Jul 282014
 

Before the unveiling of my knitted interactive tree project, which is still in progress (yikes, the deadline looms), I’d like to share a peek at my process notes. I’m fascinated by the process that goes into people’s creative projects, and reading Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work! reinforced the importance of sharing that process for me. Kleon also curates Think Process, Not Product: A Scrapbook of Creativity Behind-the-Scenes, a collection of images where folks share their own creative processes.

Here are the index card notes that travel in my knitting bag. The text is perhaps too cryptic even for knitters. But look: purple ink, sketches, and a pretty background!

tree-process1

Initially I was planning on five spheres for the treetop leaves. As I was knitting, I realized three spheres seem more reasonable for the interactive element. At least, that’s the direction I’m pursuing right now.

tree-process2

Unveiling what I mean by “interactive”…the tree will turn inside out into an acorn! I love toys with interactive elements that invite you to play. My friend Anna’s Mochomochi Land designs have been really inspiring for me in this regard, like Which Came First and the Sleepy Snake & Mischievous Mouse. And then there was that time I knit a snake big enough to eat a baby.

tree-process3

I started working on the acorn portion of the tree on Friday, and I was having trouble visualizing the inside-out connection of the two pieces. Drawing this rough sketch helped:

tree-process4

More to come on this project soon – crossing my fingers I can finish without losing too much sleep. The knitted piece debuts on Thursday, July 31! If you’re in the NYC area, come check it out as part of the group exhibit/performance/party PHOTOSYNTHESIZE: Creative Communion With Our Greener Teachers.

Jul 202014
 

This past week I switched gears in my knitting projects. For a little while I was swatching peacock-inspired lace patterns for a summery cardigan. Now that project is on hold while I work up a piece for a PLANTS art show my friend is curating.

Here’s a little sneak preview of what will grow up to become an interactive tree toy, if all goes well:

tree-sneak

I’m excited to design and make a project to contribute to an art exhibit. The short time frame is appealing: both motivating and a little terrifying, as I’ve gotta finish by the end of the month (yikes). I plan to write up and publish the pattern after the show.

Switching gears to kitchen craftings, wanna see some tasty pie?

cherry-cheesecake

Oh cherry cheesecake, your layers are beautiful and delicious.

My partner’s birthday was last week, and in continuing the tradition of making raw desserts for each other on special occasions, I prepared a raw cherry cheesecake. I mostly followed this recipe, while drawing some inspiration from this lemon cherry cheesecake as well.

Modifications from the first recipe: in the cherry pie layer, I used less coconut oil, added lemon juice, and substituted psyllium seed husk powder for xanthan gum since that’s what I had in the pantry.

As with most raw desserts, I store this cake in the freezer. Thaw for 15 minutes, add some sliced cherries, and devour.

cherry-cheesecake-slice

In addition to enjoying the occasional raw dessert, we drink a lot of tea in this household. I stopped by the tea shop near my work, Harney & Sons SoHo, for some oolong to add to Charles’ birthday gift. The only label indicating the type of tea was on an ugly bar code, which I simply can’t abide. So I labelled the bag using a little hand-lettering technique I’ve been practicing.

hand-lettered-tea

Basically you make the downward stroke of each letter thicker. I’m still a total newbie at this, practicing by making names pretty on the envelopes I address at work. Skillshare has several hand-lettering classes I’d like to check out.

hand-lettered-tea-closeup

For the tea drinkers out there, this Dong Ding Oolong is delicious, and re-steeps well – I’m sipping on a third steeping right now and it still has a nice flavor.

One day when Charles went to make some of the tea, he looked at the bag and asked, “Is this someone’s handwriting?” When I smiled excitedly and said yes, he studied it again and said, “Wait, is it your handwriting? It looks really cool!” Oh sweet bonus reward of crafting praise, I never tire of you.

Jul 132014
 
Hello delicious plate of picnic goodness! Tahini Seaweed Salad in the upper right corner

Hello delicious plate of picnic goodness! Tahini Seaweed Salad in the upper right corner

Having the Brooklyn Botanic Garden practically in our backyard is pretty amazing. I like to pop in for an hour on weekends with my knitting or a book and lounge in the grass under the cherry trees. And sometimes there are special events and the garden is open into the evening – and they actually allow you to bring food and picnic blankets! We invited some friends for a picturesque garden picnic and shared so much delicious food until the sun went down. The evening magic continued with a field of twinkling fireflies bidding us farewell.

I made Tahini Seaweed Salad for the occasion. This is definitely my favorite salad dressing of late, and I think it would work well in non-seaweed applications, too. Oo, like as a dipping sauce for summer rolls.

Tahini Seaweed Salad, adapted from Fresh: The Ultimate Live-Food Cookbook

Dressing
1 TB tahini
1 tsp lemon juice
1 TB total combination of coconut aminos and Bragg’s (Nama Shoyu or soy sauce would also work)
1 TB olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/8 tsp salt

Optional (use ’em if you got ’em)
a squeeze of sriracha
dash of garlic powder
splash of sesame oil

Blend ingredients in the blender to a creamy consistency, adding a splash or two of water if needed. Serves 2.

Salad
For the salad, mix up any veggies you like. I consider the following three essential:

seaweed (I use a handful of wakame, soaked a few minutes and strained)
tomatos
avocado

Beyond these, add whatever veggies and nuts you have on-hand. Typically I include kale, carrots, cucumber, and bell pepper, chopped finely, along with a handful of raw cashew pieces. If you feel like getting fancy, massage the kale with the dressing first before adding the rest of the veggies into the salad bowl.

Let me know if you give the salad a try! What’s your favorite homemade salad dressing?

Jul 032014
 

These last several weeks I’ve been working on a couple papercut projects here and there, which I find makes for relaxing, brief crafty sessions in the evenings. Sessions where I lose myself in the project with intense focus, but not for too long or my fingers turn into clawhand (still haven’t perfected a looser knife grip, clearly). Cutting away each little section of paper is extremely satisfying, and I love seeing elements of the design slowly emerge. This tree was my practice sheet from the papercut class at Brooklyn Craft Company (previously), taught by Bmorepapercuts.

papercut-tree

And here’s a sneak peak at the other papercut project. Bunnies!

papercut-gift-preview

I want to check out the Brooklyn Flea market in Fort Greene to pick up some frames, both for these papercuts and for an old embroidery project that needs a home.

In other papercraft project news, I thought I did pretty well this year getting my father’s day gifts ready on time. Bakery treats purchased, gift card ready to go… Oh wait, it’s 9pm the night before I need to mail the package to get it to North Carolina by the weekend and I *totally forgot* about the card! And as I’ve mentioned, I have, shall we say, a hard time going with a storebought card instead. Enter my nighttime crafting station:

fathers-day-card

I aimed for speed here rather than fretting over an interesting design. I did fret long enough to discover I didn’t like the contrast of either apple green or sage on the purple chevron, and went with a deep inky hue instead. The Hebrew letter stamps spell out (wait for it) father.

fathers-day-card2

I’m hoping to fit in lots of crafty time this long weekend, plus a long bike ride or two for my outdoor adventuring fix. Happy July!