Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jennifer's Potato Sauerkraut Soup

It's gotten cold and rainy here in East Lansing. The leaves are starting to turn color and fall to the sidewalks. We have our Fall/Halloween Decorations up all over the house and I want to eat soups and keep the kitchen warm with baking. (Canning tomatoes doesn't count).

I've got a list of things to do today and I decided to get the crock pot out to stew all day today. I was given this great recipe by Jennifer Kottke whom I used to work with at Chico's in Madison. I'm not into mushrooms much so I swap out the cream of mushroom soup with another "cream of" and skip the fresh mushrooms, but for the sake of keeping the recipe in tack I'm putting it in for anyone who'd be interested.
Potato Sauerkraut Soup:
4 cups of Chicken Broth
1 can of Mushroom Soup (10 3/4 oz.)
1 can of Sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (16 oz.)
8 oz. Fresh Mushrooms sliced
1 medium Potato, cubed
2 medium Carrots, chopped
1 medium Onion chopped
2 stalks of Celery chopped
3/4 lb of Smoked Sausage cubed
1/2 cup of Cooked Chicken Chopped
2 tablespoons of Vinegar
2 teaspoons of Dill
Throw it all together in the crock pot for 10-12 hours on Low.
I was very wary of making a soup with sauerkraut in it for a while, but this soup is AMAZING.
Now I can get back to my list for today! I am drawing up a pattern for a sweet Fall Leaves Bangle, it's going to be really wide! I'm excited about this next one!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Plaids Incoming!

I've been keeping my eyes peeled for new prints, designs and colors that are coming out for this Fall and Winter as I make new bangles.

Luckilly there's ton of purples, berries, and jewel tons coming out, which is what I love!

My most recent new plaid is a two-tone similar to this cute top from PacSun.

I'm thinking my next plaid I will be pulling some inspiration from this Anthropologie top with edges in black, silver and grey.

In the meantime, enjoy!

(Berry Plaid Bangle is available for sale at Etsy.com)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Granger Meadows Park: Rollerblading!

Have you been to Granger Meadows Park???

A favorite past-time of mine has been rollerblading. It started off with dry-land training for ski team in the summers. There was a group that would get together in the parking lot of Pine Knob, set up cones with "gates" (poles you ski around) and go downhill on cement through various course settings.

This was great except I never learned how to stop or use my brake. I fell in love with rollerblading and specifically going to Indian Springs Metro Park to run the loop. 12 miles was nothing when I was out on the smooth trail through the woods with Jessica Vance or with my Walkman blaring the Matrix soundtrack (which is FUN to roller blade to). I never really had to stop on these trails either.

Then I went to college and had to learn to stop! My first two years I lived in the dorm I didn't have a car so I got around on my roller blades in the fall and spring EVERYWHERE...this continued on through the last two years when I lived in an apartment on North Campus too. Ann Arbor was a fun place to roller blade, but as anyone knows, sidewalks aren't the best. I took some really good falls, one in which I busted my face open and had to have nine stitches by a wonderful plastic surgeon. Note: don't roller blade on sidewalks at break-neck speeds.

One of the BEST places to roller blade is definitely the Bike Path in Boulder, Colorado. It runs along the river and you can get anywhere noteworthy in Boulder from this path. You don't have to stop for crosswalks because it goes under the roads and I loved it. I paranoid some of my co-workers at Chico's out there when I would roll into or out of work...I never biffed it on those wood floors though!

I eventually moved back to Michigan and thought that East Lansing would be a good place to get around on my blades. Unfortunately I found that traffic doesn't stop behind the sidewalk line or driveways which is dangerous (maybe I'm getting old). So I picked up biking and commuting that way. But I missed rollerblading!

I had heard that Granger Meadows Park had some paved trails but I had a hard time getting information about it. Today I packed my blades, google-mapped about where it's supposed to be and headed out with determination since it's probably been 2-3 years since I put my blades on.

What a great spot! It's quaint, quiet and had a few walkers there. It has a loop that goes past the Koi Pond, picnic area and playground, and you can go through a woodsy area that connects the loop to the inline skate arena. It was dry in the open area but I wouldn't suggest going right after a rain. But its supposed to rain tomorrow hence my determination.

The best info I found about Granger Meadows Park is http://www.dewitttownship.org/web/pr_cp.htm. There's a clearly marked entrance on Wood Street over in Dewitt.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grove Gallery Co-op Makeover & Update

Grove Gallery Co-op is starting off the new fall season with a face-lift! It was a fairly quiet summer in the studios and some of the artists got sick of looking at all the white walls. We have a fresh scene of greens and purples popping through the Gallery this year, and a more inviting back hallway.

The our visiting artist for the month of September, Jesse Hornberger is an amazing welder and has transformed the look of the main gallery and featured artist gallery as well. His tables with concrete or stone tops are a sight to see!

All of our artists are bringing in new work and are gearing up for the November holiday storms!

Come on by and be some of the first to check out the new look!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Labors: Russian Bead Stitching

I was first exposed to the look of Russian Beadwork with the Russian Leaf. There was a bead artist in the Boulder Weaver's Guild with me who had made these as earrings. That was back in 2004. I hadn't thought of the Russian Leaf stitch again until I began working on my piece "Clambering." Above is a detail of one of the Russian Leaves I made, and below is an image of the full piece. I found this bead stitch very hard to find on the Internet. There is a version that calls itself a Russian Leaf but is peyote stitch based instead of this Russian stitch. I did finally find a tutorial which is unprintable, but after a few times of doing this stitch, you really get the hang of it and can make it your own. There are no words, only pictures and you can find it HERE. "Clambering" currently hangs on our dinning room, which looks great with the maroon wallpaper behind it. This piece is still a bit of a work in progress. I would like to put quite a few more leaves into it.
The newest Russian Stitch:

In my search to find the Russian Leaf Stitch I came upon this Russian St. Petersburg chain from BeadandButton.com. I had completely forgotten about it until we were cleaning bits of everything in our basement yesterday. I had thought this looked like a cool pattern, printed it, then promptly forgotten about it. This popped up at the right moment as I had been pondering what kind of necklace to make for my Renaissance Festival costume this weekend. This is my first one, thinking that black goes with everything and I could only find black goldstone beads in abundance that were the correct size for the center bead. It V's in the center and has a wonderful lay around the base of your neck. The stone beads down the center give it a nice weight too. This pattern also gives the lariat option. I have never been successful at lariats, but I am going to try one to go with my costume, and fringe it with the Russian Leaves for the bottom weights.
I hope to post a successful outcome sooner than later!!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Begining of "Birdhouse in Your Soul" necklace.

I have been listening to the "Flood" album from They Might Be Giants a lot during the painting of our living room. Since I have been wanting to do a bit more sculptural work, I figured I would start small. This is going to be called "Birdhouse in Your Soul." The little green birdhouse is going to be a drop off the bottom of a chain necklace. Hopefully I'll be able to show this at the Old Town Bluesfest in two weekends. I'm going to head off to the bead place in Grand Ledge to check it out and find something that will work with it.

Neon with Muted Greens and Tan Jewelry Multi Loop Checker Earrings and Bangle

Between perusing Pinterest for current color ideas and watching the movie  Poor Things  I had the urge to play more with the neon green-yell...