Archive for July, 2012

easy summer snack

Our current favorite, and super easy, summer lunch, snack or dinner. Home baked whole grain bread (cinnamon raisin here) with melted cheese (in this case swiss), fresh tomatoes, feta, red onion, and heavy on the fresh herbs including green and purple basil, thyme, oregano and chives. Drizzled with olive oil. So delicious!

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fava beans and ground cherry

cucumbers and romaine

flowering leek

herb  boxes on the patio

more artichokes coming

golden delicious

orange banana tomato, in the hoop house

for last night’s dinner

The garden is at that point where it mostly takes care of itself. I go out to water, weed a little, check for pests and harvest what’s ready and what we need at mealtimes. It’s looking like time for some cleaning up out there though. Today I’m looking forward to some solid garden time. I’m starting to think about planting for fall and there are a few areas that could use some clearing out.

The few kale plants that survived the spring onslaught of root maggots are getting big and beautiful, but yesterday I discovered they are all infested with aphids. They are too heavily infested to keep them I think. Hopefully I’ll do better with kale in the fall.

Tomatoes are just starting to ripen, a few at a time. We have had a chance to try an Orange Banana, a few Black Cherry and one Chadwick Cherry. So delicious! I was actually surprised what full flavor the orange tomato has. It’s great to see some new color in the harvest basket too. Cucumbers are starting to come on pretty heavy and there are a few winter squash that look almost ready. On the other hand, we haven’t even picked our first summer squash yet.

We seem to have a newly inspired love for fresh herbs this year. Having an herb garden on the patio has been even more awesome than we imagined. We eat our meals out there, surrounded by herbs that we love, ready to be picked and added straight to our plates. It’s a tasters paradise.

What’s happening in your garden these days? Are you planning on planting for fall?

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around the studio

I realized I haven’t mentioned here yet that the shop is closed. The etsy shop is closed for a bit, while I catch up on my work. The shop has been a fantastically busy place this year! I have felt behind for the past few weeks/months, so in fairness to my own well-being, and in respect for my patient customers, I will clean the slate and reopen with a fresh start. There will be some new items available when I reopen as well. I am always so excited to create new work, and right now is definitely no exception.

So what’s been going on in the studio recently…

+ Last week my friend and assistant Amber came down to work with me, and we assembled close to 30 bag linings. I am hoping that I’ll be able to get quite a ways closer to completion this week with those on hand.

+ As my leather working experience increases, my tool set has been increasing as well. Having nice tools creates such a freedom, and learning new skills keeps things challenging and interesting.

+ It’s a big mess up there! There are piles forming everywhere and I can’t wait to take a day to just clean and organize. One of these days…

+ I broke another  throat plate the other day. Breaking metal with metal…. such a terrible sound. Luckily, this time I had an extra on hand.

+ And the usual lot of cutting, pinning, sewing, pressing, pounding, packing…


Got a late start this morning and now it’s time to get to work.



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i love summer

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I wanted to share a couple simple recipes we have been enjoying on a regular basis here. We are often wishing we had more easy snack food on hand during our busy days, and hummus has helped fill some gaps. Hummus is a flavorful, creamy, protein rich dip or spread. And it’s so versatile. After trying a couple recipes, I found what works just right for our tastes.

One batch starts with 3 cups of cooked garbanzo beans. I like to make at least a double batch, sometimes triple, and freeze the excess for later.

Step one is to prepare your beans:

Soak about 1.5 cups dry beans (which will double in size) for a single batch, or 3 cups for a double batch. Let them soak overnight. Longer is fine too, just make sure to rinse them periodically after any soak times longer than 6-8 hours or so. If you soak and rinse them long enough, they will sprout, which makes them even more digestible.

When you are done soaking, rinse your beans well, cover with fresh water, and cook until very soft. Let them cool, and strain off excess liquid.

Simple Hummus

In a food processor add:

3 Cups of cooked beans

The juice and pulp of 2 medium lemons

4 big glugs of olive oil (about 4-5 tablespoons)

2 Tbs sesame tahini

1 small clove of garlic, chopped

Sea salt to taste

Pinch of cayenne optional

Blend well, until creamy and smooth. I like to blend between the addition of each ingredient to incorporate as I go. Give it a taste… you might want to add more garlic, or a bit more salt, or lemon. The flavors will intensify though, as it the hummus sets in the fridge.

Version 2: Lemon Rosemary Dip

In the food processor add:

3 Cups cooked garbanzo beans

Juice and pulp of 2 medium lemons

4 Tbs olive oil

A couple sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped

Sea salt to taste

Blend well, until creamy and smooth. The rosemary will infuse throughout the dip as it sets, so the flavors will intensify with time.

I store about half of each recipe in the fridge, and the other half in the freezer. Hummus freezes well, but will spoil if left in the fridge for too long, so this is a nice way to cut down on the frequency of preparation. Use your spreads to dip veggies or tortilla chips, roll into a corn tortilla with melted cheese, spread onto toasted bread, spoon onto pasta, enjoy!

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small things

A belt I made

Some things I found

An empty nest

A calendula bouquet

Some small things from the week…

I have been looking for a skinny belt to wear with summer dresses. Could not find, so I made one instead. Now I’m glad I couldn’t find one.

Found an interesting old pencil drawing of an owl, in a crazy little frame. I want to examine it, but am too chicken to peel the frame backing off.

The osprey eggs hatched, and the babies must have fledged! We have been watching the nest for weeks (months?), with a telescope, starting when the parents built it, and just can’t believe we managed to miss the epic event. Oh well. Maybe next year.

So much calendula, flower and seed. I will have seeds to plant and give for ever it seems.

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A few snaps around the studio, via instagram.

I have been working hard to catch up from the whirlwind of May and June. The Country Living feature was blockbuster. Hoping to make some time to get a few new bags up in the shop soon(ish). I guess “soon” is relative when each day is packed full.

Happy Monday everyone! This past weekend felt eternal, in the most awesome way.

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