Saturday, August 30, 2008

Comfort Food - Furaibo

Furaibo is a Japanese restaurant we use to frequent 2-3 times a week back in the day. You can see we've already started eating, but I have never documented, so better late than never. It's on Sawtelle in the Westside, it's a little bit far now, but when we're on this side of town, we always try to get our fix. Here we've ordered our usual - (left to right) karei karage which is fired halibut, sauteed spinach with bacon, age nasu which is grilled eggplant in a broth, tore karage which is Japanese style fried chicken (they are famous for this), and tofu with a miso paste.

This is a closeup of the halibut. After filleting the fish, the bones with head and tail are also deep fried to form the serving container and also making them edible. YUM!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama for Change

Just finished watching Barack Obama and his speech at the Democratic National Convention. I am totally inspired. Artwork by Shepard Fairey.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer Laundry

Earlier this summer, I found Mrs. Pegg's Handy Line. It's a collapsible freestanding clothesline big enough to handle queen size sheets and easy to set up. Those are the full length of my jeans hanging there. I've already used it half a dozen times, and honestly, it's very little hassle. Those legs just fold up parallel to the flat line. I keep it in the garage where I plan to hang it so that it's not just leaning against the wall.

Having dried my clothes outdoors last summer was great because clothes dried quickly sometimes in an hour, but I reverted back to the electric dryer because 1. I could not fit two loads of laundry or bed sheets on the smaller stand I had and 2. I got lazy in the cooler months not wanting to go out when it was cold.

This summer, after learning the electric dryer uses as much electricity as your refrigerator in one year, I was really ready to make it happen. I researched a bunch of options, and eventually opted for this. Now, I have my big line and my old little line! To solve the problem of the cooler months, I tested out my set up indoors. I actually found it even more convenient because I could wash in the early evening, and then leave it to dry till the next day, maybe longer when it is actually January, but that's okay.

Took a little bit of time to get my family to sacrifice this luxury, but when I found out that two of my neighbors have been doing it for years and my German neighbor does not even own an electric dryer, I had to try. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that clothes are line dried everywhere else in the world but here. It is done in the Philippines for sure, but I also remember them doing it in Tokyo for our clothes in the middle of winter! We had no excuse.

Mrs. Pegg's Handy Line wasn't cheap, but so far it's been worth it.

update: I recently read that air drying damp clothes indoors cools or lowers the temperature of a room. This is great for spring, summer, when don't mind a cooler room, but probably not good during the winter months when you'd rather it be warm. The dampness cools the room making the heater work harder to warm it up. The extra energy used to compensate for the dampness can be the same as the energy you would have used if you had used the electric dryer. So in cooler months, it seems best to dry outdoors, maybe in the garage, or a room that is not being heated. Information from How to Live a Low-Carbon Life by Chris Goodall.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Pom Poms

Pom poms, inspired by Martha Stewart, made for a friend's baby shower this weekend! They were super easy to make and were a perfect opportunity for the girls to get together. We made over 100 of them in a Mexican theme. Amoebic shapes formed above the front door, up a post and inside the patio umbrella making it some serious art installation!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Barnsdall Art Park

Views from Barnsdall Art Park.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lena Corwin: Printing by Hand

Also picked up Lena Corwin's new book Printing by Hand. I've browsed through a lot of hand printing books, a lot of them giving you the same techniques, but this one feels refreshing. The photos and the projects are gorgeous. Just a great book to have. After getting it, I ran to the craft store to get the self adhesive sticky foam that I had no idea existed for this purpose. I want to make this easy quilt for all the new babies in the family!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Craft Magazine

I have been picking up some great reads and how-to's lately...The latest issue Craft Magazine is all about weaving. As Jill Scott says, the universe works its ways!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Barnsdall Weaving Class

I started a weaving class at Barnsdall Art Park earlier this summer and after much time setting up the warp, have finally started weaving!!The white yarns are just filler for those gaps in at the beginning of the warp. Setting up the warp took about 3 classes which involved winding the warp yarn onto a warp frame, tying it onto the loom, then the tedious task of separating the yarns into the heddles and the reed. This is the plain weave. You can really see the teal colored warp through the brown colored weft. The warp yarn I used, is a varigated, meaning it's not perfectly even yarn, but thinner and thicker in some places.I decided to use the free to use yarns Barnsdall has and not to plan so much. I love all these unwanted muted, colors probably from the 70's. I am practicing creating organically. There is so much control designing on the computer, that you forget how nice it can sometimes be to have parameters.This is how far I got in about 3 hours, not quite a foot. It is about 12" wide. Starting from the bottom, you can see the alternating plain weave and basket weave, which the yellow/green solid area creates a twill effect. Also played around with vertical stripes, horizontal stripes and checkerboard when I added the cram color. You can see how some areas are more packed than others. Packing is pounding the weave down, a little bit violent, but will often hide the warp with thinner yarns and techniques like the basket weave.

The reality is that weaving is a third world skill that you will make no money at because machines can seriously do this thing in a second. So, our wonderful instructor Carolyn encourages us to do something you couldn't buy in stores, experiment and be creative.

Next week, I will continue this sampler with a big zig zag!!

ceiling fans

The two ceiling fans we installed earlier this year has been saving us these last few weeks!! Surprisingly, we've only used the AC once this summer.


prix-prix notebook

Got this mini note from Prix-prix at Renegade Handmade in Chicago. Hand screen printed and such an elegant use of the cereal boxes!


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Old Consumer Ways: Le Sport Sac & Stella

So I was walking up Damen Street in Wicker Park/Bucktown area of Chicago and peeped into the Le Sport Sac ,when the sales girl cheerfully greeted me with a, "Hello, just wanted to let you know that the Stella McCartney travel bags made of 100% Recycled Eco Polyester are sale priced at 50% off." Pause. I absorb the key words: Stella, Le Sport Sac, recycled materials, and sale, then continue to sense the danger in this situation. Yes, Warning: DANGER as Jon would say. Why? Because it is in these exact situations that I am still powerless against my old consumer ways. I would've definitely said no if it wasn't eco, like I did a few weeks ago to the Orla Keily bag I was drooling over at their new online shop. But when it is totally eco-conscious, well-made, affordable (for luxury items) and fabulous, what it one to do!? As a veteran of the fashion industry, and formerly a professional consumer, this was one of the more troubling dilemmas in the dramatic process of "greening" my lifestyle.

I recently read in the Editor's Note of the latest issue of Dwell, that Sustainability Will Save Design. It took me a little bit to understand what this really meant, but I suppose it means we can still indulge in great design, with the stipulation that it is in moderation and that the product is not harming the earth. Yes, sustainable products will save design and continue to give ourselves the opportunity to make products better.

So the bag pictured above is the large bowling bag in her signature muted aubergine. In the shop, I weighed out all the facts for about 45 minutes including the fact that my current overnight bag was over 10 years old with broken feet that had already been repaired a few times. Okay, I thought. I called my husband for reassurance, paid for the item, thanked the girl for being very helpful and traveled home in style.

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral

The coral form I made using the method of hyperbolic crochet. This one was a single, single, double.


Some snaps from our trip to Chicago...
view from the 21st floor at the W Hotel Lakeshore. It's summertime and everyone is either at the beaches, the parks or their boats!View of the "L" train from Millennium Park.
Scuplture garden during our 2 hour lakefront bike ride.
Pretty colors at the Art Institute of Chicago.Roadkill course at Moto.My favorite building because of the argyle pattern.