One minute…

January 29, 2014

you feel as if you are living in a black and white photograph. The daylight (or lack of it) looks the same at six A.M. as it does at noon and then again at six P.M. It’s still colder than cold and the snow…well, it’s still coming. Then a day like today greets you with not only its bone chilling temperatures, but skies clear and  sun so bright, reflecting off of all that snow, that you have to wonder if you haven’t crossed over. Still, we managed to get through another January, but not without some simplequietmodern help. A few low bowls of forced grass or the freshness and simplicity of a handful of white tulips can bring to mind that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel we call Winter. Both can be had for just a couple of bucks which is good to know as we head into February.

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Koishe one

January 26, 2014

Like raked gravel in a zen garden, this project was a study in calm. Koishe one is done. What could have been balls of black linen yarn sitting indefinitely until inspiration struck, this modern knit linen blanket almost rose on it’s own from the remnants of the aborted sweater project from last fall. It seems that once the yarn was doubled and a suitable stitch pattern revealed itself, it was all done except for the knitting. And, the pattern being what it was, that went quickly as well. The end result was even better than I had imagined; beautiful hand , weight and drape with a richly textured bobble on one side reversing to a deep ridge on the other. I’m starting to think that this is what that yarn wanted to be all along. I should have known. What could be more simplequietmodern than a black linen blanket?

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Copy of Koishi one9

 

 

What a grip!

January 22, 2014

And, it doesn’t look like Mother Nature will be loosening it up any time soon. With another week of temperatures well below the freezing mark, and wind chills in the single digits at best, it make you think twice about venturing out if you don’t absolutely have to. Just a glance outside can have you coming up with a dozen excuses to stay in, catch up on a few things and turn on the oven to help cozy things up. While it’s on you might try my simple adaptation of a Martha recipe for a Winter Salad;  Farro with Roasted Red Onion, Grapes and Arugula. Again, not a recipe as much as a guideline and in simplequietmodern fashion, just a few ingredients.

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interior photo via: http://www.youaretheriver.com/

Or, more accurately, pre-order now for February 2014 shipment before the second run sells out too. This piece, by Zaishu… a slot together table/stool…is a collaboration between Australian photographer/designer Matthew Butler and architect/designer Kirsten Johnstone. The image of her wool knit fabric has been applied to his sustainable plywood panels to great effect. Plywood and wool…hard and soft. Insert tab A into slot B and put to beautiful good use. Now what could be more simplequietmodern than that?

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To order…http://www.zaishu.com/

or, to see what my friend Kirsten is up to next visit her here: http://www.kirstenjohnstone.com/2013/12/zaishu-big-design-market/   (photos courtesy of Kirsten as well.)

In and Out

January 16, 2014

There was a time when I looked forward to the “In and Out” lists that were published at the end of one year and the start of a new. I actually helped produce many. What’s out…what’s in?  What’s hot and what’s not? It was fun. It kept things fresh. It’s time again to revive that tradition, but with a more discerning eye.There is so much information floating  about, and with things changing in the blink of an eye, there comes a need to re-evaluate. If you hear that something is “trending” the fact is that it’s ship has sailed. And, what’s now available everywhere is a knocked off to the 100th power cheezy incarnation barely resembling the distinction or quality of the original thought. So, if you will indulge me;

Cupcakes?  We know their time has passed but what’s in line to take their place? Mini pies? No, too much crust. Cronuts? Nice try. Maybe it should be a Mini Crostata ( Crostatita?)…like a pie that eats like a cookie. Hmmm…

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CFL and LED bulbs: Who would have ever thought that a government would put a stop to the use of the classic incandescent lightbulb yet still allow the production of  gas guzzlers like the Chevrolet Suburban or the Cadillac Escalade? Doesn’t seem quite fair does it?  Not much we can do but slowly shell out the incredible prices for these less than appealing light sources and pray for a better option. I’m trying to like the Plumen 001, but I’m just not there yet. Until then, CFLs  and LEDs out…sunlight and candlelight in.

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photo via http://usshop.plumen.com/products/plumen-001-screw-fitting

Mason Jars…except for the fact that I use one or more everyday, from holding a bunch of parsley in the refrigerator to shaking up a quick vinaigrette, I really think these deserve a big “out”. Most especially at events and weddings. Unless your nuptials are taking place on a back porch in Appalachia and there’s Moonshine in them, there is no reason to be serving your guests drinks in a Mason jar. Clever? NO. Cute? NO. And, don’t get me started on the” dead relatives in a jar” used as centerpieces. ( Like this photo from internetland ).

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Salted caramel?  OK, a good caramel should have always had a salty note…adding sea salt is just redundant. Hasn’t anyone ever dipped a McDonalds fry into their chocolate shake? The salty sweet thing isn’t new…the same  goes with caramel.With an exception, like the hand-made caramels from Bequet Caramels in Bozeman, MT…who have set the bar amazingly high, I think the salted caramel could use a rest.

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http://www.bequetconfections.com/

Do the homework. Now that everyone and their mother has latched onto the term “mid-century modern” the market is flooded with new “inspired by” product as well as a lot of old kitschy stuff at every auction and estate sale. The fact is that there is a lot to know and a lot more for most people to learn. Just because something was made in 1950 does not make modern…or desireable. And the new “inspired” items are even less modern…less desirable. Some classic pieces are still in production however, and at workable price-points, like this Noguchi Rudder table designed in 1947.

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photo via http://hivemodern.com/pages/product6716/herman-miller-isamu-noguchi-rudder-table

Pimenton: Smoked Paprika. How much of this can we eat before we are sick of it? I guess when it’s an ingredient in an apple pie baked in a Mason jar or dusted over a salted caramel we’ll know.  I’m thinking the tide should be shifting to the Moroccan Spice blend  Ras el Hanout.  To North Africa what curry is to India, this mysterious (and heavily guarded) blend of spices, pods, barks and aromatics is used on everything from meats and poultry to grains and vegetables. Mix up a batch of your own and you can start keeping your own spicy secret.

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We’ve sure been eating our green leafies, haven’t we? Who’d have thought we would not only like Kale, but that we’d like it raw and in a salad with Brussels Sprouts?  Don’t get too comfortable. Better start getting used to the new “it” veg…Cauliflower. You might want to start by simply roasting it. What you’d think would pale by comparison will  have you coming back for more…and more.

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Tattoos: At least you can paint over graffiti. But ink? Not as easy. Maybe it’s time to make the unmarked body a new status symbol. If not that, maybe a 2 or 3 day waiting period is in order before pulling that trigger.

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Artisanal Bitters: I want to know who has that much time on their hands. Or, drinks so much that they need a stash of blackened pineapple or long chili-chai bitters. Simply pretentious. Maybe it’s time for the classics like Angostura or Peychaud’s to stage a comeback…and maybe the Champagne Cocktail as well.

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Black is the New Black; always was. Wear whatever color you want but don’t go for mass approval by calling it the new black. Black is black. It is not emerald-green, or orchid or brown. Black = IN. Enough said.

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January…a good time to

January 13, 2014

clean out, edit, get rid of the old…create  a place for the new. It might even help ease some physical congestion if you release some congestion within your home or work environment. My mantra is simple;  If you haven’t used (or even looked at) something in the last year…it’s time to let it go. In the process, you might even find a gift card or two that you had put away for safe keeping but had gotten lost in all of the clutter. In the end of this exercise you’ll have space…room to breathe..maybe a few extra bucks. Not to mention a stack of empty corrugated boxes to recycle or ?  Now inhale…hold it…

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Photos via/http://remash.tumblr.com/post/72574685385/papkasse-vaeg-06-nana-rosen-m-holland-bastrup#notes

Like white on rice…

January 10, 2014

pudding. Really, everywhere you look…SNOW. I’m sure most of the nation feels the same way about the last week. Too much snow…way too cold. In between bouts of shoveling out I would retreat indoors to warm up and keep myself busy with one project or another so as not to run the risk of contracting “cabin fever”. I noticed a box of arborio rice that I rarely use and wondered what I could make of it other than risotto.After a quick search and a visit to Smitten Kitchen I found I had all of the ingredients necessary to make a rice pudding. When I saw that it was adapted from a recipe by Gale Gand and that the ingredient list was minimal I knew I had to give it go. I still had some shoveling to do and this would be the perfect “carrot” to pull me through that chore. A few ingredients and about a half an hour later and you’re ready to dig in…thick, rich and creamy with raisins and a hint of lemon zest, a touch of ground cinnamon over the top. Simple. Now back outside to work it off.

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