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Blog — "Baltimore"

Architectural Salvage Wine Stoppers

Heidi Shenk "art" "Baltimore" "crafts" "cuisine" "food" "projects"

My chair project was put off this past weekend due to rainy weather. I've been doing most of the work outside on my back deck since it involves sanding and finishing, or inevitably sawdust and stain fumes. So instead I decided to work on another upcycling project.

There are several wonderful architectural salvage warehouses in Baltimore. My favorite is Second Chance which is not just one, but I believe five huge warehouses nestled between M&T Bank Stadium, I-95, and some railroad tracks. What I love about Second Chance is that they have a different warehouse for different subcategories of architectural salvage. One warehouse, for example, is all furniture and stained glass. Another is doors, windows, and the like. A third, and perhaps often most interesting, is architectural elements. This warehouse features anything from old tin ceiling panels to beautiful stair railings to antique walk in refrigerators.

The last time I went to Second Chance, I spent some time sorting through old vintage door knobs and cabinet knobs. All of the different knobs were so much fun that I bought them on a whim knowing that I would surely find a project that would work with them. I eventually decided to turn these lovely knobs into cork wine stoppers. After purchasing the corks, I used the vintage knobs paired with a copper plumbing cap to create my finished product. These particular wine stoppers are currently listed on my Etsy shop. For now, enjoy the wine stoppers in the photos below!

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Just for the record...

Heidi Shenk "albums" "art" "Baltimore" "cards" "High Fidelity" "Los Lobos" "music" "Nick Hornby" "records" "The Bridge" "vinyl"

Just for the record, in case you didn't know, I love music.  Oh, and I also make cards. Today I was doing both and came up with these fun ones that'd be perfect for any serious music lover! I was listening to Baltimore based band The Bridge this morning while sipping away at my coffee, of course! And as I begin designing, I came up with this sort of High Fidelity-like design. Why High Fidelity, you might ask? Well simply because Rob, the main character, is obsessed with vinyl and music-- a music snob at the least. Plus, High Fidelity is only my favorite book and only written by my favorite author, Nick Hornby. And so it is, my favorite design of the moment was created.

Now to go back to another important item on the list. I mentioned listening to The Bridge. I had not listened to them a whole lot-- only here and there. However, they are expecting a new album out on February 1st and they have been getting all sorts of airplay on my favorite radio station WTMD. So naturally I wanted to check out the album. The new album is called National Bohemian, no doubt after Natty Boh, our beloved Baltimore beer. It is produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, another fabulous band that is an absolute must to include in your music repertoire. Currently, The Bridge are streaming the full album on their website. Enjoy!

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Ah, Lazy Morning Coffee on a Snow Day

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore" "cafe" "ceramics" "coffee" "coffeehouse" "cuisine" "food" "Frisco" "Patterson Park" "Patterson Perk" "pottery" "Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters" "Spoons"


Honestly, there is nothing better than waking up in the morning to find that school has been cancelled due to snow. And the one thing that is better is waking up the second snowy morning to another email announcing a second snow day. I really am enjoying the extended ‘mini vacation,’ so to speak!
Back to sleep I go, but only for a short while as I am awakened an hour later by wet dog kisses from our energetic chocolate Labrador, Lilah. Somehow Lilah knows that she gets to spend another entire day with her mama and is just as excited as I am for this glorious snow day! I lumber to the downstairs of our row house in sweats and start in on cup-of-coffee-number-one. Part of enjoying my coffee is choosing the right mug to drink from, and today I have chosen a hand made mug thrown by potter Fred Driver. The mug was a ‘just because’ gift from my mom when I visited home in Indiana in late October, and it has quickly become one of my favorites. I own several other mugs by Fred and I don’t think there is a mug he could make that I wouldn’t like!
The breath-taking view from Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters!
Today’s coffee is organic Mexican, a gift from my sister sent straight from her place of work—Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters in Frisco, Colorado. Roasters, quite honestly, has some of the country’s best coffee. At first I thought that the coffee only tasted better because on the first tasting I was basking in the summer morning sun outside of their shop, taking in the fresh mountain air, and soaking in the amazing mountain view. However, upon tasting the coffee in Baltimore sans romanticized mountain-esque images, the coffee is pretty much just as amazing as it always is in Colorado!
As a former barista for seven years, I tend to consider myself a bit of a coffee lover (or some may say coffee snob) and hope, eventually, to open my own coffeehouse. It’s all part of my big 5-10 year plan. Coffee is a huge deal for me as you can see and so when I moved to Baltimore, finding the perfect coffeehouse was a number one priority.
Perhaps my favorite place to get coffee in Baltimore is a café in the Federal Hill neighborhood called Spoons. Spoons is a fabulous coffeehouse and café which serves freshly prepared food with organic and local ingredients, and their coffee is absolutely fantastic! Unfortunately, I don’t make it to Spoons enough for coffee because they are a drive away. They have become a favorite for brunch or lunch as their sandwiches and salads are always spectacular.  And during the oppressively hot and humid Baltimore summer, I have been known to drive across the city just to pop in for an iced coffee. I am pretty sure they brew the best iced coffee known to man!
During the summer months, we often shop on Sunday mornings at the Baltimore Farmers' Market. Shopping for fresh fruit and produce that is in season becomes more enjoyable with a cup of Zeke’s Coffee in hand. While Zeke’s has a retail location, I don’t make it there often because it is in a different neighborhood that is a bit out of the way.
For my own convenience, I usually grab my coffee from our neighborhood coffeehouse, Patterson Perk. Cleverly named because of its location across from Patterson Park (and maybe perhaps stealing the idea from Friends Central Perk), the Perk is a tiny little coffeehouse in a corner row house. While indoor seating isn’t ideal, the outdoor seating is suitable for spring, summer, and fall. The Perk is dog friendly and so it becomes the perfect stop-off on a summer weekend morning dog walk with Lilah.  In fact, Lilah loves the place so much that she now dashes up the front stoop toward the door every time we pass on a walk, whether or not we intend on grabbing a cup of joe. “Silly girl!” we exclaim. “We’re not going to get coffee today!” Labs are incredibly smart and she must certainly remember the tasty dog treats the Perk gives their loyal canine customers!
And while my second cup of coffee of the morning comes to an end, I have been inspired to continue sharing my favorite coffeehouse around the world. I will certainly share more of my favorites in the future! But for now, I leave you with a silly little coffee cinquain poem that I wrote with my students in class last week.
CoffeeCreamy, smoothBrewing, steaming, sippingOh so very tasty!Latte

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