Category Archives: Good Things
I am so excited to have my first guest post! I’d like to introduce you to my fabulous and creative cousin, Sara Swecker. Sara works with the team at Nine6 Design, where she combines her love for furniture design and architecture. I’ll let her explain the rest…take it away Sara!
I’m an architect and furniture designer and usually into anything else creative. I went to North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC for my architecture undergrad and violin performance. Then moved to Maryland where I went to Morgan State University, Baltimore, for my Master of Architecture.
It was there where I met Matt and Joe. After a three-way tie for that year’s Thesis Design Award, we talked about if the two of them ever went into business to give me a call. Well, they did. A couple years later they had started Nine6 Design specializing in architecture, furniture design and interiors. Odd name, yes, let me explain: Their thesis project in grad school was to convert shipping containers into housing. The US has an abundance of shipping containers as it is more expensive to ship empty containers to our foreign suppliers than to just send over more. The height of these containers is 9 feet 6 inches. Nine6. We’ve continued to explore the reality of converting shipping containers into viable housing, but have focused more lately on our furniture.
Our studio is based in York, Pennsylvania where they both live and about a 90 minute drive for me. I work from home and go up once a week to discuss business and work collectively on designs for up-coming pieces which usually involves paper and trace strewn over the tables, cardboard boxes being transformed into furniture, loud music playing, and creativity running rampant! My job description covers a range of topics: furniture designing, architecture, managing our graphics…lots of computer drafting, lots of sketching, lots of emailing, lots of creativity! So far we have been featured on numerous flash sales sites (myhabit.com, gilt.com, fab.com), had our City Life Sideboard shown in Dwell magazine, have worked with several interior designers, and are currently in several retail stores in North America. We’re hoping that business will only get better and our designs will get more positive publicity.
I recently started making mini-collages and putting them in small metal pendants for gifts. They are simple, meaningful and fun to make.
Here’s my quick how-to:
Buy these pendant frames that come with cut glass. Cut heavy paper such a cardstock to the size of your frames. Collage to your liking on the cardstock. I use PVA glue to adhere the layers smoothly to the cardstock.
Once you have your complete collage, be sure everything is dry, then place it between the two sheets of glass. Insert the glass carefully into the metal frame and you’re all set…it’s as simple as that!
The last thing to do is string your pendant onto a chain. I use different chains depending on the style and weight of the pendant.
My friend Annah recently hosted a Pho party and it was so much fun! She learned to make Pho (Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat) from her father and wanted to share it with us. She also served spring rolls, bánh mì and coconut lime cupcakes. I love parties and I love Pho, so it was a great night! Thanks Annah!
Pho recipe from Annah:
I used pork neck bones from an Asian market and a blend of dried spices. Star anise is the most important spice for flavoring the soup, but there was also black cardamom, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, clove and cinnamon stick. I kept that all tied up in a sachet of cheesecloth so that no one got a bite with the spices in it. I also chopped up green onions and browned them in a saute pan and added that to the broth. Allow the broth to come to a boil and then simmer for hours. Mine went for about 11 hours, but my dad typically makes it the night before and lets it sit together.
For serving the soup, you need to have all of the fun toppings and mix ins ready to go: bean sprouts, green onion, white onion, Thai basil, mint, cilantro, limes, sriracha, hoisin sauce and soy sauce. For the meat, I used a beef chuck roast. I cut it into thin slices against the grain. Each bowl gets bean sprouts and sliced onion, which you soften in the boiling water for the noodles. The noodles need to be pre-softened in water before you start. I bought the rice noodles at the Asian market. Next, finish cooking the noodles in the hot water. Then add the slices of raw beef and ladle hot broth over the top, which cooks the beef in the bowl. The bowl is finished with cilantro and green onion. Each person can flavor their bowl and add the toppings that they want.
In the process of revamping this website, I thought I’d take the time to re-introduce myself. I’m the same Katie I was a few years ago when I started this site, but I’ve entered (oh so gracefully) into my thirties with new thoughts, ideas and hopes. Moving to the city has opened my eyes to new ways of doing art, new approaches to food and a genuine community of people that share common interests. I’ve grown tremendously and learned so much just by being exposed to the city’s energy and activities. My goal for this website is to stay consistent with both my themes and my frequency of posting. I want to use this as a stomping ground to capture the creative moments and the explorations of this life. I also want to connect with others, have fun (duh!) and stretch myself as a writer, artist and explorer. Ready..set..go!
“It’s never to late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Revamp |rēˈvamp|verb [ trans. ]: give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to: an attempt to revamp the museum’s image | [as adj. ] ( revamped) a revamped magazine.
…stay tuned…this site is under construction.
I don’t know why but I’ve been paying a lot of attention to shoes lately. Maybe it’s the weather. The cyclical fiesta of snow, sleet, ice and rain has made for a lot of interesting shoe observations when I ride the train in the morning. If I had my way I would wear flip flops all year round. No socks, no laces, no heals, just flip flops and a good pedicure. Unfortunately this isn’t possible in Chicago. To get me through the winter grind, I have settled for Faraway Field shoes from Clark. I love them. They are the perfect combination of mountain, hippy shoes with a bit of casual comfort…just what I need. What are your winter go-to shoes?
It’s finally arrived…the big 3-0. Yikes. Who’d a thunk I’d ever be 30? I will admit I went through a couple weeks despising the thought of entering a new decade, but I’m slowly recovering.
This last month I spent some time looking through old photos and journals and have been reminded that I have indeed come a long way from just a few years ago. I have traveled, moved to the city, started a new job, got my masters, made incredible friends, fell in love, got engaged and even bought my first bright red lipstick…big stuff!
But even with all these “accomplishments” it hasn’t always been easy…actually it’s been quite messy and confusing at times. Therefore, I am very much hoping that my 30s will bring a little more balance and fluidity. I’m hoping that my confidence and curiosity will continue to lead me to try new things. And I’m hoping that there will be loads of good times, good people and good food to come.
Goodbye my crazy 20s…you taught me a lot. Hello my mature, grown-up 30s…time to be brilliant!
The ring is on my finger, the smile is on my face and happiness is overflowing in my heart. Wow…we’re getting married. This weekend my boyfriend proposed to me in our apartment next to the Christmas tree. It was perfect, low-key and very unexpected.
I wanted to write a few words just to capture the newness of this feeling while I can; while it’s still fresh in my mind.
I am still trying to wrap my head around how I became so lucky. Not only with him, but his family and friends who have welcomed me with open arms. I am still pinching myself that this is happening to me…to us! We will be partners for the rest of our lives…I’ll always have a buddy! Finding the one person who consistently makes me laugh, is supportive, honest, trustworthy and downright awesome is mind blowing, really. And knowing I get to spend everyday with him is even more exciting.
Regardless of the slight shock I am still feeling, I am so ready for this next step. I used to think I would be scared to be engaged, scared about the unknown, scared about my own insecurities and expectations. But when the time is right, when you are happier than you ever thought you could be with someone and when you just know it’s not scary at all. It’s comforting and thrilling.
So cheers to you Tony, my fiance, my love. Cheers to our family and friends. And cheers to the future!
My cup runneth over…and over.