"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers
connect us with our fellow men." --Herman Melville
I 've been busy in the studio. And when I get this busy, the necessity for good food is even more important. Eating a homecooked meal allows me to slow down a moment, destress and catch up on the news with my daughter. I love certain dishes, but they can take an age to prepare, such as risotto. Several weeks ago I purchased a pressure cooker / slow cooker. I swear, this gadget ranks up there with my favorite iron skillet. Risotto in just 15 minutes from prep to eating. Unbelievable!
Here is my recipe, adapted from the book Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna J. Sass:
8oz of sliced portabello mushrooms
3 leeks, thinly slicked
1 t of minced garlic
2.5 cups of mushroom stock (a low salt variety is best)
1 cups of boiling water
1 T of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of dry white wine (or better yet - dry cooking sherry)
1.5 cups of arborio rice
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (not that nasty cardboard stuff from a green canister!)
Add the olive oil to the pan. (I have an electric pressure cooker with a browning setting.) Add leeks and sautee until wilted. Add mushrooms and garlic and sautee until the mushrooms have wilted and are slightly smaller.
Add the arborio rice and sautee, stirring to coat the rice with the oil. The rice will turn slightly transparent along the edges.
Add the stock, water and wine. Stir.
Put the lid on and lock into place
Set to high pressure. Once it has reached high pressure, cook for 5 minutes.
Open the quick release valve. Careful! Don't scald yourself!
Open the lid, check the rice. If not to right consistency, add a little more stock and cook on browning until you achieve what you desire. I like mine creamy and with my cooker, I get it perfect without trouble. In case you don't achieve the same results on the first go, add the stock for more creaminess.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
For more about arborio rice, check out this website.
"Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams."
-- Paul Gaugin
We did it! Mary and I successfully completed two yarn bombings with the help of the Rogers Park community! Rogers Park is officially now blooming!
The weather was comfortably cool and sunny. We couldn't have asked for a finer day. Students from the Chicago Academy of Math and Sciences gave us a hand. With their help, it only took 45 minutes to install over 200 crocheted marigolds and a dozen or so papel picados. Thank you CAMS students! You rocked!
We managed to cover 2/3 of the fence along the Clark Street side of Touhy Park which is the length of a full city block. Given that a Chicago city block is 660 feet long , that's approximately 440 feet yarn bombed!
Waste not, want not. The chunky red flowers were made from upcyled red "thread" from The Red Thread Project®, the community art project I originated and led for 7.5 years. I love them and want to make a blanket full of giant squishy red flowers.
October 6th is the official Chicago Artists Month tour of the Rogers Park yarn bombings. Hope to see you at the mini yarn bombing event hosted by the Rogers Park Business Alliance at 2pm!
Thursday Mary and I install the first section of our yarn bombing in Rogers Park. It's been a long process beginning with a proposal in April, followed by negotiations and acceptance in May, workshops throughout the summer, numerous meetings on our own, and lots and lots of knitting and crocheting. I am ready to install!!
Yarn bombing has really caught on across the country. In addition to the three bombings with which I'm involved this year, I've been asked to do four more. I've had to turn down these last few offers, partly because my wrists are sore and partly because I am asked only a week or two in advance. To do it well, you need time to plan the project and rally the community, let alone make it.
I love the whimsical quality of much street art. It's art to make one smile. A few weeks ago I led a street art workshop that involved a mixed media approach. It was part of Intuit's Visionary Craft series. The workshop was only two hours long and involved children and adults. Everyone loved it! So easy to do and has proven to withstand rain and wind!
Aleene's® Fabric Fusion® Peel and Stick Sheets™
Duck® Brand Duct Tape
assorted fabric cut in strips or other shapes
Cut 2" circles from the Fabric Fusion® Peel and Stick Sheets™. Peel the backing from one side of your first circle.
Push one end of the fabric strip or ribbon it onto the middle of your circle and wind the ribbon / fabric strip around in a sprial fashion, pushing down firmly onto the circle as you go. Trim any excess.
Cut a 1/2" or so sized circle from the Fabric Fusion® scraps. Peel one side and stick to the middle of your larger circle. Peel the other side and push a button into place. Decorate with fabric paint if desired.
Proceed to make more flowers until you have used all your circles. Experiment. Cut flower petals from felt, layering them in place.
Cut a 4" circle of fabric, fringe the edges and stick to your 2" Fabric Fusion® circle. Use the scraps to creat layers.
One boy didn't enjoy making flowers. That was kid stuff (his younger sister was making them.), so he became our Leaf Man!
To make a leaf, tear off a 7" strip of duct tape. Fold in half leaving 1/2" still exposed. Cut into a leaf shape with scissors. Make several dozen.
Now to install!
Wind the tape around a light pole or other street sign pole.
Stick your leaf shape into place.
Peel off the backing of your flower and stick into place.
So totally awesome!
Thank you to Carol Ng-He and everyone at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art for making this workshop possible and to all the participants. We made one very colorful light pole!
I am addicted to making "knick knack" boxes. These boxes holding everything from paper napkins in my kichen to assorted sewing supplies in my studio. They are also the perfect way to explore different crafting supplies.
When invited to participate in the Crafty KT Kool Tak Manufacturer Challenge, I knew what I would do! To get started you need the following:
Kool Tak™ 1 Layer Perfect Tool (Use it for centering, piercing, and edge stitching)Kool Tak™ 10 Shiny Transfer Foil Sheets (Earth Tones)
Wood box - 7" x 7" x 3"
Craft Acrylic Paint (to match cardstock)
Scalloped Circle Punch 1"
Assorted Patterned Cardstock 12" x 12" (to match paint)
Paper Lace or Paper Trim (I used a product from Martin Meyer Imports.)
2" circle of wood
Piercing Tool (or in my case, my high school biology probe!)
Perle Cotton 5/2 Embroidery Thread
Phillip head screwdriver
Pencil / Ruler optional
Take off the hinges and the closure on the box with the screwdriver. Set these parts to the side. HINT: I put them in an envelope to prevent losing them. Tiny screws have way of disappearing in one's studio.
Lightly sand the wood, removing any rough bits. Don't sand it so much that you end up with rounded edges!
Paint the entire box with the craft acrylic paint using the sponge brush. Do two coats allowing the paint to dry in between layer of paint.
Measure the top of your lid. My box (from Darice) has a 6.5" interior.
Cut your paper into 4 squares using your paper trimmer (or use a ruler and pencil to measure and mark on the back and then use scissors). You need a 6.5", 5.5", 4.5" and 3.5" square. I used two papers, alternating between them.
Using your Kool Tak™ Layer Perfect Tool, mark the stitch holes on the 5.5" paper piercing as you go. HINT: I put a piece of old cardboard underneath as I pierced to protect my worktable.
Cut a 24" piece of the perle cotton embroidery thread and thread your needle. Embroider a running stitch around the edge of your 5.5" paper. Finish off with a knot on the back.
Use your Kool Tak™ Layer Perfect Tool to center the 3.5" square onto the 4.5" square. Tear off a piece of the Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape - 2 ½ x 27 yards and place it on the back of the 3.5" square. Peel off the paper backing and stick the smaller square to the larger square.
Proceed to center and tape the 4.5" square onto the 5.5" square. (Note: I centered and taped my 4.5" square to the 5.5" square prior to the stitching, hence why you see it in my photos.)
Center the 5.5" square within the 6.5" square. Place 4 squares of Kool Tak™ Clear Foam pads in each corner of the 5.5" square, remove the backing and stick to the 6.5" square.
Place your layered squares to the side.
Next tear off a piece of the Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape that is approximately 2" x 2" and place it on your 2" wood circle. Trim excess with scissors. Peel off the paper backing and place a copper colored sheet of the Kool Tak™ Shiny Transfer Foil Sheets onto the sticky surface, pressing it in place as you go. (HINT: Press from the center to the edges of the circle to prevent any ripples in the foil.)
Carefully peel off the foil. Use your finger nail to distress the surface a bit and shake some glitter on top. It will stick to the distressed areas. Brush off any excess.
Center the circle within the the top square (the 3.5" one) using the Kool Tak™ Layer Perfect Tool Add some Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape to the back of the circle, remove the paper backing and firmly press int place. Set the layers to the side.
Using the Kool Tak™ Layer Perfect Tool, place ten squares of Kool Tak™ Clear Foam pads - ¼ x ¼ x 1/32” thick along the top edge of your lid spacing them evenly as you go. HINT: It is easiest to place the squares at the corners and center and then the others to insure that they are evenly spaced apart. Proceed to add squares on the remaining 3 sides of the lid.
Remove the backing of the squares and sprinkle fine glitter along them. Brush off any excess glitter. (I removed the paper featured in the above photo from the lid before I shook on my glitter.) I love how the glitter on the foam squares looks like mini pieces of glass mosaic!
Press a line of the Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape - 3/16 x 1/16 thick by 1.6 yards along the lower rim of the lid. Don't cover the holes for the closure or the area for the hinges! Remove the backing and sprinkle the same glitter you just used.
Proceed to now put your layered squares / wood circle onto the lid. The Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape is fabuously sticky, yet easy to tear. I tore off large pieces, removed the paper backings and then tore off smaller bits to get into the corners.
Place your layered squares /wood circle onto the lid and press firmly. I have to admit, having never used Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape until making this project, I love how it sticks to both paper AND wood.
Measure two 6.5" x 1/2" pieces of paper lace or trim. Cut two 6.5" pieces of the Kool Tak™ Clear Foam tape - 3/16 x 1/16 thick by 1.6 yards and press along the lower edge of the trim. Remove the backing and press firmly into place along the top and lower edge of the 6.5" square.
To make stickers to embellish the sides of your box take one of your papers and add rows of the Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape to back.
Punch 12 scalloped circles out of the paper with the Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape backing using your 1" scalloped circle paper punch.
Turn your box to the side. Using the Kool Tak™ Layer Perfect Tool center three of the scalloped circles. Remove the paper backing from the punches and firmly press into place.
Proceed to do the same on the other three sides.
Screw the hinges and closure back into place.
For the final touch, punch 7 scalloped circles from assorted matching papers. Layer the scalloped circles ontop of each other, sticking them in place with small bits of the Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape.
Cut small notches into the circle at each scallop edge.
Fold each petal forward. Add a small bit of Kool Tak™ Premium EXTREME tape to the center of the back, remove the backing and place it on your copper circle. Use the Kool Tak™ Layer Perfect Tool to center it.
And voila! You have a new box, all glittery and beautiful, to store your favorite treasures.
Want to make one of your own? From September 8 to the 18th, 2012: sign up for Crafty KT Newsletter and you can participate in the Blog Hop Giveaway. You could win a box of the same Kook Tak™ supplies I used. Good luck!
Be sure to check out the work of 11 other designers participating in this blog hop! The variety of projects is fabulous!
"Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle." -- Bill Phillips
How can I cram more minutes into my day without totally losing my quality of life? This was my opening question when I recently met with my business coach. Michael had two responses - delegate everything that doesn't require you to do it and second, get a pressure cooker. Good advice for someone who has been working 12-14 hours a day with few days off. I'm not complaining, but with recently having accepted a full-time teaching position at a local university at the same time as my business is growing has me running all day long. I need a better way of managing the details or I may go completely out of my mind.
Michael loves to cook as much as I do, so he sent me a link to the model of pressure cooker he has successfully been using for several years, plus the names of a bookkeeper and a general contractor. I'm excited about the pressure cooker I just ordered (see above). Good meals are not only more nutritous than fast food, they give me a moment to relax and unwind. Lately I've been coming home from a full day of teaching to then cook dinner. By that time, I am so exhausted I just want to cook whatever I can make in 15 minutes or under so I can then attend to my business. As a result, my menu has become just a tad boring. A pressure cooker opens up a whole new set of possibilites!
Nex,t I called Mr. Brady,the general contractor he recommended. My call was returned within 20 minutes! I have been trying to job out the remodel for several weeks and until today, I couldn't get anyone to call me back. I understand busy, but not returning the call of a potential customer seems like a crazy business practice to me. Fingers crossed that he works out. The broken, sliding floor tiles are more than a tad dangerous and the cracked counter probably harbors every known nasty bacteria.
Finally, I called the bookkeeper. We had a good conversation. He's coming to my studio next Thursday to get a better sense of what I require. I hate doing paperwork. Quickbooks' inventory module drives me nuts. I can't figure it out. I am thrilled to finally jump this hurdle. Just think, I will be able to generate necessary reports with the press of a finger this time next month! Such are my thrills at 45, but I really am excited. Too feel in control with a few more minutes at the end of the day to take a walk, chat with friends or take my daugther out makes me very happy indeed.
This month's CHA Designer challenge is all things vintage. It was difficult to settle on just one project. There was my stash of skeleton keys begging to be made into more jewelry and 40 year old Dresden paper scraps perfect for cards and scrapbooking. but it was the giant box of Paternayan wool yarn that called to me. I inherited it from my aunt who was an avid stitcher and rarely seen without her "work." The colors are rich and vibrant, reminding me of her different projects. She always purchased a little extra to be sure she had enough of a certain dyelot. I needed some coasters, so I chose 3 colors and got started.
10" x 13" piece of 7-count plastic canvas in white
3 colors of needlepoint yarn
tapestry needle (size 22 or 20)
I wanted a coaster that was 3.5"x3.5", so I cut a piece of canvas that has 24 holes x 24 holes as 7 holes = 1 inch.
I threaded the needle and began stitching with the darkest color first, in my case it was brown. I used the continental tent stitch throughout the piece, preferring to work in concentric squares rather than row by row.
The process of starting a new color is similar to ending the previous one. You simply pull your tail through the back of the stitches, pulling your needle out where you want to begin. Note, when first starting, you don't have any previous stitches in which to tuck in your tail's end. You can do so later using the same procedure for ending a color or work your stitches over it as you go.
Once you have completed the pattern and tucked in all ends, you will still need to stitch over the outer edge of plastic. I used a light color whipstitching over the edge, giving the work a finished look.
As you've worked the stitches in the continental tent stitch, the back of work will be equally coverd, adding a second layer of protection between your hot mug and the table top.
You have enough plastic to make 4 coaster. Make a matching set or have fun experimenting with color!
For more vintage craft ideas, checkout the work in the Designer Crafts Connection webring wherever you see this logo.
Each blog in the hop is written by a designer associated with the Craft and Hobby Assocition. We each have unique styles, so be sure to hop through to see what each is doing with this month's theme on crafting vintage-style!