Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me: Road Trip to Elephant Rocks and Incidental Thrift

At a certain point, I received all the tangible, physical birthday presents I can conjure up wanting. So when presented with the question, "What do you want for your birthday?" from the Boy, I really couldn't come up with anything. (I'm not addressing the issue of the problem I always have when faced with that question, which is an inability to decide on The One Perfect Thing That Will Make My Life Perfect Gift. *sigh*). I already knew he was taking the day off from work, as was I, so the idea of a day of adventure was really appealing. I flip flopped on what I wanted to do with the day, really not deciding on anything until Tuesday morning. The weather was predicted to be unseasonably warm and sunny so that screamed "road trip" to me. To where? Elephant Rocks!

It's an easy drive, particularly on a beautiful day, and we spotted an antique mall and flea market we would visit on our way back. I hadn't been to Elephant Rocks since I was a very small child and I remembered nothing of it. I'm sorry that I let so many years pass because it's a lovely place and those rocks are incredible.

The views were amazing on such a clear, crisp day. Yeah, I tilt-shifted some of them.

 Not tilt-shifted:

 The horribly hot and dry summer has put most of the moss in these parts into a sort of dormant stage. Still, I found a nice shaggy patch. It looks like a Muppet taking a nap.
Some more moss.
Here we are looking out the window of the ruins of the old train building where they would service the train cars.
It was super windy that day, tempering the nearly 80F temperature, but wreaking havoc on our hair.
We stopped at a flea market on the way back toward Farmington and it was essentially people selling out of their storage units. I didn't have a lot of hope, but I got a few really good things. One was this planter. I don't think it's very old, but I do really love it.
A wooden hamburger press, painted with birds.
And these gardening magazines from the mid-50s. The whopping total for all this stuff? Three measly dollars. 

After lunch of pizza and salad at a funny little place across from the town hall, we hit the road again. We couldn't figure out how to get to the antique mall we saw on our way south, but happened upon a bigger (and most likely better) place during out search. It was huge, sprawling and packed with stuff.

First, the things I actually bought. I have no idea how those sorts of illustrations came to be placed on beer stein salt and pepper shakers.
Next I found these kitten shakers. The kittens' faces were so full of ennui and despair, I knew I had to have them.
Then there were things I didn't want (in almost all of the cases), but found amusing/horrifying/interesting. Like a giant-headed naked chalk baby.
Or this little shelf of horrors.
Or this frightening chalk dog.
This snazzy stereo.
An adorable chick pitcher and a really sweet bird one.
Is it true?
  This dizzy little wall-eyed cat.
 These furred dogs so evil they wouldn't even photograph properly.
A cute little deer shaker, glued to a piece of wood. Don't ask me!
And the one thing I really wanted but resisted buying because I just don't have the room for it. You don't see a lot of Frankoma pottery here in town; I love this set. If I go back and it's still there, it's mine.
On our way home, we stopped for dinner-making supplies and cake because I often like to cook my own birthday dinner. Really, it was a perfect day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy birthday to you, I went to the zoo, I saw a fat monkey and I knew it was you

I've been negligent in posting, so let's call this a wrap of the days surrounding my birthday. Well, the days before my birthday anyway.

Sunday dinner was pork sirloin chops, baked delicata squash, and sauteed spinach. The chops were sprinkled with a spice mix and cooked on the Foreman grill and I baked the squash with butter, a teeny bit of brown sugar, salt, and pepper. I love when winter squash time rolls around.
Meatless Monday rolled around and I didn't have any ideas for what I wanted to make for dinner. I contemplated aloo gobi, but just didn't feel inspired to go through all the rigamarole required. Then I decided on egg salad, cauliflower, and since I had already been soaking basmati rice in case I made Indian food, a rice pilaf. Yes, it was somewhat monochromatic, but it tasted good.

Is it odd that I was perfectly fine with cooking my own birthday dinner? And not just fine, but preferred, and I wanted steak. I cooked these sirloins in a hot, buttered iron skillet. With the leftover butter and spices in the pan after the steaks were removed, I added the cooked carrots (boiled with plenty of salt and stevia to flavor them) and rolled them around in the butter, collecting the spices that had fallen off the steak. Two russet potatoes sliced into thin slices became crispy baked fries. Simple and just what I wanted.
And then, cake. I love the standard bakery birthday cake recipe. There really is nothing like that absurdly sweet icing.
Apollo likes it too!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Thrifting

We headed north today, to the Value Village on Natural Bridge and the one on N. Lindbergh. I didn't photograph them, but we got a pile of books including a beautiful version of Brideshead Revisited and Barrel Fever by David Sedaris, plus some collection edited by Dave Eggers. Woo hoo!

I am very excited by this very attractive vintage gold pepper mill/salt shaker combo. I've blown through several pepper mills in the last few years, so it's always nice to find an attractive (and cheap) one.
This jar isn't particularly attractive with the tulips, but I like the lid and the wire and wood handle. I'm seeing it full of little treats.
I have lots of wandering jew plant cuttings that will shortly need new permanent homes so I'm in the market for planters. A goofy owl and a not-vintage footed thingie will work.
This has been the year of buying wooden pieces and I just keep finding more. At this point, I'm thinking about using all the wood platters and bowls as displays for all my baked goods at Rock N Roll Craft Show. At least I won't have to worry about breakage during transportation!
And what the heck is monkeypod? Most of the things I've bought recently all say they are made of it, either made in Hawaii or the Phillipines.
The pineapple is monkeypod and the other is made in Sweden, so I have no idea what kind of wood it is.
And then, a teeny tiny pair of screw-on seahorse earrings. Years and years ago I had an erotic dream about little seahorse and I've never looked at them the same way.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's wonderful to be here/It's certainly a thrill - TinyMontgomery Kitchen, Meatless Monday Gypsy Soup, and Clay

On Tuesday evening the Boy and I went to see Nick Lowe and Wilco at the newly re-opened Peabody Opera House. It has been restored and renovated to a shiny lustre and it was good to be back in a place I had seen so many great shows in the past. Unfortunately, halfway through Wilco's set I realized I had a splitting headache triggered, no doubt, by the exuberant stage lighting. A migraine developed and has stuck with me all week. It's Saturday night and the migraine is mostly gone, but some pain is still lingering. At least I'm not forced to wear sunglasses in the house at all times as I was until yesterday. At any rate, the headache impeded my computer activities, and really, just about all of my activities.

So I've gotten behind in posting here, and I neglected to take photos of some of last week's meals. I did, however, get photos of Monday's meatless Gypsy Soup. I first had this soup many years ago when a co-worker recommended the recipe from the first (I think) Moosewood Cookbook. It's a highly customizable recipe; I basically use the recipe as a map and go from there with with I happen to have in the house. Also, I always make more than the recipe calls for. This time I used half golden nugget squash and half sweet potato as the base, green and red bell pepper, and all but about two cups of cooked chickpeas from a 1 pound bag of dried beans I cooked in the pressure cooker. It's a really hearty, comforting soup, a little sweet and a lot savory.
Tonight I oven barbecued chicken breasts, roasted cauliflower and made very garlicky, very crispy potato wedges. Apparently the secret is pre-cooking prior to the baking, and the coating of seasoned corn starch because these little dudes (I used new potatoes, quartered) were beautifully crispy.

I am really excited about this year's Rock N Roll Craft Show on the weekend after Thanksgiving. The last couple of years I have deejayed for a part of the show; two years ago I also had items in the show, but last year the crafty vibe was not with me and music was my only contribution. As I sat with my laptop and playlist watching the shoppers last year, I was also studying the table with two ladies selling various baked sweets across the room from me. The notion of doing something like that myself stuck with me but I kept putting off approaching the organizers because I just didn't feel like the possible rejection. Finally, just before the deadline for artists applying for the 2011 show was up, I sent the email to put forward the idea. Much to my delight (and nervousness), they approved the idea. And thus, TinyMontgomery Kitchen was born.

I have been squirreling away bunches of recipes so I will have a wide variety to choose from when it comes time to actually make all this stuff. I plan on having some savory snacks (crackers, snack mixes, veg pies), and lots of sweets including cute things on sticks (convenient for eating and shopping!), cookies and bars for sale. I am so excited about this venture! I am so anxious about this venture! I really can't wait, though.

I've managed to make some more clay pieces that are now awaiting their first firing. In addition to more faux bois, I'm attempting little bird and little house pendants, and also some doughnuts for bracelets. Way, way back, possibly the grade school years, I made a lot of macrame jewelry with waxed thread and small beads. Seems that variations on that have come back around again. I always loved the look of the basic knots so I want to explore a more minimalist look with it.

The migraine is almost gone. Surely tomorrow I will wake up without it. But I've been saying that for days now...