Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Tunes

This is one of our classic favorite songs from the early days of our relationship. Forever if Blue Jeans is a solid mid tempo rocker which makes it perfect for all ages to boogie down. There are also a lot of awful covers of it on youtube. So, you know, if you're lookin' to waste some time...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday Tunes

You could argue that this isn't Kurtis Blow's best song (but you'd be wrong). This is the song that sold me on his music. David sang Takin' Care of Business at a karaoke night in this style a few years ago and it was a real hit. I'd recommend singing it in this fashion to anyone trying to look cool and impress the ladies.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jennie's Creativity Tips

I'm sure you've all had instances when you feel like your creativity has taken a hike. Sometimes my creativity sneaks off in the darkness of night and makes me feel like I am the least crafty person in the world. When I feel like I'll never have another good idea (and the world as I know it is coming to an end), these are the things I do for creative motivation. I hope they can help you as much as they help me!
  1. Eat as much junk food as possible. I'm talkin' anything and everything you can get your hands on. Stale cookies? Perfect. Chocolate chips straight from the bag? Yes. Candies that you don't really like? Absolutely.
  2. Sing songs very loudly and with the wrong lyrics. I prefer to do this when someone that is a real lyric stickler is in the room. Sing your heart out! Serenade that special someone.
  3. Whatever you do, don't look up your successful classmates on any social media platform. Stay as far away from Facebook as possible.
  4. Go to your spouse, friend, mom, or whoever is near you at the time. Whine and complain until they cave and start saying things that boost your ego.
  5. If all else fails, curl up in the fetal position on the couch and watch television until your mind goes numb. Put off all your creative projects until tomorrow.

You're a good listener, Mr. Cake.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Some Good Stuff

Some good stuff

Even the dogs found some good stuff this week! They have been so happy since they found this old, ratty frisbee in the yard. (We think it was thrown over by one of our neighbors, thanks neighbors.) All they want lately is to is be outside fighting over it.
Here's the good stuff we found:

-Ever wonder what the insides of a flower look like?
-We wish we could find something this cool in our attic!
-The awesome Megan Mulally.
-Hard to beat Kodachrome.
-Which brings to mind that we need to see this sometime.
-In case you need something to help with your Downton Abbey withdrawl.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Jennie Sans

You may know the feeling: cycling through a list of fonts in your preferred design program, trying to find the perfect one. Eventually, your eyes cross and words lose all meaning. Many designers solve this by sticking to a handful of dependable typefaces. I've certainly been moving in that direction, favoring the classic transitional serif Baskerville, which I find is both elegant and versatile. Helvetica is popular for a reason, and I count myself among its admirers. Still, certain projects require a deviation from the stand-bys. Developing the identity for Terrier Mountain is one such instance.

I knew I wanted to strike a casual, handmade feeling with the type, but I am often let down by handwriting fonts. I played with a slab serif for a while (the ubiquitous Archer, known as the Martha Stewart Living font, is a slab serif), which was nice. But I wanted something different. One day, I asked Jennie, whose handwriting I've always envied, to draw some letterforms for me. The result is a work-in-progress typeface I'm calling, fittingly enough, "Jennie Sans."

The Jennie Sans

I like where it's heading, and though there's refining to be done, I'm going to live with it for a while, try it in various layouts, and see how it all comes together. I want to maintain some of the quirky forms, so it's never going to be perfectly polished. I'm always up for constructive criticism, here or at Flickr, where I post works-in-progress.

One of my greatest pleasures in going back to school has been the opportunity to dive head-first into the history of typography and develop a deeper appreciation for the myriad styles that have evolved over the last half-millennium. It's fun to discern subtle variations in typefaces and see how they play out in practice. And it's always exciting to find a type that clicks into a design to make it come alive and more strongly communicate its message. I think Jennie Sans does the trick here!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Tunes

This song has become our jam lately for some reason. Go ahead and have a listen and bust out a dougie or two. Also there is the added bonus of Barack Obama doing the dougie on Ellen (faked, of course). Full disclosure: David and I have stolen all of our best dance moves from the Obamas.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Maple Syrup Festival 2012

This weekend, Jennie and I sojourned across the hills of southern Indiana to the outskirts of Salem, where the Goering family hosts an annual Maple Syrup Festival. This was our fifth visit since moving to Bloomington in 2004. This was the first year I was able to find it without asking for directions, though we had our new androids at the ready if I got turned around in Salem.

Maple Syrup Festival
The line of hungry festival goers trying to decide between pancakes, waffles, barbecue chicken, or pulled pork.

Though the fest's popularity has increased since we first went, it's still a family-run operation. They've tightened up a few things to accommodate the larger crowds. It's not all you can eat anymore - but how many times do you need to get a refill on waffles or pancakes loaded with syrup, ice cream, whipped cream and fruit? The popular tomahawk throw is also adequately supervised now.

Maple Syrup Festival
A view of the grounds from the creek running beside them.

The festival takes place right next to the sugarbush where Leanne and Michael Goering produce their syrup, which is a dark, rich flavor due to the high mineral content in the soil. It's a little less sweet than lighter syrups, but I think it makes it even better. Seriously, once you get a taste of the real thing, you cannot go back to the "maple flavored" stuff. Jennie and I  are really frugal people, but we've found that willingness to spend a bit more on things like maple syrup or spices improves the quality of our meals exponentially.

The festival grounds are sprinkled with tents where vendors sell locally made foodstuffs (we bought a jar of amazing spicy mustard from Localfolks Foods and it's raised our veggie burger game a lot), candles, baskets and the like. A local ranch also brings out angola goats and an alpaca who gamely puts up with the gawkers and photographers.


A local member of the Wyandotte tribe, Crooked Paw, is on hand to give demonstrations of the "stone age method" of making maple sugar, using a radically scaled-down version of a pre-Columbian sugar-producing operation (he uses a small log rather than a titanic forty- or fifty-footer a tribe would need to provide for everyone). He fills a cavity in the log with hot maple sap, partially cooked down to speed up the process, and proceeds to boil it down using large chunks of granite which have been heated in a fire. Stone Age Maple Sugar Production Demo
Crooked Paw fills the log with sap.

Stone Age Maple Sugar Production Demo
Granite is heated in a fire to boil the sap.

Stone Age Maple Sugar Production Demo
Crooked Paw deftly immerses the stone in the sap.

Stone Age Maple Sugar Production Demo
The sap starts to bubblin'...

Stone Age Maple Sugar Production Demo
...and steamin'...

Stone Age Maple Sugar Production Demo
...until the stones are removed and the sugar crystallizes. Alternately, Crooked Paw said that sphagnum moss can be used to scoop out sap.

Taking place the last weekend of February and first weekend in March, there are some wild cards. Weather can be iffy - even this year, when La NiƱa gave us an unseasonably warm February, last Saturday was really chilly. But luckily, the ground wasn't soggy with snowmelt or rain this year. But the remoteness of the spot and the cold weather only add to the experience. This festival just wouldn't be the same in middle of summer. You need to be bundled up against the chill to really appreciate that warm syrup, and it makes you feel some small bit of empathy for the Native Americans, pioneers, and farmers for whom maple sugar must have been an even more precious treat.

One thing we've learned is that when we go to the festival, we're not going to be super-productive later in the day. After gorging on mapley goodness and driving an hour and a half back to Bloomington, it's nap-time, so it's best to not expect to get work done. But once that's over, it's time to start figuring out how we want to use up that pint of Grade B Dark syrup throughout the year.