Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Sneakers and Printing

This morning I awoke to find an email from a friend who had forwarded a link to a class that she's taking this upcoming weekend, and thought that I might like to take it as well. Here in Chicago, we have a wonderful school devoted to working with leather, Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts. This class will be  a 2 day intensive on making your own sneakers. I don't know if the class has filled, but in the event that it sounds like fun, there is a discount code, 25KICK. The code will give you a 25% discount at checkout. You can find a link to the signup page HERE. Below are a few of the examples that others have made in the class. 

One of our Haute Couture members has taken a number of classes at the school, and everything she's made has been fabulous. Next Monday I'll show off my new kicks!

For those of you who are Project Runway fans, you may remember Miranda Levy from season 12. 

She lives in Milwaukee, WI and she will be teaching a class in July at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee on the craft of working with wood blocks to create repeating patterns using traditional Indian patterns. I am so excited as I think it will be such a fun afternoon. 

Below is an example of the traditional wood block that is used to create the prints on fabric.

Below are a few examples of the printing being done and the lovely fabric that is created.

If you are anywhere near the Milwaukee area and think you might like to take the class, it will be held on Sunday, July 15, 2018. In the class, you will be making a silk scarf. All supplies are included. The fee for the class is $42.00 for non-museum members. You can find all the info HERE along with a link to register.

Have a fabulous week!

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Greens at Their Best!

My first experience with a radish was when I was about 3 years old. I was hungry, and had been told that I had to wait until lunch for something to eat. Well, being the industrious child that I was, I thought that I would just go out to the garden and pick a carrot. Now, I have always loved carrots, at least raw carrots. Although, it wasn't until I was in my early twenties that I really began to love cooked carrots. So, I went bouncing out to the garden and made my way to a row of what I thought were carrots. I remembered that the seed packet had a picture of "white carrots," maybe just a different variety??? Well, how surprised was I when I bit into that so called white carrot and got the shock of my short life when it burned my mouth! I threw that awful "carrot" on the ground and went running into the house in search of a drink of water. My father found the "carrot" with one bite taken out of it laying on the ground. He came in holding it in his had and asked if I had pulled it up and taken just one bite. I admitted that I had, but that it was sooo hot. I found out that it wasn't a carrot, but a white radish. Well yuk!, and thought, "I will never eat another radish as long as I live." Amazingly, I now love radishes, even the white ones ;)  

I especially love getting the huge winter radishes.

My favorite breakfast is a piece of great seeded bread, a slice of good cheese, sliced radishes, topped with sliced avocado with a sprinkle of herbs, salt, pepper, and finally a sprinkle of olive oil. YUM!!! I eat this for lunch, too! 

A while back, I shared a recipe for a Rustic Radish Soup. I had purchased a bunch of radishes from the farmer's market and I just couldn't bear the thought of throwing out the greens. What a lovely soup. Over the winter, with all the radishes I purchased, I decided to look around for another recipe and I discovered a delightful food blog, Taste of Beirut. I love Middle Eastern food, so when I saw her recipe for Peas and Radish Greens Soup, I thought it would be worth a try, and I am so very happy that I did.

What makes the soup special are the spices, cumin and turmeric. Along with the radish greens, and peas, there are 2 potatoes along with onions and garlic. So it's a very simple recipe. The author included 2 cups of yogurt. I did not add the yogurt. So it adapts well to a vegan version of the soup. A beautiful, green, satisfying, aromatic soup.

Just a quick note about my bowl. I loved hammered aluminum serving pieces. I found this piece some time ago. It has a glass insert, and the lid is so special. Take note of the pea pod handle. Sadly, I only have one :( 

In the end, I am happy that no one holds me to the declarations I made as a child. Little did I know when I was 3 that I would one day grow to love a radish!

Enjoy :)

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Not Your Grandmother's Lace...Once Again

It's snowing!!! And I don't think there is one soul in Chicago who is happy about it :/ My husband showed me a picture from his sister's farm in upper Wisconsin where the horses were running in knee deep snow. We basically have a covering, so nothing to complain about, other than the poor souls who have to get out and drive in it. As for me, I have a busy day ahead with lots to do, indoors, so I get to just enjoy the beauty. 

To add to the morning's beauty, a cardinal has been singing just outside my window since about 6 this morning. I love to hear them sing, and when I do, I feel that all will be fine. To see a little creature that is so vibrant, and so beautiful, singing his little head off, what a gift :)  

Regardless of what your hobby may be, you end up with bits and pieces that you feel are just too good to throw away. Sometimes we find a home, and then sometimes we just hold on to them waiting for something to inspire us. I came across some fun ideas on Pinterest for lace.

If you have a small piece of the border left, do an asymmetrical cut on a knit top and pair it with 1 lace sleeve. So pretty.

I loved the addition of the lace trim on both of these dresses. Each dress would be pretty on its own, but the lace makes them eye catching, and the placement really narrows the waist.

Rather than just another boring pencil skirt, take lace pieces and applique them on top. 

This is a lovely idea for a piece of lace that's just not quite large enough. Just pair it with a coordinating piece of fabric.

This is much more than a remnant, but I thought it was just so pretty. The lace is actually an entire skirt under the overlay.

This piece could have been executed better as you can see the navy blue lace seams through the pink and white lace, but what a great idea for combining 3 small pieces of lace to create a lovely skirt.  

This little color blocked dress is a great use of fabric scraps. Adding the lace to the center block really makes it pop.

Another pencil skirt idea. What a lovely way to accent a slit opening. 

If by chance you have a bunch of lace that can be cut into motifs, this would be a great idea for giving an old skirt new life.

And finally, add a little flirt factor to the inside of a pleat. All it takes is just a few inches of lace.

For those of you who are basking in warm, balmy temperatures, well, lucky you! As for the rest of us, I hope you can find a little beauty in your day :)

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Flu Buster Mushroom and Spinach Soup

The flu was a real worry for so many this past winter. My husband had a flu shot, but I did not. I decided to do what I could on my own to try and make sure that I stayed healthy. One measure I took was to drink a glass of green foods first thing every morning. Actually, I do this year round. It is not my favorite thing to drink, by no means, but as I drink it down, I keep in mind that I am doing something good for myself, at least I hope so. The green foods pictured below is one that I ordered. It's not my favorite as it has stevia in it and so it has a sweet taste. There's one that I purchase at Whole Foods that does not include stevia and I like it better. For many though, one with stevia would be much more palatable. 

I also take a probiotic capsule every morning and every night. And then...I made this soup, lots of it, and ate it throughout the winter. Now, the soup is MUCH more enjoyable than drinking that green drink. But, I would grow tired of eating the soup every morning ;) 

Early in the winter, my husband and I were out for lunch and I saw that there was a mushroom soup on the menu. I love mushroom soup! Well, it wasn't the best, but it made me think of what I would do to make it really good. One that if I owned a restaurant would be something people would want to come back for. 

I began with lots of mushrooms, 6 cups, along with a large onion and 3 cloves of garlic. All sauteed until the mushrooms were tender.     

I then added  1/2 cup of barley, 1/2 cup of wild rice, and 4 cups of vegetable broth. 

Brought it all to a boil, reduced the heat, and then let it simmer for about 45 minutes until the rice was cooked through.

I then added 3 sliced carrots, and 8 cups of chopped spinach, along with at least 2 more cups of vegetable broth, and the spices. The soup was once again brought to a boil, the heat reduced to a simmer and allowed to cook until the carrots were tender. 

The result was a very satisfying and delicious soup.

Flu Buster Mushroom and Spinach Soup
printable version

1 large onion chopped
6 cups sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic chopped fine
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup wild rice
3 carrots sliced
8 cups chopped spinach
6-8 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
salt and black pepper to taste

Pour olive oil into a large soup pot. Add chopped onions and sliced mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are tender. Add chopped garlic and saute for another minute. 
Add barley, wild rice and 4 cups of vegetable broth to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until wild rice is tender, approximately 45 minutes.
Add chopped spinach and sliced carrots to the pot. Add enough broth to gain the consistency of soup you would like, 2 to 3 cups should be fine. Add dried thyme and oregano. Once again bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to cook until carrots are tender, no more than 20 minutes.
Serve and enjoy! 

I was in a grocery store doing a little shopping one Saturday afternoon. A company was there promoting their products and one was a green pressed juice of some sort. I took a sample and a man came up from behind me and said, "oh, that can't possibly taste good." Actually, it wasn't bad, but I understand how he felt. Believe it or not, there was a time in my life where I found every possible way I could think of to get out of eating my vegetables. Miracles happen :)

Wishing you great health! :)


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Wednesday Showcase

Last Saturday, my husband picked me up from the Haute Couture meeting and said, "oh, by the way, Gracie got into something and she really smells." I responded, "and you just left her to run all over the house with that horrible smell and deposit it on everything she touches?!!" He replied, "well, I didn't know what to do." I then asked, "what do you do when you smell?" He said, "I take a bath." Oh, the lovely conversations of a married couple ;) When I walked in the door, I immediately changed my clothes, got the dog, and off we went to the downstairs shower for the next 1 1/2 hours. I got rid of whatever she had rolled in, but OMG!!!, the hair! So today she is off for a formal bath that will rid her of all the excess hair that she has accumulated over the winter. A task that I gladly pay for :)

There are times in our lives that are similar to the months of winter, rather dark, bleak, and at least on the surface, lifeless. As difficult as it can be to go through such a period, I think they are important times of growth. While trees seem dormant during the winter months, they are really just strengthening themselves for the vibrant beauty that will come in the spring. 

This past winter was a time that I needed to be quiet, maybe shed some old bark that I had held on to for far too long, and find the strength I needed to once again bloom. So many of you sent such lovely notes, gently asking if I was okay. While I didn't answer all of your notes(and I apologize for that), they were read and greatly appreciated. 

With the longer days, the trees beginning to bud, the crocuses beginning to bloom, I too feel as though spring is bursting forth in my own life. I feel revived, and ready to take on my next challenge, one which I will share soon. 

One note that I received was from Kathleen Grissom. She does not have a blog, but she is a New York Times best selling author. Wow, now that is an amazing accomplishment! She felt compelled to write because of THIS post. I'll share a piece of her note;

"I am a woman of seventy years. I have many friends, along with myself, who have suffered tremendous pain and I would guess that the cause would be similar to what you have endured. Yes, you are rising from the ashes, but your wings will be stronger than before because they will no longer be restrained from carrying a burden that was never yours to carry." 

Me, being the curious person that I am, decided to check out her website. Oh my, was I ever inspired, and I thought you might be as well :)

Her first book The Kitchen House, is "a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail."

In the video below, Kathleen talks about how she became inspired to write the book. 

Her second book, Glory Over Everything, loosely tied to her first book, continues the story of Jamie Pyke. "A saga of slavery as textured as it is tense," The Columbus Dispatch.   

I love how Kathleen speaks of her writing, and her inspiration. 

She is currently working on her third novel, which I am especially interested in, due to my American Indian heritage. It's the true story of Mary Crow, a native American who wore a Colt revolver on her studded belt and was not afraid to use it! 

I have not read either of Kathleen's books, but I have ordered the audio version of both, and I am very anxious for them to arrive. You can find her website HERE. I hope you'll pop over and get to know her. I have no idea of whether she sews or not. Kathleen, if by chance you do read this post, let us know!!!

I'll leave you today with the quote that Kathleen read from Harriet Tubman. While most of us will never know what it was like to be a slave, most all of us have been through things in our lives which have enslaved us, maybe for quite some time, and maybe for only a short period. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to let go of whatever it is that has had a hold on us. What I especially love about this quote is the joy, and the promise that the effort it takes to take that chance, to let go, to move forward, is well worth it.  

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