One tool…

May 29, 2020

for many tasks. I’m wondering how I did without one of these until now. Or, maybe I’m just tired of McGuyvering my way through the garden and decided I needed something new. From cutting through roots, digging up weeds or dividing mature plants, there isn’t a task that this Landscapers Hori Hori won’t be able to simplify.  A cross between a knife, a trowel and a saw this indispensable tool is constructed of heat treated alloy steel for lightness, strength and durability… right here in the USA.  With the entire Summer ahead of us it might just be a good idea to embrace it fully equipped. 

 

 

photo: https://www.shopterrain.com/products/landscapers-hori-hori?via=Z2lkOi8vdXJibi9Xb3JrYXJlYTo6Q2F0YWxvZzo6Q2F0ZWdvcnkvNDkzQkQ1Mjg

 

Is it me or is everyone having a difficult time keeping track of what month it is…what day it is? It seems like during the entirety of this Corona lock down the weather has kept us thinking it’s more like Fall than Spring and the sun has taken a back seat to the gray and rainy skies. A little inspiration seems to be in order to get us through the next few weeks to be sure. While the upcoming holiday weekend and unofficial start of Summer will be different than we know it, a little inspiration may ease the discomfort of continued shelter in place and social distancing orders. The simplest of things can bring new joy and freshness to a stale situation or outlook so look around with new eyes and see what happens. I’ve selected a few items from the simplequietmodern archives that might help get you started.

Artichoke2a

 

 

LTBrbry_crpt1

 

juleptpF

 

frontyrdcrpt

 

semifreddodn3

 

bchrock

 

potsldcn4F

 

 

Top to bottom:

Sheltering in place might have you contemplating a second place to get away to once we’re able to move around freely. And, while working from home may become the new normal for some, a simplequietmodern cabin with WIFI may be a neccesity.  Photo: Leonardo Finotti via Remash Tumblr

 

A comfortable place to kick back, either tucked away in the yard or on the front porch for those all important breaks between Zoom meetings. This reissue of the originalWestport Adirondack Chair design comes to mind immediately. Photo:Loll Designs

 

A simple spring dinner of steamed artichokes takes advantage of the season and satisfies while keeping time in the kitchen to a minimum. Photo: gp

 

If you need something to keep your hands busy and out of that bag of chips, this Elementary Wrap by Purl Soho is it. A modern hand-knit using their Linen Quill yarn results in a lovely seasonal project that will take care of that spring chill or tick off a special gift completed for the upcoming holidays.  photo: gp  https://simplequietmodern.com/2018/05/02/elementary/

 

The garden centers are open again. A quick stroll through might just tempt you to make a modification to your present landscaping. This Sunjoy Gold Pillar Barberry will add a little brightness even on those days the sun stays hidden. photo: gp

 

Why wait for the September running of the Kentucky Derby? This perfectly modern julep works for me any day . http://gardenandgun.com/media/mint-julep photo: gp  

 

Cabin Fever? Get out of the house and take a look at your place from a new perspective. Take a few phone pics from different approaches and try to view things as your neighbors or passersby do. You might be surprised to find that things are looking pretty good.  photo: gp

 

Who doesn’t like ice cream? My recipe for Pistachio Semifreddo will have you amazed that yes, you made it yourself.  photo: gp https://simplequietmodern.com/2015/05/24/whip-it-fold-it-freeze-it/

 

River rocks…or landscapers egg rock… can add that little touch of zen when used used in the landscape. As long as you’re home you might as well start another project to keep you outside. photo: gp

 

Not all potato salads are created equal. While I can often get a craving for potato salad like Mom made, I most often opt for this salad from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food…Potatoes Vinaigrette. Photo: gp   https://simplequietmodern.com/2014/05/04/a-simple-lighter-spin/

 

Memorial Day weekend is when those pots get planted. But, with what? I’m not into annuals…too bright. And last year’s planting of lily grass and Blonde Ambition Blue Grama grass while beautiful, did not winter over as I had expected. Now, I guess it’s back to my original choice…Blue Dune Grass. Fast grower, simple modern statement and, the deer won’t eat them. Check, check and check.  photo: gp

 

 

 

If you can,

May 4, 2020

pick up a carry out order and support your local Mexican restaurant tomorrow. If you can’t, you can still cook and celebrate in place. Shaking things up with Chef Alex Stupak’s recipe for Cheeseburger Tacos couldn’t be easier. The key is the meat to cheese ratio, basically 1/1. Fill some warm tortillas, top with a few classic toppings and you’re done.

Alex Stupak’s Cheeseburger Tacos   Serves 4-6

1 tsp. lard or vegetable oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
Salt
1 lb. white melty cheese such as chihuahua, Monterey Jack, or Muenster, grated
12 flour or corn tortillas, warmed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 small tomato, cut into 12 slices
1 avocado, cut into 12 slices
½ medium white onion, minced
Mexican hot sauce such as Cholula or Valentina, for serving
Chopped cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the lard until it shimmers. Add the ground beef and cook over moderate heat until it’s browned and crumbled, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted in,about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat in the pan. Spread the mayonnaise on the warm tortillas. Divide the cheeseburger filling among the tortillas and top with the tomato, avocado, and onion. Drizzle with hot sauce, garnish with cilantro, and serve with lime.

Photos: Evan Sung

 

 

Staycation

April 26, 2020

While we are all itchin’ to get back to work and life as we knew it, that might still be a while off. As the country moves into a “soft” reopening of the economy there might be an even softer release on travel restrictions keeping us closer to home. Upgrading your outdoor spaces might ease things a bit, making your own backyard into a vacation destination you’ll actually enjoy. The Swell Group of classic modern outdoor seating, designed by Richard Schultz for Knoll, will have you feeling like you’ve just landed in Palm Springs or Miami Beach. Based on his original 1966 group, these new pieces are generously proportioned and still, like the originals, need no cushions to provide maximum comfort. The cost of plane tickets and hotel rooms translated into a modern outdoor living statement will easily keep you sitting pretty for years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photos: https://hivemodern.com/pages/product6407/knoll-richard-schultz-swell-single-seat-club-chair

 

Thank You

April 23, 2020

One short month ago the Getty Museum issued a challenge to all who were coping with isolation, quarantine and social distancing during this Coronavirus pandemic. The Challenge was simple; 1) choose your favorite artwork 2) find three things lying around your house 3) Recreate that artwork with those items…and share them with the museum. I’m not sure the Getty was ready for the response or the calibre of the recreations. I for one was not. I’ve assembled the sampling below from the Getty on Twitter for those who hadn’t yet seem them. All that’s left to be said is thank you. Thank you to the Getty for getting this started….thank you for all who participated. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos: Getty on Twitter

No More Puzzles, Please

April 14, 2020

You’ve assembled your last jigsaw puzzle. I hear you. I’ve never been a jigsaw puzzle fan either. Still, sheltering in place may have you looking for a project that will keep your hands busy and take your mind somewhere other the ever changing news. It might be time to learn a new skill or revisit and old one. This Heel Stitch Hand Towel from Purl Soho might be just what you need to occupy some quiet time and end up with an elegant end result. Even if you’re a beginning knitter this project is not near as complicated as you’d think…it’s a simple combination of the basic purl and knit stitches. The pattern by Jake Canton for Purl Soho is free, and the yarn is available online so there is no reason to go out. Just 2 skeins of Purl’s Field Linen and some #3 sticks will produce an absorbent textile of heirloom quality that will add a little luxury to the task of washing your hands. So, if you needed a good reason to put down that bag of chips…this might be it.

Photos: https://www.purlsoho.com/create/2019/08/12/heel-stitch-hand-towel/

 

 

 

 

 

Reset

April 6, 2020

It’s apparently going to be another long month of isolation and social distancing, daily briefings will bring more sad news than good news. I keep thinking that all of this corona madness might be a blessing in disguise of a sad sort. The challenges that we are all now facing might force us to hit the proverbial reset button. The threat of Covid-19 is bigger than any of us yet affects us all in profound ways. We interact differently, we work differently and for many we find ourselves with plenty of alone time…time to listen to that still small voice that comes from within. Thankfully those reports of knock down, drag outs over toilet paper are behind us. If you are like me you are witnessing a gentler, friendlier, less selfish and more thoughtful community. And, as long as we are all in this war against an invisible enemy, that’s a good thing. It’s always a good idea to teach by example, so there is no better time than now to be that good example. Check in on people from time to time. Sure, those that are spending a lot of time alone could benefit from a quick chat or text, but, what about those that are now home all day with their kids taking on the new job of teacher? They might even need the contact and kind word more. Thank those who are continuing to work for our benefit…at the grocers and drugstores, gas stations and especially the Doctors and healthcare workers. Thank as well the restaurants, from fast food to fine dining, who had to retool to providing drive-up and curb service in order that their employees could still enjoy a livelihood. Thank them with your support…order a pick-up or delivery order as often as you can over the next month. Finally, treat yourself. While out for provisions, picking up some flowers to brighten your environment can do wonders to ward off cabin fever. And, while you’re at it, pick up an extra bunch to treat a friend or neighbor. No need to have face to face contact, just leave by their door and text a message that a little surprise has been left. With any grace at all, the sacrifices we are forced to make now will be behind us in a month or so and, hopefully, we will all be better for the experience.

IMG_3568

 

photo:gp

 

Working from home?

April 1, 2020

It might be time to think about upgrading that kitchen chair. Even if you are pulling it up to a makeshift desk or dining room table, a new work chair can make all the difference in your productivity if not your mood. Until April 6,  Hive Modern is having a “Herman Miller Work From Home Sale” where all Herman Miller Executive and Task seating is 15% off with free delivery. The Eames Aluminum Group designed in 1958 includes an assortment of executive, management or task seating and their Aeron Chair, originally released in 1994, is an ergonomic modern classic. Or, you might find something from the Saarinen group of executive seating from Knoll more to your liking, with arms or without. We’ll be sheltering in place and working from home for the near future but nobody said it had to be uncomfortable. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eames and Aeron chair photos:  https://store.hermanmiller.com/office/office-chairs?lang=en_US&hpn=12

Saarinen Chair PhotoS: https://www.knoll.com/shop/by-category/seating/work-chairs

 

Just in Time

March 24, 2020

Just as you might be getting a little stir crazy with the ever growing ” stay in place” orders there comes a bright spot to break things up. A little ahead of schedule, and thankfully so, is the Heath Ceramics Summer Seasonal collection. With all of this Covid-19 madness who couldn’t benefit from a little bit of bright Summer color? It’s just whats needed to brighten up a gray day or our gray mood. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite as I am generally partial to neutrals. But, desperate times call for desperate measures. New glazes like Grove, Wave and Desert might be just what the doctor ordered. So, take a spin through the collection online and get inspired, treat yourself or maybe someone else who needs a lift during these unusual times. Yep…feeling better already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos: https://www.heathceramics.com/collections/summer-seasonal-2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dining alone, I’m here to help. Nothing washes over you like a big hug than a comforting bowl of pasta. And, what’s even better is when that pasta dish can be made with just a few pantry ingredients you most likely have on hand. Add in one pot and ten minutes and you’re reading to dig in. Really, it’s just that simple.

Start with a small saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Over medium heat melt a tablespoon of butter and add 4 oz. of orzo pasta tossing to coat. Continue to stir until pasta just starts to toast up. Add 1 cup chicken stock and a good grind of black pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for ten minutes. Set your timer and check at ten minutes, continue cooking a couple of minutes more if necessary until all of the liquid is absorbed. Plate up and dress with the juice of 1/2 lemon. Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired. That’s it. Done and done. No need to guild the lily here, no Parmesan necessary. How easy was that? All that’s left to do is grab the remote and settle in for a little binge watching.

The original recipe from Sue Krietzman can be found here. https://food52.com/recipes/75234-sue-kreitzman-s-lemon-butter-angel-hair-pasta

While it calls for angel hair pasta, I have found it to work as well if not better with my favorite, orzo, or regular spaghetti broken into 2-3 inch pieces.. Any pasta shape can be used, just adjust the liquid and cooking time as needed.

photos: gp