Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Dad's 60th Birthday Party Invite

My dad turned 60 a few weeks ago, and as I approached the design for his invitation I decided not to go the "Over the Hill" route. Rather, I thought I'd put being 60 years old in perspective, comparing my father (upper right) to a number of celebrities that were born in the same year. What better location to see a bunch of headshots together than in a high school yearbook? So, I mailed the invitations in a dark purple envelope reminiscent of dad's high school colors.

Jack's Baby Shower Invite

An invitation I designed for a baby shower for my cousins and their soon-to-be born baby Jack. Obviously a play on the Jack of Hearts, there were 8 different "baby blanket" designs on the backside of the invitations. (Um, not that the recipients knew there was more than one version, but I did!)

A few examples of the printed invitation backs:

Holiday Bowling Party

Our company went bowling yesterday to start off our evening of holiday fun. I had so much fun taking photos in the bowling alley that I might make it a project someday - everything is so shiny! It was also quite dark, and my digital camera can only fake a 400 ISO, but I don't think they came out that bad.

Japanese-inspired Dinner

I've been cooking a lot of comfort food lately (and we've both been avoiding the scale), so I decided to cook a healthy grilled meal: chicken and shrimp with a teriyaki glaze, sesame green beans, and cold udon noodles with a subtle dressing of rice wine vinegar, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce. The noodles were great, and would be perfect in the summer. (Loving our new plates and silverware!)

Our Tree!

My blogs have been few and far between lately on account of some birthdays, a baby shower and, of course, the holidays. Most of my recent time, however, has gone in to getting settled into our apartment (into which we moved in May!). Wedding planning really prevented us from making our new home the focus of our time and efforts. We're getting there. Anyway, I think an evening spent making a $17 fake tree look pretty good is an evening well spent!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Berkshire Writers Room Logo

The Berkshire Writers Room announced that they were looking for a (free) logo design sometime in July. I inquired about the project immediately, started jotting down ideas, and then it took a back-burner to our wedding planning. (What didn't?!) I received a reminder email earlier this month that I was still able to submit an entry until November 29th - today! And so, I submitted my entry - today!

I thought a great deal about this project. Though I realize there is a great amount of writing and art inspired by the Berkshires, none had such a strong visual representation to me as Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Melville found the shape of Mount Greylock, as seen from the view of his study at Arrowhead, to resemble the back of his famous whale emerging from the water.

In my logo design, I decided to use the specific contour of Mount Greylock as seen by Melville (gathered from photos), while also showing the result of his inspiration - the whale. It is my hope that this new logo will be reminiscent of Melville's inspired writing and Berkshire pride.

From The New York Times, September 3, 2004:

"Melville's study is the centerpiece of the house — a spacious room that holds some of the books he wrote while in the Berkshires. His scrimshaw letter opener, reading glasses and the key he used to lock his family out of his study when he was writing are on display. If the day is clear, you can see Mount Greylock from Melville's chamber. The mountain was a looming influence over his prose: Melville saw the back of a sperm whale in its profile and dedicated his book 'Pierre' to 'the Most Excellent Purple Majesty of Greylock.'"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Roasted Garlic - Attempt #2

I tried once again this afternoon to roast garlic. Seemed simple enough the first time, but something just wasn't right. This time, I roasted it longer and shlapped some butter along with the prescribed olive oil on the garlic prior to roasting. The result was much improved. I found myself popping out the tiny mushy cloves and eating them whole. (Thank god John was eating them whole, too.) The photo below is post-garlic annihilation.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ode to Pinky's Pizza

My hasty attempt at re-creating the buffalo chicken salad from (our favorite!) Pinky's Pizza was somewhat unsuccessful. John liked it, but the blue cheese dressing just wasn't creamy or blue-cheesey enough for me. Better luck next time. And oh, there will be a next time...sans fat-free buttermilk.

I walked to the PaperSource after work yesterday and came across the Frog Pond. I'm sure I wouldn't have stopped and taken photos if I hadn't started this blog. Here's one:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Monday is Mac & Cheese Night

And so, I made Mac & Cheese - the Kraft kind. And I even have a photo! Perhaps I'm adult enough now to start making REAL macaroni and cheese?

I also did some creating for John's birthday present last night, but I can't post that until after his birthday!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pork Chops and Stuffing

Well, I made these Saturday, actually...

No, it doesn't sound very creative, BUT for the first time I tried my grandmother's/mother's technique of alternating stuffing betwixt pork chops in a loaf pan. The stuffing came out great, with added apples (skin on!) and golden raisins. The pork chops were a bit dry compared to the actual stovetop stuffed pork chops I've made once before (which I found awfully difficult to slice and stuff.) I simultaneously roasted some girthy asparagus (why so big?) and shallots. Shallots, I have decided, are a miracle vegetable...if they are a vegetable at all.

This blog might be as dry as my loaf pan pork chops if I don't start taking photos!

Sunday, I "made" leftovers. But I also created a "Welcome Back to the USA" gift, er, basket for a friend of ours returning from Iraq: in a McDonald's Happy Meal box I put a mini apple pie, Cracker Jacks, Big League Chew bubble gum, Spam, and the newest issue of the Enquirer...and a 2007 National Parks Membership (it couldn't be all kitschy, afterall.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Penne with Pumpkin Sausage Sauce

I had set out to make pork chops and stuffing, but had only a palmful of stuffing - no good! So, I changed my plan and decided to make penne with a sauce of sweet sausage, pumpkin and cream. Not bad, although I'd do a few things differently. The recipe is very similar to my Penne a la Vodka recipe, and I am planning to make it even more similar next time I make this. Wish I took a picture! (Was too hungry!)

Friday, November 17, 2006

My What I Made Yesterday Blog

In the early years of Saturday Night Live, Gilda Radner used to do a skit called something like "What I Ate Yesterday" in which she ran through a list of the (very few) things she had consumed the day before. Apparently, she was always telling people about the things she had eaten, and so her fellow cast members thought they might as well turn it into a segment on the show.

I have no plans to divuge "what I ate yesterday" here. Rather, I am feeling some extra post-wedding creative energy and am ever thoughtful of advice such as "Do Something Creative Every Day" (a PaperSource motto) or "No Time to Create - Create Anyway" (a mantra from Debby Reelitz, a talented calligrapher I recently met - her work can be seen in the image below.)

I am excited to begin this log (or blog, as it may be) documenting whatever it may be that I made yesterday.

Simple, but as a starting point, I made meatloaf for the first time two nights ago - the first meatloaf I've ever enjoyed! And last night, I roasted garlic for the first time in our fantastic little wedding gift garlic roaster. I'm hoping my blog doesn't focus too heavily on food, but come on...we've got to eat, so...