steal this idea from richmond’s pasture: top “dipped” wooden chairs

The other weekend, we made a road trip down to lovely Richmond, VA to visit with friends — which happily included sneaking out for a grown-up meal at Pasture, from the same team that is responsible for the Richmond staple, Comfort. Featuring the same sort of elevated home cooking by chef and owner Jason Alley, Pasture serves up locally grown plates, like a sophisticated version of a state fair. Though the Frito pie and southern fried rice I was enjoying were insanely tastey, my attention was distracted by these cleverly placed, colorful wooden chairs. Putting a spin on the “dip dyed” trend, Jason’s wife Mercedes Schaum and their business partner, Michele Jones, painted just the tops of some wooden dining chairs. They resourcefully collected them from a surplus at their kids’ school, and used the same blue and green tones as used elsewhere in the restaurant. Jason explains that they decided to put the color on the top of the chair, rather than the legs, to draw their customers’ eyes across the dining room, not down to the floor. And, since it’s impossible to find a bucket big enough to “dip” a whole chair into, they taped off the backs and painted on the color. So simple it’s genius! Put this one in your inspiration board and save for later. And be sure to swing by Pasture the next time you go through Richmond!

Photos by Scott Elmquist

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real life test kitchen: chicken pot pie pasta

Every now and then you stumble upon a recipe and think, “Where have you been my whole life?” That’s how I felt after making Chicken Pot Pie Pasta from the October issue of Everyday Food. Now that there’s a fall chill in the air, the hankering for chicken pot pies is growing. But how often do you have dough in the freezer or the time to make it from scratch? This simple recipe replaces the dough with cooked pasta. Everything is done on the stove top it takes about 30 minutes. Here’s my take on the dish. The result was a big crowd-pleasing yum. The leftovers were even more divine.

Chicken Pot Pie Pasta
What You Need:
3/4 pound of penne or some other pasta
2 large handfuls of green beans, cut into inch-long pieces (I used frozen which were fine.)
3 tbls of butter
1 small (or half a large) yellow onion, chopped
1 o 2 stalks of celery, depending on how much you like, chopped
2 or 3 carrots, diced
1/4 cup of flour
2 cups of organic chicken broth
2 cups of diced chicken (Note: I cooked up some boneless chicken breasts in a pan with butter first.)

1. Make the pasta. When there is 3 minutes left to cook, add in green beans.
2. Meanwhile, heat up the butter in large saucepan until sizzling. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook until transluscent (about 4 minutes). Sprinkle flour on top, stirring constantly until well incorporated. Slowly add in the broth — don’t stop stirring! You’re basically making a roux. Once well blended, reduce heat and simmer. You might need to add more broth if it gets too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add drained pasta and beans to the chicken and vegetable sauce. Stir well and serve!

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diy project: a tea towel tote via the curiosity shoppe at target

The smart folks at Target continue to give some of our favorite independent design brands a guest platform in their stores. Starting September 9th, they are unveiling The Shops at Target, and you’ll have access to one of the most creative stories in San Francisco, The Curiosity Shoppe. The spirit of The Curiosity Shoppe is to encourage your own DIY projects with other beautiful goods, so Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom, the clever team behind the brand, put together this awesome craft project — the “Tea Towel Tote Bag.” Here’s what you need to make this cute carry-all: 1 tea towel from The Curiosity Shoppe at Target (set of 3 is $10). 1.5 yards of 1” cotton webbing. 1 pair of scissors. Some pins. Thread. And, a sewing machine.

Here are the super-easy step by steps:


Fold tea towel in half, right sides together


Using a half-inch seam allowance, stitch up the sides of the towel, back-stitching at the beginning and end of each seam. Turn bag right side out. Cut the webbing in half to make the 2 straps.

Pin the ends of each strap 1” down from the top of the bag and 3” in from sides, making sure they’re not twisted.


5. Attach the ends of each strap by stitching a square around the edges of the 1” tail of webbing, removing the pins as you go.

Carry your new tote bag!
(And don’t forget to look for The Curiosity Shoppe in Target, starting September 9th!)

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shelter-spotting: what we loved at nyigf, part two

Continuing our tour of what we loved at the NY International Gift Fair last week, we thought we’d show some of the more clever things we saw. A bit of whimsy always excites us. Look at what’s coming to stores soon:

Areware‘s mixed media wastepaper baskets, Bow Bins by Cordula Kehrer.

Cracked Colander from Fred & Friends.


Exquisitely mismatched “hybrid” plates by Seletti from Italy.

And, from the design’s more prolific leading man, Jonathan Adler, comes his long awaited Junior line. Who says baby girls have all the fun?

Want to see more from NYIGF 2012? See this post.

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happily retro: customized cutout leather moleskin notebook covers

In the age of everything digital, I still can’t give up the notebook in my bag. I grab it out more often than any of my i-devices when I’m in a meeting, and more often than not, that notebook is Moleskin. Now I can make that Moleskin as personalized and as groovy as my iPad (which is covered in a DodoCase, btw). The Grove Notebook cover is made in Portland, Oregon to order. You can chose from one of their lovely designs, or customize your own. I recently ordered one for a friend’s wedding gift, based on an illustration they included in their invite. It’s perfect for travelers, dreamers, scribes, and those of us who can’t function without our to-do lists. To customize your own, pick a high-contrast black and white image, and download Grove’s online template here. Small business owners, it’d be a great premium gift for your top clients, don’t you think? $79 each.

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