Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Etsy Shop Open and cooking with Jacques Pepin for Cookbook Club

My Etsy shop is open and I have a business page set up on Facebook.  I am really in business.  I even ordered business cards for What Jenny Makes and got carried away and ordered a mouse pad and a tote bag with the logo on it.  Now all I need is some customers.  I am going to have to do some marketing to get the word out and study how to publicize the Etsy shop.  I would like to sell on-line and a small shows because there is less travel involved and less time but I need to build some inventory before I can do too much.

In addition to fiber art activities, I have been cooking.  The selection for this month's Cookbook Club at the Fremont Public Library is Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin.  I started the year by alternating between famous chefs and other cookbooks.  James Beard was one of the earlier selections.  I had hoped to use on of Pepin's more pictorial cookbooks but since he has published so many of them, there weren't enough copies of the same book in the library system.  So I picked the book that had the most available copies.  

It is not an all encompassing book despite the fact that it contains more than 700 recipes.  I couldn't find a dessert recipe that was suitable for the PADS meal, so I ended up making malted blondies using a recipe from one of Baked's cookbooks.  I did find some delicious salad recipes, so far I have tried the Mesclun, Avocado and Tomato Salad and the Composed Salad of Greens, Goat Cheese and Carmelized Pecans.  I plan to make the Grilled Eggplant on Greens next week.  These are simple salads, composed of fresh ingredients that are perfectly combined.  They are dressed with a simple vinaigrette and taste amazing.

The Chicken African-Style with Couscous is also amazing.  I love Pepin's frugality, he recommends removing the fat from the chicken thighs and using it to fry the chicken parts in.  The sauce is simple and full of flavor.  I made Sauteed Haricots Verts and Shallots to accompany the chicken.  It is absolutely delicious and I think I could eat it every single day.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Shibori Dyeing

 I have thought about transforming my textile hobbies into a business for a while but have had trouble coming up with something to sell.  I needed something that I enjoyed making and that could be produced in quantity fairly quickly.  Most of the things that I enjoy doing are small and fiddly and don't lend themselves to production which makes them uneconomical from the sales standpoint since I can't charge a reasonable amount for my labor.  I recently found somethings I love to do and that could translate well into a business when I took a felting and dyeing workshop through North Suburban Needlearts Guild.

After the workshop, I decided to give it a try.  I ordered some scarf blanks from Dharma Trading Company and an assortment of dyes and started to collect supplies for Shibori dying.  I also started the process of setting up a business.  I spent yesterday afternoon dyeing twenty scarves.  You can see the results in the picture above.  Some of them are spectacular, some are just pretty, and a few are duds.  My fingertips are teal and I am ready to order more scarf blanks and try another round of dyeing.

I am also on my way to having a business.  I filed with the Lake County Clerk and my "Doing Business As" legal notice started running today.  I got a graphic artist to help me with a logo, and I hope to have my Etsy shop ready to go at the beginning of May.  I am going to start with a selection of colorful, hand-dyed silk scarves but I would like to expand to include nuno felted items and bags.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Prayer Flags

I agreed to do a workshop for the Unitarian Universalist Women's Connection (UUWC) at their retreat in June at Pilgrim Park, near Princeton, Illinois.  The theme for the weekend is air and my workshop will focus on making Prayer Flags.  When I heard that I would have a little more than an hour for my workshop, I decided that I needed to try making some prototypes.

I spent this afternoon making prayer flags with two friends.  We used Pebeo Setacolor fabric paints from Dharma Trading Company, some miscellaneous acrylics, fabric markers, and Tulip spray on fabric paints on small nylon flag blanks from Dharma Trading Company.  I had a couple of stencils and we cut out some of our own.  One flag uses a wax crayon resist to create birds.

I think the flags are gorgeous and I am really pleased with how they came out.