Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Spectacular

I did 10 Black Friday specials via Facebook and the Jewelry Blog.

Some deals are still available - check them out!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Session Americana : Lizard Lounge 11/18/10

Oh joy, oh holiday craft season happiness - Session Americana is back in Boston to save my soul.  You may remember last year when I was nigh unto a breakdown because my beloved husband took me out to music in the middle of craftmania. I wrote about being forced to stop and how it may have saved me (and 2009!) 

It's always a treat to attend a Session Americana show - and attend we did several times this year, but I really enjoy seeing them at Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. Intimate (perhaps too intimate) obstructed views (natch!) and the occasional college crew who is there to talk(?) but it's a no-bullshit place, they don't care about cameras or dancers (or even spinners) and everybody sings along (for better or worse.)

I may be a little too old to go out to music that STARTS at 10pm - but hey, I made it all the way to 1am and still had a productive (if cranky) day at work.

I'm super psyched that the band will take the residency role this month at Lizard - every Tuesday night will be Session Americana night. Will I make it every Tuesday? I doubt it, the orders are piling up already - but I'll get there at least once (twice if I can convince Tom to drive!)

Oh! And they've been nominated for a Boston Music Award (AMERICANA ARTIST OF THE YEAR) - please go vote for them (and give Amanda Palmer some love while you are at it!)

The boys in the band get down for a full house. Ry Kavanaugh is trying to outdo Jon Bistline's hair. That was weird.

The lovely and talented Jefferson Hamer sat in for the vacationing (?) Sean Staples. He was a great choice - beautiful playing and a voice that was (dare I say it) reminiscent of early (tolerable) Neil Young (sweet with an edge.)  He's hosting a record (actual VINYL) release party on December 15th at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. Get there for some awesome.

Just sayin' photo: They boys at Lizard know how to make a drink. Thanks boys.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Isabel and her little friend

Isabel keeps a close eye on her new friend Crumpled Up Trader Joe's Receipt. Yes, blah blah blah I'm a bad parent. She has an entire house full of toys (I find them irresistible) but chooses to carry this wadded up mess around like it is a kitten. Then she goes nuts and bats it up and down the stairs and then curls up for a nap with it. I shall rename her Random Cat soon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Curry Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Well there were going to be photos of the making of, but I accidentally deleted them. Grrr. Fortunately the soup is awesome and I'll take some beauty shots tomorrow.

The Recipe (makes 6-8 servings)

3 lbs. Butternut Squash
1 medium onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
6+ cups vegetable stock (a box and a half)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
a couple of dashes of cayenne pepper (to taste)
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Garnish with any or all: creme fraiche, chopped chives, chopped salted cashews

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Because I'm really lazy always looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, I don't peel and boil the squash until flavorless - I bake it until it is tender. The squash will taste sweeter and you won't shave your knuckles with the peeler.

Slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop and discard the seeds (and the weird stuff holding the seeds.) Place the squash cut-side down on a sheet pan. (*Don't have a sheet pan - use whatever you've got. You don't need oil or foil or anything else in the pan - just the squash.)

Bake the squash until fork tender. Take it off the tray and put into a covered dish (the white pyrex with glass lid works. Don't have that - a bowl with tin foil is just fine.) The squash needs to cool down a little.

While the squash is baking dice the onion. Using your soup pot, heat the olive oil on medium and add the onions, stirring frequently for one minute. Reduce the heat to low-medium and let the onions cook until translucent and soft. (*Do not brown the onions - the goal is to sweat the flavor and make them soft.)

When the onions are soft, add the curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper and stir until well mixed with the onions.

Now that the squash has cooled (a little) scoop the squash from the skin and put it directly into the pot with the onions and spices. Mix thoroughly - the mixture will be thick.

Add the vegetable stock (*Only have chicken stock - it will be just as tasty but slightly less vegan.) and stir thoroughly.

Allow the soup to cook at a low simmer for at least a half hour, which will bring all of the flavors together.

THE TRICKY PART: DON'T BURN YOUSELF - let the soup cool if you aren't a pro at this.

Using a food processor (*blender, food mill, immersion blender - whatever you have) pulse four cups at a time until smooth.

Return to soup pot. Add the heavy cream. (*Want to make this vegan? Skip the cream.)

Continue to cook soup on low for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning and texture - add more stock or water for the consistency you like.

Serve with a little dollop (I have been waiting YEARS to work the word dollop into a post) of creme fraiche, or if you are me and you forgot the creme fraiche even though it was the first ingredient on the shopping list and you know exactly where it is at Trader Joe's (near the cheese, not near the yogurt) -- then use a little sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped chives. Want to be extra fancy, add a few chopped salted cashews. (*Again, want this to be vegan, skip the dollop.)

This soup is even better on day two - you'll need to add a little water or stock when you reheat in a pan. It also freezes really well (if you make a double batch, there are never leftovers when I make this soup!)

Enjoy - let me know how your version works out!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Me & Other Artists for Monkey Helpers

Yeah, a big WTF for that title.  An AKA could be 'When friends ask you to do things for charities you know nothing about.'  The fabulous Stephanie Rogers asked if I would show the Moda di Magno goodies at the Helping Hands Festivale. That sounded nice - I said tell me more. Better, she sent me a link to the organization and omg, how cool are they?  Monkeys, who do things for disabled people - love.  I met two of the trainers and they are lovely people, it was a great crowd of people in attendance and plenty of music and food and fun.

I met some fantastic artists and a good time was had by all!

Emily Lafasciano (at right) is a fantastic bead designer - she's also a saint because she helped me unpack and set up in 5 minutes flat! Her patient craft-spouse immediately provided refreshing beverages, I'm so grateful to both! At left is Noelle Schuyler, Development Director for Monkey Helpers.

Super talented mosaic artist Jaime Jancosek was at the table next to me. Her patient craft-spouse was also in attendance. Her work is amazing and beautiful.

This is Jane Wojick, she makes beautiful pottery. Her patient craft-spouse is at left making us laugh as we prepare to pack up.

Newlywed Christine Price Hamilton makes these incredible paper lanterns BY HAND.  Now I have done some what-was-I-thinking/labor-intensive/should-have-cost-a-million-dollars projects - but these lights are stunning and very reasonably priced. Avoid pale Swedish lights made in factories and get an artisan made Tesselight.  Her patient craft-spouse is in my favorite local band, Session Americana. Bonus points for Jon. (My patient craft-spouse was cleaning up the mess from a broken water pipe - but that's a story for another day.)


Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Don't let the zombies take over - get out and VOTE!