Badge of Honor

I’d like to share my new favorite craft book.

embroidery emblem. It’s a small book with gorgeous photography. I’ve spent far more time looking through the pages of this lovely book than actually crafting the projects in it. I love the style. No wildflowers or calico cats here, my friends.

Though this jellyfish is totally rad, I’ve become enamored with the monogrammed emblems. I love the idea of wearing a personalized badge. Mine will say A — maybe for Angela, maybe for Awesome. Or Awkward. It’s hard to tell.

First, the photo spread:

Then a pattern and stitch guide:

Most of the patterns are a little advanced, with stitches I’ve never tried before. But even so, I managed to poke out a few gifts for friends. Here are the fan photos they sent me:

These were fun to make and easy to customize. It didn’t take me long to go off pattern…

I think I’ll wear my heart [badge] on my sleeve.

LOVE Handmade Market, this weekend in Tokyo!

Join Saké Puppets and other Etsy artists this weekend as we gather to share and showcase our craft. I’ll be there to talk about sashiko, and will be selling kits and some handmade gifts. I’d love to see you there!

January 20, 2012

Reception Party, 7pm-9pm

January 21-22, 2012

Free to attend! Open 11am-5pm

* * *

Come and enjoy a showcase of lovingly handcrafted items created by local Etsy sellers and their friends! Make some crafts with the Etsy community, find gifts for your valentine (or for yourself!) and talk with the artists about their inspirations and techniques. It’s a weekend to celebrate our LOVE for all things handmade!

Etsyに参加しているメンバーとその友人たちによる、手作りの品々の展示会を開催いたします。あなたの大切なひとたちや自分のためのギフトをさがしたり、ワークショップに参加したり、出展者と話したり。

あたたかな “LOVE handmade” の週末をご一緒しましょう!

Location

Gallery 7  東京都中央区八重洲2-11-7 一新ビル7階

Tokyo, Chuo-ku, Yaesu 2-11-7 Ishin Building 7F

Google map: http://g.co/maps/3asxw

2012

Happy New Year everyone! あけましておめでとうございます!

2012 snuck up on me. I was so busy planning the end of 2011, that I forgot 2012 came next. 2012, you dirty little dog! Name-calling is probably a bad start.

I’m not big on resolutions, but I am big on to-do lists. I LOVE to-do lists and make one every day. I love crossing things off and adding things willy nilly, copying things from yesterday onto today’s list just so I can cross them off again. It’s not cheating.

Instead of resolutions for 2012 I’ve decided to come up with a list of measurable goals, like a to-do list. And in the spirit of accountability, I’ve decided to post some of them here. Having all you watching me is bound to guilt whip me into shape. So, for 2012 I plan to:

  • Cook 12 new recipes, one per month.
  • Read 5 books. This seems low, and I thought about hiking up the number to look smart but then remembered this list is about achievable goals, so 5 it is. Even if I have 7 in my pile. And no, the Hunger Games trilogy I read over Christmas doesn’t count. But maybe Swamplandia!, which I started just after Christmas does.
  • Visit 6 new places. Cities or countries, it doesn’t matter. And walk around these places without a map.
  • Make a quilt for myself, for fun.
  • Have a conversation with a stranger in Japanese.

I’m feeling a little bit cocky about starting on my list, since today I found a new recipe via my friend’s blog and I start my full-time Japanese classes. That’s 5 days a week, baby! I even have a new backpack, fresh notebooks, and an erasable pen for the occasion.

2012, bring it on.

Christmas Pie

I know Christmas was over 2 weeks ago. It has taken me that long to recover.

Dan and I spent 3 glorious weeks in the US for the holidays. We saw friends and family. We raced Hot Wheels with our nephew. We drank homemade eggnog and red wine that wasn’t chilled (why, Japan? why?!). And we ate. I gained 2 pounds in the first week, then stopped counting. I knew what I was up against when I witnessed my mother-in-law buy 8 pounds of butter.

I was responsible for at least a pound of that edible gold. For Christmas eve dinner I made two of my favorite pie recipes — deep-dish winter fruit and bourbon pecan.

I haven’t talked about my pie obsession in a while, probably because I am still grieving the loss of a real oven. So for a full afternoon my dad and I barricaded ourselves in the kitchen, drank brandy, and rolled out two beauties. It’s just not Christmas until the kitchen smells like cinnamon. Or there is day drinking. My Christmases involve a lot of that, too.

Try them for yourself!

Deep-Dish Winter Fruit Pie with Walnut Crumb Topping

From Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More

Pie Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Walnut Crumb Topping

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Fruit Filling

  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 4 small apples, peeled and sliced
  • 4 pears, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen (In a pinch, I use craisins. This year I used brandied cranberries.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (I usually skip this.)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.

Crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Add the butter and mix just until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Stir the water and lemon juice together, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. (The key is to keep the water cold so it doesn’t melt your butter. Keep your butter chunky, this helps create a flaky crust.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your pie. When ready, roll the chilled dough into a 14-inch disk, then line a 9 or 10 by 3-inch springform pan with the rolled-out dough.

Topping: Mix flour, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl. Stir in the butter, then work it in with your hands until the texture of crumbs.

Filling: Remove the stem from each fig, then boil the figs in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Slice each fig into 4 to 5 pieces, put them in a large bowl, and add the apples, pears, and cranberries. Gently toss the fruit with sugar until evenly coated.

Transfer the filling to the pie shell and top with the walnut crumb. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the crumb is golden, the fruit juices are bubbling thickly around the edges, and the fruit is tender. If the crumb is getting too dark, cover it with foil while baking.

Bourbon Pecan Pie
Adapted from Bon Appétit, November 2006

Pie Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 cups pecan halves, very coarsely chopped

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.

Crust: Combine flour and salt in food processor. Add the butter and mix just until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Pour the water over the dry ingredients and pulse just until the dry ingredients are moistened. (The key is to keep the water cold so it doesn’t melt your butter. Keep your butter chunky, this helps create a flaky crust.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your pie. When ready, roll the chilled dough into a 10-inch disk, then line a 9 or 10-inch pie plate with the rolled-out dough. Fold the extra dough under and crimp to make a decorative edge.

Filling: Whisk eggs in large bowl. Whisk in both sugars, then next 5 ingredients. Stir in pecans. Pour into crust.

Bake until filling is puffed and just set in center (filling may begin to crack), about 55 minutes.

Enjoy!