Tag Archives: january

Meet Maker: Tinker Creek Handknits

Photo by Amanda Malone at Amanda Kelly Photos

Lisa Uotinen, of Daleville, Virginia, began knitting right after she graduated from college in 1993. Back then, she was working full time at Colonial Williamsburg and needed something to do on breaks between shows. There were no classes available then, so she learned by watching people around her and from books. She took a break when her children were born, but picked the hobby back up almost a decade ago.

As her talent developed, she decided to sell the items that she was making. In April of 2016, she opened her business, Tinker Creek Handknits. Most of her yarn comes from Cascade Yarns and is ecologically-friendly, made from natural fibers and minimally-processed wool that hasn’t been dyed using chemicals.

Photo Dec 08“When you buy minimally-processed wool, some people really do fare better when they have it on their skin because there are no chemicals or dyes. You are also choosing to support a sustainable industry in an environmentally-friendly way,” says Lisa.

Of course, wool itself is a sustainable industry. It is one that has proven to be useful for centuries. Lisa harbors no ill will against yarns that are processed, because the sale of that wool also helps the farmers who raise the sheep that provided it.

“People are becoming more aware of the impact they have on the environment. This is just one way that I can choose to support an ecologically-friendly industry. There are people who have made chemically processed yarn, and there is nothing wrong with that. Whenever you are using wool, you are supporting a sustainable industry,” she explains.

Tinker Creek Handknits is operated out of Lisa’s home, where she also raises three young daughters. All three know how to knit, but it is something they have pushed to the back burner as they have grown older. Instead, they help Lisa in other ways—like modeling her creations and giving their opinions on what will and will not sell.

“Their sense of style is usually right on point,” she says. “If they don’t like or wouldn’t wear something I make, chances are that it isn’t going to sell. They are teenagers, so they are on trend and know what will look right for people their age.”

Instead of buying your knitted items from big box stores this winter, make sure that you are supporting small businesses like Lisa’s. Not only are you putting money back into your community, you are also creating a relationship that will allow you to own unique and personable items. Lisa is happy to create custom lengths and knit with requested colors for her customers. That, of course, is the difference between something that you can specifically request and something that is mass produced.

Lisa will be unveiling new products and styles in early 2017! Follow her on Instagram (tinkercreekhandknits) or visit her website, www.tinkercreekhandknits.com to stay up to date on the latest products and to purchase something new for your winter wardrobe!

Getting Back on Track

I have a confession.

In 2015, somewhere between the trappings of convenient fast food and a juicer that was painstakingly complicated to clean, I found myself growing more comfortable with visiting my oldest and most faithful friend: the drive-thru.
I am not a huge sweets person, nor do I drink soft drinks. I thought I was safe by choosing chicken and the smaller order of fries (after all, a girl should indulge every now and then). At first, the only real difference I noticed was that my jeans were getting a little tighter. Gradually, however, I began to notice an increased sluggishness. I did my best to tackle it with more caffeine and ignore the old familiar side effects of a diet high in fats, preservatives, and other chemicals.
I’m not proud of it, but with a jam-packed schedule, it was just easier. And it would have continued, but two things saved me:

  1. root-617409_1920The official “push” was that I brought in the New Year with a cold.
    For me, juicing ginger is a healthy and inexpensive way to combat “the sniffles.” I don’t always have time to visit the doctor, and I’m not a huge fan of antibiotics when they aren’t necessary. So, I bought another juicer that is easier to clean and use. I’ve been juicing ginger, apples, carrots, cucumbers, and pears for two weeks now. In addition to eating better,  juicing and taking vitamins has helped me make sure my body has the nutrients it needs. Not only is my cold gone, but I’ve dropped a few inches from my waistline. I also have more energy.
  2. Now that I feel better, sticking to juicing isn’t always appealing. You may have noticed our new minimalism section in the January issue. As I explore the concept of minimalism, I am noticing that the discipline it requires is positively influencing other aspects of my life. Ultimately, eating healthy is a lifestyle change to which you must fully commit in order to benefit from and enjoy. I only bring good things that inspire joy into my home. There is no reason that I shouldn’t treat my body the same way.

I know there will be days when fast food creeps back into my life, but my goal is to make sure that it never becomes a habit again. This way of life is far more rewarding, and I wouldn’t trade the extra energy I have at the end of the day for anything I can get from the drive-thru window–even a small order of fries!

 

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Pick up our January issue for more reasons to love minimalism, easy ways to eat healthy, and tips for staying active in cold weather! 

Gala Opera Cabaret at Opera on the James

Suor Angelica - Med Res -64Opera on the James began as the vision of volunteers to create a nonprofit opera company that would attract and involve Central Virginians in the full range of operatic arts. They provide diverse, accessible productions performed by nationally and regionally acclaimed artists that educate, inspire, and engage their audiences. Over the years they have evolved to a more professional company with an active board and a staff that includes General Director, Cecelia Schieve. On January 31, they will celebrate their 10th Anniversary with a Gala Opera Cabaret to highlight past seasons.
The luxurious gala is a decade in the making. Truly, it is a hallmark of more than their success as a company—it is evidence of connections to opera in our every day lives that many in the community did not know existed. Furthermore, it is proof that there is a growing audience waiting to be inspired and enlightened.
The gala is a representation of collaboration at its finest. “I have engaged five wonderful artists from around the country who have performed with us before,” explains Cecelia. “The event seamlessly incorporates dinner, wine, time with friends, auctions, and outstanding performances. We will surround our guests with opera that mixes styles, languages and characterizations.”
For an event this monumental, Opera on the James decided to find a special way to connect with the community to decorate the venue. They chose to ask a local school group from Heritage High School to paint their interpretation of each of the operas in the style of Toulouse-Lautrec.
Selecting Heritage for the collaboration was an easy decision in part, because the community has long admired the illustrations of art teacher, Jon Roark. “He has involved his students in service projects with the Lynchburg Historical Foundation and other non-profits and I had the pleasure of using him as an artist for one of our brochures in the past,” says Cecelia. “Because of this partnership, many of the young artists he teaches will experience the opera for the first time and it was a pleasure to involve and help educate them.”
The artwork will be on display on Thursday, January 29. For more information on the event and how to purchase tickets, visit www.operaonthejames.org.

Remember Those New Year’s Resolutions?

January’s almost over and you may have already forgotten about that to do list of New Year’s Resolutions that only seems to get longer. You haven’t gone to the gym five times a week like you were hoping to and yesterday you bought yet another pack of cigarettes. Don’t beat yourself up about not fulfilling all of your 2014 goals by now. The most common reason why New Year’s Resolutions fail is because we tend to set huge standards for ourselves and these goals are often bigger than they should be.

new year goals or resolutions - colorful sticky notes on a blackboard

Aim lower; start small. Don’t plan to change your entire lifestyle in a week, rather make small improvements to your lifestyle more frequently. If you want to live healthier, set a goal of eating some type of fruits or vegetables every day or incorporating less strenuous exercises into your daily routine, such as stretching every other morning.

Know your limits. We tend to set grand resolutions expecting to see a major change instead of setting realistic goals. People who live a generally hectic life should not set too many goals at once. Rather, try to change one behavior at a time. This can be as minor as wanting to have more time to see your friends and be social or talking to your family more often. Long term ideals often fall through the cracks–for example, if you wish to learn a new language or lose weight, just do a little every day. Resolutions will come through gradually; don’t expect sudden changes.

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Get a support group. It’s easier to work towards your goals with the help of friends and family on your side. Accept any help that comes your way which will also help with any relapses in behavior or stress management. Those on your side will make sure you keep going whenever you feel less than capable and can definitely throw a great celebration party when you achieve a goal!

Stay positive. So you were too tired to work out or hang out with family and friends–don’t worry about it. Mistakes are normal and can even give you more incentive to get back on the track. Thinking positively defeats those negative thoughts that can threaten any further progress. Come up with your own inner mantra and always keep on the bright side of life!

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We want to know, have you stuck to your resolutions so far?  What are your secrets?  Remember, there is no shame in failing, as long as you keep trying!

Sassy Scrumptious Salads with Liz Bushong

Serve up Stunning Simple Salad’s with One Vinaigrette for a Healthy New 2014!

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Turn over a new leaf in 2014 with this trio of sassy but easy-to-put-together healthy salads. Three different salads presented three different ways using one tangy vinaigrette. These no-cook colorful salads offer a variety of fresh greens rich with disease-fighting antioxidants. With their pleasing variety of flavors, colors, and textures, these salads are the foundation of healthy eating.

Lettuce begin the new year with the Tomato Melon Feta Salad. For this colorful salad, medium thick slices of ripe watermelon and firm red and yellow tomatoes are layered and sandwiched together like silver dollar pancakes or columns of crackers. Small cubes of feta cheese, salt and pepper complete the stacked wonder. Balsamic vinaigrette is drizzled lightly over the salad for a flavorful mix between the sweet and acidic taste of these fruits. Your palate will perk up with this unexpected pairing of fruits. According to Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, a tomato is a fruit. “The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.”

The Cucumber Wrap Salad has a beautiful presentation. We eat with our eyes and this salad really alerts the senses. This salad looks complicated but it is easy to prepare. A seedless English cucumber is mandolin-sliced horizontally, and curled around to form a self-serving bowl. A handful of crisp baby spring mix is layered inside the cucumber, and other garden fresh vegetables are then added and positioned to create this one-of-a-kind salad. The tangy balsamic vinaigrette is served on the side and may be drizzled on the salad to the guest’s personal taste. Edamame, walnuts or pecans, blue cheese crumbles, steamed snow peas and sliced gala apples complete this simply-stated salad. You will be cool as a cucumber creating this salad for your next ladies luncheon or brunch.

The final salad in this dynamic trio is the Salad of Mesclun Greens and Baby Beets. It consists of a combination of mixed greens, shaved vegetables, and cubed beets all served with bagel croutons. A splash of the balsamic vinaigrette brings out the artful essence of this salad. You will enjoy this delightfully light and crunchy combination. To make this the main course, just add protein such as grilled chicken strips, flank steak, salmon, tuna or shrimp.

Presentation for a salad or any meal is important. To keep yourself motivated to eat healthy, be sure to set your table in style by using glass bowls full of the organic fresh vegetables and fruits that you have put in the salad as your table centerpiece. Packaged herbs like dill, mint, chives, and oregano make a beautiful statement as one or two elements of the centerpiece. Cut watermelon slices and graduated bowls of fruit and berries can serve as the light dessert after your salad course. Be creative and have fun!  

Salads are satisfying, health promoting, disease fighting, and include the best fresh ingredients from farm stand or grocery store finds. Serve up one of these tantalizing healthy salads for your family or just for yourself.

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Food for thought: Just happened to turnip some nutritional information about a few ingredients in salads, such as edamame, apples and leafy greens.

“The United States Department of Agriculture states that edamame beans are “a soybean that can be eaten fresh and are best known as a snack with a nutritional punch”. Edamame and all preparations of soybeans are rich in carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, and micronutrients, particularly foliates, manganese, and vitamin K”.

The nutritional benefits of an apple are remarkable. “Apples can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Apples, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.” www.whfoods.org . “Spring Greens Help You Detoxify Naturally, according to Medea Galligan, MS, Nutrition, AADP CHHC, RYT, with healthy lifestyle concepts blog.

“The health benefits of eating leafy greens can’t be overemphasized. Salad greens are loaded with vitamins A and C, as well as several of the B vitamins. Just one cup of these greens provides 70 percent of the daily recommended intake for vitamin A and 20 percent of the DRI for vitamin C. Salad greens are also a rich source of iron and calcium and numerous trace minerals including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale also are good sources of vitamins K and E.” –

healthylifestyleconcepts.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com/blog/2013/03/ SpringGreensHelpYouDetoxifyNaturally

 

Liz Bushong- Serve it up Sassy Recipes

For more recipes and ideas go to lizbushong.com

 

Salad of Mesclun Greens, Baby Beets and Bagel Croutons

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5 ounces mesclun or spring mix greens, washed and dried
2 medium sized beets, steamed, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
16 individual sliced chives
2 carrots, peeled and shaved with vegetable peeler or mandolin
1 English cucumber or cucumber of choice, washed and sliced to ¼ inch
2 plain bagels, or bagel of choice, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-6 ounces thinly sliced smoked Gouda, rolled tightly
Balsamic Vinaigrette or dressing of choice

Wash greens and spin dry. Plate the greens in the center of plate. Shave peeled carrots, and then roll strips tightly to form a curl, position carrots as desired on greens. Slice cucumbers, dice the beets, and roll the cheese, position as desired on greens.

Cut bagels into small bite-sized pieces using kitchen shears. In small zip lock bag, place soy sauce and olive oil mixture, toss croutons in this mixture to coat. Bake on baking sheet at 500 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully not to burn croutons. Remove from oven and place on top of salad.

Serve Balsamic Vinaigrette in a separate dish or drizzle salad with dressing.

Garnish salad with X crossed 4 chive stems on each salad.

 Yield: 4 small salads

Tomato Melon Salad

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2 medium firm ripe yellow tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch
4 ½” thick sliced of watermelon, sliced melon in rounds
2 medium firm ripe red tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch
1-(4 ounce) package crumbled –or block blue cheese, or feta cheese
Balsamic Vinaigrette or light dressing of choice
15 steamed pea pods for garnish

Stack yellow tomato, watermelon slice and red tomato one on top of each other. Add crumbled blue or feta cheese and drizzle with vinaigrette. Garnish plate with pea pods.

Yield:  4 small salads

Cucumber Wrap Salad

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1 English cucumber, sliced horizontally into thin strips
 2 ½ cups Organic small leaf greens
10 tablespoons Edamame (soybeans) & snap peas steamed and cooled
15 thin slices of Gala apple with skin
10 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
5 tablespoons chopped pecans or nut of choice
Balsamic dressing-recipe follows or purchase

  • Slice cucumber into very thin strips.  Curl into a medium sized circle. Cucumber will stick to itself if you overlap ends. Fill cup with greens, layer apple and pea pods stand on ends in back of salad.
  • Add blue cheese and nuts to the left side of salad. Add soybeans to right side. Serve dressing in separate bowl.  Make it Yours by adding whatever salad toppings you enjoy.  Balsamic Vinaigrette page 36.

Serve it up Sassy on individual white salad plates.  You cannot pick this up to eat, must be plated.

 Yield: 5 mini salads

 (This vinaigrette is for all three salads- 3 salads 1 vinaigrette)

Balsamic Vinaigrette                                                                                                           

½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon celery salt and pepper
1-cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Whisk together first 5 ingredients until blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Blend well. 
  • Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • Serve on any green salad as well as Cucumber Wrap.  Can also be used as a veggie dip.

 Yield: 2 cups

 

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND ARTICLE SUBMITTED BY LIZ BUSHONG

 Helping You Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, and Make it Yours! ®

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™ -and she also creates magic beyond the dining experience. In 2009, 2010 and 2013, she was selected from thousands nationwide to be part of an elite team of 75 professionals entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday.

To purchase her cookbook, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations/ideas go to www.lizbushong.com, www.facebook.com/lizbushong, and twitter @lizbushong.