Learning how to carve stamps is one of my favourite things to come out of my Years of Making. Stamp carving is like the opposite of knitting and crocheting – you can sit down for an hour or two and create a stamp you can use over and over again pretty much forever. Compared to making things from yarn, it’s practically instantaneous! And it’s fun.
And, let’s face it, it’s also practical. I’ve designed a thank-you stamp for making cards to send after my kid’s birthday. I’ve made outlines of shapes to use in my bullet journal or to layer over all sorts of stuff in my art journal. I’ve made a stamp of the title of Stamp Camp – so meta! And of the tiles in my cousin’s bathroom. (Ok, that last one isn’t practical at all. But it sure was fun.)
You can also access some of the class as a free trial to see how the platform works and to get a feel for what’s offered in class. So no risk! Give it a try today and let me know if you have any questions.
Now that summer is finally over (heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest notwithstanding), I’m getting back into my cooking groove. I don’t enjoy cooking enough to be bothered to do much of it in the heat and frenzy of summer, but as soon as school is about to start, all I want to do is make food.
Starting with my kid’s favourite kind of snack to take to school: muffins. I love making muffins. They’re so easy, and they freeze well. So even if the kid decides he’s sick of one kind after taking them to school all week, I don’t have to force him to take them for a second week because I’ll have put a half dozen of them into the freezer. Then I can make a different kind, and thaw the first kind after a few weeks when he’s forgotten he was sick of them.
The ones I just made are a modified version of the Kitchen Sink Muffins in The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet. (Lots of the recipes in this book are for sandwiches, so not exactly earth-shattering. But the kid enjoys flipping through it and telling me what he wants to eat, so I love having it around.) This recipe has no egg in it, so it’s easy to make it vegan if you’re so inclined (one of us is lactose-intolerant, so I always bake non-dairy).
If you read my Friday newsletter, you know my college roommates are visiting for a few days. It’s only the second time in fifteen years that we’ve been in the same place together.
And as you do when you’ve been friends for over twenty years, we got to chatting before the visit about getting matching tattoos. Diamonds, which last forever just like our friendship. Aw. And also, the ridiculous thing that inspired this trip is… a Neil Diamond concert.
The thing is, our styles are really different. I, especially, struggled with the idea of a diamond. I’m not so big with the shiny sparkly things, and also the ethics of diamonds are just deeply problematic. But I love these women, and our friendship is forever.
Somehow, I got to thinking about compass roses, and whether I could really stretch the diamond concept into the four points of the compass. I didn’t even realize at the time that I put a compass rose into the branding of my business a few months ago. There’s something about this symbol that’s stuck in my head these days. Something about adventuring, getting lost and found again, staying grounded while taking risks.
Leave it to the amazing Sam McWilliams to put a diamond perfectly in the centre of a compass rose tattoo. One look at her sketch and I was like yes. This is the one.
In my love of traveling, in my love for friends near and far, I know where I am and who I am and which direction is my personal north. This design on my arm forever, with the diamond at its centre that matches the diamonds my beloved friends have inked on themselves, is simply perfect.
The last time I was back east visiting my parents, my mom’s friend brought over a homemade loaf of bread. Round and crusty, it was absolutely perfect. Hearty, doughy but not dense. She raved about making it and sent me the recipe for Jim Lahey’s famous No-Knead Bread.
I already knew I have a thing for making bread, but until now I’d focused all of my efforts on challah. I love making challah, but I don’t make it as often as I’d like because it’s so time intensive. I have to plan my workday around making it (which I actually enjoy doing, but can’t always).
This no-knead bread, though? Sure, it requires a lot of time, but it’s almost entirely hands-off. I make the dough in the late afternoon, let it rise overnight, do the second rise first thing in the morning and bake it before I have to leave the house for the day. After the first time I made it, I ordered Lahey’s book, which includes instructions to make more than just this bread (though honestly, I don’t know why I’d ever want anything more than this bread).
I made four loaves in five days last week!
As far as I can tell, this approach is utterly fool-proof.
I’m becoming that crazy bread lady who hands a loaf of bread to people wherever I go.