Sunday, November 30, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Honey Lavender Panna Cotta

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jennie was going gaga over panna cotta. And for good reasons. Panna cotta is so easy to make and such a delight to eat. It's a simple dessert to prepare and the flavor options are endless. I made a honey lavender version. There are countless of recipes you can look up online, but this is the one I used ...

1.5 tsp powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup cold whole milk
1/4 cup honey
3 tsp dried lavender (in a tea bag)

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup of cold whole milk and leave it to soften for a couple of minutes.
In the meantime, heat cream and dried lavender to a simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat, toss your bag of dried lavender, then whisk in honey and milk.
Pour into individual cups/bowls/ramekins, and put in refrigerator for 2-4 hours to set.

And that's it!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Spaces: 5 Questions with Jenna Robinson

We are so happy to have Jenna Robinson participate in our "5 Questions" series. Jenna was a late addition to the Small Spaces project, but her piece, on the fence behind DT Kirby's, is one of the most well-loved. Have you seen it yet?

jenna robinson

jenna robinson
(photos by Jenna Robinson, via Instagram)

Here are Jenna's answers!

1. What is your background in art?

I have always loved drawing, painting, and crafting. I was one of the only kids in elementary school who actually liked going to art class. I took several photography and art classes in high school and college, even getting an Art & Design minor while at Purdue. Even though I was a techie in school, I would still consider myself more of an artist than anything.

2. What is your (brief) definition of street art?

I think I’d be with the majority in saying street art is a collaborative effort of putting works in underappreciated or unacknowledged areas of town. It’s so fun to give life to a dead space.

3. Who are your influences and inspiration?

For this particular project: Warhol/pop art and my roommate’s cat.

4. How do you think Small Spaces contributes to the art scene in Lafayette?

I think it did a brilliant job of giving freedom to artists. Small Spaces gave people the
opportunity to say something through art to a new audience.

5. Where (online or otherwise) can we view more of your work?

I don’t really have an online art portfolio, but I post some art on my Instagram (@hello_jrob) and my photography portfolio is online at

Friday, November 28, 2014

Just thought we'd share ...


Zach received a really nice note from a lady named Lisa who attended the Small Spaces: Talk & Tour event last Sunday. She wrote to say that she enjoyed meeting some of the artists who were involved with the project, and that she was excited for all the art that filled downtown over the summer. Lisa wrote an amazing blog post about her experience which we want to share here. It is not often that you get to see/read/hear from people who love and support the project so wholeheartedly. Lisa does, and her enthusiasm is infectious!

Here's an excerpt:

A couple of days ago, I was invited on Facebook to an event for “Small Spaces” that said it would be a street lecture and tour. For those of you that do not know what “Small Spaces” is, it is a local art project here in Lafayette (funded with grant money) where local artists create artwork in the Downtown Lafayette area on buildings where the owners give approval. Its purpose is to bring some BEAUTY and INTEREST to some otherwise boring spaces. Since I am not a journalist, I can say EXACTLY what I think! Neat, huh?

Those of you that know me, understand that I LOVE this idea and also the arts. I also believe in supporting the community and making it a better place. I also agree with spending money (aka: tax dollars) to support such ideas. WHY do I agree with this when I am normally fiscally conservative? Mainly, because I would spend my OWN money anyway to support it (and do), so I am HAPPY to see my tax dollars going to something I actually want! THANK YOU!

Okay, so let me get some pseudonyms out of the way before I continue my story. Zach Medler (ZMed) is the curator of the Small Spaces project. Aaron Bumgarner (ABum, I made that up myself) is an artist that has done A LOT of artwork downtown and we have an unusual Reese’s cup connection that ends up being quite interesting. At least to me!

So here is how the event went: ZMed said a few words and then Mayor Tony got up and said how he appreciated and supported the project. Mayor Tony was in between events and it reminded me that Mayors are really busy. This was a SUNDAY folks, and he was out doing events. We should keep that in mind.. . . So then ZMed did a brief explanation of the project and expressed that he REALLY just wanted to answer questions! This is where it got completely interesting. . .


You can read the entire post by visiting Lisa's blog here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I visited my friend Corrinne and her kids at their new house a couple of Fridays ago and they made me these awesome cards. 

These sweet and funny kids always make me feel like a rock star when I am around them. I hope you are spending this day with someone (or a whole bunch of people!) who make you feel like a rock star too!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Apples and Pears

We just got home from the very last Farmers' Market (West Lafayette) of the season, where we stocked up on Melrose and Winesap apples, and a giant bag of Asian pears. Now we are back in the kitchen to resume our cooking frenzy. I am done with my pumpkin pies, ginger cookies, and wild rice stuffing, so it's Zach's turn to pickle beets and make some gobble-gobble meatballs!

We hope you have a great time tomorrow. Safe travels, everyone!

Christmas Ornaments for 2014

letter blocks say what

Our Christmas ornaments for 2014 are finally done! It was a long process of carving blocks, printing, embroidering, and sewing, but we're so glad we made them!

block print ornaments

Each one of these balls have a one of a kind embroidered design. The robots, well, are robots. So while they are not one of a kind, they are fun in multiples.

one of a kind christmas ornaments

robot ornaments

As you can see, we only have a limited number of ornaments. We are taking all of them to Artists' Own. If you live locally, do stop in to see them after Thanksgiving!

block print ornaments

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Homemade Healing Salves

I spent the evening making some salves using oils we've infused with our homegrown calendula. I also have a chamomile and lavender infused oil that I made using the organic dried flowers we put in our stuffed animals and "jars"!

The process is fairly simple. You infuse oils with flowers and herbs for at least 4-6 weeks. Strain, add some beeswax and stir into a consistency that works for you! I added some essential oils, but this step is totally optional. You can look at this website for more details. The hardest part is cleaning up your pot after you are done. I find the best way to do this is to rub some baking soda into your pot to lift the grease and wax.

All the homemade salve will come in handy this winter when my skin is dry and itchy. I like that I can use something that I made, with ingredients that I know. I let Zach design some labels for the bottles that I'm sending to our nephew and cousin, and this is what he came up with! Pretty funny, huh?

Monday, November 24, 2014

from the studio: 11.24.14

Small Spaces: Talk & Tour on WLFI

Here's WLFI's coverage of yesterday's Talk & Tour event. You can read the original article here. And if you are still following the Journal and Courier's coverage of Small Spaces (why?!!!), you can read their version here

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thank You!

Zach and I would like to say the BIGGEST "thank you" to everyone who braved the rain to attend the Small Spaces: Lafayette Talk & Tour this afternoon. We not only got to hear the Mayor, Economic Development Director, Dennis Carson, and Zach speak about the project and the impact of it on our community, but there was also a lively Q&A session that went on afterwards.

For those who joined us on the downtown tour, we hope you had some fun in spite of the weather. If you took pictures and want to share them, you can do so on the Small Spaces Facebook page. Alternatively, you can also use the hashtag #smallspaceslafayette on whichever social media platform you prefer. We look forward to seeing your additions!

photos by Pete Brown, via Midwest Street Art

Recipe of the Week: Best Butternut Squash Soup

About a month ago, Zach and I were so fortunate to be invited to our friends Kathleen and Dana's house for a visit. They live in a house Dana built out in beautiful Warren County.

The unique house and their artful lives were the cover story for last fall's Lafayette Magazine!

We had too much fun on our visit. We helped out in the gorgeous vegetable garden, took hikes and foraged for mushrooms. Zach and Dana climbed a 100 ft tall white pine tree, while I stayed on the ground and bonded with their cats and dogs.

Kathleen has been sharing with us fresh produce from her garden and eggs from her chickens for the better part of this year. In return, Zach is painting her and Dana's new outhouse.

letter blocks say what

The second time we went out to their house, Kathleen fed us an unforgettably delicious butternut squash and white bean soup.

I've never been a big fan of butternut squash but I loved her soup. We also just received some white beans from Zach's mom that we helped to plant earlier in the spring. So I decided to write and ask Kathleen for her recipe. Try it. I think you'll love this soup too.

1 cup dried white beans (soaked overnight in 4 cups of water)
1 medium butternut squash, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 onions, sliced thin
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
3-4 sage leaves
salt, to taste

In a large pot, cook beans in 3 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water until soft, about 45 minutes.
While you wait for the beans, saute onions until golden, then add herbs and squash, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
When the beans are done, add squash mixture into large pot with beans.
Cook at a simmer until the squash and beans become very soft.
Season with salt.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Small Spaces: Talk and Tour

Zach and a couple other speakers will be giving a short talk about this trailblazing project, followed with a tour downtown to see the artworks painted over the summer. Please consider joining us for this event. You'll get to learn more about the project, hear more about the work, and meet some of the artists involved! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Limited Edition Stencil Paintings

small spaces lafayette

Zach spent all day in the studio today working on a series of limited edition stencil paintings of Whistler's Mother Sewing Sol LeWitt's Quilt. It's a fun little replica of the piece we collaborated on the side of Sylvia's Brick Oven, and I love how it turned out! This painting is a whimsical mix of our ideas, the traditional and the modern, the softness of Whistler's mother and the bright, colorful Sol LeWitt-inspired geometric forms.

zach medler art

zach medler art

zach medler art

If you're a fan of Small Spaces, this is such a great way to own a small piece of the project!

whistler's mother sewing sol lewitt's quilt

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Almost Thanksgiving!

Muir Woods, where we spent Thanksgiving in 2010

We're about a week away from Thanksgiving, and everywhere I look on Facebook, people have their Christmas trees up already. Is it because the weather outside is frightful? We don't have the tradition of putting up a tree for the holiday season. But we are looking forward to cooking for the hoildays. Last year, Zach and I were super ambitious. We made a gourmet mac and cheese, pickled beets, a wild rice casserole, pumpkin pies, and a tres leches cake (why not?!!!). This year, we are planning on bringing with us the same pickled beets, wild rice casserole, and pumpkin pies. But instead of slaving over the mac and cheese, Zach is making turkey meatballs, and I am thinking about possibly baking some ginger cookies. His grandparents, mom, and aunts will make everything else. I also can't wait to go shopping at the last farmers' market of the season this weekend! I like seeing my farmer friends one last time and thank them for feeding us so well this year.

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