Bit of Wisdom

Everyone who knows me knows that despite what you might think (or perhaps confirming your suspicions), I am a bit of a dork. Which would explain why I LOVE (yes, capital L-O-V-E) both Mythbusters and the Freakonomics blog. Imagine my delight when the two worlds collided today, and the Mythbusters were featured on the Freakonomics blog. This gem popped out at me from Adam Savage:

"Personally, I’m always asking myself, no matter what I’m working on, 'Can I be doing this more simply, or more elegantly?'"

I think that this is a great mantra for most things in life- cooking, sewing, running, data analysis, etc. I was planning on this really elaborate binding for the quilt I'm working on, but I think there is a much more simple and elegant solution, so I'll be finishing that up simply and elegantly.


Fall Eatin'

I'm going to my friend Elisabeth's tonight for a wine and appetizer get-together- we were all asked to bring a type of wine and an appetizer to pair with it. I am bringing an oaky chardonnay, which is not necessarily my favorite, but it gave me a chance to make a nice rich veggie dish. I was thinking that I wanted to make roasted figs with gorgonzola and rosemary, but the figs aren't at the market this week. Know what there's a TON of? Butternut squash. And onions. It's starting to be fall, I guess, no matter what the weather thinks. Seeing the piles and piles of butternut squash made me feel better about giving up figs. I decided to cook up some butternut squash tartlets with caramelized cippolini onions and goat cheese. If I were a more decietful person, I'd tell you that I slaved over the puff pastry myself, but no, it's store-bought. I'm a great procrastinator on doing school work, but a batch of puff pastry to get out of writing a paper is just not worth it. Here's the recipe-ish (I don't use recipes, so the quantities are approximate).
2 packages Pepperidge Farms puff pastry shells (should be 12 shells)
1/2 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/4"cubes
1/2 apple, cubed into 1/4" cubes
1 lb (or more) cippolini (or other sweet variety) onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2c. grated parmesan cheese
6-8 oz. goat cheese
1 bunch each fresh rosemary and sage
olive oil
high-temperature oil for frying the sage leaf garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium frying pan (I used cast-iron) over medium heat, warm up 1-2 tbsp. olive oil. Add onions, sautee until translucent, and reduce heat to low. Leave over heat until brown and caramelized, about 30-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture starts to dry out, add wine, water, or stock 1-2tbsp at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, combine 2tbsp olive oil, squash, apples, and finely chopped rosemary and sage (about 1 to 1.5 tbsp each) and salt and pepper to taste in a glass or cast iron roasting pan. Roast in oven until soft, about 30 minutes.
When the squash mixture is done, remove from oven and set aside.
In a bowl, mix the parmesan cheese with finely chopped rosemary and sage (again about 1 to 1.5 tbsp. each). Set aside.
Bake the pastry shells as directed, but remove them from the oven 4-5 minutes before the instructions say. Hollow out as directed (they come in these pre-cut flats that you bake and then hollow out the middle), and line the bottom with your parmesan mixture. Return to oven and bake for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let cool 5-10 minutes.
Fill with a layer of goat cheese, then onions, then butternut squash. Top with a small dollop of goat cheese. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the goat cheese starts to brown.
Meanwhile, fry 18 medium-sized sage leaves in your frying oil (I used grapeseed).
Remove tarts from oven and garnish with a fried sage leaf (not pictured).


Snowden Flood

You can probably tell by now that unexpected patterns on dinnerware make my little heart go pitter-pat. So if you've seen Snowden Flood's work, you know that it makes me swoon. Her great line of plates, mugs, pillows, t-shirts, etc. are infused with a little bit of grittiness, a little bit of tongue-in-cheek-edness, and a lot of pretty. I saw her stuff this morning on three potato four, and fell in love with her plates, only to discover that she hand-embroiders in great color schemes and laser-cuts suede to make pillows with world-famous landmarks. You can see more of her work on her website.


New arrivals

I have a little secret. I've been putting off some of my work for... more important things? Namely, my friend Emily's new baby, Charlotte, who should be joining us in mid-December. I love the idea of creating heirlooms when a baby is born, so I've been working on this quilt for Charlotte. You can see that it's not bound yet, but I'm loving the ruffle and the not-quite-perfect polka dots. I did a basic log cabin layout for the blocks, and then alternated the inside squares between this delicious Amy Butler fabric and these adorable apples and pears that I found at Purl. The ruffle is one of Heather Bailey's fabrics from her freshcut line- her gorgeous blog is here. The border is made up of random fabrics from the inside of the quilt alternating with the polka dots. I think I may bind with the polka dots as well, just because that is the fabric of which I have the most left over. The ruffle makes it hard to actually quilt, so it's hand-tied. I'll do a minimal amount of quilting around the border just to hold everything in place. I hope she likes it!
Pardon the dog in the pictures- he likes to be directly on top of whatever I'm working on...


Alicia Bock

Here's some beautiful, ethereal photography from Alicia Bock. The photos are processed to showcase the minor imperfections of film, and enhanced with digital methods. The result is a set of photos that are nostalgic and warm, yet modern- a difficult balance to strike. Her website is here, her blog here, and her etsy shop here.


Traci Terrick (Violet Designs)

I think that one of the things that made our wedding so great (beside the great guests and us getting married part) was that I hired incredibly creative and talented vendors. I'm hoping to get most of them to answer some questions for us here. This is the first of the vendors that I'll be featuring. Meet Traci Terrick. She has recently moved her floral business from San Francisco to Newburyport, MA, and just opened her own shop. She does art direction on the side, so she can really picture how her bouquets and arrangements are going to show up in pictures. Here is my (brief) conversation with Traci about her gorgeous work.

How do you describe your work?
My background in graphic design and photo art direction help me create unique and design worthy arrangements. My love for ribbon and mixing colors give my arrangements their own individuality

What made you decide that you wanted to be a (floral-although I hate to limit it to just that) designer?
I have always had a love for flowers, for mixing colors and textures and being able to enjoy them like pieces of art.

In your opinion, what makes a wedding stunning?

Beautiful, simple, stunning details. Candlelight, shimmering glass, sparkling silver, those little touches that describe the bride and groom in a subtle way.

If you only had 2 colors to work with for the rest of your career, what would they be?

White and Chocolate Brown.

What kind of flowers do you keep in your house?

are my favorite, but since you can only get them for a short time in the summer, hydrangea and tulips are always in my house
If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with your time?
I would continue with my floral business and give up photo art direction and spend my free time traveling the world and exploring floral shops throughout
Can you share with us a few pictures from weddings that you did that you loved?
I need to get back to you on this one!
Luckily, my professional pics just came back- here is some of Traci's work from my wedding (if you click on the image, a nice big version will pop up for you to peruse).