iPhone? iPhilly.

Corner of 12th & Filbert Streets

I’ve been hearing some negativity lately regarding iPhone photography. I will admit, the quality/resolution is lacking (although, with every new version, that is improving). But my desire here is not to debate. Rather, I’d like to share the title of Chase Jarvis’ book of iPhone photography:

“The Best Camera is The One
You Have With You.”

I’d been having my own bout of internal conflict regarding the artistic integrity of iPhonography (as some have coined it), but after seeing the above phrase, I started to feel released from the shame. Yes, shame.

Not every photo needs to be a work of art — Sometimes you just want to capture a moment; And sometimes it’s just plain fun.

And think about this — Is it better to take a picture, even one with (gasp!) your phone? Or no picture at all???

My phone is my constant companion (I can’t say the same for my DSLR). This allows me to shoot from the hip, whenever the subject arises — street musicians on my jury duty lunch break, a dead bird on my walk with Moxie, the bridge we cross on the drive to my parents, the magic of an ice cream stand in the summer — These are all images that I’m darn glad I captured — with my phone.

I asked Tim to choose ten of my recent iPhone shots to share here. If you’re interested, I’ll likely be uploading more to my Flickr in the near future.

Nifty Fifty’s, Grant Ave.

Girard Point Bridge, 95 South

Simpson Gymnasium, Northwood

Filming of Friday Night Lights series finale, Frankford Stadium

Oakland Street

Coca-Cola Truck passing Jim’s Automotive, Oxford Ave.

H&S Hardware, Castor Ave.

Twistee Treat, Mayfair.

Feel free to comment. Just be nice. :)


PTA On The Road: New Items

There’s something that I love about vintage maps…and with summer arriving, and thoughts drifting to traveling, I present a couple of new PTA projects that I’ve had in the works…

Going Places magnet set:

Cartographic symbols are overprinted on the actual pages of a 1969 Hungarian historical atlas, so each set is unique!

And a new series of greeting cards I’ve been calling Earthly Sentiments:

Red text overprinted on images of late nineteenth-century vintage world maps.

Each card comes with a red A7 (approx. 5 x 7) envelope by French Paper Co.

I’ve corrected the grammar since I took this picture

The new cards and magnets will make their debut at the Olivet Flea Market this Saturday (22nd & Mt. Vernon Sts., in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philly). I will also have my other magnet & pin sets, letter magnets & pins, and the remainder of my natural candles and other greeting cards…oh, yes, and my yummy granola, too! (Phew!)

And mark your calendars, I will be at the OCCCDA Flea Market on June 19th, as well!

Please come out and say hi!

Pimp Their Crib + Baby Grass

Just a quick post to share one of my recent projects.

Our friends, Curtis and Tiffany, who will be having a baby soon (and very soon), asked me to paint the walls of their nursery-to-be with a tall grass motif based on their crib/curtain set.

This is what we started with:

I transferred the design onto the walls with the help of an overhead projector. Tim came to help paint one day. We mixed up a few greens for some variety.

I took this picture with my phone, so I’d have proof that I’d actually done it.

After I finished the walls, the parents-to-be installed new bamboo flooring, shades (nice choice with the brown!), an area rug, pendant light, and a comfy glider/recliner. Nice job, guys!

I couldn’t resist including a picture of the family’s cat, Pepper.

Do not be fooled by her seemingly peaceful appearance. I put myself in harm’s way to get this shot. She is the queen of her castle, and ain’t nobody messin’ with that! Good luck, baby S.!


In a semi-related note, our sod out back seems to be establishing itself. Yay! Plus, I over seeded the area with some old grass seed we had in the shed, and some of it has been popping up as well. So, it seems we also have some of our own baby grass!

Our Radishes

Last week, I picked the rest of the radishes left in our little patch. Not only were the radishes full-grown and ready, but the carrots we planted in the same space were begging for more room to stretch out.

Look at all those beautiful greens! I always feel bad about throwing them out (composting, actually). So whenever possible, we wash and save our greens. And tonight, I cooked them in some olive oil with garlic, crushed red pepper, and Gimme Lean (veggie) sausage. Mixed into some thin spaghetti and topped with pecorino romano and black pepper, we all (including Moxie and Moo) gave it a thumbs up!

Oh, Sod it!

Last week, Tim picked up some sod, and we spent an evening laying it down.

Each roll of sod was approximately 2 x 5 feet. Since our plot is about 5.7 x 10, we needed six pieces.

Tim had already cleared and roughly leveled the area after he built the compost bin, but did a once-over with a loop hoe and rake, to get any new weeds that had emerged and to adjust the leveling. While he did that, I picked out the stones that came up. Then we dampened the ground a bit. I don’t know if that’s proper procedure, but we figured it certainly couldn’t hurt.

Rolling out the first piece. Look at how red that soil on the sod is!

We laid the pieces in a brick pattern, so there wouldn’t be a seam line straight across the middle.

Since our plot is not quite six feet wide, we needed to trim a few inches off the center strips.

After we finished laying the pieces, we gave it the best soaking we could with a watering can. After having to fill that can at least ten times (can you say tedious?), we went out the next day to get a little sprinkler.

So, here’s where we’re at:

Here’s hoping that we can keep the grass alive (without too much watering)!

New Compost Bin

Tim and I both grew up in families that gardened and composted. So, when we got married and were in our Fairmount rowhouse apartment, it felt weird for us to throw our food scraps into the trash. We knew we wanted to compost, but as urban newbies, our main concern, was that little (and maybe not-so-little) icky critters would get into it. So, we decided on a fully enclosed Envirocycle compact tumbler, which served us well for several years. Recently, though, we’d been creating more scraps than it could handle, and were saving them in a supplementary tub in the middle of the yard. In order to continue with our plan to have grass in the center section, we needed to get that tub o’ compost out of there.

Tim left the corner supports a bit tall, in case we decide we want a lid on top

So, two weekends ago, we designed, and Tim built a larger compost bin. He used leftover decking and fencing that we already had, and two rolls of mesh hardware cloth. In the narrow space to the right of the bin, we will build or find a container for our saved shredded leaves.

A lift-hatch allows finished compost to be accessed from the bottom of the pile

A tip to anyone thinking of trying their hand at composting: the most important thing is to keep the proper proportion of dry browns (shredded fall leaves, dry grasses, saw dust, etc) and wet greens (organic grass clippings, kitchen scraps, used coffee grounds, etc). There should be at least four times as much browns as greens. If you don’t have enough browns in the pile, the breakdown will be delayed, and the pile can get smelly. And who wants a smelly pile?

The new bin was filled with what had been sitting in compost limbo, layered with several handfuls of shredded fall leaves

If you’re interested in reading a little more about composting, check out Mike McGrath’s Compost 101.

There she is, siting in the back corner…

Do you compost? If so, do you have any helpful tips or stories?

Our Mother’s Day Brunch

Growing up, our family tradition for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, was to bring the honoree breakfast-in-bed. Although we no longer do the “in-bed” part, we still continue the tradition of making a surprise special meal for the day. So, on Sunday, my sisters and I put together a Mother’s Day “brunch” for our mom. And I have to say, we did a decent job…although she probably won’t appreciate that I’m posting her picture here. Get over it, Mom, there’s another one further down, too. :P~


  • Mimosas
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Feta
  • Biscuits with Creamed Chipped Beef or Creamed Veggie Sausage
  • Turkey, Beef, and Veggie Bacon
  • Salad of Watercress, Spring Garden Greens, and Fennel with Orange Dressing and Almonds
  • Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Coffee or Almond Icing
  • Biscuits with Berries and Fresh Whipped Cream

And now to the pictures…
pretty in pink hydrangeas and Tim’s painting, “Sheaf”

Momma: “Mmmm, I love cream chipped beef!”
Me: “Yes, we know. That’s why we made it.”

Timmy’s plate

Too busy eating to talk

Andrea’s diggin’ the veggie bacon

Tamarind, Amy, and Jamie gettin’ jiggy with the desserts

One can never have cupcakes too often…chocolate with almond and coffee icings

Biscuits topped with fresh strawberries, cherries, and fresh whipped cream. Yum!

Does your family have any Mother’s Day traditions?
Did you or your family do anything special for Mother’s Day this year?