Do you still send Valentine’s? I realize (like me) you may only have faint memories of stuffing valentines in your classmates’ Valentine’s mailboxes, but these free printables just might be just as fun at the office, yoga class, or stitch & bitch.
Print, fold and tuck these tiny valentines on copy paper or card stock. These will fit into a 4-Bar size envelope, or just tuck one, as is, in that special someone’s laptop bag.
Emma Clark is the artist/owner of Ferret & Fern where she creates nature-inspired illustrations and handmade accessories, responsibly crafted to minimize environmental impact.
Keeping with her love of nature, Emma tries to source her materials as responsibly as possible. Using ethically sourced fabrics, or second-hand fabric from clothing, fabric, and remnants when she can find them.
She makes her own natural dyes, sourced or grown locally when possible, and also uses non toxic printing inks.
1. Why did you move to Elgin?
We moved to Elgin initially because we could afford a place downtown, being able to walk to shops and bars was really important to me. Having lived here a while though, I realise how much Elgin has to offer in the way of community and life style! Small town life is definitely the way forward 😊
2. What compels you to spend time creating?
This is a hard one… I don’t think I could name any one thing, if I don’t create anything I get itchy and anxious. I find the process of creating intellectually challenging and incredibly rewarding. Making something beautiful from a simple idea is the best feeling!
3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.
How to open myself up to people to build new and better friendships. That owning a dog is just as amazing as I thought it would be! That I make art for myself and not for others.
4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?
I’m making a crochet cardigan, I’m reading a book called Overstory, and watching Carnival Row and Picard
5. Cake or Pie?
Cake vs sweet pie – cake! Cake vs savoury pie – pie!
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been relying heavily on your Instant Pot and allowing your once trusty and well used dutch ovens to sit there just waiting to be loved again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Instant Pot, but in all that hastiness I miss the lingering fragrance of a slow roasting chicken, beef roast, or baking bread, along with the anticipation it creates.
I am going to revisit a few of my favorite dinners, which are best suited to baking, roasting, or braising in a dutch oven.
The following chicken recipe is perfect. No lie. The brilliance of how the crusty bread and vegetables create a rustic dressing is really nothing short of genius. So simple and so amazing.
My 21-year-old oval 5 qt. Dutch oven has been benched for a while, it’s the perfect shape and size for a chicken and trimmings.
I roasted mine with ciabatta, carrots, and red potatoes because I’d already used my butternut squash for soup, and was not planning to put on real pants and go shopping. I drizzled extra virgin olive oil on everything before popping it in the oven. The recipe didn’t cal for it, but I felt it needed a litle. Next time I may make it without. Oh, and I didn’t bother trussing it either.
The ciabatta proved to be the perfect choice, the edges were toasted and the rest chewy and flavorful. A baguette would be great too. You want lots of crust in this dish. Trust me. The carrots and potatoes were yummy, but I’m already thinking of other veggie combinations:
mushroom, leek, and fennel
wild rice, mushroom, and leek
Sundried tomato and artichoke hearts
Note: Just leave all the leftovers in the Dutch oven and refrigerate. I popped mine in the oven at 350º for about 30 minutes to reheat. The trimmings were even better reheated. I swear.
I took this one step further and tossed in some aromatics, filled the pot with water, and placed on the stovetop to make stock. Why not?
I was really surprised at how much I loved the documentary about Linda Ronstadt The Sound of My Voice. I guess I never realized how much of a maverick she was.
In the mid-eighties I waited tables at a small Mexican restaurant in the southern California mountains, and Canciones de Mi Padre and Trio were on heavy rotation. Hard to beleive both those albums came out in 1987. People would always jump a little when she belted out the first two notes of La Charreada. It was fun to watch so we always made sure to have it at full volume. Her voice was crystal clear and powerful!
I’ll admit to fangirling and being easily swayed by an Instagram post on @looplondonloves of Helena Bonham Carter clutching a copy while shopping at Loop. I was intrigued by the cover art enough to order one. Yes, I usually do judge a book by its cover.
When I received my copy I was struck by its whimsy and beauty so much I quickly ordered one for my niece for Christmas, thinking she’d like it too. The projects in the book are meant to be cut out and used. If I can ever bring myself to pull these pages apart I may need another copy to have one intact. This book is so lovely. IMHO it would be appreciated by all ages 7+.
If one of your resolutions is to learn mesoemthing new (hello ukulele), then the folks at Bluprint have a deal for you! Especially if you’ve been wanting to learn how to knit, quill, decorate a cake, or like me, crochet a cute cactus. My friend Martha let me know that Bluprint is offering free classes until 1/7. Sign up for free and craft your little heart out this weekend.
I’ll be crocheting a cactus this weekend, what will you make? Time to get crafty my friend.
One of my favorite things to pull out every year is this lovely painted ceramic tree that my mother-in-law Edna sent to us years ago. I beleive she painted it in the 70’s but not really sure. I love how pearly white it is, somehow kitcshy and elegant at the same time. It’s a Christmas miracle!
Obviously you can buy these ready made and just plug it in, but if you want to get your hands on an original vintage tree, you’ll need to search eBay and thrift stores. Better yet, ask your aunts and grandmothers if they may have one tucked away.
Here is a short list of some of my favorite gifts this season. Some local, some not so local.
MAYO & TOMATO T-SHIRT$30 Such great gifts at bittersoutherner.com for your southern friends, and those who want to be southern. Nothing conures up memories of a perfect southern summer day than a tomato sandwich with home-grown tomatoes and mayo. Dukes or Blue Plate… please. bittersoutherner.com
GALENDARSfrom $10 Friends that I gifted with Galendars last year asked where to buy some of these tiny desk calendars for their friends this year. These gals only do two shipments each season so order now so your gifts will ship on their last ship date of December 14th! Oh, and they sell out fast! galendars.com
MDK FIELD GUIDES$14.95 If there is a knitter in your life, they need one or twelve of these. These themed, pint-sized tomes are a perfect gift. Each beautifully designed volume explores a technique, yarn, or pattern style. My favorite so far is Wanderlust. masondixonknitting.com
DZIUK’S MEAT MARKETfrom $6.99 In my circle of San Antonio friends it is imperative if near Castroville, to make a trip to Dziuk’s Meat Market. Their Chunk Beef Jerky is like nothing I’ve ever had before. If dried sausage with wild combos such as quail and pork smoke your meat… look no further than dziuks.com
WHEN PIES FLY$21.59 This follow up to 2018’s James Beard nominatedPie Squared will make any pie lover a happy baker. I’ll be trying the apple strudel recipe over the weekend. amazon.com