I haven't had a sale in my Etsy shop for a long time (unless my memory's just failing me) so I'm having one for a few days. Just use the coupon code SPRING during checkout for 20% off your order. (Remember that you have to click "apply shop coupon code" in your cart first to enable it.)
Thanks for all your wonderful support over the last several years!
Minutes after the television exploded, my mother emerged out of the doorway of the house, clutching what she could: the photo albums, her jewelry box, a paperback with an illegible spine, and a pair of bronze-plated baby shoes. She was panting wildly, strands of cement-colored hair clinging to the sweat on her forehead. She could barely hold her head up to look at my father, who was rushing back from the Cooper's house next door.
"You went back in," he said. "Why did you go back in?"
"My God," said my mother, wiping the hair off her face with a shaky palm, "I need to sit down." But she remained standing, swaying. The northeast corner of the house radiated with flames. One of the bedroom windows was broken, the curtains behind it ablaze.
"Marianne?" he was asking her. "Marianne, are you okay?" But before she could answer, their neighbor, Mrs. Cooper, was at her side, in her robe and slippers. She held a cool washcloth in one hand and a highball glass in the other. Mrs. Cooper hesitated, then set her cocktail on the sidewalk, pressing the towel into my mother’s hands. Everything that my mother had carried out of the house was now arranged on the lawn, circled around her like children.
"Look at that," Mrs. Cooper said. She bent down, not bothering to adjust her robe. She picked up the bronze-plated baby shoes.
"Those were Eleanor's," my mother said. Me, that tiny, if you could imagine it.
"Oh?" asked Mrs. Cooper. She started to say more, but then the whine of the fire engines echoed from down the dark street, and the three of them turned to watch, waiting, just waiting, for them to come.
I've been getting emails lately asking for Seattle food & activity recommendations. There's still plenty that I haven't even tried yet – and I've lived here for 9 years – but I do have plenty of favorites gathered along the way. So, here's my guide of things to eat and do.
I'll be adding a sidebar link to that page very soon & will be updating the list whenever I find a new gem. Hope it's helpful for those of you visiting this wonderful city! Happy Friday.
Books are practically everywhere in our house – in the living room, on the coffee table, by the bed, under my desk, even in the closet. Most were printed within the last couple decades, but I have a few old ones that I keep tucked away on their own shelf. One of them is The True Book of Moon Sun and Stars. It's from 1954, and says things like, "We never see the other side of the moon. No one ever has. A space ship may take us to the other side sometime."
I'm going to hang onto this one forever.
I'm slowly making progress with some gift boxes for Mignon. It might be a while until the whole lineup is ready, but in the meantime, I'm excited to have one available for Mother's Day with a few things from both my shops.
The gift box includes a heart cookie cutter, a pair of blush nova earrings, and two bars of Simón Coll chocolate. The goodies are packaged in a white gift box tied with twine & a small card, handwritten with "love, (your name)".
You can order one for $30 (shipping included) here in my shop until Monday, May 7th. Boxes will start shipping May 8th via Priority Mail, arriving just before Mother's Day. If you have any questions, please ask! (Also, I updated my blog's comment settings, so I can reply to individual comments now and it'll show up threaded.)
In the last few months, several other bloggers have written some very nice things about this blog. So I just wanted to say thank you to Jacquelyn, Steffi, Anouk, Claudia, and Anca for their nice posts. I'm really flattered.
I know, I know. Posting a recipe for dogs discloses that I am indeed a Crazy Dog Lady. But first of all, you probably already knew that, and second, I have some good arguments. Compared to store-bought treats, these are cheaper, more eco-friendly (no plastic bags), and you have full control over what goes in. But does Bodhi like them? Well, let's just say that he nearly bit my fingers off when I offered him a few from this batch.
The beauty of this recipe is that because it's extremely simple, it can easily be jazzed up. Just make sure that anything you add is safe for dogs (the ASPCA has some guidelines here) and try to keep the ratio of dry to wet ingredients equal (for example, if you want to add in an egg, don't use quite as much water).
Peanut Butter Dog Treats (makes about 3 dozen)
adapted from Allrecipes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted natural peanut butter
1/2 cup hot water
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Mix together the flour and baking powder.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the peanut butter and hot water. Mix until smooth. Gradually add the dry mixture and mix well. Add a little more water if the dough is too dry, or flour if it's too wet.
4. Turn dough out onto your work surface and roll to 1/4" thickness.
5. Cut with a cookie cutter (you can find the bone-shaped one at Mignon) and place on a cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly brown. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.
Assemble Gallery & Studio is one part retail shop (lots of cards & gifts), one part gallery (currently featuring works by Berkley Illustration), and one part studio. They have all kinds of crafty workshops throughout the year, and you can even rent out their space. So cute, right? Be sure to stop by if you're in Seattle.
How was your week? I spent a lot of time making things this week, and that alone is good enough for me. I went on a mini photoshoot today of the cutest little craft gallery/studio and I can't wait to show you guys next week. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a couple film photos I recently took at Pike Place. Oh, those tulips...
These last few damp, bluish-gray days are the kind that Callum likes most. He gets up early to feel ahead of the game. In his narrow kitchen, he rewarms and swallows down half a cup of coffee, rinsing the ring out of the cup afterward with a splash of cold water. He does this set of movements with his right hand – the other arm is just a half-limb, ending above the crook where his elbow had once been.
After dressing, Callum clips the old leather leash onto his dog's collar. The dog has been shadowing Callum ever since he rolled out of bed, breaking away only to eat or to scratch violently at the back of his speckled gray ear. Callum wriggles his feet into the canvas slip-on shoes left on the mat by the door. Outside, on the step, the dog presses past his legs and stretches in the cool morning air.
They jog up the flat blocks. At the intersection, where there is a shoe repair shop and a little café, the light turns yellow, then red. Callum scans the front pages of the newspapers displayed outside the café. Sometimes he ties the dog to the rusted post by the door and slips inside for an espresso instead of drinking the weak, grainy stuff he makes in his own kitchen. When he does go in, the barista behind the counter is always the same: a spare dark-haired girl, with a soft voice and pretty features.
"Do you want a punchcard?" she always asks, even though he has told her, several times, that he already has one, and when he holds it out to her it is creased and full of holes.
There have been days when she is the only person he talks to. The other days, when he goes to the bookshop in the late morning and works until locking up at seven, he at least has Ames and the customers. Though, to be fair, Ames only speaks to Callum when the register jams, or when he's going out for lunch, or when the display window needs to be switched. Last week, Callum changed the display to feature books with white covers. Pure white, like the start of a dream. Ames stood outside the shop, watching him, biting the tip of his thumb nervously.
"Well," he had said, coming back in, the bell on the door ringing, "It's different, I'll give you that much."
In front of the café, the intersection light flips to green. They cross the street. A child coming from the opposite direction, tagging behind his parents, stares at Callum's bisected sleeve. Callum picks up the pace, trying to get away from that feeling of wanting to turn around and go back home. Finally, the edge of the university campus comes into view. With its open lawns and winding brick paths, it's the closest thing to a park near his apartment. Morning classes are in session, and there are only a handful of students out.
They enter through the northeast entrance. The dog is pulling him, so he lets the leash uncoil a few feet off his wrist. They trot past a row of low-roofed administration buildings, then take the wide steps that spit them out into a grove of Yoshino cherry trees.
He's surprised to see that they're in bloom. Just last week, there was hardly a speck of pink. Callum decides that he'll come back with a camera tomorrow, if he can manage to find it. He'll wake up early, get dressed in his slow and steady way, and come over to campus again. All he needs is a moment, and then they will be his forever.
So, about that cold – I'm almost back to normal. Almost. Can I just say that you are all so nice? Thanks for your well wishes. This is what I love about blogging, this strange, nice friendship that I get to have with all of you.
Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm unable to leave comments on all of your blogs. Some bloggers are great at that, and I don't know how they do it. I do very much appreciate each and every comment, and you're each getting tons of extra karma points, I'm sure of it.
I took these photos yesterday during an afternoon walk in the sun. I hadn't really been out of the house for days, and it was so good to just wander around outside. Such a simple satisfaction, catching sight of something beautiful, stopping, pulling it into focus, capturing it.
These chocolates are a sure-fire way to impress someone... and yet they're so easy to make. The best combo! If you'd like to make chocolates that look just like these, you can find the mold in my kitchen shop. I should also mention that these chocolates are meant to be refrigerated until eaten. To package them as gifts, temper the chocolate first (basically, heat to 115°F, cool to 80°, then heat to 90°). Mark Bittman explains tempering here.
1. Choose your chocolate + mix-ins: I'm a dark chocolate fan, but you can make these with practically any chocolate bar. Just buy about 7 oz. worth (I used two 70% cocoa Lindt bars.) If you want to add in dried fruit or nuts, pick up a few of those, too, and chop them into small pieces.
2. Melt the chocolate: make a double-boiler by placing a heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water. The bowl needs to be slightly larger than the pot of water, and the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. It's just the steam that you want. Make sure water doesn't come in contact with the chocolate. Drop broken pieces of chocolate in the bowl and stir until they are entirely melted, then remove the bowl and wipe the bottom dry. Be careful of the steam when removing the bowl! (You can also use a microwave to melt the chocolate, but no longer than 30 seconds at a time, and mix it frequently. Be careful to not burn the chocolate.)
3. Transfer the melted chocolate into a squeeze bottle: this step isn't absolutely necessary, but I find it much easier and neater to transfer the melted chocolate into a squeeze bottle instead of spooning it directly into the silicone mold. Use a funnel and get every bit of chocolate into the bottle by scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
4. Fill the silicone mold: fill the bottom of the mold with chocolate, then sprinkle in your add-ins (fruit/nuts). Fill the mold the rest of the way up.
5. Get rid of air bubbles: tap the mold on your countertop to pop any lingering air bubbles. These aren't dangerous or anything; they just make the chocolates less pretty.
6. Refrigerate until set: in my experience, this takes about 30-60 minutes. (Tidy up the kitchen and watch that old Lucy and Ethel clip to pass the time.) Then just pop the chocolates right on out, and voilà! You're done. Store these in the fridge until it's time to eat them.
Again, to store these unrefrigerated, temper the chocolate before pouring into the mold. Enjoy!
When I was back home last weekend, my mom and I made Swiss Enchiladas. Because there are several things that need to be prepared, this type of recipe is good to do with a family member or friend (especially with a couple glasses of wine). So, together you make the filling, you fry up some tortillas, you shred some cheese, you roll the enchiladas, you pour in the milk, you bake, you eat. And then, at last, you take a siesta.
Swiss Enchiladas (serves 4-6)
olive oil, for cooking
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
8 oz chopped green chilies (these often come in 4-oz cans)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (we boiled it beforehand)
pinch of salt
Tabasco to taste
1 dozen corn tortillas
about 1/2 lb Swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups milk or half & half
1. Sauté the garlic, onion, and celery in a small amount of olive oil.
2. After a few minutes, add the tomatoes, green chilies, chicken, salt, and Tabasco. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, lightly fry the corn tortillas (one at a time) in a splash of olive oil, just to soften them up.
4. Shred 2 cups of Swiss cheese.
5. Fill the tortillas with the cooked filling and shredded cheese. Only use 1 cup of the cheese. (If you've never rolled enchiladas, watch this quick video.)
6. Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top of the rolled enchiladas.
7. Pour milk or half-and-half over the entire dish.
8. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until the top begins to brown.
9. Serve with sliced avocados and salsa, if desired. Enjoy!
1. Me, about 20 years ago.
2. I bought a Holga 120N. My first roll came out completely awful.
3. Went to Uneeda Burger recently and it was pretty awesome. I had the Crispy Emmer Veggie Burger.
4. This is the wonderful face Rufus makes when I try to cuddle with him. Ha! Um, yeah, he's not a lap cat.
(Photos from my instagram stream.)
Drove up north for the weekend to visit my parents. My mom and I made enchiladas, which I will share with you later this week. My dad showed me his new paintings. We gave Bodhi two of my old stuffed animals – a dolphin, and a Snoopy wearing a tiny "Bullock's Recreation Club" tank top. I slept during the drive back to Seattle.
Hi! I'm Rachel, and these are bits of my days and things I like. I run the online shops Elephantine and Mignon, am a fiction writer, and live in Seattle with my husband and two cats. Read more about this blog...
This blog is a mix of my own photos + images by others. Please link back if you share one of my photos on your blog. Email me if you'd like me to remove a post that features your images.
A small disclosure: I occasionally use affiliate links as a way to pay for my blog fees. In other words, I earn a tiny commission if you end up buying the item from my link. The posts are entirely curated on my own. I do not have sponsored posts.
This blog design and all original content ©2017 by Rachel Ball / Elephantine.