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Archive for October, 2011

The garden is winding down from all it’s summer glory, and seems to be happily settling into it’s fall state. I think our greatest success this year was tomatoes, which is quite exciting, since we weren’t even sure if we could grow them well here at all. There are still tomatoes on the vine, and quite a lot of them inside waiting for processing. I didn’t do any sauce making or canning though, and the reason is, I discovered slow roasting. OH my.

Many of you are pretty savvy in the kitchen, but in case you haven’t discovered slow roasted tomatoes yet, it is so simple, and takes any savory meal to the next level. I have made sure we have a glass container full of them, in the fridge at all times, for the last month or so.

Slice your tomatoes in half if they are smallish (or leave them whole if they are really small cherry tomatoes), or cut them into sections if they are large. Brush every side with olive oil and lay them out on a bake pan. Each tomato should touch the surface of the pan. Sprinkle them lightly with sea salt and then put them in the oven at 200 degrees, for anywhere from 4-12 hours, depending on the size and juiciness of your tomatoes, and the way that you prefer them. With tomato sections the size you see here, roasting on glass, I tend to leave them on for about 12 hours. I think that with a metal pan your bake time might decrease. I hope you try it. Enjoy!

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denim and leather

New bag in the shop. This one is one of a kind.

I have been exploring some new design elements for a rucksack I’ve been working on. This bag puts to use of some of those elements.

It creates a certain kind of tingling satisfaction – almost like a rush – to bring an idea into 3 dimensional space. Definitely one of the things I love most about sewing.

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october evening paddle

 

 

 

An evening of blue skies and calm waters, just before the heavy rains came back.

On the Oregon coast, summer days are often windy, sometimes quite intensely. Once we settle into the calm of autumn, it can feel like a big exhale.

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studio, lately

As a ‘seasoned’ business person (heehee) I am starting to feel more attuned to the seasonal shopping shifts. Not being a big shopper myself, it could almost be easy for me to overlook the rushing about that happens, come November, in our sleepy town. With October here, I am starting to think about building some inventory so that I might be even just a teeny bit ahead for the holidays this year. I can’t even believe I am talking about the holidays (I was just swimming in the lake last week!), but I had a customer just this week though, mention that her purchase was a Christmas present. It is never too early I guess.

Last year was my busiest year of business yet, and this year has shown incredible growth as compared to all previous years. Until I hire some help, I need to work on a new strategy for how to gracefully handle a season busier than the last.

I am also making efforts to improve my studio. I have been working in my little loft space for about 2 years now, and in some areas it looks like I just (haphazardly) moved in. There have been evolutions, rearrangements, lots of additions of shelving, but it is still somewhat of a semi-finished ‘project.’ It’s a challenging space to work with – oddly shaped and with no full height walls – but as my business has evolved I have honed what tools and materials I use and don’t use, so there is a lot of room for refinement and clearing out. This refinement should leave me a lot more room to spread out.

I made a decision recently, to spend at least 10 minutes each day organizing and clearing out, and if there was more time on any given day, I would spend more. I have made a bit of headway with that plan, and am feeling pretty excited about it. If anyone has any great tips they’d like to share for keeping organized and managing your time with a really busy schedule, I’d love to hear. Sometimes the simplest ideas go a long way.

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peas and beans

I was inspired earlier this year, by a post on tend written by Julia, about growing dry beans. I have never been a big green bean eater, but I do love cooking dried beans. I decided to let my runner beans and pole beans dry before picking this year, and the experience has been really rewarding. Something about planting a seed/bean/pea, and watching the resulting plant grow through all the cycles of life is a really satisfying experience in and of itself, but growing beans for the result of the actual bean seemed different somehow. Looking forward to cooking them, and I will save some for planting next year as well. I also left some peas on the vine to dry, for planting next year. Opening each pod is like unwrapping a surprise present. So beautiful and colorful.

Scarlet runner beans, back in April

 

Purple podded pole beans and Oregon sugar pod peas in August

 

Scarlet runner beans in August

 

One of each – peas, runner beans, pole beans – just picked

 

 

Just like their mothers

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