Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DIYpsi views

A bit overdue, but here is a look back at DIYpsi from a couple of weeks past. It was a great indie art fair at the Corner Brewery mid-December and drew many familiar faces, both behind and in front of the tables! It was an intensely cold weekend, but the skies were clear and blue and the mood was festive. The top photo shows one of Cre Fuller's amazing Tin Angry Men.

Deets was there with this happy fellow and Nests was just behind me with her perfectly curated vignettes like this little chair.

Chuppy Love was as sweet as ever. Just look at those lil' faces.

It was so great to meet Andy, aka  The Foraging Florist, who makes amazing petri dish wonderlands,  beautifully crafted wreathes and more. 

And it was just perfect rounding out the show season with the Dang Argyle as my neighbor again — hooray for crafty pals!

And a little look at my setup that day. That's it for now, folks! Hope you are enjoying a quiet week of relaxation — I know that's my plan!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Last chance! shoppers delight!

Whew! I haven't told you a thing about these shows yet, have I? Not to worry, I will — it's been grand! … but in the meantime, one more final showcase showdown: DIYpsi. Corner Brewery. Ypsilanti. Saturday. Sunday. crafts. arts. galore. do it. be there. shop away. get it on.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Handmade Holiday Workshop

Last Sunday, I spent a wonderfully peaceful and crafty afternoon at Maker Works in Ann Arbor with Siobhan from Blue House and a lovely group of crafters for a holiday workshop. It was cold and dark and rainy outside, but inside there was a jolly warm room full of smiling faces eager to make some handmade holiday ornaments and decorations. We had come up with three different projects, but by the end of the day there were many more variations and ideas flowing. Here's a look:

If you want to come and get in on the making, too, Siobhan and I are planning a second workshop session of holiday making at Pot & Box on Thursday, December 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. For more info and to register, email bluehouseannarbor@gmail.com.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving favorites

Amidst all the traditional Thanksgiving favorites on our table last week, there were two unexpected standouts. Unexpected because neither is essential to a Thanksgiving celebration by any means. But that's all the more reason to share them with you here, after the fact.  The first is a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for sugar-and-spiced candied nuts. Be warned: These are extremely addictive!

Candied Nuts

1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnut or pecan halves or whole peeled hazelnuts or almonds, or some combo
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 300º F. 

Combine sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon in a small bowl, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. 

Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add nuts, and stir to coat evenly. 
Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. 
Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. 

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. 
When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

Here's a look at the turkey we made on the grill. It came out perfectly! Lovely and brown, super juicy, slightly smoky. We mostly followed these directions from the LA Times with some tweaks from here from Saveur. Mmmmm… we nestled one of those disposable aluminum pans you can buy at the grocery (this one specifically for BBQs) in between coals spread to the outer parts of the grill. This caught lots of lovely juice and drippings for some excellent gravy makings later.

But now, on to the other star: Parker House rolls.

Oh my goodness. I can't describe how intensely good these are. Fluffy, soft, lots of flavor, kind of dense, but in a good way. Brushed with melted butter straight from the over then sprinkled with salt. Ack. Make these, for goodness sake. The recipe makes a LOT, but that's okay. It's from Alex Guarnaschelli for Food Network Magazine and there is a great slideshow here for the step-by-step process. But in the meantime, here's the dirt:

Parker House Rolls
via Food Network

1 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
7 1/2 to 8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus softened butter for brushing
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

Bloom the yeast:
Measure out 1/2 cup warm water and check the temperature: It should be between 110º F and 120º F (comfortable bathwater temperature). Sprinkle the yeast into a large bowl, add the warm water and whisk in the sugar. Let sit 1 minute (it should bubble and froth slightly), then gently stir in 1 cup flour. Set aside near the stove while you prepare the dough.

Make the dough:
Mix the melted butter and milk in a mixer with the hook attachment on low speed. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Scrape in the yeast mixture and mix until incorporated. Add 6 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon salt; mix until the dough forms a ball, 2 to 3 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky.

Let it rise:
Brush a large bowl with softened butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place, 2 hours to 2 hours, 30 minutes. The dough should double in volume.

Shape the dough:
Preheat the oven to 375º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust a clean flat surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Flour your hands; gently press the dough into a 16-by-8-inch rectangle, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick (don't use a rolling pin).

Cut the dough:
With the short side in front of you, cut the dough in half lengthwise with a floured knife. (I found a bench/pastry scraper really helpful for this.) Then slice crosswise into 12 strips.

Shape the dough:
One at a time, fold each strip of dough unevenly in half so the top part slightly overlaps the bottom half, then tuck the overhang underneath. Place the rolls seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet in 3 tightly packed rows. (If making in advance, wrap the baking sheet tightly in plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 weeks.)

Bake the rolls:
Bake until the rolls are bursting at the seams and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. (If frozen, bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees F, then 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.) Remove from the oven and brush with softened butter. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Eat the rolls.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Special Events and Holiday Shops

Hi all! With so many things going on this holiday season, I thought I'd share a schedule of special events and holiday shops coming up. The first two events are today and tonight even! Hope to see you out and about at one or more of these… merry, merry, merry!

Celebrate the Season: Shop, Savor, Celebrate
Thursday, November 17
5 – 8 p.m.
Kick off the holiday season in style with a preview of the Art Center's expanded holiday inventory—including a selection from yours truly. I'll be there from 5 to 7 p.m. enjoying some live music and refreshments. Stop by and say hello and merry, merry! The Art Center will continue to stock a variety of SGF cards and calendars throughout the holidays. 

Open Studio and Holiday Happening
Thursday, November 17
11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
pot & box, along with their neighbors at METAL, welcome you to stop down to 220 felch street in Ann Arbor for shopping, nibbles & sips, and creative possibilities. A variety of holiday decor and local artisans' items fill this welcoming space to get you in the seasonal spirit. p&b will continue to carry a selection of SGF items throughout the holiday season. 

Handmade Holiday Workshop
hosted by Maker Works
Sunday, November 27
1 p.m. – 4 p.m. 
Relax and take a break from the holiday craziness with a festive afternoon of creativity and craft. I'll be teaming up with Blue House to host this afternoon workshop at the Maker Works in Ann Arbor. We'll be leading you through a variety of holiday make-and-take projects to spruce up your home and give as gifts. Pre-registration is required. Visit www.bluehouseannarbor.com for more information and to reserve your spot now! 

Thursday, December 8 
Come experience the spirit of the season in Ferndale with a tree decked out in a variety of crafty ornaments made by eleven local artists and crafters, including SGF handmade paper ornaments made from recycled misprints. This is the only venue other than the holiday shows (listed at right) that will carry my paper ornaments. There will be warm drinks, tasty nibbles and plenty of crafty goodness throughout the evening. As always, Naka will stock a variety of SGF items throughout the holiday season and all year long.

Holiday Art Sale 
Saturday, Dec 10 through Saturday, Dec 17
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Opening Reception
Friday, December 9
7 – 9 p.m.
Located in the heart of Saline, this is a truly local holiday sale featuring all works handcrafted by local artists. Drop in for the opening reception for snacks and an abundance of liveliness—or any time during the course of the one-week sale.

Holiday Shop
Dec 2 through Dec 17 
Shop & Champagne preview
Wednesday, November 30
6:30 – 9 p.m.
Featuring an enticing array of gift-giving creations by more than 100 artists, the BBAC annual holiday shop benefits educational and community programming at the BBAC. Tickets are required for the preview. Visit www.bbac.org for more information.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ridge Fine Art and Handmade Wares Show

This Saturday in Ferndale is the Ridge Fine Art and Handmade Wares Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Drayton Avenue Church, at 2441 Pinecrest Drive. I'm very excited to be a part of this show: It's a new one to me but has been around for many years with quite a few art/craft world veterans that are sure to bring style, substance and good times. $2 gets you in the door and then it's affordable, locally-crafted wares galore. Come check it out and get in the holiday mood—I've included the list of vendors here so you can make your shopping list in advance!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Handmade Arcade superstar: Malagueta

All photos from Malagueata

I spent this past Saturday as a vendor at the Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh and had a blast. This show brings such a fun and enthusiastic crowd. I was on my own so didn't get to do much shopping, but I was lucky enough to be unloading my car next to the lovely Rachel Sherman of Malagueta. I spied her clothing racks filled to the edges with gorgeously stitched skirts and shirts and dresses. I could hardly keep myself from dropping all my bins and running over to touch them all. Late in the day I had a chance to run away from my table (with one eye over my shoulder the whole time) to get a closer look, but sadly didn't have time to try anything on. Rachel's designs are so right up my alley. The geometric patterns and stitching combined with luscious materials and gorgeous color palette rock. I am coveting…

A little about Malagueta and Rachel Sherman from her web site: Rachel is inspired by foliage, architecture, fruits, vegetables, insects, and machinery. Malagueta, in Portuguese, describes a tiny, hot red pepper that grows in Brazil, where her mother was born and Sherman has spent much time. Her lively interpretations of color and pattern pay homage to her passion for nature and music.

It looks like Rachel has an Etsy shop but doesn't have it stocked yet, but you can see more online here. If you're lucky enough to be anywhere near either of two upcoming events Malagueta will be at — run! Get yourselves there!

Galbraith and Paul Sample Sale 
December 3
Philadelphia, PA

SoWa Holiday Market
December 10
Boston, MA 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hail to the Lake

Well, not TO the lake. Just at the lake. We had hail here Thursday afternoon — hail! Pea-sized, it quickly coated our deck later turning to flurries. Pretty. A good way to get me in the right frame of mind for my first holiday craft show of the season. I'm in Pittsburgh this weekend for Handmade Arcade, and now my mind is filled with visions of snowflakes, hot chocolate, mittens and roaring fires! Enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Small Craft Launch

If you're in the Detroit area this weekend, I really want you to go check out the launch of Small Craft on Saturday and report back to me immediately. I so wish I could be there. Amy Cronkite of Handmade Detroit, along with her family, has started what for now will be a pop-up shop with upcycled craft supplies on a pay-as-you-wish basis and workshops for learning new crafts and helping small businesses. They will be launching the whole endeavor on Saturday — it will continue the second Saturday of each month —inside the Trumbullplex Theatre, located at 4210 Trumbull in Detroit. The hope is that it will one day be a brick and mortar shop in Cass Corridor. The launch Staurday includes a free workshop where you can learn to knit a hat or neckwarmer. Or just bring your own project and hang out. I heard they will even have Avalon goodies on hand. Ack! Please, please go!

Why won't I be there? I'm off today to Pittsburgh for tomorrow's Handmade Arcade. I couldn't be more excited but am sad to miss the launch of Small Craft. So again, please, please, please — go, check it out, make something, bring some supplies to donate and then come back to tell me all about it!!

In other news, I am still without my computer. It is making its return this weekend while I am away, so I'm hoping to be back on a more steady stream next week. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Mustard and herb chicken

I have tried many, many recipes involving chicken, mustard and herbs. Many! These ingredients rank high among my favorites, so any recipe involving them catches my attention. I'm here to tell you today though, that I've found the perfect method for preparing this beloved combo. Perfect! (My continuing disclaimer: I have not figured out at all a decent way to photograph in our new place at night. Working on it, but please be patient with these awfully lit ones!)

My latest trend in recipe sourcing is to search "Staff Favorites" on the Food & Wine recipe search. Their favorites are my favorites. I subscribe to the magazine and turn down corners like mad. But I'm much more likely—especially during these busy days of holiday craft show prep—to scramble onto the site and search just minutes before preparing to cook whatever's brewing (or shall I say, peaking) in the fridge. No, this is not a paid advertisement for F&W, I'm just a legit fan. Anyways… below is the five gold star recipe for a fast, mustard chicken weeknight dinner. And yes, real bread crumbs will make all the difference, though whatever kind of bread you have on hand will be fine—it doesn't have to be country bread (though that's mighty tasty). And be sure to make plenty of extra for leftovers! 

Mustard and Herb Chicken
via Food & Wine

Two 1-inch slices of country bread, crusts removed, bread torn
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless skin-on chicken thighs (about 6 ounces each)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
Pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the bread until finely shredded. Add the garlic, rosemary and Parmesan, season with salt and pepper and pulse until combined. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and pulse just until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer to a small bowl. 

In a medium, ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until golden, about 6 minutes. Turn the chicken and spread the skin with the mustard. Carefully spoon the bread crumbs onto the chicken, patting them on with the back of the spoon. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the chicken for about 15 minutes, until the crumbs are golden and crisp and the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and sugar, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cook until the liquid has evaporated, 2 minutes longer. Spoon the onion mixture onto 2 plates, top with the chicken and serve.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New business cards!

I know you're asking yourself, when is this lady ever going to share a recipe again, right? I do have some tricks up my sleeve for you, but in the meantime, I've finally redesigned my business card for the holiday season. As much as people liked this version of my business card, it was hard to make large quantities of them and I would spend whole days behind my table at shows, hunched over, writing my info out. The imagery may look a little familiar to some of you with elements from this piece. So here it is, bear with me. Cooking will return to this place soon, soon, dearies.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

2011 Holiday Show Schedule

This week brought lots of good news and I'm happy to share with you my holiday show schedule. I love this time of year and look forward to seeing as many of you in person, chattin git up, tons o' shopping and festivities. Stay tuned for one or two additions and special events later in the season, but for now, the main events are:

Pittsburgh, PA
Saturday, November 12 • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ferndale, MI
Saturday, November 19 • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Detroit, MI
Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4 • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ypsilanti, MI
Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11

And remember, you can always come back here and check out the schedule in the tab at the top of this page, or follow along with the adventures on Facebook.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Wishing you a spooky Halloween filled with foggy visions and candied treats!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Charleston in pictures

Well, hello! It's been longer than I expected and I still don't have my computer back. But thankfully I was able to get my hands on a loaner and so here I am to send you off into the weekend with a little bit of our trip to Charleston. So sit back, and enjoy!

I was on some kind of crazy early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule just about the whole trip. This is so not me, but I really enjoyed it. I would sneak off to the best, most beautiful coffee shop ever right next door: Hope and Union. Such a great space and wonderful single-origin coffees.

One of the mornings I rode one of the bikes at our rental down to the harbor to take in the early morning light and views. This trip was all about the water.

Oh, right. Who am I kidding? It was all about the food. Boiled peanuts start your meal right at the incredible Hominy Grill. Shrimp and grits? Check.

We had my mom's birthday dinner at McCrady's. I can't even tell you how good the whole meal and experience was. We made our reservation before one of the New York Times critics wrote that this is the best place in the United States to eat outside of New York. This is not a place or dining experience where you take photos, you just sit back, soak it all in and enjoy — which is exactly what we did. You enter through the alleyway door seen above into a dark cave of brick and loveliness. The menu was unique, locally sourced and way interesting enough to satisfy the two foodies at the table while not making our parents feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with the offerings, And then once the food started arriving, we all gushed and oohed and melted. Divine.

The monarch butterflies agreed that it was a perfect time to visit Charleston.

Other notables? Fabulous menswear store: Indigo & Cotton. Shrimp po boy at Boulevard Dinner. Cinnamon rolls at Bakehouse. Ceviche at Hank's Seafood. Scallops at Sermet's on Daniel Island. Well, now I need a snack just thinking about it all.

Have a great weekend!