my week in objects (mostly).

    March 24, 2017

    five little things that made my week.

    1. this dress with deep pockets.
    {but mostly the kid filling the pockets with every single imaginable toy.}

    2. this decaf coffee.

    {because keeping it in the house means a second morning cup, minus jitters.}

    3. this bag of lavender.

    {and a little spring cleaning. more soon.}

    4. these sprouts.

    {last year’s hard winter wheat, resprouted.}

    5. this rose serum.
    {smells like summer.}

    other things:

    call your representatives.

    peace by chocolate.

    dreamiest bedding for little guys.

    linen for lounging (spotted on honey kennedy.)

    spring centerpiece.

    every day i dream of repainting our cabinets.

    seedlip spirits.

    growing a minimalist wardrobe: sweatshirts

    March 21, 2017

    The ultimate minimalist wardrobe trick? Feeling comfortable in your own skin, er, sweatshirt.

    I’ve said before that the biggest indicator of whether something is going to have staying power in my wardrobe is its comfort factor. If something’s comfortable enough that I want to put it on day after day, it’s going to stick around, but it also needs to be comfortable on a more metaphysical level. Regardless of how it fits, I need my clothes to make me feel good. Enter sweatshirts. Maligned as weekend wear, or schlubby mom clothes (rude), sweatshirts aren’t typically celebrated as self-esteem boosting wardrobe staples. But give me a rack of designer clothes and include sweatshirts of any kind in the mix and the gravitational pull is going to be fierce. 

    I’m not saying that I swan around like royalty in a sweatshirt, but I do feel good. The trick is in the tailoring and the material. A thick French terry with perfectly draped shoulders and a thick hemline? Yes. A vintage sweatshirt with just the right details? Worth its weight in gold, I see. 

    Sweatshirt love isn’t my own quirk. Lots of folks are hip to the hype and there are plenty of lovely places for sourcing the perfect crewneck, should you be on the hunt. In case any of you are searching for stellar sweats, here are a few sweatshirts that have caught my eye lately:

    Baserange: Basic Sweat
    Known for their thoughtfully made cozy underthings, it’s no surprise that Baserange also has a killer-looking basic crewneck for layering on top. I love the blush color, but it also comes in black and off-white  Made in Portugal.

    Calder Blake: Isamu French Terry Pocket Pullover 
    For a sweatshirt with a twist, I love the look of this French terry pullover that’s been designed so that the terry loops are on the outside. For a more classic look, the Brady French Terry Sweatshirt is a simple crewneck made from a cotton blend. Made in California.

    Everlane: The Slim Classic French Terry 
    I haven’t personally tried their latest iteration of the French terry sweatshirts, so I can’t vouch for the quality, but I owned one of Everlane’s original crewneck sweatshirts and wore it until it was threadbare and stained (user error). Made in Vietnam.

    Jungmaven: Hemp Crew 
    These guys are my go-to source for all things comfy and hemp. They’re on a mission to support industrially grown hemp because it regenerates the soil it’s grown in and helps mitigate climate change (noble cause!). Their unisex hemp crew looks A+ and I can’t lie, I’m also very intrigued by the super-cozy looking turtleneck sweatshirt. Made in the USA of globally sourced fabric.

    Of A Kind: Professional Enthusiast Sweatshirt
    If you’re searching for a sweatshirt with just a little extra something, look no further than the very peppy French terry sweatshirts produced by the women at Of a Kind. Professional Enthusiasts of the world, take note. Now in a short-sleeved version, too. Made in Brooklyn, of Japanese fabric.

    Tradlands: Althea Sweatshirts
    Crew neck sweatshirts are part of Tradland’s latest foray into the world beyond button-ups. I loved their new sweatshirts so much, that I made sure to keep this one around after the photoshootMade in the USA.

    United by Blue: French Rib Swing
    United by Blue is a relatively new-to-me company that has a slightly quirky approach to environmental stewardship. For every sale they make, they pledge to remove a pound of trash from a local waterway. When I recently saw their French Rib Swing sweatshirt in my favorite color du jour, I couldn’t help myself. Made in China from organic cotton.

    Victor Athletics: Women’s Sweatshirts 
    I’m a very big fan of the hoodie that I bought last year from Victor. Nerd alert: James and I have matching hoodies and we both love them very much (Mine’s blue and his is gray. We’re not total weirdos.) Made in the USA from organic cotton.

    PS. In case you have a sweatshirt affinity and little guys you like to dress, consider something special from Rudy Jude: Faye and Silas have matching naturally-dyed Indigo raglans, and I’m v. v. tempted to try to squeeze into the size 10 Piglet. Such a perfect color, huh?

    What about you guys? Favorite sweatshirts worth crowing about?

    sourdough FAQ.

    March 20, 2017

    sourdough FAQ | reading my tea leaves
    The very best thing about James’s sourdough habit is that it’s his. It doesn’t involve me apart from the fact that most every week I can rely on there being a big old loaf of sourdough bread to plow through. (Elegant, I know.)

    Suffice to say, this isn’t a how-to, or a recipe, or a guide to becoming a sourdough master. I’m certainly not qualified to offer any of those things and despite his very regular habit, James doesn’t fancy himself enough of an expert to pen a full guest post on the subject of sourdough either. Still, since I’m not sure that I can bear to send another “sorry, not really my thing” email to hopeful readers, here are a few answers to frequent questions, a few helpful pointers, and a few resources for folks looking to embark on their own sourdough journey. 

    Godspeed. (All I can really tell you is it will be tasty.)sourdough FAQ | reading my tea leaves

    Sourdough FAQs:

    What method do you use?
    James taught himself to make sourdough bread using Chad Robertson’s Basic Country Bread recipe. It’s been pretty darn reliable for him (and many of other Tartine devotees). The full method, in all its multi-page glory, can be found in Robertson’s 2010 cookbook, Tartine Bread; the New York Times reprinted a version here. Happy reading.sourdough FAQ | reading my tea leaves

    Where’d you get your starter?
    James got his starter from a sourdough pancake workshop that we took at Best Made Co. in the spring of 2014 before Faye was born. The class was taught by sourdough pancake extraordinaire, Ron Silver of Bubby’s, and participants all went home with a little mason jar full of starter. James has been keeping his alive ever since. If you don’t have a local restauranteur or friend willing to share some of their starter with you, never fear, you can make it yourself. (Full how-to in the Tartine cookbook referenced above!)

    Is it a lot if work?
    My answer: Yes! His answer: No, not really! (Shoulder shrug.) The basic work behind sourdough is that you have to “feed it.” In the least nerdy terms possible, this essentially means that you need to regularly maintain your starter with fresh flour and water so that the good microbes keep growing and harmful bacteria and fungi are kept away. Since James makes bread most weeks, he keeps up a regular weekly schedule; feeding the starter in the morning of the day he plans to make dough. If we’re traveling or lazy, James just makes sure to feed the starter at least once a month. 

    Doesn’t feeding it create a lot of waste?
    If you make a habit of baking regularly, nope! But if you are finding yourself with a lot of excess after feeding your starter, King Arthur Flour has lots of good ideas for how to use it!

    What kind of flour do you use?
    James uses all-purpose unbleached flour; mostly King Arthur’s Organic All-Purpose and whole wheat all-purpose flour from Farmer Ground Flour

    How do you make it so pretty?
    Well, far be it for me to judge, but James’s breads haven’t always been so pretty. In the beginning they were kinda wonky and flat-ish. Now they’re awesome. Practice makes less wonky! James loves to get real nerdy and snoop around Instagram getting sourdough inspiration. Some of his favorites feeds are from @breadbakersguild, @maurizio, @katesbread, @sarah_c_owens, @ca_mia_breadlab, and @bakerhands.sourdough FAQ | reading my tea leaves

    Do you need any special tools?
    A few bread-making specific and non-specific tools go a long way.

    James uses:

    + This lame for scoring.

    + This dough scraper for shaping.

    + This banneton for dough resting.

    + This scale for measuring. (James has also endeavored to weigh both of our children using this scale. Results for human children unreliable, results for dry goods, great.)

    + Not for bread, only, James bakes his bread in our oven inside our enameled dutch oven. (Persnickety cohabitor warning: Unless you’re an exceptionally diligent scrubber, putting your enameled cast iron into the oven week after week at such high heat will mean it inevitably gets some baked on brown drips and spots. A soak in baking soda and lemon goes a really long way toward cleaning it up, but if you have the room for it, you might consider getting a plain old cast iron dutch oven or (even better) a double cooker for home bread-baking. 

    sourdough FAQ | reading my tea leaves

    Tell me about the pizza!
    It’s so delicious!!! James uses Chad Robertson’s method from the Tartine Bread cookbook here, too. It’s so much better than other homemade pizza we’ve endeavored to bake and not just because I’m not the one making it.sourdough FAQ | reading my tea leaves

    A few other tips for serious sourdough nerds:

    + After James shapes his dough, he finds he gets more flavorful loaves by putting it into the fridge for an extended final rise (12-24 hours).

    + James uses parchment paper to get his scored loaf into the hot dutch oven without smooshing the loaf or burning his hands.

    + If you start a regular bread-baking habit, expect some burns. James coerced me into getting him a pair of heavy-duty oven mitts. They take up all our remaining cabinet space, but at least his hands aren’t getting burned weekly.

    + Many moons ago, James and I had the chance to taste a loaf of Sarah Owens’ rustic sourdough bread. Her newish book Sourdough is a beautiful guide to getting fancy with sourdough.sourdough FAQ | reading my tea leaves

    What about you guys? Seasoned sourdough experts out there? Newbies? Feel free to geek out in the comments. I’ll be watching from the sidelines.

  • my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week.1. these mittens.{because it was beyond freezing this week. yes, literally.}2. this tulip.{picked out by a certain orange-loving kiddo. no complaints.}3. this wrap.{for snuggling a little guy that…

    March 17, 2017 19 Comments
  • life in a tiny apartment.

    Tip #150: Go with the flow.Growing up, my sisters and I had a plastic Little Tikes playhouse that we kept in our backyard. I adored it. You know the one? With the green roof and red…

    March 13, 2017 31 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week.1. these tiny slippers.  {smallest size in the shop.}2. these white tulips.{brought to our house with love from dear friends.}3. this humidifier. {and being able to breathe through…

    March 10, 2017 32 Comments
  • act: a day without a woman.

    “No paid or unpaid labor.“I rolled the sentence around in my brain for a good week before determining that if I was going to participate in the women’s strike, so was James.Here’s the riddle:…

    March 7, 2017 41 Comments
  • my week in objects (mostly).

    five little things that made my week:1. these bags.{soon to be filled with sunscreen and sun hats. right?}2. these sunshiney things.{for brightening up the joint.}3. these little guys.{for not yet being used to clonk…

    March 3, 2017 20 Comments