Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Ames!

My sister, who is amazing, celebrates her birthday this month.  She's one of my favorite people to make stuff for, and last year I stitched her face onto a beer cozy.  Once you embroider someone's face onto something, there's basically no hope of ever outdoing that.  Well, I  mean, there is, but I didn't really have the time to hand-stitch a fabric mural of her riding a unicorn-wolf across the solar system with her pet eagle.  I'm keeping that one in my back pocket for next year though.  Instead, I made her some stuff for the kitchen in her new house, including these hilarious napkins.

Polite Observation Napkin Set

My screenprint method is completely freehand, involving embroidery hoops, glue, and toothpicks, and is probably murder on my eyesight, but totally a labor of love.  I'm generally drawn to a process that leaves room for imperfections; they're just so much more interesting to look at.   You can see the variation in the print from piece to piece, and I only ruined one in production.

Gross Woodgrain Napkin

Dirty Hands Woodgrain Napkin
 Start to finish, these were super fun to make, and maybe if I ever get all the orders cleared off my table I'll make a few more sets.  For now though, I hope my sister gets the point.  Happy Birthday Ames!

Polite Observation Napkin Stack

Friday, September 9, 2011

Swede Lake Farms + Icebox Pickles

Jalapeno-Garlic Icebox Pickles made with Swede Lake Farms' cucumbers and chesnok garlic.

Yesterday I got to spend the day in Watertown, MN volunteering my super sweet garlic-shucking, bean-picking skills at Swede Lake Farm.  Maybe my skills aren't all they're cracked up to be (more than once I had to have one of the real farmers lift heavy objects for me, hanging my head and my t-rex arms in shame).  But the farm is awesome, and one of my favorite places to spend the day.  Swede Lake Farms is organic for real, and family for real; once I'm there I never want to leave.  The polar opposite of a factory farm, almost every task there is done by the hands of the farmers--Scott and Deanna, and the fantastic interns Colsie and Robert.  And besides being some of the world's greatest people, they grow the most delicious food in the universe.  When we finally dragged ourselves away yesterday at sunset, we left with a backseat full of heirloom potatoes, giant romano green beans, and cucumbers.

The green beans they grow are, I suspect, infused with crack, and I selfishly hoard them so they last till the next market or farm day.  And the cucumbers?  Please.  My often veggie-hating children eat them out of hand like apples, and will mow through a pound in no time.  If those two happen to leave any behind, I make the rest into icebox pickles.  (Oh icebox pickles, I love you...and I'll get back to you in a second.)

If you're lucky enough to live in the Twin Cities area, Swede Lake Farm's amazing produce is within your reach.  Find them at the Mill City Farmers' Market on Saturdays during the warm months, and at the Kingfield Market on Sundays.  Even if you don't live anywhere near Minnesota, you can still reap the benefits of the Swede Lake farmers' garlic crops.  They grow some rare and beautiful varieties for eating and cooking or for seed.  Ordering details available here.

Ok.  Icebox pickles.  We were fated to be together, I know it.  And as it turns out, I married into the recipe, so it actually was fate that brought us together.  Sometimes I eat them straight out of the jar standing in front of the open fridge, but truly the best way to appreciate them is stacked on a medium rare burger you just popped off the grill and covered in piles of bacon and molten white cheddar.   This year I added jalapenos from my garden and some of Swede Lake's awesome garlic to a few of the jars.  So good.  But however you spice it up or not, it's basically the easiest pickle recipe ever.  The most important part is getting a really great cucumber to start with, and I've already told you where to get those.  The word icebox in the title of the recipe is your clue that there's no canning required or allowed for this recipe.  Full recipe after the jump.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I just started a new project for a local store that I'm super excited about.  It's only in the very beginning stages at the moment, so all you get is a peek.  But I'm hoping to have the whole thing deliverable by early October, at which point you'll be allowed to see the finished project in all its (tiny) glory.  Yay!

Check it:

Stay tuned for the full reveal in October!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2 Bow Wristlets.

I don't own as many handbags as you might think, of my own design or otherwise.

(Aside: I have this thing for vintage purses, especially anything leather or just a little bit weird, except that I hate the stab of guilt I feel whenever I happen to be carrying one and someone asks me the obvious, "Holy Craps Girl!  Did you make that?!"  For shame!)

But I've been carrying my current purse (my design) for a bit now and the coming of a new season has me thinking about a new style.  We're still in the thinking phase though; give it a few months.  I like to wait till I've finished up an especially big order before taking the time to craft something just for me...or at least till I come across a fabric I can't go on without.  Until that time, let's look at these two wristlets (with bows!) I just posted to my Etsy store, both in really great fall fabrics.  

Orange and Olive Wristlet...with Plus Signs!

Purple Tweed Wristlet