Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pods

Tonight was a tricky night for photography, so I will try again later this week.  These sweeties were a bit shy and wouldn't hold still for me tonight. 




(The ones that worked made it to Flickr. )

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cabin Fever Cookies

Written last night.... 

There’s snow on the ground, and there’s more on the way, if you believe the weather channel.  So we’re on playing it safe and working from home. Which meant we needed cookies, right? Right! Yay!  I made these last night, on a whim, with no recipe except what I remember from other cookies I make.   You know, like interpretive dance? You know the moves, but it’s up to you what you do with them? Yes?

Anyway… We played around with clever names for a while, but got stuck on poo jokes alarmingly quickly, and so we stopped thinking and just ate them.  And really, they’re not the prettiest cookies, but don’t judge them, really, they are delicious. Not too sweet, the nuts add a great toasty flavor, and please, buy yourself nice chocolate, these are treats, not granola bars. Buy your favorite kind of milk too, the cookies deserve a good dunk, and so do you!


Cabin Fever Cookies - or- Chocolate Nut Cookies

1 ½ cups old fashioned oats, run through the food processor for a few whirls
+ one handful of non-diced oats
½ cup flour ( I used white, but plan on trying wheat next time… I think it might amp up the nutty goodness)
½ cup roasted, chopped almonds (again, I ran them in the food processor to save time…)
½ cup brown sugar
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp dark cocoa
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs
6 ozish chocolate ( I used 60% cocoa bittersweet chips) - melted on a double broiler
3 tbsp butter - melt in with chocolate to save a bowl
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup milk, if things looks a little dry ( I added a little too much, and had to add more oats to glue everything back together), add in a tablespoon at a time.


Oven - 375
Bigger cookes - 10 min
Smaller- 8 min

Put the chocolate and butter over a double boiler, set around medium heat. Keep checking on it, stir it around to help it melt evenly
Mix all the dry ingredients up in a large bowl, including nuts ( I ended up adding a handful of chopped pecans too, because… there’s snow… yeah, that’s it. Snow.)
Add the eggs, vanilla and chocolate mixture to the bowl, stir until everything is combined.  Add milk if it’s acting more like a bread dough than a cookie dough.  I was looking for an easy-to-ball consistency, tending towards the thicker side.

Big cookies were around 2 inch balls, smallers were maybe 1ish.  They’re tall to start, and don’t spread a lot, which is always a bonus for me.  

xoxo

Thursday, February 6, 2014

On Fringe

This bag has been percolating in my heart for quite a while... months, easily. It was cut free-form, no pattern, planning and stitching as it came together. I used a ruler 2 times, only when necessary to the purse's stability.

Intuition lead the charge. Hand punched holes, stitched one by one with red nylon thread. Fringe, moving and swaying as I cut each strip. The tassel, added to the bottom for even more movement and a touch of weight.

The result, an across the body purse, made of the softest sea foam-blue leather. Secured with stitching and rivets, a veggie tanned strap, left nearly naked to encourage patina & age, woven through the sides. More stitching, echoing heart beats, more fringe swaying down the side.

This bag is for one who rocks in her walk, is smooth & tough, full of determination. She walks straight and tall, confident, at the end of the day, that she will survive it all.

Doves were in my heart with every moment.






Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Yeast and Wheat

After being inspired to try my hand at cinnamon-raisin bread for... oh, probably a month, I finally made a loaf! I posted a photo of this bread last night, and a recipe  was (lovingly) demanded...
Sunny- here's your proof. 



Cat’s Basic Bread
(heavily adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros)

I’ve made the below bread many times, the original loaf that Tessa made is light, white and lovely.  I wanted something darker, so I’ve been tweaking my flour & sweetener more towards wheat and molasses. The below recipe is full of suggestions, mostly because this loaf is rarely replicated in any identical way.  I follow the bones, but let the kitchen goddesses lead the way as I mix, so my notes are NOT precise, but they work for me). Bread is my comfort, as I make it, and yes, as I eat what I have made.

1 cup warm milk (comfortable to your fingers, not hot, just above room temp.) (If you’re out of milk, you can use just water, or a water-cream combo… it makes the bread less rich, but still good)
2 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast (or one ½ oz. packet)
2 tablespoons of honey (local is better! Trust.)
3 2/3 cup flour (I usually use something roughly like 1 2/3 cup wheat, 2 cups unbleached all purpose, but this time I did 1 cup wheat, 2/3 cup spelt, 2 cup white…or something like that, I’m not the most specific baker when it comes to flour combos, I just aim to hit the total, with the majority being white, to make sure all the glutens and things are happy.)
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted (sometimes I use 2 eggs total instead of butter… if I’m running low on butter I’m saving it for the toast!) (Or if I’m just not feeling like putting extra butter in the loaf, because I know how much I enjoy slathering on later).
*optional and totally worth it- 1 tablespoon sorghum molasses (this molasses has made me SPOILED for the stuff you can find in grocery stores- if you see local molasses, BUY IT. Worth its weight in flavor-gold)

Raisin Bread filling
2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional… but really, you want it)
As much cinnamon as you can handle
At least a ½ cup of raisins. (I’m guessing here, I didn’t measure)

In a smallish bowl, combine the milk, honey, molasses and yeast. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is bubbly and activated.
While the yeast is doing its science dance, combine your flours and the salt in a large mixing bowl (use a sifter if you have it).
In your measuring cup (if safe) microwave the butter to melt, approx. 40 seconds does it for our machine. (You can get fancy and melt it on the stove in a pan too, if you’re anti micro.)
Gently whisk the egg into the butter until combined, and add to the flour.
By now the yeast should be ready to go! Hooray! Add it to the flour and mix it up into a dough.
If you mix by hand like me, last night I discovered my spatula makes a great mixing tool when combining dough until I can knead it without becoming a doughy mess myself. (Don’t forget to take your rings off!)
Knead into a tight dough mound, put it back in the mixing bowl if you did all that work on the counter, cover and let the loaf rest & rise for 1 ½ - 2 hours in a warmish, draft-free, animal/kid safe spot.

After it’s risen and at least doubled in size, punch it down in the bowl, and dump it on your floured surface/counter. Pat (use your muscles!) it out into a rough rectangle, and then use your rolling pin to REALLY get that thing flat, not pizza flat, but flat. You’ll know, I trust you.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a perfect rectangle, mine was more of a rough rectangle blob with a pointy end.
Sprinkle your sugar/ cinnamon mixture evenly across the now flat loaf, add more of either if you need it. Evenly distribute the raisins as well.
Grease & flour your loaf pan, I used coconut oil with much success this time around.
Starting at the nice end of your “rectangle”, tightly roll the loaf into a log, tucking any raisins that escape back where they belong. Place a hand on either end of the loaf (where the spiral will be) & compress it as you tuck the top of the log towards the bottom.  Place it in your pan, seam down, and SMUSH it as much as you can (I don’t know why, it just felt right).
Cover again and set a timer for 20-30 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn on your oven to 375 °.
I’m assuming your oven will take 20-30 more minutes to get up to heat, if your loaf hasn’t risen much, you can let it go longer.
Pop your loaf into the center of the oven, and bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on how dark you like your crust. Carefully remove it from the pan and tap the bottom, it should be solid & sound nice and hollow. 
Congratulations! Your bread is done. Please try not to burn yourself cutting the first piece. 

xoxox,
Cat

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Daisies are Done.

She loves it. It fits her perfectly (in both body & spirit). Also, I love sending things to the states next door, the packages arrive so quickly!







I've enjoyed this custom project so much, and am looking forward to doing more (a UFO belt is coming in the future - can't wait!) 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Custom Belt for K.

I've been working on a few commissioned pieces lately. It is always interesting working with someone else to get to the finish. Luckily for me, this belt was given a wild card, and I think I've started to capture the mix of hippie and cowgirl this woman embodies. 

Time for color!