festive fog
winter quiet :: 1

designer to designer :: and interview with rashida coleman-hale

Whoopsie - the penultimate stop of the blog tour was delayed by inclement (yet joyous) holiday hubbub! What a whirlwind it has been these last few days. 

I'm so honored to be hosting Rashida Coleman-Hale, author of I Love Patchwork: 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew and the blog I Heart Linen, for a little designer-to-designer interview. You can see the companion interview in which Rashida interviews me over on her blog.

Rashida is a creative force that really brightens the blogosphere. Her incredibly cheerful projects have been published in a number of sewing magazines and her first book, I Love Patchwork , is a bookshelf must-have! I've already added the button calendar and the watercolor dish pincushion to my to-make list for 2010. The projects in the book are clearly presented and accessible to all levels of sewists - what I particularly love about it is that the projects are so elegant in their simplicity and are great for using up small scraps of lovely prints - perfect projects to make on a budget!


Meg : Could you give us a glimpse of a typical day in your household? How do you fit in your "work" amidst the busyness of mothering two little ones?

Rashida : Our days haven't been so typical since the move to Atlanta from NYC!  Most of our days have been spent unpacking and just trying to help the little ones feel comfortable in our new home.  My husband has also been a huge help. Mel is usually up first in the morning and he's awesome with the children.  He gets them breakfast and entertains them for me so that I can sleep in a little later.  It's been great since I toss and turn most nights because I've my growing tummy!  We sometimes even pull all nighters together!  He's an Art Director so there's always a project that needs to be done by a deadline.   I do my best work when the kids are asleep.  It's just too difficult for me to get anything done creatively when they are awake.  It was much easier when they were babies and weren't really getting into things. 

Buttoncalendar Meg : Since we're in the midst of the holidays, can you share a recipe for a dish that was on your table this year?

Rashida : I made a lovely Cream of Onion soup for Christmas.  The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Best Ever Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook".  

Simple Cream of Onion Soup

1 kg/ 2 1/4 lb yellow onions, sliced

1 litre/ 1 3/4 pints/ 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

150ml/ 1/4 pint/ 2/3 cup double(heavy) cream

115g/ 4 oz/ 1/2 cup unsalted butter

salt and ground black pepper

Melt 75g/3oz/6 tbsp of the unsalted butter in a large, heavy pan.  Set about 200g/7 oz of the onions aside and add the rest to the pan.  Stir to coat in the butter, then cover and cook very gently for about 30 minutes.  The onions should be very soft and tender, but not browned.

Add the chicken or vegetable stock, 5ml/1tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. 

Leave the soup to cool, then process it in a blender or food processor.  Return the soup to the rinsed pan.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining onions over a low heat, covered, until soft but not browned.  Uncover and continue to cook the onions gently until they turn golden yellow. 

Add the cream to the soup and reheat it gently until hot, but do not allow it to boil.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Add the buttery onions and stir for 1-2 minutes, then ladle the soup into bowls.  Serve the soup immediately.  

Meg : What will be your first sewing project of the New Year? Do you have fabric picked out yet?

Rashida : My first sewing for 2010 will be some projects for Stitch.  Classified. :P  I also have some quilt blocks and a quilt to finish for the Block Party Quilting Bee book.  Super excited about those projects.  I've already chosen fabric for all of those projects.   But I think my next favorite project is going to be some clothes for my baby boy who's due the end of February.  I picked up a lovely Japanese craft book titled, "Organic Cotton Wear for Babies" with some oh so sweet patterns.  I have a white cotton lawn that I purchased from India some time ago that I've been saving for the perfect project.  I think I'll make some of the baby wrap shirts from the book with it.  I also plan to make the baby sling from your book, but I'm not sure what fabric I want to use or that just yet.


Meg : This has certainly been a busy year for you - designing projects for Stitch, getting ready to welcome your third child, and writing a book! What's next for you in your designing career? What do you see yourself doing at the end of 2010?

Rashida : Does resting count?  I'd LOVE to do some of that, but I don't see that happening anytime soon!  

There are so many things that I'd like to do next.  I'd love to write another book, continue designing for magazines and making more interesting things for my shop.  I'd really like to find out about designing a line of fabric (linen in particular) or having patterns made, teach a class or two or three.  The book has opened many doors for me and there are so many possibilities for my career right now.  I hope to explore each of them and see where it takes me.  

At the end of 2010 I see myself getting geared up for another great career move and reflecting on what a wonderful year it was with my family and friends.  I hope to have more fun and awesome project notches on my belt, and hopefully I'll have managed to make more things for my wee ones than I did in 2009.  I also hope to work on my knitting and crocheting and expand my crafty mind a bit.  

Thank you so much, Rashida! I wish you much success with your book and your creative exploits, and - most of all - a peaceful birth for you and you little babe and some time to relax in the meantime!