In addition to the few friends and old favorites we saw at the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago earlier this month, I also happened upon a few new favorite shops. One of my most favoritist new shops is Ship & Shape, which had a very well-curated assortment of handmade jewelry, clothing, accessories, ceramics, and other lovely miscellany.
So many things I wanted!
The greenery and beautiful displays from Alapash were refreshing to see. Unlike our now sad terrarium, these looked pretty darn robust!
These scarves from Herron Clothier looked perfect for a classy, geometric fall and winter.
Just look at that beautiful weaving.
Moshi Handmade had approximately one million necklaces I wanted.
But the award for having so many beautiful things I wanted in my life that I couldn’t decide which one to get goes to….. Milkhaus Design! Can I have it all? Puh-leeeeease.
I loved these hand-painted and re-imagined vintage pieces from The Bocket Store. The beauty was in the detail. And in the name. Bocket. That’s fun to say.
Feeling nostalgic for the Original Wham-O Superball? Or maybe you just like bright colors and sand inspired patterns? In either case, iamhome makes the necklace for you.
At Tartella, I found some adorably printed napkin sets that were packaged in mason jars. Now that’s a nice touch.
I’ve never really considered that I might one day need a handmade porcelain envelope, but these from Redraven were pretty enough to make me consider it.
These weird old animals in vintage frames from D. C. Ice were a major highlight for me. The stark color palette and elaborate frames really fit these delightful little weirdos.
That’s one tall drink of rabbit.
Bison Bookbinding & Letterpress had some of our favorite cards. Brian and I definitely picked up a few for some lucky someones.
Sara Cramer was one of the friendliest sellers I met, taking a few minutes to explain to me how she made her intricately beaded jewelry. As you can probably imagine, each piece takes quite a bit of time.
A pug with a banana? A gnome with a hot dog? This silly cat face? OK, count me in, Nerfect!
…Somebody drinks a lot. Namely, those at Reuse First.
OMG fuzzy creatures! Need something silly and fuzzy…. Morico is your new best friend.
It’s probably no secret that I really want a cat tattoo, but I figured I should play it safe for a little while and try out a temporary one first. Luckily, Burrowing Home came to the rescue. Now I just need a special occasion to try it out! Like, maybe… a Monday?
If you are a regular follower of this blog, you might remember Sarah mentioning that it was her birthday a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like she had a nice half week-long birthday celebration, capping it off with a big potluck birthday brunch! I was lucky enough to be invited, and I thought long and hard about what I might bring. Cooking for a crowd is difficult since everyone has their own preferences. You want to make something that is simple — a comfort dish, a crowd pleaser — but that is also interesting and makes everyone feel like they’re indulging. Its a birthday brunch after all!
After going through several cookbooks and my recipes binder, I finally came upon the perfect thing: a savory bread pudding. Think french toast but in a casserole, and instead of sweet, it’s caramelized onion, crispy bacon, roasted cauliflower, and sharp cheddar. Yeah, you know you want it. Lets do this.
Adapted from Serious Eats’ Savory Bread Pudding
1 Tablespoon softened butter
2 Cups milk (whole or 2%)
6 Large eggs
Salt + Pepper
6 Cups or 10 oz of bread, sliced into 1.5 – 2” cubes (I like mine bigger)
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into ½” pieces
Salt + Pepper
6 strips thick cut bacon
1 red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Cup cheese, grated (I used sharp cheddar)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
1. Rub the butter all over the inside of a 9×13” baking dish and place the bread inside.
2. Whisk together milk, eggs, salt, and pepper until well combined and pour over the bread. Set aside to let the bread soak in the milk mixture.
3. Toss cauliflower with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, or until you see edges begin to brown and caramelize.
4. Heat a frying pan and fry the bacon until brown and crispy. Drain the strips on some paper towels until cool enough to handle.
5. Reserve only about 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pan and use that to cook the onions until brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Once cauliflower is done roasting, mix into the cooked onion and stir until just combined.
6. Crumble the bacon and the cheese over the soaked bread and mix with a spoon or a pair of tongs.
7. Pour onion mixture over the bread and bacon. Mix until everything is evenly combined. You can sprinkle on a bit more cheese over everything if you want to. I did.
8. Lower heat in the oven to 375 degrees and bake covered in foil for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.
OK, it’s time to come clean. Sarah and I aren’t very good at eating vegetables. Despite the CSA box and good intentions, it’s just really hard to get excited about vegetables, unless there is quite a bit of cheese and/or ranch dressing involved. And even then, it can be a stretch. But we know how important it is to eat fruits and vegetables, so it was with that in mind that we decided to take the plunge into juicing. We’re only a few weeks in, but it really has changed things around here. It’s easy, it’s fun, you feel good about yourself, and you probably should! Look at me, I just drank 5 handfuls of spinach. Spinach!
Look at it go! Chewing up those apples and spitting ‘em out.
We had thought about buying a juicer for some time, but we were hesitant to make the investment. Juicers can be pretty pricey. Two things helped sway us. First, we tried some pretty vegetable-y juice at Kramer’s (a health food store near where we work) and discovered that vegetable juice isn’t totally disgusting. Hey, maybe we could start juicing! Second, I happened to read a pretty excellent review/essay on juicing on wirecutter.com, which pointed out a good, mid-priced juicer. This was an immense help as the options out there can be overwhelming, with a large range of prices and juicer types. For a juice novice, it’s pretty hard to make any sense of it.
So we ended up buying the Omega 8003 for around $200. This is a mid-range juicer, but it comes with a 10-year warranty and feels like it’s built to last. It’s basically a big motor with an augur attached to it that crushes whatever you put into it, extracting the juice and expelling all the fibrous bits. It makes short work of any kind of leafy green you give it, but is a little bit hesitant around some fruits and more watery vegetables like cucumbers. Overall, however, we’ve been pretty impressed with it’s performance. It’s also quiter than I was expecting. It’s a slow methodical crushing — not like a blender or some centrifugal juicers. This is ideal, because it will keep nutrients intact and not allow too much oxidzation to occur, allowing your juice to stay fresher longer.
Fresh juice on left, fibrous remains on right.
So thats a bit about what we’ve been up to — getting juiced! Later we’ll share the first juices we’ve been making and how we’re feeling about our investment.
Fresh juice! Recipes coming soon…
Would you believe it? We’ve finally made it to the big time! Our name in neon lights! We’ll, more like black ink, but that’s still something quite special, if I do say so myself.
That’s right, our save-the-date cards, which we hand embroidered on vintage postcards, were featured in Public School‘s new fancy-schmancy book Design: Paper, published by Rockport Publishers. It’s a simple title for a simple, yet “seductive collection of alluring paper designs”, in a bold, neon green package.
There they are folks — our save-the-dates in all their famous glory.
Okay, I’m being silly. They’re not super famous. But we are very seriously overjoyed to have our handmade cards, which we made together for our wedding, featured in a book. A real, physical book. I, for one, couldn’t be prouder!
The book is chock full of inspiring designs and beautiful images, like this little jar of Lovely Honey. Talk about cute.
Our save-the-dates are in the Cards & Invitations section, which features some really stellar pieces. If you’re looking for some ideas for your party or wedding, I recommend getting your hands on a copy.
Thanks, Public School, for selecting our little cards for your big, pretty book!
It’s no secret that Sarah loves lasagna. Her devotion is almost Garfield-esque. However, I’ve never made lasagna before (unless we’re counting microwaving frozen lasagna). Making lasagna seems pretty straightforward, but still time-consuming, and for me (a non-lasagna-lover), not much fun. Enter: the lasagna cupcake. These are fun to put together and don’t take very long to bake, which is a bonus in the summer. Plus, they are Sarah approved. But don’t take my word for it…
These will change your life. You will think back to your life before lasagna cupcakes, and you will proclaim, “Dear god! How did we survive?” — Sarah
1 cup marinara sauce
3/4 pound ground beef
12 wonton wrappers (we used egg roll wrappers)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
3 ounces Parmesan cheese
4 ounces Ricotta cheese
(optional) basil for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Brown beef and season with salt and pepper. Drain.
3. Cut wonton wrappers into circle shapes using a biscuit cutter or using the top of a drinking glass. You can cut several at a time. Note: For a more rustic look, no cutting necessary!
4. Reserve 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 6 tablespoon mozzarella for the top of you cupcakes. Start layering your lasagna cupcakes. Begin with a wonton wrapper and press it into the bottom of each muffin tin. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese, Ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Top with a little meat and marinara sauce. Use around 1-2 teaspoons of all the ingredients depending on your personal preference.
5. Repeat layers ending with marinara sauce. Top with reserved Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To remove use a knife to loosen the edges then pop each lasagna out.
7. Garnish with basil and serve.
From Quick Dish
Dearest Lillstreet, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love that you offer classes in so many fun art and craft media, like ceramics, jewelry making, textiles, photography, drawing, painting, and more! You make the arts fun and accessible.
I loved working with Jess, your Galley Director, and Julia, your Marketing & Communications Director, this past spring on a marketing case study for class. I got credit for learning about you and applying some of my newly acquired marketing lingo! Every time I walk through your doors, I feel inspired by the great art on display and the creative people who fill your halls.
You mean I get to screenprint a tote bag, drink wine, eat cupcakes, and converse with other crafters? You’re really making it impossible not to love you.
The fun really never stops. I’m so happy that you liked my idea to create video tutorials that bring the art and craft education you offer to a broader online audience. You liked it enough to run with it and to let me coordinate the project! Though we’ve only just begun, I’ve already met some ridiculously talented craftspeople (like cutie pie Katie Mills of Lady Faye Jewelry), have learned a lot about working with those creatives, have pushed myself and my communication skills, and have felt more connected again to the craft community, which I so dearly love. I can’t wait to share the finished videos — featuring projects for jewelry making screenprinting, photography tips, and more — with my readers and so many more DIY hungry people!
Corn. Coconut. Fritter. I think that is all I have to say.
Actually, I will say a little more. I made this super easy recipe from my favorite cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen. It comes together in a flash, it will make your kitchen smell like coconut and they are a joy to eat. Little crispy on the outside, tender on the inside cakes dipped into a sweet and spicy sauce. The more exotic ingredients are easily available from the international section of your supermarket. The recipe makes about 7 larger fritters or 20 mini ones. Don’t count on having any left over.
adapted from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen
1 cup frozen corn kernels thawed or fresh kernels cut from two ears of corn
¼ cup coconut cream — scooped up from the top of an unshaken can of coconut milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
⅓ cup flour
1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 serrano chili, de-ribbed, de-seeded, cut into tiny pieces (optional)
2 tablespoons sriracha chile sauce or chile garlic sauce
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
1. Place corn kernels in a food processor and pulse 12-15 times. It should look roughly chopped, not pureed.
2. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the coconut cream, egg, flour, salt, sugar, and serrano (if using). If you can manage to wait, set aside for 30 minutes. I did not do this.
3. Heat a large pan, dutch oven, or wok with an inch of oil in it. To test if oil is properly heated, drop a tiny bit of the batter into the oil, and if bubbles begin to form around it, the oil is ready. If you have a thermometer, the oil should measure 350 degrees F.
4. If you are making larger fritters, drop by the tablespoonful into the oil. For smaller ones, drop in 2 teaspoon amounts. Do not crowd the pan! Each fritter takes about 3 minutes per side. Drain on a wire rack over a sheet pan or on a plate lined with a paper towel.
5. To make the dipping sauce, mix together the chile sauce, water and sugar.
We’ve been dragging out our Dollymoon recaps for awhile, but now it’s time for our final look back. After taking in the fine sights, smells, and tastes of Woodford Reserve distillery, we headed further west to Louisville to spend two days dining, relaxing, and exploring the so-called “Austin of Kentucky.”
We decided to stay at the 21c Museum Hotel, which is part art gallery, part hotel located right downtown. It sounds a little strange, but it was definitely cool to be living in a place surrounded by art installations for a few days (like the infinity bulbs in the elevator, pictured above).
Our room was minimalistic and modern with smart and whimsical touches throughout like the rubber ducky in the shower.
We ate at Proof on Main the first night, which is a fairly fancy restaurant located within 21c. It tends to get pretty good reviews, but we were a bit disappointed. The food just didn’t quite meet our expectations.
Downtown Louisville is also home to the Louisville Slugger factory, which you can peer into from the street. If you are having trouble locating the factory, just look for the really large replica of Babe Ruth’s bat outside!
There was full moon on our walk…
And Brian met a friendly penguin.
Our final full Kentucky day started out at Hillbilly Tea, which had an incredibly charming aesthetic and some great food and…well, tea. The iced mint green tea was just perfect for the weather.
Next up was a stop at Glassworks for a walk-in glassmaking workshop, which turned out to be a major highlight for Sarah. After just a few minutes of instruction, we were on our way to making a little Arkansas shaped magnet and a ring for Sarah. Talk about honeymoon keepsakes!
The whole process was surprisingly simple and fun.
Within the Glassworks building was also the Flame Run gallery filled with colorful glass creations, including the owl bobbleheads above. That’s right–their little owl heads bobbled!
We even got to see some glassblowers in action!
Next we walked down to the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft to see their current exhibit, 50 Years of Studio Glass. Their were some beautiful glass pieces, and some fun glass pieces, and some downright weird glass pieces.
All that craft and culture made us hungry, so we headed to Taco Punk in Butchertown for some radically scrumptious tacos and guac.
Then we perused the eclectic shops in the area, including Scout, a super fun home decor & jewelry boutique. Sarah snagged a handmade necklace and a peanut eraser.
We also found some deals and a tired dog at gifthorse.
Before calling it a day, we headed up Bardstown Road and stopped in Dot Fox where we got some fun cards and Sarah snagged some snazzy clothes.
The final stop on our shopping excursion was Why Louisville for some souvenir T-shirts and a few postcards.
We had to head back to the hotel and take a break (and take inventory), before heading out to dinner at the Blind Pig. If you happened to follow our last trip to Louisville, you might remember this was one of our favorites restaurants. It didn’t let us down this time, either.
Before saying goodbye to the South and heading back North to Chicago, we took a walk to the Ohio river.
And said hello to the Belle of Louisville. Maybe we’ll take a boat ride next time. We can’t wait to go back…
I bet you thought we were done talking about our Dollymoon, huh? Well guess again! We had enough fun to fill a million blog recaps!!! But don’t worry–we’ll just boil the rest down to two more posts.
After bidding farewell to Gatlinburg and Dollywood, it was on to Louisville. Along the way, we passed through Bourbon/horse country, which meant we had to make at least one quick stop for a distillery tour.
We chose to stop in Versailles, Kentucky to check out Woodford Reserve because it was pretty easy to get to while still seeming pretty rural.
Overall, Woodford is a pretty small operation, and we got to see most of it. They were fermenting a chocolate rye while we were there, which smelled amazing. I can’t wait to try some…in five or so years when it’s ready.
Past the fermentor tanks were the three stills, which are from Scotland.
We saw that after the spirits work their way through the stills, they are barreled and rolled along a track to the aging warehouse.
I think the aging warehouse may have been our favorite part. Just upon walking into the warehouse, you’re overwhelmed by the sweet smell of the aging Bourbon. In a good way.
And after checking out the bottling process, we got to sample some Woodford and have a Bourbon Ball. Thanks Woodford!