Oh, Summer

Sun, gardening, a patio, snacking on snap peas off the vine, eating meals outside... summer is so great. Working every weekend has it's drawbacks, but I will guiltily enjoy my leisure days with the boy during the week until we have some sort of schedule change around here.

I have, however, been thrown into production mode in my studio. I have a show coming up at the end of July, at the Clay Coyote Openhouse outside of Hutchinson where I enjoyed many winters prepping clay and loading kilns. I'm super excited, but my inventory is dwindling thanks to my steady Etsy sales (yay! thanks, people!) and recent press including the inclusion of one of my brag books on the Parenting magazine website. It's a slide show about great gifts for new babies under $20. Cool! Check it out, I am the 8th slide in the slide show.

Also, I've been included in a handful of treasuries. What is a treasury? It is a little showcase Etsy users can put together, matching a selection of handmade works together for promotion. It's a fun way to shop and the treasuries are constantly changing. There is probably a way to include treasuries in my blog post here, but, I am so tired right now I can't figure it out. So, links are the best I can do. This treasury is all about Swedes and my little Dala Cards are included on bottom right. This treasury is about Earth Love. This one is a father's day collection that is just dandy. Treasuries are fun and I feel honored to have been chosen three times so recently.

So, no photos. I have misplaced my photo card for my camera and it's just so darn small that I'm not sure I'll ever find it again. There goes another chunk of change. Wonk wonk wonk.

I'm on my way to a retreat this weekend. I have about 2 months worth of work piled up ready to go. I have high hopes that I will get about 50 books made. We'll see. Turbo.

Last note, sorry about the wonkiness of my blog right now. I got all excited about the new blogger templates that I started changing everything, and suddenly 30 minutes had passed. I will fix it up when I have spare time. (My favorite joke).


Repurposed Leather

I have always wished that I could make leather journals, then I thought, why not just try, and so I went to Unique Thrift Store and found some gigantic leather skirts and discarded leather jackets. It was an odd feeling to pile my huge stash of leather goods on the cashier's counter, so much that my bag was as big as a huge plastic yard bag. It turns out that I don't have a great eye for leather, when I started cutting things up I realized that I had some faux in the mix. Wow, some of that stuff looks so real. Then, I started measuring and sewing and attaching...cutting again...sewing again....

Here are some of the results. Some are in my shop, some are already in transit to etsy customers, and some are still waiting to be listed.

First off, a faux leather journal! It is made from an old portfolio, those oldies that have metal on the top and stay popped open like a diamond. You know?

I love figuring out how to make new things. I'm so very good at starting new projects and thinking I have time to do it all. Despite the lack of time to get things done, husband forced me to go to a concert at The Cedar last night. It was First Aid Kit, a band consisting of swedish sisters (and a drummer). I mentioned them on this blog months and months ago when I discovered this youtube video. It was good stuff.


Spring Pesto

Not to brag, but my little garden is pretty awesome. Already we've eaten many meals out of that little square of land - and the pots that are filling up our patio. I really know nothing about container gardening, or square-foot gardening, but I'm destined to learn to what extremes I can push these plants. In a field I would plant tomatoes a good 3 feet apart, and zucchini plants a good 6 feet from each other. In my garden I've got two tomatoes growing in each cage, and the cages about a foot apart. We'll see. I can always sacrifice some plants, yanking them out for the benefit of the others if I see too much struggling.

The beans are planted in a grid-like pattern so we're going to have a green bean hedge. There just starting to pop in this picture taken last week.

The spinach is still hanging on despite the hot weather we've had. Spinach hates to germinate in hot weather, but this stuff was planted long ago when we were still getting nights in the 30s and has not bolted with the hotness. I'm pulling individual leaves off of the plants to really maximize our bounty. The radishes have been OK, they are beautiful and crisp, but the flavor isn't there. Actually, that goes for all of our harvests so far. I guess this wimpy soil, though amended with compost and potting soil, is just not the same as our old primo ag land. Go figure!

So, my latest creation was Parsley Spinach Pesto. Pesto is one of those things that is extremely versatile with what you're pulling out of your garden (or CSA box, or local Co-op produce department). The classic basil/pine nut/parmesan/garlic/olive oil combination is of course delicious but why not try something else...like parsely/spinach/garlic/walnut/olive oil with a sprinkling of aged white cheddar?

Pluck some leaves:
Chill them in cold water to avoid wilting (plus, submerging in water is the best way to get the grit off of your leaves, the dirt sinks)
throw everything in the cuisnart:
Hand over to a little leprechaun for inspection:
Toss with hot pasta (this is brown rice penne) and enjoy!
I guessed on amounts which worked pretty well since I've made a lot of pesto. I would suggest going by a recipe- here's one from our farm website - and substituting your fresh herbs and greens for the basil. NOTE! If you are going to use kale or another hearty green I would steam blanch them before pureeing unless they are baby-sized. Be creative! Cilantro lime! Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme!