My own Juice cover

On my last day at work my co-workers gifted me some lovely things including a Michael’s gift card and a L’Occitane set of yummy bath and body products (they do know me well), but probably the best gift was my own framed Juice cover.

Mike even got a spot on it!

And it was important to include my dogs, and my love of A Dong, among other things.

It’s definitely going on my office wall.

Loving: blooms

When I returned from vacation everything was dry, dry, dry, which is very unusual for Iowa. Springs are very rainy here (especially last year when it flooded badly), but not this year. Still, some of my blooms were hanging on for dear life, including a rose bush that has not bloomed once since we moved here. It’s usually attacked by a crazy vine, and then it gets too prickly for me to try to peel it off.

But not anymore. That sucker exploded in pink blooms. Not the tight, sturdy blooms you’re used to getting in a bouquet. But delicate petals that smell like a grandma’s floral perfume.

And the zinnia I planted on the front porch grew like a beanstalk into this beauty.

I also discovered a vendor at the farmers market who sells these wonderful little succulents and cacti. I see them all over blogs now, and I just have to buy one every time I see them.

I thought maybe if I started with a little aloe vera I could watch it grow into a big one.

Don’t tell Mike, but I’m going to have my whole little kitchen window filled with them.

Big Hair Ball

At the last minute I scored a free ticket to a local event that I always heard was cool, but had never actually experienced myself, the Big Hair Ball. It’s a fashion show, where wildly huge themed hairstyles are the stars. It’s sponsored by the Des Moines Art Center, so a lot of the artist community — hairstylists, makeup artists, fashion designers, etc. — comes together to make it happen.

The lighting caused some of my photos to blur, but I thought it actually looked kind of cool.

The show also featured something I never thought I would say existed, Des Moines’ burlesque group, St. Vitus and the Taxi Dancers.

I have to say it was a little weird seeing people I’ve interviewed on much different topics dance around in their bras, but what the hell. It was a great show.


Craft Saturday!

I’m so excited for tomorrow, when I’ll be selling my goodies at the next Craft Saturday.

I hear it’s supposed to rain, but I hope that doesn’t discourage anyone from coming out because there’s going to be some seriously good stuff there. These things are always bad for profits when you’re going table to table wanting to buy other people’s wares.

I promised some more photos of what I’d be selling, so here you go. Please do come out if you get a chance and support our local craft community.

I have some great recycled wax candles in various sizes.

New are citronella candles, scented with essential oil.

Also new are chalkboard flowerpots.

And cotton crocheted dish scrubbers. I’ve used these in my own kitchen and they are great for scrubbing dirty pots. All are made with yarn remnants from my ridiculous collection.

I’ll also have magnets in two styles:

Covered buttons

and stacked vintage buttons.

And more thumbtacks, in various different fabrics. These are mixed vintage fabrics.

See you there!

The Baby Boomers’ cookie

There has been quite a bit of mania lately over the Baby Boomers’ cookie. Background: When the Obama campaign office was here, it was located next to a little diner called Baby Boomers. They kept chocolate chunk cookies in a jar on the counter, free for anyone who wanted an extra snack.

The Obama family loved them so much, they ordered dozens and dozens to be sent back to them in Washington. When word of this caught on, everyone wanted those cookies. The restaurant had to buy time at a bakery to make enough for all the orders. They even started a Web site just for the cookies.

So of course I had to try them. The last time I was at the actual diner, they were out. But they sell them at my grocery store now.

They are really unlike any chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had.

Certainly different from the New York Times cookie, and my favorite, the Nestle Tollhouse old-school recipe. They are only chewy, not crispy at all. They taste a lot like the cookie dough bites you get in ice creams.

I heard from one of the owners that the secret to the recipe is not about an ingredient but a lack of ingredient. If I had to guess, I would say it uses maybe shortening or oil instead of butter (or maybe just partially) to get that chewiness.

I, personally, like the chewy inside of a cookie. But some people won’t like these at all. And I do think I prefer the crispiness and slight saltiness of Nestle’s recipe. But at least I can say I tried the Obama cookie. I think his daughters are the real fans.

Stay tuned for some more recipe posts. I am making my first bundt cake (woo hoo!).

Neighborliness lives

When I got home from work today I found this plate of cookies on my doorstep.

It came with a note inviting us to the annual neighborhood picnic. Did I just emerge from a ’50s TV show? I’m only kidding. I think it’s so sweet that our neighbors want to get to know us and feel like a gesture of kindness is the best way to get started. It’s actually the second time a neighbor has left us baked goods. I’m telling you, just when you think you want to leave a place it slaps you in the face and begs you not to go.

Loving: my neighborhood

I think I have house envy because I am in absolutely no position to buy a house right now, but there are so many cute ones in my neighborhood and tons for sale.

Lately I’ve been walking Reggie in the mornings and just trying to appreciate how nice it was to find a rental in my ‘hood. It has terrible sidewalks, but lovely houses with character and nice people. Pretty trees, too.

Many of the houses are absolutely drool worthy and look like this.

This one down the street is one of my favorites.

We even have Lustrons,

and round houses!

Our neighbors don’t even care when Reggie jumps the broken fence and runs wild in their yard. I am seriously spoiled.