently acquired an 'Apostrophe Chair' from Urban Outfitters, which I got at an extremely bargainaceous price, because they were just discontinuing them in that colour.  The chair is ludicrously comfortable, but also ridiculously lightweight so I then had to acquire a sheepskin rug from UGG Australia to anchor it down a bit and stop it wandering all over the room. So not quite such a bargain as first envisaged.

Unfortunately at the moment the whole ensemble is a little vignette of hope in the middle of a sea of ugliness.  If you just pan to the left a little you will see the Husband's incredibly un-picturesque office corner (which will have to remain there until we redo the basement, so sometime in 2020).

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But one day - hopefully within my lifetime -  it will become a lovely nook from where I can read, knit and just gaze at the view over Lake Union and the downtown buildings beyond (which are  impossible to capture on film while still retaining the details of the room).

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I saw these on Uncle Beefy's fabulous blog today and thought that might be a good colour scheme for the room with the rug as a starting point and maybe some dove grey mixed in. I am leaving that thought to marinade a little.

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I am a hydrangea

Apparently.

From This Garden Is Illegal.

I am a
Hydrangea

What Flower
Are You?

02 July 2008

Cherry Cheesecake

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Here's what is left of my new BFF dessert, culled from the pages of Nigella Express, my new BFF cookbook.

Much as Nigella drives me completely up the wall, Nigella Express really is chock full of recipes which are delicious, a bit different, and very quick and easy to prepare as long as you've got the ingredients in the house.

For the above, smash up 125g of digestives or any plain buttery biscuit/cookie in a food processor (I used some LU Marie Lu  biscuits with some extra shortbread thrown in for good measure).  Add about 50g of softened butter, and continue whizzing until the mixture amalgamates.  Press the crumb base into a 20cm spring form tin.

Then whip up 300g of cream cheese, a bit of vanilla and a squeeze of lemon juice with 60g of icing sugar. Whisk up a cup (250 ml) of double (heavy) cream in a separate bowl and fold it into the cheese mixture. Then spoon it over the biscuit base, smooth it with a spatula and chill it over night.

Et voila - took me 20 mins tops. When you come to serve it, spoon a good cherry conserve over the top (Nigella uses St Dalfour Black Cherry, we used Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves) and watch the gluttony begin.