Monday, April 25, 2011

A Little Break

This is just a little note to let you know that I'm currently down and out with some back issues so I'm going to take the week to focus on getting better. See you back here soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vintage Textile Jewelry from Lisa of That Old Blue House

 One of the reasons that I love reading other blogs is because they so often lead me to people who are making the most lovely things. In this case, I am head over heels in love with the work of Lisa of ThatOldBlueHouse on etsy that I stumbled upon the other day (when I can figure out where I saw them first, I will add some credit here!). From Lisa: "I have worked with stained glass for over 20 years. My jewelry evolved from my love of antiques. I collect vintage textiles and postcards, and I had to finance my collecting addiction!!"

"My Vintage lace & quilt jewelry pays homage to the women who created these works of art many years ago. I only use tattered pieces of fabric & give them a 'second life', to be enjoyed by a new generation."
 Apparently her work has been featured all over the place (including in Anthropologie), and even though I am convinced that I should have come across this sooner, I'm really glad that I have found it now—as someone who has a growing stack of old quilt pieces and lace, I love thinking of the potential for it in wearable pieces.
 And there is something so classic, and yet modern, about the way that Lisa combines the old textiles with the hard metal materials. The fact that they manage to look delicate and fine, rather than bulky or overwhelming, is a true testiment to the quality and attention that she puts into her work.

 I am officially adding at least one of these pieces to my 31st bday "things to treat myself to" list. Now I just have to decide which one!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gluten Free Oatcakes

Even though I've stopped eating gluten, I have most certainly not given up baking or baked goods. I've just had to learn to substitute when I need to, or to try recipes that are specifically written as gluten free. I've learned that just subbing in a gluten free flour mix can be really hit or miss, but there are days when I see a recipe made with wheat flour that I must make, and waiting for a skilled GF baker to tweak the recipe simply isn't an option. Case in point, these Oatcakes from Heidi Swanson's new book, Super Natural Everyday. I love the style of her recipes and love her focus on whole foods and this book is a great follow up to her first, which is also in my cookbook collection.

I am actually a big fan of this sort of breakfast food—the kind that you can make once and eat 12 times (or freeze), the kind that's loaded with wholesome ingredients that will keep me going through the morning. And since we had a jar of homemade (by someone else!) lemon curd that needed to be eaten on something delicious, I decided to make these muffin-esque cakes. 

Note: These are actually in the dessert chapter, but after reducing the sugar a bit, I decided that they were a very appropriate breakfast! Also, if you are in the market for a new batch of recipes that rely on whole, good foods, this is the cookbook for you!

Gluten Free Oatcakes
Adapted from Super Natural Everyday
3 cups gf rolled oats
2 cups gluten free flour mix
1/2 t baking powder
2 t fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup flax seed meal
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 c extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 c unsalted butter
1/2 c maple syrup
1/4 c natural cane sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F with a rack in the top third. Butter or line a standard 12-cup muffin pan.
2. Combine the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, flax seeds, and walnuts in a large bowl.
3. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combing the coconut oil, butter, maple syrup and sugar and slowly melt together. Stir until the butter melts and the sugar has dissolved, but don't let the mixture get too hot. You don't want to cook the eggs on contact in the next step.
4. Pour the oil mixture over the oats mixture, stir a bit with a fork, add the eggs, and stir again until everything comes together into a wet dough. Spoon the dough into muffin cups, nearly filling them.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges of each oatcake are deeply golden. Remove pan from oven and let cool for a couple minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges of the cakes and tip them out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mail Call

We've been busy putting the final touches on the invites this week and I just now finished putting the stamps on and checking everyone off of our list to make sure that we didn't miss anyone. Time to drop them by the post office and hope that they make it to our guests in the midst of all of the tax returns!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shop Love: Shop Sweet Lulu

I'm not sure I've ever done a post like this, but after stumbling onto Shop Sweet Lulu a week or so back, I knew I had to share. I'm trying to get as much done for the wedding ahead of time because I know that the month before (June!) will be busy regardless. And even though we're keeping things simple, I was still in the market for a few special touches for the potluck party that we're having the day after the wedding.

Namely, fun straws (to dress up plain compostable cups), twine (to tie around the mason jars that will hold flowers for the tables), and doilies (which will go under the mason jars as a sort of table runner-esque touch. I might even make a few doily garlands!

Anyway, part of my plan is to do as much supply gathering online so that I can minimize the running around that I'm doing--which is also because my local Michaels is pretty much consistently a mob scene--and Shop Sweet Lulu had everything I was looking for, and then some...I was trying to decide if there was any reason on earth that I needed the little cups above. I didn't come up with one but if anyone has a suggestion, please let me know:)

Monday, April 11, 2011

The First Buds

After another weekend with temps in the 70s, I have to say I'm officially interested in this weather sticking around. I love having to put on sunscreen and a hat to go out and work in the garden, and how just standing in the warm sun can be the most delightful thing.

 I did more than just standing and admiring the tiny buds though—I also filled ten yard compost bags and cleaned out the flower beds that I didn't get to last weekend in the hopes that I can start to figure out what plants we want to put where this year. 

 I've also realized that while I love that we have a big yard because it means that there is plenty of space for raised beds, apple trees, and squirrels and birds to run around, it is a lot of area to take care of! So I did just enough to let the plants breathe and then I spent much of the weekend reading on the porch, taking these photos, and sewing.

 But it's vastly reassuring to see this new growth and to watch it day by day. We're approaching a year of living in our house and it brings me quite a lot of joy to be entering our second growing season here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Q&A with Sare of Miss Fluff Jewelry

I'm excited to share the work and a little bit of the story of Sare, who makes that amazing leather necklace that you're looking at. This is part of a regular Wednesday feature where I have a q&a with a crafty lady and we all hear about what they do, why they do it, and how they make time for it. If you'd like to be featured, drop me a note at and we can make that happen! And now, let's get to know Sare!

Name: Sare
Maker of: unique leather jewelry

Where do you live?
I live in London, England.

Do you think that influences the style of your work?
Although I love living in a busy city like London I’ve always craved the country and perhaps that why my main influences are nature and wildlife. I’ve also always wanted to live in a fairytale wonderland which is perhaps why sometimes my designs veer off into the slightly odd!

Is this your full time work? If not, what do you do?
I’ve been studying at the London College of Fashion and am currently searching for part-time work whilst making jewellery part-time hoping to turn into full time one day.

How did you learn to make your designs?
I’ve made my own bags and jewellery since I was a girl. While I was studying accessories at LCF I discovered the wonderful properties of leather and learnt the skills I needed to work with it. I love working with leather. It’s so tactile and I find it only improves with age.

Have you always made things? If not, what made you start and why do you continue?
I have been making and creating for as long as I can remember. I learnt my sewing skills from my mother and grandmother who would always be sewing something in our kitchen.
I continue to make things because it is the most natural thing in the world to me and when I’m not I feel stifled and frustrated.

How do you balance your need to do creative work with the demands of busy daily life?
I’m quite an organised person but even so sometimes family life becomes overwhelming and the ironing piles up and dishes need doing and it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
I think sometimes you just need to let everything wait and take some time for yourself and your work.

What do you think sets your work apart?
I’ve always loved unusual jewellery and I like to think that my designs fit into that category. Whilst some of my work is more conventionally pretty there are other pieces that are a little more unusual like my horse earrings, sea life creatures or bunny rabbit necklaces.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring designers?
I don’t really feel in a position to offer advice. I just think you should stay true to yourself, work hard and stay fresh!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend Highlights: Paint, Pizza, Snacks and Socca

 The weekend was crazy productive in the sense that we finally had time to do projects that we've been talking about doing for what feels like forever. The first one was painting the downstairs bathroom, which we've needed to do for a year since we moved into the house, but we simply needed a break from painting...but oh how I hated the color that was there! It was a sort of rust color that matched the tile floor and since I otherwise love the tile floor, I really wanted to soften up the room with a creamy color. Which you can see above.

It took three coats to cover it well and with the sunlight that the room gets, it's officially calm and serene, just like a bathroom should be. I even recaulked around the tub for good measure!

 I also finally had time to clean out about 75% of the flower beds (which now probably don't show my efforts since it's been crazy windy here) and am delighted with all of the budding green. And, even more exciting is that I'm finally starting to understand the yard in a way that I know what to do (at least more than I did last year!). Next up: to plant some wildflowers in with the irises and hostas out front to make the beds feel more like us.

Josh made his most perfect pizza yet, using the last of the pesto from last summer's garden...

 And I made a batch of trail bars (using gluten free oats, almond butter, and coconut in place of the wheat germ), which have become a staple in our house...

And also this crepe called Socca made with garbanzo bean flour, rosemary, salt, water and olive oil. It was super fast and is a nice gluten free alternative to a roll or slice of bread for dinner. Next time I might add a bit more salt than the recipe called for, but overall, it was a great first attempt at a new recipe. Click here to see a version that comes with a much more enticing photo!

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Sister's Dress, Update #2

For about the past month, I've been stitching my heart out in eyelets as I've done the front part of my sister's dress. I did refine it a bit after taking this photo, so that the top line isn't quite so straight across but is more fluid, but this gives you a pretty good sense of how it's coming together. I've beaded around the neckline and just started working on the back, so I figure that I'll have this done by the end of April and I can get it to Katie so that she can make sure it, fingers crossed, fits. (I am confident that it will since I have seen this dress shape on a few people and in every case it's looked fantastic, but I am sure we'll all feel better when we know for sure--which is part of the problem of not living closer to each other, but I have faith!)
As I am sure that I mentioned, this is different from working on my dress since this one is all freehand (mine had a pattern and lines to stitch around). So it's sort of scary in a different way, but I must admit that I  LOVE the colors so very much that working on it feels like sitting out in the sun. Yes, apparently I really do love pink.

It's exactly three months to the wedding today, so I'm definitely getting excited that we're that close. And if we can get the invitations in the mail this week, we'll pretty much be right on schedule...

Happy almost weekend everyone!