Tuesday, February 25, 2014

snow days

We had a surprise snowstorm this weekend that blanketed us in a foot of snow. Snow is pretty fleeting in these parts, we might see it once or twice a year, so to get a heavy snow that sticks around is rare and exciting. We spent the first day bundled up with our boots on, tromping around through the forest and moving fallen branches off the road. That afternoon the power went out so we had a candlelit night stoking the fire and staying snug. 

The next morning we discovered we had also lost water and the phone line, so felt truly cut off. Neighbors were out walking around, checking to see if everyone was alright, if they had drinking water and everything they needed. Branches heavy with snow continued to fall, the sound of them cracking, the whooomp of the snow hitting the ground followed by the loud thump of the branch coming down. We melted big pots of snow on the wood stove to wash our dishes. By afternoon we decided to brave the roads and made our way down to the store to join the small crowd of fellow islanders with laptops, ipads, and other devices taking advantage of the Wi-Fi. Stories were swapped, gossip shared, lots of speculation about who had power and who didn't. We were enlisted to walk a quarter mile up our road to feed a cat who was home alone, its parents stranded off-island. 

By evening the power had been restored, water was flowing and everything was up and running. Perishables were retrieved from the snow-filled cooler and extra candles were tucked away. As glad as I was to see the lights flick on, I always enjoy the simple life of snow days. 

This morning the sun is out and it is a shining white winter wonderland. I know that the snow will melt away soon and we'll be back to our green world, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

p.s. My hat is the Snöflinga pattern from Wiksten.

p.p.s. Oh, and that shop update I mentioned last Friday? It'll be coming soon-ish. The lack of power over the weekend meant I didn't get all my photo editing done!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

a baker's dozen

Thirteen years ago, me and this guy became a couple. Shortly after, we left for a 6-month long trip to India, that's where we took this selfie (before anyone called them selfies) on the rooftop of our guesthouse. I love this photo of us, we look so happy and open, and we have fewer crow's feet laugh lines than we do now. But mostly I love that fact that he and I are we. We're so lucky to have one another. 

To help celebrate this year, I baked him some cookies. Now if you knew this guy as well as I know this guy, you'd realize that showing him how much you love him pretty much comes down to chocolate. Serious chocolate. I remembered a great recipe for biscuits trés chocolat (very chocolate cookies) from Clotilde Dusoulier's Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook. They are damn fine cookies and über-chocolatey as promised. You might like to make some for the love of your life, too. (Or for yourself, sharing is optional.)


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-sized bits
1/4 cup roasted cocoa nibs
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.

Melt half the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until melted. Set aside.

Mix butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar, salt and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix again.

Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Next, mix in by hand the rest of the chocolate and the cocoa nibs. Fold in gently, do not overmix. The dough will be quite thick. 

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from fridge and carve out rounded teaspoons of dough, shaping them into slightly flattened balls with the tips of your fingers as you place them 1/2" apart on the baking sheet. 

Bake on the center rack for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are just set. Transfer the sheet of parchment carefully to a rack and let cool completely. (If you choose to use a spatula to remove the cookies instead, they will seem surprisingly soft, but will firm up fine when cool.)

They really are delicious cookies - crisp, crumbly and intensely chocolatey. I made one slight change while baking this batch and substituted buckwheat flour in place of the whole wheat flour. We both thought it was a nice addition. (I had some left over from baking these nibby buckwheat butter cookies over the holidays - yum!)

So, here's to love... vive l'amour! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

etsy love: beauchamping

As mentioned before, I have decided to begin sharing a little Etsy love here once in a while, featuring a shop whose products I have personally enjoyed and love. Today I'd like to share beauchamping, a print shop run by artist Gregory Beauchamp.

Gregory's prints are xylene transfers, a process similar to screen printing, but without the screen. The work is hand-transferred inch by inch onto heavy cotton rag paper; each piece an original and slightly different than the last.

In Gregory's own words, "I believe the simpler you can make something the more universal it becomes."

A few months ago, I asked Gregory if he could make me a custom print of Gulliver's Mushroom to fit an antique frame I'd found. He was great to work with and it turned out perfect; we love looking at it every day! The hardest part was choosing which print we wanted, but the Pacific Northwest is such a wet, mossy and at times mushroom-filled place, this one seemed right.

Gregory's work seems to pop up all around the internet, often in sneak peeks on Design Sponge and elsewhere. Follow the links below to learn more about Gregory and his work:

Beauchamping on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/beauchamping
Featured on Etsy's Handmade Portraits: http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/handmade-portraits-greg-beauchamp/

Which one of his prints do you love?

Photos of prints courtesy of Beauchamping on Etsy. Photo of artist courtesy of Monica Wang for Apartment Therapy.

Monday, February 10, 2014

boo radley's house

Boo doesn't live here anymore. Now it's just relics of the past and his grandparents who lived here before him. I counted at least 10 different layers of wallpaper, thick and peeling away from the walls, each representing a different era for this old house. I'm always so drawn to explore places like this, I guess it's as close to time traveling as I can get. But do you know what really gets me? There's an upstairs in this house, but no stairway! I'd best leave that be, though. Curiosity seems to have already killed one cat.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

coming soon

A peek at some of the items that will be included in the next shop update. That Fiesta pitcher is in mint condition!