Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All you need is love, love, love

OK, this is a totally cheater blog post, but since my 1000 Markets blog doesn't have an RSS feed yet, I'm posting here to let you know I have a new post there.

I've been trying to keep my posts there somewhat relevant to my craftiness; otherwise, what would be the point of blogging here and there? So "lookit what I made" posts will mostly be over there now. "Here's some cute stuff my dog/husband/favorite band did" will remain here.

I made a new charm bracelet for a college classmate's mother, and also a cheery pair of earrings for my shop today. And with that, I am actually all caught up on my Etsy/1000Markets/miscellaneous orders!

Go read about it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Someone like you loved me

This blog is not about deep philosophical topics or insightful social or political commentary. I am enthusiastic about the things I love. And I like to tell people about them, in case you haven't figured that out already :). I blogged about my visit to the recording studio where Star Anna is recording their newest album here, and in my 1000Markets blog.

So one would think that was enough excitement for a week, or even a month. I certainly felt like I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience there.

Except, as it turns out, it was a twice-in-a-lifetime experience. My friend Dave let me know yesterday that I could come back to the studio if I wanted. Woo hoo!

But I had to convince TJ to drive, because my car is completely useless in the snow. Because he is so nice (yay TJ! props to TJ!) he agreed and we spent our Friday night back in North Seattle at the cozy warm studio, listing to the band record the last couple of songs and bits of songs.

So instead of yammering about it (ok, in addition to the yammering), I'll share a couple of short videos that are quick peeks into the studio. Here's Justin Davis, the fabulous guitar player (his making fun of my Queensryche shirt notwithstanding). If you look closely, you can see TJ at the very end of the video.

This one sort of captures the essence of the experience in the studio - the attention to detail and careful listening to the tracks, the collaboration with Brad Zeffren, the kickass recording engineer, and of course, the mountains of take-out food fueling a week of hard work:

It was another really fun, mellow evening filled with *great* music.

The last song blew us all away. It was just Star and her acoustic guitar, on a song called "Tripping Wires" (I think). I don't write well enough to adequately describe the way this song made me feel, or the atmosphere it created. It makes me a little weepy just to think about it. (And like I said, I'm not *that* girl.)

There was pin-drop silence in the studio, both while she recorded it and when they played it back to listen to it. It was so freakin' amazing, I was rooted in my spot on the couch, almost afraid to breathe. And there was *lots* of snuffling all around.

It was a privilege and an honor to be there. To be in the presence of talent of that magnitude just rocked my world. That moment reminded me of being college, and meeting people who were on an intellectual plane so far above me, it was awe-inspiring. And then a few minutes later, those same people would go with me on a donut run, like they hadn't just solved a problem that no one else in our entire class could even begin to tackle. And it always left me thinking "Where the heck did that come from? How can one person *do* that?"

Yowza. And with that, I leave you with a video of my favorite song, "Wait" from Star Anna's Crooked Path album. I wonder if they'll take requests when they come to play here at the house? ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You know goddamn well that you don't

Well, it's exciting times at the House of Peanut lately! Today we are snowed in, with actually a significant amount of snow. My geeky husband reports it at 8 inches on our deck. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it), I can't get to my work email because of the other 30,000 people trying to work from home.

But yesterday? Yesterday was a really fun day. It started out very average. I got up, went to work, did some work things, then went out for a fun lunch with the women on my team.

After lunch, I headed over to a small recording studio in North Seattle, to peek in on Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs record their new album. Typical day, right? Hehe, maybe if I had some glamorous rock'n'roll job, but this geek doesn't usually get to do stuff like that.

I got the invite from Dave, my coworker, who knows them, and introduced me to their music in the first place. As you remember, they came to play at Microsoft and I won the raffle item to have them play at a house party - yippeee! (More on that in the future.) He's been hanging out all week while they record.

So for a few hours yesterday I got to be an observer. Not only did I get to hear awesome music and new songs, but I got to learn about the recording process firsthand. I'm really curious about how other people work, especially in careers they love. So I chatted with the band a bit about how they write their songs, and with the recording engineer about his career path. Fascinating. That'll be a post for my Microsoft blog.

It was unlike anything I've ever seen before. Obviously I've been to tons of live shows, with metal bands and non-metal bands so I've seen live music, up close.

But the whole process, with different musicians in different rooms, all the careful tweaking of settings, mics, and amplifiers, was totally fascinating. I knew, but didn't really understand, all of the work that goes into recording a single song.

I know, I'm bordering on gushing fangirl, and I'll try to hold back. But it was so weird (and cool!) to just sit there with musicians who I've heard a hundred times on my iPod. And be able to ask the occasional question. They were all very nice, and patient with my dumb questions, and fun, and personable, and clearly love what they're doing.

And the talent! Damn. I'm not usually a weepy girl when it comes to songs, but there was one yesterday that just got me. (I'm happy to say I wasn't the only one in the room snuffling.)

Here's a little taste of what I got to see in the studio:

I can't wait to hear the whole album when it's done. Lucky for me, Star Anna is playing live at the High Dive in Fremont this Saturday. If we can dig out of the snow, I'll be there. You can come too! Woot!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Till I'm satisfied

Yes, I know. I've been ignoring this blog mercilessly, for its shiny new counterpart over at 1000 Markets. I'm featured on their Community page so I feel like I should make the most of it, and write new blog postings frequently so people don't have to stare at the same old posts all the time.

I have a bit of a new project. I just got the Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh cookbook and I am *so* excited about it. I think it might be exactly what I need to get me out of my food rut, and actually make yummy food at home. I look forward to fewer nights eating cereal for dinner because nothing sounded good. It has snooty food recipes with minimal ingredients which works perfectly with my crazy schedule.

So after planning what I was going to make, I ordered groceries from Amazon Fresh. I had to supplement it with a trip to Trader Joe's because the meat-buying experience at Amazon Fresh is not so good - the product descriptions are somewhat lacking, *and* meat seems to be nearly twice the price per pound there.

So this morning, I woke up and made the recipe on p.510:

Smoked salmon and leek scramble with Meyer lemon creme fraiche

Yes, I know that sounds totally random, but I chose it because I had leeks in the fridge from a recipe I didn't make last week, and my parents brought me back smoked salmon from their trip to Alaska this summer. Also, any scrambled egg recipe that uses whipping cream in place of milk is A-OK in my book.

And seriously, I've never had such lovely, fluffy scrambled eggs. Next time I'm switching to half and half, though - I don't think I can indulge like that very often.

They came out great. I used Tillamook light sour cream instead of creme fraiche because it was less expensive *and* better for me. That's the best light sour cream I've ever had. I also halved the recipe because Lord knows TJ isn't going to eat scrambled eggs with leeks and smoked salmon and I don't cook that fancy for the puppies.

So now I have leftovers for the week ahead, or maybe just lunch today. But so far I'm very impressed with this cookbook. It has a great index by ingredient and the recipes are all pretty simple. I wouldn't say they can be done in 30 minutes or less, but they definitely don't require a lot of crazy, hard to find ingredients or techniques that involve steps that need to be done days in advance.

(Subtle product placement here. But no, they're not paying me to fake-review their book.)

Oh, and yesterday we tried the Amazon Fresh "attended" delivery, which is the one where you need to be home. That worked really well - they don't leave the big plastic totes so we're not tripping over them in our entryway now. I still like the convenience of the doorstep delivery, esp when I need something before I wake up the next day, but if I know I'm going to be home, I'll do it the other way.

And in exciting crafty news, I have reached 200 sales online, between Etsy and 1000Markets! I'm very surprised, and also very busy. So life is good :)

I also got my first sale on Dawanda, which is a European handmade site (a girl's gotta expand her audience, right?). That was a bit surprising because I had listed a few items there months ago but hadn't seen much action there.

In the New Year, I'll probably list a few more of my "made to order" items to keep up a presence there. And if I'm feeling really brave, I may try my hand at listing in French or German, if I can remember anything I learned. That's apparently how to get more people viewing my products since it's a German site.

Later today, I'll be making "Indian" curried shrimp from the Bon Appetit cookbook. YUM. I'll report back on how it goes.

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