Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Patch Strawberries

I had the opportunity to go strawberry picking the other day, and although I only spent an hour or so in the patch, I managed to pick seven and a half pounds of berries!
fresh picked strawberries
What a treat!
Before they even had a chance to lose their sunny warmth, I got to work whipping up some treats. The bowl- half what I picked-went straight into one seriously delicious pie, complete with homemade crust and fresh organic whipped cream. It was the most gorgeously red, fresh tasting strawberry pie I've ever made, and definitely worth the stiff neck and sunburnt shoulders.

Then, finding myself burdened with a post-pie leftover half pint of whipping cream, I cooked up another batch of strawberry sauce and some hot Belgian waffles to give that cream something to be plopped on top of. We ate them...many of them...for Sunday breakfast.
And the added bonus is, the batter recipe makes a ton, so there was plenty to tuck away in the fridge for Monday's breakfast.
And Tuesdays.
And Wednesdays, even.

Anyway, I told you once before about my affair with the yeast batter Belgian waffle, and this most recent go-around has reminded me of just how worthwhile it is to spend that bit of extra time making them. It's seriously the best most delicious waffle you'll ever eat, like eighty bajillion times better than an ordinary baking power leavened waffle.
Or an instant mix waffle? Phuleeze. You don't really use that, do you?
But instead of it taking five minutes to throw some batter together, it takes ten, plus you've got to let it rise for an hour.
It's worth it, I promise.
Plus, that hour gives you time to make your fruit sauce and whip the cream :)

I use the Joy of Cooking Belgian Waffle recipe, but this recipe is the same. It's one of the reasons I always make sure I've got at least a couple of packets of yeast in my pantry.
Because you just never know when you might get a Belgian waffle craving.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sawing and Sewing

Gosh all fishooks has it been a busy couple of weeks!
The wood fired oven project is in full swing and was actually starting to start to look like something!
Yet I say "was" because I spent most of last week covered in mortar and brick dust and sweating my butt off and making fairly decent progress despite the withering, 95+ degree heat. Decent progress right up until the "cheap" 10" wet saw I bought from the cheap tool place finished eating its first blade, that is. I can't say I was expecting greatness from a cheap tool store wet saw, but still.
Anyway, at about 25% of the way through my project, I was looking at ~$200 or so just in blades, and suddenly my "cheap" saw was only a hundred bucks or so less than it's quality counterpart which, needless to say, put it solidly in the "useless piece of junk" category.
So it went back to the cheap tool store for a refund which leaves me saw-less until my new one arrives. I'm replacing it with the real thing, the pro's favorite, a Felker FTS-150. A big girl tool to be sure, and yea, I'm one excited tool geek.
Rest assured, I'm sure it'll be back to 95 and wicked humid as soon as I'm ready to get back to it, but I'd like to think not having to battle with a piece of junk tool will help me keep my cool.

I've also been hard at work on a brand new handbag pattern that's been rattling around in my brain for months. It's a two-handled, satchel style with a wide-ish bottom and a zipper top. I pretty excited about it since it incorporates a couple of new techniques and features I've been wanting to, um, get a handle on.
pink satchel

pink satchel top

Anyway, the prototype you see above has been with me in test carry stage for a couple of weeks, and I must say I'm absolutely loving it. It's big enough to hold lots of stuff but not too deep and it's easy to get in and out of but secure. It sits up nice and proper with a wide, firm bottom (the final, for-sale versions will have feet) which is something I insist on in a satchel-style bag. Enough structure to keep it nice and tailored and neat looking without being hard and stiff. Plus, the tubular leather handles feel great and are just long enough to allow the bag to be thrown over a shoulder when you need your hands free.
pink satchel side

With a few tweaks, it's a swimming success that I'll be adding to my permanent lineup in either fabric+ leather or all leather. I'm hoping to have at least a couple for sale in the shop very soon.
And speaking of for sale, take notice locals...I'll be at the Spirit of the Lakes Festival on Saturday, July 18th, 11am-7pm in Mound. Do come and say hi and hang out with me for a bit on the shores of beautiful Lake Minnetonka, won't you?

p.s. check in over at Modern in MN for a more detailed oven update+ photos shortly.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Please Use the Victoria Beckham Lens"

Whew! It's been a crazy couple of weeks!

Firstly, a progress report on the wood-fired pizza oven project over at Modern in MN. The insulation materials I was waiting for arrived this week, so I'm on to the dome-building portion of the event which should be interesting. I'm hoping to get a start on it next week.

Then, a couple of gorgeous custom bags that have left the building bound for their new owners. I'm telling you, sometimes it seriously pains me to actually have to let go and sell this stuff! One of my absolute favorites was this sling backpack for Misti in Austin that came out so incredibily delicious looking that I wanted to lick it:

Misti's sling and matching wristlet
Misti's sling

And this bucket bag commissioned by a local gal in buttery soft purple leather. What with it being ALL ONE COLOR and all, I wasn't super excited because you know how I am about my colors, but it turned out beautifully and the finished product really suckered me because it was so attractively slouchy and yummy feeling:
bonnies bag2
bonnies bag4
she picked a fun purple and green print for interior accent, and I couldn't resist using it in a modified version (with zipper) of my quick welt pocket:
bonnies bag interior

And then, most crazy of all, I finally got to hook up with Marike, a journalist from Germany who first contacted me way last summer about coming here to do an article on me and the house. I was and still am certain I'm not all that interesting, but I immediately said yes because I thought at the very least it would be a fun experience. So we finally got to meet in person this week after several months of email exchanges, and she came with Claudia, a German photographer who is based in New York. We spent the day here at the house chatting and taking photos....and eating, of course. I made them my world famous chocolate chip cookies because I suspected it would be something they hadn't had before. That turned out to be a winning bet, and they both said cookies of any sort are not a big thing in Germany. I guess they are all about the cakes. Who knew.
brigitte woman
Marike brought me the current issue of Brigitte Woman which is the magazine she's doing the article for, and she said her piece on me will run in one of the fall issues. Any German speakers wanna sign up to come here and read it to me when it comes out?
Anwyay, I had set my camera out specifically so that I would remember to take some pictures of them, but I forgot. So UBER BOO! I guess I was a little preoccupied...have I mentioned I HATE having my picture taken? And there's nothing like knowing every nook and crannie of your house is going to be photographed to put the fear of the cobwebs and dust bunnies in a girl...

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