The Strange Exchange

Ok, this fun-ness was back at the end of March, but I’m just getting to my post about it now!  And since I’m  working from my phone, I will have to go back and add in some links for the very cool,  very friendly vendors we met. Creative stuff.  Super fun day. I will definitely be back!

image

The Weird NJ guys were there!

image

And it was a beautiful day...

The Strange Exchange is part freak-show, part flea market and all authentic Jersey, my much maligned but beloved home state.

Before we even walked in, I knew it would be good,  silly fun… like a classic issue of Weird NJ

image

Oh, hai!

image

Oh... hai!!

image

I love this guy...

image

The greeter scary clown scared my cute mom!

The theatre was all vendors, selling items that ranged from hand-knit scarves to lovingly taxidermied mice. And, of course… pork roll.

image

image

A view of the space

image

These two are AWESOME!

image

They make stuff like this...

image

And this!

It was really hard to not purchase the snake in a jar. But it did inspire me to get the apothecary bathroom started!!

image

My fabulous husband bought me this fabulous necklace. I love it! I’m going to put it together with my Parkway Token necklace from my sister’s wedding and knock the socks off the rockin’ Jersey charms.

Happy First Day of Spring!

So what if it’s currently snowing a little?  The calendar says it’s the first day of spring!

We’re determined to have a bountiful garden this year, and for the first time since I was a kid,  I’m trying to start some things from seed…

image

We’ve been saving egg cartons for months, and I finally got them all going today!  The seeds are from the fantastic  Hudson Valley Seed Library http://http://www.seedlibrary.org/, which has the prettiest packaging ever…

image

(they have an open calls for artists every year,  so hey, artists… send in your art!) I think all of these seeds were either gifts or purchased at the fab Country Living Craft Fair, so they also remind me of summer funtimes with friends and family.  Yay!

I’ve planted 2 kinds of lettuce and the Ragged Jack kale, some sage that I plan to repot and give as gifts if it goes well,  and a whole lotta Morning Glories — which I’m really, really hoping take off because a) I’ve got a trellis that is just waiting for something good to climb it and b) when I was little, we grew some Morning Glories that climbed the railings of our front steps and I have very fond memories of how pretty they were and how much fun they were to grow. 

image

Now,  I’m going to be honest and say that I’m truly confused by the growing instructions on each and every one of these packets. But I figure that humans have been growing plants from seeds for quite some time now,  and some of these humans must have been dumber or less garden-ally inclined than I am.  So I’m giving it an earnest go and hoping for the best. My track record might be spotty, but it’s a whole new season, right? 

image

Another reason to love weekends  (as if we needed more reasons)… time to cook!  With the chill in the air it seemed like a good day to pull out the slow cooker and make a big ol’ pot of pot roast.  Along with Chris’ amazing home made bread…

image

…it was, a terrific Sunday night supper.

The bread is Mark Bittman’s classic no-knead/Sullivan St. Bakery recipe,  which you can find on the NY Times website, but I also found this lovely post about it,  which I recommend checking out: http://www.astackofdishes.com/the-famous-ny-times-no-knead-bread/

image

Final version, ready to serve!

All this productivity aside,  my favorite part of the first day of spring might have been this morning’s delicious rainbow bagel. Carb-tacular!

image

So cheers to carbs and slow cookers and seedlings and the last of the snow. Happy Spring!

Time flies when you’re living life…

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve been here!! I wish I could say I haven’t posted because all of our projects are complete and our house is immaculate, but as I type on my phone amid a pile of  unfolded laundry, I am realizing how badly I need a new laptop and a winning lottery ticket…

Since I last logged in, another summer has passed, full of barbecues and fairs, a beach visit and a camping weekend. The air is turning crisp and clear and it’s almost time to start raking leaves.  We have a cat. A dear friend moved nearby and two others moved out of state. Six of my friends had babies. Six! A friend passed away. I had a big surgery and I started a new job. Our vegetable garden was an epic failure, but my big planter of flowers is still blooming. My beautiful sister married her longtime boyfriend,  making him *officially* my brother-in-law, and it was a damn fun party.

The world goes round. We almost got most of the peeling paint on the front porch scraped off. We’re planning a better garden for next year.  Some days we’ve just slept in and done nothing at all.

So I’m welcoming myself back and taking things one step at a time.  Like the rest of life, working on this house is a joy and a challenge and I always wish there were more hours in the day.

But today was a great day.  With the help of my brother-in-law, I tackled the garden area on the side of the house, digging out tons and tons of bulbs that have been multiplying like crazy and getting rid of giant weeds.  I might buy a couple of shrubs to put in. I’m going to replant the bulbs so come spring we will have healthier daffodils, tulips and lilly-of-the-valley.

It’s now a pretty clean slate where I can attempt to grow whatever I choose.  I haven’t done much of this before,  so I’m learning as I go.

image

Before

image

After

Saying goodbye to summer

I don’t know about you, but I’m forcing myself to adjust to Fall.  I mean, it’s here, dropping that sun before 7 at night, so it’s not really like there’s a choice.  But the leaves are starting to change, the evening breeze has a little bite, I’m forcing myself to hold off on buying Halloween candy for a few more weeks, thinking about wtf I did with my slow cooker and why wouldn’t I just keep all the parts together like a normal person … you know regular early October stuff.

And I got SO FAR BEHIND in posting!  And I’m going to work to catch things up over the next few days and get back to real time.  Real Time….  That sounds more serious than Current Time. Either way, it turns out I’m not fully ready to say goodbye to summer.  So here, for one last hoorah, is the amazing picnic table that Chris made for us.  I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves …

Next summer it will have its own umbrella and patio of some sort to sit upon!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Crafty Tale: a pillow present

Finally finished this pillow for one of my bff’s, my birthday twin… And only a little late.

image

The top is an Urban Threads pattern that I embroidered and painted with some fabric paint. That… Fine, yes, ok… I mixed some glitter.

image

The bottom half is Sublime Stitching’s Epic Alphabet pattern.

image

image

I lots of floss to keep the lines chunky and colorful.  With this design, I didn’t want to be dainty!

 

And the back is from a store in PA where they had piles of great fabric (maybe old samples?) for $1 a piece…

image

And though we shared a birthday in June, I finally got to give it to her today at a lovely lunch her mom hosted at a classic Italian joint in Stamford.  It was wedding party part two, and it was delicious and festive and full of love. Oh, and I might have eaten some of this:

image

Woot!

Summer Weekend Trip to Albany …

 

 

IMG_0187

A couple weekends back, we hopped an Albany-bound Amtrak at Croton-Harmon and headed up to Troy, NY to visit my dear friend Jeffrey, who recently relocated there.  The train ride was a comfortable and quick 90 minutes, and the town of Troy is completely adorable.  We made it up there just in time to catch the end of the Farmer’s Market, and I loved shopping our way through town.  I especially liked the indie bookstores, the nicely curated collection of original art and posters (and welcoming vibe) at Clement, and the fun wares and equally fun owners at Weathered Wood.

One of my favorite spots was the Way Back Gallery at 169 River Street in Troy.  Definitely go like them on Facebook right now!  The space and shop in the front are beautiful.  The gallery in the back is a great space.  There is a fun exhibit there now featuring two artists who do a cool thing:

She does work like this and he does work like this and now they paint together on the same canvas and make things like this!  I just loved it, and have been thinking about those paintings ever since I saw them.

The front entrance of the shop/gallery  is also really pretty:

20140726_141149

The Way Back Gallery

I love the way the colors in the planter reflect the colors of the building– it gave me front porch inspiration!

We enjoyed some of Troy’s famous and super-delicious DeFazio’s Pizza (everything you read is true) and took a stroll …

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

And that’s not even including the seat of power… where the magic happens … the one & only Albany, New York!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

People Who Visit Us: Post #1/ PETER

As previously threatened, I’m starting a new series called People Who Visit Us.  If you’re wondering, YES I am kicking myself for not starting this ages ago!  So that means all the people who have been visiting us since we moved are just gonna have to come back and hang out with us again.  We promise not to make you work too much!!

Each PWVU subject will have to answer the same few questions.  I reserve the right to comment.  I mean, it’s my blog, right?

Hi, Peter!

IMG_0157

How do you know the Larsens?  Chinatown gang bang club (since first gang bang)

Describe yourself in three words:  Gang bang enthusiast

(editorial note:  we met at Fordham)

What’s your favorite book?   Soap Opera Digest

What did you eat at the Larsens’?  Really good fajitas (why I’m moving to Peekskill)

(editorial note:  Chris & I also drank margaritas)

Did you win at cornhole? I lost to Chris once in a shut out and beat you because you defaulted by retiring from the match (and I had a significant lead).  In other words, you abandoned my Cornhole just as I was starting to feel good about it.

Did you leave sober, tipsy or shitcanned?  (or did you sleep over) —   Sober.  Get it in writing while you can.

Where are you visiting next?  Cape Cod:  Falmouth, MA

 

 
The Larsens’ Turn:
Peter is the best!  He is mega-talented, funny, honest and a true friend.  He is one of those friends where years can pass with a facebook check in here & there, and then you hang out and it’s like no time has passed.  I think we will be friends with Peter forever.