The BEST Salad Ever!

I’m not a salad girl. At a restaurant I’m much more likely to order ribs and fries than a plate full of greens, but lately I’ve been craving just that. Well, actually just one salad in particular. Madison’s most authentic Irish pub on the capitol square, Brocach is home to the amazing Shades of Green salad and today I got all the fixins’ and whipped up my own version. Here’s my recipe!

Ingredients:
•Mixed greens—go with something more flavorful than Iceburg. I like a mix with frisée and some red or purple leaves, they have a bitterness that works great with the sweet elements in the toppings!
•Raspberry vinaigrette—the trick to a great salad is to toss your greens with your dressing before adding the rest of your ingredients!
•Bleu cheese crumbles
•Dried cranberries
•Candied walnuts

Mmmmm… I’m getting hungry again. Enjoy!

rough drAft books

Isn’t there something wonderful about a fresh notebook? That first, crisp page staring blankly at you can be intimidating, and yet inviting—receiving the mark of your pen is its purpose after all. A book that also happens to be a beautiful work of art in itself can become quite the treasure.

Today we meet E, proprietor of Rough Draft Books and maker of amazing pieces with a noble goal. She’ll tell us a little bit about what she does, why she does it and how her work ended up being carried by Anthropologie! Along the way, she dispenses some advice we can all take to heart. Enjoy!

Tell us about your work—why do you create what you do?
The work I make for my book studio, roughdrAftbooks, is mostly hand made book forms. Their purpose is simple: to aid in this obsession I have with recording stories and storytelling. I am making spaces for people to document their lives. I am hoping in some small way it serves to keep the art of writing and oral storytelling from ever completely disappearing. I am hoping if people write their stories, they will then tell their stories and as the history of the world is being recorded each day, all these new voices will be heard. And hopefully, collectively, that history will be more reflective of all the people who have lived lives here. That’s a lot to ask of a hand made book I know, but we like to dream big round these parts! [laughs]

How did you learn your craft?
A dear friend of mine started making books after we graduated college and she started showing me some simple forms. I got really interested and started taking a few classes here and there and finally was hooked. From then on, it was just practice, practice, practice. My training is in graphic design and art history so I came to book binding later on in the game. But once it found me, thanks to that friend, I knew it was the perfect fit for all my aesthetic sensibilities.

Where do you find all your beautiful papers and materials?
Most of the books I make now are hand painted using spray paint and acrylic or drawn on in marker or pencil right on the cover boards. They really are these intimate little paintings that just happen to be book covers. Most are one of a kind. When I do use papers or found objects, they are coming from a variety of places and most are scraps actually. The metal is from junk yards and the paper is from years and years of hoarding! I do get some of the specialty papers from Talas or Hollanders online.

How has your work evolved?
My work specifically to book making has evolved so much in the last 10 years. I think when you are learning a new craft in the beginning the learning curve is steep so you are just mastering the skill of how to make something, you are just getting used to the vocabulary. As you get better and the actual making becomes second nature, your ideas can finally be more clearly realized. I’m at a point now where I am simply trying to say what I mean in the form and in the content, making those two serve each other is difficult at times. In the end though I hope for the user, it’s still a beautiful object that doubles as a space for someone to tell their story in.

What is your greatest challenge?
I guess my greatest challenge is always time. I always have more ideas than hours in a day or energy I can muster! I just keep copious amounts of lists and sketchbooks filled with notes and ideas in hopes one day I will see them through to creation. Wishful thinking!

What inspires you?
There is a constant thread of things I am inspired by on a visceral level and then there is always some newly “found” love of my life things fluttering about inspiring me to no end. Right now—this second—I am enthralled by banjos and fiddles, filtered light, crushes, army green, scarf-wearing weather and owning a camera again. But the list of inspiration that is embedded inside me is: lines, land masses, cracks, horizons, territories, earth surfaces, natural patterns, chance. crevices, stories, the space between things. pauses. Words and their fluid meanings, memory, tension, shape; the way one line meets up against another, or where one colors starts to change into its opposite. I like thinking about middle grounds. I don’t know, I suspect I am pretty transparent, you can kind of see those influences in the stuff I make… ok not the banjos.

Tell us about your etsy business.
I don’t feel like I am very good at etsy although I do love it. I came to it as a customer and an admirer way before I decided to sell my books on the site.
I started selling them in 2009 on etsy, but I’ve been making them for about 12-15 years now. I think I am still a beginner so I make mistakes daily. Etsy isn’t my full time job but making things is. I just make them for a variety of platforms not just online.

What advice do you have for new etsians?
Good luck brave souls, go forth and MAKE.

Where can readers find your work?
You can find my work in Philadelphia shops like ArtStar and the Art Shop at Moore College of Art & Design. If you aren’t in Philadelphia, check out your local Anthropologie store and give a look. Also on Anthropologie.com too!

How did the relationship with Anthropologie come about and what was it like working with a national retailer?
Yes, thanks so much. I have been collaborating with Anthropologie for about 4 years now in terms of making objects for their stores to sell. For me, I was lucky because I already had a relationship with the company and we have an aesthetic that compliments each other. I think that’s the best thing to try to find if you are trying to get your work out into the world. Find places that speak to your work’s inherent aesthetic sensibility because everything is not for everyone. Find the people or the environment that will appreciate and support your kind of work.

Easy DIY Ribbon Necklace

Last May, we featured a great ribbon-and-chain necklace in a BRAVA fashion shoot. While everyone from the models to our fashion coordinator coveted the lovely piece, I sat back and thought, “I could make that.” As with most things on that list, it took me months to get there, but finally, I have that perfect mix of hard and soft embodied in a piece of jewelry!

The project was so easy to make, I thought I’d share the super quick instructions with you!

Supplies:
•60″ length of 1.5″ wide satin ribbon
•ubiquitous tacky chain necklace from the ’80s (I’d venture to guess you could substitute a light chain from the hardware store instead!)

Step 1: Lay the necklace flat, making sure the links fall as you’ll want to wear it. Thread the ribbon through the first link. Leaving about 20″ of ribbon at the end, tie a knot.

Step 2: Weave the ribbon through the rest of the links, making sure not to flip any so the necklace will hang nicely around your neck.

Step 3: Keeping the necklace flat, tie a knot at the other end of the necklace to ensure the  chain doesn’t slip down the ribbon.

Step 4: Tie the necklace around your neck so it hangs at a length you like and voila!

Holidaze

Well kids, it’s officially November. Believe me, I checked. Twice. I don’t know where summer or even fall went, but I do know that we’re working on the December issue of BRAVA, so that means I had better get my act together and get some holiday cards out!

Now available in the 622 press shop: several different colors of ornaments, a vintage “Fifth Day of Christmas” print and the PEACE tree card below. Enjoy and have a happy November!