Category Archives: Miscellaneous Diversions

Baking Break

With all this free time on my hands that retirement affords, I’ve been doing a little baking and a lot of cooking.  For Thanksgiving at my aunt’s amazing side-of-the-arroyo house in Tucson, we were in charge of the dinner rolls.  Thanks to Pinterest, I found a recipe for Sage Rosemary Dinner Rolls (via An Unrefined Vegan)

THE START

I got myself all set up in our new kitchen and went to town.  It’s amazing how fast your kitchen can descend into a messy madness when making bread.

THE MESS

I specifically went looking for a recipe that included rosemary as we have a big trailing rosemary plant stationed at the front door.

BREAD

I think they turned out okay but a little tough.  I followed the recipes instructions and kneaded it for exactly 8 minutes.  I think if I had quit when it was all combined into a nice dough ball, the rolls would have been a little softer.  I went to the grocery store later that night and also ended up making a few tubes of crescent rolls too, just in case.

Our at-home Thanksgiving was Chipotle Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos with Roasted Cranberry and Pomegranate Salsa.  I followed her instructions in the post about the pomegranate and peeled it underwater – it was magic!  The tacos were also magical and made a lot of leftovers.

NOT IMPRESSED

However, Shenanigan is not impressed with all my vegan creations.  He does seem to be enjoying the stained and stamped concrete floors in our new place.  More soon!   Cheers – CT

Will Bruder Weekend

Hey internet peoples.  I wanted to let you know that I am back with a vengeance.  We are moved into our rental house and I’m still not working so it’s time to blog, baby, blog.  I’ve had this post sitting in the hopper for a week now so I thought I’d hit publish on this one and hit you after Thanksgiving with some pics from the new place.

Now that we’re (mostly) relocated down to Phoenix, JT and I have been roaming the city, learning the streets and being tourists in our new town.  It has been sunny and at least 75 degrees everyday which helps encourage the getting-out-and-about vibe.  Last weekend we did a lot of exploring of the outdoors, so this weekend we did a little indoor exploration.  Well sort of, let me explain.

Friday kicked off with me trolling Apartment Therapy (this retirement thing is pretty sweet) and happening upon a House Tour of the director of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (http://www.smoca.org/)

APT THERAPY DESERT LIGHT BOX LR

(Image via Apartment Therapy, by Lindsey Nochta)

Check out the house tour – there are some phenomenal images of a well curated space.  I have been enjoying the houses around here so much – it’s a totally different housing stock from STL.  At any rate, from the house tour I learned about SMoCA and when I browsed over to its site, I found out it’s open until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays and also free after 5pm. (Good for our budget because moving costs $$).

smoca_01

(Image above via Build LLC blog)

The main architect of the building is Will Bruder, who we are learning is a prominent Phoenix architect.

Visiting in the evening was really nice – the museum was basically ours.  One other couple came in just as we were leaving.  JT snapped this picture of me in the Narrow Road to the Interior exhibit.  He’s always keeping me in line because I have a tendency to get too close to the art.  This one had a note that said you could climb in, you just had to take your shoes off first.  It didn’t say anything about leaving your purse at the door but I did that too.  I love it.

JAPANESE TEA ROOM

The other really neat thing about visiting SMoCA at night is the James Turrell skyspace.  Here’s a daytime shot from the Build LLC blog:

james-turrell_01

And here’s a crummy iPhone night-time shot of JT.  I want to go back.

JT IN COURTYARD

But before we hit the art museum, we were driving around looking for a dinner destination.  I had seen a place I  wanted to try on a strip mall sign but when we went back, it wasn’t actually in the strip mall.  We had passed a cool round building in the process that looked like some sort of drive-thru/walk-up joint so headed there and ended up at Ingo’s Tasty Food.

IngosExteriorLauraHahnefeld-thumb-550x413

(Image via The Phoenix News Time blog)

There was a catch though – it wasn’t officially open yet, they were doing a soft opening to train the staff and work out all the kinks.  Turns out this building was also designed by the same Mr. Will Bruder as SMoCA.  It was a gorgeous evening so we sat outside and had free (really good) burgers and sangria (veggie for me, some kind of barbeque madness for JT).  So far I have to say, Arizona is Amazing.

Have a great Tofurkey Day and I’ll be back soon with some pictures of the new place.  Cheers – CT

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bella/2013/10/ingos_tasty_food_restaurant_phoenix_arcadia_la_grand_orange_hamburgers.php

http://www.ingostastyfood.com/

Presents

Internet, today is my birthday!  3 years ago (seems like yesterday!) I got to celebrate in NYC with my best friend.  The last two years have been low-key but nice celebrations at home with the hubs and family.

This year JT outdid himself.  For my birthday, he’s buying me a house.  And that house will be in Phoenix, Arizona.

2013-09-23 HOME GIFT

Yep, you read that right.  That’s my awkward way of telling you guys that we’re moving!  JT got a great opportunity with his work and we are relocating.  I am still processing all that is going on (we’re on a crazy short timeline to make it down there) and it is definitely a little bittersweet.  Both of our immediate family live in STL (parents and siblings) and we hope they will come visit us in the desert.  We have such good friends here as well . . .

Long story short, our next house will be for entertaining.  I’m excited to pick it out and share a little bit of the journey with you guys on the internet.  For now, my apologies if posts are a bit sparse and scraggly.  See you on the flip side!

Cheers – CT

Teasers

Hey y’all.  I fell under the work bus again.  Not much for you today – just a few quick teasers.

TEASER

The back porch!  It’s mostly, almost, all the way done!  Hairpin leg for the win.  More to come.

I’ve been giving the clouds hanging around outside the stink eye because I really want to go to the STL Symphony free concert on Art Hill tonight.  Anyone else going?

FREE CONCERT

Flea market anyone?  How about a De-Flea market.  That’s what happens when animal rescue groups host a flea market – this Saturday at the Green Shag.  Be there or be square.

De-Flea-Market

And more MCM in the Roomo blog posts on Mister Modtomic!  This week will be the Eames LCW.  I’d love to get some ideas/input on any pieces you guys really want to see.  I’m thinking I need to branch out from chairs for a little bit.

Cheers – CT

Good news Friday!

Hey everyone — It’s Friday and it’s a sunny cheerful day here in STL and I’m in a sunny cheerful mood here at my desk at work.

A little while back, I got an email from Mister Modtomic asking me to join his team of blog contributors.  I was so excited, I think I jumped up and down and squealed a little bit.  For a tiny little blog like we have here, that is a big honor!

So my first post went live yesterday.  I had so much fun scouting the interwebs for cool images of Butterfly chairs in different interiors.  You can read it here.

MCM IN THE ROOM HEADER - BUTTERFLY

Next week I’m going to be looking at the Panton S chair and I’ve already found way too many images than I could load into one blog post.  But not to worry – this weekend I’m going to be a good little blogger and get a lot of things around Living Analog photographed so I can keep on chugging ahead with our original content here.  And also maybe go to Lou Fest on Saturday night to see Wilco and Jim James?  Anybody else headed to Forest Park?  Hopefully I’ll see you there!

Cheers from a cheery CT!

#Style Cure Weekend #1 – Wowsa.

The assignment for this weekend’s Apartment Therapy Style Cure is to go on a style treasure hunt and then share our findings. They were looking for a lot of original images, but honey I’m busy and that’s what Pinterest is for.  So I turned off the “Secret” tab on my back porch board and set it loose on the web.  You can see it here.  Basically, after our style diagnostics, it seems like a sophisticated casual was what we were after.  And since this is a semi-outdoors space, I decided that”glamping” (glam camping) would be a perfect touchstone for this project.  And in an effort to follow the rules (which I am really not at all following, sorry AT) I will share this image I took from our dinner out on Saturday night:

BRASS COFFEE POT

JT and I went to The Vine for dinner — yummy Lebanese food with the vegan options very clearly marked but also other options for those occasional vegans like the husband.  (In a weird twist of fate it’s next door to Treehouse, the other great vegan restaurant in STL.  I will be visiting both and frequently.)  I would say this falls into our “fancy and relaxing” category – amazing coffee served in a gorgeous brass carafe with fancy little espresso teacups.

So I’m calling it complete on that assignment. (Plus I have a bachelor’s degree in interior design and work for a commercial architecture firm.  I know what my style is and also that it will probably change in five minutes.)  We fast-forwarded to Day 3:  Choose Your Room, Sit for 10 Minutes and Take Before Photos.  The challenge of selecting the back porch as our Style Cure room is the amount of help it needs just to get up to snuff.  But before I dive too deep into that let me show you an awesome before (from almost 10 years ago) when we bought the house and I didn’t know how to take pictures.

SAMSUNG

Wowsa right!  John Deere green peel and stick floor tiles and gorgeous barn red panels.  That door you see is what is now the music room door — there’s another real back door directly behind it so it didn’t really make sense there.

And here’s the floor plan before I hit you with the some more before pictures so you can orient yourselves.  Previously all my floor plans ended at the kitchen but this room is off the back of the kitchen (and almost the same size).

J:HOME Model (1)

We had an intermediary phase where we pulled up the peel and stick floors and painted the concrete underneath a nice white color.  While we were at it, we covered the barn red with “Porpoise” from Sherwin Williams.  However this phase didn’t last too long as the dogs go through this room five hundred times a day to go to the backyard and white floors and muddy dog paws don’t really mix.  JT and his dad tiled it with the same floor tile we used in the kitchen (but before we did the kitchen) and then it became the junk collecting room.

Some more befores:

JUNK ROOM 2

JUNK ROOM 1

This weekend JT tackled the main flaw in this room: rot.  He did some selective demo and reconstruction of the frames of one of the windows — it was almost all rotted and held together by not much as far as we can tell.  The previous owners had tried to disguise the rot with a pice of aluminum flashing but it wasn’t really fooling anyone.

WE GOT ROT

The paneling was also not caulked and/or attached in any permanent way so it was starting to warp away from the wall and get moisture behind it.  It had to go as well.

MORE ROT

There is also five hundred mega-painted over hooks and nails that I got to remove.

HOOK HOOK

We have a solid week or more of caulking, sanding, painting and cleaning ahead of us before this thing is in any kind of shape.  The good news is that JT got the window frame rebuilt and the back porch is much more “buttoned up” than it ever was before.

HANDY HUSBAND

What were you guys up to this weekend?  Does anyone volunteer for caulking/sanding/scraping/spackling/painting torture?  Me neither.  Cheers – CT

About to hit the Terrible Twos

Living Analog has a two-year birthday at the  beginning of May.  Actually I already got my “happy anniversary” thing from WordPress because we joined up in April but didn’t have any published posts until May.  I’m trying to figure out a little something to do for this little milestone . . . . (maybe something involving a giveaway?)

So here’s a part of what I came up with: Let’s Chat.

Image

Part of what I like about blog land is feeling like I know the person posting the content.  Even though you may never meet in real life and they may have no idea you stalk read their blog, there’s a camaraderie there.  I went looking for some current picture of me or me and JT to put in here and there is almost a total dearth.  We’re not “in the picture” people.  I’m trying to work on that.  So what you see above was actually shot for our engagement pictures over 8 years ago!  I cropped Mr. Husband out because he looks a lot different and may not want to be overshared on the internet.  The little guy next to me is Shenanigan, we hadn’t yet adopted Sophie.

So.  Let’s Chat.  Any burning questions out there?  Here’s a fun fact – JT and I met and began dating when we were 17.  So getting married when we were 24 wasn’t too crazy.  And now we’re 32 and rapidly approaching the tipping point of the “I’ve known you longer than I haven’t known you”.

Here’s photographic proof, straight out of the 90s for you: our first high school dance together (homecoming) about a month into this whole crazy thing.  Be warned, this picture is hilarious.  And horrible.  Both, equally.

JT AND CT AT HOMECOMING HORRIBLY FUNNY

Can’t you tell from my facial expression that I love being photographed, even then when I actually weighed what it says I weigh on my driver’s license?

Here’s something a lot of people wonder about: where are all the kids?  Shouldn’t we have popped out one or two after eight great years of marriage?  Having children is something that JT and I have talked about and think about but we’ve decided it’s not the right choice for us right now.  I know better than to say “never”.  Never say never  — why? — because you never know what the future may hold.  We don’t hate kids — I think my friends and cousins have some pretty cute ones and we’ve even baby-sat (once!).  It just might not be in the cards for us.  And I’m okay with that.  (Read what Portia de Rossi said about it here).It’s been harder for other people to accept which I understand but also causes me a lot of anxiety.  Also some people may think this is more of a decision that I made and JT is going along with but really this is very, very much a joint decision.  And I don’t know why, but it really bothers me when people ask “Why don’t you have kids?”.  There are some people (not my friends or family) who should NOT have had kids for various reasons.  We never look at a person who is a really crappy parent and say “Why DID you have kids?” (to their face at least).

Well, that was a deep one.  Let’s lighten up.  Did anyone else watch the one and only season of “My So-Called Life” and love it?  I think I’m a 90s girl at heart and part of me always wanted to be Angela Chase so I could wear plaid and weird dresses and dye my hair bright red (I have actually done all those things but maybe not at the same time). And if I was Angela Chase, my boyfriend would be Jordan Catalano.  Dreamy.  Some say I may have married my very own “Jordan Catalano”.

FROZEN EMBRYOS

Image above, Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano in his band “Frozen Embryos”.  And yes, I remembered the band name.  Image below taken from our freshman yearbook, JT as his 15-year-old self in his band “Fifth Columnist” (I remembered that name too, for the record.)

JT FRESHMAN ROCKSTAR

Sorry honey, I guess I just overshared you on the internet anyways.

If there’s anything else you guys want to chat about, hit me up with a comment or an email and I can do a follow-up overshare post.  I’ve gotta tell you that work has been sucking my energy dry with a big project deadline.  It will be a great project once it’s completed (in say two years) but right now I just want the construction drawings to JUST. BE. OVER. ALL.READY.  Needless to say I don’t have any amazing “ta-da” home projects to share just yet.  So today is just TMI.  Hope you enjoyed!

Cheers – CT

Another one about homemade art

One more post about artist canvases.  I’m not a painter.  I never had any formal training in painting.  I did have to take one drawing class in college and it was miserable.  I hated the critique days and having to put my deformed and pathetic sketches up next to my classmates beautifully rendered images.  But sometimes you need artwork for your house and you’re cash-strapped and you resort to painting it yourself.

Let me rewind for a minute.  A few months back I picked up a little canvas at the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop.  I searched high and low for the original images but to no avail — when I bought it, the canvas had a lavender background with white flowers painted on it.  It looked like something I would have presented in college had I been required to take a painting class (a little amateur-ish to say the least).  I felt a little bad when I jesso-ed over the canvas until I remembered it had been consigned over to St. Vincent de Paul.

Part two of this long-winded and potentially underwhelming story has to do with the brassy arc lamp I picked up at the auction at Vandeventer Vintage.  I was considering giving it a new coat of (spray) paint, maybe in black to help it fit in with the living room a little better.  (Read more of my angst here when we brought home a second lamp).  I decided instead of painting this great vintage gem, I would bring in more brassy/gold goodness to make it feel at home.

Back to the painting.  First I jesso-ed it, then I applied a few coats of a gold spray paint I had on hand.  I found a cool example image on Pinterest that had large blocks of color and used that as my starting point.  At first I had taped the canvas off with some 1″ painters tape we had around the house but the proportions felt weird so I “had to” order some washi tape from Etsy.

IN PROGRESS

The washi tape didn’t perfectly keep the paint inside its boundaries so I had to do a little touch-up once I removed it.   I took over the tulip table and spent a couple of days mixing up paint colors like a mad scientist.  I used the kitchen blue color, the living room accent wall (SW Urbane Bronze) in its full hue and also lightened a few shades with white and a few new colors.  JT requested “light red” and I told him he just asked for pink.  However I was able to mix up a nice red-orange that seemed to satisfy his request.

WHITE CANDLES

The brassy/gold undercoat plus the paint colors from around the house really work to tie things all together in the living room.

WHITE NAILS

Also, white fingernails!  Because Easter was last Sunday, I  feel like we’re in the clear  for white shoe season and I celebrated by putting one of my favorite colors on my nails.  Yesterday (Friday) was one of the first days it really, really felt like spring around here and everyone fled the office for City Garden at lunch.  I had lunch at Lulu’s, an all-vegan food truck (so good!) and took in the sights.  I know I talk about the Flaming Lips a lot, but this sculpture struck me as being very Wayne Coyne-esque.

PINK SUIT

On to the weekend everyone!  I’m taking Cameron to an adoption event today at the Kirkwood Wal-Mart from 11am to 1pm.  Stop by and say hi to the old guy!  Cheers – CT

How to be a Hostess with the Mostest

Last weekend my littlest sister came in town and we decided to celebrate her birthday with a retro “Mad Men”-esque themed shindig.  I’ve been working on entertaining more so I was excited to host.  And now that I’ve got a few of these events under my belt, I’m starting to feel like my Martha abilities are getting polished and refined.  So while I am in no way, shape or form a party-throwing wunderkind, I thought I’d pass on a few tips I learned the hard way.

First, plan a little in advance if you can!  This seems like an obvious one but sometimes by planning in advance you can have a few extra touches ready to set the party off.  Since this party was “Mad Men” themed, two things were very important — appropriate cocktails and cigarettes.  I scouted Amazon for a set of plastic martini glasses (I also saw some at Party City) and also a case/carton of candy cigarettes.  That was all the non-food or beverage shopping I did but I think it gave the party a little something “extra” (and thanks to the interwebs I didn’t have to leave my living room to do it).

SPECIALTY TOUCHES

Plus having one pre-mixed drink made serving guests easy.  Thanks to my mom I’m set up with a bunch of nice entertaining pieces like the large drink dispenser in the picture above.  We made a lemon drop martini (recipe here, found via Pinterest) and made sure to garnish the martini glasses with a little extra sugar!

Another planning tip: ask for help!  If you have good friends or family coming over, ask if they can bring something!  Since you are hosting the event, they’re usually happy to comply.  My family really stepped up for this one — my sister made some amazing champagne cupcakes along with bringing a dip and some pizzas and my mom also stocked us up with a dip and beer for the non-martini drinkers.

CUPCAKES

The morning of the party or the day before if I’m ambitious I like to set up the house.  I put out all the serving pieces I’ll be using where I’ll be needing them, making sure to plan out spots for what I’ve asked guests to bring.

KITCHEN VIEWS

I dipped into my wrapping paper bin and pulled out some simple gold paper to make a quick tablecloth for the kitchen work island — it made the kitchen feel a little more festive.  As you guys saw for the Sweetheart Dinner, I’m not above rearranging the furniture if the party needs it.  Set up the space to function and tuck other things away (our basement filled up and then emptied back out again for this one!).

Now for my super secret party success tip:  one or two hours before the party starts empty your dishwasher, trash and recycling.  That way you have a place to go with last-minute stirring spoons, soda and alcohol bottles and all the cartons and bags that packaged party food comes in.  There have been times where my dishwasher is already full when we start the party and I have nowhere to tuck some of these things out of sight.  In a small kitchen like ours, it makes a big difference!

The best and last tip I can leave you with for party hosting: enjoy yourself!  Once everything is set-up and your guests arrive make sure you get out of the kitchen and enjoy yourself!  It seems like having a theme or costume party helps a little too — people get into it and let go a little more too.

THE GIRLS copy

(Candy cigarettes, remember!  40 calories a pack too!  It was a small purchase but it made the party that much more memorable — as did encouraging everyone to get out their Don and Betty Draper best party attire!)  That’s my little sister, the birthday girl, on the right.  Some say she could be my fraternal twin.  Okay, maybe that’s just me, but who’s keeping track?

It was a great time and I’m glad my sister could make the trek from Omaha so we could all hang out.  Her friends were super sweet to put up with my 1960s attitude on partying (I think kids just “hang out” these days . . .) and we all had a great time.

Okay, maybe I have one final party tip: once the evening’s over, I quickly tuck anything perishable into the fridge and then I GO. TO. BED.  I save clean-up for the day after when I have more brain cells to do a quick and efficient sweep.

Any other party hosting tips or ideas?  My next fiesta is a fiesta – a Cinco de Mayo bachelorette party for my middle sister, the bride-to-be!  I’ve already got big plans for this one and yes they involve a sombrero wearing stripper!  (Just kidding sis . . . or am I!)

And I’ve got a quick tease for you — the party put JT and I into overdrive to finish up those Super Bowl shelves.  I need to take some better pictures and show those to you guys next.  The wall that Paul was on is looking a lot different!

SNEAK PEEK

Cheers – CT

Sweetheart Dinner {A Dinner Party Adventure}

2013 has seen me jump into the deep end on a few things and dinner parties are no exception.  For some crazy reason I have been born into the present age with the entertaining habits from 1964.  There’s no explaining it but I have always enjoyed the act of throwing a party — planning out the details, outlining a menu, decorating the space, setting a table.  Maybe I’m a throwback, I don’t know.  At any rate, I always start with an idea or theme and since Valentine’s Day was on Thursday, I settled on a Sweetheart’s Dinner.

INVITES

Due to a baby’s birth and a crazy work schedule, only one of the other three of JT’s bandmates and his wife were able to join us.  Looking back on things, I’m not sure that we could fit eight people into the tiny Living Analog abode.

I tried my hand at a few crafts for this party and some worked out while others were a total fail:

CRAFTING

That one-staple heart construction paper heart garland might look all right in the picture but it wasn’t really cutting it.  They weren’t really going to hold their heart shape once strung up. I used some fishing wire to hang up a few tissue paper pom-poms in the dining room for that extra pop of red.  A few of the small ones I put on a grapevine wreath on the front door.

TABLESCAPE 01

For the big meal, I scouted the interwebs for some good recipes.  The salad we had made before but all the rest were new to us.

Dinner Menu:
Tuscan Bread Salad
Beef Tenderloin
Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings
TABLESCAPE 02 copy

Dessert:
S’More Pops (see them above in the trophy planter?  They were yummy.  And not vegan.  But I did find vegan marshmallows at Local Harvest Grocery after the fact).
Coffee & Heart Cookies

INDOOR CAMPING

I used the two Nelson-style slat end tables and the beer-pong table top all scrounged from the wonder that is our basement to create a “glam camping” table.  I cut out some more red construction paper into simple hearts for place cards.  Because people still use place cards in this day and age, right?  Well this old-timer does!

LARGE PARASITE copy

I gathered together all the sheepskins I have managed to amass in our house (no more unless they’re faux!) and also pulled out any and all pillows for extra comfort.  Shenanigan immediately honed in on an extra floor-covering and planted himself like a very large parasite on the rug.  That dog likes comfort.  We banished the dogs to the bedroom during the big event so we didn’t have to worry about any interferences – dinner was so close to the floor and much closer to Shenanigan’s nose height than dinner usually is.

DINNER PARTY

And there is everything all ablaze!  We’re lucky we didn’t burn the house down.  You can’t see it in the pictures, but the vessel in the middle of the picnic table is actually a firepot we got from my father-in-law a few years back.  You put some gel in the middle and light it up.  The flames were at least three inches tall during the whole meal.  It added some extra excitement to what could have been simple things like passing the bread.  All in all I think it went well!  We only forgot one thing and nothing burned and/or was inedible (that we know of. . . ).  It was really great to spend an evening with friends and enjoy some food and 1964 style hospitality.    Next up is a “Mad Men” birthday party for my sister in March, so then I can break out my 1964 style dress (and candy cigarettes I bought for the occasion!).  Cheers – CT