Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Softer Side of Art

Last week I sent off four pieces to a show in Kerrville, Texas called The Softer Side of Art, A Fiber Arts Invitational. The show is at the Kerr Art and Cultural Center. If you are going to Kerrville for the Folk festival I hope you will check out the show and let me know about it. The pieces that I have in the show are the two pictured above, plus the ring that completes that set, and the earrings pictured below.

Spinning button earrings

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mmmm, Paella!

Last week I shared the Tres Leches recipe that I used for Mom's birthday cake. Today I am bringing you the Paella recipe that I use and love. We also made Sangria and I used this recipe.

This was the second time that I have made Paella for a crowd (which I recommend) and I used a combination of two recipes. I am going to link to the one that is closest to what I did and then tell you the changes that I made. Here is the Saveur recipe for Paella Mixta that I adapted.

Changes: I left out the Mussels and Artichokes
I used fresh Red Bell Pepper instead of jarred, and added it when I added the onions.
I used Chicken breast instead of thighs.
I doubled this recipe and made two pans of Paella.
I don't have a Paella pan, so I used one cast iron skillet and one large enameled skillet.
I added the frozen peas at the end when I added the shrimp back.
I garnished this dish with Flat Leaf Parsley and Sliced lemons, both of which I highly recommend!

Prepping the ingredients

Using Saffron feels very luxurious!
Saffron feels so special

Frank posing with the Paella
Frank being silly

The pre-cooked Shrimp and Peas go on at the end and after a few minutes of sitting it is ready.
Mmmm, Paella!

When you serve this up you can see the gorgeous yellow hue that the saffron imparts!
This Paella tastes very fresh and all the ingredients both stand out and blend together to make a delicious dish.
Mmmm, Paella!

Mom's birthday flowers
Mom's Birthday Flowers

I think Paella is a great dish for a crowd and for a special occasion. It would be hard to make a small batch of this, but it is easy to double up and make more. The ingredients are a bit of a splurge, so they make a great party entree. It is also a one pot dish, so there isn't a great deal of clean up. I will definitely be keeping this recipe in my repertoire!

Ps, resist the urge to stir this as it cooks, the crusty bottom that the rice creates is actually desired. Frank kept wanting me to stir it but I insisted that you are not supposed to.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ring A Day Show

ring a day

ring a day

ring a day

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have a ring in the Ring A Day show at Punch Gallery in Seattle. These images are by my friend Andrea aka Amuck Design. You can see more images from the show here. My ring is in the first image, but you can't see it, it is in the very bottom right hand corner. I love the way the show was curated and arranged. The cases look great. I bet it was a very inspiring show to see in person.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finished Custom PIeces

Finished Custom Ring

Finished Custom Ring

Finished Custom Pendant

Finished Custom Pendant

I just finished up a custom order with my customer's gorgeous opal cabochons. Opals are so hard to photograph! You really have to get them in direct sunlight to show off their fire, but that is no good for photographing metal. So I did both.
I'm really pleased with how these turned out and so happy that my customer trusted me with her stones.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fiber Jewelry Collection

I have been working on getting images of all of my Fiber Jewelry together. These are for a gallery to look at. Though they are by no means professional or super polished I love the way they all look together. I have a few of my fiber pieces in my Etsy shop here. Most of the ones you see here can be made again, so if you see one you like that isn't in my etsy shop just let me know.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My First (finished) Quilt

I am so excited to finally get to share this with you. I gave this baby quilt to my friend Halie yesterday at her baby shower. She is having a boy and I chose fabrics and a pattern that are modern and not too baby-ish. I knew Halie's taste, and being similar to mine I figured I could come up with something that she would love. I think I was successful!
This is a gift for a friend

I made this at my parent's house under mom's guidance, but with minimal help. Mom did do some of the quilting, some repairs and the binding. I designed and pieced the quilt and quilted the straight lines on mom's awesome Bernina sewing machine (which I hope to inherit someday). I had a hard time letting this baby go, truth be told, because I love it so much!

This is a gift for a friend

That backing fabric is by Kate Spain for Moda and is called Central Park Zoo. It is the only baby-ish thing about this quilt and I am absolutely in love with this fabric, so cute.

Halie spent time in Japan teaching English, so I used several Japanese fabrics, including a fun sushi print.

This is a gift for a friend

Mom did the squiggly quilting and I did the straight lines. Once again, a big thanks to mom for fabrics, guidance and help. She really is the best.
Now I need to finish the quilt that I started for us earlier this year!

Oh, and apparently this type of quilt pattern is called a Chinese Coin Quilt. I was inspired by Soule Mama, but didn't use a pattern, well I made my own really. It is oh so simple, and I think very striking, allowing the colors to take center stage.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Mama!

Mom's birthday is today, but we celebrated on Saturday. Good thing because she, dad and Frank are all sick today. My sister in law and niece came in on Friday to surprise mom for her birthday and I'm sure that is the best gift she could have gotten. We were all thrilled to see them!

Frank and I were in charge of the birthday dinner of Paella, Sangria and Tres Leches cake. Everything turned out great, but for now I'm going to share the cake details and recipe. Ever since Frank got me the My Sweet Mexico cookbook for my birthday I have been wanting to try the Tres Leches cake recipe. It is reprinted on Bon Apetit's website here, so you can try it too. I haven't eaten too many versions of Tres Leches, but knew that it could be heavy and overly sweet. The author mentions in this recipe that she designed this cake to avoid both of those problems. I had never baked a Tres Leches either, so this was a first. It is definitely a special ocassion cake with multiple steps, but very much worth the work.

The cake batter has an extra step of whipping the eggwhites, which helps to make the cake nice and airy and sponge like to soak up all the Tres Leches.
Even though the cake itself is not very sweet or flavorful, it came out of the oven smelling delicious! I couldn't tell from the photo in the book how big the cake would be, it bakes in one 8" round pan and you slice that into two layers. Since I was unsure and only had one 8" pan, I made a single batch and baked the cake to see how big it would be. I decided that I wanted to double the recipe and make a larger cake, so I baked another layer the next morning. I didn't double the Tres Leches part, and that was fine, it was still plenty moist. I did however double the whipped cream topping, and though there was extra, I don't think the single batch would have been quite enough.

Karlie loved the whipped topping!

One of my favorite parts was the layer of whipped cream with berries in the middle. I used strawberries and blackberries.

I'm glad I got to add another cake recipe to my baking repertoire. I'm so pleased that it turned out well and that everyone loved it. I will definitely be making this again in the future!

There are many things that I could share about my mom, but her creative talents, generosity and her support of my creative endeavors stand out above the rest.

Happy Birthday mama! I'm sorry you aren't feeling good today, and I'm glad that you got to celebrate over the weekend. I love you bunches, and am so lucky to have you as my mama.

Friday, May 6, 2011

On my Work Bench

I'm working on a couple of custom pieces with my customers' opal cabochons. This is the pendant and I'm loving it! There is a ring as well with a super sparkly fire opal cab. I based this piece on my Tidal Pool Ring.

In other news, the opening of the Ring A Day exhibit was last night at Punch Gallery in Seattle. I have one ring in the show and was so excited to see images that fellow metalsmiths and friends were posting on facebook. Check out some images of this awesome show here. I wish I could see it in person, both to meet my online friends and admire and be inspired by all the wonderful rings.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Simplicity 2586

I recently finished this dress and I love it.
Simplicity 2586
Pattern review here.

This dress is made from some gorgeous cross weave linen that I scored last year at 75% off when Kay's Fabrics in Dallas went out of business. I had been saving it up and finally got up the courage to cut into it. I probably started at the end of February and worked on it little by little whenever I was at my mom's house. I could have made it in a day but kept it up there for some reason. I have now brought all my fabrics and patterns home so that I can work on sewing little by little when I have time at home. I cut and basted a muslin for a pair of pants last night, which mom will have to help me fit. The part I have a hard time with is fitting, and this dress had no fitting involved, so it was easy peasy. I got the belt just for this purpose, so that it wouldn't look like I was wearing a sack. I've never belted dresses or tops, but like the look on me and think I might start. What do you think?

Since it took me so long to get this finished, its going to be too hot for it before long. I need to make a sleeveless summer version of this pattern next.