Thursday, June 24, 2010

Keep The July Fire Alive, Whisper A Sweet Something

Keep that July fire burning and send your summer lova a Calendartine. Find them at or soon in Birmingham, Al at Urban Standard, Charm, Ruby Begonia or Zoe's Consignment. Summer love is heating up! Get these while it's (and they're) HOT!

Don't have a summer lover, but have your sunglassed eyes on someone? I've just the thing! Send a Sweet Something note on over, you'll be a Calendartine customer in no time.

Find them also at the places listed above!

Hot off the Letterpress

(Handset and printed by Jessica Peterson of Gordo)

Yesterday, I had the fortunate opportunity to make the little drive over to a place called Gordo, Alabama to rent some studio time in this letterpress printers' heavenworld. I had three projects to accomplish, paper, ink, designs and dreams in tow. I worked tirelessly for NINE hours, cranking the Vandy over 1000 times. It almost felt like the good old Penland days. That kind of creating, the kind that has a person lost in time and rhythm, is better than a poolside popsicle on a sweltering summer day. (Added bonus that my printingstravaganza was rewarded with one of these childhood treats).

Monday, June 21, 2010

French Cooking Kick (Off)

(Image borrowed from A Cozy Kitchen)

As mentioned here and here, I'm on a French cooking and eating binge. The first attempt to recreate my Parisian gastro-tour was with this here Croque Madame. To the soundtrack of this dear song, I made my own version of the dee-licious sandwich you see pictured above.

Find the recipe I used here.

Rest Assured, Mama, I'm Insured

I did it. I just bit the bullet, after nearly a year of teetering on the edge of the life of risk and prayer. After living a life uninsured, getting by with crossed fingers and good faith, I'm now an official individual health insurance applicant. Breathe easy, mom.

I'm not happy about the chunk that I'll see leave my bank account each month.

I'm not pleased at the thought that, in the prime of my health, I'm not likely to need the back-up plan.

I'm not jumping for joy at my current job's inability to provide a better option for me, nor am I hopeful that I'll have a position any time soon that will shower me with the same cushy plan I used to know.

But, this is the plight a freelancer, (dare I say) an artist, a dreamer. And, I did promise a family friend that I would give myself this birthday gift. I can rest a little easier knowing that (God forbid) a serious or silly little accident will not put me into a lifetime of debt.

So, there it is. I'll be twenty-five years old this Friday, and am taking kicking-screaming steps towards maturity. Happy birthday to me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

True Adventure and Epicuriosity

Maybe it's the summertime blues. Maybe it's the fact that my big trip abroad is behind me. Maybe it's that I'm about to near my one-year anniversary of job-loss...

I'm not quite sure of its origin but...

I'm looking for adventure, unfortunately not set to head out on the highway again for a good long spell. I'm terribly guilty of settling into a life self-labeled as rote and predictable. Over the last few days, I've found myself admitting to anyone that will listen that I'm looking for my next big adventure. Could it mean another trip? A move? A bigger step in the direction of my letterpress dreams? I don't know. I'm not feeling an urgent push in any direction, though my mind is kiddie-pool flicking and flailing with ideas plenty wide and about an inch deep.

In it all, I have also felt a quiet prodding reminder to not abandon the love that I had at first. As I wrote almost exactly two years ago when I began this blog as an attempt to document and encourage my own societal and spiritual experience: "One cannot be boring who is alive in Christ."

That said, I know I'm not too big for my Birmingham britches. I've not decided that a life of intrigue and excitement can't be found on these streets, or even within the very walls of my home.

So, though I've returned home from my trip to Europe hungry for a bigger life, I've decided to channel my wanderlust energies wisely. Though slightly intimidated by the complexity of signature French sauces, stews and pastries, I've committed myself to cooking through some of my epicurean fears, vowing not to let any snafus in the kitchen deter me. (Remember remember the not-so-great Based Alaska debacle of last December).

While this is a small step in the direction of patienct satisfaction in the present, I am happy to have some project to set my mind and hands to.

First on tap: Croque-Madame, much like the one I had at Café Deux Moulins in Amelie's Parisian eatery. Track my kitchen travels here, as I'll report back with recipes and reviews.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Making Things

Since my return to American soil, a couple of things to note:

To celebrate my mother's diamond birthday, we made the day hike
to stay the night at the Len Foote Inn.

Made a visit to my parents' new crib.

(Pictured here are my sister, Megan, and my mom)

And made a tart for my bookclub. This one specifically.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Pictorial Post

While I'm quite certain I could fill another two weeks with eyefuls and mouthfuls of London and Paris, the two I had were just divine. See below for a taste of what I saw during my trip across the pond.

We happened into this bookbinding supply company en route to London's St. Martin's College of Art and Design's letterpress headquarters. What a nice find.

I quite fancied this afternoon in Southwark Park over near the Tower Bridge end of London. I learned a great deal about English football on this green.

The Borough Market near the London Bridge provided a nice leisurely stroll and piecemeal lunch one Friday afternoon. The offerings were both gorgeous and gastronomically pleasing.

The same day, I had my first (of two) experiences at Monmouth Coffee, located convenient to the Borough Market. Their coffee is individually brewed by the cup in something that looked akin to this here. In all of my travels, it was the best cup I had, hands down.

St. Paul's Cathedral on a sunny London day.

Cath Kidston in Chelsea! I was like a kid in a candy store.

Dressed to the nines, we saw Les Mis on a perfect evening out.

Our arrival to France was cold, grey and rainy. But, nothing could mute the colors of Paris, the true city of light. It didn't get dark until 10:30pm, affording us long post-dinner strolls through city streets. This shot is of the Louvre and its spacious and lively grand plaza.

The wait in line for Laduree was worth it for a taste of their homegrown macaroon. We tried the red currant, caramel with salted butter and bittersweet chocolate. Nevermind the fact that it took us about 1/3 of the time to devour the cookies as it did for us to acquire them.

This tucked-away treasure was site of some of Amelie's filming. I loved sitting outside this hilltop cafe observing French life away from tourist-ville.

When we reached the crest of the hill, we browsed the art of some trés talented street artists. I loved the light and detail of this fella's paintings. In the end, I had to opt to purchase a smaller, but no-less-lovely print of the view from Montmarte.

Taken from the top of the Sacre Coure stairs.

The upward view of the basilica.

Our afternoon spent lazing in the Luxenbourg Gardens was one of my very favorites. It was just the right spot to rest our walking-weary legs and to take in the Parisian palate of greens and greys.

I'll be back home this afternoon, fat and happy to have had the chance for such a wonderful trip. Many thanks to my willing and capable tour guide and travel buddy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Saw London, I Saw France

Tower Bridge in London

Eiffel Tower in Paris

I'm back from the trip of a lifetime with my valentine.
I'll be back with a few pictures of our tour of two cities.