One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

Awww…I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by My Pen and Me at http://mypenandme.wordpress.com/. I really appreciate being honored with this award from a fellow blogger so thank you!

The rules state that I must share 7 things about myself:

1. I get stressed out when people ask me to name my favorite things. It seems so pedantic to narrow the world into favorites. I love different things at different times!

2. I can never get sick of eating sushi (especially raw tuna) mmmm….

3. As a child, I used to allow myself to read the last sentence (and the last sentence only)  of a book before starting it. I was very disciplined about this.

4. Sometimes I get trapped in the shower. It is a wondrous land of steam and closed eyes and nice smells and I find it very difficult to shut it off and enter the cold harsh world every day.

5. I always feel like babies and drunk people can see into the depths of my very soul. This does not make me uncomfortable at all; I like it when the layers are removed. I am aware that this perception is completely inaccurate, as both are in possession of brains that are actually quite foggy.

6. If I could have any superpower, it would be time travel.

7. My favorite time of day is when dawn is just breaking. However, I am very lazy in the morning so I rarely get to see this now that I’m no longer a crazy night owl twenty-something.

* Oh, wait…that’s a favorite. Apparently I’m full of contradictions, too.

I will add some blogs that I’d like to nominate later…

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The Right Regrets

Not regretting anything in particular today, just finding myself in a reflective mood. Maybe it’s the leaves fluttering to the ground and signaling the coming chill, or perhaps it’s just the sense that seasonal change marches on whether we want it to or not.

Fall is usually my favorite season, but today it feels rather bleak. Maybe it’s time to get outside and crunch some leaves in the afternoon sun, pick the last autumn apples at a nearby farm, or buy a pumpkin or two.

How does the changing of the seasons make you feel?

Russian Street Artist Turns Derelict Buildings Into Whimsical Creatures

‘the keeper of the keys’ by nomerz

‘glutton’, st. petersburg

a detail showing ‘glutton’s’ teeth made from trash

Russian street artist Nikita Nomerz uses graffiti to repurpose abandoned buildings, trees, and debris in various cities including his home town of Nizhniy Novgorod. Nomerz’s project involves traveling around Russia on a quest to find and transform these unwanted structures into strange, quirky characters.

A video showing the making of the ‘keeper of the keys’

via {designboom}

Weekend Links + Friday Fiction Photo

{copyright Serenity Bolt Photography}

I took this photo last winter in Butte, Montana. An old hotel, a laundromat, a moving truck…surely there is a story here.

It’s up to you to tell it.

Your submissions can be as long or short as you want. I’ll post the winning entry next week. I can’t wait to find out what happened here!

Now, some links for your weekend perusal:

Timeless, simple gold and brass jewelry from South African designer Karin Rae Matthee.

Learn the surprising reason why it’s dark at night with this animated video.

Really beautiful Pendant lamps from recycled books.

How to make easy ghosts to put on a Halloween cake. Super cool!

Lessons learned from writing love letters to strangers. Ahhh…

A good list of things to do for fall at Orchid Grey.

And finally….this week’s selections from I Need A Music Guide (and I always need a guide!)

Rivers and Abstractions

These beautiful and abstract images are in fact rivers flowing down the sides of Iceland’s many volcanos. Photographer Andre Ermolaev explains that  “it is an inexpressible combination of colors, lines, and patterns. The photo represents the mouth of the river falling into the ocean.

“A little bit upstream there is a yellow-colored brook flowing into the river, but yellow currents fail to mix with the main water flow.  One can estimate the scale judging by the car tracks that are clearly seen on the black sand. This is just a river, just a volcano, just our planet.”

Indeed.

via {my modern met}

 

Elegant Weaving

This reminds me of how, growing up, my sister and I would dress up and then have no idea what to do with ourselves, so we’d walk to the drugstore in our small town with similar looks on our faces, against an eerily similar backdrop of plain streets and drab houses. I’m sure we imagined that it was all being documented by a photographer like Lachlan Bailey…

via {fashion gone rogue}

Elegant Weaving – Fei Fei Sun for Lachlan Bailey’s recent work in Vogue China September.

How To Guide: Make Your Own Chalkboard

I don’t know about you, but I am addicted to lists. I need a to-do list or I am completely lost. But who wants to hang a boring whiteboard in the middle of your cool house? Not this girl! So I was excited to learn that it is ridiculously easy to make your own chalkboard out of pretty much anything.

I chose an old window, because I love the idea of a multi-paneled chalkboard. I picked one up at my local salvage store, but you could probably find one at a yard sale, or in that pile of junk out back (you know someone in your family’s got one).

Supplies Needed:

1 surface (an old window, old enamel baking pans…the list is endless! Or, of course, you could always go with a standard piece of wood. Tip: if you use something metal, it’s a magnetic chalkboard. How cool is that? )

1 bottle of chalkboard paint. I used “Martha Stewart” brand because it was all that my local craft store had…I’m sure any kind would work just fine.

1 paintbrush. I had pretty good luck with a foam brush.

Here it is….my old, filthy window. I cleaned the glass before applying any paint, but I wanted one that looked nice and beat-up. I chose well, don’t you think?

Annnd a few simple materials….

Slap on some paint! I actually had a bit of trouble getting the first coat onto the glass because it’s so slippery. Just be patient and put a thin coat on, let it dry completely (if you don’t, the paint will come off in chunks when you try to put another coat on!) and do a few more coats. I would recommend four coats, if you’re using glass.

I hung my chalkboard up by putting two nails in the back and putting some twine around them to make a loop.

Voila! That’s it…I am now 100% more organized!

Like this post? You may also be interested in How To Guide: Canvas Photo Transfer.

Bottle Cap Cottage

Russian pensioner Olga Kostina has turned her tiny cottage in the remote town of Kamarchaga in the Siberian taiga, into architectural macrame. Inspired by traditional motifs, Olga has painstakingly nailed over 30,000 plastic bottle caps onto her house to create pixelated patterns, and plans to continue adding more until every wall is completely covered.

Commenter “wendywonderland” says it best:

“Our magic comes from within, inspired by the world we inhabit and the resources we stumble across. How to teach people to listen to the small voice that guides them to the plastic bottle caps, and allows them to be viewed as beautiful? ”

How to teach people, indeed. Thanks, Olga!

How would you transform your house into livable art?

(via designboom)

The Science of Procrastination

Did I mention that I’m now a grad student? this video is particularly relevant to me at the moment (in fact, I’m posting this in class…hah!)

And solutions? One is the Pomodoro technique, a time-management method similar to timeboxing that uses timed intervals of work and reward.

“Human motivation is highly influenced by how imminent the reward is perceived to be — meaning, the further away the reward is, the more you discount its value. This is often referred to as Present bias, or Hyperbolic discounting.”

Also check out The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination

{via Brain Pickings}

Savoring Summer’s End

As summer breathes its last golden gasp over southern Vermont, I’ve been reflecting on the strange paths that this year has taken.

If you’ve noticed an absence lately, it’s because I’ve just begun a grad school program and my time of late has been utterly consumed by first moving to a strange new town, meeting a lot of strange new people, and figuring out APA Style.

I’ve often lamented that this was The Year of Nothing, but now I’m realizing that this year may have been one of the most important so far, full of twists and turns of my own creation that led to many closed doors until I found the right one.

For too long, I looked to others as authors of my happiness, but this year I learned that it’s always been in the backyard of my heart.

Is the end of summer a time of reflection for you, too?

_________________________________________________________________________

*If you’re interested in reading an academic study of happiness, try browsing through the online version of The Elements of Happiness, a beautiful book by designer, Laura Javier.

It’s based off the The Harvard Study of Adult Development, where 824 people were followed for 72 years in order to understand the concept of happiness. In her book, Laura visually represents 10 particular cases, drawing her own conclusions on what makes people happy.

Thought you’d enjoy it as well!

ElementsOfHappiness3

ElementsOfHappiness2

ElementsOfHappiness4

ElementsOfHappiness

{Images via Miss Moss}

{Images via Bee Lovely Vintage by Herring & Herring}

Simple, Cheap and Healthy Homemade Bread: A Tutorial

Growing up in my family, bread wasn’t just an everyday occurrence, it was an event. When it came straight out of the oven, we stood around as my mother tipped the loaf on its side and deftly sliced off the end, releasing a puff of steam into the air. No matter what time of day it happened to be, at least half of the first loaf never made it to the cooling rack. Bread, butter, cold glass of milk; this was my childhood.

You may think that I grew up knowing how to whip up a batch of my own, but that’s not the case. My mother never actually taught me or my sisters how to make bread, and it was always such a part of our lives that we never thought to ask. It was always just there. It sustained us.

This past year, I finally asked for a bread-baking lesson. And this is what I got.

Mama Jesse’s Homemade Bread

Rise in pans 10-15 min
Bake 25 min. at 350 degrees

Ingredients: 

1 T. yeast

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. oil

palmful of salt

5 cups white flour

5 cups whole wheat flour

(I added 2 eggs..optional! Mama Jess says you don’t need it.)

That’s it! Could it be easier? While this bread takes a few hours to make, most of that time is spent rising. Once you get the basic recipe down, you can have it going on in the background of whatever else you’re doing at home.

Step 1:

Dissolve 1 T. yeast in about 1/4 c. warm water with 1 tsp. or so of sugar in it. Don’t, I repeat DO NOT make the water too hot. It should be lukewarm. If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast and the bread won’t rise at all. Yeast is alive!

Set aside to foam.

look, foamy!

Step 2:

In a large bowl combine 1 qt. warm water, 1/4 c. sugar, 1/4 c. oil, palmful salt.

Add 5 c. white flour
Add yeast
Beat 100 strokes
Add (gradually) 5 c. whole wheat flour
Let sit 10-15 min.

Step 3:

Next, turn it out onto a floured surface. It should look like this:

Knead on floured board 5 min. or more (5-10)
If needs more flour, add white to board.

Knead? What is “knead,” you might ask?

Well, kneading the dough just means pushing and pressing the dough in a rhythmic way to work out all the kinks and get a nice consistency. It’s fun! My mom even says it’s meditative, but I’ll let her work on “Zen and the Art of Dough” by herself.

These are the steps to a good knead:

Push, Flip, Press, Rotate!

push!

flip!

Press!

Step 4:

Flour bottom of big bowl, add dough, oil top, put in warm spot to rise till double. This takes a while…like at least half an hour-45 minutes. Forget about it and go do something else!

Pre-rise

Post-rise…voila!

Step 5:

Now for the fun part…you get to punch something! This next step involves a quick second kneading.

First, punch down the dough. Give it a good wallop.

“how dare you!”

When you’re finished, it should look something like this:

Next, turn the dough onto your floured surface and knead it for a few minutes until it looks something like this. You old kneading pro, you!

Step 6:

Next, cut the dough into four equal parts and knead each part separately. Just knead it enough to form four little balls of dough instead of four triangles.

Next, shape your little dough balls into longer, skinnier, bread-shaped formations.

…put them into pans

Let them rise in the pans for 10-15 minutes, then bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

…and that’s it! You now have four loaves of warm, delicious and healthy bread. Now take that $5.00(x4) that you didn’t spend on bakery bread and buy something cool!

If this is more bread than you need, you can freeze some for later. Just make sure you double-wrap it and check the bag for air-holes or my mom will yell at you.