Monthly Archives: July 2012

an olympic birthday

Our friend Santron turned 30 on Friday, so we threw him a little party on Sunday night–Olympics-style. Santron loves London, so it was kind of perfect.

After making a paper chain out of Olympic flag colors, I crafted up a gold medal out of cardstock, double stick tape, glitter, number stickers and some patriotic ribbon. It was the first time I used my Martha Stewart circle cutter (even thought it’s been sitting in my craft closet for months…) and I found it challenging to use. My circles were not perfect and the end never matched up with the beginning… Is there some sort of trick to it?

Chef Hasegawa made Shepherd’s Pie and it was delicious! To make this heavy dish a little bit lighter, we used ground turkey instead of ground beef and added in extra peas and carrots. So simple & so good!

We also enjoyed gin drinks (London Dry Gin!) and giant cupcakes (not homemade) and then watched swimming and gymnastics together on the tiny TV. A relaxed celebration–the best kind.

 

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Under a pile of mail

I had some other posts planned for this week, but my volunteer stuff is kicking my butt again. I wish I wasn’t such a procrastinator on the weeks that are empty…it would make these weeks that are full of work and volunteering a little less “full”. Oh, and our apartment is a mess! Mail everywhere, craft projects everywhere, newspapers, laundry and new furniture…YES! I said new furniture! We are moving full speed ahead on finishing the messy side of the living room! It’s so exciting, and scary at the same time. (Will everything look okay together? Will it fill up the space, or crowd the space? Do I need a rug there? What about art? These questions paralyze me…)

So, I thought I would share the Honor Flight Chicago Mail Call letters above. Most of the mail the veterans receive is pretty standard–a plain white letter, a plain card, maybe a few patriotic stickers. But when a letter has vintage postage, I take a moment and enjoy it. That 1942 “Win the War” stamp (top letter, left side, purple with a V and an eagle) is one of my favorites and I love that early stamps were very monochromatic…so lovely. I have a few old stamps, and this makes me want to break them out and use them on a special letter. Do you use vintage postage on your letters?

 

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cocktail perfected: the old fashioned

Last week, we bought some new whiskey, Cedar Ridge…(yes, it’s another one from our favorite Iowa distillery!) I thought I would try my hand at making another classic cocktail–Old Fashioneds.

Classic Old Fashioned

2oz whiskey

1tsp sugar (or 1 sugar cube)

2 dashes bitters

splash of soda or water

Place sugar in glass and add bitters and a little bit of water. Muddle to help the sugar dissolve. Add ice and whiskey. Garnish with cherry and lemon peel (we skipped the lemon peel.)

This one is delicious, but definitely a sipper! And perfect for happy hour!

That’s two cocktails down, one to go for the Summer Manifesto! Any suggestions on a good classic for the big finish in August?

 

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Coffee Talk | One World & My Coffee Beginnings

It is not overstating that coffee plays a very important role in my life. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was in high school. My best friends, Courtenay and Carrie, & I would drive thirty miles to go to an “edgy” college coffee shop, One World Coffee & Cargo in Peoria, Illinois. Nowadays, One World is much more “mainstream” than it was in the mid-nineties. (OH how I wish I had some pictures of high school me at One World!) Back then, they had mismatched furniture, couches, a small stage for open-mic nights, crazy indie art and graffiti all over the walls. And upstairs, there were a bunch of empty rooms painted with psychedelic colors. (I still wonder what happened in those rooms…) In the front part, they sold incense and hippie-looking bags and scarves. One World was always packed with college kids who wore flannels and ripped jeans and sat around having deep conversations over coffee and cigarettes.

In the beginning, Courtenay, Carrie and I would drink sweet flavored iced “cappuccinos”. Once we realized that a carafe of coffee was cheaper and lasted longer than one Vanilla Iced Capp, we quickly learned to drink the “real” stuff. The carafe allowed us to sit and talk and absorb all of the college atmosphere as we made preparations to go on our own college adventures. I’m sure the college kids thought we were ridiculously lame–especially when we brought our high school homework–but we made wonderful memories there, just the three of us.

In a classic instance of “you can’t go home again”, One World remodeled while we were in our first years of college and it never felt quite the same. Maybe it was because they got rid of the stage and the couches and the “Cargo”…but maybe it was because we had grown up a little bit, too…

I do still enjoy going back to visit for a cup of coffee and a Tomato Melt (still on the menu after all these years!), it’s just different now. I guess we all have to grow up sometime!

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washi mail

I’ve been behind in my correspondence lately. To remedy that, I spent a day writing letters and making mail for some new and old pen pals. It felt so good to drop these in the mailbox this week! Now, as the mail for the next Honor Flight rolls in, maybe some mail will roll in for me, too!

To get a letter, write a letter!

Pigeon stamp from the LWA, You Are Here stamp from Elise Blaha Cripe’s (now closed) pop-up shop, Hello stamp from Michaels, washi tape from various sources

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What’s in a Name | Part Two

As I settled on Kimberly AH as a blog title, I realized that AH also stands for “At Home”. “At Home” is fitting because most of what I intend to talk about on this blog happens in our home: remodeling, decorating, coffee drinking, letter writing, crafting, cooking, baking, cleaning, happy hours, volunteering…

I have also been feeling very “at home” in my life lately. I left my full-time job over two years ago and have often felt awkward and unsure when explaining my “lifestyle” to people. Most conversations with new people start with the question, “What do you do?” For the past couple of years I have dreaded this question. I would kind of laugh and jokingly say that I was a housewife and look to Naoto for help. Then there would be this abbreviated explanation about my old job and why I left, and how I just work part time now, oh, and I volunteer (an afterthought)… I felt like I had to justify my existence somehow. This experience was so weird for me, because not once have I regretted or even questioned my choice to leave corporate America (The biggest sign it was the right decision: the night I put in my notice, I slept through the night for the first time in six years.)…but it still was hard to explain to those who didn’t know me. But, as I fell in love with my new life, it didn’t matter what other people thought…the only validation I needed was my own joy.

I’m finally feeling at home in my life, at home in my own skin, at home with Naoto and Presley. I’m right where I need to be.

I know that picture is terribly out of focus, but it is my favorite of the three of us. You almost can’t even tell that Presley was feeling “over-loved” in the moment.

what’s in a name | part one

If naming a child is anything like naming a blog, I am in trouble. I am hugely indecisive and I tend to over-think things. And thoughts of “branding” and all of that nonsense started filling my head. Every title I considered seemed to represent “me” right now, but not necessarily the future me. So, I went with my first name and last initials. Simple and easy. And then, I realized that AH had a few other meanings that speak to me right now, and if I’m lucky, will continue to speak to me in the future.

So, the original meaning behind Kimberly AH–my first name and last initials: Adami Hasegawa.

Adami (pronounced Adam-eye) is my maiden name. Adami is Italian, and though my relatives came over from Northern Italy several generations ago,Β  my mom & I never made red sauce and cannolis while I was growing up (sad, I know!) We ate Midwestern things like casseroles and jello salads and margarine. We are still Midwesterners, through and through. It really wasn’t until I met Naoto, who has a very distinct heritage, that I even considered “where I was from.”

Hasegawa (pronounced Hah-say-gaw-wa) is my married name*. Hasegawa is Japanese. Naoto IS Japanese (not Japanese American). He came to the US when he was twelve, without his parents. He is still the only one in his family who lives in America. He is fluent in both Japanese and English. This comes in handy when I need him to translate Japanese office supply websites and craft books.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the “At Home” meaning behind the blog. See you then!

 

 

*Yes, I kept BOTH names, much to the dismay of the lady at the Social Security office, who gave me some serious attitude about the length of my names…I’m pretty sure SHE isn’t going to have to write it out every day! I always planned to keep my last name, and marrying Naoto–who has such a distinctive last name–solidified that decision for me. I didn’t want to surprise people who would always assume, from seeing my name, that I was a tiny Japanese lady. And the two names flow together quite nicely, don’t you think?

the money card

A good friend turned thirty last month. He has a love/hate relationship with Guy Fieri…as in he loves to hate him. So, who else would be perfect enough to end up on his birthday card???

Do you have a friend who has a love/hate relationship with a celebrity? Maybe it’s Kim Kardashian, or Snookie, or Donald Trump?? Here’s how you can create a card of your own. It will brighten your friend’s day…trust me!

1. Find a picture of the celebrity on the internet. It’s better if you find a picture of him/her doing something obnoxious. This was easy with Guy because he is always making that annoying “signature gesture” of his.

2. Print out the picture and cut around the celebrity’s silhouette with great detail. Guy’s picture made this difficult since he has so many little spikes in his hair.

3. Think of a quote that the celebrity often repeats, type it up (in a fun font) and print it on card stock. It was difficult to narrow down all of Guy’s annoying sayings, but this one seemed to fit the occasion. I used “Star-Studded” font and I chose a dark card stock because I wanted Guy’s bleached white hair to stand out. I also embellished MONEY with my Uni-ball Signo Sparkling Glitter pen. **I seriously love this pen.**

4. Attach your celebrity picture to your card stock. I used foam squares so Guy would pop off the page a little bit.

5. Stick your handmade masterpiece in an envelope and you’re done!

So easy! There is nothing like a handmade card to make someone smile while they simultaneously curse you…

p.s. I got my photo here.

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watermelon rum salad

When you have dinner with your married friends, do you say “I’m having dinner with the Nickersons” or do you say “I’m having dinner with Ned and Nancy”? Saying the couple’s last name seems quite old fashioned. On Leave it to Beaver, the Cleavers were often talking about playing Bridge with the Rutherfords and I think it’s charming. I think I’m going to try to bring it back–calling couples by their last names…unless, of course, they don’t share a last name. Our married female friends each took her husband’s last name…except for me. (I did, I just kept my own, too.) I don’t mind being called the Hasegawas…if you come over to dinner, you can say you’re dining with the Hasegawas and that’s okay by me. You just better hope Naoto is doing the cooking.

So, back to the salad. We had dinner with the Hustons last night and I brought this watermelon dessert. I used up the rest of Peggy’s mint (which lasted a lifetime in my fridge in a glass of water!) and a little bit of delicious Iowa rum!

Watermelon Salad with Rum & Mint

(recipe here, courtesy of your friend and mine–Martha Stewart)

1/2t freshly grated lime zest + juice from 1 lime

2T light rum (I used Cedar Ridge dark rum. It’s our favorite, and another Iowa find!)

1/4t sea salt

6pound piece of freshly cut watermelon, chilled

2T slivered fresh mint leaves

*I just noticed that Martha’s recipe called for 2T light brown sugar. I didn’t add this, but you can! We all agreed that is was sweet enough without the brown sugar, but maybe it adds another taste dimension?

Of course, Martha used a melon baller. I don’t own one of those. I kind of want one, but I’m not sure we eat melon enough to justify the gadget. I just chopped my watermelon (which was a medium-sized seedless) and added the other ingredients right on top and stirred everything around. Martha’s way is much more dignified… We also added the sea salt right before serving. It was the perfect summer dessert.

 

summer minibook update

In my free time (while I’m not sorting mail, working or taking naps), I’ve been slowly working on my Summer Minibook. I bought my minibook here, pre-made from Elise Blaha Cripe. I sometimes feel silly buying a book of paper…I mean, I work at a paper store, I have a huge collection of paper already…but Elise’s books are amazing, the colors are perfect and it’s already DONE and ready for the fun part!

So, here it is…I’ve only made it through mid-June for now, but I think it’s coming together nicely.

I already have a little stash of papery goodness ready to add in for the rest of June and the start of July. I can’t wait.

Supplies used: embellishments from Ormolu, A Life Handmade & Hey Jen Renee, labels from Martha Stewart Avery & Paper Source, stamps from AnnMarie Loves Paper & Elise Blaha Cripe’s (now closed) Pop-Up Stamp Shop, washi tape from Target & Japan

**If you have a question about anything specific, please ask in the comments!