lance letscher

October 28, 2007

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I was lucky enough to attend several shows of Lance’s work in Austin. I was also lucky enough to have sold him some raw materials, and to have visited his home studio to purchase a small piece. The delicate collage of sketched tree trunks (above) is framed in my entry. The images below do no justice to the nuanced and breathtaking beauty of Lance’s work.

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leigh wells

October 28, 2007

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Thanks again to design*sponge for putting Leigh Wells on my radar. As you may know, I have a serious affection for any artist who uses vintage papers. But there are so many more wonderful aspects to her illustrations – the color choices, calligraphic flourishes, interesting use of hand-lettered typography. Her depictions of maps are particularly groovy.

Check out Leigh’s beautiful website, and snap up an original illustration at her etsy page. Oh, and did I mention she is sooo nice? The piece above is titled Where I Sit.

day in the life

October 24, 2007

6:00am :: cell phone alarm bleats from bedside table, hit snooze 4 times

7:12 :: choke down french toast with strawberries & tea with milk

8:09 :: start 45 minute drive to work, remember scene from Slingblad, watched previous night – “What was it like… out there in the world?” “It was too big.”

9:24 :: Get call from business partner asking me to remove her euthanized cat from the back of our delivery van. (This is neither as surprising or macabre as it sounds, if you know the other stories about my partner) I refuse, and take my car on pick-ups and deliveries.

10:30 :: start pick up of fresh flowers from growers – viburnum, pieris, eucalyptus

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hydrangea in bud, in a polyhouse

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sweet, sloppy lucy in the outdoor covered hydrangea field

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wind-break of clipped trees- cut with a device that resembles helicopter blades

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the hostas I’m currently coveting- look at those chartreuse edges

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more hydrangea, reaching maturity

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succulents in the field

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blacky-purple ligularia

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then on to the next pick-up at a roadside stand

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sometimes I get fruit and vege here too, besides the eucalyptus, but I forgot my coins for the honesty box today

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the clematis vine crawling up the side of the stand

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12:34 :: leave partner to complete a wedding quote with an indian/maori bride-to-be, race to pick up orchids at courier drop-off point (back of livestock supply warehouse), indulge in an expensive salad and organic guava juice for lunch

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4:01 :: leave work early to deliver a bouquet on the way home, stop at library to read Elle Decor, Dwell and World of Interiors in 10 minutes before they close at 5:00

7:15 :: cook lamb meatballs from Stubb’s Village Butchery and boil pasta

email friends and look at a few blogs, probably in bed by 10

all things rhubarb

October 23, 2007

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These drool-worthy images are from Nordljus– I found Keiko’s amazing blog just by searching for ‘rhubarb’! All her images are startlingly beautiful. Check it out for the recipes, and for the gorgeous visuals.

We had friends over this weekend and I tried making rhubarb & mint lemonade. It turned out great. Here’s how I did it, though I wouldn’t really call it a recipe:

Cut up a bunch of rhubarb, cook it in a little water with some sugar until soft.

Brew a cup or two of mint tea, spoon liquid from cooked rhubarb into tea, add a pinch of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla. Add enough raw sugar to make the brew very sweet and syrupy.

Squeeze a few lemons, straining out seeds. Pour lemon juice and rhubarb syrup over ice in a glass, add water and adjust by adding more rhubarb syrup to sweeten.

Garnish with a sprig of mint.

cute little corsages

October 20, 2007

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yet another day in matakana

October 20, 2007

Here are some more lovely pics of Matakana village, and the Farmer’s Market. I scored the bag for $18, and it’s stuffed with organic berries, fern fronds and other goodies. The pic of the store with crystal chandeliers is the new Stubb’s Butcher shop. What meat purveyor do you know with lighting like this?

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…if only I had a pair of ruby slippers to get me out of this spider-infested country. Seriously, this spider thing has got to stop. Just now, after lounging around on the floor with my pale white underbelly pressed to the floor in a very compromising way, I noticed a piece of the carpet moving. And this piece of moving carpet had a white tail. Like the infamous White Tail Spider that is quickly populating the NZ bush. I sat my computer down on it, which is hardly enough weight to kill a spider this tenacious, so I called in the big guns- Kyle’s skate shoe. He actually did the squooshing, against his NoSpiderViolence doctrine.

And is that all? No. A few days ago I innocently reached under the counter for a set of stainless bowls (making chocolate chip banana bread, mmmm), only to pull them towards me and scream like a little girl as I dropped the set of bowls, plus a huge, fanged Huntsman spider on Kyle’s feet. Luckily he was wearing his Nanook of the North boots, and the spider landed upside down. It got scooped up with a piece of paper and deposited right outside the front door. Come on, couldn’t it be relocated, to like, Spain? In case you don’t know, these are the freakin’ things that they cast in Arachnophobia. I’m totally not even mentioning the oodles of Daddy Long Legs in the corners, the jumping spiders patrolling the curved wall above our bed… ok, let’s stop there or I won’t sleep tonight.

I am in no way joking when I say this may be the last straw.

do you know the way?

October 15, 2007

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Yes, actually, I do know the way to the Hotel San Jose. Before it’s meteoric rise to fame, I worked down the street at Uncommon Objects, selling antiques – some to San Jose owner and renovator Liz Lambert. I remember taking my lunch breaks in the sweltering heat at the pool, dangling my grimy feet in the water. No one chased me away, but nowadays I bet it’d be different.

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For our one year anniversary – of meeting, not marriage – I rented the room above the pool (the Johnnie Cash room, Kyle says). I remember waiting, Rapunzel style, on the balcony for Kyle to show up after work. I also remember the smile he gave me from the courtyard, and how much I loved him in that moment. And still do.

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Yes, the San Jose was integral to my experience of Austin. Not only the hotel itself, but Jo’s Coffeehouse, which was completed way before the hotel renovation was complete. The pulled-pork sandwiches, tangy with barbeque sauce and vinegary slaw, clung to their soft white buns, melting in the hand prior to consumption. Wait too long and the whole thing would go soggy, but who could wait? The cherry fried pies were also a fav mid-afternoon snack, made by Liz’s brother Louis. In later years the scene got too scene-y, and I had fewer and fewer occasions to frequent the lush gardens surrounding the hotel. Most places have a Golden Era, and I like to think that I witnessed that time at the San Jose.

Thanks to Lake Flato Architects for the pictures- I had forgotten they were the architects responsible for the earthy, artsy update. They do amazing work all over Texas, inspired by the vernacular of metal sheds and limestone quarries.

best gelato I’ve made

October 14, 2007

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Ok, so it may be the only gelato I’ve made, wow, what a great result! I used Cassis liqueur only because it was the closest substitute I could find to PAMA.

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups bottled pomegranate juice
1/3 cup pomegranate liqueur such as PAMA
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Special equipment: an ice cream maker

Garnish: pomegranate seeds

Whisk together cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking occasionally, then boil, whisking, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients.

Transfer to a bowl and chill, uncovered, until cold, at least 1 hour.

Freeze in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours.

Soften gelato slightly in refrigerator, about 20 minutes, before serving.

Cook’s notes:
• Cream mixture (before churning) can be chilled, covered, up to 1 day ahead.
• Gelato keeps 1 week.

Recipe from Epicurious. Photo by Ramulo Yanes.

a rose by any other name

October 14, 2007

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The only other floral studio I’ve come across with the same name as mine (in Austin), is this one. I’m so lucky to share the moniker pollen with such an incredible and stylish shop. Do check out their site, it will make you drool, and might even lure you to Atlanta. Photo from their website.