Thursday, October 29, 2009

Inspired Image: Alison Tauber

Hello, my name is Alison Tauber.

This image comes from printmaker Angie Lewin

It inspires me because all of Angie's work inspires me! She has such a distinct sense of style that I really admire.

I particularly love the sense of movement and the beautiful use of color.

It makes me feel happy and inspired.

The 3 words it conjures up are simple, complicated and expressive.

I find Alison to be pretty inspirational herself. Take a look at some of her creations using screen printing, embroidery and sewing:

It has been a crazy busy past week and a half, and I am very thankful that today is Friday. My plans for the weekend involve, hopefully, taking at least one long walk, quilting and finishing up a pillow project that is halfway done. And maybe some baking since the weather seems to be calling for it. Enjoy your weekend (and Halloween if you're celebrating/dressing up!).

Mark Your Calendars...

I have two very special events that I'm doing in the next two months that I'd love for any of you local readers to come to. (Or if you're not local, perhaps this is a bit of extra motivation to come visit me in Des Moines? Just a thought!) Here's the info:

Saturday, November 7, 10 am
Metro Arts Expo
I'll be one of three mini-seminar leaders and I will use my 30 minutes to share tips on finding affordable art, buying art online and navigating sites like Etsy, Art Fire and Buy Olympia. I’ll also talk about the benefits of tapping into your own creativity, and what I've learned from my 2009 resolution to purchase a print every month from independent artists. Bonus: Everyone who joins the seminar will have the chance to create a craft during the session.

Thursday, December 3, 7-9 pm
Ephemera, 505 E. Locust Street (their, new, fancy, large location with space for regular workshops and classes!!!)
Fabric Garland Workshop
Learn to make a festive holiday garland using leftover fabric and paper, mod podge, ribbon and a little bit of creativity. It's a quick, easy and cheap way to start decking out your holiday halls or decorate for your next big soiree.

And, big news...coming in 2010, I'm going to be teaching a quilting class at Ephemera! I am definitely nervous about that, but I am also really looking forward to sharing my love of quilting with other people.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Katherine's Wedding: Sneak Peek

Just a teaser image from Katherine and Jonathan's wedding in New Orleans this past weekend. This is the exterior of the Orlean club, where the reception was. It's an old social club near Loyola, Tulane and Audubon Park and was as magical a setting for a wedding reception as it appears to be.
To hear a little more from another guest of the wedding, check out what Meg over at A Practical Wedding said about her experience (note: I was the other reader she mentions meeting!).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Inspiration and Sara Norris Photography

I flew to New York City this morning for work and the colors of the trees—rich golds, brilliant reds, vibrant oranges—were astounding. I am definitely feeling more aware of the changing trees this year (or maybe they actually are brighter, who knows!) and the view this morning was a lovely way to start the week.

Which brings me to today's post. Sara Norris is a photographer who recently made photography her full time work. The image above caught my eye for obvious reasons, but I also love the ones below as well.
I really enjoy how she plays with color and light and that I can very easily imagine myself in her photos. Sara also talks about how she's trying to give people an opportunity to own affordable art, which I whole heartedly support.
I'm actually doing a seminar on that very topic at the Metro Arts Expo on Saturday November 7 and am happy to have another resource to share.

Sara recently added gift tags and new prints to her store, and I'm looking forward to following her work in the coming months.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Stitched Happy Wedding Card

Just back from a most amazing weekend in New Orleans for my good friend Katherine's wedding. This is the card that I made for her, that uses fabrics that are in the quilt that I'm making for her. I attached the rectangles to the card using Mod Podge, let them dry, then stitched around each layer. I would up cutting out the cake, and Mod Podging it to a new card so that it's slightly lifted off. I am really pleased with how it came out.
We ate really well—fried oyster po'boys, cafe au lait, gumbo (seafood and chicken andouille), sugar coated beignets, eggs sardou—and I totally enjoyed bridesmaiding on Saturday and helping Katherine get ready for the ceremony (which included activities like embroidering the bag that held the glass for the Jewish ceremony and holding a large mirror as she had her hair done), and dancing for hours at the reception. It was completely Katherine and Jonathan, and also completely New Orleans. I will share pictures once I have them ready!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Inspired Image: Jamie Lee of JL4L

Hello, my name is Jamie Lee.

You can find me at or

This image comes from a collection of photos my boyfriend took of me, laying by the docks on Long Island, NY.

It inspires me because in this photo, I'm letting go, taking in my surroundings, and completely being myself. Something I think we all need to do once in a while. Nothing else can be more inspiring, and when I make my jewelry I always keep that in mind.

I particularly love the color of the ocean contrasted against the warm wooden docks, and the memory of the springtime sun.

It makes me feel excited to be alive.

The 3 words it conjures up are warmth, contentment, freedom.

Check out a few images of Jamie's very whimsical work:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Grandmother's Thimbles

I inherited many of my Grandmom Palanjian's sewing notions, from plastic containers filled with ric rac and lace ribbon, to old buttons, some of her knitting needles, and a collection of tiny jars filled with stitch markers, bobbins and these thimbles. Last night, as I was making a card for my friend Katherine who is getting married this weekend, I needed a thimble. So I pulled the jar out and realized that there was this little piece of paper all folded up inside. The last time I found something similar it was in a plastic bag with a bracelet that caught my eye while going through her jewelry box. Amazingly, she'd written that the bracelet was for me. But back to the thimbles. I was delighted to pull out this sheet on the "magic thimble". So sweet and I just love knowing that at some point in time, for some specific reason, my grandmother decided to save this.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Instant Heirloom: Corinne of September House

I came across Corinne's work recently and she's really inspired to think more about embroidery, which I have occasionally tried over the past year. I'm thinking that with my next quilt, I'm going to try to incorporate some more intentional applique or embroidery. Her use of texture and shapes make her work feel incredibly tactile, even through photos. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to see a piece in person. Here's more from Corinne about her work:

Name: Corinne McHie
Online: Blog:
Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Tell me a little bit about what you make.
I design and stitch embroidered pieces. I also design embroidery patterns.

How and when did you learn to embroider?
I was lucky enough to grow up with a crafty mother who would buy her daughters cross stitch kits, latch hook projects, embroidery floss for friendship bracelets (remember those?) – whatever interested us at the moment. The purchase of these items usually came with some instruction or at least encouragement from her. So, she not only taught me a lot of skills but also inspired me to go ahead and try new things creatively. One of the wonderful things about embroidery is that you can go to the library and check out an instructional book of stitches and get started. You don’t need to invest in any expensive equipment or have a spare room in your home to get going.

Would you call your process traditional or are you doing something innovative in terms of process?
Embroidery is such an old craft and I love being a part of something with a long history. It’s a great feeling to master those same stitches that were taught so long ago all over the world. I do tend to break a few "rules" here and there when I embroider. For example, I use embroidery hoops to frame up a final piece but I never ever use them when I embroider. It’s like any craft I suppose – you just have to do what works for you to get the result you desire.
I love how so many fiber artists are using modern themes and technology in their work and I would love to incorporate more of that into my designs. It’s a pretty exciting time in embroidery and I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg as far as innovative use of the medium goes.

Where do you do your work?
I work at home wherever I can find a spot. That is another great things about embroidery – it’s pretty portable. I am hoping to have a space of my own after some home renovation projects are complete and I am extremely excited about that.

Have you had any mentors along the way?
As far as embroidery goes I have a lot of family members that are extremely creative and I have grown up watching them. My mother sews and knits, my father loves woodworking, and my grandmother quilts and embroiders. When I started SeptemberHouse on Etsy I met some fabulous sellers and buyers along the way who have been kind enough to offer advice and encouragement. I can’t say enough about how much that has meant to me and I hope that one day I can return that favor to someone else just starting out there.

How long does a typical project make?
That’s hard to say, as I am pretty bad at keeping track of my time. I work on things here and there whenever I have a chance so I usually don’t know for sure in the end how long it took. I would estimate between 2 and 10 hours depending on the size and amount of detail in a peice.

Where do you find your inspiration?
A friend asked me recently if I see the world in embroidery stitches and sometimes I think I am starting to do just that. Sometimes natural objects have some element to them that is so similar to a particular embroidery stitch that I just have to try to recreate it. One day last Spring my son brought home a writing practice sheet from school and the paper it was on reminded me so much of this natural linen fabric I had. The next thing I knew I was stitching up a kindergarten-style alphabet and turning it into my next embroidered piece.

What are some of your current favorite products that you're selling?
Right now I would have to say the Christmas ornaments. When I opened SeptemberHouse the first items I made were Christmas ornaments so I have an affection for those. I’m most comfortable working on a small scale so those 3-inch hoops are just my size.

Is this your full-time work?
My full-time job is mothering right now but maybe one day.

What do you hope customers experience when they buy your work?
Hopefully the workmanship will show. I am extremely particular about my stitches and have been known to take stitches back out and move them just one tiny fiber over. So, I hope the care I put into it is reflected in the final product. Providing good customer service is something I strive for and, to be honest, is one of my favorite parts of selling on Etsy. I don’t just do it because it’s good for business – I truly enjoy that part of it. I hope customers feel like they are getting the kind of product and service they would never be able to get in a department store because, well, they are.

What's the best part of your day?
I’m an early bird and I typically make sure I have a 2-hour jump on everyone else in the house. I love that quiet time to work on projects or even just get a head start on the rest of the day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Project: Baked Squash Gnocchi

After picking up my last fall CSA share (don't be too sad, my winter share starts in two weeks!) I realized that I had to find some new things to do with squash (and potatoes and rutabagas...). I had six decent sized ones on my counter yesterday morning and was feeling pressured to start eating them. I'd originally been wanting to do a traditional Melfi (my Italian family name) Sunday dinner of meatballs and gravy, but it just felt wrong to go to the store for ingredients when I had a house full of food.
So I was extremely excited when I found this recipe for squash gnocchi from my Tuscan cooking school vacation. We made regular gnocchi when I was there, which were amazing, so I had faith that these would turn out well. Plus, I had the rest of the ingredients, it was super simple AND I got to use my new immersion blender again!

Paired with Brussel sprouts sauteed in butter, then tossed with toasted walnuts, it was a delicious dinner. The texture of the gnocchi was silky smooth and I loved that the combination of flavors was something entirely new.

Gnocchi di Zucca
2 lb pumpkin or butternut squash (mine was not butternut, it was long thin and striped yellow and green, though I do not know the variety!)
olive oil
2 onions
3 cloves garlic
1 large can crushed tomatoes (either with basil, or plain and then add a few basil leaves into it)
5 oz flour
3 oz parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.
1. Peel the squash, remove the seeds and cut into 1 inch cubes. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skilet and sautee the squash. Add salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add to the squash. Turn off the heat when everything is softened or is starting to brown.
3. Transfer the squash mixture to a large glass or ceramic bowl and use a hand blender to process (you could also do this in a food processor, though maybe let the mixture cool slightly first.)
4. Return the squash to the skillet, turn the heat on low, and stir in flour a little at a time until it is considerably thicker but still creamy.
5. Pour the tomatoes into a large shallow ovenproof dish. With 2 spoons, make walnut sized balls of squash and place in the sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 15 minutes. Top with more cheese to serve, if desired.

Friday, October 16, 2009

October Print of the Month

So my goal today was to post my October print of the month, but I am so completely obsessed with my friend Bethany's photography that I can't decide which one is my favorite. (Um, I'm also not even sure that she sells her prints, but I figure since I know her I can hopefully work something out!). There's that amazing layer cake above...

These sublime pastries from a local market here, which I love because of how the white fades out along the edges.

A homemade zucchini pizza that speaks to everything I love about cooking and eating—vivid produce, time put into something so obviously worth the effort, taking a moment to savor it before devouring it.

OMG (sorry, I can't help it!) and then there is this close up of a free form berry pie.

And this demure turnover that I think speaks to the time of year that we are currently in. So, I have to make a choice. To be honest, I haven't had this strong of a reaction to photographs in a while and it's making me really happy. I think it might have to do with the fact that I actually know the person behind the lens (and just so you know, Bethany also takes lovely landscape shots and portraits, and in her day job, she works as an editor at DIY)and it's fascinating to see the world through her eyes. Plus, her food photography is just stunning and it makes me both appreciate her talent with the camera and want to eat everything she captures. That is just the perfect combination.
If you have a vote, please let me know. I think I'm between the cake, the pastries and the in your face free form pie...I will see if I can make a decision over the weekend.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Instant Heirloom: Hand-Dyed Yarn by Kitchen Sink Dyeworks

With the surprise knitted hat earlier this week and my renewed interest in knitting (thank you cold weather!), I'm delighted to share a fantastic resource for hand dyed yarns. I love the variations in Mercedes work and am pretty sure I'm going to have to treat myself to a skein or two in the very near future

Merecedes Tarasovich-Clark, Kitchen Sink Dyeworks
Find me:,
Facebook page,
Location: Birmingham, AL

Tell me a little bit about what you make.
I start with blank skeins of wool and wool-blend yarn, spinning fibers or sometimes, coned yarns that I skein up. After a preliminary soak, the yarns are carefully painted with colorfast dyes for protein based fibers, heat-set, cooled, then washed in biodegradable detergent, rinsed and dried. We then re-skein them, which gives knitters and crocheters a better view of how the colors will look together, and they’re ready to go to happy new homes! I’m super-fussy about how I lay colors down on the yarn; it really is painting, which results in a very balanced palette of colors in the finished skein, no big blobs of one color taking over the finished product.

How and when did you learned to work with dyes?
I majored in fibers and textiles with a focus on dyeing, specifically silk fabrics, in art school. Once I graduated, I began to focus on knitting, crochet, and handspinning as a hobby; dyeing fibers for handspinners and teaching dyeing workshops in the Birmingham area. I soon came to work in the knitting industry as a retail yarn shop owner and freelance knitwear designer. I dyed yarn and fiber here and there for myself and friends, but the business of running the shop kept me pretty busy. I love working with hand dyed yarns, though, so eventually I found my way back to the dye kitchen, and started wondering, with the advent of all these new indie dyers popping up on the scene if there could be a market for my yarns and fibers, too.

Would you call your process traditional- as in is this how fibers have been traditionally dyed or are you doing something innovative in terms of process?
I think it's a little looser and less scientific than some dyers, but more structured than others.

Where do you source your fibers from?
A variety of yarn mills and distributors around the country, I try to pick and choose yarns and fibers that are less commonly seen from other indie dyers, and ones that I'd love to work with, too.

Where do you do your work?
True to the name of the business, I really am working out of a kitchen in an outbuilding on my property.

How long does a batch take and what volume are you dying at one time?
Depending on the complexity of the colorways, I can dye up to 120 skeins in a day, usually in batches of 3 or 4 skeins each.

Do you knit as well?
Yes, I'm an experienced knitter and knitwear designer. My pattern, Girl Friday, is in the current issue of Knitty, shown in two of my worsted weight yarns. I also love to crochet, check out my free Spokes cuff bracelet pattern on our blog,

Where do you find your inspiration?
There are so many unexpected sources of inspiration and creative ideas. A cool sweater on the woman in the supermarket line in front of me, a beautiful flower arrangement, a bright palette on a billboard; I never know where I might find a great idea. I always keep my camera and sketchbook handy. And I have a little flickr addiction problem, I'm always exploring other's photo pools for striking colors.

What are some of your current favorite products/colorways that you're selling?
I'm head over heels in love with our Luxe yarn base, a super-soft cashmere and merino blend that takes the dye in a slightly subtler way than some of the other bases. I'm also really enjoying crocheting with the Blue Faced Lace fingering weight, its tight twist really shows off crocheted lace. My current colorway favorites (this week anyway!) are Trafford, a rich autumnal gold, and Edgar, a deep inky blue-black that reminds me of fountain pen ink.

Is this your fulltime work?
Yes, I run KSD and work on my freelance knitwear design fulltime (and often overtime!)

What do you hope customers experience when they buy your yarn?
I hope they experience a connection with the color, and enjoy the subtle changes that really show off their work. I really enjoy when people see the yarns in person and have that "ooh!" moment where they gravitate straight towards a color that really connects with them.

What's the best part of your day?
There’s nothing as satisfying as pulling skeins out of the steamer and seeing all of that glorious color. I know I’ve hit the mark with a new color when I don’t want to let it leave my hands!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hand Cable Knit Hat, Best Mailbox Surprise

Last night I came home to this tucked into my little mailbox. I was shocked and surprised and am very curious as to who left it for me since it didn't come with a card.

I am guessing it was my lovely neighbor, who I spotted knitting last week on her living room couch, but still, for someone I hardly know, I am amazed at the generosity. Plus, it matches my new Urban Posture scarf perfectly! (Note to self: you seriously need to learn to knit in the round so you can start making hats.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Q&A: Yvonne and Jeremy of Little Otsu

Names: Yvonne & Jeremy
Find us:,,,, Little Otsu, 849 Valencia St., San Francisco!
Location: J- We're located on Valencia Street in The Mission District in San Francisco which is a good place to: eat a burrito, buy a book, shop for janitorial supplies, visit a pirate store and eat vegan Japanese food among many other things.

Tell me a little bit about your store and how you decided to open it?
J- We are a small press publishing company and store where we sell our full line of books & paper goods as well as items made by companies we like. These would include: small press art books, letterpress greeting cards, handmade mini-comics, weekly planners, limited edition prints, hand-drawn bookmarks & postcards among many other things made of paper. We opened our store 7 years ago and basically have tried to sell things we like and hope other people like them as well.
For someone who hasn't been lucky enough to stop by in person, how would you describe the style of the store?
Y- Kind of like visiting our living room. Our style is pretty casual and friendly with a lot of colorful products on found/family furniture.
J- It's like a hand-drawn stationery store meets a small press art-book shop with some handmade crafts thrown in.

How do you decide what products to carry?
Y- We look for things that appeal to us aesthetically, are more unusual or hard to come by, priced reasonably, and that feel like they are a fit with little otsu and something that our customers would love.

What are some of your current favorite products or artists?
J- We often say our most current project is our favorite project and so to that end the Annual Vol 4 by Dan Black and Nine Ways to Disappear by Lilli Carre would be our current favorites. That said, it's too difficult to narrow it down to who our favorite artists are (although Lart C. Berliner will probably always be topping the list). We also just saw the Kandinsky exhibit at the Guggenheim and he was pretty amazing!

Did you have retail experience or did you figure out how to make Little Otsu a success simply by doing it?
J- I worked some retail, mostly in coffee shops but otherwise we were totally fresh to running retail stores. We did jump into it in a way but tried--and continue--to learn from our mistakes as much as possible.
Y- I think we took a lot of our different experiences that weren't traditional retail (like from running a zine/label or selling merch at shows), but could be applied to a retail setting and just our sense of how we wanted to do things and it luckily worked out.

Where do you find your inspiration?
J- We find a lot of inspiration from working with such amazing artists on projects. Some of the best ideas we've ever had were from sitting around brainstorming with Lart or Martine (both LO artists). We also find inspiration from all the normal places like old books, websites, friends, museums, and our favorite bookstores.

Do you make things yourselves?
J- Yvonne has made a few things including the Film Diary and several notepads and a postcard flat. On our other LO projects we base everything on collaboration so we are always involved in some way large or small.

What do you hope customers experience when they visit?
J- We hope they find things they've never seen before that they like and get to enjoy for a long time. Also we hope it's good weather outside.

What's the best part of your day?
J- Drinking coffee and talking about project ideas.
Y- The satisfaction of getting our day's orders out the door.

If you are ever in San Francisco, you should definitely make a visit to Little Otsu. They were on my list of things to do when I had a free afternoon there last summer and what a treat. I came away with a small stack of cards and postcards, some of which were thin wood and were so pretty that I never could bring myself to part with them. Their planner, shown above, is delightful and I particularly enjoy that you get to fill in the dates yourself. And, of course, also the fact that it's so darn cool to look at. Definitely excellent motivation to stay organized, of that I am sure!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Winter Preview and My Cold Weather Survival Plan

When I moved to Des Moines at the end of this past May, one of the most frequent things people who live here told me was to watch out for winter. I still don't really understand how winter here can be so much worse than in NYC where it's certainly not easy, particularly since you have to brave it to get anywhere (rather than having the option to jump into a warm car). But, as I found out this weekend, I am surely going to be in for a few surprises. It snowed on Saturday and while it didn't stick, it lasted for much of the day and definitely felt wintery (the temperature hovered in the low 30s). Rather than spend too much time lamenting how it is way too soon to be this cold, I pulled out a favorite blue sweater, found my winter coat, and decided to embrace it because really, what good is complaining?

Especially when the afternoon sky looks like this. And, I got my first look at the pelicans that hang out near the dam at Lake Red Rock out in Pella, which is home to the very popular Tulip Time celebration in the spring, while I soaked in what little heat there was from the sun (and gave thanks that Josh was generous enough to lend me his wool hat).

Walking back to the car, the trees were looking seasonally appropriate, so there's hope that we'll get to watch the colors change a bit before we dive head first into sustained freezing temperatures. But if that turns out to be the case, I have already found a few things that are going to help me through my first Midwestern winter:

1. My new immersion blender which is The Most Amazing Kitchen Tool I Never Knew I Always Needed. After seeing what quick, convenient, and remarkably clean work it made out of pureeing a batch of black bean soup, I can tell I'm going to be eating many bowls of soup from now through April.
2. Fleece and thick socks.
3. Eating more Dutch Letters at Jaarsma, preferrably with a cup of hot chocolate (though my first one, which I ate in my warm car, flakes of pastry covering the front of my jacket, was pretty darn memorable).
4. Working on my current quilting project, which is large enough that I can comfortably wrap myself up in the finished side while I continue stitching on the other.
5. Picking up my knitting needles again, after a long hiatus during the warmer months, to hopefully make something other than scarves or bags.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Inspired Image: Nicole of Sloe Gin Fizz

Hello, my name is Nicole Ray.

You can find me at Sloe Gin Fizz

This image comes from Andy Kehoe. It's called "Desolation Afflicts the Greedy".

It inspires me because
it has such a strong narrative quality, but conjures a different story each time I look at it. I just discovered this artist in the past year and looking at his paintings always makes me want get to work!

I particularly love the contrast of the very decorative, bright blue feathers against the rich, earthy painting of the landscape. And the slightly creepy, but wise owl eyes.

It makes me feel curious and reminds of landscapes in the Western US. But it's cleverness also makes me chuckle.

The 3 words it conjures up are
moody, humble, patience.

I met Nicole at Renegade Craft Fair and love the style of her prints and cards. Here, take a look at a few...

Check out more of her work at her etsy shop (where I've already started keeping a holiday gift file- I have decided that it's never too early to start keeping track of gift inspiration!) and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Pillows from Sam at Inklore

Oh my heart, how I adore that little red button. I am a big fan of Sam (remember when I wrote about her in an Instant Heirloom post?) and her aesthetic. And the story behind these is just so darn sweet—read more about it at her blog.

I've had pillows on my mind a lot lately since I owe Virginia two (though I have to figure out what's causing my sewing machine to act up first...will get on that!) and I have two feed sack bags—when in Iowa, right?—that I am considering stuffing and making into pillows. They will likely wind up as a gift.

But after seeing these, I am reconsidering my lack of embellishment plans. I might need to have a staycation crafting retreat for myself one of these days!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bean and Escarole Soup (Or Crostini)

It's now prime soup making season—which I'll be doing a lot of, especially since my sweet mom sent me an immersion blender and we're already hitting lows in the 30s here!—so I've been going through some of my favorite recipes for inspiration. The one shown here was one of my favorites from the cooking course I took in Italy last summer. I've posted a handful of the recipes from that week because they are simple, flavorful and on the whole, really comforting (I'm Italian American, so I'm programmed to love this sort of food!). With this one, I also particularly love the photo I snapped, which hangs on the wall in my kitchen. You can make this as a soup, or as a crostini. I've made it both ways and loved it each time.

Bean and Escarole Soup OR Crostini
from Organic Tuscany
Serves 4 as a soup starter, or makes 24 crostini

10 oz cooked cannellini or borlotti beans and the water they were cooked in
1 head escarole (or any curly bitter lettuce)
2 cloves garlic
2 small chilli peppers
Olive oil

1. Boil the lettuce in plenty of boiling, salted water. Squeeze the water out, and chop it finely.
2. Stir fry the garlic (whole) and the chilli peppers in a good swoosh of olive oil.
3. Add the cooked lettuce and cook for a little while, so that the lettuce takes on the flavors of the oil.
4. Add the cooked beans and 2 cups of the water they were cooked in. Cook on a low flame for 10-15 minutes.
5. Serve with warm bread or toast, rubbed with raw garlic.