Thursday, May 31, 2007

Delightful Blogs

Last month I was chosen by Delightful Blogs to be a Delightful Blog! I was pretty happy when I found out, but didn't realize that this was such a big deal until a couple of people told me, "Hey, that's a really big deal...They don't just pick anyone."
So now that's gone to my head and I'm feeling particularly delightful. It's like winning a pageant kind of, and my responsibilities are, to remain delightful. It's a bit of a pressure cooker really.
I love prowling around their site to see all the other delightful entrants. There is such great stuff out there and I'm pretty proud to be listed with all of them.
Thanks Delighful Blogs!

Sugar Holler

Now that I'm back on the patio garden, I'm looking at gardening blogs. Just found this wonderful blog, Life in Sugar Hollow.
The writer is an actual certified horticulturist and her garden tips and musings are great. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Sugar Hollow with a beautiful river running through her land, which gets me dreaming a little.
She has a link to a quiz called "What Kind of Flower are You" so I took it and found
a. I am a Canna--I'm not sure what that is but it looks kind of boring. It kind of makes me want to take it again and give different answers---the joy of quiz taking can include retaking the quiz and filling it with lies.
b. The very funny This Garden Is Illegal, whose writer is also creator of the "What Kind Of Flower are You" quiz (look over there in the sidebar--I added it too). This is a great garden blog, I especially love the entry, "Satanic Garnishes That Look Like Genitalia: Parsley".

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Garden in May

My obsessions cycle and loop with the seasons. Does that make me unfocused? Looking through cookbooks, cooking a good meal, gardening, cooking with things from my garden, figuring out where to travel next, reading books set in India, figuring out how to get back to India, finding new stuff to do in Paris.
Figuring out what to do next with my business. Figuring out how to make my business socially responsible. When I'm deep in the design process, it's designing jewelry. I bet if a yearly graph was made, these obsessions would coincide with the seasons and even months. Makes sense.
In May it's gardening.
Gardening has inspired a few past Bonbon collections so I've been getting the garden ready for summertime relaxing and the Spring 2008 Collection (still procrastinating). Here are some of the pictures of my garden --especially my new tomato plants! I started planting about 2 weeks ago and I've been filling in the holes, literally, slowly. I like to get most of my plants from the Greenmarket in Union Square on Wednesdays, when my pal Trina from Silver Heights Farms is there. She has great organic seedlings and all the trailing flowers I love, like sweet peas and nasturtium. Anyway, by late July, these babies in the pictures will be unruly. We have a tiny patio off our first floor Brooklyn apartment and my landlady, who is an amazing gardener in the English rose garden sense, gave me a very small patch of soil to plant whatever I want. I plant tomatoes and peppers there, like a salsa garden, and turn the soil over each year so they keep coming up. Five years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I actually didn't know that tomatoes would grow from the the tiny yellow flowers on the tomato plants so picked them off. I thought they would inhibit the growth of the tomatoes.
What I've learned in five years:
1. Not to trust the soil in this part of Brooklyn, but they say it's OK for fruit bearing plants, maybe because fruits don't grow directly in the soil. Your thoughts?2. Herbs planted in containers have a more intense flavor. This year I have marjoram and rosemary, basil, thyme and sage. I keep more kinds of tomatoes and peppers in containers as well and then windowboxes around the patio with trailing edible plants, like violas and pansies and nasturtium, which are lovely in summer salads. I plant nasturtium and morning glories from seeds, so by summer there's a whole new bunch of colors trailing down the ugly black iron railing.3. I also keep lots of chives and lavender, which is supposedly good to keep pests away from the tomatoes as are marigolds!
4. I only use organic tomato and herb food and it stinks because it's made from fish meal but the vegetables LOVE it. They get really big whenever I feed them. Now Home Depot sells organic food but I usually get it mail order.
5. Keep a lettuce pot. I saw a great picture in a book once of an old bathtub planted with lettuces and it inspired me to plant my own, although I used an old galvanized steel tub, much smaller of course. Once you pick it all off , you can reseed throughout the summer for salads off the cuff. This is called staggering I think.
6. Don't pick the little flowers off of the peppers and tomatoes. Duh, those are the fruits.
7. Don't overplant your plot (just figured that out this year--it gets pretty exciting shopping for seeds and seedlings). By midsummer, I always wish I had learned that lesson. This year I think I finally got it. 8. Container gardening can but needn't take great attention. They can get dry quickly so I learned this cool recycling trick: cut the bottoms off plastic water bottles and punch little holes in the bottom of them. Then you dig a hole in your containers, pop the bottle bottom in and fill with water to keep soil drinking longer (see pic below). Covering the top of the soil with mulch helps to keep soil moist as well and this year I just discovered this stuff called Hydrosource, which looks like salt, you sprinkle it in your soil mix and it plumps up in the soil to keep it moist much longer-it's awesome. I'm pretty sure it's an organic compound because my landlady gave it to me and she's organic all the way.9. Do you have any garden wisdom? Bring it on...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hey. Happy Birthday Bob Dylan

Sophia's Blog

Dan Pink's (see below) 10 year old daughter Sophia is writing her own blog called about her day to day experience in Japan. I think she's writing it for her classmates back home in DC but I love it. It's just absolutely wonderful.
Possible favorite post: Where Sophia discovers a new kind of toilet.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Innovation on a Thursday and hoping for much more of it

I just saw an incredible program called Improv, Creativity, Collaboration: Fueling Innovation for the 21st century at the Japan Society--part of their US-Japan Innovators Project. I was luckily invited by my sister-in-law Betty who works at the Japan Society--thanks Betty! The program was about ways in which the evolving economies, particularly the US and Japan, are experiencing whole paradigm shifts in personal and cultural attitudes in the ways in which we consume. Our markets are changing as a result and where and how we must look for and find true innovation to fuel the new shift is paramount to the experience of this new wave of business. Still with me?
It was hosted by Alan Weber, founding editor of Fast Company Magazine with three speakers whose work, in different ways, emphasizes the importance of creativity and innovation on business models in the 21st century. These are very different models than what our parents knew and for me it was like finding a language for the change I see happening all around--like discovering that these things dangling at the end of my arms are called "hands".
Dan Pink, journalist, Japan Society Fellow and author of A Whole New Mind was one of the speakers-via satellite from Tokyo--and now I'm devouring all the articles of his I can find via his very cool and insightful blog about cool and innovative design he's finding during his stay in Japan.
I like this unrelated to Japan, but not off topic article about creative genius he wrote for Wired.

Also there was Marty Ashby, a life-long musician and Social Entrepreneur who talked about a jazz-based approach to business and actually played a set, and Hiroshi Tasaka, a Philosopher, Professor and President of ThinkTank SophiaBank in Japan. He had some really interesting things to say in a talk entitled, "The Joy Factor in a Post-Knowledge Society. I'll tell you all about that and what I learned from Mr. Tasaka tomorrow.
After a full day of Jury Duty in downtown Brooklyn, this was truly heaven sent, but now I'm tired of sitting still.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Life in the Abyss

From “The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss”
by Claire Nouvian/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
lifted from the NY Times

Creatures living in the deepest darkest depths of the ocean have always been exciting to imagine. Then you find out they look like Aronzi Aronzo felt-imals. (see below). Check out the NY Times article here.From “The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss”
by Claire Nouvian/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
lifted from the NY Times

Monday, May 21, 2007

Aronzi Aronzo

New favorite gift to give favorite people: The Cute Book and The Bad Book by Aronzi Aronzo. The Cute Book is filled with unbelievable feels-so-good cuteness, almost too much for me too handle. And it's about making little mascots with tons of personality out of felt; I secretly love felt and always have.
The Bad Book is a little different, more like a story. It gives a little action to my two favorite characters, the Bad Guy and The Liar.

Friday, May 18, 2007

In Bonbon News

I'll be doing that market over on Smith Street, tomorrow, Saturday the 19th for the last time in May.
In June I'll be there Saturday June2nd and Saturday June 9th.
And once in July on Saturday July 14th when there's a Bastille Day celebration on that street. I just so happen to have a new Bastille Day Line.
Mark your calendars and stroll through and visit!

Brooklyn Indie Market
Corner of Smith and Union in Cobble Hill
F or G train to Smith or Union.

Food Blogs at 3am

I fell asleep too early and now am up in the middle of the night. I tried going into the studio but stopped to check out recipes for all the lovely things I just bought at the Greenmarket now: ramps, asparagus, new potatoes, fiddlehead ferns. Then I found this: Orangette, an outstanding blog about her personal gastronomy stories. There are beautiful entries about and recommendations for France and I love her recipe for asparagus vinaigrette (I made something similar tonight for dinner.) All I can think about is cooking well this week. Last night for dinner, I made a lovely salad with all the beautiful vegetables mentioned above. It was so good, we couldn't believe it:
Bonbon Oiseau's Really Springy Potato Salad
tiny new potatoes
fiddlehead ferns or fresh green beans
ramps or scallions
dijon mustard
good olive oil
sea salt
cracked pepper
1 1/2 lemon
fresh herbs like chives, marjoram, thyme, parsley or whatever you like.

1. Boil tiny new potatoes in salted water for about 12 minutes or until just tender. Strain with a slotted spoon and reserve the water for fiddleheads.
2. Blanche the fiddlehead ferns (or green beans) in the boiling salted potato water for 1 or 2 minutes (to clean them, soak in water, take off the papery brown stuff, cut the tough stalk andmake sure there is no more dirt)
3. Clean ramps by soaking a few rounds in a bowl of cold water. Cut off just the root and remove any crappy looking upper leaves. Clean asparagus as well.
4. Give them a light spray or coating of olive oil and sea salt.
5. Heat up your grill or a grill pan, and grill asparagus and ramps (or scallions) until tender. If you don't have a grill or grill pan you can just sautée I think.
6. Create the vinaigrette meanwhile in a bowl large enough that will fit all the vegetables later.
slice the shallot thin, cut the lemons in half and squeeze over the shallot, add a pinch of sea salt and a teaspoon of dijon mustard and chopped fresh herbs. Stir with s fork and slowly whisk in enough good olive oil to emulsify. Add some pepper to taste.
7. Last add the warm potatoes, either sliced and peeled or whole and not peeled or any combination of that. Then add the fiddleheads or green beans. When the asparagus and ramps are done on the grill and just charred and blistered nicely, chop them into 1 inch pices and add to the salad, gently tumbling with a spoon.
If you want a little last minute color, add some grape tomatoes cut in half. You can also add a quartered medium or hard boiled egg which is really nice as well.
Sometimes I serve this kind of salad on baby arugula if I have it but it's great as well as is.
I'll take a picture of it later.

Pictures above via Orangette.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Outstanding in the Field

Check out this amazingly dreamy business plan: Jim Denevan and Katy Oursler work with local and regional chefs to create and host amazing dinners which utilize and celebrate the very best organic produce and foods from and at the source: at the regional farms where the food actually comes from. You're invited to reserve a spot for the incredible farm to table experience which I imagine, from the pictures, is unbelievable. You dine with the farmers and the chefs who produce your food. AND they travel in a really cool red bus. I may have to reserve a spot when they come to NY.

Tug Studio

Amongst the other larger architectural and design projects Tug Studio has in it's repetoire, I like the little ones. Like these manbait earrings.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Rescue Bulldogs

These are the dogs Jim wants. Molly and Spike are wonderful bulldogs and they must come together (as in come to live with you with each other). See them on petfinder. We can't have dogs in this apartment only two unruly cats.

Cobble Hill was

Kaelea of The Royal Me came to help! See my Ann Wood bird in the display? I just take things from my living room and set it up in public. Just keepin' it homely.

GREAT! Again...Here are some pics. I was pretty busy all day with lots of friends (thanks buds) and customers (so cool) from my mailing list coming to visit and only took pictures of my own display. I regret it now because there were some incredible designers there yesterday, particularly Daisyhead and Kataplin kids stuff, Fofolle clothing, Alyssa Ettinger's beautiful ceramics and great laser etched jewelry by Laura Su of Prismera Designs.
It was so nice to meet my customers face to face and everyone had such interesting things to say. Got some great feedback, which in the end is the only thing that keeps it a go go going.

Brooklyn Indie Market

Every Saturday and Sunday 11am-7pm
Corner of Smith and Union in Cobble Hill

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Go Green

Does it feel like suddenly "going green" in fashion is the popular kid at the lunch table? Finally. Thank you Al Gore.
Consciously choosing what you eat and how you build (see below) has become easier since it has become more widely available to consumers. Now choosing what you wear is becoming (a little) easier as well. It does mean giving up Forever 21 and H & M and sweat shop produced labels using pesticide laden cotton.
Of great interest to Bonbon was the May issue of Vogue which has a big section devoted to sustainable style and what falls under that umbrella, with particular mention of the new So Ethic section of the Prêt á Porter trade show.
I visited the The Ethical Fashion Show in Paris which apparently had over 4000 visitors at the last event in October, it's biggest turnout since it's inception 3 years before and was really impressed at it's breadth and commitment to it's objectives.
Happily, Bonbon Oiseau is now selling at the new Evolve Boutique in Atlanta whose objectives are similar.
Since what I do is recycling, old into new, Bonbon is green. And since I started incorporating metal smithing into my designs, the new Fall 2007 line uses only recycled silver from all of my snippings (we scour the floor for our silver vat). I'll also be recycling gold for Spring 2008.I also love Inhabitat, an eco-design blog. I always learn something from a visit and the very intelligent founder, Jill Fehrenbacher, was interviewed in the May Vogue as well. I put this all together when I read that Home Depot now has "green" labels for it's green products called the "eco label" which is super trés bon. Click here for their environmental home tips.