Thursday, March 20, 2014

Egg in Vinaigrette Toast

It's not very often that I see a recipe on the internet and immediately get up and make it for lunch.  That happened to me the other day when I saw this recipe for Egg in Vinaigrette Toast on my Facebook feed from the food blog Food52.  It's a dressed up version of a toad in the hole, with the addition of vinaigrette, which gets made richer with the runny egg yolk, and some healthy greens.
It was delicious, and super easy, which is the name of the game around here these days with the little baby causing all kinds of disruptions during meal times.  I overcooked my egg a little bit, since I got all excited about taking pictures for you people, but tonight I'm going to make it again for dinner and really get it right.  And tonight I'll also do a more substantial salad underneath with spinach as well as arugula.  I have a feeling this dish is going to be in regular rotation in our kitchen from here on out.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Welcome Ellery!

Our new little boy Ellery Standish H. was born on Saturday February 15th at 6:25 in the morning, weighing in at 8lbs 4ozs, 21 inches long, and the picture of health.  He is now 9 days old and has so far been doing lots of great eating and sleeping, minimal yowling, and we couldn't be happier with him.
  Here he is settling in at home on his first night, cozied up to the heat of the wood stove.
And here he is this morning, snoozing in the sun, which of course woke him up right after this picture so he ended up here:
He is very soft and snuggly, and still has that new baby smell.

Emmett is adjusting very well, and handling all of the new developments very cautiously, in true Emmett style.  So far I think he's touched the baby twice, but at least now he will be quite near him, and likes to check on him all the time and make sure he has what he needs.  He is being very helpful fetching and carrying things for his Mom who is often trapped under a nursing baby, and has also been so nice as to read books to us while Ellery is nursing.  He has also fully committed himself to the world of Legos in the last couple of weeks, and so has been spending every possible waking hour obsessively building Lego machines.
So far the transition to life as a family of four has been very smooth, and somehow it feels more balanced to me to have two kids and two parents.  I'm still working on why that is, but I think it has something to do with making space for each other, and understanding that no one person can have all of the attention all of the time.  Of course it has only been nine days. . . and we have had my mom here the whole time to help ease the transition.  So I'll have to get back to you on this idea a later on down the road.  But for now we are hunkering down for the end of winter and looking forward to some sunny spring days soon!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Paper Mosaic Collage: A Kid Friendly Art Project

I've had this idea stewing around in my head for some time now, and I finally got a chance to try it out.  Emmett can sometimes be hard to rope into craft projects because he gets frustrated easily if things are too hard or finicky.  But this project includes some super kid friendly tasks, even preschool friendly, like paper snipping and glue sticking.  It also includes some things that an adult or older child will need to do too, so it is a great group project.  

Here is what you will need: 
1) Some large thin white paper, like children's easel paper, or butcher paper
2) Various papers to make up the body of your collage, such as wrapping paper, decorative paper, scrapbooking paper, or whatever you choose.
3) Something to mount your collage on, such as this wooden art board, poster board, foam board, or whatever you have access too. (click on the link above to see where mine came from)
4) Something to use as your background, if you want one.  I used book pages, but you could paint the background, or use whatever appeals to you.
4) A pencil
5) Gluesticks
6) Kids scissors
7) Good grown up scissors, or an exacto knife and cutting mat.
The first step is to get the kid or kids snipping paper into small pieces into a bowl.  I found that Emmett had an easier time with this if I first cut the papers into long strips for him, and then he could easily snip them into something like squares.  There is no need for them to be a uniform size or shape.
And while he was busy snipping I pulled up some images of whales on Google images to use as a basis for our whale shape.  In hindsight it would have been a better idea to do this in advance.  Especially if you will be working with more than one kid.  Emmett and I together decided that the image below both appealed to him and fit well on the mounting board we had on hand.
So I sketched out the outline of this humpback whale on a piece of paper I snagged from Emmett's easel.  The paper (and the outline drawing) must be the size of the design you will want to end up with on your final collage.  You want the drawing to be as detailed as you can, although the outline is all you need, so you don't end up with an unrecognizable blob, so pay attention to the silhouette and make sure it is clearly the animal you are trying to make. 
Then you want to flip the paper over and make a more vague outline that surrounds your whole design.  This is the side you will glue the paper scraps too, and you want to make sure that they will cover every inch of the design on the other side.  This sounds really confusing, and is a little hard to describe, but it is very easy to do.  The next photo will hopefully give you a better idea what I am saying.
See how the outer line is less detailed but contains the whole more detailed silhouette within its borders?  That's what you want.  Now you are ready to start gluing, and hopefully the kiddos have lots of snipped paper scraps in their bowl. 
Make sure you have the larger, more amorphous side up, and let your little gluers get to work.  They can work as methodically or as willy nilly as they want, it will look cool either way.  I have some of the purple glue sticks which are great for kids because they can see where they have put the glue, and yet it still dries clear.
And just keep adding and adding paper scraps until you cover up all of the white paper up to the edges of your pencil border.  It's ok if there are overlapping papers, in fact, there will need to be, so don't worry too much about lining anything up.  Emmett got a little bored before all of the last little bits of white were covered, so I finished it up for him by filling in all of the tiny remaining gaps and then adding more glue to any of the scraps that weren't securely glued.
 When this stage is all done it will look like this. (above)
Once the glue has dried, or mostly dried, you flip over your paper, revealing the more exact drawing on the flip side, and get ready to cut it out, either with good sharp scissors or an exacto knife and cutting mat. Cut slowly, being sure to cut through all of the layers of glued paper scraps.
And now the fun part! You flip it over and see the mosaic pattern animal silhouette with nice clean edges:
And now for the background.
I could have just given Emmett a whole bunch of blue paints and let him go at it on the wood panel. That would have probably looked really cool too.
But since Emmett's attention was waning, and book pages are kind of my thing, and I knew I happened to have some pages from an old copy of The Old Man and the Sea lying around, I decided to go that way instead.
Now just slather the back of your whale (or other animal) with glue stick, flip it over and place it on your background and press down all the edges firmly.
The wood panel I used was from Dick Blick, and they come in loads of sizes.  The added bonus of using a wood panel is that you can attach a picture hanger right on the back of it and you don't have to worry about either finding a frame, or figuring out how you are going to get it to hang on the wall.
And you're done!  Emmett is 4, so by the end of this project I was pretty much working on it alone. And this is also a pretty big piece. But I bet with 7 or 8 year olds they would be able to see it through all the way to the end, as well as be able to take on a lot of the aspects that I did, like the background and cutting out the final silhouette.

Have fun!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nursery Sneak Peek

Our new little guy will be arriving sometime in the next few weeks, and we have been having a good time with giving Emmett's old baby room a facelift for its new occupant.  We are still awaiting a lot of the accents and details that will give the room some more color and pattern, like the bumper and crib skirt, fabric for the roman shade, changing pad cover, and lots of other art work and accessories.  But here is a little peek at how it is looking right now, which feels very calm and serene.  The basic bones are the same as Emmett's nursery (the crib, nursing chair, white walls and giant wall shelf) But TH painted the wood floor and wall shelf grey, and we have a new wool rug from Ikea as well as a new wider dresser to hold all of the baby things as well as act as the changing table, also from Ikea.  Our design theme seems to be thrift store finds meets Scandinavian, which was partly conscious choice and partly what we can make fit within our budget.  I took a page from what we learned from doing Emmett's new room regarding the use of color.  Once the room is full of books and toys it can be quite cacophonous, so we are keeping the bigger pieces very minimalist in order to preserve a calm feel.
Once we have a few more of the little details in place I'll do a more complete post including a few before and after pics.  But this is as far as we have gotten so far. . .

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Out of the Tunnel

 Have you ever been so busy that you don't have a spare second to do anything but trudge forward, tackling one deadline at a time, moving from putting out one fire to the next?  That's how December was for me, and I am just now finally coming out of it.  And looking back at it now I realize that I had a kind of tunnel vision for the whole month, and my senses shut out everything non-essential. I know that this is a fundamental side effect of stress and anxiety, that the brain filters out and sets aside everything except essential information. But I have never consciously been aware of the phenomenon in myself before, and I only just realized how complete it had been yesterday as I was hanging out in the bathroom with Emmett as he was playing in the tub. I finally felt like my eyes were open again to seeing, I mean really seeing, and also appreciating the world around me, and the beauty in small things.  And everything in my sight sorted itself into little snapshots of things that I never would have even seen a month ago, let alone seen their texture and their beauty.

I suppose this type of tunnel vision is a pretty neat survival instinct, but I must say that it is nice to be out of the tunnel.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Some of My Favorite New Work Created For and Tested By The Gauntlet of This Season's Craft Shows!

My busy season of traveling for craft shows has finally come to a close, which is a good thing because I am getting way too round for that sort of thing!  One of the best things about doing craft shows though, aside from getting to talk to so many lovely customers face to face, is the chance to put new designs out into the world and be able to gauge customer reactions to them right away.  At the end of the season I take stock of those reactions and then I come home and take photos of the most popular items and put them online in my web shop, for the rest of the world to see.  Here is a selection of some of the new designs that became this season's favorites, and have made it up in the shop!  And there are lots lots more, so if you haven't checked out the shop in a while now would be a great time to take a peek at what's new!
For more details and pricing about any of these pieces please click here to go to the Rebecca Haas Jewelry online store. Also, if you'd like to see regular images of new designs coming out of the studio follow Rebecca Haas Jewelry on Facebook or Instagram, both are fun ways to keep in touch through pictures. I just love Instagram. And if you do head on over to my Facebook page you'll be able to find a pretty great coupon code to use in the online shop for all of December. . . just sayin'. . .

Thursday, December 5, 2013

2013 Holiday Open Studio Event! Now With Tsuga Studios Too!

Nick Kekic, of Tsuga Studios, is an amazing third generation glass artist who lives right over the hill from me.  So since our studios are so near each other we have decided to join forces this year for our open studio events in the hopes that those of you that can make it out for one event can try to make it to the other one as well. I promise it will be worth your time, his work is gorgeous, and his open studio events are the only time you can nab great deals on seconds of his work!  Everything in my studio will also be at least 20% off standard retail prices, and sometimes more, so both open studios will also be a great way to get a really great deal on some truly unique handmade gifts!  

Here is a sneak peek of some of the new Rebecca Haas Jewelry designs I'll be offering at my sale, alongside many classic favorite designs.

There will also be lots of one of a kind collage and paper art, including ornaments for your tree, from the Fiddleheads For Fiona Studio! Here's a little peek of some new paper work you can expect to find:

We will be serving some light and belly warming refreshments, (right now I'm thinking egg nog!) as well as some munchies, and lots of good cheer.  Please feel free to plan to stay a while and socialize.  I've been buried under piles of jewelry for too many weeks now!  It's time for some fun!  So please check the top image for time and place info, and I really hope you can make it!