Happy Birthday, Charlotte!

Here's an invite I cooked up for little Charlotte's first birthday party.


Southern Vintage, Come to Fruition

Remember those southern vintage inspired invites I designed for a friend? I printed them up using my gocco a while back, and here is a sneak-peek of the results.

The Girl Effect

I love when non-profits and other folks doing good in the world make a concerted effort to bring good design to their promotional materials. Case in point: this video from the girl effect. The clean design of the website, and catchy typography of the video get the point across... well, beautifully.


Zinc Details

I visited my folks in San Francisco about a while back, and found this great china set at Zinc Details. Swoon, swoon, swoon. Love the classic blue and white, love the graffiti, love the ice cream truck.
They also carried a very wide array of Marimekko, including these mugs, out of which I would be perfectly happy to drink my coffee each and every morning.


We live in a phenomenally small apartment, so cooking during the summer is akin to turning on the heater. On high. Thus, meals that can be prepared without the use of the stove, or meals that can be cooked in the toaster oven are summer musts in this household. Here is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite foods with a little twist that requires no source of heat to be turned on in the house. Remember, foods taste best when made with local and/or organic ingredients!

Smoky Gazpacho

1 16oz. can of stewed tomatoes
1 16oz. can of fire-roasted stewed tomatoes (if you can't find these, you can always roast them in your oven a la Sr. Bittman, although this means that the whole "keeping your apartment cool" thing is negated)
1 each green, yellow, and orange bell peppers, diced
1 cucumber, cored and diced
about 2c of diced tomatoes
1/2 vidalia onion
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped, plus stems for garnish
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 limes
dash of chipoltle pepper
salt and pepper, to taste.

Yogurt or sour cream

Using your blender or food processor, puree together the 2 cans of tomatoes, along with the included juice. Stir in the peppers, onion, tomato, cilantro, and cucumber. Juice the limes, and add the juice. Add the chipoltle pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Chill. Serve topped with yogurt or sour cream and topped with cilantro. Preferably with quesadillas that were made in the toaster oven. Enjoy!


Southern Vintage

Sorry for the hiatus. In the last month, we moved, I finished my semester, we visited my parents (hi mom and dad!), etc. I guess the time just got away from me.
On to the crafting: my friend Sarah, who you would not know to be southern until you get her all riled up about something and her accent gives her away, is having a vintage inspired southern wedding in September, where her colors are going to be whites (cream, blush, white), navy and silver. Here is the invite that I came up with for her. The grey will be printed on my trusty gocco in silver.

...and the RSVP card. We are still working on the phrasing, but the "is comin', y'all" kind of fits...



Traci and I put together some pics to send over to Abby at stylemepretty.com, which is for serious one of my favorite websites, and she posted them today- I am SO flattered. Not that our wedding is even in the same ballpark of some of the soirees on Abby's website, but I feel so honored that she put us up. Yay!


It's Official!

Spring has officially sprung. I went this Saturday (very early, thankyouverymuch) to the greenmarket in hopes that the ramps had come in. There is usually one farm that has the best ramps (they also sell delectable potatoes), so I made haste to go hover by the truck. By 7:30 there were a few more people waiting with me, and by 8, there was a full-on ramp riot. In some parts of the country, I guess, there are actually celebrations of the first ramp harvest. I don't blame them- it really makes one believe that there will be other produce at the market besides rutabegas and mealy apples once again.
I scored 3 bunches, and dreamed all day of all of the ramp-y fettucine and scrambled egg goodness that I would be whipping up that evening and the following morning. Here is a recipe for ramp fettucine, inspired by the one over at tiny banquet committee. She seems to have it together enough to prep while she cooks, but over in this kitchen, that tends to lead to a lot of swearing and getting burned.
This is one of those recipes where I would recommend practicing the fine art of mis en place not only because it makes cooking less stressful, but also because you can use that extra hand that's not furiously chopping to sip your wine.
Fresh pasta with ramps
Serves 3-4.

3-4 bundles of clean ramps (you've got to get in there and scrub- take off the roots and any slimy outer layer, and rinse thoroughly and then rinse thoroughly again)
10-16oz. pound fresh pasta, any flat ribbon shape (tagliatelle, linguine, fettucine), depending on how you like your veggie-pasta ratio.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
the best parmesan you can buy, grated on a microplane or the small holes of a box grater — at least 1 cup

Fill a large stock pot with cold water, salt it generously, and bring it to a furious boil. The most energy-efficient way to do this is to heat your water in a kettle and then pour it into a pot. I don't know why I can remember that but not where I put my shoes.

Chop off the root ends of the ramps and slice the green leaves in half lengthwise and (and again crosswise if they are long). Sauté the root ends in the olive oil over medium heat until they soften, 1 to 3 minutes. Season them with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the leaves to the pan, along with the butter, and cook, stirring, until they are thoroughly wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cook the pasta as directed, reserving about 1/2 cup of the water before you drain it. You will want to keep the pasta slightly undercooked, as if it gets mushy, you and your ramps will be sad, sad, sad.

Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the ramp mixture, the beaten egg, and approximately 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Toss everything together (silicone tongs are great for this). Add a bit of the pasta water, a tablespoon or two at a time, if the egg and cheese mixture is clumping. Taste for seasoning (and to get some of the rampy goodness all for yourself before you have to serve it to other people), and serve with additional grated cheese at the table.

Next up... what to do with all of that leftover pasta and extra bundle of ramps that you have hidden away...


My friend Dana is getting married in a few weeks and I was super excited when she asked me to help out with the paper goods- these have been in the works for a while, but I just printed them this weekend... Dana made a last-minute call on the gold (we were going to go with black and grey), and predictably, because I love all things sparkly, I'm pretty stoked about it. More pictures to come- I am finishing the program printing today.



The camera is a little wonky today, but here are some images of the moving announcements that I goccoed this morning. It was just a little doodle that I cooked up while watching an episode of Weeds (Best. Show. EVER!). I had some issues with the blue ink (namely, it was old and had separated, so it ended up being all oozy all over the place in some places and clogging up the screen in others). No matter; it's a sunny Saturday, and we all need a weekly exercise in letting imperfections go. They're shown along with the narcissus that I got at the green market from a man in a plaid hat with a bushy beard, the inside of whose van looked like the Dutch countryside.



Gee, this is gorgeous. It would have been perfect for a friend's housewarming gift, but it's sold out. It's a 60/40 print from rose and radish- they invite an artist to create a limited edition print, and the profits from selling that print go 60/40 (get it?) to the artist and a non-profit. It's things like this that make me itch to get back to the Bay Area.


turning my back on the digital revolution

This may not exactly the next biggest thing, but it might be the next old biggest thing. I have been using film, yes, the old fashioned kind that you can't even buy at the drugstore anymore, to take some pictures since I bought myself a lomography supersampler for my birthday. I just got back some rolls of film (one that had been in my camera FOREVER, one from this past Christmas, and one from this past Easter at Jordy's aunt's house) I gotta say, there is something about film that is just so freaking hot. It's all about the graininess and the way that light is captured - it reminds me of photos from when I was a kid, or that my parents took when they were my age. Film just reeks of long hair and salt water and late sunsets and eating outside. We shot our wedding with some vintage Super 8 film cameras (think the opening sequence of "The Wonder Years") for our video- seeing these rolls makes me want to get those rolls developed stat.
Here are some shots that I think were much better captured on film than they would have looked had I taken them with a digital camera.
This is from Greece (I can't remember where):
Here's Dexie on a beach in San Francisco:
Jack showing off his Easter eggs (taken with my supersampler):
Here's a shot of Berkeley, also taken with the supersampler (in December).
This photo might be the favorite that I've ever taken- I took it on a whim in a fish market in Istanbul:



So here's a cool project. These researchers showed a sample of random colors to people, and asked them what they would call them. Check out the color label explorer, where you can search by color, and see what people labeled "yellow," "green," or "army." It's especially interesting to see where along the color spectrum blue becomes green, etc. Some colors have a much larger spread than others. [via] Also, I have become more enamored of colourlovers.com- you can browse color palates and create your own. Helpful for design projects, time wasting, and perhaps wedding planning? Might be helpful for those brides over on stylemepretty.com who are looking for good color palates. Good stuff.



So I was reflecting today on the ceremony for our wedding, and wanted to share. I think that with the commercialization of weddings, we often get lost in planning weddings as an event, rather than planning them as a marriage of two lives. It wasn't until about 6 months into the planning process that Jordy and I realized that we hadn't given much thought to how our ceremony would flow. Our great friend JC married us, and he helped us come up with a ceremony that really suited us and our idea of what was important in a marriage. We wanted to convey in the ceremony that a marriage takes place within a sprawling, dynamic network of family and friends, and that it is not just an isolated relationship between two people. That said, we had our family members (working together in pairs or triads) come up with what they had learned in their marriages, and then, instead of a reading or sermon on the meaning of marriage, we had them stand one at a time and give us advice based on what they had learned in their marriages. It went a little something like this (along the way are pics of family members giving advice):

Jordy's cousin: Jordy, Miya, look closely at one another. This is not who you will be married to in twenty years…You will both change, in ways you cannot even imagine now. The key to a long and happy marriage is to recognize this, and to adjust to the ways in which you change separately and the ways in which you change together.

Jordy's cousin: Talk about it, whatever it is. And remember that sometimes the best time to do so is later.

Jordy's aunt: When you marry, you are very focused on each other, but as you raise children it’s easy to get tired and distracted. After our last child went to college, Johnny wrote that a good marriage is when the children have left and you look at each other and smile and say, “Now I remember why I married you so many years ago.”
Miya's cousin: Remember in years to come that many of the things that drive you crazy about your partner now were the things you fell in love with initially. Another skill worth learning is the art of selective listening.

Jordy's cousin: Encourage each other more than you criticize, and remember to be grateful that you have each other, especially when times are hard. Life is about human connections, and your marriage is now the strongest connection in your lives.

Miya's cousin: I was going to say you should be best friends, but it’s obvious you two don’t need that advice. Being with you together is like a lovely day at the beach. Always remember to be best friends, and I know you’ll enjoy a fabulous life together.

Jordy's cousin: My son Charlie says you should marry someone you know and to whose house you have been on at least one occasion. He also says if your partner gets mad at you, you should call your Mummy. If they make you mad, you should call their Mummy. The rest of us came up with these 5 things: 1. Laugh. Especially at yourself. 2. Hold hands 3. Hire a housekeeper. Now. 4. Learn to apologize well. 5. Validate validate validate.
Jordy's aunt: When you fall in love with someone, you think about them all the time and focus all your attention on them. However, as the years go by, it is easy to get buried in day-to-day tasks: your job, the children, household chores and so on. By the time all the tasks are done you have little time or energy for each other. You need to keep reminding yourself, ‘If this is the most important person in the world to you, are you giving them the best part of you?’

Miya's uncle: Six simple things we’ve learned: 1. Women love it when men are in the kitchen. 2. Expect the best prepare for the worst. 3. Be open and honest about your feelings. 4. Let go of mistakes. Don't hold a grudge. 5. Two for one isn't always the best deal. 6. Never go to sleep without kissing goodnight.

Jordy's parents: Be adventurous—life is not a dress rehearsal. You will always be there to cover each others’ back, so together you need not be afraid to do things you may hesitate to do alone. When you are dangling out there together, you will rediscover the qualities that attracted you to each other in the first place, and which may, over the years, have been obscured by the responsibilities of day-to-day life. Don't hesitate to try new things or to move to far away places because as long as you have each other you will have everything you need. Also, wear earplugs.
Miya's parents: Continue to make time and space for fun in your everyday life together—keep looking for ways to be playful, and as often as you can, do things that make you laugh till you fall over. Be courageous for each other and together. Remember that small, daily personal acts of courage build a foundation to fall back upon when life gives you a choice requiring a lot of courage. Be kind to one another. Be generous with foot rubs and offers to bring tea. Buy roses, gelato or concert tickets for no reason. Hold your tongue if you are tired and cranky. And remember that we are all just doing the best we can, even if it is hard to tell sometimes. Most of all, just continue to be your wonderful selves and continue to believe in the mystery of love as it unfolds in its various forms for you over the years!

Then, after all of the advice, we had a great reading by a friend, declared our intent to marry, and the rings were presented- then it was time for our vows. Instead of the traditional vows, we had the same family members work to craft a vow based on the advice that they had just given us. In the same order, they stood up and asked us the following:

Jordy's cousin: Do you promise to adjust and love another through all the change and surprise that life will bring?
Jordy's cousin: Do you promise to talk about it, whatever it is, even if the best time to do it is later?
Jordy's aunt: Do you promise to try to remember, in the midst of all the tiredness and distraction, that you have a good thing in each other?
Miya's cousin: Do you promise, through the years, to try to always see the things about one another that made you want to marry in the first place?
Jordy's cousin: Do you promise to encourage more than criticize, to be ever-grateful for one another, and to let that gratitude shine in hard times?
Miya's cousin: Do you promise to always be best friends, and to revel in the simple pleasure of each other’s company?
Jordy's cousin: Do you promise to laugh, especially at yourself, to hold hands, to learn to apologize well, and to validate, validate, validate?
Jordy's aunt: Do you promise to always save some of your best self to share with each other?
Miya's uncle: Do you promise to expect the best, to let go of mistakes and to always kiss goodnight?
Jordy's parents: Do you promise to be adventurous and, if necessary, to wear earplugs?
Miya's parents: Do you promise to laugh until you fall over, to be courageous, to be extravagant with small kindnesses, and to trust in the mysteries of your life and love as they unfold?

To each of these, we answered "I do" in unison. I loved this part of our ceremony, because having our family members offer our vows made them personal and meaningful, and also made us feel as if we had made promises not only to each other, but to our families. I take our vows very seriously, and keeping them in mind helps me be a better wife when I am cranky or annoyed (which Jordy never seems to be, but that's a whole different story). If you are planning a wedding, or know someone who is planning a wedding, I would give serious consideration to your vows. Though I am against hand-written vows, as I think that they can get reaaallly cheesy (I promise to ride unicorns with you through the universe of our love!), I think that making promises to do things that are actually important to you can make your ceremony all the more meaningful.


Off Topic

Not to go totally off-topic, but this here is my partner in crime. We're enjoying a little hookey snow day here in the city. Happy Friday!


Such a Sucker

My day-to-day deals a lot with numbers and statistics (though I would have you think that I deal mostly with looking online for pretty things and making stuff- perhaps I am just sharing my delusions with you?). One of the aspects of data analysis that is especially intriguing to me is the visual display of quantitative information. I am such a sucker for a beautiful display of data. Check out this exhibit that is coming to the MoMa. It shows how New York City interacts with the rest of the world by using telephone and internet information. Since my school is a member of the MoMa, I will be lined to see this the minute that it is up- kind of like that lady in the old commercials for the day-after-Christmas sale, where she has her face pressed up against the glass, and she's chanting "open, open, open." Well, no, not kind of like that. Exactly like that.
[via infosthetics- my absolute favorite blog on data visualization]
link to the project here.


Queenie Takes Manhattan

You really gotta love food blogs. I pretty much live gastrointestinally vicariously through my friend Meg. She is every bit the foodie I wish I were, and is a really great lady to boot. Her blog is incredible- she is both a talented writer and a photographer with a keen eye- but she was recently lacking a banner. I am doing some monogrammed stationary for her, and wanted to give her a banner in the meantime. Here's what I came up with (her photo, certainly not mine).


Randy Parsons

I realized that I never posted about our wedding photographer. This weekend, I put together a little montage of our wedding, and was amazed at how many of our photos are fantastic. The first 100 times I had looked through them, I completely missed a few of the great ones. We had such good luck in finding Randy. She is incredibly talented, down to earth, and went with the flow on the day of the wedding; taking charge when she needed to, and laying low when she didn't. She captured the dynamic of the event and the interactions of the guests impeccably. Her newly revamped website is here. Below is a little sample of her work from our wedding.



There are a few card designs available right now; be sure to check back throughout the week, as I'll be adding some jewelry and some other card designs. There will also be custom designs to come as well. Tell your friends!
(The url if you want to go there without clicking on the link is hirabayashidesigns.etsy.com.)


Etsy Store Launch

Okay, so Thursday isn't early in the week. In my defense, I live on Manhattan, therefore I feel like I am entitled to live on island time. So sorry for the delay, but here is the big news: I am launching an Etsy store (which I had hoped to have up, but thanks to the less than stellar weather here, the photography conditions for my goods have been not so nice). Yesterday, I participated in a little craft fair at school. I got to meet some lovely people and sell some wares. Included were these valentine-ish cards that will be coming in my new Etsy shop. I'll also have some jewelry up, and will now be taking orders for custom stationary from people other than friends and friends of friends.
I will post later on in the week with the link when the store is up and running.


In the Works

There is something kind of big (well, big for me) cooking here at casa Hirabayashi. Here's a little hint. More to come this weekend or early next week!


Homemade Applesauce

I grew up eating homemade applesauce. My mom made chunky applesauce with the skin on, which was good, but my baachan (grandma) used to make skin-off non-chunky, super-sweet applesauce just for me. It always made me feel so special to have a grown-up cook something especially for me. Her applesauce came in a large Bell jar, and I can still remember the exact taste. It was the applesauce equivalent of WonderBread, perfectly suited to a kid's palate because it was sweet, smooth, and the flavors were simple. We now eat the unsweetened applesauce from Trader Joe's, but I had the urge to whip up some cold-weather goodness. Since the only thing at the market right now is apples and root veggies, applesauce seemed like a good dish to whip up. This version is fairly seat-of-my-pants-ish. The flavors are more complex than my grandmother's recipe, but lean more toward the comfort food end of the spectrum than my mom's. Remember, things taste better when they are made with local and/or organic ingredients!

3-4 lbs. apples (I used Granny Smith, Macoun, and Fuji)
slightly less than 1/4c turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)- the types of apples that you use will determine how much sugar you need, so be sure to taste your apples before you use them.
1c water
3 slices of lemon skin
2tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp cinnamon
1tsp cloves
1tsp nutmeg
Peel your apples, and cut them into 3/4" pieces. Place them in a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients, and simmer until the apples are soft and most of the water is gone (it took my sauce about 20 minutes, but it could take longer depending on the pan that you use and how big your slices are). You'll be able to tell when your sauce is ready because if you push down on the top of the sauce with the back of a spoon, only a teeny bit of thicker liquid will seep onto the spoon. The bubbling should also take on a quality not unlike fully-cooked cream of wheat, where the entire contents of the pot bubble rather than the bubbles just coming up through the contents.
Before cooking:
Fish out the lemon peels with a fork or a pair of hashi (chopsticks)- hashi are SO much better for this job, but if you don't have them around, you can use a fork.
Mush up the apple chunks with a fork, or run the sauce through the blender if you don't like chunky applesauce. Serve warm or cold, and store the remainder in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy!


Ginger Pear Bran Muffins

I just whipped up a batch of these bad boys, and now my kitchen smells like heaven. This recipe might just be the best thing that ever happened to me. I was inspired after making this ale bread, which despite my bumbling in the kitchen turned out pretty well. I used whole wheat flour and an oatmeal stout- next time, I will use more salt and less beer. I stupidly bought too big a bottle, and then had to guesstimate how much of it to use. But I digress. The Cooking By the Seat of My Pants writer who provided the ale bread recipe linked to Farmgirl Fare in that post, and I think that I have found another favorite blog. This girl up and moved from Northern California to a remote farm in Missouri, and now farms, cooks, and writes. She's even building an artisan bread factory on her farm- how freaking cool is that? Based on these muffins, as soon as her bakery is up and running, I will be her first mail order customer. I will drive out there myself weekly to get her goods if I have to.
I made the muffins with the Trader Joe's pear halves (in a glass bottle), and used a cheese grater to mush them up. The only other tweaks I made (because I can't leave well enough alone) are to use 1/3 c molasses instead of 1/3 c of the honey, and to use a little more vanilla than called for (that's how my mom taught me to make baked goods taste better). I wish that I had used fresh pears like the recipe suggested (I was too lazy to go to the market and then wait for the pears to ripen), but that didn't stop me at all from eating a whole muffin when I was only planning to eat half. I will be happy to make these again, fresh pears or not. Holy crap, are these muffins good. The cake-y part tastes like a muffin, and not like a quick bread, which is great, and the whole grains make the texture interesting. The added moisture of the pears is divine, and the little bits of ginger are unexpected and give a whole other layer of warm flavor to the muffin. If I had a star rating system, these would get a billion stars.

Things Are Better with a Parrot

As you may or may not remember from my Christmas post (it seems so long ago now), I am the proud new owner of a Gocco. One of the blogs out there that made me absolutely covet a Gocco is things are better with a parrot. She takes old images and Goccos them onto paper and fabric. Her work is classic, somewhat whimsical, and yet still manages to look modern and chic. I am working with a few friends on their wedding stuff right now, and will be sure to show them her work as inspiration for their own invitations. These peonies are perfect for nearly everything (I LOVE peonies!), and the poppies would be great for a California affair.

I would also not mind having some of her bird prints up on my wall...