Archive for April, 2009

Hatch Fest

From April 15-19, here in Asheville, we had the most amazing, inspiring festival of arts! I wanted to write about it right away, but I took in so much information, that I wanted to process everything so I could figure out what to say about it.  Frankly, I’m still not sure exactly what to say, I know I’ll be thinking about for some time.

The Hatch festival was started in Bozeman, Montana, and this is the first year it has also been held in Asheville.  Essentially it is 4 days of panels, films, music, workshops, and fashion.  The local artists worked so hard organizing, and it paid off!

The first talk that I went to was given by Mary Gehlhar, a fashionista extraordinaire from NYC.  She has written the fashion designer’s bible (follow the link) and is a mentor to so, so many new fashion talents.  I learned more from her in 1 hour than from anything previous.  She spoke about having a strong brand identity and being true to your own style.  Always good advice, of course, but hearing it directly related to fashion was exciting and inspiring.  It gave me confidence to try some things related to Hazel Anne that I have been a bit reluctant to do in the past.

Then, I went to a panel discussion by all of the mentors and some local industry insiders, as well.  They were Mary Gehlhar, Elisa Jimenez – artist and designer (also of Project Runway fame), Yoshiko Wada, Kathleen Lewis (LOCAL manufacturer for small lines!), and the owner of Oriole Mills, another local fabric manufacturer.  What a group of talent! They spoke about slow-design, which I am really into.  For me, slow design is about being conscious not only of your finished product, but being conscious of the whole process of designing and sewing and distributing.  It’s about being a responsible consumer and creator, and I can really relate to that.  It’s nice to know that even the big whigs can think this way.

Elisa Jimenez also had a workshop Saturday afternoon about many things, but mostly about guerilla marketing, and creating your own venues for getting your work out there and seen.  We had to break into groups and create a “show” in 10 minutes – which was to prove that it can be done by us, and that we don’t need a lot of money to pull of a fancy, exciting show of our clothing.

Can you imagine how exciting this was for me?! We in Asheville were so lucky to have this event in our backyard, and I feel so inspired!

Can’t wait until next April!

Now, back to work…

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Coffee Ice Cream

I went through a phase a few years ago where I made ice cream every few days.  I got a cuisinart ice cream maker for my birthday (does my husband know me or what?!) and I’m impressed that the motor hasn’t worn out yet.  Tonight I felt like pulling it out again – must be all this summery weather.  Here’s the recipe I came up with – gluten free, but certainly not fat free! All things in moderation…

Coffee Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:

3 cups whole milk

1 cup half and half

4  egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon freeze dried coffee (if you want a stronger coffee flavor, double this)

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped

combine the milks and bring to a low boil over medium high heat in a heavy saucepan.

meanwhile, beat the yolks, sugar, coffee, and vanilla together with a mixer at high speed until pale and creamy.

now you have to temper the eggs so they don’t cook when you pour in the hot milk, so take a ladle or cup measure, and while you are whisking the egg/sugar mixture, slowly add 1/2 milk at a time until half of the milk is whisked in and all the sugar is dissolved.  then return that to the saucepan and the rest of the milk.  cook 2 minutes on medium low to heat it all back up.

put this saucepan in a big ice filled bowl to cool quickly.  stir it up occasionally till cold, maybe 1 hour? it should be super cold.  then add this to your ice cream maker until it is done, then stir in those chocolate chips and eat it up.

delicious…

Eggs and Chocolate and String and Easter

My favorite part about Easter is reading The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes to the kids.  It is a long, feminist tale written in 1939, which explains the whole Easter bunny thing.  How is it possible that all those eggs get delivered? You will find out if you check out this book, and you will believe.  We had it as kids, so when I had kids I got our own copy and it is just the sweetest, most beautiful book EVER.  Seriously.  The kids sit enthralled, and the illustrations are exquisite.

My kids favorite part about Easter is string.

In our house, the Easter bunny comes late at night and winds string all over the house, which the kids have to follow in the morning until the string leads them to their basket, which can be hidden anywhere.  Sometimes the bunny goes crazy, hoping outside, up and down, leaving trails of string everywhere.  Let me tell you, it is our cat’s favorite night of the year!

Silvie plans her attack, while Holt winds string.  You might notice that our christmas lights are still up on the stairs.  Hmmmm.

Silvie plans her attack, while Holt winds string. You might notice that our christmas lights are still up on the stairs. Hmmmm.

dsc_00511

The kids each have their own color of string, which runs from their beds to the baskets. This year, Declan’s basket was in a cabinet, Holt’s was outside in the old trunk that is filled with outside toys, and Ryland’s wound around outside only to wind up back in the house, in the dryer.

Look how high that bunny can jump!

Look how high that bunny can jump!

Looking for eggs outside

Looking for eggs outside

Gertie watches the festivities

Gertie watches the festivities

blossoms on our weeping cherry tree

blossoms on our weeping cherry tree

running, searching, hoping

running, searching, hoping

the kids eat candy, and look at Gertie! she picked up the compost bucket that was outside for a rinse, and was trotting around!

the kids eat candy, and look at Gertie! she picked up the compost bucket that was outside for a rinse, and was trotting around!

Look at our pretty dinner! We pulled out our pretty china that was my great grandmothers for the second time, even though we've had it since our wedding.  What a treat.  We should do it more often.

Look at our pretty dinner! We pulled out our pretty china that was my great grandmothers for the second time, even though we've had it since our wedding. What a treat. We should do it more often.

elegant egg

Happy Spring!

Egg Dying

Well we did some egg dying on Saturday, and let me tell you, the kids can’t get enough of it! They just love doing it.  So after hard boiling a dozen organic white eggs (that I had to go out especially to buy, since we usually get brown local ones), then the painful wait for them to cool down enough to handle, we set about dying.  We even remembered aprons this year! Have a look:

here's the set up at the kitchen table

here's the set up at the kitchen table

If you look closely, you will see 2 blown and painted eggs hanging off of our lamp above the table.  I should get a better close up because they are so delicate and pretty.  Declan made them with his Kindergarten class.  My friend Emily, who also has a child in the class, volunteers her time and amazing creativity and does the most incredible projects with the kids, and this was the latest.  If you want to see beautiful, check out her blog.

Declan dropped his egg "by accident" and went right to work on cleaning up the evidence.

Declan dropped his egg "by accident" and went right to work on cleaning up the evidence.

yummmm.

yummmm.

stripes and stickers

stripes and stickers

so check out this cool idea.  add a bit of oil to the egg dye, then dunk your egg, and you will get a cool marbled effect! Just be sure to wisk up the oil right before you dunk to incorporate it slightly.

so check out this cool idea. add a bit of oil to the egg dye, then dunk your egg, and you will get a cool marbled effect! Just be sure to wisk up the oil right before you dunk to incorporate it slightly.

What a pretty pile! The gorgeous robin's egg blue one is the one that shows that marbling oil trick the best.  The ones that cracked in the boiling process just got stickered up.

What a pretty pile! The gorgeous robin's egg blue one is the one that shows that marbling oil trick the best. The ones that cracked in the boiling process just got stickered up.

There you have it!

String Games

jacob's ladder

jacob's ladder

Remember this?! My kids have gone string game crazy.  Good thing I have a huge stash of yarn! They are cutting lengths and I am knotting them up as fast as I can.  I also spend lots of time untangling string.  But that’s a job I actually like, it’s kind of soothing.  It reminds me of untangling my grandfather’s fishing line on Cape Cod in the summers.

Their whole school seems to be joining in the renaissance, you should see the pick up line after school, strings everywhere! It’s really sweet. Here’s some snap shots of some of the things they’ve been making, I know you’ll recognize them.

cup and saucer

cup and saucer...

...which leads into la Tour Eiffel

...which leads into la Tour Eiffel

these are the only ones Declan knows right now, but boy is he lightning fast! He is so proud to know how to do stuff the girls do.  After I said goodnight this evening, he was sitting up in bed doing cup and saucer over and over in the dark.  I just checked and he still has the string curled up in his little sleepy hand.

witches broom

witches broom

Gertie picks a banana from the bunch

Gertie picks a banana from the bunch

star

star

cat's whiskers

cat's whiskers

The good stuff just keeps coming back around!

fairy house

I just have to share this beautiful house that Holt made for the fairies in our garden.  She knows that they don’t really need a house, because they can live inside flowers just fine, but if a storm comes, or it starts raining, it’s nice to have a place where you can go to be protected from the elements.

this is the main living space.  note the berries, rosemary, and clover inside so they have some staples in the pantry.

this is the main living space. note the berries, rosemary, and clover inside so they have some staples in the pantry.

here is the patio, with a picnic table.

here is the patio, with a picnic table.

the outhouse. pretty pleasant place to take care of business, no?

the outhouse. pretty pleasant place to take care of business, no?

The little girl is still in her.

summer fabric

We’ve been so busy this week with the new puppy, I haven’t taken the time to blog! But I do remember promising to show you some swatches of my new summer fabric, so here they are, in no particular order:

the stack

the stack

cherry red

cherry red

tangerine dots

tangerine dots

zinnias

zinnias

love these big sunflowers

love these big sunflowers

grass green dots

grass green dots

any ideas for what I should name this dynamic fabric?

any ideas for what I should name this dynamic fabric?

climbing roses.  I'm obsessed with this fabric right now.

climbing roses. I'm obsessed with this fabric right now.

drawing room. so gorgeous.

drawing room. so gorgeous.

So there you have it.  So many possibilities.  Hope you love them as much as I do! Now, back to that puppy….