Monday, May 16, 2011

STYLE: Black and white photo collage

I've been collecting black and white photographs for quite some time. I have a nice framed collection of larger ones in a hallway, including a 1970 studio shot of the Brady Bunch family autographed by Barry Williams and one of an early 1900s parade in Boise's Chinatown. I've also quite the stash of smaller black and white photos, picked up for pennies at antique stores and garage sales, including about 30 images of historic architecture in Indianapolis.
But it was when my sister-in-law, Crystal, sent me this link to a darling San Francisco home tour featured on Apartment Therapy's website that I knew the little collection's true calling. There are so many things to take inspiration from in this couple's cute home, including the plate display on the wall (which I already have goin' on), but it was the pinned exhibit of old photos that really caught my eye.
I picked up some black and white ball-topped pins at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft up the street for under $2 and set to work. The photos aren't straight, but they do make a nice assymetrical composition that can grow as my collection does. I love that the photos are out of the drawer in the basement and next to my bed, where I can examine them and make up stories about the characters in them, including the one of the lady wearing her Sunday finest pointing a shotgun with a sly smile on her face.

Monday, May 9, 2011

FOODIE: Making Breakfast

As a radical homemaker, I've been trying to make more of our food from scratch, including staples. This past month I've tried, with varying degrees of success, to make some breakfast items that we eat regularly. One is homemade yogurt. A few months ago I tried to make this recipe in my trusty crockpot, but it was a big fat fail. A few weeks ago I tried this one pictured above, using a warm water bath in a cooler. While it was more successful than my first attempt, the yogurt really never set up to the thick consistency I like it to be. We do make a ton of yogurt fruit smoothies in this house, though, and my homemade yogurt worked great for that. I'm giving it one more try, using my friend Rachel's tried and true recipe, and hoping that the third time's a charm.
I have tried to make a variety of breakfast/granola type bars in the past, and they've just been okay. When my favorite Montana blogger, Nici, posted this recipe for her homemade figgy bars, I made them the very next day. I didn't have figs on hand, but made the filling using dried prunes and some homemade apricot jam and it turned out wonderful. So good, in fact, that I gave a box as a gift to a new mama and her young family.
My girls love the Nutrigrain Eggos for breakfast. It's so easy to pop them in the toaster before school. I decided one Sunday morning to whip up a huge batch of whole wheat waffles and freeze them instead, to aid in the cost of the Eggos as well as the nutritional content. While Alice liked them the first few days, Lucy refused them. It's been over a month and I still have one or two in the freezer. Obviously they weren't a huge hit. But the figgy bars were loved by all and many were stolen by Eric for a healthy afternoon snack at work. One out of three ain't bad, right?

Monday, May 2, 2011

STYLE: Vintage souvenir travel plates

It's probably only been about a year now that I've been collecting vintage souvenir travel plates. But I'm a wee bit addicted to hoarding quirky things.
I find them, typically, at rummage sales and thrift stores and have never paid more than $4.99 for one, and most are around $1. They were popular tourist trinkets in the 1950s and were made for most states, large cities, and national parks. I've found some odd ones, like for the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma, and, for some reason many local churches marked significant anniversaries with commemorative plates.
Events like the Seattle World's Fair in 1962 (when the Space Needle made it's debut) were also popular to memorialize in a plate, and the dimensional relief on this particular piece if pretty great. They often hung on the walls of people who bought them, servings as memories of family vacations and roadtrips, made doable by the automobile in the mid twentieth century.
The plates went out of fashion and people are getting rid of them now, gifting them to the Goodwill as they find them in old boxes of grandma's stuff. As a sucker for Americana and kitsch, I'm intrigued by the architectural features and natural wonders chosen to represent each state/city on their plate. It's telling of the time and era, and also acts as a historical document, as this New York City plate does, with the Twin Towers standing tall pre-9/11.