Sunday, January 24, 2010

ZOMG! I want a YuDu!

I just saw a very compelling commercial for the YuDu at home screen printing system. Seems that this do-hickey reduces a lot of the mess and frustration of traditional hand screen printing.

They never out and out tell you how much it costs, but it seems to run about $200 on various websites.

I've got a birthday in June. I'm just saying. *wink*

Oh, here's a link to the infomercial. Just try and tell me this isn't cool.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wedding Flowers; or These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

I work at A Stem Above, a floral design and event decor company here in Chicago. Today, while writing proposals for the upcoming season's brides, I found myself in need of a bit of inspiration for a bride with no color palate or specific wants other than the color periwinkle. I thought I would share a few of my personal favorites and an antidote to all the cold and grey us poor Chicagoans are putting up with these days.

This first image comes from Floral Verde, a design company in Michigan. This is a favorite of mine for a number of reasons. As much as I appreciate the tradition of carrying all white, it's often so boring and outdated, so lifeless! This is a bridal bouquet with lots of color and personality, but still lots of dignity. I love the dusty purple scabbiosa and succulents and the texture of the seeded eucalyptus pods. I also really appreciate the use of two different varieties of blue delphinium. Full disclosure here: this is almost exactly the bridal bouquet that I've thought up for myself during the boring hours at work. (We all do it, it's the florist's curse!) The differences being that I would want dusty purple roses, yellow mimosa, and maybe some craspedia to brighten things up. I've always really loved the dusty purple, soft yellow and light gray color palate for weddings.

This bouquet is the matching bridesmaid's bouquet to the above one, also from Floral Verde. I love the trade-off between the textural subtlety of the bride's bouquet and the relatively simpler design of the bridesmaid's, made up for with a punch of color. The soft blue ribbon-wrapped handle is an especially nice detail. But in truth, I would probably like almost any bouquet that included craspedia, those funny yellow balls you see above.

This image comes from Brooklyn Bride Online, one of my favorite wedding blogs to peek at now and again. The bouquet is made by Blossom and Branch. I'm not crazy about the folded-leaf-cuff look, but I love the elevation of marigolds to a wedding flower, and I'm a sucker for matte grey brunia you see. The contrast with the bright colors of the roses and marigolds is great, and I love that not too many floral varieties were used in this particular bouquet.

This image comes from the almighty Martha Stewart, and I have to say it's one of the few instances of faux floral work that I like. These silk leaves catch the light beautifully and would look wonderful arching downward against a white gown. Just goes to show that you don't always need bright colors and crazy imported floral to make a splash.

l And finally, another image from Martha. I saw this in Martha Stewart Weddings (Fall '06, to be exact) a few years ago when I first started as a florist, and I've thought of it ever since. Just beautiful. Here's a link to a few images of the spread on her website. The 'Tulip Mania" bouquet is especially dramatic.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Adventures in Baking

Hello. I am Allison and I was once afraid of baking. That is right, I hated baking! Any recipe involving baking soda or yeast sent me running! Yet, I knew somewhere deep down I too could make delicious breads, scrumptious cookies, and delightful cakes. Thus, one of my recent goals has been to teach myself how to bake. There have been a few mishaps (for example I doubled a cookie recipe and wound up with more dough than I knew what to do with) but my inner baker is beginning to emerge. My latest adventure has been making bagels. For these bagels I used Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day cookbook. The book is amazing and I highly recommend it!

The snapshot you see are my bagel results. Let me just say that they taste delicious. I put some cream cheese and smoked salmon on one this morning for breakfast and I simply cannot wait for the lunch sequel!

I am one step closer to embracing the baker within!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cooking With Dog

I'm currently in the process of transferring all my files to my new computer, so I suspect it'll be a while before my photos of craft projects are available for posting here. But in the meantime, it's just about lunchtime and my thoughts would be turning to food if they weren't always about food in the first place. So I thought I would share one of the YouTube how-to channels that I often use to try to make more authentic Japanese food at home.

For reasons that aren't really explained, this channel is hosted by a poodle, but don't worry... all the cooking is done by an adorable Japanese woman. I've used recipes from 'Dog' a few times, and I've always wanted to try making the Ramen. I never realized how much work goes into a dish we all take so for granted. The dishes aren't always purely Japanense (a few Chinese ones sneak in now and again, and I think there's a hamburger for some reason) and the instructions aren't always the clearest, but I'm a person who prefers not to cook from a recipe anyway. I like the opportunity to know how things are made but also to modify the recipe slightly.

First Official Post of the Wood Street Blog!

A new blog, so exciting! We'll definitely be working out the bugs for the first few posts, but please have patience and keep reading. This blog serves as a virtual idea cork-board, bragging outlet, and general compilation of the various crafty and creative endeavors of the crafty and creative ladies living at the intersection of Wood and Archer Streets on the South Side of Chicago. A more specific direction may emerge some day, but for now it's a way for all of us to keep each other and our friends up to date on the myriad DIY projects we tend to fill up our free time with.

Let's get started!