Monday, February 28, 2011

Sharing A Poem, Saying Goodbye To February

I enjoyed our shortest month this year but I'm really excited to bid it adieu, even though I know what's next: dreaded March. But March holds the pop up, and a SevPrez winter vacation, so I'm optimistic.

Still to honor the valentine month, a poem about love and marriage. XOXO Feb, till next year!

The Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number 3
by Mary Mackey

It's easy to love
through a cold spring
when the poles
of the willows
turn green
pollen falls like
a yellow curtain
and the scent of
Paper Whites
the air

but to love for a lifetime
takes talent

you have to mix yourself
with the strange
beauty of someone
wake each morning
for 72,000
mornings in
a row so
breathed and
bound and
that you can hardly
sort out your arms

you have to
find forgiveness
in everything
even ink stains
and broken

you have to be willing to move though
the way the long
grasses move
in a field
when you careen
blindly toward
the other

there's never going to be anything
straight or predictable
about your path
except the
and the springing

you just go on walking for years
hand in hand
waist deep in the weeds
bent slightly forward
like two question
and all the while it

my dear
it burns beautifully above
and goes on
like a relentless

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tinkering With A Classic

Growing up in my house there were these hallowed pastries called raisin squares that my mom made every Christmas and for special people's birthdays... They are basically two layers of my mom's perfect flaky pie crust with a filling of gooey raisiny goodness inbetween. For people who don't like raisins, and that's a lot of people, they sound scary, but I assure you that raisin squares are, for lack of a better word, awesome. They are also a vehicle for the delivery of two layers of delicious pie crust.

I invited my mom over on Sunday to teach me the special techniques of rolling out dough for raisin squares, which is much more of an undertaking than rolling out dough for pies. First off, you need to cover the entire surface of a jelly roll tin, which is pretty big. Secondly, you need to create a perfect rectangle. Thirdly, you then have to roll up the dough and position it ever so delicately in just the right spot on the jelly roll tin. Then you fill the tin with delicious fruit, and repeat the nerve wrecking dough process for the top layer. My heart is racing just thinking about it. 

But it actually went really well. My mom said she was impressed by my first efforts; she cried the first time she made them. I can say I was very lucky to have such a good teacher, and I also have years of pie making experience under my belt. 

While I was busy rolling and worrying, my mom was working on a new filling for the squares. Remember I mentioned that pop up shop in Asbury Park? Well my friend and I have parlayed it into a one day joint venture at the Annex on Saturday, March 5th. (Be there or be square — there will be many more posts forthcoming with reasons why you shouldn't miss it.) Anyway I am well aware that when presented with a table of cookies, cupcakes, and brownies, raisin squares will not sound very enticing to strangers, strangers who would otherwise go gaga over the family pie crust recipe. So my mom and I adapted an apple cranberry filling for square purposes. And the results are DELICIOUS! 

I realize that some people may not be very into cranberries, either, but they are really there as a secondary flavor, to give a kick to the apples. Also, may I add that I friggin' LOVE cranberries, and I refuse to further kowtow to people's unadventurous palates. I for one am the Queen of Tarts in all senses, so I wave the cranberry flag proudly. And for all those not in favor, buy yourself a salted fudge brownie and just know that you are missing out.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Will You Be My Valentine?

This year I rallied and made valentines. 
Somehow I think the impulse indicates a good year ahead. 

The theme this year was sprinkles. Sprinkles of love? 
No, just sprinkles.
Don't they make everyone happy?

Happy Valentine's Day to one and all!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Seven Questions for Sweet Dani B

Sweet Dani B's love gnome loves you... a lot.
Today we get a glimpse into the life of the woman behind the cookies, none other than Sweet Dani B herself, hot off her Valentine's Day appearance on "The Martha Stewart Show"! Dan may make the most fabulous looking and tasting cookies in the universe, but she is also a pretty awesome person. I had the privilege of making her acquaintance through a friend. I was a little intimidated to meet her, knowing that she had her own cookie company (!), styled for Martha Stewart (!!), and was best friends with my coolest new friend (!!!). I mean, really. But Dan immediately disarmed my nervousness with her smile, laugh, and all around excellent spirit.

After you read this post you should definitely start thinking about any upcoming parties that Dan can trick out for you — besides cookies she also creates awesome invitations and party environments (I think I just made that term up but I'm going with it). Not only will you love what she comes up with, you will be happy to find yourself working with such a cool cat. 

Here's wishing Dan all the success in the world! And not just 'cause she took the time to answer my questions. ; )

Q 1. What's something you wish more people knew? 
A 1. Agreeing to disagree can solve so many problems from big to small.

Q 2. Current favorite sources of inspiration? (Books, websites, movies, music, people, places, food)

A 2. I do a lot of online research these days but I so miss having time to pour over a stack of juicy mags... My ideal magazine stack would include a few of the fall issues (hopefully SJP in on one of the covers), the latest J. Crew and Free People catalogs, mixed in with Martha Living and Weddings all set next to a lovely glass of red wine and a few empty hours. If we are being honest, I'll throw in the current Us Weekly too. : )

Q 3. What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you do now?

Q 3. I had to ask my Mom about this because I have no recollection of wanting to "be" anything. I was doodling and making crafts (and messes) since I was very little... so when I started getting a little older my Mom said "Maybe you will be an artist some day" and I always said "I don't think so" or "I don't want to do that"... I was very big into art in middle school and high school and suddenly it was time to look at college. My parents were nervous about letting me loose in NYC (I was a bit of a rebel) so they drove us up to see RISD and while we were touring the studios I felt and strong need to be part of it... I applied and was lucky enough to get in but even through college I always wondered "what do I want to be?" I still wonder but try to live by "the journey is the destination" theory... I have worked in fashion as a graphic artist, a fashion illustrator, started an event design / cookie business, worked on restaurant graphics, styled for Martha Stewart (again walked into the Martha offices and had that 'this is where I belong' feeling), went freelance for Martha, then went back to my business and changed it up a bit. It's been a crazy journey. The constant is the desire to be creative and making myself and other people happy with what I do... "spreading the love" as they say.

Q 4. When you look back on your first love, how do you think your idea of love has changed or stayed the same?

A 4. I've always been obsessed with love as a "lifestyle" from then to now... My views on love have matured since high school but love is love... It's all meaningful.

Q 5. What is your biggest weakness? (Spiritual, disciplinary, dietary)

A 5. Red wine & pizza (separate, combined)

Q 6. Three things you want or are working toward in your future? 

A 6.   1. Peace with all my decisions  2. Big fenced in yard behind a great house near the beach- outdoor brick pizza oven, table for 12 to 14, and lots more rescue dogs running around the yard  3. Meeting THE Cookie Monster (no fakes)
The Real Cookie Monster? Or just an impostor?

Q 7. And finally, for my records, chocolate/chocolate, chocolate/vanilla,  vanilla/vanilla or other (please specify)?
(This is helpful in case I am ever bringing you dessert).
A 7. Chocolate/ vanilla, and I always like a topping or garnish... sprinkles, hot fudge, fresh whipped cream, or cookie crumbs on top!

A Spread from Dan's "Greatest Story Ever Told" Sketchbook.

Monday, February 7, 2011

If You Are Papering Your Walls

You may want to check out Trustworth Studios. Wallpaper's not really my thing (various shades of grey are as bold as I'm willing to go with walls in my current house), but if it was, I'd be all over these historical reproductions.
This one's called The Three Men of Gotham c. 1889 
Four and Twenty

Bat and Poppy c. 1897

Alice in Wonderland c.1930 (!!)

My parents, who are redoing their kitchen, have been on a months long hunt to find the perfect wall paper to compliment their 1930s tile and new yet retro style kitchen. They are loving me for finding this company, and I'm loving swooping in and saving the day!

My mom reports that the fine people at Trustworth will scale the wallpaper to whatever size you want, and match the background color to any paint or tile chip you provide. Amazing service!