Wednesday, January 14, 2015

so I can find it later: cherry almond smoothie

Tonight I went looking for the recipe for this smoothie and couldn't believe I hadn't posted it on my blog! How inconvenient! So, even though this is more than a mite out of season, here it is - I think I'll have it for dessert later, yum yum.

This is my current favorite smoothie at my favorite Seattle vegan spot, Chaco Canyon. After sampling it for the first time this summer, I came home and immediately started tinkering, trying to figure out the proportions so that I could recreate it myself. Since I started making my own almond milk on a semi-regular basis, I have all this ground almond pulp left over. I read that it could be used in smoothies and immediately remembered: oh yeah, cherry-almond smoothies! Yum! I love the zero-waste aspect of this: some of the almond milk goes into the smoothie, and the leftover almonds do, too.

Without further ado:

Cherry Almond Smoothie

1/4 - 1/3 c almonds (or almond pulp/meal)
2 smallish handfuls frozen pitted dark sweet cherries (so, just over 1 c?)
1 c almond milk
1 banana
1 Tbl maple syrup (I like Trader Joe's dark grade B syrup)

Place the almonds (or ground almond pulp/meal) in the blender. Add a bit of the almond milk, and grind up the nuts a bit. Add the cherries and the remainder of the almond milk and blend. Add the banana and maple syrup and work your way up to high speed to get a smooth, thick treat!

The last time I was at Chaco, I swear there was a bit of a cocoa flavor to this, as well - it was like drinking a Cherry Garcia shake ... but vegan! Holy smokes! I'm going to try adding a bit of cacao and see if I can recreate the effect.

Monday, January 12, 2015

looking ahead

Here's news - though anyone reading this blog has probably already seen my update on facebook, or been called, etc. - I finally landed a stable job (it's been nearly two years). I have about a week before my first official day, so in the meantime I'm finishing up some projects, finally enjoying the time off because I can stop worrying about money for the first time in years.

Here's one of the projects I'd been meaning to do for almost a month now! I came across this "Deer Moon Necklace" by Three Arrows Leather in the late autumn, and knew I wanted to make one like it. I actually found a great new source for nice quartz points: children's toy stores - specifically, ones that carry rock specimens for young collectors. I stocked up over the holidays, so perhaps I'll be making a few more of these (girlfriends for whom I regularly make jewelry, let me know if you want one!). I opted for turquoise deerskin lace to make the braid and the straps, instead of black - because I realize that a lot of the jewelry I'm making for myself lately involves rugged natural materials and then black or brown leather (or brass metal fittings). And I'm wearing more neutral clothing, too - so this is a little bit of a reaction against the rut! I also love wearing turquoise accents in the summer, so this is a nice way to look ahead to the summer months to come.

I added some silver tone metal beads from Africa (leftover from when I made that medicine pouch), and I'm all set! My necklace also hangs a bit higher than the original, as I find necklaces that hang too low bothersome.

Friday, January 2, 2015

handmade holidays 2014: gold and pearl earrings

Okay, so actually, I haven't mailed this pair of earrings yet. But I will! Soon! Um, I promise! =) Loosely inspired by some of the gorgeous work of artisan jeweler Julie Cohn (explore her work on her website here), this pair of earrings features an organic, dimpled gold bauble and dangling black keshi pearls (with a pretty rosy/coppery cast to them). And another confession: I liked these so much that I made an identical pair for myself. Yeah, no one's really surprised by that one, huh?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

handmade holidays 2014: leather medicine bag with labradorite pyramid

So here's the thing about sending your presents out late: you can't post them 'til even later. This is ridiculous; December was kind of a non-event on the blog, huh? I don't often go in for New Year's resolutions, but maybe I should this year, and strive to make the blogging a more regular thing again. I really want to get back to blogging at least once a week - and not drop off the face of the earth and ride the coattails of a few super-productive weeks earlier in the year!

But let's get down to business. This turned out beautifully. I was so pleased with it. My inspiration was this "Miakoda Medicine" bag by Three Arrows Leather. My version is made from heavy wine-colored suede (the prettiest option of all of the scrap-leather bags at my local Tandy Leather store) that I hand-sewed together with a glover's needle and heavy waxed thread, with braided black leather lace for the necklace and fringe. I mounted a labradorite pyramid with pretty blue fire that I found on etsy into the flap (golly it's big - and kinda sharp at that point!), and worked silver-colored metal beads onto the fringe.

I loved making this - and I love the look of the pyramid stone set in the leather. I'd love to try my hand at making a big bag with multiple stones set in the flap sometime, like some of the purses that Three Arrows has for sale. It's such a great, simple idea for embellishment - and it looks amazing!