Craft Marathon

There was a time when I was still in school that I had the time to do things besides homework and thesis projects; a time when I hosted a weekly craft night for friends.  But the ratio of free time to school time was far too little to allot time for craft night.  The weight of school work also impacted my friends as well, leaving us with mustered up creativity and no time to let it out. By the beginning of our last semester in college we began to become irritable due to lack of crafting happening in our lives. Maddy and I felt we needed to do something about it, so we planned a party.  We had to hold out for 5 more months of school, but everyone worked hard to get it all done.  And after our hard work, we let loose all of our creativity at my place for a CRAFT MARATHON.

    -Photos by Joe Scordo

I sent out an invitation via facebook explaining my intentions of the Craft Marathon. I made a list of materials I would supply and things I recommend bringing.

Basic supplies:
scissors
paper
glue
paint
paintbrushes
pencils

Limited supply of:
patterned/oragami paper
glitter
rhinestones
clay
felt
beads
string

Items you should bring:
x-acto knife
fabric
yarn
embroidery floss
knitting needles
found objects

I encouraged everyone to bring their own craft idea, so that they had all the materials they needed.  I also made a list of ideas incase they had makers-block.  I provided a description and project list for each project. I had originally planned it in the park, so we can do group activities such as sun-prints and paper making. It ended up being in my apartment, which worked out well because all of my supplies were all there.

Project ideas:
-BRAIDED RUG FROM OLD SHIRTS/FABRIC-google search diy braided rug.
They're really cool and super easy to make. so if you think you 
might want to make one *BRING OLD SHIRTS* 

-SOAP CARVING- some of you have made them before, they are fun, 
easy and decorative. *BRING A BAR OF SOAP AND A CARVING TOOL 
ie:xacto*

-SCULPEY CLAY DECORATED OBJECTS-*link below* you can make a design 
with sculpey clay then stick it onto a heat resistant object and 
bake it for a long lasting decoration. (BAKING MUST BE DONE IN A 
TOASTER OVEN i have one or you can bring it home and do it, 
instructions will be given later) *BRING AN OBJECT(able to fit in a 
toaster oven), and 1 OR 2 OR 5 PACKS OF SCULPEY CLAY (found at any 
craft or art supply store.) I will have SOME but not enough for 
everyone
** Objects you may want to bring:
BIC pen (basic white body only
mason jar
glass jars
salt shakers
plastic light switch plate

-WEAVING-weaving is very relaxing and mindless. unless you want to 
make a design with it. I will have a limited supply of yarn/ 
string. there are various different ways of weaving (ie: on a loom
 orweaving into burlap) I have tons of burlap and 2 cardboard 
looms.*BRING YARN, STRING, RANDOM PIECES OF ROPE, SHOELACES, 
RIBBONS 
LAYING AROUND.

And finally, after many hours of crafting, here is everyone hard at work and some projects they created!

  
  
                
  
I hope you enjoyed this post and it helps you in planning your own craft marathon!  Let me know how it goes, please.
xxx Mi5s G

A Book by Gionna: There Was This Dream I Had

As mentioned in a previous post, I sell some of my work at RAC Gallery in the Lower East Side.  Along with my book ‘He Kissed Me’,  I also have an edition of 6 for ‘There Was This Dream I Had’.  I once dreamt I went into a library and asked the librarian where the stairs were, so she brought me to the book about stairs, with this dream, I made this book.

Inside is a variety of hand drawn staircases and a brief story at the end. 

Not much else to say, but if you think it’s cute, go and buy one for you or friend for only!

xx Miss G

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Today was a beautiful 75°F and sunny. I couldn’t wait to spend my Saturday outside in the park.  I knew I’d get hungry so I threw together this delicious cucumber tomato salad and hit the park.  The park eventually became uninviting, as it was some sort of organized dance parade that sounded like Electric Zoo, but it was relaxing long enough to enjoy my lunch.

Ingredients:
1/2 hot house cucumber
2 plum tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp oil
1 T finely chopped red onion
splash of white vinegar
salt
pepper
oregano

1. Wash and cut cucumber in half lengthwise, then into slices and fold into a paper towel to absorb excess water.
2. Wash and chop tomatoes into bite size pieces.
3. Cut the onion and add them into a bowl with the cucumber and tomato.
4. Drizzle with remaining ingredients and toss.

Serve with bread for dipping.

*For a heartier meal add red or white beans or peppers.

Enjoy!
xxx G

Roasted Broccoli and Lemon Quinoa

It is crunch time for me as I finish up my last academic paper and get things ready for my BFA Open Studies on Thursday.  I kept procrastinating and writing my paper in hopes that my hunger will pass, for I cannot spare enough time to cook up something decently healthy.  But, alas! I was able to make something both delicious and time saving!

(Yes, I am writing this post, instead of my paper. I am also eating this as I write)

I put the quinoa in the rice cooker, the broccoli in the oven, then I wrote while they cooked.  The cooking time equated nicely to my writing time before I needed to take a break.

But whether you have time to make a five course meal, or you need a quick fix, eat this healthy, vegan-optional treat!

Preheat oven to 425°
Ingredients:
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup water or stock
1/3 stalk of broccoli
1/2 lemon 
olive oil
salt
pepper 
feta cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Cut and wash broccoli and place on a baking sheet sprinkle oil, lemon (only half of the half), salt and pepper.  Shake it around the pan to make sure everything is coated, then place it in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until browned.
3. Wash quinoa, then place water/stock, quinoa, oil, salt and pepper in a rice cooker. Or cook in a saucepan. Cook for 15-20 minutes
4. When the time is up, mix together the broccoli and quinoa, then add the remaining lemon juice.  Add the feta if desired.

Enjoy xx G

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

In each of my classes at school, we all generally sit in the same seats every week, next to the same people. This past Monday I ended up sitting next to my friend Ryan, which was quite a please might I add.  He said he wasn’t having a good day and all he wanted was for class to end before it even started.  I told him, “I can’t make that happen, but I can bake you something! What do you like?” He said, ” Do you make brownies?”  And I replied, “No, do you like peanut butter, or earl grey? I can make you earl grey shortbreads.”  As Ryan agreed that shortbreads would make him happy, Maddy (my friend sitting on the other side of me) added, ” you can dip them in chocolate.”  So it was settled, I would bake him Earl Grey Shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate and bring them to class on Wednesday.

So you may be confused about two major things
1. I don’t make BROWNIES??!?!?
2. Where are the Chocolate Dipped Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies?

To clear up the first issue, unfortunately I don’t like chocolate, so I don’t make brownies because I don’t care for them.  I am aware that it is a near catastrophe for both cases, but how can I guarantee that my brownie recipe will be great, if I don’t have a palate for quality brownies?

I did not dip my cookies for two reasons: 1. I didn’t have chocolate chips.  and 2. These cookies are melt-in-your-mouth PERFECTION! So adding a shell of chocolate seemed unnecessary in terms of both taste and texture.

With that said, I bring to you the recipe, which also includes directions for the chocolate dipped version if you wish to try it.  Enjoy!

Makes about 36

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups flour
3 tea bags (or 2 T) earl grey tea leaves
3/4 cup conectioners sugar
2 sticks salted butter (room temperature)

6 oz chocolate chips

1. Combine flour and tea leaves.
2. Add confectioners sugar and butter.
3. When all the ingredients are almost combined, finish the dough by quickly and loosely kneading in the loose crumbs. Flatten into a disk (about 1″ thick) and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°.
4.  Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured (or powdered-sugared) work surface.  Roll the dough into a 1/3-1/4 inch thick rectangle. Cut into strips or squares or any shape your heart desires.  (I cut mine into 3 columns and 12 rows to make 36 rectangles).
* the warmth of your hands should melt the butter and make the dough workable, but if not add 1-2 tablespoons of water
5. Place cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating half way through.

For Chocolate Dip:
1. Once cookies are out of the oven and cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
2. Dip cooled cookies into chocolate and place on parchment paper to let the chocolate set.

xxx Miss G

Pão de queijo- Cheese Bread

This past summer I spent about two months in Brazil.  I stayed with my brother and his family is Rio, and while I was there I met wonderful people, new friends, went to beautiful places and picked up a little Portuguese.  The slight differences in the brazilian culture compared to the American, is one to appreciate only by being immersed in it.  Though on occasion I regret not visiting Cristo, I enjoyed going where the locals went and doing what the locals did.  But I did go hanging gliding in São Conrado!
One part of Brazil that one can not escape experiencing, tourist or not, is the pão de queijo.  It is as easy to find as it is to find pizza in NYC, it is everywhere; and it is delicious too. There are moments I wish I was back in Rio, but knowing I can make my own pão de queijo, I can stay in the US a little longer.  The only difference between mine and ones in Brazil is the type of cheese.  In Brazil they use a cheese called “queijo minas” which I have not found in the NYC.  Parmesan seems to be the next best thing and works just as well.
The Brazilian holiday Carnaval was recently celebrated last weekend and I couldn’t help but find a way to celebrate myself.  I could have gone out dressed up in sparkles and feathers, but instead, I made 
pão de queijo and listened to Seu Jorge on Pandora Radio.

As soon as the pão de queijo came out of the oven, my friends Matt and Joe called to say they were on their way over.  Thank goodness for that because I wasn’t going to eat 30 all by myself!  The boys came over with milk and a box of fruit loops, but gladly put it on hold to eat some pão de queijo.
These little balls of goodness are great for feeding some friends or having as a snack. You can shape the dough into balls, freeze them and cook a few at a time to snack on.

Makes 30
Ingredients:
1 stick butter
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp salt
2 cups tapioca starch/flour
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 375°
Step 1:  In a saucepan melt butter, then add water and milk and bring to a boil.
Step 2: Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the tapioca statch while stirring with a wooden spoon.
Step 3: Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Then add the eggs and cheese.  Knead the mixture for about 6 minutes, or until it is (mostly) smooth.
Step 4: Grease a cookie sheet then using a tablespoon, scoop the dough into a ball and place it on the cookie.  Cook for 20 minutes or until the the outside is crispy.
Serve warm and enjoy.
xx G

A Book by Gionna: He Kissed Me

Unfortunately, I’ve decided with my hectic schedule cooking lunch and dinner takes too much time out of my day. The up side to this realization is that I can still blog about all the things I’ll be making in the next few months to get ready for open studios.
Besides open studios, RAC gallery at CULTUREfix had asked me for more work to sell in their store, so I’ve also been working on books for them. Yesterday I brought over 4 sets of books and they liked all of them!

‘He Kissed Me’ is one of the books I brought over to the gallery. It is a book including a sentence about every boy I’ve kissed in chronological order.  The text is typewritten and the book is bound with glue.  The cover is pretty paper I bought at NY Central Art Supply.  They are an edition of 10.  You can buy a book today at RAC for $9.