Now that the cool weather has returned, I'm back to my obsessive chai latté drinking...which can be an expensive indulgence, as are many of my favourite things (if only I could make my own cheese). Last winter I scoured the web for masala chai recipes (note: the word chai actually means tea so don't go to India and ask for a chai tea...gah how embarrassing). A good cup seems to be subjective; it all depends on your preferred level of spice and sweetness. I ended up combining and modifying a few recipes and have settled on the concoction I've posted below - of course I'm by no means an expert, I definitely recommend experimenting with the spice blend and ratio. I make the concentrate and store it in the fridge, making just one cup at a time. Warm it up with milk, add a lil' sprinkle of cinnamon sugar if you so desire and bam - deeeelish. And while Cory and I still dream of one day visiting India, for now I'll have to settle for a homemade cup of chai and take-out from our local Indian restaurant (I'm still working on my korma). If you make your own masala chai, please share - I'd love to hear your recipe.
Masala Chai Concentrate (makes enough for approximately five drinks)
1.5 tsp black peppercorns
12 whole cloves
2 star anise
2 tsp cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in pieces
2" piece of ginger, cut into rounds, crushed with back of knife
2 tbsp sugar
4 cups of water
4 bags of black tea or the equivalent in loose leaf (assam or darjeeling for the win)
2 tbsp honey
Place first 4 ingredients in a bag and roughly crush with a mallet (or the back of a spoon) to release the flavours, then add to a medium saucepan along with the cinnamon, ginger, sugar and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the tea and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, continue to steep for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid into a container and discard the solids. Stir honey into concentrate. Allow to cool before transferring the container to the fridge. When ready to use, add equal parts tea concentrate to steamed milk (play with this ratio depending on the strength of tea you prefer). [I usually warm my tea and milk together on the stove top over medium heat - whisking at the end to create a nice foam]
* For a cool bevvie, mix the concentrate with milk and ice in a cocktail shaker, shake and serve in a tall glass.
It's hard to believe there's just over a month until the One of a Kind Show - it's madness in the Flakes Paperie studio with stacks of paper to be printed in every corner! If you will be attending the show (excellent decision) click here to purchase online tickets for $11 (regular onine tickets are $12 and tickets purchased at the show are $14). I'll be peddling my pretty paper wares at booth T19 - if you've never been to the show, go. So much amazing design in one space is rare. Also, stay tuned to my facebook and instagram as I will be having a giveaway for free tickets to the show next month!
Of course I'm biased, but I really loved this particular wedding suite....ok I love them all....but there was something very sweet about Carrie and Kevin's invitations. The ceremony took place at Carrie's parents home, a bit of a tradition for the women in her family. The family home is a beautiful old brick house which I was thrilled to illustrate and screen-print on the cover of the invitation. Paired with their gorgeous colour scheme, banner accents and a clean design, the result was a sweet, personal invitation complete with a pocket to house the custom map (marked with the family's delicious chocolate shop) and RSVP postcard.
I also created wedding day stationery to match, including sweet table signage, a seating chart, table number flags and program fans printed with "For Like Ever", a statement taken from a poster designed by Super Rural which they have hanging in their home.
Hey remember me? The author of this dear neglected blog who disappeared all summer...right, that's me. I planned a lengthy hiatus to build reader anticipation....um yes...that's it. Or the summer was just a busy time, as it is for everyone, and so I put a pause on blogging. To get back in the habit of sharing, here's a selection of summertime pics (from my instagram feed). In the coming weeks I'll be posting lots of new card designs as well as some of the super rad custom work I created this summer (of which you can catch a few sneak peeks of below).
To close, a song that's currently on repeat in my studio while I screen-print my life away (happily), with a video containing two of my favourite things; NYC and copious glasses of wine. Happy weekend!
Back in the new year, when my friend Kelly sent me her inspiration pictures for her son's first birthday party, (the adorable Henry) I was pretty excited. I mean animals in neon party hats - hello! I got to work illustrating and printing a flat, 4 colour invitation for the celebration brunch.
The invite was screen-printed by hand on white stock and paired with a dark grey envelope.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, Cory and I were fortunate to plan a short trip following the One of a Kind Show. It was last minute (as are all trips when your husband's in the military) and exactly what we needed (ok, wanted). Having both been absorbed with work the last few months it was great to finally spend quality time together...and it was oh so easy to leave behind the dreary, cold Ontario weather to bask in California's 30 degree dry desert heat.
Our first few nights were spent at The Orbit In (and it's sister property The Hideaway), which were incredibly authentic in their mid-century architecture and decor, an era of design we both love which is abundant in PS and was a big part of our decision to travel there. Our first room was outfitted with fantastic retro furniture including a record player and even had an outdoor shower with mountain views. I repeat outdoor shower with mountain views. Biking through the quiet desert modern neighbourhoods was definitely a highlight - bungalows, each one our dream home, with clean, modern simplicity, walls made of glass and perfectly manicured lawns. I could go on all day. I've already started working on a stationery collection inspired by the trip and these bungalows in particular, which I'm pretty darn excited about.
Other highlights include exploring Joshua Tree National Park in our rental jeep, drinking mexican hot chocolate (my new obsession), people watching at the Ace, buying cheap booze at Rite Aid (ok, this is my husband's favourite thing, "Look at how cheap this is! I mean we have to buy it."), sipping said cheap booze by the poolside fire in the evening while channeling Don Draper (...ok, like a female Don Draper), swimming in salt water pools and drying off in the hot sun. Sigh...we are already dreaming of going back.
At the end of March I packed up my paper goodies and once again set up the Flakes Paperie booth at the One of a Kind Show. The Spring show always seems so short compared to the Christmas Show (I'm not complaining!) and it was great to see many of the regular FP shoppers and OOAK exhibitors. I was happy to introduce some new card designs as well as the Tiny Card Collection and the Recipe Card Set, which will both be available on Etsy shortly. I was also fortunate to meet some lovely retailers who have added FP cards to their inventory - including Demo Soaps, Tank and Oh Hello Friend.
It's been a while, so I thought I'd share a snapshot of what I've been up to courtesy of my instagram feed, which actually serves as a convenient reminder of what the heck I've been doing. Along with exhibiting at the Spring One of a Kind Show, filling new wholesale orders and working on custom wedding projects, I was lucky enough to get away for a short but sweet holiday in the sun. It's been a hectic but rewarding few months. Stay tuned as I've penned and planned lots of posts with detailed ramblings of the snippets below...
Tiff and Matt were to be married in a rural barn and wanted an invite to reflect that as the main theme. At our consultation however, we got to chatting about the fact that they had lived in different parts of the world and loved to travel, which we decided would be a wonderful personal detail to incorporate. The final design was inspired by a note Matt once wrote Tiffany, which included a sketch of an arrow around the world and read "How far I'd go to come home to you" (aww, right?). Seeking a design that her fiancé would still think was cool (this was crucial), we selected kraft paper with red, cream and robins egg blue ink and fun wording. An illustrated map tied the suite together. The sweet personal detail of this invite still makes it one of my favourites of the season.
Rachael and Matt's invitation is a great example of just how unique and personalized a custom invite can be. As outdoor enthusiasts getting married at a rustic ski resort, where they were giving saplings as guest favours, Rachael and Matt hoped to have an invitation that incorporated these natural elements. As you can see below, I illustrated a twisty old tree carved with their initials and printed a wood grain pattern on the invitation page. I couldn't have been happier with the result and with Rachael's enthusiasm, which made the project even that much more fun to create!
For those of you looking for someone new to follow on Instagram who posts frequent pictures of print projects, food and cats (and more, I swear), then you should probably follow me. My username is the entirely predictable, flakespaperie.
This past summer I had the pleasure of creating a birth announcement for sweet little Madeleine (ohhh that name!). Madeleine's Mom, my good friend Johannah's only request was that it compliment her son Eddie's announcement. We chose a pretty coral as the main colour with pops of brown and blue and a scalloped border to match. Following the screen-printing, the adorable photo was affixed and the announcements were paired with kraft envelopes.
Time for a little Etsy update. The remaining 2013 screen-printed wall calendars have been reduced in price and the shop has been loaded up with individual greeting cards, including Valentine's Day! The cards are available in bundles of 5, your choice of occasion(s). As an extra special offering because I think you're so super swell, use the code FPFAN10 to receive an additional 10% off your entire FP Etsy order. Sounds like an invitation to do some serious couch-shopping, no? To clarify, that would be shopping from your couch, not shopping for a couch...I don't sell couches. Right then, getting back on track, the coupon code is valid until February 14th. And to close, a smattering of Love/Valentine's Day cards...
I just wanted to share a few phone pics edited with one of my favourite apps, Afterglow. I mostly love it for the border options - you can make circles, triangles, hearts and more. As per usual, most of these pictures are of Mister Pimms. He so tires of the paparazzi.
Yay Friday! It's been a print-heavy week here in the studio and I am looking forward to a weekend off. I have several new greeting card designs to share with you next week as well as an update on the growing list of Flakes Paperie retailers! If you are off to the movies this weekend and want to scratch a few Oscar nominated flicks from your list, I highly recommend checking out Silver Linings Playbook. It's sweet and lovely and very funny with with some incredible performances. And for Tarantino fans, Django Unchained is faaantastic. Of course it's not for everyone, but Cory and I definitely enjoyed it. Christoph Waltz (the terrifying Nazi in Inglorious Basterds) is perfection and unexpectedly charming. Though two very different movies, they share a common element, which is the importance and impact of carefully selected, eclectic music. And so, a song from each...
From Silver Linings Playbook, Girl from the North Country. A Bob Dylan song I've always loved, but this time, a version with Johnny Cash that I'd never heard. It's goosebump-inducing and played during such a sweet scene in the movie.
And from Django Unchained, Who Did that to You by John Legend.
Being sick over the holidays meant I wasn't able to make my favourite turkey soup. Thankfully we were able to freeze the turkey carcass (that sounds moderately creepy) and so I spent much of Sunday in the kitchen simmering the stock and chopping veggies. Making your own stock is time consuming to say the least but worth it as this recipe is the best. It's a hearty chowder filled with wild rice, cremini mushrooms, corn and salty pancetta. Next time you have a turkey, I highly recommend making up a big ol' pot of this chowder...just be prepared, after all your labour, for this clip from the movie Juno to apply to you.
Recipe for Turkey Chowder with Wild Rice, Crimini and Pancetta via Epicurious, originally from Bon Appétit.
Makes 8 main-course servings
2 1/2 cups water 3/4 cup wild rice (about 5 ounces), rinsed, drained 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 3-ounce packages sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), diced 12 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (about 5 1/2 cups) 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter 2 carrots, diced 2 celery stalks, chopped 1/2 cup chopped shallots 1/3 cup all purpose flour 10 cups Turkey Stock 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary 2 to 4 cups chopped cooked turkey meat (reserved from carcass) 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels 1 cup heavy whipping cream Chopped fresh Italian parsley
Bring 2 1/2 cups water, rice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender but still firm to bite, 45 to 60 minutes (time will vary depending on variety of rice). Drain; set aside.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until browned, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Add mushrooms to pot and cook until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Add butter to same pot. Add carrots and celery. Cover; cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add shallots; stir until soft, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over and stir 1 minute. Return mushrooms to pot. Mix in Turkey Stock and rosemary; bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
Add rice, pancetta, turkey meat, and corn to soup. Simmer to blend flavors, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cool. Cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.
Divide soup among bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.