Thursday, March 31, 2011

My art—your pillow covers

Alhambra by Naomi Broudo
I have been dreaming about this for a long time. I heard about this newish online store for illustrated cotton basics, called Envelop, about five months ago. I started browsing the site, and found some of my favourite etsy artists already there selling their wares. I also read as much as I could about who is actually there, read the media clippings and contacted several of the designers/artists on the site. The feedback was pretty good all around, so I decided to think about opening a shop.

There is a process to go through to be accepted, which is fairly straight forward, but preparing artwork for the site is quite time consuming. So with all the other things I am doing and pursuing, I haven't been able to find the time until this week to get things up and running.

To date there are 317 designers with shops on Envelop. Kind of exclusive for now. The great thing about this, is that I can put any of my designs on the items they stock. So if you like one of my designs, and would like to have a pillow or an apron or place mats, it is now possible.

You can search on Envelop by designer, or by article and you can also search by tag. To make it easier for you to always find my latest designs, I have added my name as one of my tags for each item. So simply search for Naomi Broudo and you will find me!

To find out more about the production process at this link. And BTW, they ship for free (a small handling fee) worldwide.

So, welcome to Envelop and my new shop. I have only four pillows so far, but I will be adding items as soon as I can get around to it (and, I have designed them so that they work front or back – two designs for the price of one). I am interested in your feedback on what I have up so far. You can leave me a note here or at my Envelop shop. Can't wait to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My first “Guest Blogger”: Leslie Fruman

I am always bragging about my talented sister Leslie. I thought it would be great to have her on-board as a guest blogger — so I asked her — and she agreed! We haven't figured out the actual details of if it will be every Tuesday or what, but let's get started and see where this goes.

Take it away Leslie!

For the last 12 months the oven has almost always been on at my house.

It started when I decided to take a year off from my globetrotting career as a journalist-turned- television-producer, and stay put for a while. The plan was to lazily pursue my interest in cooking.

I spent the first few months on the couch with my laptop, cruising Internet food sites and exploring the exploding world cooking blogs. Then I hit the farmers markets and made all kinds of delicious meals from the gorgeous fresh produce I snapped up there. This naturally led to a fascination with pickling and preserving.

My electricity bill soared, and I gained 15 pounds.

Then last fall, when the farmers markets were shutting down for the season, I signed up for a pottery class at the Gardiner Museum. I’d wanted to try pottery for years – and finally dragged myself out of the kitchen and into the pottery studio once a week.

Which brings me to another kind of cooking – and a new oven in my house (and an even higher electricity bill).

Within minutes of digging my hands into the clay, I was smitten. First I made a set of 6 plates… then some bowls shaped like squashes (inspiration from the farmers markets!)…And then I had to buy my own kiln - which is really just another oven, only much hotter.

Now I am happily spending my days cooking up my pots and then cooking up my food, (sometimes in my pots…).

But this “cooking” theme got me thinking about how easily we transfer skills from one pursuit to another.  Whether I’m cooking up a television show, a meal, or a piece of pottery – the process is surprisingly similar, and exercises the same creative muscle. It’s really all about learning to tell a good story, well.

When you tell a story in a newspaper article or on a television show, you first spend a lot of time researching your topic, and gathering information. Then the hard work begins…building the structure.  That is – figuring out how to tell the story. Once you’ve figured that out, it gets easy again, and fun, as you tweak to make it flow.

Cooking? Same thing. Search for just the right recipe – compare it to others – ask friends what they have had success with – then start cooking, and make it your own with tweaks and flourishes.

And making a pot? It’s the same process.

At most pottery classes, instructors offer the basics, and then encourage students to explore. You take a lump of clay into your own, unique, hand, and fool around to see what happens.

But there’s a lot more to pottery than fooling around with clay. You need to learn about (research!) the different clay bodies, learn about glaze chemistry, understand what heat at different temperatures does to the clay and glazes…and then you structure, test, tweak, and create. Just like cooking --only it takes much longer!

 A couple weeks ago I tried to combine all of these steps when it was my turn to host a supper club I belong to. Once a month a group of friends get together to cook an elaborate meal, based on a theme – or “story”. The story this week was Middle Eastern food. The research took me all over the place, looking through my own cookbooks, my favorite websites and a bit of old fashioned library browsing. I found a great selection of dishes from Iran, Morocco, Israel and Egypt. The tweaking happened as I curated which dishes I thought would combine to make a great meal… before sending a selection of recipes off to my friends, who would each choose a recipe to bring to our supper club dinner party.

But I have to admit, the best part – for me – was setting the table with my handmade dishes and bowls…waiting for my friends to fill them with their fantastic interpretations of all those recipes. Our meal was truly great and the table setting that night was part of the “story”.

My favorite dish from the meal was a delicious fennel and pistachio salad from Janna Gur’s fabulous website:

Here’s the recipe link from that site:

(You can see Leslie's amazing pottery at her shop, or on her facebook fan page! Are you looking forward to her next post? I know I am!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coming up for air—

It has been a really long time. It feels strange not to have blogged for almost three weeks. It is not that there have not been things to blog about. I never need an excuse to blab. In fact I think about this blog way too much, and always have something so say, but I have been on holiday and that always means playing catch up.

But today I had an excuse to get my act together — I had a deadline— Thanks G-d for stress and pressure!

My new team, etsy chai, is having a passover promotion starting March 15th. I am not really sure what that means, but I know that my advertising dollars are hard at work, so I had to get to work myself to take advantage of it.

The promotion is for passover, but passover is a tough one for paper goods, and I am way behind on my list of fabric based projects so I had to think fast. Luckily, I have been working very hard over the past couple of months developing a series of Bar and Bat Mitzvah customized art prints for the gift shop at Temple Shalom here in Vancouver — and they are almost done...

So I decided that the next best thing to specifically making passover items was to open a Judaica section for my shop! Today I fine tuned, printed and photographed 10 new items and I have quite a few more designs almost ready to promote. The best thing I have cooking is yet to hit the shop, but I will be ready in a day or two. Think Ketubah — Bar/Bat Mitzvah style. I won't keep you in suspense for too long. Needless to say I have been searching the internet for a reliable source for Torah portions and trying to get into the headspace of a 12 and 13 year old and their parents!

In other news, My son Aaron, the Attorney turned hipster has reached and exceeded his Kickstarter fund raising goal for the Brooklyn Night Bazaar and has hit the blogeshere with full force. Here is a great post about him and his project.

And completely off topic, I listened for the second time to an interview with Phyllis Diller on Q with Jian Ghomeshi on my way home from grocery shopping. I was completely blown away even the second time around. If you have the time go to this link. She is 92 and as funny and clever as ever. A real inspiration. If you have a chance to hear this interview, I highly recommend it.

And did I tell you I will soon have pillows other stuff for sale at a newish online shop called envelop as soon as I can get organized? More about that soon!