wise words

antique lace
Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.
Albert Camus
have a lovely day, Amy
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what's cooking: ginger carrot and cashew soup

I love soup. Particularly veggie soups. And here is a new favorite of mine. The recipe is based on ingredients in a soup I had recently and really enjoyed. And I'm so pleased with how it turned out. Give it a try! I hope you like it.



ginger carrot and cashew soup

1 lb. carrots, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup cashews
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can (13.5 oz) light coconut milk

In a skillet over low heat, toast the cashews until they begin to sweat and get a light brown color (about 3-5 minutes). Keep an eye on them--don't let them burn!

Add the olive oil and carrots to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots turn a nice golden brown on the edges. Add the garlic, the cashews, and one tablespoon of the ginger and stir well, heating for an additional 3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the carrots and cashews are tender.

Once the carrots and cashews are tender, add mixture to a blender or food processor along with the coconut milk and last tablespoon of ginger and puree until smooth (you may want to add a tad more water if the mixture is too thick for your tastes). Once smooth, pour the soup back into your sauce pan and heat over low heat until warm. Serves 4.
have a lovely day, Amy
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I spy

I spy talent in Canada
Enjoying the week in the great white north!
1. flora wall wear no. 26 by nea
2. iron on butterflies by rikrak
3. rough diamond stacking ring by kate szabone
4. natural knit summer shrug by a resurrection of romance
5. winds of change bracelet by cs designs
6. letterpress cards by sweetbeets
7. chalcedony and pearl necklace by organikx
8. the stand by a mischievous marriage
have a lovely day, Amy
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how do you do? {Cassie}

Cassie
I have so much admiration for my guest today, Cassie of Shop Clementine. I've adored Cassie's beautiful work since my early etsy days and am proud to own one of her pieces, which is even more gorgeous in person. Not only do I love what she makes, I really get a kick out of her quirky sense of humor daily on twitter. She's my kinda gal!

Thanks for joining me today, Cassie. I'm curious: besides running Shop Clementine, what do you do for a living?

I've cobbled together quite a strange collection of jobs. Apart from creating Clementine Jewelry, I also do freelance book jacket copywriting (I write the stuff that tells you what the book's about) and I wait tables one day a week. Juggling these three completely different jobs can be really challenging sometimes, but I've learned to compartmentalize (though jewelry designs always come to me when I'm on deadline with my writing--it's inevitable. It seems that getting the creative juices flowing in one direction--writing--often opens the floodgates for the tactile/design parts of my brain, too. I bet lots of creative types would agree!)

I'd love to have a little peek at the future of Shop Clementine. What’s next for your business?
I have a collection of cabochons and geodes that I'm dying to start bezel-setting. It's just a matter of finding the big block of time it would take to get myself into that mode and brushing up on my silversmithing skills. I hope to start creating my own pendants and bezel-set rings in time for Holiday 2009.

Oh, those sound lovely! I certainly hope you find the time. Now, back to work, what material or equipment is crucial for your work? What would you be lost without?
I'd have to say sterling silver wire and my propane torch. I make my own headpins for my Blossom series earrings out of sterling silver. I found the perfect shape that really holds the flowers in place. And of course pliers. I'd be really lost without pliers!

Night owl or early bird? At what time of the day (or night) are you most creative?
Night owl. I marvel at those folks who can function at 5am. That ain't me! :)

What's your favorite part of making jewelry? What's your least favorite?
My favorite part of what I do is the initial creative process—the spark of inspiration that leads down multiple paths, one idea tumbling into the next. I often create in sets (i.e. 3 pairs of earrings and a necklace, say, all sparked by one material or technique.) I love the exploration and that "eureka!" moment. My least favorite part of jewelry making is bookkeeping. blech.

I'm with you there. Now, let's get personal. Cassie is such a sweet, sweet name. Who are you named for?
My full name is Katharine Sara. My great grandmother was Sara Katharine. My grandmother was Katharine Strauss. My mother is Katharine Sheridan. Once Kate (grandmother) and Kit (mother) were taken, my mom sort of stretched the bounds of Katharine and came up with Cassie. She swears it was in the baby name book as an option, but everyone assumes I'm Cassandra. If I have a daughter one day, she'll be a Katharine, too.

When you head out the door, what do you take with you? Name five things in your handbag.
#1 necessity is chapstick. Classic cherry. I have them stashed all over the house and in every bag I own. There's also one that lives in the car. Also in the bag would be my Ipod shuffle, my wallet (hopefully!), my old-fashioned mini address book, and my business cards

Name a guilty pleasure. What do you treat yourself to?
Kettlecorn. That stuff is like crack. Seriously. Just try to stop using --- er, eating it.

Let's pretend you're at a karaoke bar and thrust on stage with a microphone in hand. What are you singing?
Anything by Linda Ronstadt, circa 1975. "Poor poor pitiful me" or "When will I be loved" or "Blue bayou". Or, just to keep folks on their toes, "Longneck Bottle" by Garth Brooks. I can do a mean Garth impression.

I would LOVE to see that! Now, what about your moves? What songs have you dancing these days?
I've seen both Vampire Weekend and Thao with the Get Down Stay Down in concert recently, I looooooooove them! Totally dance-able. And yes, it's sad, but I can't stay seated when "Single Ladies" comes on.

I so enjoyed learning more about you, Cassie (isn't she great?). Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. All the best to you!

have a lovely day, Amy
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May giveaway

Welcome to the May giveaway, everyone! I'm offering a fun little treat this month. NEWS FLASH!: I'm opening up a new shop on etsy called Inspiration Board, which will be filled with prints and notecards featuring my photos. It's so exciting!


I'm not quite ready to open the doors yet--that'll be next week--but in honor of my new shop, I am giving away a set of five notecards to one lucky winner. The cards are blank inside, so the winner will have plenty of space to write lovely notes to her friends. They're professionally printed on a nice, heavy recycled cardstock and have such a lovely feel. Oh, this is getting exciting!


To enter, just give your name and email addy in the form below, and let me know who inspires you!

have a lovely day, Amy
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let's make {floral tank tops}

I'm guessing that most of you are flower-lovers. Otherwise, you'd be sick of this blog by now, what with my polymer clay corsage line and my obvious addiction to photographing blossoms. Assuming I've guessed correctly, I thought it was about time we finally made something with a floral focus. So, here's an easy diy for a floral tank top.

You'll need:
tank top
1/8 to 1/4 yard lightweight fabric (make this easy and buy a fat quarter if you don't already have scraps on hand)
large button
needle
thread
paper
pencil
scissors
sewing machine (not required, but makes the process quicker!)

To begin, trace a leaf design on a piece of paper and cut it out. Don't fuss too much. (This may be tough if you are a perfectionist like me, but trust me, free-form works better here.) This leaf is about 4 inches long.
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Now, fold your fabric in half with the right sides out and trace around your leaf onto the fabric (of course, you can use one of those fancy fabric pens if you have one, but you don't really need it). Trace 5-11 leaves (odd numbers work best, in my opinion).
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Now, cut out the leaves (I should probably be calling these petals, huh?) through both layers of fabric. I made seven petals.
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On your sewing machine (or by hand) sew around the edges of the petals (through both layers) about 1/4 inch from the edge using a loose stitch.
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Once you have stitched around the outside of each of the petals, begin placing them on the tank. Again, don't try to be too neat. Scatter the petals a bit--think pretty flower in the breeze thoughts.
(I placed my flower near the armhole, but front and center or the hip also make good placements.)
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Once you have the petals arranged in a way that pleases you, pin them in place.
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Now sew the petals into place first by sewing a circle around the center (smaller than your button, as we'll use it to cover this up!).
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And secure the petals around the edges by stitching the petals to the tank (you can do this discretely by stitching over the topstitches that you first made to sew the petals together). You don't need to stitch each petal on entirely, just anchor the petals (particularly the ones pointing up) so they will stay in place. A few stitches on each petal will do.
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After each petal is secured, sew the button into the center. And then, you're done! As you wear (and wash) your tank, the edges of the petals will fray a bit (but not too much, since we sewed them), giving the flower a soft, natural look. Wear it well, my dears!
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have a lovely day, Amy
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window shopping: lillyella

window shopping: lillyella
I'm loving purples these days and Nicole of Lillyella has got some fantastic plummy pieces in the shop. In particular, I'm favoring the combination of plum and rust right now and I'm thinking that any of these would look absolutely lovely with a deep orange tunic and a slim chocolate or white skirt. But, that's just me! These four (clockwise from top left): starling plume bracelet, blossom cluster necklace in silver, garden flutter necklace, and pretty posy earrings.

have a lovely day, Amy
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the way I see it

Color. And more color. I can't get enough! Shockingly, only one pink photo this week. :)

back side of lucky
back side of lucky

tulips jaunes
tulips jaunes

to a point
to a point

french knot
french knot

landed
landed

millefiori
millefiori

pinks
i heart pinks

have a lovely day, Amy
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wise words

bashful
For when two beings who are not friends are near each other there is no meeting, and when friends are far apart there is no separation.
Simone Weil
have a lovely day, Amy
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what's cooking: spicy three-bean veggie burgers

I just love veggie burgers. I do. And recently, we've begun making our own. These are outta this world! The recipe makes a ton of them, so we usually shape the extras into patties and freeze them (before cooking) for later. Better yet, just have a picnic and invite a bunch of friends over!


spicy three-bean veggie burgers
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 can great northern beans
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
3 eggs
1 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups plain bread crumbs
2 Tbsp olive oil

Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and jalapeno to a food processor and blend until finely minced. Rinse the beans and drain well, then add the beans, eggs, and spices and blend until combined (the mixture will be very wet). Transfer the bean mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the bread crumbs, one cup at a time, to the beans. Mix thoroughly until the mixture assumes a drier, slightly crumbly texture (you may not need to use all 4 cups).

To cook, add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Form patties from the bean mixture (using about 1/2 cup)--we like them about 1/2 inch thick--and cook them for about 3-5 minutes per side, until the patty is heated through and gets a nice, crispy texture on each side. Then just add your favorite fixin's and dig in! This recipe makes at least a dozen "burgers" depending on what size you make them.

have a lovely day, Amy
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sharing {an awesome book}


I just stumbled across this most wonderful book and I couldn't wait to share it. One day, when I have kiddos, An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton is just the sort of bedtime story I want to read them. To those who dream big and those who want to, you must indulge yourself in this inspirational and brilliantly illustrated book. Check out the site (scroll sideways to read) and order your copy here.

have a lovely day, Amy
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I spy

I spy...

1. lace top by lirola
2. oh, go fly a kite print by double parlour
3. oak leaf necklace by lulubug jewelry
4. triangular crochet earrings no. 430 by kjoo
5. quilted placemats by b taylor quilts
6. hens and chicks in an egg cup by monkeys always look
7. forest for the trees print by pretty petal studio
8. brigitta skirt by rennes le chateau
have a lovely day, Amy
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how do you do? {me!}

No, I'm not really interviewing myself. That would be silly. And I'm never silly. {Right.} But it turns out that posting interviews requires more planning than I've been capable of lately. So, here's my last minute fill-in! I was tapped by the lovely Debra of Heart's Desire Beads (thanks, Debra) for this blog tag, and what better time to play along?

Eight things I'm looking forward to:
  1. Visiting my husband's side of the family in Canada and mine in Ohio next week.
  2. Long, languorous, but not-too-hot days of summer ahead.
  3. Date night with my husband
  4. Getting my new bike
  5. Blueberry picking
  6. Going camping with my hubby and dogs
  7. Starting a family (soon, I hope!)
  8. Opening my new shop (stay tuned for more details!)

Eight things I did yesterday

  1. Rode my old bike to work
  2. Packaged up a few orders (it's been slow--this is something to celebrate)
  3. Made a yummy soup (recipe to follow soon!)
  4. Jogged a little more than I'm used to (trying to get back in shape).
  5. Watched glee. I can hardly wait til fall!
  6. Downloaded this and this (nice flick) from itunes.
  7. Photographed a squirrel from 2 feet away.
  8. Learned how to make an animated gif.

Eight things I wish I could do:

  1. Move to France with my entire family
  2. Exercise more self-control when it comes to eating (that, or eat my fill and not gain an ounce...)
  3. Be 25 again :)
  4. Play the guitar
  5. Control my temper better
  6. Simplify. Instead, I seem to keep adding things to my life
  7. Live in the present (I'm always focused on what's next)
  8. Crack open a pint of Graeter's coconut chip ice cream (none where we live, but that is a good thing considering #2)

Eight Things or Shows I Have Watched:
  1. Coronation Street (British Soap we watch daily)
  2. Jeopardy! (nightly ritual)
  3. Wicked. I loved it.
  4. Ants crawling all over my peonies. Make them bloom!
  5. The Phil Donahue Show (in the audience)
  6. James Galway in concert
  7. Our dogs chasing snowballs in the park
  8. The sunrise


Eight of My Favorite Blogs:

  1. little brown pen. Nichole transports me back to Paris...formidable!
  2. bliss. I can always count on Traci to find the loveliest things
  3. melissa loves. Sweet Melis has the best taste and the most wonderful disposition. She always brightens my mood.
  4. lillyella. Nicole does such a wonderful job of featuring the work other indie artists daily.
  5. creature comforts. Ez is a marvelous talent scout, but more than that, I love the light and colors that permeate her blog. I swear, she must live in a light box!
  6. copenhagen cycle chic. So, I'm a little obsessed with bikes at the moment...
  7. pioneer woman. Ree is awesome. I so love her sense of humor. Lately, I've really been scarfing up the photo advice and the yummy recipes.
  8. shutter sisters. I've been seeking out advice on photography since starting my 365 earlier this year. This place is sooo inspiring.
have a lovely day, Amy
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