Thursday, January 31, 2008

three things purple, well 4

Blueberry barley pancakes this morning after flower market, admittedly, as inspired by Bon Appetit's February cover. (*Also in Bon Appetit this month is a new column by Molly from Orangette, my favorite food blog. Pretty good stuff.

Purple fringed ranunculus. Like Whoa, I love these so much I sort of hide them in the store so as not to sell them. Not great marketing I suppose...OK, you can have one.

Purple Star hyacinths from flower market this morning...unusual purple stem.

*Lastly, a few weeks ago, my mom scoffed at a purple sweater I picked out for her. "Don't you know that poem: When I am Old I Will Wear Purple?" I didn't but do now. I actually don't like it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This is a drying protea flower, and I was taken with how the petals peel back as the flower loses moisture.

I think I have developed an affection for dying flowers. Some are quite beautiful, and there is something lovely about how people tend to keep an arrangement around for several days after it's lost it's vigor.

I am taking the rest of the day off to regroup and perhaps clean my apartment and *maybe* watch The Way We Were.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I am a pretty lucky lady; because I'm sitting on a box of vintage velvet ribbon. I recently was perusing the February Martha and found that stunning article on jewelry boxes. Do you feel embarrassed when you find yourself drooling over a Martha Stewart magazine? Are you ashamed that you read it three times and consider what you would do if asked to be the celebrity guest on the television show? Don't answer that...

So anyway this jewelbox article made my heart flutter. Antique diamonds and velvet ribbon! Orange, coral and turquoise...I'm thrilled looking at each page of this. The stylists she has are incredible. Really the best. Kudos ladies, because I have this box of ribbon and I can't figure out what to do with it. I'm stunted. I look at it and my mind goes blank. It's been sitting in the shop for days.

Finally I started tying bouquets with it for clients - not the ideal usage, but you have something this special, why not share it right? So if you have some plain boxes lying around begging for adornment and you're feeling crafty, stop by and I'll cut you a yard of it. Maybe you can inspire me...

In other news we are heading upstate this morning to seal the deal on the biggest soap order ever. This is the homestretch - when we return tonight I'm not wrapping another bar of soap for three days. That's right, I said it! With all the email problems I've encountered in the past few days finally FIXED (we ended up just putting in a different SMTP address for outgoing mail, it worked, and I hung up the phone on the TimeWarner hold-line), I really need to settle in over the next few days and catch up, let alone do some planning for Valentines day.

And finally, last night friends, I watched This is Spinal Tap, for...ehemmm...the first time ever. Black, always a good choice.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Orange-you-glad you don't have email problems like I do?

I'm at that point in computer-related frustration where I feel like I am loosing my marbles. SMTP? it = Some Monkey-Trained Personnel who put us on hold for so long the phone battery died and we were back to square one.

On another note, we bought ranunculus this weekend for the shop and I forgot how crazy I am about this flower, it is so perfect in every way; delicate yet durable, often lasting up to 2 weeks.

And that is an artichoke friends. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if you could eat the artichoke after the flowers wilted I'd be -- well I would have a few bucks I guess.

And it seems I'm too cranky to be blogging today, so I'll quite while I'm ahead. Much love to all your patience with my slow responses to your emails.

Friday, January 25, 2008

winter white iv

Madam Satan c. 1930 and some birds.

Descriptive Mentality and a ball jar of some tiny seeded Eucalyptus I found at the flower market this week. Check out this rad wallpaper by Neisha Crosland. I came across it on Design Sponge's guest blogger Abigail Percy's post which focuses on florals. Honestly I think it's a hoot how much attention florals are getting in the world of fashion and design. You know those flowery-Mr. roboto balencia dresses you see everyone in? A bust! but I would wear this here wallpaper any day.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


here's my winter whites III. I've just spent 1 hour trying to manipulate a photo to make lightning bolts come out of an image of napolean's was so neat-looking in my head... anyway I found this pretty image of the forest taken around christmas time which will have to do for today. what I should have done was take a picture of the backs of my hands which are ashen lately from winter weather and too much bleach..

another whitish picture of a little flower eric must have pressed in the dictionary last year. I came across this book under a pile of saipua junk in back today and found a slew of pressed leaves and flowers inside. they are incredibly delicate and lovely, and I was touched at how meticulously he pinned them between the pages. one of the many reasons I love him so much.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

winter whites II

1981 white z28 Camaro.

hurrah spoils! (or fiddling while rome burns)

After 5 grueling hours of pillaging manhattan yesterday I returned with dragon stamps from Casey, Coffee (Puerto Rico Importing Co. makes all other coffee taste like drool), Cat Power, Black Mountain, Clone 7 2005 Cabernet, and a blouse and horse pocket mirror from Castor & Pollux (extraordinary sale). Oh and a caramel chocolate bar from Dean & Deluca, gone already I'm afraid.

FYI, my email is on the fritz since a server migration last week, but eventually I will respond to all emails.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

winter white 1

ammunition for homemade catapults, et. al.

This was the kitchen table two days ago. Aaron has been inspired lately by tropical fruits, and the coconut - the fruit most of us ignore in the market - seems to have caught his attention recently. After a week of idling on the shelf, the coconut was arranged atop JOY with some hardware, Aaron's way of initiating some action.

In truth, a fresh coconut smells and tastes like suntan lotion. It's not sweet, and much to my chagrin, there is no milk. The liquid you hear sloshing inside a coconut is in fact water, and it tastes like SPF 35. Incidentally, the addition of Coconut oil to cold process soap is what helps to make a bar lather.

So Sunday night, amidst a storm of spontaneous cooking, we diligently drilled into the three holes of the coconut, poured out the liquid and cracked the sucker open with a hammer. Then I grated up half of it for Lazy Daisy Oatmeal cake, one of the best things to eat in the universe.

Lazy Daisy Oatmeal Cake

1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar -- packed
2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup nuts -- chopped
3/4 cup coconut flakes

Pour boiling water over oatmeal. Let stand 20 minutes. Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar and brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Blend in vanilla and eggs. Add oatmeal and mix well. Sift flour, soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together. Add to oatmeal mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes in a 9" pan.

Cream butter with brown sugar. Add milk. Stir in nuts and coconut. Spread over cake and broil until bubbly.

Speaking of Coconuts; I'm somewhat obsessed with Kid Creole & The Coconuts footage from the early 80's - and this, my friends, is one hell of a gem right here:

Monday, January 21, 2008

There's a lot of monkey business going on lately, little snippets of projects floating around, things I mean to do, or write about here. At the end of the day Saipua has always been slightly (and delightfully!) disheveled. I suppose it's a good word to describe our aesthetic, and also our style of working. I prefer a wild looseness over tightly designed florals - and because we are such a small business we have the freedom to add new soaps and items to our shop the moment we are moved by something (Enter Dragon's Blood).

Not to mention the constant dishevel of my personal life, my apartment and my refrigerator. I used to think I was organized (boasting my organization skills in job interviews!) but alas in the end I really just fancy the idea of getting organized.

Chaos is much more fun.

So, I ran into Manhattan a few days ago to visit our paper supply for a few new papers to use for the upcoming valentines Dragon's Blood. I was also scoping out some possible packaging ideas for a new BLACK SOAP (which we've been dying to do) and also for a spring Parsley soap and how about a goat milk soap scented with a blend of Tangello and Almond? Whoa.

Around the corner at the Strand I browsed the $1 bin where - admist countless books on the art of the cassarole and the life of Gore Vidal - I found this little gem on flower arranging from 1948:

Very good for our collection of old books that sit around collecting dust. Then we buzzed over to Russ and Daughters for some of the most seductive Scottish nova. Speaking of luxe, while there I discovered they sell Kusmi Tea...a Parisian co. that has some of the best black teas I've ever tasted not to mention ridiculously enticing packaging.
Last but not least I wanted to share one of my new favorite blogs; Pam from Ink&Peat writes a fantastic blog called HouseMartin which highlights all the most beautiful things in the realm of unique design and florals. Yesterday she covered a new book by Clinton Friedman, a commercial nature photographer whose images are completely engrossing.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Enough little woodland creatures and cute mossy covered flower patches where Bambi comes a'trotting or whatever it is little deer do...and onto dragons, smoke & mirrors, 1940's Shanghi, chrysanthamums, lacquer, the color red, Blade Runner, fans, acute angles, opium...

The good news is I snagged this beautiful vintage ceramic dragon from Coco+Kelly's etsy shop a few days ago (and am thinking about that set of Ming+Ling bookends). The bad news is somebody sniped this fantastic serpent necklace from me on Ebay yesterday. I should have entrusted it to Susan, she snipes like a bandit.

So we've poured 30 bars of Dragon's Blood soap, a scent blended with amber, patchouli, jasmine and vanilla. It'll be in the shop February 1 and is intended for your bloody valentine!

I need to leave here right now, but wanted to share that I am listening to This Mortal Coil It'll End in Tears over and over again today - I love this album so much.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Three meditations on quince.

One: It sure is pretty. Today I mixed it with some watermelon poppies and clippings from the infamous Purple Queen plant.

Two: it makes for a hell of a jam. My neighbor Jenna cooked up a mean batch of quince jam a few weeks ago and bestowed a large jar of it to me which I cracked open yesterday morning and spread on toast. Food for the Gods! buttery, caramel fruit unctuousness!

She cooked it on and off for two days and used a bear bones recipe calling for 3 lbs of quince, 3 cups of sugar and cinnamon to taste. Quince has natural pectin (who knew) that helps it to set up without using gelatin.

Three: In Edward Lear's famous poem The Owl and The Pussy Cat, the protagonists dine on mince and slices of quince. The Owl and the Pussy Cat is also a film starring a young Barbara Streisand, who I have recently rediscovered via her famous collaboration with Barry Gibbs; Guilty (1980). If you don't know the song What Kind of Fool, well your fooling yourself - you do...and you love it as much as I do.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

poppies and a run-on sentence.

Some watermelon poppies in the shop today.
Gloomy outside and Eric is playing PJ Harvey and I'm wishing I didn't have to wrap soap so I could go to the movies and see Casandra's Dream which seems appropriate today since Woody Allen never shoots with the sun shining.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pumpkin whoopie pie for lunch today. I'm tired of trying to rationalize a Baked lunch..but this was easy because pumpkin is a vegetable. 5:15 was what time Eric and I got going this morning so my brain is sludge - we did accomplish some business yesterday upstate: we perfected the scent blend for our next soy candle. A mix of amber, sandalwood, fir needle, jasmine and some other jazz - this votive will be an edition of 36 available at our shop only (and online). I need a name for it though...
Listen, Comicopera is so so beautiful and perfect. There are traces of (bear with me here) a soft hot saxophone..and the cheap glitz of a smoky piano bar circa 1982 where someone in an off the shoulder taffeta gown is sprawled atop a grand piano is singing a Roy Orbison a little too slowly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Darla Day and Night. She lays in the window wooing passersby.

Today is Pentti's birthday so we've come upstate to celebrate and see Mummo (grandmother in finnish) who is visiting from Ontario.

Before we left I put together some of the last anemones to bring. I love the way these open and the black interior tendrils grow long as they age.

"With mac book air you can truly live your whole life wirelessly, it starts with the moment you take mac book air out of the box..."
But no CD drive? They really get you there, eh? They nudge you to download music and movies from instead of using CD's...and there is so much music doesn't have! I really wanted Arab Strap's Elephant the other day, (the first track on that album changed my life - in that college years self-discovery kind of way)...its unavailable.


Gale - you're comment about composting is right on the money. Susan has been looking for an under the counter composter - I'm going to do some research on this and report back.

Monday, January 14, 2008

So today we were back to the grind mailing retail packages and getting out a few soap wholesale orders. Obviously Scooter there was of no help, and in fact found a new place to sleep while I slaved over the litter box. Trying a new litter that consists solely of pine chips called feline pine...but no one really wants to hear about that stuff. How about some red hook gossip? Just kidding.

It's been a hectic weekend, one which culminated last night in some quality time with Eric and Aaron via a carb binge (when men cook, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes complement each other) and the recently released Death Proof DVD (complete with the previously missing Kurt Russel lap-dance scene).

I read recently that wasted food in landfills emits a ridiculous amount of toxic methane biogas which is a major contributor to global warming. My impression was that food broke down quickly in landfills, aiding in the breakdown of the trash around it like a happy digestive system... Needless to say I've added another new years resolution: stop throwing away food.

Combining and cooking old fruits and vegetables is a good way to avoid throwing them out when they're past their prime. This was my recent Ah ha Chutney! moment.

I had some apples from October shriveling away next to the window, a prehistoric orange with hardly any moisture left in it, a piece of ginger, some brown sugar, cider vinegar, 2-3 cloves of garlic minced, and shake of ground cloves, cinnamon, salt.

- mince up the garlic, ginger and any citrus fruit
- cut the fruit (you could use pears, apples, pineapple, persimmons etc) in chunks
- put in a pot with everything else and cook for 1 hour stirring every couple min.

This is good with cheese, but what isn't. Especially Camembert. Or on a turkey sandwich. OR on a turkey sandwich WITH Camembert. And it keeps for much longer in the refrigerator than your old fruits.

Also I discovered a fantastic yogurt, SIGGIS. It comes in flavors like orange ginger, pear mint. So so good friends, you can get it in brooklyn at Stinky's on Smith Street, or Marlow and Sons in B-Burg...Murrays in the city.

Now I am going to crank up Eddie Murphy's Party All the Time for the last time today then call it quits.

xox sarah

Friday, January 11, 2008

gold rush

Quickly I wanted to share some photos we took at the Met (and at saipua) this week of grey and gold inspiration, gold in a january sense. Three panels from Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise (from the Baptistry in Florence) are on veiw at the Met till Sunday if you are interested. They are currently restoring the guilded bronze surface of these panels, and actually the Met called this week to see if we had any gold spray paint to spare. Sure!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Possible reasons why men are digging a sizable hole in front of Saipua this week:

1. Truffles growing in the dirt basement
2. Secret location of Ark of Covenant REVEALED
3. Our landlord watched There Will Be Blood
4. Further evidence of the De-gentrification of RedHook.

In a fury of writing bills, answering email from last week and trying to get out the door tonight Eric made me watch this.

I don't have enough time this morning, but wanted to share this picture of a little bouquet that exemplifies our weekend stock: carmen parrot tulips, pale anemones, pink astilbe, leucadendron and calatrea leaves.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

call me ishmael.

We brought the Saltwater soap back this month - in time for my dry winter skin. If you don't have time to soak in the tub (or, like me, don't have time to clean the tub) this bar does the trick; exfoliating with large sea salt crystals, re-hydrating with 42.9% olive oil and jazzing the senses with rosemary essential oil.

I was suffering from the winter vegetable doldrums right after xmas. An ancient fennel bulb in my crisper spoke to me and ever since I've been using fennel in everything - it has a fresh spicyness appropriate in winter cooking. The carrot soup I was working on months ago really benefits from a few fennel bulbs - I just brown chopped fennel, carrots and onion in butter, add some chicken broth, cook for 35 min or till vegetables are tender, then wiz up in the food processor till smooth. Crem fraiche and dill will help too.

Also pretty good is a raw fennel salad - my new favorite:

1. mix a simple dressing of oil, vinegar, shallots AND some orange zest
toss in:
2. 2 fennel bulbs shaved (or sliced very thin)
3. chopped kalmata olives (good ones are important here - Fairway has excellent
toasted pine nuts

Tomorrow we're off to the flower market at the new target time of 5:30 am. I'll post with some pics of what we pick up.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Eric is sick with a cold, so while he is at home perfecting 'Black Magic Woman' on guitar hero, I'm trying my best to keep up with post-holiday orders and flower deliveries. This morning I went to the flower market to pick up a few things. On the 1 Train home I had the pleasure of sitting next to a gentleman who made it his business to call out the station stops. THIS IS FOURTEENTH STREET! MANY TRANSFERS AVAILABLE! This made my day..

And WHEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! FASHION!!!!!!! ... tonight I will sleep tight knowing this little baby is mine. I've been eyeing this clutch for some time, and today it was 40% off at Dear Fieldbinder. Whoever says happiness is not wanting anything has not dropped cash on a Joanna Louca bag. Her bags are all handwoven at her shop in Cyprus, each one is a delight.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'm back fully at Saipua today and with the freezing cold and mountain of work to do I'm having difficulty focusing..

..and better focus is one of my New Years resolutions. Other resolutions include:
- joining the park slope food coop
- learning how to sew (better)
- see more live music
- get eyeglasses

I have a cooler of flowers I should break out and start working with. Anemones are in high season right now. They are grown domestically at Battenfelds up in (the other) Red Hook. Their farm is a great place to visit next year for cut-your-own Christmas tree and a bunch of 'seconds' anemones.

These are some purple hybrids I used in New Years Eve table arrangements.