Thursday, April 30, 2009
Modish is a lovely blog full of design, craft, shopping and fine living inspiration. The selections Jena curates are proof that gorgeous style can be cultivated through living and buying handmade! I feel so honored to be part of a fantastic outfit suggestion such as this...the warm gray juxtaposed with the bright pop of red is divine!
Thank you so much!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Ruby and I decided that since it was warm enough, we would have to make ice cream sundaes. We went to the grocery store, picked out our preferred flavors of ice cream and all the fixins, and then went home to create our masterpieces. Ruby loves chocolate ice cream, so we scooped two large scoops of it for her, plopped it into the bowl and covered it with hot fudge, chocolate sprinkles, whipped cream and a few cherries. I chose butter pecan (chicks dig it) and garnished it similarly. We sat down at the table, drooling and oogling our masterpieces, and dug in. So scrumptious. I cannot tell you how delicious a sundae tastes...especially after going well over a year without one!
Now that summer is approaching, it's the perfect time to dig out the ol' ice cream scoop and try some classic sundae recipes, don't you think? Well, I was extra inspired by this article I saw in the LA Times recently, wherein David Lebovitz suggests some interesting and unorthodox flavor combinations for our beloved ice cream. Everything from carrot cake ingredients to buckwheat are suggested in this article, which served to remind me of my top secret ice cream topping love of all loves. Wait for it! NERDS. I'm telling you, Nerds are the jam mixed into ice cream! Invite your family to a wacky ice cream taste test and have everyone mix in a random and unusual ice cream ingredient or two. You'll never know what might work! I wouldn't be surprised if warm french fries showed up in the mix, or even potato chips. The sky's the limit, isn't it?! If it's delicious, you could always suggest your flavor to Ben & Jerry's!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Em and I are having a baby. A soft, tumbly, four-legged, snorty pug baby, to be more precise! We're just about 10 days away from picking up our little man and we are both, individually and collectively, shaking with excitement. We elected to go with a pure bred pooch for our first dog for a number of reasons, but for all the animal activists out there, rest assured that we have many MANY rescue and shelter dogs in our future. This is both a special treat to us and a way for us to learn and grow with a pup who has limited previous training and learned behaviors. We both feel like this experience will make us better parents to a shelter or rescue doggie in the future!
Our pug puppy's name is Seamus Fenway. Seamus, because we are both a little Irish, and because we both love the name. Fenway, because we both agreed that he needed a middle name, and Em loves the Boston Red Sox more than words can express. And to be honest with you, I love the Bo' Sox more than I thought I could ever love a professional sports team...especially Big Papi. He's my favorite. When Seamus learns how to swing a baseball bat, I will teach him the signature Papi spit-in-yer-glove manuever.
I can guarantee you that Seamus stories and pictures will become a regular feature here at Queering Domesticity, so I will be adding a tab to the top of the page so you can easily track down all of his pictures and such whenever you like. Expect more Seamus wonderment on May 9th, when we bring our little man home!
You can also track Seamus updates by becoming his fan on Facebook or visiting his Twitter page!
RECIPE TUESDAY! Hooray! I realized a few weeks ago that I had not yet shared with y'all my Mom's amazingspectacularOMGnothingisbetterthanthis Banana Bread recipe. Now that I've un-hermited myself, it's time to share. So grab two medium size loaf pans, your fanciest apron, and the best butter you've ever tasted because this recipe is GOOOOOOOOOD.
This bread is best with wildly overripe bananas. I like to take spotty bananas and throw them in the freezer until I'm ready to make bread. They're typically fine there for a few months. Just pull them out of the freezer 30 minutes to an hour before you're ready to bake so they can thaw. They will look and feel absolutely disgusting, but the moistness of the bread generated by the overly ripe bananas and buttermilk will win you over.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
¾ c. butter
1½ c. sugar
1½ c. mashed bananas (usually 3 regular sized 'nanners)
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
½ c. buttermilk (<-- essential!)
¾ c. chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, but walnuts work)
Cream butter and sugar together in large mixing bowl. Blend mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla well into butter mixture. Sift dry ingredients and add to mixture a little at a time, alternating with buttermilk. Stir in nuts.
Grease and flour loaf pan(s). Fill pan(s) about 2/3 full. I like to line what will be the crease (center of the loaf) with pecan halves, before baking, to make things look pretty. Makes 1 large or 2 medium loaves. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes.
[Banana bread picture courtesy Hetleigh76 @ Flickr]
Monday, April 27, 2009
Contrary to what you might think of me, I'm not really a homemaker. I desperately long to be the half of my relationship that takes care of all things domestic...everything from bills to casseroles. Five years ago, if any part of my brain had considered this, I would've smacked myself senseless. But now that I'm more settled into who I am, I really can't see it any other way. I'd like to have a kid, hopefully, one day and live in the city or the country in a decently sized home with Em, who is much more career-ambitious than I (which isn't a slight against myself, because I'm fully equipped to be a career girl, I just can't stand having a day job). Em and I, as a couple, want everything that straight couples want - from the picket fence to the little doggie and the weird mailbox embellishments (don't worry, dear, I don't mean a Mallard duck sticker or anything). Knowing this, and working towards this, doesn't account for the extra amount of energy I'd like to focus on my "business" - that being oh ginger, Queering Domesticity and any other trouble I aspire to get myself into. The simple act of wanting this doesn't take into account numerous frustrations mapped out before us.
It's just so much more complicated, because we're queer.
Jena over at Modish's Biz Tips wrote a really interesting post the other day (she provides some really great links, too) about self-employed crafters, artists and entrepreneurs and how the features and interviews scattered about the internet would suggest that they are predominantly blessed to have supportive (financially or otherwise) boyfriends/husbands/partners in their lives. She asks her readers to elaborate on this, too. It really goes without saying that these supportive male-counterparts, to an overwhelmingly female-driven field, undeniably help to see that one's entrepreneurial aspirations become functional realities. I would even say that most "mainstream" craft/art supportive communities gloss right over this reality, rarely deconstructing how this happens and who might not benefit from such an arrangement. I read Etsy's Quit Your Day Job and Featured Seller blogs fairly religiously, and while there are sometimes interviews where the Etsian seems single (or its unclear), I cannot recall one covering a queer crafter, for example. But I know Etsy loves queers! What's the deal?
What lies between the gratitude reminiscent of an Academy Award speech and the stressful, creativity-sucking reality of an unrelated day job are the queer people like me and many of my counterparts, who have to negotiate a much less flexible series of life supporting necessities in order to see a business from concept to fruition, is essentially heterosexual privilege. There isn't a softer way to describe this; also, before anyone throws up their defenses, this isn't a harsh judgment. If you examine the landscape before me, for example, you have to account for the inconsistencies and simple lack of access available to me as a result of my being queer.
I cannot go, for example, without health insurance which means Em would have to have a job with a company that offered domestic partner benefits, or I would have to work into my business plan the incredibly high cost of being self-insured. Also, I live in a state that does not recognize contractual relationships between people that could insinuate or mimic same-sex relationships, so if Em and I ever ended our relationship, I could not access the benefits provided by her employment such as supplementary income, health insurance, retirement, etc. Additionally, the benefits of marriage would not apply to our relationship regardless of whether we were married in a same-sex marriage supportive state, as our current state does not recognize them. The very matter-of-fact break down is that I would have to do it all myself.
I'm not afraid of trying to do it all myself, and I don't doubt for a second that there are successful artists, crafters and entrepreneurs who do it all by themselves. What I do not see are blog posts, stories, interviews and other press covering these people as it relates to crafting, art and the general creative experience. The basic tenets of feminism suggest that we (as women) should desire to be self-supportive and sustaining, and that we can in fact create those realities for ourselves. I find it disabling, however, to constantly be exposed to a version of success that I cannot readily aspire to emulate. Where are the stories about single people making it big? Where are the stories about queer crafters fighting to carve out a life for themselves by doing what they love? Why aren't these the bigger success stories? I challenge the people who are queer and coupled, single and queer, or single and straight, to stand up and tell us your stories. Is it possible? Ever the optimist, I believe I can do it. Everyone else needs to see it's possible, too.
I suggest you visit QueerCraft, a blog dedicated to queer crafting, and also the Queer Crafter Collective, an organization I started with some friends to uplift and support queer crafting in our Nation's Capital. Ideally, I think QueerCraft and/or the QCC going viral like the Craft Mafia family would be a fantastic platform upon which queer crafters could address issues, find support and change the face of modern craft worldwide.
I encourage an open dialogue here, which might turn into an impetus for change for bloggers and creative sites, or (ideally) more visibility for queer crafters!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In the meantime, get down with your bad self -OR- descendez avec votre mauvais individu!
I cannot be held responsible for anything in this song that could remotely be deemed offensive. That being said, I will take offense if you don't dance to it.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
First we've got Vintage Button Tags! PDF available for personal use only at doe-c-doe's blog:
AND she's made fabulous Vintage Bias Trim tape tags! PDF at her site, again for personal use only at the blog:
I can't wait to use these for presents! So lovely.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
After seeing an allergist that had cared for me when I was a kid and dealing with the same issues, at my general practioner's urging, I was left with a similar diagnosis that I was given as a teenager: STOP BEING SO EMOTIONAL, MEAGHAN. I kind of felt like Dr. V, my GP, was literally exasperated and kind of wanted him to slam his head into the wall with me as we explored the reasons why all of this was happening. The year prior, he helped me navigate the reasons why I couldn't breathe. This year he couldn't even help me feel normal in my own body. Hives are unlike any beast you could encounter in a fairy tale or in a dark and twisty alley. They're sneaky, invasive and evasive. There wasn't anything I could do to fix things.
Apparently, the connection between my dairy and almond allergy and my hives was psychosomatic. As it turns out, the nurse practitioner overstated my blood test results. I wasn't allergic to either. At all. I've been dairy and almond free for a YEAR for no good reason. Humph. I have a whole host of other things wrong with me, but again, no reason for the hives. while people around me are throwing their fists into the air rejoicing my new-found freedom, I'm stumped. Still, even after some cheese!
I haven't had hives since late summer 2008, which is awesome. But according to my internal clock and my allergist, I can expect them again. I have chronic idiopathic urticaria. There is no known cause or cure and I can expect flare ups randomly throughout the rest of my life. Why are our bodies so weird? What is the evolutionary purpose of having something happen to you for no known reason? Do I live in fear of another flare up or do I just continue on hoping I forget about them and that the forgetfulness will be some sort of psychological cure on its own? Is this psychological? Hormonal? There are so many questions that are completely unanswerable.
Also, as it turns out, I don't have any allergies. At all; not a one. But my body interacts with the world as though I do have allergies. I know there are a lot of skeptics in this world, especially as it relates to medicine. And I can't send you all to my allergist, but I can recommend something, I think:
Find a physician who trusts you to trust yourself. Don't diagnose yourself with anything without consulting a physician. Don't trust their diagnosis without asking a number of questions. Whether you're concerned about springtime allergies or a strange rash in your armpits, sometimes the solution is not only removing that which irritates your body. Often, knowing why your body does what it does can help you interact with the world in a better way. Allergy testing is covered by most insurance companies and is really a worthwhile test to have done.As it turns out, my allergist is keeping me on many of the prescriptions I've been taking for the past year. He's adding a steroid nose spray because my nasal passages are smaller than a child's (see, weird stuff I didn't know until he attempted to perform a rhinoscopy!) and a fierce anti-biotic to eliminate a sinus infection in three of my four sets of sinus cavities...including the one in my brain (yes, there's one there, too)...as revealed by the CT-scan he performed. Oh, and he also prescribed a cup of vanilla yogurt with almonds on top because "[I] deserve it".
Saturday, April 11, 2009
And now we have...THE WINNER!
I used the Random Integer Generator because it seems that's what people do. Here are the results!
Ms. Megan - I will be e-mailing you!
Winners - not of the prize but at life in general (!) - please sign up for my mailing list (left hand column) so you can be notified of the next giveaway!
Friday, April 10, 2009
This week's Vintage Friday featured shop is Blue Bell Bazaar. Not only does this shop's owner price her wares fairly (most less than $50), but she's managed to collect a very lovely and diverse assortment of vintage pieces. There's a number of vintage glassware from apothecaries and labs which would serve as great bathroom accessories, glove molds which are great accent pieces and also fun to use in photography (I have a small hand mold that I use in my Etsy shop, for example) and also other home decor finds and even a little bit of jewelry. There are a few art pieces, vintage billiard balls, those quirky and fun alphabet block word sets that a lot of shops are doing lately, and lovely vases as well.
I'm most fond of the large letters in the variety of materials that Blue Bell Bazaar sells, including the magnets which would make a fantastic statement on a humdrum refrigerator. She also has a small assortment of Christmas/holiday decorations which I hope hope hope are something she expands on as autumn and winter approaches.
In general, I'm really pleased that Etsy supports and encourages vintage sellers and curators on their site. What might seem simple and lackluster in a cluttered antique or thrift shop to the average person could be wildly enticing with creative scene-setting and lighting by a seasoned, educator vintage connoisseur. Blue Bell Bazaar will be one of many vintage shops I plan to feature on Vintage Friday.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Shift to New Westminster, a Canadian city where 70% of the residents live in apartments and 25% qualify as low income. Diane Cairns, a local resident, was concerned about the health and welfare of the citizens of her city, so she conceived a plan to help them and the environment. She designed and developed The Biggest Little Garden in Town program and planter, which is designed to fit onto the smallest apartment balconies and through narrow doorways. Constructed of rot-proof cedar, these planters have been (and continue to be) distributed around greater New Westminster to all residents living in apartments and townhouses. Her program is supported, and recently congratulated, by United Way and the City of New Westminster.
First - let’s get every person living in New Westminster having access to fresh, home-grown vegetables.The most delightful part of her program is the fact that these planters, which are designed with three easy-to-reach tiers and a small portion of latice to support bean and squash vines, and the accompanying soil and seeds are provided FREE to the citizens of New Westminster. Each recipient of a Biggest Little Garden in Town planter is asked to signed a "contract" which commits them for a year's time to the cultivation and consumption of the "fruits of their labor":
Then – (10 years from now?) let’s have.…
* vegetables growing in every nook and cranny in New Westminster
* streets lined with veggie planters
* every parking lot bordered with veggie planters
* vegetables growing in parks, schools, alleys, courtyards
* every public building (hospitals, libraries, community centres) surrounded by fruit trees.
Could New Westminster be world renowned for being the urban city that is bursting with fruits and vegetables?
As a member I understand that I will receive a container to suit my needs, soil and vegetable plants/seeds of my choice. I will care for the vegetable plants as they grow.She's able to provide these visually stunning and practical planters to people of all ages, to teach them both the importance of taking care of themselves affordably with healthy fruits and veggies, but also how creating a sustainable garden (no matter how small) also helps the environment. This is such a valuable, judgment-free approach to helping people of all socio-economic backgrounds understand the value and importance of sustainable living.
I will ensure the vegetables are eaten by either my family or friends or I will donate them to the food bank. I promise that no food will be wasted.
I understand I am permitted to keep the containers from one year to the next as long as I am a member of the 'Biggest Little Garden in Town'. If I become unable or unwilling to maintain the garden or continue to be a member, I will contact Fraserside and make arrangements to have the containers returned.
The Biggest Little Garden planter is available for purchase locally from Fraserside for $175 Canadian (about $140 U.S.). Those who live outside the Vancouver area can buy the plans to build their own Biggest Little Garden for $25 Canadian (about $20 U.S.). All proceeds go to the program. For details, call Cairns at (604) 522-3722, Ext. 117, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
[link: LA Times]
[images courtesy Wikipedia/Fraserside]
I love all-natural things, and I know a lot of sugar isn't even vegan, but I can't seem to get on board the alternative-to-sugar bandwagon. My grandmother was an avid user of Sweet'n Low and her oncologist said that her excessive use most likely aggravated the cancer that took her life. Splenda, sorbitol, maltitol and all of those other poseur sugars...that are, but aren't...have an awful aftertaste and fight to the death with my intestines. And while I love honey, I don't always think it's the best sweetening agent...sometimes it's just TOO sweet and thick and gooey. It overrides the texture of somethings and makes them hard to swallow.
The Chicago Sun Times recently wrote a quick piece about the different types of sugar, and while they don't consider things like alt-sugars and agave nectar, I find the list to be helpful...especially when I'm standing in the grocery store wondering what the heck to buy. There have been discussions amongst friends and peers about what type of sugar is what, and this list helped me flush out the distinctions. I know that quite a few people avoid sugar at all costs, or can't partake in the sweet stuff, but if you can and want to understand the difference between all of these cane derivatives, here's your list:
An even more comprehensive list can be found here. Whether you bake or swirl a spoonful in coffee or tea, these lists are definitely helpful.
1. Cubes. One lump or two? Sugar cubes are made from damp granulated sugar pressed into molds and dried.
2. Confectioners'. Granulated sugar that has been ground to a powder, then mixed with cornstarch. The most common powdered sugar is classified 10X, which refers to the size of the mesh used to separate the granules. The finest confectioners' sugar is 12X, with 4X having the largest particles. Other sizes are not readily available. Also called icing sugar.
3. Turbinado. Raw sugar made from sugarcane extract. The light brown granules have a slight molasses flavor. It can be substituted in most recipes that call for brown sugar. Also good in beverages.
4. Super-fine. Very fine crystals that dissolve quickly, leaving no grainy texture. Perfect for caramel, meringues and drinks. Sometimes called bar sugar or caster/castor sugar.
5. Sanding sugar. Colored decorating sugar is slightly larger than granulated and is commonly sprinkled over iced cupcakes and cookies. Colored pearl sugar is even larger. The white granules are tinted with edible food dye.
6. Brown sugar. This moist sugar contains some of the molasses that comes from boiling sugar cane or sugar beets. The moisture causes brown sugar to clump and harden. Light brown sugar has less molasses than dark. Light brown is mostly used in baking and condiments. The more flavorful dark brown is commonly found in gingerbread and baked beans.
7. Granulated. Characterized by snow-white crystals, it's the sugar we use most in the kitchen, especially in baking. Also called table or white sugar.
8. Demerara. Raw sugar similar to turbinado and popular in England. Tan-colored granules can be sticky. Commonly used in hot drinks or cereals.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I remember my pal Tina telling me a few months ago that something amazing was on the horizon for the Hello Craft team, and that I should just keep my eyes and ears perked for the news! A few weeks ago, Hello Craft introduced The Summit of Awesome, a three day workshop-stuffed, speaker-filled, craftstravaganza located in our Nation's Capitol! How lucky are we!?
The Summit of Awesome will be situated in the U Street Corridor, a haven for indie business and entrepreneurship of all kinds. The event will feature the opportunity for attendees to attend speaking engagements, workshops, tutorials, discussion sessions, the DC premiere of Handmade Nation and SO. MUCH. MORE. I'm really excited about this event...in particular, the opportunity to cultivate community rather than selling my wares suits my unquenchable curiosity and desire to learn. I'm excited to meet and greet the people who keep the gears of this crafty world greased and moving at a rapid pace!
Here's the complete schedule of events you could attend!
Add Hello Craft and The Summit of Awesome to your Things to Check Out list and make sure you register for The Summit of Awesome ASAP! Registration prices are currently $150 and will go up to $180 on April 10 (this Friday).
Of course you won’t want to miss these talks with -
Learn a new technique or make something awesome with guidance from our amazing speakers.
- Fun with Duct Tape with Kristina Bilonick
- Simple Mold Making with Adam Maron - Pearson Maron
- FIber Demo with Jamie Chan and Blas Herrera - Urban Fauna Studio
- Embroidery Demo with Jenny Hart - Sublime Stitching
- How to Photograph your Work with Sherry - Dandelion Blu
- Sew a Felt Broach with Beth Baldwin - Tiger Flight
- Make a Snow Globe with Esti Gerson
- Plate Breaking Demo with Juliet Ames - The Broken Plate
- Sewing Demo with DC Threads
- Make a Small Book with Esti Gerson
- Screen Printing Demo with Christy Petterson
The main part of the weekend is to learn and grow your crafty endeavors. And what better way then to learn from the people in the know?
- Crafting a Green Craft with Jamie Chan and Blas Herrera - Urban Fauna Studio, Liz Grotyohann and Jeff Fein-Worton - Cosa Verde, Becky Streipe - Glue and Glitter
- What’s a Social Network and How to use it for Good with Danielle Maveal - Etsy Success & Virtual Labs, Willo O’Brien - Willo Toons
- Craft Fair Booth Set up and Displays with Caitlin Phillips - Rebound Designs, Shauna and Stephen - Something’s Hiding In Here
- Event Sponsorship with Craftland
- Am I a Business? How and when to form a business for your crafty endeavors with Cynthia Gayton and Paige Totaro - Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts
- Street Teams. Why you should connect and collaborate with Jen Menkhaus and Megan Van Wagoner - B.E.S.T.
- Branding and Identity with Jeffrey Everett - El Jefe Design
- Developing a Product Line. Deciding what to make and sell with Ali Dryer - Pistol-Designs, Rebecca Juliette - This Chickadee
- Navigating the Art world with Craft with Joetta Maue, Quincy Pearson, Sean Hennessey, Jaime Zollars
- Selling in a Brick and Mortar with Urban Fauna Studios, Craftland
- Consumption and Sustainability. How DIY will Save the World with Sara Cotner - $2000 Wedding, Autumn Wiggins - Upcycle Exchange
- Selling Successfully Online with Danielle Maveal- Etsy Success & Virtual Labs, Liz Grotyohann and Jeff Fein-Worton - Cosa Verde
- Tax Implications of Starting a Business with Michael Kreps and Paige Totaro - Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts
- Organizing a Craft Fair with Al Hoff, Jessica Manack - Handmade Arcade, Christy Petterson - Indie Craft Experience
- Going out on a Limb with Jeffery Everett - El Jefe Design, Kasey and Kelly Evick - Biggs & Featherbelle
- The Ins and Outs of Trade Shows with Rania Hassan - goshdarnknit, Sean Hennessey, Rhonda and Elijah Wyman - Figs and Ginger
- Copyright and Tradmarks, How to protect yourself and your work with Megan Gray
- Customer Service. Crafting with a Smile with Caitlin Phillips - Rebound Designs, Rebecca Juliette - This Chickadee
You’ll also have access to a screening of the D.C. premier of Handmade Nation, Faith Levine’s long awaited film documenting the indie craft community.
Make Something Awesome Craft Area:
All weekend long, stop by the Make Something Awesome Craft Area and well, make something awesome. Have some down time between panels? Feel like decompressing? Socializing? This is the place to do it. Supplies and tutorials will help you on your way to making something awesome. Plus you can record your story for a future episode of the Hello Craft Podcast!
Handmade White Elephant
You might be familiar with this fun and sometimes funny holiday game. Well, be prepared to swap and trade your handmade goods at this fast and fun crafty version of this old favorite.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
As a teenager, I wasn't really interested in learning how to cook, but I remember the distinct moment when it became something I was intensely driven to do. I was an au pair in Switzerland and I was terribly homesick, and I decided that the best way to overcome this was to share the flavors and tastes of my childhood with the kids I was nannying. My mom e-mailed me recipes regularly, and has done so since then. I e-mailed her the other day because a work associate needed a great recipe for frosting, for example. My mom's incredibly organized, so I can count on her to have the recipe saved somewhere on her computer and it's just a quick copy and paste to send it my way.
A few years ago, though, she decided to turn my persistent requests for family recipes into a memory by using her burgeoning scrapbooking skills to make me a family cookbook. What could've been a rather rudimentary project turned into a family treasure that rendered me speechless and sobbing on Christmas morning when I unwrapped it. My mom took an old book, tore out the center, and proceeded to sew in new pages which she decorated with handmade and pre-made stickers and embellishments to match the recipe card she included on the page. The recipe cards were typed, including the family member responsible for the recipe and the date it was created, all finished off with a sweet twist of ribbon at the top. She used a festive, vintage-y pots and pans fabric to cover the book and accented it with cute ribbons and bows for decoration and function. She tried to include at least one recipe for every family member; the recipe was either their own creation...the turkey stuffing in the picture is from my great-grandma Marsh, she included my dad's favorite baked beans...or something that reminds me of a family member, like my cousin's favorite Christmas cookies. Finally, she included a sweet message at the end of the book reminding me of the importance of family, of shared recipes and heritage, and how we are always and eternally connected through these things no matter which direction the wind sends us.
I'm featuring this for Recipe Tuesday to remind you, and me, that some of the best recipes are not the ones you find buried deep in online recipe websites or in the cookbooks of famous chefs and cooks. The tastiest recipes are more often than not right under your nose, in the fibers and veins of your heritage, and something you can easily access with a little bit of creativity and coordination. I've started to collect recipe cards, vintage and brand new, to give to friends and family as gifts so that we can all chronicle the recipes that are deeply special to our interactions with the people we love. Food is what sustains us, and honoring it with a lovely family heirloom like my scrapbook, or including it in a letter to a long distance friend, is a fantastic way to keep our hearts and tummies full.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Right before we shipped out for Charm City, I made these two necklaces which are now up in the shop! Please visit, enjoy the rest of your Sunday (I'm watching The Tudors!!) and I'll see you tomorrow.
Don't forget to tell your friends about the giveaway!
Friday, April 3, 2009
I've put together a collection of wood boxes and crates that are both decorative and have utilitarian potential. There are a wide variety of choices available through Etsy and other sites, and I've also had the great fortune of always finding unique wood boxes at town fairs and antique shows. Keep your eyes open! Storage isn't something you'll find exclusively at the Container Store, ya know!
1. Vintage Recipe Box - $9.95 - 2. Blue Vintage Hinged Box - $24
3. Copper Bear Wood Trinket Box - $42 - 4. 19th Century Lozenges Box - $18
3. 5lb Kraft Cheese Box - $25 - 4. Vintage Coca-Cola Crate - $28
As you can see, even the most bland can take on new and exciting uses with a little elbox grease and some imagination. Have a great weekend!
accommodate what can often be the intense loudness, my buddy Michelle
of Monkey Grl Duds and a fellow Queer Crafter Collective member has
made this fabulous earplug pouch out of recycled and repurposed materials.
Hook it onto your keychain, use the provided earplugs, and cinch the little
bag tight. You'll be a one of a kind rockstar!
My friend Pang of Pretty Little Fings, the best plush crafter known
to human kind (!), made this lovely little creature just for you! Equipped
with poseable wings, a sweet smile, a charming disposition and floppy
little antennae, this Love Bug (also available in a pair) will be
hap-hap-happy fluttering into your life!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
"Hunger makes you restless. You dream about food - not just any food, but perfect food, the best food, magical meals, famous and awe-inspiring, the one piece of meat, the exact taste of buttery corn, tomatoes so ripe they split and sweeten the air, beans so crisp they snap between the teeth, gravy like mother’s milk singing to your bloodstream." - Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of CarolinaThe house I lived in until I was eight years old had a wonderful backyard with enormous old trees, an old fashioned metal swing set, lush and puffy azalea bushes and a row of tomato plants. My mom, though she grew up in an almost-urban suburb of Washington DC, was the daughter of a man who was born and raised on a farm in Manassas, Virginia. My grandfather's life on the farm infused his approach to cultivating food. He kept an enormous garden on the one acre plot of land my mother grew up on in Alexandria, Virginia, full of just about every vegetable you could imagine. This may have also been a generous gift intended for his mother-in-law, my great-grandmother who immigrated from France, who felt that American produce was absolutely vile. Nevertheless, my mother grew up enjoying fresh off the farm produce, and she made that happen for me through tomatoes.
When summer came around and it was time to enjoy the tomatoes, my mom would send me outside to check on their progress. The smell of tomato plants and leaves is so absolutely wonderful to me...the verdant scrumptiousness is something I crave when Spring turns into Summer. You can find me at farmer's markets smelling the air around me, or grasping huge bundles of tomatoes and bringing them slowly to my nose to inhale their scent. From what I recall, I was fond of picking ripe tomatoes off the vine and eating them as though they were apples, with the juices and seeds dripping down my chin onto my clothes. I detest being messy, but I'm sure I made an exception. When my grandparents moved to the Tidewater region of Virginia, my grandfather set up a small and manageable garden to tend to, and two major features were tomatoes and corn ("knee high by the 4th of juuuu-ly" I can remember him saying). Tomatoes are part of the fabric of my heritage.
The first thing I plant in a garden of my own will be the tomato plant. I recall very little about what seeds to choose, or where to plant them, and what kind of sunlight they need. I just know that I need to plant them. Fortunately. SippitySup has put together a three part series with the man behind Tomatomania, Scott Daigre. Tomatomania is the "world's largest tomato seedling sale" and Daigre is a tomato growing expert (and heck of a good cook, apparently). In this three part series, Daigre examines the in-and-outs of tomato growing, including what tomatoes are best for you and all of the factors one must consider to harvest particularly delicious tomatoes.
Daigre provides a thorough introduction to soil prep, seed choice, and maintenance. He also dispells various myths about hybrid tomatoes, which I greatly appreciate. Some people dismiss hybrid tomatoes as "pretty but tasteless"...and in my experience that's not the case. I only recently meandered into the land of the heirloom tomato, and I was VERY pleasantly surprised. So delicious and so absolutely incredibly beautiful.
My favorite way to eat tomatoes (as an adult) is to slice them into wedges, sprinkle them lightly with a rich, thick balsamic vinegar and shake on a little salt and pepper. Em, my very Italian partner, was not terribly fond of tomatoes uncooked when we first started dating. But through my powers of persuasion, you can find us most summer nights with a bowl of tomatoes right under our chins and the sweet, nose-tingling scent of balsamic in the air.
Tomatomania's SippitySup posts numbers one, two and three.
Tomato garden photo courtesy: freddyfoyle@flickr
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
In order to sign up, I'd like you to leave a comment (one comment per person ONLY, please) on this post with the following information no later than April 10th at 11pm EST:
- Your name
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- You can also sign up for my mailing list on the left hand corner of my blog, but this isn't a requirement. I do plan on sending out special promotional e-mails now and then with discounts to my Etsy shop and other awesome things. Just sayin'...
of her very popular cards just for you guys! Here we have an assortment of
six (6) hand-sewn/assembled cards in varying stripe patterns in the shape
of a "wallet" with a velcro/button closure. Totally cute. I love my Mom!
A cross stitch skull pattern, signature "meh." button, Periodic Table of
Monsters and a hand-Gocco'd "Toast is Tasty" card.
Awesome" cards AND a 5-pack of "Zombies hate that you are Awesome"
bookmarks...foryour most awesome books or most awesome friends!
From StellaLola @ Etsy comes this fabulous hand-painted print entitled
"Football Buddies". I was fortunate enough to receive one of StellaLola's
"Conga Line at the Cupcake Cabana" prints for my birthday last year and
she graciously contributed this hilarious and adorable print!
One of my favorite ladies, Holly of MissHawklet, is sharing this
113 yard/4.1oz.skein of her handmade wool yarn in lovely browns,
greens and blues. It is so soft and lovely. Her yarns are amazing!
No matter how much I convinced myself, I couldn't give up my
Miss Piggy's Aerobique notebook, so IvyLaneDesigns has graciously
contributed this prideful notebook, perfect for LGBTQ identified folks or allies
who proudly fight for equal rights for all!
I'm personally throwing in some adorable sewing pins (Hengli Co. Ltd. -
British company, I believe) with colorful ball tips and flower tips (pincushion
not included; Em made it for me!). I'm also sharing two sample bars from
Etsy seller Savor - she's the first soap maker who offers scented soaps
that don't make my skin freak out! Fabulous.
Don't forget the Spectrum necklace (in one of five colors; your choice!) that
I mentioned in yesterday's post as well as the pod-tier earrings!