photo booth

I love the Photo Booth on my laptop. I use it almost every week. I love it because it removes a lot of the age from my face, although those dark circles always win. I love it because if I am writing on the computer and Oliver is playing near me, he will always stop and try to get his photo taken. And, I love it because you can use it to make yourself look like a character from Drawing Restraint 7 with very little effort. Oh yes, I did just drop a Matthew Barney reference. I was in design school in the late-eighties/early-nineties. He left quite an impression on all of us, whether we understood his work or not.

I just found a ton of these photos, from when we're goofing around and when I'm up late working. Some of them are from when I just want to see a decent photo of myself, because I am less photogenic than ever in real life these days (believe it). 

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone! xoxo



round up: quiet around here

It's quiet around here. Oliver has almost stopped nursing and is out of our bed for the most part. Stella's in school all day. We're in between birthday parties right now. There's a lull.

I'm working on some piƱata eggs for another neighborhood shop that wants to carry them, and I also want to make some more for my Etsy shop. They've actually been selling at Rare Device, which is so cool! I've got a tiny holiday card commission going, which will be fun (thanks, Marie!). I'm also working on my architectural portfolio. I'm looking for a project. I've lost momentum as far as finding clients. My last project ended a few weeks before Oliver was born. But, I'm ready to go. Dare I say it, it's TOO quiet around here. Anyone need an architect?



While I am no trendsetter, I have noticed two great design elements which have spread like wildfire over the past year or two. The use of neon colors (especially pink) and the art of dip-dying. I like both. I'm guilty of both. Both are great for furniture, jewelry, housewares, art, you name it. We happen to be proud owners of one of these amazing mixed media pieces by Lisa Congdon. Her use of neon pink is the most brilliant I've seen.

I joked a little about this find a few weeks ago and had to share it here. I found these in Japantown at Daiso. For when there's no time to do it yourself, I give you these. Neon pink knitted chair leg covers. Faux neon dip-dye. You can kill two birds with one stone. You're welcome! :)


donut pan idea no. 14: cake + royal icing life preservers

A cupcake-style confection was one of the very first ideas I had for the donut pans, but here we are at number fourteen and I'm just getting to it. I made these cake rings for Oliver's third birthday party this past weekend. There was a bit of a nautical/SpongeBobSquarePants theme happening, and I thought these would be great alongside the cake, basically functioning as cupcakes. BUT, I (along with David) have a HUGE thing for royal icing. I cannot pass it up. A typical cake recipe like this makes 24 donuts. By party time there were just a handful left, enough to use as decorations. They were little life preservers on his under-the-sea themed cake.

There is so much room for experimentation and delicious flavor combinations with these cake rings, just like with cupcakes. For the cake, I used a simple, boxed white cake mix. For the royal icing, I used this Martha Stewart basic raw egg white recipe. God I love that stuff.

Both the white cake mix and the royal icing require egg whites, so I got a chance to try out this awesome egg separating trick using a water bottle of all things. It was all over the internet last week. You should try it, it's so fun.

The bottle sucks it right up!

The white cake mix stays extra white without the addition of
egg yolk. But use whatever cake mix (or recipe) you want!

Prepare your pans by spraying with baking spray or oiling and flouring. For
best results, I poured less than 1/4 cup of batter into each donut cavity.

Ready to bake. I kept a good eye on these, and they were done in about 18 minutes, give or take.

While the cake donuts were baking, I worked on my beloved royal icing
with the three ingredients shown here. I made 1 1/2 times the recipe.

I kept about a fifth of the frosting separate to color and use for the life preserver details later.

When the cakes are ready, pop them out of the pans and cool completely. Beautiful!

I piped the royal icing on in a thick layer. These are a little lumpier than I would've liked, but
I needed the icing thick for the next step. Feel free to ice or frost yours however you want!

 Here I mixed A LOT of blue food coloring with the reserved white icing. And a lot of water, to thin it.

I used the thin blue icing to paint a pattern on the cakes to make them look like life preservers.

 I did try piping on the blue pattern, but I didn't like how it looked.
We ate those first. You can see how good they taste, can't you?

I left them to dry for a few hours before storing in a container. Because of the moisture in the cake, they never get as firm as if you were to use the icing on a sugar cookie, but they hold up if handled gently. And they were handled! At Oliver's party the kids ate these first, before we even cut into the cake. I would happily make these again anytime, they are so cute (the donuts, and the kids)!


donut pan giveaway winner!

Hey there, folks. I am utterly exhausted from prepping for and hosting a party yesterday, so let me get right to business. Last week I hosted my first of five donut pan giveaways being donated by the baking company Wilton in celebration of my first dozen donut pan projects. Today I picked a winner with an online number randomizer. And here he is!

Congratulations, Randy! I think I know this Randy. In fact I might be able to tell him in person tomorrow that he has won a set of pans. Yay! And Randy, if I don't know you, please drop me a note at: sfcornerblog[at]hotmail[dot]com. I need your mailing address. Thanks!

And thanks to everyone who left great and supportive comments last week. Stella and I are having a ton of fun with this project and can't wait to get the next twelve under our belts. There's a really cute one coming up in the next few days. I hope you'll come back and check it out! 


corners: temporary insanity

This past Monday was Stella's first day of school. Instead of hanging out in the cafeteria for coffee or on the yard after dropping her off, I felt compelled to race home. I felt weird, and definitely not ready. Instead of reconnecting with the parents from last year and meeting the new ones, I went home and ripped apart our apartment. I bought a giant latte on the way and got straight to work. I dismantled the entire contents of our 5 x 5 IKEA Expedit bookcase. I have over a continuous decade of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue magazines in there (1993-2003 and beyond). I've got magazines that aren't in print anymore, like my favorite architecture publication, Architecture. We've got The Surfer's Journal, Artforum, Adbusters, years and years of Dwell and Martha Stewart Living. And of course there's a shit ton of David's vinyl.

And I just decided to pull it all down. And then drag the bookcase twenty feet across our carpeted floor. And then drag our Baldwin Spinet piano twenty feet across our carpeted floor, to where the bookcase was. And then I cleaned everything. And then I put everything back on the shelves, exactly like it had been a few hours before.

It was so subconsciously driven, I'm sure. A spatial purge, a new start for the new school year. A way to tame a lot of pent up anxiety about the new school year. It was quite mental, possibly not in a good way.

After having walked a few miles at a good clip taking Stella to school and picking her up afterwards, Monday left me rendered useless. Unable to wrangle Oliver into his pajamas or cook dinner. David made me a fried egg and Spam with some leftover curried quinoa and a glass of wine. And I was done. I got into bed at 9:00 and crept on some friends' websites, because I was mentally still alert, but my body was utterly spent.

I got to that point on the first day where there was no progress, just spinning of wheels. Always best to try another day when you feel like that. It took me another day to finish up the last details of this little shakeup. Oliver was a champ for the most part, which was great. I'm happy with the change of scenery, and I know the piano will get played more, closer to the natural light (like you suggested, David!).

I don't know if you've ever had one of these cathartic moments. A spontaneous and massive spurt of work. This happened to me about six months ago when I did some work to our kitchen. Just like this time, it was unplanned and disruptive and fruitful. It's sort of nice to take on a big task that you don't spend time anticipating first. If I had put what I did this week on a to-do list I would've spent weeks or months dreading it before I actually got to it. So funny how that works.

Tell me you know what I mean. I'm not a nut, am I?

Oh, don't forget to enter the donut pan giveaway. It closes at noon on Sunday. Have a great weekend! xoxo

To see more "corners" of our place, click here.


what i: forever 42

It's been a long time since I've written a "what i" post, but I was inspired. I took myself out to see some of my beautiful burlesque friends perform with Bombshell Betty last week. I left the house the moment David pulled into the driveway from his weekend away fishing and was feeling cute, which was quite an achievement after three days alone with the kiddos!

I found a black dress at Forever 21 recently that I love. It's loose and breezy, super sexy in the back, half flapper and half disco. It's got this off the shoulder little sheer band that I adore, and a strap across the nape of the neck to keep it all in place. I paired it with crazy-high silver t-strap pumps and was in business. It was freezing that night (what's new?) so I hid it all under a giant black wool coat until I got inside. I love an outfit I don't have to think about after I put it on. That happens so rarely for me! This dress is super comfy. It actually feels good to wear it.

Here's the lowdown on my getup. I do wish I had a full length photo of me in the dress, but you can click the link below to see it. The dress is dirt cheap, you should grab one, if it suits you!

Dress:  Asymmetrical Cutout Dress Forever 21
Shoes: Silver t-strap platform pumps Seal of the Sutro
Nails: Black Cherry Chutney O•P•I
Lashes: Accent lashes no. 301 Ardell

It's most definitely not every day I feel like I did in that dress the other night. Moments like that should be savored, especially as we head into the rushing-out-the-door-to-get-to-school-on-time time of year. They are worth noting!


donut madeleines

This idea was brilliant. It was Stella's. Riffing with a six-year-old is frequently fruitful. Here's how it went down the other day, waiting in line at the coffee shop up the street.

Stella: Can we make brownies today?

Me: No, you're already getting a madeleine.

Stella: Wouldn't it be great if we baked a big pan of madeleines and cut them up like brownies?

Me: Remember our donut brownies?


Me: You are a genius.

Donuts will always prevail.

So here we are. Probably one of the most donut pan appropriate ideas we've tried yet. They come out of the pan with no effort, they look perfect, they smell perfect, and they taste delicious. The texture is perfect for the donut shape. I'd love to sell these somehow. I know they'd go like hot cakes.

As I've said on other donut pan projects, I'm not reinventing the wheel here. Find a great recipe, and go with it. Here are two to try:

Joy of Baking madeleine recipe (we used this one)
101 Cookbooks madeleine recipe (this one uses lemon zest)

Make your batter, keeping the eggs nice and high, refrigerate it if required, and preheat your oven per your recipe. The batter from the Joy of Baking recipe I used is nice and thick after refrigeration, so I needed to use a pastry bag to fill the donut pans. The Joy of Baking recipe yielded a beautiful dozen donut madeleines. They were just fantastic. You'll see!

You can butter and flour your pans if you'd like, but I've given in.

A pastry bag with no tip, just the top ring, is a great way to get the batter into the pans.

Once around is enough.

They will puff up quite a bit during baking.

Bake per your recipe. Look at these babies!

The donut madeleines should flip easily out of the pan. So golden!

Finish cooling on a rack.

 I was so happy to see those familiar air pockets and browned edges. Just like a real madeleine, only rounder!

Luckily for David, I baked these on a Saturday so he could get his hands on several of them. He dripped us some coffee (see how here), and we had a nice little afternoon snack. We managed to save a few to have with breakfast on Sunday, too. These were easy to make, and I will definitely be making these again soon.

And, hey! I'm hosting a donut pan giveaway which ends this Sunday at noon. Click here and leave a quick comment, and it'll put you in the running for two new donut pans, shipped straight from the pan company to you. Then you can make your own madeleines! 

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