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12 Sep

Made it: Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants

Trader Joes chocolate croissantsTrader Joes croissants

Does this qualify as baking? Trader Joe’s is my secret source for Sunday morning baked goodness. While I used to slave over complex pastry recipes in my baking handbook, now I save my baking time for tarts and pies! These chocolate croissants and mini croissants are delicious and they make your house smell like a French bakery.

To make them, simply place the frozen croissants evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set the baking sheet in the oven and let them proof overnight. When you wake up the next morning you’ll find that the tiny frozen pieces have turned into regular sized croissants and all you have to do is bake them.

Best time saver ever.

5 Sep

Design Dilemma: Taking the easy way out for storage

IKEA Dombas wardrobeTake the easy way out?* Don’t mind if I do. We recently remodeled our family room and while I have yet to realize my plans for furniture and decor, I rounded up some great storage for the space.

I planned to purchase a customizable IKEA PAX wardrobe to use as a storage closet for games and off-season clothing. After using IKEA’s online PAX wardrobe planning tool, I felt I had designed the perfect closet. We arrived at IKEA with plans in hand, only to stumble upon the DOMBAS wardrobe, on sale for $99! It was the same width and would work fine, it just had a cheaper look to it than the $600 PAX solution I had built. But who can turn down $99 storage for a room that is hardly used? The decision was quite easy once I started thinking of where that extra $500 might go in the room!

The assembling went fairly smoothly, if you don’t count the first few hours I spent reassembling it after I screwed up on the first step! Honestly, this was my first IKEA mishap… usually it’s so easy.

So here’s my finished DOMBAS wardrobe, packed full of board games. While the door finish wouldn’t have been my first choice, I am loving the practical, cheap solution and have thought about some fun ways liven it up… maybe a cool robot- or game-themed Blik graphic?

*Shout out to Elliott Smith.

10 Things Loved in July

I’m a little late in posting this one; August is nearly over! Regardless, here are 10 things that made me happy in July.

  1. The Waffle Window: I’ve been hearing about this place for-like-ever, thinking “yeah, yeah, good waffles, I’ll get there.” But, seriously, go soon – it’s delish. Seriously! Waffles so good, you’ll be OMG-ing like teen girl squad.
  2. Free TriMet pass: My work gives out free annual TriMet passes. While I’ve only used it to get to work a few times, it comes in handy on the weekends. I heart TriMet, unless it’s late at night or I’m riding past 82nd.
  3. Cannon Beach: Only in Oregon can you capture scenes like this on a “busy” weekend.
  4. World Cup fever: Great fun, despite my allegiance to Les Bleus, who had more drama than an episode of Glee. In fact, by the time my t-shirt came in the mail, France was OUT! Watching the World Cup Final in Pioneer Courthouse Square downtown Portland made up for my disappointment.
  5. My kitteh: …and his patience over the last month as I have accosted him on a daily basis with my oh so lovely new iPhone. I can haz photo shoot?
  6. del Inti: I love a restaurant that changes the menu on a daily or weekly basis. I also love watching the chef chop leaves from a plant to use as a garnish. They call themselves Peruvian-northwest. I call them yummy. I had the gnocchi.
  7. Mini designer chairs: I got my first blind-box design interior collection miniature chair in Tokyo a couple of years ago. Each collection has nine pieces, so you never know what you’re going to get… an Eames lounger? A Mezzadro stool?
  8. Café Yumm!: My favorite is the smoky yumm bowl. It’s about time Portland got a Café Yumm! I do have a slight beef with their inclusion of an exclamation point in their restaurant name, and their double-m version of yum, but their darn yumm!iness makes it tolerable.
  9. Paper crafts: As I slowly adjust to leaving my work-life as a designer, I’m feeling the need for more creativity in my home-life. I busted out the craft supplies and turned some old paper samples into a fun birthday card for Comma Mister.
  10. Zinnias: These made me smile all month.
22 Aug

Made it: Lemon curd

Lemon curd is one of those things I’ve always loved but for some reason assumed was overly complicated to make. Not so! It’s incredibly easy.

I set out to make this lemon cake recipe from Martha Stewart but was appalled at the number of eggs required for their lemon curd – eight! I really didn’t want to go to the grocery store, so I found this recipe from the joy of baking, which only calls for three eggs, leaving me two eggs for the cake.

I ended up creating my own combination: a lemon curd tart with lemon whipped frosting, topped with candied lemon slices.

Happy birthday to Comma Mister!

19 Aug

The demise of reading and the Consolidated Pearl

I’ve had issues with reading recently… in that, I haven’t been. I suppose you can blame it on the summer and my time outdoors. I promise that when the weather turns sour, I’ll get back to the library and hit it hard. (Yes, another reason I’m planning my “13 books in 13 weeks” for a time of year when the sun sets at 4 p.m. and it rains 20 out of 30 days.)

Well, my lack of actual reading hasn’t kept me from the written, er, printed word. I visited the Portland Letterpress Printers’ fair last weekend. It was full of great letterpress cards and posters, and there also were a few tables with castaway press pieces. I picked up this awesome piece that says “Consolidated Pearl.” I imagined all kinds of turn of the century shipping or warehousing companies, or even a Portland company with Pearl District ties. After much Googling, I could only find one reference: the Consolidated Pearl Button Company listed in the 1906 copartnership and corporation directory for the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. Not too likely, but I have a thing for buttons, so I’ll take the association.

The piece has currently taken up residence on my mantel but I hope to find it a more permanent home when I tackle my home office project (#7 on my 30 before 30 list). I can see it happily sharing a space with my growing family of ampersands.

My favorite pieces at the fair were from these shops:

Keegan Meegan Letterpress

Ilfant Press

Twin Ravens Press