Have you ever tried making your own Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls? Ya, neither have I, until recently. I was craving a tasty meal, but without a lot of heat from a stove to warm up the already balmy apartment. So I went for it and made spring rolls from scratch! They were delicious and easy to make. Although not the prettiest I've seen, they were no less delicious for it. Try it! Not too hard and worth the effort. Don't skip the sauce. It really is the star of the dish. Enjoy!
Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls
(Recipe adapted from here and here)

Cooking the shrimp

6  cups water
2 inch ginger peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon halved and juiced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp chopped green onions
2 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined

Combine all ingredients except shrimp in large saucepan. 
Bring to boil
Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Cut shrimp in half lengthwise when cool.

Making the rolls

rice paper
warm water in a shallow bowl
1/4 cabbage or kale jullienned
2 carrots thinly sliced
3 scallions chopped
32 fresh basil leaves
Bunch fresh cilantro sprigs
1/2 cup chopped unsalted peanuts

Dip rice paper into warm water for 30 seconds. 
Remove and lay on clean kitchen towel.
Layer two shrimp halves, cabbage, carrots, scallions, basil, cilantro and peanuts in bottom third of rice paper.
Roll tucking in sides half way.

Dipping Sauce

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons finely diced carrots
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped unsalted peanuts

In a small bowl combine red pepper flakes, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, carrots and garlic, peanuts and stir until the sugar dissolves.


IN SEARCH OF: Better Photos

I've been contemplating getting a new camera (based on the last posts, I think I just need shopping therapy to be honest). Anyway, my trusty Lumix LX3 has been good to me over the last couple of years. It is compact, has a great lens and is overall a great camera. So, this itch to replace here has been bothering me. Why? Is it really her, or is it me?
I decided to whip out the owners manual and perhaps reinvigorate my interest in her many features. Turns out, I wasn't taking advantage of all the tricks this little work horse has to offer. Goes to show you, retail therapy is not always the answer.
Here are a few side-by-sides of my favorite test subject, Penny.
I had never gotten the hang of the aperture priority thing. Penny and her paw sat patiently as I clicked, rotated, hit buttons and adjusted settings until I got what I wanted, a crisp in focus foreground and a very blurry background. I think photo three is the winner. It has a clear hierarchy. The paw is the subject of the photo with an interesting secondary component, Penny's very skeptical look in the background. 
I then set out to master the exposure. With my light filled living room as my subject, I tried to get that overexposed vibe I like so much these days. Again, I think three wins. Perhaps it's not the most correctly exposed photo, but it's my favorite. Your eye goes right to the light and then finds the rest of the detail in the photo.
Ok, give me your votes!
There isn't much difference in the above series of Penny's sleepy eyes, but I included it anyway. Couldn't resist.
For those of you who know me well, you know this guy is my brother. You'd think I would have gotten some of those genes. Turns out, no. I ended up with a different set of creative skill, so no complaints here. Thanks mom and dad.


IN SEARCH OF: Vintage Champagne Glasses

I have been dreaming of vintage champagne glasses. You know, the pretty ones with the wide shallow bowls that look so elegant in hand? (think Great Gatsby). It all started when Kat went on a glass breaking rampage and eliminated all but 3 of our champagne flutes. I figured since they were gone forever I may as well replace them with the lovely vintage ones I had been dreaming of.
And so an adventure began. I searched a few of my regular gently used goods outposts and on the third try finally found what I had been looking for.
 They don't look like much sitting on the dusty shelf, but I could see past the layers of grime and banked on their potential. At $1.99 for a set of 4 there was no big loss if they turned out to be duds in the end.
I took my two sets of 4 home (slightly different but similar in shape) and with great care and anticipation cleaned and cleaned. The result...exactly what I had been looking for. I'm in love with the delicate glass and the subtle vintage details. Now I must find an excuse to drink some champagne...

Bonus find, a vintage Italian swing top porcelain cap bottle for $.99. (kind of like this one) See it in the photo above holding water with dill sprigs floating inside? It's a refreshing way to to drink still water in the summer. Try it.


SNAPSHOT: Cape Cod weekend and other adventures

This past week was packed with little adventures, good food and preparation for a weekend away (prettying toe nails in this perfect shade of red/orange polish). So when Friday arrived, I sped off to Cape Cod for a weekend of laughs and relaxation with girlfriends. On the way I couldn't resist stopping at my favorite spot in Hyannis for a light dinner. This amazing hidden away gem is a French bakery by day and transforms to a warm cozy bistro by sunset.
The weather was warm and summery and after the long drive arriving at my air conditioned room was a nice reprieve from the heat of the day. And then the weekend began.
We stayed here, strolled along the beach and ate here. It was quintessential Cape. On my way home I stopped for some Salt Water Taffy. My favorite is the honey flavor. Super tasty. There is nothing like spending summer weekend on Cape Cod. The sea grass instantly calming with a little help from the lull of the ocean. I felt refreshed and ready to tackle a rainy Monday. Hope you had a great weekend too!


NEW WORK: Wallets

Last week brought new bags, but it also inspired a series of little wallets. Simple.
I love the two customizable monogram options? Do you use a small wallet? What's your money/card carrier of choice?


SITE VISIT: East Boston

A few weeks ago while on my way to visit friends and their newborn in East Boston, I couldn't help notice the... gaps between buildings. Yup, gaps. This city is small, but I love how each neighborhood has it's own distinct character and quirks. East Boston's quirk, it turns out, is the curious gaps that appear everywhere between building. Or maybe that's just what I noticed, but I was fascinated. Some are not even wide enough for a person to fit through. I imagine being a kid growing up here and loving the little spaces that only I could fit through.
What quirky things have you noticed around your neighborhood?


SNAPSHOT: Peak into my very busy week

This past week brought new travel totes which are now being carried by this shop, art, a friends birthday party, pizza made with this fail proof dough recipe, a little shopping, construction progress on this project, and a leather ottoman found on the sidewalk. Hope you had a great week and weekend. On to the next!


NEW WORK: More summer totes!

I have been busy in the studio! There are new Travel Totes in the shop and they are super cute. This one is my current favorite. Here are a few shots from this weeks photo shoot. The first two images use the Airstream as background. The others were taken outside the studio. I love all the textures in these images. So, what summer plans do you have and which tote would you take along?

The great Travel Tote in the photo above will be one carried by Sports Club LA/Boston Shop! Stop by this weekend and check out MAKE.GOOD studio's collection available at the club all summer.


SNAPSHOT: Peak into my week

It's been a full week of dog walks, bus rides, studio time, a show, discovering this leather supply shop and making lots of new bags. And the weekend adventuresome! There was dinner with friends at this fabulous hot spot, finding a new coffee shop, and enjoying a soft serve in the suburbs! Hope you too had a great week and weekend. Looking forward to being in the studio in the coming days working on lots of new summer bags!
...and I have news...
MAKE.GOOD studio is coming to The Sports Club LA/Boston retail shop!


EVENT: First Thursday JP @ Room 68

Last night after the rain stopped, the sun made an appearance just in time for First Thursday in JP. It was a lovely evening. I got to hang out with these three lovely guys and talk to lots of people about my new work. Everyone was in good spirits and enjoying all the great design this little gem of a shop has to offer. If you didn't get a chance to stop by Room 68 last night, not to worry. MAKE.GOOD studio bags will be in the shop through the weekend!
My new favorite bag is the Natural Canvas Weekend Carry All. (in the photo below) It features natural leather straps and blue piping. Perfect for summer traveling.

If your in the market for a little home decor, check out our new pillows! These will be a permanent item carried by Room 68 so stop by anytime this summer!


NEW WORK: Tea Tin Herb Garden

It was one of those dreary, rainy weekends here in Boston. All I wanted to do was watch movies, eat popcorn and take long afternoon naps, listening to the rain. Admittedly, I did a lot of that. But at one point during Sunday I peeled myself off my very comfortable new sofa and went to the drawing board.
A few days earlier, I had been inspired by this blog to transform my empty tea tins into lovely little pots for herbs. And on Sunday I was moved to design a lovely little water catching device for my soon to be mini herb garden.

Designing led to drawing which led to water color. It ended up being a good Sunday afternoon, despite the rain. Next step, to build!
Would you make your own tea tin herb garden...and what are your favorite pretty tea tins? I'm excited to search for some unique ones this week.


EVENT: First Thursday JP!

We are so excited to be featured at ROOM 68 for First Thursday in JP this week, June 7 @ 6:00pm! The guys at this amazing furniture and design shop are sure to have the space chock full of super design...and maybe a little wine too... So stop by, see the shop and check out MAKE.GOOD studio's summer bags. They will all be there live. This one and this one too.
Hope to see you there!

SITE VISIT: Friends and their new baby

This past friday a few friends gathered to visit a new baby.  We admired the adorable baby boy, drank a little wine, laughed at funny stories and had a perfect evening surrounded by friends.
Congratulations Agnes, Michael, Dante and Westin! Your family is beautiful.
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