Thank god for New Year’s. It makes the blow of having Christmas over a little easier even though many of us have gone back to work and the doldrums of January loom near. Mia asked me when we were getting rid of the tree. I said after New Year’s Day. I know some people like to remove all traces of the holidays right after Christmas, but I find that too abrupt, too fast. I’d rather ease into January with some of the sparkle and lights leftover from the holiday.
The weekend before Christmas when Mark was at the Flea and the flurry of holiday orders were complete, the girls and I spent a few hours making snowflakes like we do every year. It’s cool to see the progression of their snowflakes over the years, the cutting and the shapes getting more sophisticated from the simple circles with holes they used to cut when they were younger. They try to mimic my patterns and learn my secrets.
I hear we might be getting real snow tomorrow. I hope we do.
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Here’s how our batch of eggs turned out after leaving them in their natural dye baths overnight (see post and general recipes from part 1 here). I do think that’s key to getting some of the rich jewel tones, to leave them in overnight. Even though the eggs didn’t stay as saturated once dried as it did right after taking them out of their baths (particularly the red beet dye), I love the more subdued, mottled effect that it left.
After placing each egg back in the carton to dry off, I did buff them a bit to gently wipe off any excess coloring and powdered residue that was left on the egg, particularly the tumeric. The colors are such a nice alternative to the brights and pastels that we’ve been dyeing eggs with in past years (not to mention the glitter and the stickers!). We’ll see if we keep to it, but we want to do this every year and try other food sources to color eggs with.
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This is something we’ve been wanting to do for years – dyeing Easter eggs using vegetables and spices. After seeing how beautiful my friend Jen Causey’s eggs turned out, we planned our yearly egg dyeing activity over the weekend. Here’s the basic method and recipe that we used for our four colors:
Blue: Simmer 4 cups of water with 1 small red cabbage (roughly chopped) for 15 minutes.
Red: Simmer 4 cups of water with 2 medium red beets (grated) for 15 minutes.
Yellow: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and stir in 1/4 cup turmeric. Boil for 1 more minute.
Brown: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil with 1 cup ground coffee, and simmer for 10 minutes.
When each of the mixtures have cooled down, mix in 1/4 cup white vinegar and strain each of the colors into cups for dyeing. We left the eggs in the color baths overnight as per Jen’s suggestion. Stay tuned tomorrow to see how they turned out…
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Last night I came home from working the table all day at the Brooklyn Flea and collapsed on the couch and pretty much went to sleep right then and there. I hadn’t gone to the bathroom or eaten anything all day, not even a coffee(!) because I didn’t want to run to the bathroom every 10 minutes which is what happens when I drink coffee on an empty stomach. I have no explanation for not eating except that I was sandwiched in between the donut people and the pork belly people all day, so I don’t know, I guess I wasn’t feeling it because I was smelling food all day. I suddenly had the chills when I got home and was convinced that I was getting sick so I slept. I woke up past midnight and dragged myself to bed, but couldn’t fall back asleep till hours later of course. 1:45am, 2:30, 3:15. When I woke up in the morning I felt ok.
So I vacuumed. And cleaned. And dusted. And did laundry. And put things away. And cut snowflakes with the girls. And gave Mia a piano lesson.
Just normal things. It felt good. Almost like I woke up and all that other stuff from the previous weeks never happened. It’s sort of like pregnancy and child birth, you know? I think we’re programmed to forget the pain so that we’ll do it all over again.
My work for the business is pretty much done. I have some gift boxes to assemble this week, but not hundreds. Mark’s still in the trenches but it’s manageable, like a normal workload week, not stressful, crazy time orders pumped up on steroids (so far!). By Saturday night he was cooking dinner again for the girls when I got home, playing that game of cards that Claudine had wanted to play and reading them a bedtime story. He was back.
I read through last year’s December posts this afternoon out of curiosity while I drank my coffee this afternoon after all the cleaning was done. Even though I remembered just how crazy last holiday season was (with the added stress of big work deadlines that I thankfully didn’t have this this year), I was surprised at how lengthy some of the posts were…and I was even funny in some of them! But this holiday…I don’t know…kind of sucked the life out of us. Some sobering realities. I’ll share soon.
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I’m not a particularly crafty person for someone who designs and has to be creative for a living. Who knows…maybe that’s why. I sort of admire those moms who totally get their craft on and embark on huge art projects with their kids, but I’m not that mom. It kind of sucks for my kids since they’re all about the craft, but one thing I do like to do is cut out paper snowflakes every year. This year we made them out of the paper scraps that we use for our deluxe gift boxes. I’ve been saving these strips of paper without knowing what to do with them, but it’s perfect for snowflakes and this year’s batch might be my favorite yet. Mia totally got the hang of it this year and had the best idea to cut hearts into them (can you see them in the second to last snowflake above?). Oh, and yeah, I do realize that snowflakes have 6 points and mine have 8. But whatever.
So you know how you come across a song that you haven’t heard in awhile and it brings you back in time? It’s been happening to me a lot lately. I found an old Old Dinosaur Jr. CD that fell behind the stereo the other day. I hadn’t thought about them in years, but I put Green Mind in the CD player and I was back in 1991. I was staying at the brother of a friend’s house in Amherst Massachusetts and it was on heavy rotation. I think it might have even been a tape (yes kids, tape, as in cassette player). It was Spring, maybe April, and the weather was nice. This is what I associate Green Mind with – blue skies in Amherst. Other than that, I don’t remember why or what I did in Amherst or how I got there. The only thing I really remember is hitchhiking back to New York with that friend, listening to that tape. We caught a ride with a guy who drove a red sports car and he dropped us off in the Bronx on the very last subway stop on the 2 line. We took the subway all the way down to Brooklyn.
A song that I had totally forgotten about came on Pandora the other day and I had to just stop what I was doing and listen. So “Muzzle” by the Smashing Pumpkins doesn’t illicit a specific memory, but something about that song just reminds me of being young in that youth anthem sort of way. The Pumpkins were HUGE in the 90s, do you remember? I was living in Portland when that album came out, but thinking about the band took me back to 1991 again when I wore down their first album, Gish, on my Walkman because I played the tape so much. I was staying in Ohio for a few months before I moved to Washington and it just reminds me of that time and specifically, for whatever reason, the maroon carpet in the University common lounge room in the town I was staying in. Funny how you associate random things to music. The Beastie Boys’ Hello Nasty will always remind me of soldering in the physical computing lab up on the 4th floor of the Tisch Building where I went to grad school at NYU.
And so…this is the music that’s been keeping me going these days. Lately it’s been all about 90s rock. It’s been comforting and familiar.
Speaking of the Smashing Pumpkins, do you know who’s still awesome? James Iha, that’s who. I think he was the first Asian American rock star to come on the mainstream radar. I mean there still aren’t a lot of them – a bunch of hapas out there (Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is half Korean) – but not back in the early 90s, no. And he’s back in A Perfect Circle who reunited, yay! Although I swear every band has reunited and is on tour. Sadly, it seems like the only way to make money as a musician these days. What are you guys listening to?
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