WABI SABI

Beauty in imperfection

LATE SUMMER VEGETABLE RAGU


Serve this hearty dish over your favorite pasta, quinoa, or with crusty grilled slices of country bread. With just a few seasonal vegetables and on-hand essentials like olive oil and lemon, this meal comes together quickly, to a beautiful effect. Laced with smoky paprika and ground chipotle, this is comfort food with a kick!
What you’ll need:
2-3 SUMMER SQUASH
RED ONION
3 CLOVES GARLIC
2 HANDFULS OF RIPE CHERRY AND PLUM TOMATOES
CRACKED BLACK PEPPER
SALT
SMOKED PAPRIKA (THIS IS A GREAT SPICE TO HAVE ON HAND, IT ADDS AMAZING FLAVOR. ITS MUCH SWEETER AND RICHER THAN PAPRIKA)
DRIED CHILI AND CHIPOTLE PEPPER, GROUND
OLIVE OIL
LEMON
FRESH PARSLEY
Preparation:
FINELY CHOP THE ONION AND GARLIC AND RESERVE IN A SMALL BOWL.
COARSELY CHOP THE SQUASH AND  TOMATOES AND SET ASIDE.
IN A CAST IRON SKILLET, HEAT A GENEROUS DRIZZLE OF OLIVE OIL OVER MEDIUM HEAT. WHEN OIL IS HEATED ADD CHOPPED ONON AND GARLIC, AND STIR OCCASIONALLY UNTIL ONION STARTS TO BECOME TRANSLUCENT AND YOUR KITCHEN STARTS TO FILL WITH A MIRACULOUS AROMA. THEN ADD YOUR SQUASH AND TOMATOES AND CONTINUE STIRRING OCCASIONALLY OVER A MEDIUM-LOW HEAT. 
ADD YOUR SEASONINGS TO TASTE- SEA SALT, CRACKED PEPPER, SMOKED PAPRIKA, AND THE DRIED GROUND CHILE AND CHIPOTLE PEPPER. 
CONTINUE COOKING UNTIL SQUASH IS SOFT, ABOUT 15-20 MINUTES. 
LET SIT 10 MINUTES AND ADD FINELY CHOPPED PARSLEY AND A SQUEEZE OF LEMON WHEN SERVING. BON APPETIT! 

DESIGNING THE JACKET

Recently I’ve been inspired by vintage handmade lace, and intricate stone carvings. I thought it would be beautiful to translate this to leather. First, an embroidery was developed based on a sample of lace I was inspired by. Next, I sketched out a jacket style for the embellishment. I could barely wait to see the first sample. Although first samples typically need work and lots of fittings- I really thought this one came out great! What do you think?”

LEATHER TASSEL NECKLACE


WHAT YOU’LL NEED

1. LEATHER IN YOUR COLOR OF CHOICE

2. LEATHER STRING OR CORD

3. SCISSORS OR ROTARY CUTTER

4. LEATHER GLUE

 

HOW ITS MADE:

 1. MEASURE OUT AND CUT A RECTANGLE OF LEATHER WITH A RULER. YOU CAN MAKE YOUR TASSEL AS LONG OR  SHORT, AND AS THICK OR THIN AS YOU WANT. YOU COULD TRY OUT SEVERAL SIZES TO SEE WHICH YOU WOULD LIKE BEST FOR THE NECKLACE.


2. WITH YOUR SCISSORS OR ROTARY CUTTER, SLICE THE LEATHER STRAIGHT UP IN 1/8” INCREMENTS. YOU CAN USE A PENCIL TO MARK LINES ON THE BACK OF THE LEATHER WITH A RULER, TO USE AS A GUIDE FOR CUTTING.

3. CONTINUE CUTTING THE LENGTH OF THE RECTANGLE - YOU NOW HAVE A BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF LEATHER FRINGE.

4. CUT A 2” PIECE OF YOUR LEATHER STRING OR CORD. FOLD THIS IN HALF AND PLACE ON THE EDGE OF YOUR LEATHER RECTANGLE, LEAVING THE FOLDED LOOP HANGING OFF 1/4” OFF THE EDGE. USE A LITTLE GLUE TO SECURE THE STRING IN PLACE. THIS LOOP WILL BE HOW YOU STRING YOUR TASSEL ONTO THE NECKLACE.

5. BEGIN ROLLING UP YOUR FRINGE INTO A TASSEL. ADD A LITTLE GLUE TO THE TOP EDGE AS YOU ROLL, MAKING SURE THE LOOP IS ALWAYS EXPOSED AT THE TOP.


6. WHEN YOU FINISH ROLLING UP YOUR TASSEL, ADD A LINE OF GLUE DOWN THE EDGE OF THE LEATHER TO KEEP THE EDGE SECURE.


NOW YOU ARE READY TO STRING WITH YOUR CORD, AND WEAR! ENJOY! REMEMBER, YOU CAN DO THIS IN ANY COLOR AND MAKE ANY SIZE TASSEL. YOU CAN USE YOUR TASSEL FOR MUCH MORE THAN A NECKLACE. USE IT AS A KEYCHAIN, HANG IT ON YOUR FAVORITE HANDBAG, OR ADD IT TO A JACKET ZIPPER FOR AN AWESOME ZIPPER PULL!

LEMONY ROSEMARY AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNA

Pining for the flavors of Fall? Why wait for September? The rich, autumnal butternut squash is lightened with lemon zest and bright parsley for a perfect end-of-summer meal. Make this lasagna for your next dinner party, it’s the ideal dish for sharing with friends!

(TIP: THIS CAN EASILY BE MADE VEGAN, BY SUBSTITUTING BUTTER WITH COCONUT OIL, AND MILK WITH ALMOND MILK. YOU CAN USE YOUR CHEESE ALTERNATIVE OF CHOICE TO REPLACE THE MOZZARELLA- I PERSONALLY LOVE TO USE DAIYA WHEN I WANT A VEGAN CHEESE.)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

Large Butternut squash 

Lasagna Pasta Sheets, cooked 

Nutmeg

Handful Spinach

1 bunch Parsley

4-5 sprigs of rosemary

4-5 sprigs of oregano

1 stick Butter 

3 cloves Garlic, diced

¼ Cup Flour

3 Cups  Milk

3 Cups  Shredded Mozzarella

½ Cup  Parmesan

Sea Salt and Pepper and Olive Oil

Lemon zest for plating


1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 375


2. PEEL YOUR BUTTERNUT SQUASH. (NO ONE WILL TELL YOU THIS, BUT WHEN YOU PEEL THE SQUASH THE FLESH WILL  BEAD UP WITH A STICKY DEW. THIS WILL MAKE YOUR HANDS VERY STICKY SO A LITTLE TRICK IS TO HANDLE THE SQUASH WITH A PAPER TOWEL WHILE PEELING. AFTER YOU’VE REMOVED ALL THE SKIN FROM YOUR SQUASH, YOU CAN RINSE IT OFF, AND IT WILL BE MUCH EASIER TO HANDLE WHILE REMOVING SEEDS AND SLICING.)


3. CUT SQUASH IN HALF LENGTHWISE AND REMOVE SEEDS. (YOU CAN SAVE THE SEEDS AND ROAST THEM ON A BAKING SHEET WHILE COOKING YOUR LASAGNE. YOU CAN SPRINKLE THESE OVER THE LASAGNE WHEN PLATING FOR A PERFECT CRUNCH!)

 

4. SLICE SQUASH INTO 1/4” THICK PIECES


5. DRIZZLE OLIVE OIL ON A BAKING SHEET AND ARRANGE SQUASH SLICES IN A SINGLE LAYER. DRIZZLE MORE OLIVE OIL, AND SPRINKLE WITH SEA SALT, PEPPER, AND NUTMEG. (DON’T FORGET THE NUTMEG! THS WILL BRING OUT THE WARM, NUTTY FLAVOR OF THE SQUASH). FOLLOW WITH ANOTHER LAYER OF SQUASH AND SPICES UNTIL YOU’VE ARRANGED ALL YOUR SQUASH ON BAKING SHEET. BAKE IN OVEN FOR 10 MINUTES. WHILE THAT’S IN THE OVEN START ON YOUR ROUX.


6. HEAT BUTTER IN A SAUCEPAN OVER MEDIUM HEAT, WHISKING TIL IT BEGINS TO BROWN. SPRINKLE IN FLOUR WHILE WHISKING, AND FOLLOW WITH MILK. LET ROUX COME TO A BOIL AND ADD IN GARLIC. CONTINUE TO COOK AS ROUX THICKENS.


7. YOU CAN NOW THROW YOUR HERBS (PARSLEY, OREGANO, AND ROSEMARY) AND SPINACH INTO A BLENDER, AND ADD THE ROUX (AFTER ITS COOLED A BIT). BLEND FOR 30 SECONDS TO CREATE A LOVELY HERB ROUX.


8. ASSEMBLE YOUR LAYERS! IN YOUR FAVORITE BAKING DISH, RUB A LITTLE OLIVE OIL, AND POUR IN SOME OF YOUR HERB ROUX TO COAT THE BOTTOM. ADD COOKED PASTA, OVERLAPPING SHEETS SLIGHTLY. LAYER BUTTERNUT SQUASH SLICES OVER PASTA, SPRINKLE ON YOUR CHEESES, AND POUR ON MORE ROUX. CONTINUE FOR EACH LAYER. AFTER LAYING THE FINAL SHEETS OF PASTA, COAT WITH A FINAL LAYER OF ROUX, AND FINISH WITH SHREDDED CHEESE. COVER DISH WITH TIN FOIL AND BAKE FOR 40 MINUTES AT 375.


9. REMOVE THE FOIL AND BAKE 8-10 MORE MINUTES SO SURFACE BECOMES GOLDEN AND CRISP. AFTER REMOVING FROM OVEN, LET STAND FOR 10 MINUTES.

10. SLICE AND SERVE! 

TO PLATE, ZEST A LEMON DIRECTLY OVER EACH SERVING. ENJOY WITH A GLASS OF WINE AND GOOD COMPANY!!


The Making of a Wedding Gown

My lovely friend, a talented dancer and artist, allowed me the privilege of making the dress she would wear on her summer wedding day. She wanted something fun and less traditional, so we chose peachy blush shades of silk and a dramatic, hourglass silhouette. An initial muslin was created, which was then fit, and transferred to a paper pattern. The silk was cut out and sewn together, with lots of fittings in the process. It all came together in the eleventh hour, and she looked simply magnificent in the final creation.

THE MAKING OF

THE FINAL PIECE

Here comes the bride

Felt Chandelier

I’ve been wanting to add a dramatic lighting fixture over my dining table, but couldn’t find one that I liked (not one that I could afford, anyway!)

so I decided to make one. It was a fun project and I thought you may like to try to make one, too! The great thing about this project is it uses very simple materials, to a beautiful effect- I love that! I spent about $30 on supplies, but when you see the finished product, it looks like a million bucks!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

- some felt in whatever color you’d like your chandelier. I used about 3 yards, but depending on the size of your shade, you’ll need a little more or a little less.

- 14 or 16 gauge galvanized wire. the 16 gauge is easier to work with, but you’ll have to double up to create a strong frame. The 14 gauge is heartier, but more difficult to wrangle.

- lightweight “craft wire”

- a pair of pliers and a wire cutter (I got the dual use pliers which include a wire cutting function, so less tools to keep track of!)

- a needle and thread

- some chain to hang it

STEP 1

- Create the wire frame for your chandelier. Decide on the diameter you want, and make a wire circle that size, this will be the opening of the chandelier.

If you are using the 16 gauge wire, you will want to use 2 wires twisted together to make in nice and strong.

- Now decide how high you want your chandelier dome to be, and make several semi circle lengths of wire.

- Attach these to your circle base. It will be wobbly at first, don’t get discouraged!

- Now you can add layers of wire to your basic frame, and keep adding until its nice and strong! You can use the soft craft wire at the intersections of the wire loops. You can have fun here and make lots of crazy swirls of wire.  As long as its creating a nice dome shape, you’re on the right track! You can always smooth out any bumps in the wire with your pliers. It doesnt have to be too perfect- it will be covered up with your felt!!

STEP 2

Create the felt overlay.

- Cut strips of felt into the desired width. I cut strips about 1” wide, but you can experiment with different sizes for different effects!

- Using the strips, decide on the shape you want to create. I did a free-form swirl, but you can create many different kind of shapes. The options are endless…..

- Using your needle and thread, tack the shape together through all layers, so it stays in its shape.

- Keep creating these shapes, and connecting them together using your needle and thread. When you have a nice little section made, drape it over your wire frame. 

- Keep adding shapes and stitching them to each other, until the wire frame is all covered.

- If you want to create some more length to the felt shade, you can hang your shade (using the chain) from somewhere like a doorframe, so you can add more felt to the ends, and make it as long as you want. 

- You can really have fun with the shape at this point, making it asymmetrical, etc. 

Now that you’re finished and you just need to light it up!

A cord kit is a great option, the same one you would use with a paper lantern. Or you can have an electrician help you replace an old ceiling fixture with your fabulous new chandelier!

Remember, you can really be creative with this project, making the wire frame any shape you’d like, and using any color felt you prefer!