Su-su-su-zani!

Today I’m going to acquaint you with my latest love, the Uzbek Suzani.  These are traditional embroidered textiles from Uzbekistan, which are used functionally in the home as well as for special celebrations.  The stylized designs often refer to literal objects, such as legumes, vines, and tea pots.

I love them for their vibrancy, forms and graphic nature.  If you like them, you’ve GOT to check out Tribal Chase.  As a matter of fact, if you like textiles at all you should check them out.

Uzbek Suzani Patterns

(sourcing: calico corners, tribal chaseuzbek textile)

Because I’ve not been able to stop thinking about these lovely fabrics, I felt I had to try to sketch and paint some approximations.  I did these babies last week.  They were really fun.  It was nice to get lost in paint for a while…

sketches

Bluzani

Bluzani ii

Bluzani (detail)

Bluzani ii (side)

The design possibilities for suzani inspired art are just about endless.  Really a fun project, and if you can draw a circle (or even if you can’t – mine are wobbly!)  then you can work out a pattern.

I may have exorcised my Suzani obsession for the time being… but I’m thinking that Kilims would be great inspirations for a new project…

The Project Moratorium

At some point in our older home’s history, an extra room was added on to the first floor.  Since we’ve lived here it has alternately been “the studio”, “the office”, “the shove everything in there” room, and again “the office”.

home office ideas

In it’s latest transformation back to the land of the functional, I uncovered something of interest.  A shelf jammed with this and that: wool slippers, cork kilim coasters, DIY nursery decor, an old clock in need of refinishing.  What do all these have in common, you ask?   They all have found a home on the shelf where projects go to die.  Each just shy of completion: almost done but for one supply that I’ve run out of, or one tricky hurdle I don’t want to jump, or one disappointing outcome that I hadn’t expected.

unfinished projects

As I reordered and organized my space, (now the “studio-office hybrid”) I had an epiphany.  I created a small niche on half of one shelf, and piled up a few of these unfinished projects.  These projects would be completed.  They have to be completed before I am allowed to start any new projects. (And oh, how I do want to start some new projects!)

So this means that when I stop by JoAnn’s to pick up silver foil for the clock, I won’t stop by the clearance shelves for some perfect project-y deals.  And when I drop off our clutter at the thrift store, I won’t also buy that amazing, unique mid-century side table at 30% off.

Wait, as I’m writing this, I realize that may have been a mistake.  The table thing…. It was really cool, and only $7!  Should I go back…?

Anyhow, as we’ve discussed before, I am a starter.  Not so much a finisher.  I’m hoping that by bribing myself with more, better, amazing projects to come, that I’ll finish up what I’ve begun.  When the shelf is empty, I’ll add a few more from the pile, and get to work on those too.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

A non-sequitur to end with…  I started and finished this cake yesterday.  And by “finished it” I do not mean that I ate it all in one day!  It was good, but not great, and makes me want to perfect my “from scratch” techniques.

home made yellow cakeI’ll let you know how that goes, too!  I have a 1 year old birthday and a 42 year old birthday to bake for soon…

Hope you all have great days!  See you soon. :)

Martin Luther King Jr. Street Art

Dream, Speak, Walk, Live, Sacrifice, Hope.

Street art is by the people and for the people, and seems a most connected way to honor Dr. King’s legacy and remind us of his message.  Enjoy as we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday today! (Also, don’t miss the video at the end for a very hopeful rendering of some of his I Have a Dream speech).

Martin Luther King Jr. street art

Winterswijk, Netherlands

Martin Luther King street art

Los Angeles

Martin Luther King Junior street art

Cambridge, MA

Martin Luther King Jr art

Germany

MLK street art

Los Angeles

martin luther king street art

Chico, California

Martin Luther King street art

Lagos, Portugal

Martin Luther King art

Washington D.C.

martin luther king street art

Kansas City, MO

Martin Luther King grafitti

Sydney, Australia

 

Salty Chocolate Nutella Drops

Christmas cookie recipe Hungry Readers,

As promised, here is an unbelievably-deliciously-yumtastically-amazing (and easy) cookie recipe.  The recipe comes from Jenna Huntsberger and Stephanie Willis of Whisked!, and was found in the Washington Post and tweaked (just a little) by me.

chocolate christmas cookiesI’ll present you with my slightly altered version – the original is found in the Washington Post link above.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup and 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt (or 1 tsp. table salt if you don’t have kosher and you must make the cookies now.)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature (I soften for 10 seconds in microwave to get a soft but not melty consistency)
  • 1 and 1/3 c. sugar, plus 1 cup for later
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 TBSP cream
  • 2 TBSP chocolate liqueur
  • 1 cup Nutella (sound of angels singing)
Chocolate nutella cookieDIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  3. Whisk flour, cocoa and salt in a small bowl
  4. Beat butter and sugar with a stand mixer until fluffy.
  5. Add egg yolks, chocolate liqueur and cream
  6. Add flour mixture bit by bit until incorporated.  (Don’t mix too much, or your cookies won’t be tender).
  7. Put the remainder of your sugar into a deep pie plate.
  8. Roll large tablespoon size balls in your hands, and fill the pie pan.
  9. Roll the balls in sugar and place on the cookie sheet. (I was able to put 15 on at a time – they don’t spread very much at all).
  10. Make a thumbprint indentation on top of each cookie.
  11. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes.
  12. When the cookies are cooled, pipe or scoop Nutella into the thumbprint.
- Makes 3 dozen cookies
Nutella cookie

Saving a Bit of Summer

 

It is already getting cold and wintery here in Ohio, so this weekend I decided to bring in a bit of the outdoors in the form of a terrarium. If I’m able, I’ll hold onto a bit of green all winter long.

how to make a terrarium

At the side of the house, our very shady damp yard is turning into a moss garden. I love moss, and am happy to have it as the sole inhabitant in my little glass bowls of green.  I scooped up two small patches for the project.  A little acorn came too.

easy home decorLucky me, I caught the half off sale at Goodwill this weekend and came home with two glass bowls for one dollar.  (If you know me, you know that I can’t drive past a thrift store or tag sale without stopping to look. :) )

ideas for thrifty home decorMy kids helped scoop a bit of leftover potting soil into the bottom of each bowl.  Then they collected little rocks and dropped them in so the moss would feel more at home.

natural home decoratingNow, even when we’re snow covered for months, I’ll a have little bright spot in my office, reminding me of the warmth and green to come.

how to make a moss terrariumI may add a few baby ferns to the bowls in the spring, but until then I’ll just spritz the moss to keep it moist, and watch it do it’s moss thing.

Red Rake

 

Last week it snowed.  We realized that we’d waited too long to rake, so this sunny weekend was it.  I counted the trees in our yard – not including saplings, rhododendrons and azaleas, there are over 100!  That’s  a lot of leaves.  The Japanese maple leaves are almost all fallen, and they created a glowing red carpet on the ground.  I had to take a raking break to grab my camera!  (My husband told me to get back on task).

Our entire family worked in the yard – even baby was out there for a little while on his blanket.  At first, I was secretly hoping that a neighbor would see us, happily working together and being all Norman Rockwell-ish.  Then the fights started breaking out.  We have opinionated rakers, apparently.  I secretly hoped my neighbors had gone inside.

We finished the back yard, and all in all it was great day.  There is something just plain good about being outside, working, being with family (fighting is not so good) and getting something accomplished that we all feel proud of.  I think we’ll do a family project next weekend too… our basement has become the last frontier.  Please don’t expect any cute pictures next Monday though! The basement is not cute.

What did you do this weekend?  Any projects?  Any family time?  Other good things?  

A Mess is Made and I Clean it Up

So I’ve confessed to being the girl with 101 great creative ideas…  Does it follow that one of those ideas is not to clean my house?  Today, however, is the day.  THE day.  The DAY. This blog is about making.  Well, a mess has been made.  Today I aim to make things pretty again.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

artists art crafts

All Crafts, All the Time

Transformers are taking over my house. Really - they are.

messy artist cleans house

Some of my co-conspirators in mess making...

artist cleaning house

Laundry for 7. Need I say more?

Wish me luck, folks…

Tomorrow, tune in for the conclusion of the Too Many Great Ideas series!