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Posts from the ‘Around the Neighborhood’ Category

Sunday Brew Day

Last week our friends Nicole and Matt invited us over to brew beer. Matt has been brewing his own beer for a while now and has all the necessary equipment and knowledge to do it, so I jumped at the opportunity for a free crash course. I’ve always been curious of the process, and it sounded like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I was mostly observing at this point, and occasionally jumping in to assist (like “smacking” the yeast and things of that sort), but for the most part we let Matt take the lead, lest we screw up and ruin the entire batch. Beer making takes almost an entire day (and that’s just the brewing part, after that it stays in a fermentation chamber for about 2 months), and involves precise temperatures, timing, and the exact amount of ingredients. And much like canning, every piece of equipment has to be sterilized thoroughly to prevent any unwanted bacteria growth. On the menu for brew day was the Dusseldorf Altbier. It is a bronze-to-copper colored German ale with a rich malt character, substantial hop bitterness and a notable noble hop aroma. Mmm! Sounds delicious, no?

We made a trip to Bob’s Homebrew Supply to get the necessary ingredients: Malt extracts, three types of grains, hops and yeasts. There was a whole lot of brewer lingo going on between the store owners and the customers, and even if I had no idea what they were talking about it was fun just checking things out. And the place smelled good!

The brewing process took place out on the deck on a nice clear (albeit cold) day. I tried my best to document the process with my phone camera, but I don’t think I can even begin to explain it in detail. Not that I don’t want to but because I can’t remember precisely the steps! Beer making is a craft on its own, something that takes time to master. I am in anticipation of the finished product but I won’t know until the fermentation process is completed around mid-March.

The unveiling of this beer will be at our upcoming engagement party. I’ll report back on how it turns out.


BEER UPDATE! April 19, 2013
I realized I haven’t reported back on this yet, but we had our engagement party on March 23rd and the Dusseldorf Altbier turned out very well! My feedback:  Well-balanced with a smooth finish, malty, slightly hoppy and highly drinkable. Trinksprüche!

Design Candy: Barkley Sound Bags Holiday Open House

Barkley Sound Bags held a holiday open house earlier this month and I went to go check out what new stuff they had in their workshop, and possibly get some presents for Christmas. More importantly I really wanted to say hello to my former boss, Dave. He started BSB when he retired a few years ago, and is the sole founder and craftsman of these wonderful bags.

It all started when the old sail from their Valiant 40 needed to be replaced, and since they couldn’t throw away the memories embodied in that sail, they re-purposed it into a tent for parties and ultimately turned it into travel bags for a world trip.

At present, BSB makes bags of different styles, from totes to duffel bags and messenger bags, using both Dacron sails that have seen many miles of ocean as well as colorful recycled wind surf sails. Dave hand-cuts each sail, carefully utilizing its features and character, making each bag unique and special. Features like batten pockets, cringles, reef points and bolt ropes are left in to give each bag its own identity. You can be sure that no two bags are alike. And because they are made of tough sails, they last for-e-ver. This I know because I’ve had mine for a few years now. I also have one of the earlier prototypes that I use as a doggie supply bag whenever I take Hudson to the park. It has held up to daily abuse remarkably well.

Below are some photos from the open house:

Bags, bags, bags!

So many color choices!

IMG_1965 copy

BSB Blue Water Totes in progress.

A yummy spread of crackers and cheese

Deb entertains the guests.

One of the work stations (I love that sewing machine)

My favorite guy and the man behind the sewing machines– the great Dave Rutherford.


Since its inception Barkley Sound Bags has gained popularity and has been featured in GQ, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Dwell and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. Barkley Sound Bags was also commissioned to do a special line for Nautica. How cool is that?!

For more info on these awesome handcrafted bags, see these links below (after the jump).

Barkley Sound Bags for Nautica:


Barkley Sound Bags Website

Barkley Sound Bags on Facebook

Fabric Design Inspirations: Autumn Leaves and Koi Fish

Last week a friend and I decided to go on a photo safari around town. We didn’t make it to all the places on our list (no surprise there) and ended up spending almost the entire, very rainy afternoon at the Japanese gardens. I was looking for some inspiration for my first fabric collection that I’ve been planning to make via Spoonflower and I found a ton here! The gardens were gorgeous and the autumn colors were spectacular. I snapped so many photos of different kinds of leaves and tree foliage which evidently will be the main theme of my design. That and maybe some koi fish thrown in the mix. What do you think? The ideas are already bouncing around in my head. I guess the next challenge is finding the time to sit down and create them before the holiday craziness catches up to me. Gah!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start.

Volunteer Park

Last weekend I took the pup out for an afternoon at Volunteer Park. It was our last opportunity to soak up some sun before the cold weather started creeping back in this week. But it’s already October so I’m not complaining. We had a wonderfully long summer. I packed up my camera and was glad I did because the dahlias were having a party.

The first few autumn leaves have fallen…

Beginning this Friday all I see in our forecast is rain, and I think it’s safe to say that the great summer of 2012 has officially ended. Tis the season for socks, fluffy blankets and pumpkin pie.

Are you ready for fall? I think I am.

Midweek Excursion

Today after work, I ventured down to Madison valley into this little yarn shop called Tricoter (pronounced tree-ko-tay). If you haven’t been I highly recommend checking it out. They are definitely on the expensive side, but you don’t necessarily have to buy anything. Just walk around and admire their fabulous selection. Or if you’re like me, you’ll cave in and buy 3 balls. Also the ladies manning the shop are friendly, contrary to the reviews on Yelp.

Hmmm… What am I going to make with these?



My Weekend In Analog

Hello friends! I trust that everyone had a great weekend. Seattle decided to spare us the rains the past few days, and as a result Breezy and I were able to squeeze a bunch of activities in, especially the ones that have been sitting on our to-do list for a while now. This weekend we did a bedroom purge and got rid of our old mattress, donated bags of old items to the Goodwill and moved some furniture around in an effort to make the space more functional and less like a college dorm. We even installed some brand spanking new curtains. And as a reward to ourselves for embracing our adult life we channeled our inner bakers and made ourselves some homemade muffins* and pretzel bread, and then capped it all off with a concert by one of our favorite bands. Here are some snippets from this weekend captured from my novelty analog camera app. Hope yours was a fun one as well.

*Recipe to follow soon.

Finally got our books off the floor and onto some vertical shelves.


An oversized floor mirror can add impact to any small room.


Vintage swag lamp.


Blueberry-lemon muffins, hot out of the oven.

Let’s get this party started.

“I belong with you, you belong with me you’re my sweetheart…”


Yoshino Cherry Trees at the UW

We actually had some sun the other day, and I took the opportunity to go see the cherry blossoms at the UW. Go if you haven’t yet! It’s a pretty sight. You’ll find a map of the north central campus here. Or if you want to tie it into a short urban hike, start out at the Arboretum and walk it all the way to the quad. Yay springtime!


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