It couldn’t be a lily or a taffy-daffodilly…

…It’s got to be a rose ’cause it rhymes with Mose.*

logo-collage

Holy smokes, it’s already been a week since my last post? And I promised you then that I would try to clear up some confusion over my assortment of online names. Taking a chronological trip in Ye Olde WABAC Machine… ::insert wooblie soundtrack and WavyVisionâ„¢::

Once Upon A Time, circa 1998 or ’99, I unofficially name my freelance company Ampersand Ranch. Technically, the full name is Ampersand Ranch Graphic Design and Prairie Dog Refuge. Which is a teensy bit funnier if you, like me, are living in Boulder, Colorado during the Great Prairie Dog War of the late ’90s.

It isn’t until 2006 that I officially register Tiddleywink (consciously misspelled to avoid run-ins with duplicate names, HA-HA) with the State of Colorado, to encompass both my freelance work and my first Etsy store.

Thanks to the gentle shoving encouragement of my techgeek friend Dave, I join Twitter in early 2007 (pre-SXSW). This is back when all Twitter users combined post an average of 20k tweets a day. So you see, I can have just about any username I want. And, since Twitter is purely social, I go with my now-purely-social name: AmpersandRanch. The frequent mistyping by a Twitterfriend of my username leads the change to Ampersandwich shortly after (obviously, before a Reply To shortcut becomes a feature) so Bryan should get all of the credit for that bit of portmanteau genius.

By 2009, Twitter is more business-friendly. I decide it would be a good time to switch my username to Tiddleywink to encourage my clients and customers to find me socially as well. Except that, however unlikely, someone has by this time registered my misspelled name! The account is inactive: no tweets, no followers, and following only 1 account. I send a message to the account holder, asking if she’d mind letting me have the name. I don’t hear back. I put in a request with Twitter to get the name switched over to me—they’re still small enough then that they will do this if you can prove cause—but I’m informed that there is a backlog for the service. Before my position in the queue (ticket #600496) comes up, Twitter has stopped assisting with inactive-account-name-takeovers.

Instagram comes along in 2010. It and Twitter are very good friends, sharing user lists and all, and having a common username between the two is logical. Tiddleywink is still being squatted upon at Twitter, so I open my IG account as Ampersandwich. I briefly change it to Tiddleywink but, fearing confusion between followers, I change it back.

Present Day: Instagram and Twitter are no longer friends. I rarely post to Twitter anymore, and while I have half as many followers on IG, the IG community is much more interactive. I decide it’s safe to change my IG username to Tiddleywink…only to discover it’s been taken. The account is private and the user photo appears to be a blurry, 1979ish snapshot of Prince Charles in a trenchcoat, but at least the account has posted some photos so I don’t feel as though my “rights” are being squandered.

As for ShoesAndPie and Winkorama…well, this post is already too long. See you next week! Maybe with a post about pie!

*If you don’t already have this song stuck in your head, you can watch the movie clip (a loose a-rose-by-any-other-name reference) here.

Leave a comment

Filed under day job, friends, the office

Checking In

Whoooo-ie, it’s been a while since I’ve had a day “off” to check in with all y’all! I’m not dead. Or even ill. I have been suuuuper busy. I can’t promise that I’ll get back to writing with frequency, but I have made a concerted effort in the last 24 hours to dust off (figuratively) the inventory at Tiddleywink Vintage.

Speaking of Tiddleywink Vintage, some items have been noticeably stolen from the Shoppette. This does not bode well for the continued existence of said Shoppette, so if you’ve been putting off a visit—and the rare ability to try on items—then you’d best get over there before the current lease expires in August. I expected there would be some theft, but it has averaged, dollar-wise, about 30% of actual sales, and that’s more than I’d allowed for.

Speaking of Tiddleywink Design (close enough), good things are afoot. One regular client has given me an unexpected raise, which is flattering, inspires confidence, and is also so very useful. Raises make an excellent gift. And then there’s a brand new client (potentially; contract in the works) that is in for an excellent design piece, should they decide to go ahead with the proposed project. The ideas are flitting around in my head like butterflies. Beautiful, silky, sleepy butterflies. I know I typically focus on the production end of things, but print design still tickles my fancy when the client has, or at least desires, a vision beyond “I don’t know, what does everyone else do?” You would not believe how often I used to hear that, and that is one reason why it’s important to choose clients as carefully (hopefully) as they choose you.

Related: I was chatting with a colleague yesterday, and she put forth an idea about visually testing interviewing clients before accepting a job. She was joking, but I think it’s an excellent idea. Not only will it red-flag designer/client head butting far in advance of any actual disagreement, but it also acts as a way of sussing out the visual style of a person who may have difficulty speaking in terms that us artsy-fartsy types use. I frequently ask clients to send me samples of what they like, even if unrelated to their specific needs, but I think many non-creatives feel overwhelmed by the request or quite frankly don’t know what they like and just send a random assortment of stuff in hopes of earning an imagined good grade. I’m paraphrasing here, but part of the discussion with my colleague went something like “I’m looking at a client’s submitted “mood board” and it makes me want to stab myself in the eye.” If we, as designers, take control of that task and ask the (potential) client to simply check boxes, it has the potential alleviate some undue stress on both ends. Maybe.

Also Related: I need a traffic manager. Can work remotely. Salary paid in baked goods. Or homemade ice cream.

Unrelated: I have TWO GALLONS of mango nectar, in two 1-gallon bottles. I’d intended to use them up making a series of delightful rum-based tropical drinks, but I don’t drink much and so haven’t gotten around to that. I asked (on IG and Twitter) for recipe suggestions, outlining that: I’d like to use up a GALLON of mango nectar before the open container goes fuzzy or vinegar-y, and I also noted that my household consists of only two people. The suggestions that I got, while all sounding tasty, mostly neglect to meet these confining restrictions. For instance: I’d have to make 448 mango-lemon cupcakes to use up the gallon. I’ll experiment today with a mango sherbet (creamier than sorbet because, well, dairy) and some mango iced tea. That should neatly use up a quart, anyway. The best suggestion was to donate the nectar to a food bank, and I think the second gallon jug will go that route.

Still Unrelated: I reached the 1,000 follower mark on Instagram, and so am running a giveaway contest. It’s Instagram-only, though, so you’ll have to take it up over there.

Upcoming Somewhat-Related Blog Post: Why I’m @ampersandwich on Twitter and IG, and @tiddleywink just about everywhere else.

Until next time!

Leave a comment

Filed under design, food, friends, life-threatening clutter

Withering Heights

Old leeks: don't look so bad once they're trimmed and washed

Old leeks don’t look so bad once they’re trimmed and washed

I love a pun. That doesn’t mean I’m good at them.

S’anyway. It’s Sunday night and the scheduled dinner is ham but The Boyfriend and I spent all weekend indoors watching the 55th annual March Meet via the live stream on BangShift.com (thanks for providing that coverage, BangShift guys), while I read from cover to cover a huge, 1940/41 Montgomery Ward catalog which really did take two dedicated days to get through. This means that not only have I not planned the week’s menu, but I certainly haven’t gone grocery shopping. I did, however, make some pressure-cooker chicken broth from a leftover roasted chicken carcass.

Well, what else is in the fridge? Among other things, some leftover mashed potatoes and two withering leeks. A-ha! I bet I can combine these items into a satisfying soup while simultaneously clearing out the fridge and feeling all thrifty-like!

Without further ado, the recipe:

IMG_0536

Withering Leeks Soup served with Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread

Withering Leeks Soup

2 Tbs salted butter
2 large leeks, sliced thin, darker greens removed
2 cups mashed potatoes
6 cups chicken broth

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and start to brown. I didn’t time this, but probably 5–7 minutes. Add the mashed potatoes and broth, and cook until heated through—about another 5 minutes—stirring occasionally. If your mashers, like mine here, start cold from the fridge and as a fairly solid lump, it may take a few minutes longer. Longer still if your broth is also cold from the fridge. Once heated through, purée with an immersion blender* or, lacking one, purée in batches in a blender.

This is what you want the leeks to look like before you add the potatoes and broth

This is what you want the leeks to look like before you add the potatoes and broth

You can easily substitute vegetable broth to make this vegetarian, and if you prefer vegan recipes, also substitute olive oil for the butter. Make sure those leftover mashed potatoes are dairy-free!

Makes approximately 8 cups: 8 servings as a starter, or 4–6 as a main course with a leafy salad and some crusty bread.

Shown with: Jim Lahey’s original No-Knead Bread recipe. Which I baked in the same (hard-anodized) pot in which I had previously boiled the potatoes, and later cooked the soup. Simpatico.

Gratuitous Pyrex photo. This is my container of leftover mashed potatoes.

Gratuitous Pyrex photo. This is my container of leftover mashed potatoes. It’s a Hospitality Casserole (443 Cinderella bowl with 624 lid) made in 1959.

*If you don’t have an immersion (stick) blender, I promise that they really do come in handy. They’re inexpensive, clean easily, and save you from the hassle of—for instance—awkwardly pouring approximately a half gallon of soup into a blender in batches.

Leave a comment

Filed under collections, food

Town Crier Flour: Lucky Low Cost Prize Winning Recipes

I have approximately a bazillion* vintage and antique cookbooks, and sometimes within the pages of those cookbooks I find hand-written recipe cards or mass-market pamphlets that have been printed up by a company encouraging the use of their special ingredient. Today’s post focuses on one of those pamphlets: Lucky Low Cost Prize Winning Recipes, promoting Town Crier Flour which was made by The Midland Flour Milling Co. in Kansas City, Missouri. There is no date on the pamphlet, but because it mentions that these recipes are part of a group of 100 “that were chosen from thousands”—and Town Crier published a book of 300 of these recipes in 1938—we can assume this predates 1938 by at least a few years. I love that the pamphlet includes tips for washing ink out of cotton bags. Flour sack towels (or dress), anyone?

It’s a small pamphlet, so I’ve scanned it in its entirety. Because the previews are so small (click on the images to see (and print) more legible versions), I’ll tempt you to click on the images by telling you they include recipes for:

  • Dutch Peach Cake
  • Pineapple Cookies
  • Graham Clover Leaf Rolls
  • Quick Brunch Coffee Kuchen
  • Lemon Fluff Pie
  • Baking Powder Biscuits
  • Golden Caramel Cake (with Caramel Syrup)
  • Bread
  • Bacon Muffins

…and of course, the previously mentioned Three Methods For Washing Ink Out Of Cotton Bags. None of these recipes have been personally tested by me (yet), but I encourage you to give one or two a whirl and let us know how it turns out!

Lucky Low Cost Prize Winning Recipes

Lucky Low Cost Prize Winning Recipes

TCF_in1

TCF_in2

The back of the brochure

 

*rough estimate

 

Leave a comment

Filed under advertising, collections, food, packaging, vintage

VLV16: The Wardrobe

Long-time readers are wondering why I haven’t yet posted anything about my wardrobe plans for the upcoming Viva Las Vegas rockabilly weekender. Year in and year out, every near-Spring I’m found with a pile of sewing projects and just a few pounds to lose in order to fit into that year’s fantastic dress…

But not this year. This year, I’m refusing to encumber myself. There’s too much kerfuffle in my life, and I don’t want to add to it further. No diets. No sewing.* No shopping.

Which is easy for me to say. I mean come on. I’m a vintage clothing vendor. It’s not “shopping” if I’m picking from my own inventory. Especially if I replace each item that I pull from Tiddleywink inventory with a vintage item from my personal collection. Right? ::bats eyelashes::

And one morning, I feel myself beginning to panic at my utter disregard for pre-pre-preplanning, and I start going through my racks. I pull out perhaps 15 dresses. Fit and “wow” factor narrow the options down to the requisite 4 day ensembles, 4 evening ensembles. I have to say, I’m excited by the options. This will be my best-dressed Viva yet, and that’s saying something.

The Boyfriend, who continually threatens to pack nothing more than jeans and an assortment of racing-related T-shirts, is caught up in my excitement and has started to consider items from his own vintage wardrobe (my heart is aflutter with hope that he’ll actually pack and wear some of it). He looks ever so swell when he gets decked out.

My shoe selection is currently at 10 pairs; I will narrow that down to 8—at the most—before Packing Day dependent on handbag options and Boyfriend’s opinion (he does have good taste, when pressed). My handbag collection’s newest addition, the Rialto that I wrote about recently, will not even make the trip due to fragile packing concerns. My polka-dot Toro paneled handbag will stay home because it simply doesn’t match anything I’m planning to wear. Maybe Next Yearâ„¢.

And so without further ado, a sneak peek at my VLV16 evening wear:

Rhapsody in Blue

Rhapsody in Blue

Silk. Rayon. Sequins. Taffeta. Chiffon. Eat your hearts out, kiddies. I mean, um, see you there!

_____________________________

*Full Disclosure: Today, I mended a pulled hem on a VLV wardrobe item. I will likely shorten the straps of one dress. The skirt I plan to wear to the car show I repaired a month ago, with no notion at that time of wearing it to Viva. The top I’ll wear with it was sewn by me, from a vintage pattern, but last year.

Leave a comment

Filed under collections, fashion, sewing, springtime, vintage, Viva Las Vegas