Paris Hilton’s Doghouse

Fun whimsy or a little bit sick?

Apparently Paris Hilton has been Tweeting about the house she’s had built for her enormous collection of chihuahuas.


The house is 300 sq. ft and two storeys, and features a clay-tile roof with copper gutters, intricate ceiling mouldings and a black crystal chandelier hanging in the bedroom complete with a closet and central air conditioning. It was designed by Paris’s interior designer Faye Resnick and is apparently furnished with faux designer doggie products from such design world luminaries as Jimmy Chew, Pawda, Sniffany & Co. and Chewy Vuitton. Oh and it has a price tag of $350,000.

Am I alone in thinking that in this day and age, this is just a tad inappropriate?  I just hope those dogs like candyfloss pink.




Our lavender bushes at home have been pretty spectacular too (though I forgot to take photos when they were at their peak, so you’ll just have to imagine them).  In the recent dry weather (no meaningful rain in Seattle since mid-May!) the flowers have been drying on the bushes and I’ve been collecting the dried flowers, because it seemed like the right thing to do.

But I don’t really have any idea what to do with it all.  I’m not really the sort of person who makes lavender bags (though maybe I’ll knit some).  According to all these links, I’m supposed to be making lavender sugar, lavender lemonade and lavender oil; using it in cooking; making lavender teabags to put in the bath; using the oil to heal burns and wounds and making eyebags from lavender, flaxseed and rice.  As a linguist, I am intrigued to note that the name lavender comes from the Latin verb lavare  ‘to wash’, so it’s obviously well worth putting in the bath.

Has anyone else got any good ideas?  I particularly want to try using it in cooking, so any good recipes would be much appreciated.


August’s Yarn Soup

Somebody on Ravelry suggested putting all the yarn for your work-in progress projects for the month into a separate bowl or basket. This month I’m attempting to finish my Interminable Blanket (I’ve started sewing it up, yippee!) and my Lacy Wrap and for my quick and easy portable knitting I’m treating myself to a new pair of orange socks.



Lampshade Couture – It’s Competition Time!


Dawn Bassett of Seattle-based LiT Shades makes bespoke lampshades for any room in the house, using designer fabrics such as Marimekko, or custom letterpress printing.

Lit lamps

Until 7th August Dawn is running a competition on her blog where you can win your very own custom couture lampshade. All you need to do is send in a picture of a lamp in need of a revamp and Dawn will pick one to crown with its own special bespoke shade.

I mention this by way of a public service announcement because I love my readers, though I don’t particularly want any of you to enter as I’ve just entered my own sadly neglected Ebay lucite lamp. Anyway, if you must, full details of how to enter are here


A lamp in need of a vamp


Amy Ruppel – State Animals

One of my absolutely favourite artists is the incrediby prolific Portland-based Amy Ruppel (I just wish we could afford something nice and big by her).

Her latest endeavour is a limited edition run of pictures of the official US state animals (no, I didn’t know until I moved here that every state had one either). If you don’t manage to nab one of the originals, she’s also making prints.

Here are a few of my favourites – clockwise from top left Virginia, Arizona, Utah and Washington.  You can buy them here.

bat ringtailedcatillinoisJPG Capture utah

Washington’s state animal is apparently the orca, though after going on not one but two fruitless ‘whale-watching’ trips, we are convinced that orcas are just a figment of the Washington State Tourist board’s imagination.


The Salads of Summer – Greek Salad

When people ask me what I miss most about the UK, I usually say ‘Greece’. 


The Husband and I spent a lot of time travelling in the Peloponnese, the Pelion and island-hopping -  mostly in the Cyclades – before the Minx came on the scene and we can’t wait to go back there with her.

Anyone who’s spent any time in Greece will know that most restaurant meals will be accompanied by a simple Greek salad, or horiatiki (‘village salad’) which is remarkably similar wherever you travel in Greece. A lot of people are scathing about Greek food but there’s something very comforting about this simple salad and we’ve been eating it a lot here in Seattle this summer as we’ve managed to find a good source of Greek feta.  We usually accompany it with some grilled lamb or chicken.

Here’s my recipe – which serves 2-4 people.  All the quantities are very approximate, just add or subtract different quantities of ingredients, to taste or depending on how many you’re serving and what you’ve got to hand.



Tomatoes – the redder and juicier the better.  I chop up about a punnet of sweet cherry tomatoes

Cucumber – about half a large one, cut into thickish rounds.

Red onion – about half a small one

Green pepper – we’ve seen salads with and without peppers in different areas of Greece, so these are optional. Here in the US, I like to use the pointy, slightly spicy, green Anaheim peppers. Add one or two chopped and deseeded peppers to taste. If you’re not using peppers, add a bit more cucumber.

Olives – we add a handful of pitted Kalamata olives from a jar, but any sticky, salty black olives will do

Feta cheese – feta just means ‘slice’ and in Greece this salad normally comes served with a thick slice of feta placed on top

Oregano – this salad is always seasoned with a good sprinkling of dried oregano.  When we first had this in Greece I was surprised that they used the dried stuff when fresh oregano grows pretty much wild and it felt strange to use dried herbs on a salad. But it’s traditional, and it works.

Olive oil – the salad is dressed with a good slug of olive oil.  I like to add to add a little red or white wine vinegar, but again that’s not always the case in Greece.


Assemble your ingredients and serve the salad with the slab of feta still intact on the top.  At the table, serve the salad by mooshing up the cheese with a spoon and stirring it into the other ingredients, to create an oily, cheesy dressing. Never add salt to this salad – the olives and cheese are plenty salty enough.

Kali orexi!


Urban Craft Uprising – the Reckoning

We went, we saw, we bought.  AND there was air-conditioning.  What more could you ask for?

UCU has grown up.  It still has a pleasantly friendly and chaotic vibe, but there was so much more stuff that was actually worth buying.  Still a lot of felt though.


Here are a few images of the Uprising. I’ll talk about some of the individual stallholders over the course of the week.









Urban Craft Uprising



Just a quick reminder for Seattle-based peeps that the first ever summer Urban Craft Uprising is taking place tomorrow and Sunday at the Seattle Center.

I got to a UCU a couple of years back when I first arrived in Seattle and found it to be a charming mishmash of the homespun, the bizarre and the fabulous. Included in the fabulous this time round will be Dave Sheely Designs and the Cakespy herself.