Monday, September 18, 2017

a recipe for early Fall: tomato couscous soup

Every year around this time we go crazy for soups. In fact, the past several years, I've shared a round up list of some of our favorites (see here, here & here).

This year is, of course, no exception. We've been making many of the soups on that list and experimenting with a few more. Today I thought I'd share one with you, in case it's chilly where you are as well, and you're in the mood for something healthful and warming. Enjoy! 

you will need: 
a lug of olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dried herbs (oregano, parsley or thyme work well!)
2 cups veggie broth
1 cup couscous
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
generous handful fresh basil & balsamic reduction for topping

Heat your onion and garlic in a pan with some olive oil until the onion is slightly translucent and the garlic smells amazing. Add tomato paste and stir. Add your chopped fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes and sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Pour in the balsamic vinegar. Add your dried herbs and cover the whole thing in veggie broth, giving it a good stir. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Add your couscous. Let the whole thing simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to insure the couscous doesn't stick. Add your salt and pepper and serve piping hot, topped with fresh chopped basil and a drizzle of your favorite balsamic reduction. 

(PS: In lieu of a whole separate 5 soups post, we're also enjoying this and this -found through Pinterest, looking forward to making this from last year, and are planning on Pumpkin Curry this week! Yum!)

Monday, September 4, 2017

September's Quote

"When we are who we are called to be, we will set the world ablaze"
- St. Catherine of Siena

Been thinking lots about how the best thing we can offer the world is ourselves- who we truly are and not who/what we think we should be. It's an easy concept to understand but a little harder to truly accept and live out, or so I'm finding.  

PS: I announced the giveaway winners for our MAL over on Instagram last week in case you missed it. Thanks to everyone who joined in, we had such a blast! The giveaway was sponsored by myself, Ink & Soil and Nailya Plaskey Designs- congrats to the winners!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

swatch diaries- brioche & my summer project

Today it's time for the second installment of my swatch diaries series- brioche! 

This summer I've been working on the gorgeous Briochealicious shawl by Andrea Mowry and it's been such a fun project. I've been wanting to try brioche knitting for ages and this seemed like the perfect introductory project- simple enough for a newbie like me and not so overwhelming thanks to the garter stitch panels in between. Not to mention it's wearability- and the fact that it's simply stunning.

Okay so onto my swatch: I used Tosh Merino Light (from Madeline Tosh) for this project (colorways: Antler, Glazed Pecan, Heartbeat and Venetian) purchased at Valley Yarns in Surrey back in March. I also took Nancy Marchant's brioche class on Craftsy back in June to give me a little more confidence in mastering this stitch. I would recommend that to anyone feeling intimidated by Brioche. 

In the Craftsy class I made a swatch, learning both brioche knit & purl stitches as well as one and two color brioche. It was such fun and really prepared me well for knitting this shawl. 

The funniest part of all this is that I don't actually have a photo of my swatch. When finishing it, I was too excited and cast on my shawl immediately, thinking I'd just snap a photo later. But I can't find it! So sad! But anyways, I still wanted to share about this swatch & project, so the photos of my WIP will have to do!

Have y'all tried brioche? What's been your experience with it? 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Raincloud and Sage yarn

so big news to drop today: I am starting a yarn label.

For the past several months, I've been working quietly but diligently behind the scenes on my newest creative venture- r&s yarn. I'm very excited and completely scared out of my mind to finally officially announce it with you all today. 

Honestly, the idea for this yarn came about quite organically- I wasn't exactly looking for this opportunity. But once we did dream it up, I just couldn't stop thinking about it. It's scary because I don't exactly know what I'm doing and I'm having to learn a TON each step of the way. It's exciting because, well honestly? It feels like the perfect place for me to end up in this season of my life and fiber journey. 

So what will r&s yarn look like, you ask? We hope to offer *very* small batch farm yarns 100% grown, spun & dyed within 50km of where I live in central Germany. This year there will be two bases of woolen spun yarn available, in two different undyed colorways as well as limited edition, one of a kind, naturally dyed skeins. R&S yarn will be run by myself and my good friend Marty, with a focus on partnerships with other creatives and fiber folk.

Our yarn will launch in October. Until then you can stay updated by following us on Instagram (we're @raincloudandsage over there...) or signing up for our newsletter via the link on our website: Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing more of our origin story, as well as behind the scenes peeks at our process AND of course, any updates on when our shop will be opening. 

I'm so excited about this venture and I hope you'll come along with us for the journey. Thanks as always for stopping by this little space of mine. I'm glad you're here. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August's quote

"do good work and share it with people"
-Austen Kleon

First saw this in the window of a book store in Dublin four years ago now. I remember storing it away in my mind, like a mantra for the months to come. I still need this reminder all these years later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spring Book Report

Over the past few months I've managed to squeeze in quite a bit of reading time, between the cracks of my days and evenings. I've been sharing (most of) the books I'm working my way through over on Instagram under the hashtag #whatruthisreading2017 but I don't tend to share much of what I thought of a book, and a few of the books in those pictures ended up being swapped out for others. 

I'm still working on my goal of reading one fiction and one non-fiction book per month, with an end total of 24 books for this year, and that has been going really well. A few of these have been picks for my book club and I've enjoyed stretching myself and picking up a few titles I might not have otherwise gotten to. So without any more chatter, here's my Spring book report! 

Let's start with the books from that list:

Anne of Green Gables // LM Montgomery
Read this while in Canada this March and it was lovely. Perfect for Spring and perfect for reading while at home. 

As Always Julia // Julia Child & Avis DeVoto
I did enjoy this but I ended up skimming through parts of it. While interesting, it was just very very long and I slogged my way through the second half. I would recommend it if you enjoyed My Life in France but keep in mind that it's a collection of letters and not a memoir...

Lab Girl // Hope Jahren
LOVED this. Easily the best book I've read this year so far.

The Magic of Motherhood // Ashlee Gadd (Coffee & Crumbs)
I really enjoyed this one as well. It's a collection of essays on motherhood written by different women and I found a lot to relate to in these pages.

And here are a few other titles that I managed to read:

A Monster Calls // Patrick Ness
This is YA short fiction and it totally sucked me in. Read it all in one night.

Rebecca // Daphine Du Maurier
Read this for my book club and (although I suggested it) I was a bit skeptical at first. It took me a bit of time to get into it but then I was hooked. It made for a great discussion!

Half of A Yellow Sun // Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
This one is this month's book club pick and I've not actually finished it yet. Though it's well written I'm struggling a bit, as it's quite heavy reading. I'm definitely learning a ton about Nigerian history that I wasn't aware of before.

At Home in the World // Tsh Oxenreider
Really loved this one. It was perfect summer reading and just a good story. I really related to parts of Tsh's spiritual journey and her thoughts on home as she travelled around the world with her family and even found myself tearing up in a few spots. I did the audio version, which is read by the author, and I'd recommend that for sure.

Got some books currently on my nightstand/coffee table/e reader that I'm super excited about getting to over the next few months. I'll be sure to share a little list soon. What are you guys reading this summer? 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July's Quote

"knit on with confidence and hope through all crisis."
-Elizabeth Zimmerman

This may seem a bit of a funny quote to pick for this month, particularly because I am not going through any sort of crisis.I am however working on a few creative projects that are taking longer than I had hoped to come together. And this quote is reminding me that the most important thing about creative work sometimes is to just keep going. This is how good work gets done.