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a box of cameras

January 19, 2012

I wasn’t interested in photography until after the dawn of the photographer’s digital age, so I’ve never experienced much of the film world. But when my grandmother told me about a boxful of vintage cameras she had in her garage, I couldn’t have been more exited. I’ve liked old cameras for years, and have collected them for aesthetic reasons, but when she told me that it was possible I could still shoot with these, I was positively thrilled.

But I didn’t realize what how wonderful they were until they showed up in the mail.

There’s a lovely Polaroid…

And maybe even more fun, the instruction manual that goes with it. I finally know how I should look while shooting!

Not to mention, I want to frame this page.

There’s also an Instamatic, with exactly three exposures left on the film. I haven’t gotten enough courage up to use them yet.

But of it all, I think I’m most exited about the Duaflex. I can’t stop looking at all the incredible TtV images out there. Not to mention, I love the way it looks. Or the way it did, before I mutilated it with a contraption made of cut-up socks, a Pringles can, and enough staples to rival Frankenstein’s most gruesome creation.

I’ll let you know if I a) ever manage achieve that svelte photographer look or b) ever get my Pringles monstrosity to produce any decent TtV images.

Until then, I’m off to catalog my wealth.


meatless monday: potato leek soup

January 9, 2012

The CSA started back up this week, and already I’ve been confronted by two vegetables I have never cooked before: leeks and kohlrabi. I consider myself to be a fairly adventurous eater and cook, but I have never touched either of these before. I still don’t know how to pronounce kohlrabi, and all I know about leeks is that Tuppy Glossop once tried to make his fortune off of his nanny’s Cock-A-Leekie Soup.

Thank you, P.G. Wodehouse, for contributing to yet another part of my life’s education.

Unfortunately, knowing about Tuppy’s nanny didn’t exactly provide a recipe, so I turned, as I do in most cases, to Simply Recipes. And again, Simply Recipes did not disappoint. The first recipe I saw seemed was so simple that I couldn’t imagine that it would be flavorful enough to suit my tastes. But I had everything I needed in my pantry, and the comments did seem awfully positive.

So I made it, thinking that since it only used up half of my leeks, I had nothing to lose. And then I tried it.

This soup knocked my socks off. I still cannot believe how creamy and complex and hearty it was, and its presentation was truly beautiful.

Potato Leek Soup

3 large leeks, cut lengthwise, separate, clean. Use only the white and pale green parts, chop.
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup water
3 cups vegetable broth
2 lbs potatoes, peeled, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
Dash of marjoram
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I only had dried parsley, and used 2 tsp dried)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Sriracha sauce or other red chili sauce
Salt & Pepper

Cook leeks in butter with salt and pepper in a medium-sized sauce pan. Cover pan, cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Check often. Do not brown leeks! Browning will give leeks a burnt taste.

Add water, broth, and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Scoop about half of the soup mixture into a blender, puree and return to pan. Add marjoram, parsley, and thyme. Add a few dashes of chili sauce to taste. Add some freshly ground pepper, 1-2 teaspoons salt or more to taste. Thin with extra broth if needed.


I defy even the aged caretaker of Tuppy Glossop to produce such a specimen.


a natural phase

January 4, 2012

Some people might call it a creative rut. Others might call it an obsession.

But I like it.

It started with a particularly sweet spot of natural light and nice, clean background. I had a few natural finds I’ve been wanting to photograph, and once I started I couldn’t stop. I ended up going through every mushroom, every stick and stone, every little thing I’ve accumulated from a lifetime of loving the woods.

When I was done with my own collection, I raided my mother’s.

I even used Yorick for a photograph I especially like.

And I finally had a practical use for all the mushrooms I’ve collected and dried.

And when Little Bit brought me a fresh one, I couldn’t wait to photograph it as well.

I’ve had almost too much fun with all this, and since my last hike in the woods with Little Bit yielded some interesting finds, I feel another batch of pictures coming on. Possibly two.

And until this latest obsession wears off (and it hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet), I recommend keeping your natural finds under lock and key.

My mom certainly is.


a December sea

December 30, 2011

I’ve never been much of a beachgoer. I’m not the best swimmer and I’ve never liked crowds. During the summer, I spent most of my time in the marshes that surround the island and peninsula. But in the winter, the ocean is mine. Long, empty beaches, beautiful stretches of grey sea and sky, cold wind and icy water droplets. That is my kind of beach living. The swimsuit shops long closed, the bookshops still warm and open.

It seems only right that I should share my love of it with Little Bit. While he will always be more enthusiastic about the summer sea than I am, it turns out that a cold beach delights him too.

He had his shoes off before he was out of the car.

He even found a dead jelly. We threw it back, just in case.

On the way out, we were able to watch some of the wild ponies, which were closer than we’d ever seen them before.

I think my very favorite picture of the day was just a quick shot of the sea. After photographing it so often, it feels a bit perfunctory to continue. But I keep doing it anyway, and I’m glad of it. I love the colors of this picture.

By the time we were finished, we were windswept and breathless. Our coat pockets were soaked from all the shells we’d collected. We had sand down our boots and in our hair. We had raced the incoming tide, and lost.    

We were happy. Because some things can only be made better by sharing.

meatless monday: grilled eggplant

August 24, 2011

I wasn’t even thinking of this  as a MM contender when I fired up the grill yesterday. It was so simple, almost like an afterthought: a second-string side dish if I had ever seen one. 

And then I took a lovely, grilled to slightly charred perfection bite of this eggplant, and that thought floated away on a happy breeze of heaven-blessed taste buds. I knew, simplicity aside, I’d never needed meat less: here was a satisfying vegetarian main dish that was almost too good to be true. Even my carnivorous father ate seconds!

I’d love to serve it as a main dish with my favorite couscous salad and buttered green beans for a light summer meal.

Grilled Eggplant

1 large eggplant
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 pinch each thyme, basil, dill, and oregano
salt and freshly grated black pepper

Heat grill.

When grill is hot, cut the eggplant into thin slices. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the oil and vinegar mixture.

Place eggplant on the preheated grill. Grill about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.

An unexpected side effect of this recipe is a sense of empowerment. I am a girl, and I can turn on a grill without blowing myself up. Hear me roar.


inspiring artist: Jillian Tamaki

August 15, 2011

From her vivid dreamscapes to her decadent embroidery to her love of literature, Jillian Tamaki is an endless source of inspiration for me. No matter what kind of creative funk I am in, she always sets my imagination on fire. 

Not to mention, her Penguin Threads collection is enough to make me swoon. I wish I could decorate whole rooms using her three color schemes. 

I also wish my hair looked like Emma’s. Very, very much.

Yours truly while the internet connection lasts,

summer living

August 10, 2011

To say that I am happy here would be like saying that the ocean is deeper than a swimming pool.

I’m sleeping better than I have in ages. I am being bleached and freckled by the sun and can’t get enough of the marshes. Oddly enough, I haven’t gone swimming once. I’ve been too busy wading and crabbing and digging up bits of old pier and watching the jellyfish in the canals. I have done absolutely nothing to justify my existence.

And I have never felt so alive.

My hair has become a sort of tribute to Medusa: salt stiff, and standing off my head in bleached white shafts. My nails are surrounded in black marsh mud and my feet are cut from clamming the old school way.

I fall into bed each night, feeling like every movement I have made has been sun-warmed prayer. I hope God thinks the same thing, because I’m falling asleep too quickly to thank Him properly.

I’m not cooking or cleaning much. I haven’t been online, because there’s no internet access. I’m walking miles for a single clamming rake and buying lemonade from children because I’m actually thirsty. I’m getting dirty, picking up driftwood, dreaming of Atlantis.

I’m waving to shrimpers, and they’re waving back.

I think I could get used to this kind of living.