Thursday, April 30, 2009

good god they're cute

video

In true form, Grace is a complete ham, and Emi says something cute (but you have to watch carefully, it's in a whisper.)

new shop

We're for sale now in another online shop. Any of you ever heard of 1000 markets? It's a similar site to Etsy but much smaller, and juried. The layout is lovely, and the photographs are consistently clear and well done. I highly suggest popping over there for a gander.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

recipe

I dreamed a few nights ago that I was at Ina Garten's house. If you don't know, she's the cook behind Barefoot Contessa, and I am a huge huge fan of hers. We were hosting a dinner party together and several unexpected guests showed up. I had to re-plate everything to accommodate everyone and I was very flusstered especially being in someone else's kitchen. Ina was very disaproving of me, and was being totally rude. I was surprised by what a bitch she turned out to be. Also, I flashed someone at one point.


Lime Curd (Barefoot Contessa)
4-5 limes at room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
4 xl eggs at room temperature
1/8 t salt

Zest the limes. Squeeze the limes until you have 1/2 c juice and set aside. Put the zest in a food processor, add the sugar and process for 2-3 minutes. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then add the lime juice and salt.
Pour the mixture into a 2 qt. saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
I like to pour it immediately into a serving container and allow it to cool as it looks nicer this way. Or pour it into a prepared tart shell.
Keeps for a few weeks in the fridge (if you don't eat it all first.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

new baby

Welcome to the world baby Finnegan Wallace. I look forward to meeting you tonight. And a big congratulations to the new mom and dad.


Monday, April 27, 2009

in the kitchen

I went on a bit of a baking binge yesterday, and busted out Honey Vanilla Pound Cake, Banana Bread with Ginger and Chocolate, and Lime Curd all before noon. Oh, yes, they were tasty. I'll post the Lime Curd recipe tonight as I think it was the most successful, and maybe something you haven't made before.

Friday, April 24, 2009

ahh, fame

I'm not sure if they've sold any, but the nice ladies at Rose and Radish posted this on the front page of their online shop.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

melting

Ok, I know I disappeared there for a few days. And I don't really have a good excuse. I was approaching the end of my week off, and it's been hot. I had to take full advantage. If you've ever tried to go to the beach in San Francisco, you've probably been shocked by how freezing it always is. But with yesterday topping out at a record breaking 91 degrees, and today only a few lower, we were actually able to play in the water at Chrissy Field.


Friday, April 17, 2009

drooling over this

Apartment Therapy wrote about vertical gardens recently, and I can't stop thinking about them. I'm desperately trying to figure out where I could put one, as I think they are incredible. I love succulents (and they are very easy to keep alive.) Here are the two links to the articles, which do have some instructions and resources. ATNY and ATSF





Tuesday, April 14, 2009

little project

I love this little green table that I bought at the flea market. But the top has worn out in a gross way. I decided to distress the whole thing, and Cristina suggested turning the bottom into a book shelf. All I had to do was cut 2 pieces of 1x2 to fit. I wedged them in carefully with a hammer and didn't even need glue or screws. Voila.

before, above. after, below.






7x7, online

7x7 seems to have finally gotten their April issue online. Here is the article I was featured in.

Monday, April 13, 2009

the buns we had

I just scarffed down some more sticky bun, and I'm using the sugar high to get me through posting the recipe. Keep in mind, none of this is particularly difficult, but there are a lot of steps, and you have to start the night before you want to eat them. The first rising is 1 1/2 hours, the second rising happens in the fridge overnight, and the third is 1 hour when they are rolled and in the pan. The recipe comes from Joy Of Cooking. If you don't own it already, go buy it now. If you are only going to own 1 cookbook, this is it.

For the dough:
In a large bowl, or the bowl of your mixer, combine and let stand for 5 minutes:
1/4 c warm water
1 package active dry yeast

Add:
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c sugar
1/4 c milk
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
1 t salt

Mix by hand or on low speed until combined. Gradually add in:
2 to 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour

Mix for 1 minute or until dough comes together. Knead by hand for 10 minutes (I found it to be a tough dough, requiring some serious strength to knead.) Or, knead using a dough hook on low/med. speed for 5-7 minutes. The dough should be smooth and not sticky.

Add:
6 T butter, very soft (this is key)
Vigorously knead until the butter is completely incorporated and the dough is smooth again.
Place the dough in a large buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a very warm place (75-85 degrees) until double in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down, knead briefly, place back in bowl, cover, and put in fridge until double again, 4-12 hours. (Go to bed.)


For the Filling:
Butter a 13x9-inch baking pan. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring:
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) butter
1/4 c honey

Remove from heat and stir in:
2 1/2 c pecans, chopped coarsely

Pour the hot syrup into the baking dish and spread evenly. Allow to cool while you roll the dough.


Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 16x12-inch rectangle. Brush with:
1 T melted butter

Sprinkle with:
1/3 c packed brown sugar (I forgot this, but will definitely add next time)
2 t cinnamon


Starting from a long side, roll up the dough into a cylinder. Cut crosswise into 8 slices. Arrange in the pan cut side down, spacing evenly. Cover with oiled plastic wrap (or foil if that's all you have) and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.



Preheat the oven to 350. Bake uncovered until the buns are golden brown and the syrup is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then invert the pan onto a rimmed baking sheet or serving dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Sunday, April 12, 2009

sticky buns, we hope

I'm on about step 42 of making sticky buns from scratch. Only minor snafus so far, but I think I should wait to give you the recipe until I've tried one. So this here post is a teaser.
Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

etsy finds

I'm trying to figure out what sort of theme I have here this week. Sometimes it comes really naturally, spelled out for me. But I've been trying to branch out a bit lately, and it seems to be working. The list is all new-to-me sellers, and I think it represents that vastness of Etsy.

Tall Coper Bowl by jillrosewald $150



Handmade Metal Box by silocurb $25.50


Wool Pears by whimsywireandwool $25 (set of 4)



Lesbo Plate by trixiedelicious $20



Flower Measuring Spoon by beehivekitchenware $48


Wooden Mini Planter by trishafern $17



Cockroach Cup by catherinereece $28


Children's Wooden Place Setting by palumba $49.99

St. Winifred's Well-Wood Engraving by spoonergregory $10.50


Sitting on a Park Bench by blurb $40


Hewn Resin Bangle by QuercusSilver $25

Friday, April 10, 2009

got inspired

I've been in the mood lately to investigate many of my favorite blogs favorite blogs. It's been fun being introduced to some new voices. One in particular really struck a chord. Luisa Weiss' writing style is very poetic, which might have something to do with her ability to speak several languages. Her blog The Wednesday Chef introduces recipes in a glorious way, and the description of herself baking gingerbread early on a Sunday morning was so romantic that I had to make it too. I'm linking to the recipe rather than writing it, because you should go and read what she has to say. And then bake this gingerbread and eat it with strawberry rhubarb sauce and whipped cream.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

drum roll, please

Congratulations, Jen B. You'll be getting the pillow of your choice. Thanks to all who participated we'll do it again soon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

last call

I'll be choosing a winner for the pillow giveaway tomorrow, so make sure to leave a comment here now. Scroll down a few entries if you want to see what's what.

press

Anyone happen to see this month's 7x7? For their "green" issue they chose a selection of environmentally friendly items, and ciuccio's tandem quilt was featured. Woohoo!



Sunday, April 5, 2009

getting to know you #10

One of my favorite things to do lately is find out where all of my favorite designers/artists live. I like seeing where the hubs of creativity are around the world. Australia keeps popping up. Susan Fitzgerald, who owns Spin Spin, has a lovely little studio where she prints her gorgeous tea towels and other goods. I just love her bold colors and the "t" is brilliant.

please tell us who you are, and a bit about your business/art.
I'm trained as a graphic designer but hate the idea of 'working for the man' and 'pumping out design' for a living, so a couple of years ago I started working on my own designs with a vague idea of bringing them to life. I also started making soft toys and took a screenprinting course. From there I began experimenting with printing my own designs on fabric (in my living room!) and then started making toys and tea towels with the fabric. Recently I moved into a shared studio space in Kensington, Melbourne so I have the room to really play around with ideas without worrying about getting paint everywhere (and so my living room isn't full of printing equipment!)


describe your creative/creating process.
I rarely sit down with a plan – usually ideas just morph into life of their own accord. When I've got a chunk of time to 'work', I don't usually have a fixed agenda - just a few broad aims. This means that I can flitter about and not get any one thing finished (I'm a Pisces so I have a good excuse) but that also leaves me room to experiment and play around with ideas. It's also important for me to work on what feels right at any one time because if my heart's not in it, the results will show. Also, if you're really excited about a project, you get the momentum going and it's good to run with it.



what are your favorite places to shop (both on and off etsy?)
There are way too many great shops in Melbourne... Zakkaya in Fitzroy is full of so many cute Japanese things, from wood-mounted stamps to ceramics. Patchwork in Central Park in Malvern has more beautiful fabric than you can imagine. Douglas & Hope in Fitzroy has lovely quilts and other bits and pieces. Industria in Fitzroy is full of remnants of times past and unusual & interesting furniture, and Arthur's Circus in North Melbourne is great for vintage toys and other wares. And then there's Amazon/Etsy (faves include Aunty Cookie, Something's Hiding in Here, PataPri and many more) for hours of online spending joy.


how do you describe your personal style?
I'd say my style is minimal, muted and with a focus on the practical. That said, a lot of the things I've been working on at the moment are full of bright colours and contrast. I'm also a fan of one- and two-colour design and simple repeated patterns. Typography and nature are big influences, along with materials - linen, wood, uncoated paper.



what is your top piece of advice for someone trying to run their own business?
That's tricky, as I've only recently started myself! I can say that if you're thinking about stepping out by yourself, do all the things you're supposed to do – make a business plan, a budget etc - but if you really feel you need to run with it and you're in a position to, go for it (even if it's just part-time) and don't get bogged down in or put off by the boring bits. You'll never know unless you try and if you have passion and excitement for what you're doing, you'll do all you can to make it work.



name five things that are a constant in your daily routine.
In no particular order:
1. Coffee and/or tea (english breakfast or earl grey, depending on the mood).
2. Internet and email - I have been known to spend too much time looking at the lovely things that are out there.
3. Wondering what on earth to have for dinner and secretly hoping my boyfriend will whip up something delicious (which he often does!)
4. Eating apples or grapes or peaches or pears – I'm not quite yet a fruitarian, but am not far off.
5. I probably should put something else that isn't food! Um, organizing - I'm not a neat-freak, but I like things to look good (there's an interior decorator in my trying to get out, I swear.)



what is your ideal day?
Waking up feeling well rested and then going for a walk around the park, followed by a good coffee. If it's a work day I like getting into the studio early, but I'd be walking to the local cafe for another coffee not long after arriving. The day would be productive and I'd get to work on a range of things, from developing a new design, some colour test printing, more printing and maybe some sewing. Dinner would either be take-away from a great local Thai or Mexican place, a simple home-cooked meal or food at the local pub with a chilled beer. Then either hanging out with friends or a bit of couch time with some magazine reading or knitting and to bed late, reading a good book.


tell us something about yourself that we might find surprising.
My first job out of my undergrad honours degree was picking apples in an orchard - I must have felt the need to get back to basics after too much staring at the computer! But it led to my first freelance job - working on the website for the orchard - so it helped me see that sometimes you've got to go with what seems right and see what happens.