Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy holidays!

This year I've been uncharacteristically festive for the holidays.  Perhaps it's because Mr. Z and I are staying home (our home in Brooklyn) this year.  I'm usually the scrooge type not wanting to do anything related to holiday festivities, but this year we got a tree AND we went to the Nutcracker ballet!  Whoa - not to mention that I cooked a rack of lamb too.  Now if only we can get snow out here on the east coast... Anyhow, happy holidays to you all!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

the Warriors

It's hard to imagine these days living without certain things - technologically speaking.  I know a lot of people would say they can't live without their smart phone or their car... or their movie subscription que.  For the past few months I've been living without a movie subscription which has forced me to revisit ones we already have.  I have to say that it's been pretty entertaining - since Mr. Z has a pretty extensive collection.

The Warriors is a movie I recently re-watched.  It's a cult classic and best of all, it's set and filmed in New York City during the late 70's.  Supposedly the film caused sporadic outbreaks of violence in Southern California and Boston, when first released in theaters (see info here).  The NYC gang "the Warriors" wear a uniform that may have inspired this popular pair, don't you think?

Images from here and here

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pecan Pie Recipe {and Crust}

I was never crazy about pie until I made the crust from scratch.  Actually, the crust makes the pie, so now I can never go back to a store bought pre-made crust.  The trick is butter, and lots of it - not melted but cold and broken up with your fingers and clumpy so that when you bake it, the pockets of butter melts, making your pie oh so flakey.  It has become sort of a tradition that I bake a pecan pie every year.  Well, so far a 3 year tradition.

I use this crust recipe from smitten kitchen and this pecan pie recipe from Cooking for Engineers.  Since the crust recipe can yield 2 pie crusts without the top, I double the pecan recipe so that I get 2 pies.  I also cut the sugar and maple syrup in half, since I don't like my pecan pies too sweet, but some friends of mine discourage this.  Happy baking!

Happy long weekend! {Oh, and Thanksgiving}

Phew!  It's finally here, a break - and we get a whole day dedicated to pigging out while laying around doing nothing.  How much more American can you get?  Well, that is if you're not the one cooking.  I've been that ambitious person before, but I have to say that I enjoy the eating part much more.

Here's a pic of me and Mr. Z about this time (4 years ago) when we first met.  My expression in the photo pretty much sums up how I feel about now.  Hopefully your weekend will be just as fun as it was that night.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


A few weeks ago I watched old movies like I was in a marathon of watching old movies.  Sometimes I just get in one of those moods, you know? Lying around like a lump with the radiator whistling in the background, munching on a bunch of snacks under a blanket - kind of mood.  There's a scene in the Seven Year Itch, where the characters are inside the OLD Penn Station.  My heart ached at the fact that we can no longer see this station as it was anymore.  Seriously aches.

This Thanksgiving weekend Mr. Z and I are taking a train ride to Philadelphia to visit my uncle(s).  There's something romantically nostalgic about getting on a train to get out of the city.  Back in Denver (or Chicago) I hardly used the train at all, but on the East Coast trains are definitely a way of getting around.

I'll be going to the new {but not improved} Penn Station to take the train to Philadelphia, wishing that I was alive to see the old Penn Station.  At least I can look at these photos.  Photos via New York Public Library.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Windowfarms! Pledge, do it - promise?

There are very few things that get me this excited - OK, maybe I'm exaggerating, but this thing I'm about to share with you definitely makes top 10.  The Windowfarms project is kick starting their newly designed farms.  Please please pledge to get the ball rolling on this project - I  did!  Do it here.

Think that you don't have a green thumb?
I'm a window farmer now, but at first I was a little intimidated to start a hydroponic garden - since I've killed several plants and barely kept some alive.  However, growing plants this way is surprisingly easy.  The plants in my garden are much healthier and more flavorful than the potted plants I've attempted to seed!  So don't let that discourage you from starting a farm.

Also if you just want to donate to the cause, you can donate how ever much you want just because you agree that we {as people who live in a community - in this case the United States} need to support and help grow businesses like these {i.e. a business that manufactures in our country and supports easy sustainable living}.  Ok, that's as political as I'm getting - I'm stepping off my soap box now.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pillow talk

During my unemployed days, I made pillows and sold them on Etsy. So when we finally received our sectional a few weeks ago, I felt like I needed to apply that handmade touch to our living room. I'm not sure why I started searching for grain sacks, but that's where I started.  I love the rustic appearance of vintage grain sacks. I found a nice selection here. They are usually made out of sturdy canvas and the logos printed on them are so unique!  I wonder if the new bags are made the same way?  I made 2 for the couch but ended up placing one in the bedroom, because it didn't look quite right with the other pillows.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My portfolio so far...

Finally got a chance to update my portfolio!  Check it out here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

the Apartment Vol. 2

This weekend I learned a very embarrassing lesson.  Somethings should not be "Done Yourself".  There are somethings that should be left alone... for instance ugly jumbled up cable wires outside of your building.  Are they connected or are they not connected?  In attempts to clean up the entrance side of our building, Mr. Z and I were over zealous and ended up cutting one of our neighbors' internet/phone/cable tv...  Yikes!  Luckily, our neighbors were very cool and calm about the situation, but we still felt terrible.  We all know what a pain it is to call the cable company, set up an appointment, and wait for the guy to show up between a time frame of 5 or so hours... that is if you get an appointment within 2 weeks of your call.  Hopefully that will not be the case.  To help lessen the blow, I got them a bottle of wine.  Oh man... I'm still cringing from it.

So, on to more things that are safely done yourself...

I love the way chalkboard looks so why not make a whole wall a chalkboard?  It makes it really convenient to write your to-do's and warms up the space a bit.  The only thing is that the stuff stinks so you have to have a lot of fans and ventilation while you are painting.  I wanted the wall to be magnetic as well, so I applied a magnetic primer.  However, I found that the magnetic primer makes the wall a little too course for a writing surface.  So if I were to do it again, I would only use the chalkboard paint.

A little trauma happened while we were painting... Loki one of our cats got into the chalkboard paint and his paw was black for weeks... so if you have animals, you probably want to shut them out of the room you are painting.  This stuff has a tar-like consistency.

Friday, October 14, 2011

the Apartment Vol.1

It has taken some time, but our apartment is finally coming together.  The first completed area was the living room/dining room/sewing room.  We are still waiting for our sectional, so I'm just going to show you the dining/sewing area.  It doesn't look like we did a lot of work to change the space... but it feels like we did a lot of work.  Here are the before photos...

There were pretty sizable gaps between the floor and the foot of the molding, so we tore them out and replaced them with new ones.

I love the amount of light we get and the details of an older building.  I usually go for grey or white walls, so this time I went for aqua, but chose a grey color as well to balance.  I say "I" but Mr. Z of course had a lot to say about the colors as well ;-P.  I think the painting was the hardest part.  It was never ending because we repainted all of the molding too!

Happy Friday!  I'll post more of our apartment and DIY renovations soon... once I think it's presentable.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More about my Windowfarm

It took some work at first, but now I have the beginnings of a hydroponic garden!  I've been eye-ing the Windowfarms™ project for some time now, and was lucky enough to attend their moving sale/potluck/learning session.  The project is pretty amazing, and I can't wait to see what they come up with, in the next stage of their window farm design.  Made from found and recycled water bottles, tubes, and an aquarium pump (and more but you get the point) the current home kit runs about $274 ($139 without the bottles).  Perhaps the first generation of the farms are very well thought out prototypes?  It sounds like Britta Riley, the founder of Windowfarms™ is taking her project to the next level with "fancy" Windowfarms™.  Meanwhile, I'm very happy and content with my farm... luckily my cats are leaving the thing alone.

I started out with these parts...

and then sprouted the seedlings in grow pods...

...and once the seedlings were a few inches tall, I transferred them into the bottles.  Easy right?  Go here for more detailed instructions.

Kokun Spring 2012 - Shoot!

Here's a sneak peek at what we've been working on at the 'ol 9 to 5...  Everyone did an amazing job, and I'm so thankful that I got to work with such talented people.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cat lady

Everyone I know who has cats have too many photos of them.  I am one of them.  But they are such strange animals that I'm intrigued, grossed out, and amused.  Look at them!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Smells like teen spirit... I mean lavender

Those who know me know that I am overly sensitive to smells.  It's sometimes hard to have this "neurosis" and live in NYC, especially in the summer time.  To keep things even more smelly, I work in Midtown West where many men use phone booths and scaffolding as public urinals.  Oh New York... even though you smell, I still love you.  Now that's love right there, folks.

Needless to say, I like my home to smell nice - though "nice" is relative.  I thought a bunch of reed diffusers would be pleasant to have around.  Preferring natural scents, I couldn't find any pre-made diffusers that I really liked.  Many of them were too heavy and had several scents, oils, flowers, herbs - all in one bottle - enough to make my nose ache.  Wanting a simple clean scent I decided to make my own.

When I did some research, I found that I can get the exact simple scent I want for a very low cost {bonus!}.  I also found that I can partake on another one of my obsessions - lavender -!  I know some people dislike lavender and think it smells medicinal, but to me *true* lavender has a subtle clean aroma that just makes me relax and happy.

Sooo... if you want to make your own diffuser with your favorite essential oil, just gather these ingredients and follow these simple steps.

*Remember these bottles I collected from the Dead Horse Bay?  Well, I finally put them to use!  You'll need medium to small bottles that have small top openings.  This is so your essential oil doesn't just dissipate into the air, and instead gets soaked up into your reed sticks.

You will need:
1. Glass bottles
2. Reed sticks
3. Dipropylene Glycol
4. Your favorite essential oil
5. Funnel
6. Paper towels

Pour in about 70-80% Diproplyene Glycol and about 30-20% essential oil into your glass bottle(s).  Stir the mixture up a bit with a reed stick, and put some more sticks in the bottle - you know, enough to have a nice "bouquet" of sticks - and voilá!  Isn't that easy?  Enjoy~!


P.S. Thanks for your comments! I very much appreciate it :)
You inspire me to post more...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Ikat has been everywhere, especially this summer.  Though summer is over, I still want to be surrounded in it!  It might be my Colorado upbringing, but something about the South-western feel about this pattern that just gets me, you know?  I've seen many variations on interior fabrics and clothing.  And definitely wanted to include it some how in my apartment.

image from here: 1,2,3,4

At first I thought I needed to paint my own and do the whole sha-bang myself, but when I saw these on Etsy, I just couldn't resist.  I still need 4 more pillows, so may be I can get crafty with those...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pillows, pillows, and more pillows

After searching for fabric in fabric stores, I still have not found exactly what I want to do with the pillows for my living room.  I did find 2 fabrics that could work as a combo, the navy and the zig-zag pattern.  But I realized that I'll need 4 sqiare pillows and 2 shorter side pillows.  I'm not sure that I want to commit to just 2 different fabrics.  I want the pillows to look sort of handmade and not mass-produced.  Not to say that handmade has to mean poor construction and finishes, but little details that give them character.  Is this too much thinking about pillows?  I want to them to seem *alive*.  OK, so now I'm going overboard...

Aren't these fabrics on Sri Boro Textiles web shop AMAZING?  I think finding these images definitely changed my direction for the pillows.  I can hardly contain myself, seriously.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I forgot to show the finished whale that Naomi Kazama printed on Zach's old t-shirt.  As you can see, Clio liked the results.

There was a time earlier this year when I kept up on many of the blogs I read on the web.  It felt like an accomplishment looking at as many visually stimulating images as possible.  Let's just say that now... I'm really behind.  It sort of feels good, but I also feel out of touch.  Does anyone know how I feel?  There's so much digital stimulation now that it's hard to get time off of the computer!  Is there a good balance?  I tend to go for long periods of one or the other.  Like read several blogs linking to one another for several months AND look up anything I'm interested in, and ~voila~ it's at my finger tips.  Convenient, right?  Well, I'm trying get more balance in my life.  It will take some practice.

So today I did one of the only things that make working in Midtown West worth while.  Fabric stores!  When you need it, it's usually here along with other sewing accoutrements anyone would want or need.

Starting on the pillows for my sofa!  (If it ever gets here!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Naomi Kazama

I'm finally out of jury duty and back to my regular life!  OK, so it's been about 2 weeks since I've been released from my civil duties, but life has been really busy, you know?  My little attempted project to build a cat toy-wall-sort-of-sculpture didn't pan out.  I ended up making one part of the toy and experimenting, see here.  But as you can see, it was sort-of-a-flop.  I was trying to lure the cats into playing with the fancy scratch pendulum (I admit the shape ended up being suspect).  They were more interested in the laser pointer (no surprise there).

Luckily last Sunday, Naomi Kazama showed up on my block to live screen print his art work, and inspired me to stop making such complicated project choices.  Oh ya, and he also got me excited enough to post about it.  I really should be better about this posting business... though {I think} not too many people read this, I enjoy doing it.  Maybe I'm just a record keeper at heart?

Anyhow, back to Mr. Kazama.  He was the coolest!  We brought some of our old plain t-shirts and he printed some of his art on them, using his marble technique.  Immediate art to go, just around the corner from my apartment.  Need I ask for more?  Check out more of his work here.

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