118. weekend to-do's

  1. hot pot heaven. happy lamb hot pot recently opened in central square to rave reviews. can't wait for some comforting shabu shabu to keep the chill away.
  2. the short list. in honor of this weekend's oscar ceremony, i plan on downloading all of the nominated short films. nothing better than some popcorn and a mini marathon while staying home in my sweatpants.
  3. wear that i care. monday is world rare disease day and i will be helping to raise awareness for rare and genetic diseases by wearing a blue denim genes ribbon all weekend.

  1. portland time. i'm heading to maine this weekend for some galavanting in one of my favorite east coast cities. stay tuned for my travelogue next week!


117. profile: sour somerville

what if we told you there was a way to have delicious, freshly-baked sourdough delivered in-person to your door? thanks to nicole hogarty's newest project sour somerville, this is a reality for those of us lucky enough to live in the somerville/cambridge area (she delivers via car and mail for those who live farther away). nicole is passionate about all things creative and has perfected the art of making beautifully-textured and ultra flavorful sourdough since focusing her talents on breadmaking. we spent some time baking and sampling (mostly sampling) her expertly-honed recipe. we also got some insight into her love of delivering comfort one bread bomb at a time:

what are some unexpected everyday sources of inspiration? 
i consider myself a special kind of sponge. i write down daydreams and imaginings all the time. an unpleasant group of people could be named, 'the evangelical ministers of misery', i call bread photos 'bread porn'. i have a lot of fun playing with the world around me.

what is your favorite time of day to create? 
whenever i am able to... i always want more time. i tend to do my best thinking in the morning or very late at night, though. during the day, i'm just sort of a work-horse.

favorite or most inspirational place? 
on my bike. there's a reason why i deliver bread on my bike.

has baking always been an important part of your life? 
not really, i discovered baking when i was living in portland, maine and there were some pretty brutal winters. baking evoked a restorative sense of 'hygge' or deep comfort.

what is it about sourdough that makes it so special? 
sourdough is actually a wild yeast culture that needs to be fed and tended to regularly. the act of feeding and building bread in which you make something 'new' with something 'old' resonates with me on a basic creative level.

what prompted you to start sour somerville? 
we really couldn't keep enough fresh bread in the house! the solution was to make bread, but i wanted the bread to be really, really good. when the bread was really good, i wanted to figure out how to share more of it and how to make more of it.

we love your community-focus and the offer to deliver 'by bike, foot, car or mail'. do you get to do a lot of in-person deliveries? 
that is primarily what i do. it's really quite fun to bring bread to people at their jobs and homes. doorbells, doormen and doorwomen are a major part of this project. it is so fun to deliver fresh bread.

how do you see sour somerville growing and evolving? 
i want to design tools to teach people how to bake their own bread. being capable of making things for yourself is something worth sharing.

what is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given? 
to continue working through a design even when i see there are flaws. i am capable of being a perfectionist to the point of stasis. you have to continue making mistakes if you're going to learn anything.

what is the best piece of creative advice you have to give? 
use your creative impulse to solve problems for yourself and your friends.

order your very own bread bombing at nicole's website.


116. weekend to-do's

  1. spooky screening. i have been eagerly awaiting the release of the witch since i saw the trailer a few months back. rarely are films in the horror genre described as "artful", "exquisitely made" and "thought provoking", but the reviews of this puritan-era tale of witchcraft have been glowing.
  2. indigenous narratives. "everywhen: the eternal present of indigenous art from australia" opened at that harvard art museums last week and focuses on the vibrant work of contemporary aborginial artists. the 70 works on display focus on the culture's past, present and future.
  3. spice girl. our friend and profile subject, claire cheney of curio spice co. will be at urban grape in the south end tonight from 5pm-8pm. she'll be pairing her spices with some delicious selections from foolproof brewing company.

  1. local artist love. tim wilson has a solo exhibit at the sloane merrill gallery in beacon hill tonight. his abstract oil paintings are sensational. what sets wilson apart from other painters is his process of painting on location allowing him to experience the environment while documenting it.
  2. local craft love. i'll be heading to the black market flea at the cambridge community center on saturday. this event will give me another chance to pick up some of emily tirella's witty creations!
  3. local sushi love. i have yet to try out fuji at assembly row despite great review from friends. their beautiful creations are served up on wood, slate and stone platters. and i do appreciate good presentation.


115. diy yoga mat bag

we've been keeping warm this winter with lots of yoga. every time we get to class, we both think, "i really need to get a bag to keep my mat clean and make it easier to carry". so we decided to make a simple, stylish yoga mat bag that is easy to clean and makes trekking through the snowy weather a little bit easier.

items you will need:

fabric (linen or cotton fabrics work nicely)
sewing machine
fabric measuring tape
your yoga mat

measure out and cut all pieces of your fabric according to the pattern above. you may need to adjust the size of your fabric cut outs depending on the measurements of your yoga mat. we chose a contrasting fabric for the strap and the pocket to give our bag some extra style.

for advanced seamstresses, you can add a lining to make the bag stronger. for those of you who are new to sewing, you can just cut out a second large rectangle and double up to give your bag more strength. this is optional, but a smart choice so your bag is stronger and will last longer.

heat up your iron on a setting appropriate for the fabric you are using. we worked with a medium weight linen and a seersucker, so we have it on a steam setting.

fold over three edges of your pocket and press with the iron. then pin your pocket to the front side of your largest rectangular piece of fabric (this will be the bag).

sew the pocket on to the front side of the fabric.

once the pocket is in place, lay our your bag fabric, pocket side down. fold in the top edge of the fabric. press, pin and sew. this will finish off the top edge of your bag.

set aside the bag portion of the fabric and find your long rectangular piece of fabric. this is going to be your strap.

fold your strap material in half, lengthwise, with the right side of the fabric together. pin, press and sew. once you are done sewing, turn it inside out so that the right side of the fabric is now on the outside.

press the strap so that the fabric is flat and the seam is hidden in the side of the strap.

lay out your largest rectangle with the pocket side up. line up the ends of your strap on the edge of the bag and pin (we placed our approximately 3" up from the bottom and 6" down from the top of the bag).

fold the bag in half, sandwiching the strap inside the bag. pin and sew up the edges of the bag.

reinforce the strap are with a second round of stitching (we've used a second round of stitching to reinforce the entire bag, which is optional).

turn your bag inside out and trim any loose threads.

voila! a stylish, functional, washable diy yoga mat!

namaste friends!


114. weekend to-do's

  1. l-boogie in the house. i'll be taking my valentine to see one of our favorite performers, ms. lauryn hill, who will be taking the stage at the paradise both saturday and sunday nights. maybe if we're lucky, she'll sing our wedding song.
  2. pre-show bites. mei mei is my new favorite spot to enjoy a delicious meal when in the allston area. the menu includes everything that makes their food trucks great - and then some!
  3. heart openers. my dear friend and yoga instructor, jenn falk will be teaching a donation-based charity class on sunday at bow street yoga. the class will support eve ensler's v-day in raising money and awareness for girls and women who have suffered or are suffering from violence. such a perfect way to spread the love.

  1. taking it to the sky. i'm "skydiving" tonight at the museum of science to watch "adrenaline rush: the science of risk." the film shows spectacular footage of skydiving and bungee jumping so i can experience the rush of excitement from the comfort of an omni theater seat.
  2. sour beer delight. the independent is hosting a my sour valentine brunch featuring rare sour beers. i'm looking forward to testing out the smuttynose smutlabs smoked peach short weisse.
  3. lovely bones. saturday, bad moon consignment and our lady of reclamation are bringing some of their best home goods, jewelry and skulls to eridanos for the love sucks oddity market. i might be adding a few things to my collection!


113. february reading

baby, it is getting cold outside! what better time than now to snuggle up with a great book. here are the titles we are planning to dig into this month:

the queen of the night by alexander chee
after 15 years, we finally get to experience the much-anticipated follow-up to chee's heartbreaking debut, edinburgh. the queen of the night is a tragic, historical epic that follows a famed opera star during france's second empire.

when breath becomes air by paul kalanithi
this memoir was written by the late doctor after being diagnosed with stage iv lung cancer at the age of 36. when breath becomes air is an exploration confronting mortality and what it means to have lived a truly meaningful life in the face of death.

in other words by jhumpa lahiri
the pulizer prize-winning author of modern classics like the interpreter of maladies and the namesake recently published her first autobiographical work. in other words (written in italian and translated to english) investigates expression through language and recounts lahiri's time in rome while trying to fully immerse herself in her love of the italian language.


111. weekend to-do's

  1. flow. leslie salmon jones teaches afro flow yoga twice a month at the dance complex. i'm so excited to finally be able to attend one of her classes!
  2. soak. a session at inman oasis is the perfect break from chilly winter weather. i plan to treat myself to some relaxing tub time.
  3. nourish. one of the highlights from my trip to the kripalu center a few weeks ago was the food. they have the most amazing and talented staff creating delicious, healthy food for their guests. i especially loved their house salad dressing. can't wait to whip up a big jar of this stuff to serve with veggies.

  1. get loyal. i've been craving a trip to loyal nine since my birthday dinner in the fall. i'll be indulging in some oysters and the corpse reviver #2, thank you very much.
  2. get green. looking replenish my succulent collection to keep my apartment bright in preparation for the winter weather (if it actually comes). when it comes to urban garden supplies, my go-to is always niche in the south end!
  3. get caffeinated. after stocking up on succulents, i'll be heading over to gracenote coffee for a delicious espresso. this beautiful space opened in october of 2015.

112. february playlist

embroidery by high stitch

happy february, lovers! we're sharing 16 of our favorite songs of romance (both sweet and sour). we hope they tickle your heartstrings:


110. profile: high stitch

we love gifting (and receiving) handmade items. it's far more special when pieces convey the personality of their maker. that's why we were so excited to discover the work of emily tirella and high stitch. emily takes embroidery hoops and felted patches out of traditional territory by infusing them with just the right amount of attitude and whimsy. we think her pieces make the perfect valentine's day gifts (especially for those looking to literally wear a heart on their sleeve):

what are some unexpected everyday sources of inspiration? 
i source a lot of my inspiration from the world around me. if i'm in a bad mood, i make a cranky embroidery hoop, if i'm feeling happy i make some flowers, if i've been watching a lot of "the simpsons" i embroider lisa. it's almost like a form of journaling or releasing my emotions through art. i always feel better once i finish a project.

what is your favorite time of day to create? 
i love waking up early to create. there's nothing like waking up early without an alarm, getting some coffee brewing and just hanging out and sewing with no distraction or interruptions. i cherish my mornings to myself.

favorite or most inspirational place? 
i do most of my sewing at home. i'm definitely a homebody, i really enjoy staying in and being creative. even if i don't do much all day long i always know that i have been productive and that's very gratifying.

what drew you to stitching and embroidery? 
i have been crafting and creating since i was old enough to do so. i remember trying to start a sewing club when i was in seventh grade, i actually made a pair of pants for my first project. following that i was in a knitting club which met weekly at a friend's house. i drifted from those friends and moved on but i always kept the skills i had learned close to me. i recently picked up sewing again when i was injured and out of commission for a few months. i was feeling angry so i decided to pick up and thread and stitch "go away" on a piece of tan felt. i then cut it out into a circle and stitched that piece on to a piece of purple felt. i had a patch, and then i made another patch and another patch. since then, it's been a daily occurrence, sewing. i have made a banner for peak organic brewing company, i have collaborated with companies and individuals all over the country.

are there any other mediums you like to work in? 
i went to college for photography, so i've always been drawn to the arts. i enjoy doodling mandalas and hand lettering as well as knitting.

would you say that your pieces are a reflection of your personality? 
every piece i make is a direct reflection of myself. stupid puns, food and cactuses.

do clients ever make special requests? 
a lot of my orders are actually custom orders. i'm always open to other peoples' ideas as long as it flows with my general artistic abilities and includes subject matter i'm actually interested in.

how do you see high stitch growing and evolving? 
i'm only one person, so i can really only sew so much. right now i'm still amazed that people are actually interested in the things that i am creating. i am thankful every day for the people who follow me and purchase my creations. i have two shows coming up too! i am participating in the somerville local first valentine's day "market at the armory" on sunday, february 7th, 10am-3pm and the black market at the cambridge community center on february 21st, 11am-5pm.

what is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given? 
i think the most important piece of advice i've ever received wasn't really advice at all. when someone compliments your work and actually likes it enough to spend their hard earned money, it makes what you're doing seem worth it.

what is the best piece of creative advice you have to give? 
i think a lot of people are losing the arts as a way of expression. they vent all of their frustrations over facebook or twitter rather than channeling it to something productive. it's really important to keep making even if no one is watching.

be sure to check out emily's website, etsy shop and facebook page to stay updated on her newest pieces and upcoming events.