Vulgar Vintage Deux

In the most recent round of my newest favorite flea market habit, we have the second installment of Vulgar Vintage!

These ladies’ bad-ass expressions just spoke to me and evoked the spirit of a dear friend I met in my hardest year of grad school.

I was slumped over my internship desk, quietly bemoaning my fate, when this fine woman drug herself into the office, obviously having seen better days. She sent one of our undergrad minions to the corner store: “OJ and a Vitamin Water, STAT.”

The unwitting UMass student scuttled away, quickly returning with the sought out beverages. Taking the OJ, this specimen of the human spirit chugged the OJ, slammed it down and yelled “COLLEGE! …I’ve always wanted to say that.”

She then picked herself up, dusted herself off, and managed a full day of refugee resettlement without batting an eye. No easy task.

This one, is for you.

Vulgar Vintage



The Art of the Everyday – February 26: Handmade, idle hands are the devil’s playground. This one’s for you, Aly!


The Art in Everything

Honestly 50SPA, I didn’t think you had it in you.

A few bursts through the webosphere this week have got me thinking about Art.
With a capital A.

The type that you think you enjoy, but in your heart of hearts you feel like you might not “get.”

Or is that just me?

My former abode in Jamaica Plain, lovingly nicknamed 50SPA, is full of many things – beer, friendship, pants-off-dance-offs – but not, to my knowledge, classical musicians in full performance mode.

All that changed recently when my ‘gansett-swilling, wine-box loving pals hosted Groupmuse in the bonus room.


While I didn’t get to take in the performance myself, it looks like a blast. As the founder says, “The goal of Groupmuse is to revitalize the role of classical music in contemporary society by emphasizing and accentuating its inherently social nature,” Bodkin said. “And to create lots of legitimately fun, stimulating, and enriching opportunities to encourage folks to expand their minds and their social circles.”

Another new launch in the YouTube world this week clicked with this very idea of experimental art. The Art Assignment is a PBS-funded conversation attempting to get people to think about and create art in their lives.

The first episode did just that by presenting two artists whose “performance” (if it can be called that) is to meet in the exact middle of two locations. After deciding on the location, they cannot communicate in any way. The only rule: don’t be late.

As prompted by the video: then, what is art?

Who decides what are the proper forms, locations, performances, or acts of “Art”? In a post-post-modern world, if art is everything, then is it nothing?

Go with me here: I love pushing on boundaries. I love the very act of creation. But I also value distinctiveness and purpose. And maybe that’s it: the intention.

I mean, I can go outside dressed in a gigantic lobster costume and hack down a tree in front of Key Bank, but I don’t have a good reason for that action (or do I?).

Even if the purpose is to prove that there is no purpose, I still think of art as somehow based on the creator’s intent – no matter how it’s seen, processed or accepted by the public (if it’s ever seen at all).

All I can say for the Groupmuse musicians, however, is that I hope Tim bought toilet paper.


The Art of the Everyday – February 24: Art Art Everywhere! And not a drop to drink.

Gone Fishing

You never know how a project will end.

In high school I bought an ambitious cross-stitch, thinking it would be perfect for my grandfather’s office.

And then college happened. The project got left in the Candies shoebox (no judgement, I’m a solid 90s child) under my canopy bed.

I would pick it up time-to-time on breaks, and eventually it moved, almost by accident, with all my things to Boston and graduate school.

After making it through the cross-country cleaning gauntlet, I restarted it with gusto. And stopped again.

By 2011, my grandfather had been dead for four years.

Yet, needing a project, and being the kind of poor that only comes with student loans and a social work job, I picked it up again. I had recently discovered the snarky fun of modified cross stitching and had an idea of how to pay homage to my grandfather and the raucous house of six men I’d found myself in.

To date, it’s still one of my favorite projects – even though its odd size has left it unframed.

Perhaps I’ll learn that skill next?



The Art of the Everyday – February 23: Handmade, idle hands are the devil’s playground.

Bobbles and Bubbles

IMG_2900Knitting and beer – could it get any better?

Some of the ladies and I decided Thursday was the perfect night to get out of town (well, to the next town over), drink some craft brews and get our craft on.

Growing up, I was always surrounded by stories in knit form. My Unk (great-uncle) was sick as a child, and in the 30s there was obviously less television, and to keep him busy my great-grandmother taught him to knit.

His famous slippers are given out to everyone from the family every Christmas to his favorite Sherry’s waitress.

Unk’s afghans adorn all the family’s couches and he makes the most useful dish cloths.

All that said, Unk taught me to knit at a young age. Unfortunately, it never really stuck.

Moving to Norway, however, I’ve made great friends with the woman who owns and runs Fiber & Vine and is teaching me all the basics (again).

Just to get in the swing, and to multi-task with the drinking and chatting, she gave me a simple assignment: to knit a square patch. Great re-start on such a fun (and functional)  pass time.



The Art of the Everyday – February 21: Handmade – (re)learning how to knit.

Week of Happy: Craft Day

Crafting is awesome. As a creative type, but not an “artist” per se, I love the accessibility of the craft-genre.

Photo on 2014-02-02 at 11.41

Everything from basic painting, to sewing, to collaging is crafty, fun and expressive.

My main project right now is this pillow, me for scale:

Photo on 2014-02-02 at 11.59 #3

Through a combination of embroidery and cross-stitch I hope to finish sometime this year… it’s big y’all.

I found this pre-stamped fabric at my local flea market and the design spoke to me. I used yarn I had for the green embroidery, left over from making a friend’s wedding ring pillow for her ceremony.

I’m using dark blue embroidery thread for the corners, but then what? I’m thinking a combination of mustard yellow and burnt reds for the accents. Who knows? Stay tuned, stay crafty.


The Art of the Everyday – February 8: Week of Happy – Enjoy this series of simple (and some not so simple) things that make me happy while I’m on vacation!

Week of Happy: Crosstitch Day

Today is a twofer, as I love owls AND I love sewing – crosstitch and embroidery specifically.

It’s a project I finished last summer for our house, but never shared with you all!

Photo on 2014-02-02 at 11.37

I found this pattern online, modified it, mounted it on some of that magic lace, and framed it. I’m not crazy about the frame, but it’s a standard 8.5×11, so I’m sure I’ll dig up one I love.

Projects like this are great, and a fun way to switch up things around the house, but the more unique they are, the harder they can be to finish. This one started in a round white frame, I didn’t like that, changed it to this one and I’m still, meh…Thoughts on framing? Color? Size?

Photo on 2014-02-02 at 11.38 #2


The Art of the Everyday – February 5: Week of Happy – Enjoy this series of simple (and some not so simple) things that make me happy while I’m on vacation!

Week of Happy: Gin Day

A good friend once told me he hasn’t seen anyone put down gin like me since his grandma.

What can I say? Just call me Nana.

Over the past couple years, with everything from tomato juice to soda water, I’ve found new, fun ways to mix cocktails. In this quest, I’ve used pretty much every liquor, but for me – gin wins.

hendricks-ginToday, I thought I’d gift you with my favorite recipe, and a few others I’ve created/modified along the way:

Zesty Grapefruit Martini

  • 2 oz Hendrick’s gin (who are we kidding, just add as much as you like.)
  • Fresh Basil
  • 1 ripe Grapefruit
  • Agave Nectar
  • Fresh Ginger, grated (that kinda pulpy part)

Muddle fresh basil leaves, 1/2tsp agave nectar, and 1/2tsp ginger in bottom of shaker. Add gin. Over strainer squeeze juice of 1/2 the grapefruit into shaker. Add ice. Shake-a-shake-a-shake-a. Serve up. Alt serving to experience milder flavors: serve over ice with a splash of soda water and a wedge of lime.

up basil gin grapfruit

Other favorites:

Cucumber Gin Spritzer7-gincooler_400x265

  • Gin of choice
  • Cucumber of choice
  • Seltzer/soda water of choice
  • Lime not of your choice

Muddle cucumber and a small amount of lime zest in bottom of shaker, add gin and ice, shake. Pour the entirety into a heavy bottom glass, top with soda water and squeeze of lime. Garnish with more lime.

Cajun Red Snapper

  • Dry Gin
  • Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
  • Tomato Juice
  • Crystal’s Hot Sauce
  • Pickle spears
  • Peperoncini/brine
  • Pickled Okra if you can get it
  • Pickled Pearl Onions
  • Pickled Beans
  • Green olives stuffed/brine (Garlic, blue cheese, standard)

Bloody okraYou’re gunna need a big cup. Like at least a pint glass. For parties, I make the mix in a pitcher and people add their own garnishes and booze over ice. For this, I’ll just tell you how to make your own – but remember, with bloodies, it’s all done to your taste. If you’re feeling “from scratch” on the mix here’s my go-to reference for starters.

Back to that glass. Put ice in it. Put lots of gin in it. Don’t be shy. Add a dash (I mean it, just like ‘boop!’) of olive brine and peperoncini brine. Generous shake(s) of Crystal’s (this hot sauce is more flavor than spice, it’s why I use it). Depending on the space you left yourself in that glass, add Zing Zang and tomato juice at a 2:1 ratio to finish it off. Zing Zang is amazing but intense and you don’t want to start your day with heartburn, do ya? Stir.

Make awesome garnish of awesome by either just throwing in the glass or spearing: okra, onions, beans, olives, pickles, peperoncini to taste. If you ever suggest putting celery in this I will hurt you. Acceptable/encouraged addition: grilled shrimp. Breakfast in a cup!


The Art of the Everyday – February 3: Week of Happy – Enjoy this series of simple (and some not so simple) things that make me happy while I’m on vacation!

Fucking Fabulous

Guys, guys. GUYS.

I’ve found my new favorite thing.

It combines my love of thrifting, glue/tape/adhesives, repurposing, and giving gifts. I present:

Vulgar Vintage

Friends, lovers, countrymen, when the mood strikes this year, I’m going to gift you. Be ready.

First, supply gathering. Items: 1 vintage frame, black tagboard, white out, adhesive, 1 vintage photo. (I love the back of the one I found this time!)

Then, make a mess. This is key.


Just look at that little creeper!

Finally, put it all together, and what do you get? A whole lotta awesome.


Just look at him! He totally is fucking fabulous.



The Art of the Everyday, January 17 – Handmade: Another tried and true theme from 2013, wherein I make shit! Get ready for more of this type of stuff, I’m into it. This week’s lucky recipient? Katy L!

Teacher’s Pet

You know what I want to do today?

1 – Drink.

2 – Look at GIFs.

I don’t want to do my work, I don’t want to do my errands, and I sure as hell don’t want to blog. Yet here I am, tap-tap-tapping away.

In the opposite of normally slightly Type A self, I’ve become an obstinate toddler who just wants to say “no” to everything.

But you know what? Once a teacher’s pet, always a teacher’s pet.

So here you go, you insatiable internet beast you:

Part of my Secret Santa gift for my coworker (it was a honeybee themed gift), using some of that amazing lace:



The Art of the Everyday, January 8: Teacher’s pet: Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her? – I obviously didn’t do this either. Pthhhhh.

Just the End Bits

One of my favorite scarves is loosing structural integrity.

I’ve had this piece of lace I picked up at a local antique/flea mall that so far has been used to back/frame a cross-stitch owl, and a couple embroidered small pieces that I framed as gifts.

It truly is the purchase that keeps on giving, as I discovered it perfectly matches the style of this scarf and is thick enough to patch and hold the weak areas.

As a bonus, I convinced my anti-season’s-cheer partner to participate in some winter tree murder, and thus created a great environment for evening crafting.

I have only finished one end, but so far, so good!