12.04.2011

KitchStitch meets the Big Apple

After moping and complaining of never going anywhere….my sweet husband surprised me in September with 2 tickets to NYC.  I was ecstatic!  I had never been to The City.  We spent a solid month of planning, and also trying to account for non-planned events as well…which can sometimes be the most fun.  Our dear friend joined us in the adventure from Dallas, and both my husband and I had friends in Brooklyn, who joined us for a few events. 

NYC 2011-1 We hit up Rockefeller Center for an NBC tour, and to our surprise the Christmas tree arrived that same morning and workers were busy separating all the limbs and “fluffing” the tree after it was set in place.  We also toured the ‘Top of the Rock’ for incredible views of Manhattan.  To see the island in person was so breathtaking.  To other travel goers I would highly recommend Top of the Rock or Empire State Building observation deck tours at the beginning of your trip, if you are like me and need to get your bearings at the beginning of the trip.  You can then gain perspective on the whereabouts of the different districts and park, to assist in navigation, 

NYC 2011-2

although having a ‘local’ with us was most beneficial for the subway system.  I had been on many trains and subways in Europe, but none so intricate than this system.  Some stations were so weathered and aged that they had true stalactites hanging from the ceiling.  The subways also lends to a people watching haven (which I could do for hours). 

Ah, Central Park.  We spent most of our day just walking and only saw about half of the park.  There were many artists and musicians tucked away off the main paths, spending their weekend showing their work or practicing their latest ballads.  After, our trek we headed over to the Guggenheim for a quick tour of the lobby and gift shop.  NYC 2011-3

Fashion District & Times Square

NYC 2011-4

The summation of the trip; when will I be back?  It is definitely a city that every American needs to visit…..at least once.

8.07.2011

Dog Days of Summer

 

shot_1303753211871

Even though AC in Colorado is not a necessity, when it suddenly goes out….you definitely wonder how those survive without it.  And as Murphy would have it, our AC went out during the two hottest weeks of the summer.  This is nothing in comparison to my Texan counterparts enduring 100+ temps, but we all need to find way to cool off now and then.  Thanks to a baby pool, mister fan and a blender…..we somehow managed.  I also was a busy bee in the studio, creating a few birthday gifts for my favorite client, my mom.  A few purses, aprons and pillows to share!

Mom purse

mabel purse

IMAG0387

IMAG0385

5.27.2011

Where Did You Get That Field Verification Belt?

A what?  So, this creation probably does not mean a whole lot for those outside the architectural and design industry….but I have finally created a belt for field verification!  I was at a job site the other day fumbling around and switching back and forth between the measuring tape, camera, red/black pens….well, it’s time to get organized architects and designers, and keep everything at your fingertips.  I think I’m borderline nerdy/handy, but who cares when your audience is the contractor (no offense, contractors….not that you would be reading a sewing blog anyway).  I kept it simple, using a low key canvas fabric.  I created pouches for pens & small scale, slim-line camera or smart phone, and of course a 25’ measuring tape.  Grab your clip board and you’re set to go verify in the field! 

IMG_0385

IMG_0386

5.23.2011

Sew Sweet

A new diaper bag leaves the shop for it’s new mommy-to-be.  The exterior fabric is from Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern Maze line, and a coordinating solid for the interior.  I thought the interior was a bit too “solid” so I trimmed it with the beautiful exterior fabric to give it some depth.  All parts and pieces are lined to give additional weight and stability for the new mom to pack in her necessities.  I truly love this “sling” design, it’s just sew sweet:

IMG_0348

IMG_0351

5.15.2011

A Shout Out to Shiner

Now I am not steering this blog into a beer critic site, but while the temperatures rise, and the outdoor projects are in full swing, I thought that I would tip my gardening hat to the frosty drink that I turn to, to top off my summer days…..Shiner Bock.  Since moving out of Texas, and up to Colorado, beer has stiff competition against the local microbrews.  I actually did not care for the stuff until moving to the mountains, but with beers that taste like coffee, malty caramels and even hot chili….I just had to jump on the bandwagon.  I am quite a supporter of Colorado beers now, but all the while I still hold that little Texas town high on my list as well for a basic good beer, Shiner.shiner city limit

I have family just 20 miles from the little town, in fact my rehearsal dinner was just down the street from the brewery (in true Texas style).  The area is a diverse make up of German and Czech immigrants, which can be seen throughout the stern work ethic of the town inhabitants, German fare at local markets, and old tongue which can still be heard to this day if you listen closely.   The Germans in this area stem back to the ‘Verein’ campaign in the early 1840’s, and were promised beautiful Texas soil in efforts to colonize in America.  What they did not plan on at the time, where the battles between the United States and Mexico, in which left many of the immigrants stranded and the Verein perished.  Many settled in the areas of Texas referred to as the “German Belt” which includes (to name a few); Fredericksburg, Pflugerville, New Braunfels, Schulenburg, Weimar, and the little town of Shiner.  Fast forward a few decades to 1909 when the Shiner Brewing Association was started and later hired their brew master, Kosmos Spoetzl, who brought the ‘Old World Bavarian’ beer to the great state. 

spoetzle breweryEntertaining stories of Kosmos are told within Shine On: 100 Years of Shiner Beer from leaving beers on the fence posts for local farmers in the heat of the day, to keeping his beloved Belgium recipe in the brim of his hat.  The brewery has branched out to light, wheat and even dark brews but I still have to claim that the bock is a constant favorite amongst our house hold.  

shiner My husband and I discovered in the April issue of Texas Monthly there is a mouth-watering recipe of chicken fried steak using Shiner.  This is a must try, and of course, don’t count the calories on this one:

Chicken Fried Steak – by Grady Spears

  • 1-1/2 cups flourcover
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp. paprika (or to preference –ek)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup Shiner bock
  • Peanut oil (enough to cover meat halfway)
  • 4 tenderized round steaks (about ½ lb. each)
  • 2 cups cracked-pepper gravy

Mix first 4 ingredients and set aside on a plate or wax paper. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then add buttermilk and beer and whisk to blend. Set aside. In a deep, heavy skillet, heat oil to 350 degrees. While oil is heating, prepare the steaks by dredging them in flour mixture, coating evenly. Shake off any excess. Dip in egg batter, and then again in flour, evenly coating the batter so it is dry on the outside. When oil temperature reaches 350 gently slide one steak into the oil. Cook about 3 minutes, then turn it, taking care not to break the crust, and cook 3 more minutes, or until nicely browned. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the other steaks. Hold cooked steaks in a 225 degree oven until all are done. Serve with Cracked-Pepper Gravy.

allbeer

As they say in Shiner, TX “Prost!”

5.13.2011

A Few Hand May-de Creations

I have been trying to find the perfect pattern for a particular fabric that I have that justifies being shown off.  Finally I was able to craft a purse…..actually for myself (eeek….finally something for me!) to sport this summer.  Of course to match with 90% of my black & gray wardrobe it suites me just fine with the colorway (black and cream).  I am very excited to try it out and see if the interior pockets need adjusting.  I used plastic, black rings for flexibility on the straps and I just love using canvas materials so I can skip the steps of lining it.

IMG_0246

Order up!  I have summer orders in for some KitchStitch Travel Totes, here’s a couple of sneak peaks of the bags prior to shipping out:

IMG_0227

For Mother’s Day I stayed with the same theme of this cheery fabric and whipped out a couple of craft aprons for my lovely mother and mother-in-law.  Great for cooking, gardening, crafting and also, as my mom is already using it, in the classroom.  I’ve decided to label them as ‘Kit-Roos’, derived from the Kangaroo and their handy pouches.

IMAG0097

5.03.2011

Modern Couture for the….Gadgets!

I was so fortunate to receive a snazzy Apple iPad for Christmas, and I’m afraid to say I’ve been toting it around in my hideous black laptop case.  After perusing many sites for the perfect style, I decided to just start piecing together my favorite fabrics….from IKEA of course.  I made the interior with coordinating fleece, and attached an elastic hair band for the closer.  My next step is to sew the buttons on the front and these little sleeves will be complete.  I went ahead and made a few for the kindle/nook as well, same design but smaller scale, as these little guys need covering up as well.  Here are the progress shots:

IMAG0106

IMAG0105

Since mother’s day is around the corner, I thought I would dedicate this recipe to my wonderful Mom.  Even though I still cannot make this bread as delicious as she can, I thought I would pass along one of my favorite sweet recipes to you folks: Monkey Bread.  She never made it for a special occasion or holiday, this was one of those treats that she would make on a summer afternoon “just because”.  I came across this recipe when looking for something new to try with the bread maker and it’s instantly made the recipe box.  Of course you can make the dough by hand or substitute for ready-made buttermilk biscuit dough from the can (but that takes out all the fun).

Monkey Bread (courtesy of http://www.bread-machine-recipes.com)

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine -- softened
1 cup water
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins and/or 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Place yeast, flour, ground cinnamon, salt, white sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and water into the bread pan in the order that is recommended for
the bread maker. Make sure that no liquid comes in contact with the yeast. Select dough cycle and press start.  When dough is complete, place dough on floured surface and knead 10 to 12 times. 

In a medium saucepan on low heat, melt one cup of butter, stir in brown sugar and raisins (1/4 cup of chopped nuts is good too). Stir until smooth. Remove from heat.  Cut dough into 1-inch chunks. Drop one chunk at a time into the butter sugar mixture. Thoroughly coat dough pieces, then layer them loosely in a greased Bundt or tube pan, staggering layers so you're plopping each dough chunk over a space between two below. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until dough is just over the top of the pan, 15 to 20 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, place a plate face down in top of the pan and, using oven mitts to hold plate on pan, turn over both until bread slides out onto plate. Serve warm.

This recipe yields 1 loaf.

4.25.2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I am trying to resist the urge to give free reign to my green thumb during this time of year as Colorado’s weather is still in a fickle state.  However, I decided to go ahead and get my seedlings, and ….well okay I went ahead and purchased our tomato plants as well, which will reside in the studio (aka our sunroom) until Mother’s Day. 

Our crops this year will be comprised of:

  • Tomatoes: Lemon Boy, Sweet 100, Mr. Stripey & Big Beef
  • Squash: Yellow Crookneck & Zucchini
  • Pumpkins
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions: Utah & Green
  • Fruit: Cherries & Strawberries
  • Herbs: Cilantro, Parsley and Sweet Basil

Our dwarf cherry tree, otherwise called “Little Cherry Seinfeld”, is in full bloom as well as the strawberry patch beneath it.  I am planning on retrofitting our 3’x14’ raised bed to 1.) support climbing cucumber & cherry tomato plants adjacent and 2.) protect the veggies and soil from our largest rodent….the dog.  Here’s a start to “the plan” and if there’s room I will invest in more ladder cages (1 shown below) for the other tomato plants in front of the vines:

planter bed

The tomato plants & sweet basil have to sit tight, just 2 more weeks until they can stretch out in the bed:

plants 

Lastly, the babies (squash, onions & cucumber):

seedlings

Here are 2 of my favorite garden recipes should you near the end of the harvesting season and get a little tired of eating the vegetables straight from the garden.

Fresh Picante Sauce (aka Salsa to anywhere other than the South):

  • 2-4 Jalapeno peppers, seeded
  • 1 onion, peeled, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • salt to taste

Process in food processor.  Seal in clean jars & keep in refrigerator.  Author: Berneice Jennings (my grandmother).

Squash Muffins

  • 1 lb. yellow squash (4-5 medium)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter (yes…..1 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

Cut squash into 1” slices.  Cook in boiling water 10-12 minutes, drain well and mash.  Measure enough for 2 cups.  Combine squash, eggs & butter, stir well and set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Add squash mixture to dry ingredients & stir.  Spoon into greased muffin pans filling 3/4 full.  Bake @ 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Author: Emily Conley

4.13.2011

Apron for the Crafty Kind

What do you get for the busy bee girlfriend that buzzes around the house doing EVERYTHING…..a craft apron of course.  These are pretty simple in nature, no fussy hardware, and have medium sized pockets to carry seeds, scissors, tape, bandaids, twisty ties, or really anything that the do-it-yourselfer needs around the house.  Here are my first two prototypes (I promise I’ll branch out from the Amy Butler, I just love it so darn much), they will hit the Etsy shop this week.

IMG_0180

IMG_0181

IMG_0177

4.06.2011

April Showers, Bring May Flowers

Not only did the Farmer’s Almanac get this statement right for April, but this statement also parallels my own journey as I’ve made some pretty significant changes in career paths in preparation for great things to come.  I’ve decided to take a step back from my career in Interior Design and focus on my personal venture….oh, what’s my new name, Creator!  This is a new beginning for me and I’m incredibly excited to move forward in this direction on the right path.  I, of course, have an incredible support system and cannot thank those enough that have been there for me to see me through.  That being said, I have a lot of items in production in the moment just waiting for their d├ębut.  I have been revamping the blog, studio and focus of KitchStitch, with the help of my wonderful Marketing Director (my husband).

IMG_3052

So stay tuned for great things to come, back to the studio I go…….

3.26.2011

The Vegetable Stand

It’s that time of year again….spring! I have several herbs started by the kitchen sink, however I know (Coloradoan) mother nature better than to transfer anything outside until late May. Nevertheless I can start planning out my garden and get the seedlings going. Here are some exiting new veggie appropriate items in the world of Etsy:

‘The Stand’ by Mischievous Marriage lets you create an edible sculpture garden from your harvest:

tomato stands

As stylish planter necklace Made by Colleen to wear to the farmer’s market:

necklas planter

I am always on the search for markers for my veggies, these copper plates could be used year to year for your staple vegetables by Dillybags:

copper markers

2.21.2011

Spring Wallflowers & Butterflies

IMG_0081

A new mommy-to-be contacted me from Australia and requested a diaper bag in one of my favorite Amy Butler fabrics, Wallflower. The contrasting colors are so striking and unique, it can make the most simple creations a masterpiece. Here are more shots of the bag coming together, including an easy to reach cell phone pouch:

IMG_0087

IMG_0092

IMG_0093

Since the temperatures rose this weekend (upper 60s) I came down with a mad case of spring fever. I couldn’t resist buying seeds for herbs to start at my sink window. This led to perusing the etsy shops for spring items and i came across this seller that creates beautiful wall-art butterflies. I guess I am a sucker for butterflies (a trait passed down from my mother, I’ve noticed) …..check these out by Simply Chic Lily:

Butterflies

15 Assorted Multi-color Butterflies, Spring, Yellow, Green, Purple, Butterfly, Paper, Wall Decor, Hanging, Decal, 3D, Stickers, Nursery, Baby, Wedding Decor, Baby Shower, Girls Room, Cardstock, Eco-friendly Handmade by Simplychiclily Etsy

15 Assorted Multi-color Butterflies, Blue, Butterfly, Paper, Wall Decor, Hanging, Decal, 3D, Stickers, Nursery, Baby, Wedding Decor, Baby Shower, Girls Room, Cardstock, Eco-friendly Handmade by Simplychiclily Etsy

2.12.2011

Hugs & Kisses

Ahhh the holiday is just around the corner that is dreaded by the majority of male-folk and the basis of survival for most florists…..Valentine’s.  I was never one to get too involved or set certain expectations for V-day.  Maybe that stems back to grade school when the girls spent hours on their Valentine cards (or at least I did) pairing the perfect “quote” to the perfect person, then at the end of the day when I opened my box….I was always disappointed in the selection that was returned.  However, should this holiday make us stop and realize the loves that we have in our lives, shown in the most simplistic form, then it has served it’s purpose.  But should you still need inspiration, I found some great treats on etsy to make the perfect handmade package, enjoy:

Starting off with origami flowers by PoshMishMosh

flowers

Don’t forget the jewelry, typewriter key earrings by Haute Keys and handmade clay rose ring by Made With Clay & Love.

earrings rose ring 

To top things off, these truffles are to DIE for and hard to resist, made by a little bakery in Milwaukee, L’Oven Bakery.

truffles