Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Inspired Image: Caroline of Zouzou Design

Hello! The wedding was amazing, the rain stayed away, and I'm back home in Des Moines. I'll share a bit about the wedding tomorrow, but for today I'm jumping right back into regularly scheduled content with an instant heirloom Q&A with Caroline from Zouzou Design. Enjoy!

Where do you live?
I live in Edinburgh in Scotland.

Tell me a little bit about what you make.
I design and make little fabric Russian, Japanese and Scottish dolls, also digital collage bookmarks and brooches using images of the dolls.

How did you decide to start your line of dolls?
I've always liked Russian nesting dolls then a few years ago I discovered Japanese Kokeshi dolls and thought it would be fun to make them in a different medium, fabric instead of the traditional wood.

How did you learn the craft?
I studied fashion and garment construction at college.

Did you have any teachers who became mentors along the way?
I've never actually had a mentor as such, however I have an Etsy shop and find the Etsy community to be a great source of information and inspiration.

How does your creative process work?
I'm never short on ideas for new products and have a concept of what I want to achieve before starting out. When designing a doll for instance, I will begin with the face before making a paper collage, then work on drafting patterns and making calico samples until I get the size and shape I want. Finally I decide on the fabrics I will use.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Like most artists and designers I find inspiration in every day life, however I love fashion and 1950s &60s surface pattern design and they certainly influence my work.

What's the best part of your day?
Although I find I'm more creative in the evening I prefer not to stick too rigidly to routine.

What do you like to do when you're not working on your creations?
When I have time I like to get out of the city and into the lovely countryside outside Edinburgh, also I enjoy reading and catching up with friends.

Do you have a favorite product in your shop right now?
Naturally I like all my products and am always looking to move forward. At the moment I'm working on a digital photomontage print of the Russian dolls which will be in my shop soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A brief hiatus

Hello everyone!
I have mentioned a few times that my best friend Virginia is getting married soon and that time is fast approaching. In fact, it's this weekend! Which means that I have many important things to do to help her and her family get everything ready and I'm going to take a brief break from blogging here. I will be posting tomorrow on readymade.com but after that I'm unplugging through early next week so I can fully devote my attention to this important event.
Plus, I've missed my friends and I just don't want to be worrying about anything other than enjoying their wonderful company. Please join me back here in a few days and thanks for understanding!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Q&A: Stephanie Levy

The hands down best part about this blog is getting to know all of you creative people out there. I love nothing more than to get emails from people who I don't know, yet who are making lovely things that instantly make my online world seem like a more complete place. Today I have a little Q&A from Stephanie Levy, an American artist who lives and works in Munich. As soon as you are done reading about her work here, you must head over to her blog to see a tour of her street! It just about makes me want to up and move to Europe—or at the very least start growing vines along the exterior walls of my house!

Where do you live? Munich, Germany

Tell me a little bit about what you make. I make mixed media paintings and collages on paper, canvas, and wooden supports. I especially love to use images of interiors or still lives in my artwork.

How did you decide to start the line? I started reading the blog of an art college friend of mine, Anna Maria Horner and I became fascinated by the interaction taking place between artists and designers all over the world on the Internet. Last year, I decided to start my own blog and Etsy shop, and it's been exciting to create artwork and have immediate feedback. I love that I can use the Internet to promote my own work, rather than waiting to be "discovered."

Did you have any teachers who became mentors along the way? Instead of having teachers as mentors, I would say that I am now most inspired by my peers who are also working artists. I try to visit my online artist friends as much as possible on their blogs and on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

How does your creative process work? I usually start with a line drawing which I make based on an image I find  - in a magazine, in a catalog, or from a photograph I took. After this initial drawing is made, I use it to start the painting. Sometimes I use multiple drawings, but most often just one. Then I try to find colors, papers, and patterns that "fit" the drawing. I play around with the structure of the composition for a while, and when I am satisfied, I glue down the collage elements using acrylic medium and add details with acrylic paint.

Where do you find your inspiration? I do my best to notice color combinations and patterns in my daily life, sometimes it's great just to go downtown and walk around. There are always inspiring things to see in the storefronts, on the streets, etc. Perhaps living abroad helps make even everyday things seem a touch more unusual and exciting.

Is this your full time work? Yes.

What's the best part of your day? I do like working in the mornings, but at the moment I usually have at least one child at home during the day. This means that most of my work gets done at nights or on the weekends. I prefer to paint using natural light, so I paint every moment I can when the children are sleeping during the day, or on the weekends when my husband takes the children to the playground.

What do you like to do when you're not working on your art? I also love to cook and bake, take walks, go to movies, go out to dinner with friends, sit at cafes and read or watch people go by...however, having two small children limits some of these activities, so I try to make the best of it and go on an afternoon picnic with the kids when the weather is nice :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mom's Quilt Update #5

Big quilting progress! I finished the top of my mom's wall hanging and have it basted and ready to quilt! This is my very favorite point during the process of quilting because I vastly prefer quilting to piecing. Plus, this is the first time I've done a smaller quilting project and I'm just amazed at how fast this is coming together. Usually, my full size quilts take me anywhere from a year to two years, and I believe I started this around Easter.

There's a close up for you so you can see the backing fabric. I basted this with batting in the middle of the two fabric layers and will begin quilting this week. I'm back on the East coast for the week, working in NYC for a few days, then heading up to CT to help with final preparations for Virginia's wedding next weekend. It's going to be my first time back to the city since moving to Des Moines and to be honest, I'm a little nervous, but the fact that I get to see my friends-and finally enjoy V's big day-is totally reassuring!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Inspired Image: Ainhoa of VivaLaModa

Hello, my name is Ainhoa.

You can find me at gilbea.etsy.com and www.vivalamoda.co.cc (VivaLaModa online magazine).

This image comes from Geufel.etsy.com.

It inspires me because I can see that green field extending for miles and miles without end, just that, green grass and blue sky.

I particularly love the color combination. The green grass is really what makes me smile :)

It makes me feel happy! Even though that small house in the vast field should make me feel lonely and small, it just reminds me of spring and summer, and how big nature is compared to us.

The 3 words it conjures up are spring, simplicity, endless.

Ainhoa is the power behind the online zine VivaLaModa, an online-only publication that focuses on handmade and vintage items. She collaborates with makers and other bloggers to put it together and it's also free!! It's filled with tips from fashion trends to makeup ideas, recipes and tutorials. Definitely head over and check out her latest issue.

I'm heading back east later today for a weekend with my parents, a few days working in nyc, then up to CT to be part of Virginia's wedding week! I cannot wait to help with the final touches, like doing some of the floral arrangements and also arranging the welcome bags, and also to see my family and friends. I hope you all have a lovely weekend and get to celebrate Father's Day with those special men in your life.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This is the Story of a Girl (Tuesday)

Once upon a time there was a girl who was unhappy.
She couldn't find jewelry that she really liked. It was all either too fancy, too basic, too trendy or just plain too expensive.

"Hmmph!" she harumphed as she sat in frustration.
She sat and she sat. She ate pretzels from the giant barrel she bought at Costco. She drank copious amounts of water because the pretzels made her thirsty.

Then, a thought quietly entered her mind.
"Make it yourself."

"No!" she exclaimed. "I swore off art as a job for the rest of my life!" ** (editor's note: our girl did indeed swear off art as a means of occupation due to extreme disappointment at the hands of too many to list. It's a long story with many characters and gets very ugly in bits. Our advice is to wait for the tell-all novel that dares to name names due out in late 2011.)

After eating more pretzels and drinking more water, our girl has another thought:
"It won't hurt any if I just LOOK for materials on the internet."

Look she did, for hours at a time. She schemed and sketched and laid out plans. She used a calculator. She was very organized.

In the midst of all of this plotting and planning, our girl paused, not for a pretzel, but to realize that she was actually enjoying herself.

Our girl took to jewelry making like a duck to water and made all of the designs that were floating in her head but did not exist in the natural world.


That is the story of Girl Tuesday.
Hope you enjoyed it.
If not, well, at least it didn't cost you anything.

It's been a while since I've been so enamored with a profile on Etsy—and I've certainly never reposted one here—but I had to because Rachel hit this out of the park! It's amazing to me how much hearing the back story of a company and the voice of the maker influences my interest in a product. I guess for me it often really is about the relationship between the two and making that connection.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Italian Crostini, Two Ways

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted this? Well as I was deciding what to post today, thinking about how I set out to do original craft projects on Wednesdays—which has proven to be impossible given the reality of having to work at a job all day—I decided that I'd at least post something to make. And today that means yummy crostini from Organic Tuscany! I needed a chance to relive my cooking school vacation again and these recipes seemed as good a reason as any. They are super easy and great for entertaining—be warned. The salsa verde is so darn good that if you serve this as an appetizer, you will eat enough that you will entirely ruin your appetite for dinner!

Crostini are little appetizers that you can invent yourself depending on what’s in season and what you have in the house.
Cut thin slices of firm bread (Tuscan-style bread is best but baguette will do), toast if you like, and top with:

Roast Peppers with Goat Cheese
2 or 3 red peppers
Olive oil
Basil or parsley
fFresh goat cheese

1. Roast or grill a couple of peppers. Put them in a plastic bag or a closed container to cool. They will “sweat” and be much easier to peel.
2. Peel and de-seed the peppers, Cut into fine strips.
3. Dress the pepper strips with salt, pepper, raw finely sliced garlic (optional) good olive oil and fresh basil or parsley. Leave a little while to marinate. Discard the garlic if you have used it.
4. Top the bread with a little slice of goat’s cheese and some pepper strips.

Salsa Verde (or Salsa Verde with Tofu)
2 boiled eggs OR 100g firm tofu
Parsley, bunch
Capers, 10
Garlic, 1 clove
Olive oil
Vinegar (apple or wine), a splash
A little anchovy paste or 1 anchovy fillet (optional)

1. Combine the above ingredients into a fine paste using a food processor. Use to top crostini or to accompany other dishes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Instant Heirloom: Indiana Blue

I'm so happy to share this Instant Heirloom with you today! Indiana Blue has been book marked in my Etsy favorites for months (literally) but somehow I never got around to actually emailing her. Barbara, the genius behind these embroidered bound books is as sweet as she is talented and to be honest, I'm completely in awe. Here's a bit from her about her work, her process and where she finds her inspiration.

Where do you live? Though I lived in several states (Indiana, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia), I currently live in the small town of Morgantown, West Virginia, where my fiancé is attending medical school.

Tell me a little bit about what you make. I make paintings, hand bound books, and embroideries.

How did you decide to start the line? I had several paintings that I had created for a competition and decided to open a shop on Etsy to sell them. After setting up my online shop, I realized the paintings didn’t give a full representation of what I wanted my work to be. I began to really think about the things that I liked, and started recycling materials from existing projects and recreating them into fresh pieces that better expressed the sensibility that I wanted in my own work.

How did you learn the technical process of what you make? I have been drawing, painting, and sewing since I was a little girl, though I did learn the basics of bookmaking while I was in art school. Process has always been very important to me. A lot of the work that I do has been learned through trial and error. If something isn’t working, then I’ll take it apart and work to reconstruct it until I get it right. There is a lot of experimentation with materials involved, as I am always striving to create a more tactile sensibility in my books and embroideries.

Where do you find your inspiration? Everywhere! I get ideas from pictures, magazines, movies, design blogs, and all kinds of found ephemera. I used to just do a quick sketch and then start a project, but I realized that it is more helpful for me to get the ideas out of my head. I now keep a sketchbook full of the imagery and colors that I am thinking about, and seeing them down on paper together often leads me to develop the idea further.

What’s a favorite item that you’ve made? I was asked to make a piece for part of a job application process for a display coordinator position. The idea of the piece was to create something that embodied the spirit and look of the company.

I made a small multimedia book that was about a girl and her dog. The book became a story about the girl dreaming of visiting her grandmother, who lives far away. I used a theme that was relevant in my life, and embellished it within the parameters of the assignment. I loved the project because I was really pushed in a small amount of time (2 or 3 days) to create something that was both unique in vision and specific to a brand. The book is a small treasure that I still enjoy.

Is this your full-time work? No, at the moment I work full-time in a bookstore. Whatever time I’m not there I can usually be found at home with headphones on, stitching or painting.

Why do you enjoy doing this type of craft, which takes a lot of time and manual effort? Craftsmanship is very important to me. I think one of the things I enjoy is gaining more technical skills. I’ve learned a whole lot while working on various projects (and still have much more to learn!). There is something special in knowing where you started and seeing how much you have learned over time.

What’s the best part of your day? I think the best part is when I’m really lost in a project and the piece is starting to take shape, that’s when it feels like the magic is happening.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June Print of the Month

For the first time since I started my monthly print purchase, I bought this one in person! (I sincerely apologize that the magical nature of this screen print totally does not come across in my bad photo!) I visited my new friends Arin and Karen in their paper and gift shop, Ephemera, just a few blocks away from where I'm living, on Saturday. Arin gave me a little tour of their workspace, which includes some really awesome craft gadgets, and also a stack of these prints. I immediately nearly dove for this purple one since it's in the same color family as my bed linens and I knew that it would be great on one of the blank walls in there. They hadn't had time to package the prints yet, but they were nice enough to sell me one—I think they realized I wasn't going to leave without it!
This is the first screen printed piece I've ever purchased and it makes me so incredibly happy. I can't wait to get it framed and stare at it whenever I'm in my bedroom!

I have a lot to say about these ladies and their many talents, but I'm going to save that for a dedicated post to give them plenty of space to talk and show off their creations.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Inspired Image: Andrea of Sunshine & Molasses

Hello, my name is Andrea Breitman

You can find me at Sunshine and Molasses

This image comes from a quaint, adorable little town named Annecy in France.

It inspires me because it embodies the life that I daydream of having soon, full of quiet afternoon walks, cafes where I can sit and draw for hours, local bakers who know what breads I like and butchers who know what cut of meat I enjoy, the sound of water, the smell of peace and fresh air.

I particularly love the idea of riding my bicycle around town, picking up fresh ingredients and a bottle of wine for dinner. I also love the idea of being surrounded by folks who are interested in something other than the hustle and bustle, people who take time to say hello...

It makes me feel peaceful and hopeful.
The 3 words it conjures up are inspiring, calm, priceless.

Andrea is behind a line of super cute greeting cards that are a little quirky and a lot of fun. I like that they feel very unique and that I know that if I received one of these in my mailbox, it would totally make my day. This is the company's
self-assigned mission, which is as good a reason to make things as I've ever heard: "to bring wee bits of sunshine and happiness to an otherwise ordinary day." Check out some of the designs below and head over to her site for more info. Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thinking Vintage Bags

I checked out one of the antique malls just outside of town last night after work and wow, what an amazing resource. I was, I admit, entirely distracted by the feed and grain bags (apparently there is a lot of hybrid corn around here!) and the secret mission I was there completing, but I also started thinking about vintage purses because I saw the prettiest beaded one.

I have a wedding to go to soon and I haven't decided what bag to carry, which is sort of surprising to me because I have meticulously determined every other element of my ensemble from earrings to shoes and hair pins. I'm not sure which direction I want to go in with the bag—my dress is bright berry pink—but I have decided that I am really going to give it some thought over the next few days so that it's considered, rather than rushed. I remembered that I had bookmarked these bags from Karuski, which are made with recycled fabric and trimmings wherever possible.

Minna, the designer who makes them, lives in Finland but spent time in Japan. These bags definitely have a touch of that culture and they are similar in shape to the ones I adore from Oktak.
But it's the combination of the Scandinavian-feeling textiles she uses (like linen) and the shape of the bags that is very Japanese that I particularly enjoy.

It also makes me happy that I have lace that it's very similar to the one shown here. I have more research to do (have I ever told you that I'm seriously indecisive? I'm a Gemini, through and through!) but this feels like an excellent start!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quick Craft: Fabric Card

I have been experiencing a renewed interest in the gooey stuff lately—it's just so darn handy for transforming all manner of things. Mostly, I love how easy it is to make impressive cards at home using cardstock and fabric scraps. (Wow, I sound like an infomercial!) You all know that I quilt, but sometimes I want to make something quickly, to get in and out in less than an hour and this card totally hit the mark. It uses some of my favorite fabric that the folks at Purl Patchwork told me was picked up on one of their buyers trips to Japan and shows it off. I didn't really want to do anything that would get in the way of the pattern, so I simply cut pieces of fabric slightly larger than two plain white flat cards, applied a thick layer of Mod Podge to the cards and secured the fabric on top. I let them dry under a dictionary for about a half an hour, then punched some holes, threaded some vintage lace through both sides to tie them together, and voila! Finished card! It will be going via the USPS to someone special later this week, but for today, I'm just going to enjoy having this pretty thing around.

Q&A: the girls of UrbanPosture

I met the girls of UrbanPosture at a recent event here in Des Moines. They were super friendly and I love their style, so I thought it would be fun to do a tag team Q&A. Here's a bit from them about what they do.

Where do you live? Ankeny, IA

Tell me a little bit about what you make. Sarah and I focus on creating practical products for everyday use in the home, office and for apparel. All of our merchandise has been designed and printed by hand. Our office line is made from products that are post consumer and the binders are also 100% recyclable as well. The idea behind our motifs that we print is "The Black Forest'. Sarah grew up in Austria and Germany and has a Bavarian background. The Black forest is known for the woodlands, cuckoo clocks, and cake making our line a cohesive mix of different motifs.

How did you decide to start the line? We both have separate businesses that were very similar and because we work well together and were moving in the same direction with ideas we decided we would be better as a team than as two different identities. Sarah and I both have similar taste we love similar motifs and colors and were experimenting with different printing techniques so we decided to have a line of merchandise that was all screen and block printed.

Did you have any teachers who became mentors along the way? Not any vocational teachers but, how odd is this that my younger brother was the one who got me interested in screen printing and also helped me learn the skill? He had been screen printing t-shirts for his business and I wanted to give it a try.

Where do you find your inspiration? Nature, morning light, thrift shopping, vintage items, design blogs and magazines, and Sarah.

Is this your full time work? No, but would love to make it my full time job some day. I am a kitchen and bath designer full time.

Where do you live? My husband, Jacob, and I bought our first house last year. It’s a 1940’s, New England Colonial-style house on the east side of Des Moines. It came with creaky stairs, chipped paint and scratched hardwood floors - all of which I absolutely love!

Tell me a little bit about what you make. Well, we make lots of stuff, but only sell the hand-printed goods. Our main focus is office and home goods, but apparel is definitely a big part too. Leslie and I have found that there are so many things we use everyday and why not give them a touch of our personality by printing on them. Our goal is to make practical things more lovely. The process starts with a sketch, usually on a sticky note or the back of receipt, and ends as a print, with lots of trial and error between. We've experimented printing on all sorts of surfaces including cardboard, paper, wood, fabric and, of course, shirts. It's ridiculous how excited we get when we complete a design and successfully print it for the first time!

What's the best part of your day? Waking up on my day off, being inspired by the morning light, as well as, morning breakfast. I was never a morning person until about a year or two ago and now I love how everything looks at that time of day.

How did you decide to start the line? Leslie and I have always collaborated on our creative endeavors. Although in the past, we have always had our separate lines: Urbanestics and GoodPosture. We’ve known each other for over 3 years now and spend at least 50% of our time together, whether at work or play. It was only a matter of time before we realized that we should combine forces. As the saying goes: 'Two heads are better than one!" ...and that's when UrbanPosture started. Although we have similar taste and ambitions, we still have our strength and weaknesses. It's so nice to be able to rely on Leslie to do the things I'm not good at and visa versa. I think we make a pretty good team!

Did you have any teachers who became mentors along the way? I credit all of my talent and creativity to my mom. (Mom’s count as teachers, don’t they?) She is one of the most resourceful people I know. She used to make me dresses out of sheets and raincoats out of shower curtains. She is absolutely brilliant and has never wasted a minute showing me how it’s done. Even now, she gives me guidance when I get stuck on a project.
Where do you find your inspiration? Well, I think we all surround ourselves with things we love, which in return inspire everyday living. I also love reading blogs and looking through magazines, but traveling is a great source of inspiration as well. Our current line has an obvious woodland theme, which I would trace that back to my childhood.

Is this your full time work? Nope, I’m a full time Kitchen and Bath Designer, as well. We'll see what the future has in store!

What's the best part of your day? I tend to be satisfied with the little things in life, like a glass of chocolate milk in the morning, making dinner for my husband in the evening or getting a laugh out of something that really isn't that funny!

What do you like to do when you're not making things for Urban Posture? Jacob, my husband, is a singer/song writer and I play keys and sing with him when I can. We started recording our first full length in February, so we are in the studio 2-3 times a week, in addition to playing several shows a month. Other than that, I’m constantly working on our little house, whether it’s remodeling or just rearranging.

Monday, June 8, 2009

And the winner is...

Kathy! She has one an amazing Cuisinart Elite Die-Cast 16 cup Food Processor from Williams-Sonoma. In her entry, she said, "Ooh ooh! I would use this to knead and slice and dice and mmmmm, that pizza looks yummy! Man, this thing would come in handy at my house!!"

Okay, for all of you who didn't win (and again, Kathy was chosen by random.org), I'm going to propose a little recipe sharing. I am amazed at how many people also make their own hummus (isn't it so much better than store bought!?!), but get a load of this list of things people said they'd like to make if they won:

organic baby food
salsa, pico de gallo and guacamole
roasted tomato sauce to freeze for winter
potato soup
butternut squash soup
edamame guacamole
edamame hummus (this was very popular- I need to try it!)
pie crust
graham cracker crust
egg roll filling
cookie dough
pizza crust
gluten free pizza crust
hummsto: "I would make pesto, and hummus, and then combine them together to make humsto. And it will be delicious!" (I mean I love them separately so why not combine them, right?)

Okay, so if anyone who mentioned one of those recipes would be up for sharing, please email me (thingswemake at gmail dot com) the recipe (or a link to it) and I can do a little recap with links!

And here's a little personal update for you for anyone who's been wondering how I've been adjusting to my new life in Iowa. Well, this place is RAD. I feel that way for many reasons, but the biggest is that I feel more like myself than I have in a long time simply because the lifestyle is much more my speed. I checked out the bike trails, well one of them, for the first time Sunday and MY HEAVENS! I realize that I have a tendency to get excited about many things, but man oh man, the trail I tried was my version of heaven. It went along the river, out past Gray's Lake, then eventually into a forest. I kid you not. A forest. I was dumbfounded at the beauty, the noisy birds, the sheer abundance of green everywhere and that the trail even went past a horse farm for good measure. Knowing that it's close enough that I could theoretically take a ride before or after work—well, I just cannot tell you how wonderful that feels. I also think it's very amusing that I am so entirely impressed by nature. I mean it's not like I didn't spend a lot of time in Central Park and hiking outside of the city when I could. I did. But this is different. Way different. And it's really good.

And just for fun, here are three images I'm loving lately...they are just a few of the recent things added to my favorite file over at Etsy.

Flatiron from Futurowoman Fotographie

Wild Garden from Yumi Yumi

Friday, June 5, 2009

Inspired Image: Patrick of Antigraphic

Hello, my name is Patrick Edgeley (aka Antigraphic)

You can find me at www.antigraphic.biz and on Etsy

This image comes from Coney Island, New York.

It inspires me because of the hand drawn type and pictures.

I particularly love the colours.

It makes me feel happy because it’s was full of fantastic signs and retro rides, and sad that most of its being cleared for a new amusement park.

The 3 words it conjures up are nostalgic, naïve and playful.

Patrick is a graphic designer by trade but has been screen printing for 3 years and has discovered a passion for print he never knew he had. He hails from Brighton & Hove in the UK and is super talented. Check out some of his work that I picked up from his flickr stream.

Have a great weekend everyone and don't forget, you have until Sunday night to enter to win the fantastic 16 cup Cuisinart from Williams-Sonoma!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Print of the Month: May (belated)

With moving and starting a new job, I kept putting off finding my May print of the month—but I figured better late than never! A recap of what this means: one of my goals for the year was to buy a print from an independent artist, photographer or illustrator to fill a blank wall in my bedroom. (My bedroom has changed, but I actually have more wall space, so this is working out really well!) Many of them have been floral prints—I have a thing for pink—but I chose this one called "Just around the bend" from Carl of the Bucks County Frames etsy shop , I think, because of the space. And because it makes me feel calm.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Giveaway! Cuisinart 16 Cup Food Processor!

I know, that title is hard to believe, but it's true folks! My lovely friends at Williams-Sonoma have generously partnered with me to giveaway this beauty of a food processor—it's a brand new model that I am already coveting, the Cuisinart Elite Die-Cast 16 cup Food Processor. Here's a little about it (you should hear it from the manufacturer to make sure you get all of the glorious details!):

"The machine’s powerful 1,000-watt motor allows for effortless slicing, chopping, shredding, mixing, and kneading. Three separate nesting bowls (16-cup, 13-cup and 41⁄2-cup cap.) can be switched out instantly to reduce downtime while processing different ingredients. Designed to handle liquids more efficiently than ever, a seal-tight gasket between bowls and lid prevents liquids from spilling while the machine is in use, and locking blades stay put while you’re pouring out ingredients. Redesigned adjustable slicing discs provide customizable control over size and thickness when you’re chopping and slicing, and the reversible shredding disc allows you to quickly grate thick or thin shreds of ingredients. Includes three bowls, two discs, two blades, accessory storage case, spatula, how-to DVD and recipes. 1000W. 8 3/4" x 11” x 17 1/2" high. A Williams-Sonoma exclusive."

AMAZING! (Need more details? Check out the video at the bottom of this page.)

**Okay, for your chance to win the prize, please post a comment with a username (as in, not as "anonymous") describing what you would make if you won this. (Like pesto with fresh basil from your garden, perhaps, or hummus, or to knead bread dough) by 11:59 EST Sunday June 7th.

To ensure that I have your info should you win, feel free to send me an email at thingswemake at gmail dot com with your full name, username and mailing address.

And to prove to you that you really, really do need this in your life, here is a recipe that you could very easily make using this new machine.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water (about 105°F)
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, sugar and warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade, combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour and salt and pulse 3 or 4 times.

Whisk 1 Tbs. of the olive oil into the yeast mixture. With the motor running, slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Pulse the machine 10 to 15 times to knead the dough. The dough should clean the insides of the bowl but will be slightly sticky.

Coat the inside of a large bowl with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Dust your hands with flour and remove the dough from the food processor. Form the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Divide the dough in half and roll out as directed in the pizza recipe. (Like this one for Heirloom Tomato and Basil Pizza.) Makes two 10-inch thin-crust pizzas.

Yay free things that are also useful!

**Also, starting tomorrow I'm going to be posting weekly recipes from some of my favorite foodies over at ReadyMade so make sure to come join me there!