Thursday, April 8, 2010

hip things for bikes

my friends at Bicycle Tree are so totally sweet-several months ago they gave me a RIGHTEOUS bicycle as a thank you for hosting their monthly bike workshop at the store.

SIDE NOTE: Bicycle Tree will be having their monthly workshop on April 24th (sat) and this time we will be having a vegetarian BBQ with it-part of our Spring/Summer festivities!

anyways...i have been using this bike, which i havent named yet, to commute to downtown Santa Ana for various goodies, meet friends or to have a drink at Memphis or Crosby-from my house/RLT, it usually takes about 5 minutes and i usually see a familiar face on the way....i really love my bike and i could not thank Bicycle Tree enough-they really didn't need to give me it.

anyways part 2....the reason i am mentioning this (besides giving props to BT), is b/c ever since i got the bike i have been noticing cool bike stuff and i wanted to share.

(LOVE these wooden crates from Arborecycles)

(Dark Cycle Clothing makes this cute tee into a bag as well)

(these tire-belts from Rebicyclist are totally punk and last a long time)

(gorgeous leather bike grips- and more from Walnut Studio, this is FOR SURE on the b-day list)

(great for a cruisin party-jDUCT)

( has a cute front basket and on sale!)

*NOW TO BICYCLE TREE'S WORKSHOP-every last Saturday of the month!*

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

food preservation classes, workshops and more-FINAL

i have a few more dates added in Downtown LA @ KTCHN 105, below is the final class schedule for food preservation. All classes, sales and lectures have been organized by city.

-April 24th-25th: Unique LA Gift Show
-May 2nd 3:30-7: Preserving Spring at KTCHN 105
-May 16th, 9-1PM: Hollywood Farmers' Market Citrus Demo (w/ Chef Ernest Miller)
-May 16th, 3:30-7: Canning Spicy Goodies @ KTCHN 105
-May 23rd: Jam Session @ Urban Craft Center (FARMERS' MARKET TOUR INCLUDED)
-June 16th: 3:30-7: Making Summertime Preserves @ KTCHN 105

-May 21st 7-9PM: Food Preservation for Drinkers @ {open} books
-June 6th, 11-5PM: PaTcHwOrK Arts & Crafts Fair, Long Beach

-April 11th, 2-5PM: Jam Session @ The Road Less Traveled Store
-April 17th, 10AM-2pm: Lecture on Sustainability in the Textile Industry @ CSUF Social Justice Summit
-April 18th, 1:30-3:30PM: Fermentation 2: Vinegar, Tonics and Yogurt (Taught by Chef Ernest Miller!)
-April 22nd, 6:30-9:30PM: Pickles and Relish @ Irvine Fine Arts Center
-April 23rd, 1-3PM: Organic-Start to Finish: Food Preservation Lecture @ South Coast Plaza Home Garden Show
-April 25th, 3-6PM: Foraged Foods @ The Road Less Traveled Store
-May 1st, 11-2: Working with Chilies @ Road Less Traveled Store
-May 8th, 2-5PM: Pickles and Relish @ The Road Less Traveled Store
-May 15th, 11-1PM: Fermentation 1-Kraut, Kimichi and other Old School Foods @ The Road Less Traveled Store
-May 20th, 6:30-9:30: Savory Spreads @ Irvine Fine Arts Center
-May 29th, 1-4PM: Summertime Food Preservation @ The Road Less Traveled Store
-May 30th, 11-5PM: PaTcHwOrK Arts & Crafts Fair, Santa Ana

* all workshops included: jars of finished product, appetizers while we work and recipes/guide*

adventure in loquats and other backyard fruit-and a special request to readers of this blog!

(THIS is why we have a VW bus-easy to load with fruit!)

i have been awaiting the loquat season excitedly...
ever since our loquat-a-paloza last year, i have been waiting like a little girl on Christmas night for the one month when loquats are in season, so delicious-yet a total pain in the a$$. not only is the season a split second, but once you pick them, they last about 2 days before they start going brown...but that's not all-

(Caitlin seeding and cleaning)

anyone who has had this Chinese fruit that looks and tastes more like an apricot than a kumquat knows that they are small and have 2-3 seeds in them...can't eat the seeds, they are known to be toxic.

(toasted loquat seeds-more to come on what i do with them...)

so last week, gustavo and i went to Tustin to pick fruit. we were lucky in that the tree we picked from had the larger variety of the fruit-SO much easier to deal with and it seems like they were ready a little earlier than the smaller version which was on a tree a few yards away. that day we were able to pick almost 2 baskets of loquats, tangelos, mandarin, lemons and a few find ugli fruit (more to come on that!)..what a score!

(from one small tree-we were able to have almost 2 baskets!)

(leaving Tustin, and noticing a lot of fruit trees...)

so what did we make?? 4 cases of loquat butter and a special brew-loquat n' honey vodka!...won't be ready for a few weeks at leaast, but will give an update!

if you have any fruit trees that you want me to pick or you can pick and hand over-i will give you a few jars of whatever i Spring!

Monday, April 5, 2010

compost happens

(my worm bin is so healthy-an old potato scrap is actually sprouting!)

for the past year or so we have been actively composting a business i really want to limit our waste and also it just seems kind of obvious that if we are going to sell composting items and have composting workshops that well....we should be composting right?
i have to admit though that i haven't been the best worm-wrangler (we vermicompost here), and our composting instructor and friend Jenna of Phoenix Infinite has a few times saved us from complete disasters...this past week was no exception.
unfortunately i have been too busy with work to really appreciate the fine are of worm composting...usually i just throw our various green waste under the "blanket" of damp newspaper and occasionally water the top area to keep it from drying out....seriously bare minimum. when Jenna came by, she said her usual, "let's see how your worms are doing" and again, i froze with panic that i again almost killed my wriggly guys.
as she checked the situ, i spouted off about 5 excuses of why they are almost gone, and that i am a horrible worm-mama, i don't deserve to compost, etc...
but i spoke too soon. Jenna turned to me with a big smile and said, "looks like these guys are ready for more room!"...thank goodness! but now what???
basically, making more room for more worms is kind of like adding an addition to your house.

1. mix foundation: basically take a coco-brick and wet it down, get it heavy with water.

(coco brick, lightweight and great material)

(add water to the brick and this is what you get-worm heaven!)

2. add some drywall: mix the coco with shredded paper

3. install the frame: add the next level of the composter, fill with your foundation and drywall.

4. raise the roof: wet some old newspaper and place on the mix, this keeps the worms nice and warm on those cold nights.

(today's Times, tomorrow's worm blankie)

5. dont forget the the food! add a few pieces of greens and the worms will travel up to the new addition within a few hours-they move pretty fast!

**if you want to learn from our composting pro Jenna, she will be at the store in April!**

Friday, April 2, 2010

affordable art: Hi Tree

i had actually seen this artist a few years back and had planned on carrying this LA-based Tina of Hi Tree's work, but one thing led to another and i totally forgot.
while going through my old bookmarks on my computer-doing a little Spring cleaning, i noticed the link and realized that i waited too long to do something-looks like Tina has added to her line and i LOVE it!

(these can look great anywhere-office wall, kid's room, family room)

(i love these pins-these seem to be a new addition to the collection)

(if you know how to embroider-this is a cute project to do yourself!)

my favorites are the trees and whats great about them is that there are small versions and even key chain varieties available. Hi-Tree is based out of LA-she would be great for Patchwork!
to see Hi Tree's Etsy store, go here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

taters project

was talking recently to fave customer Bonnie (please check out her solar cooking class too-pretty sweet!) about various adventures in growing food and she shared a tip that she has been using to grow potatoes. as she sat there talking about the large flower pots she was using and how the taters were doing really well, it dawned upon me that my poor little whiskey barrel was just barely popping out a few yellow cherry tomatoes...time to change things out.
so during the weekend i decided to go to the Irvine Farmers' Market to pick up some cool looking taters and see what happens...

(sprouting taters ready for planting)

when i got back home, i bid farewell to my wilting tomato and pepper plant and harvested the last of the onions. i checked the moisture of the barrel (which FYI, you need to drill some serious holes on the bottom-they get nasty if you do not have proper drainage) and did a few rotations of the soil.
according to Bonnie-this is what you do to have happy taters:
-get some taters and let them sprout, if they are big ones, cut them in smaller pieces-just make sure you have at least a couple "eyes" on each piece.
-let them dry for a few days in a sunny window
- lay them in hay (i did a small bed of soil w/hay on top)..when they start sprouting though, add more straw
-when the taters flower or when the shoots start to wilt it is time to enjoy!

(i simply placed the cut taters in some damp soil and covered with straw)

let's see how this turns out!

note: i have heard of tire-taters, or growing taters in tires. while i am all for the tire gardens, i cannot validate how safe it will be to have tires around food (and heat from the sun!)...let me know if you do this.