Being Creative: Turning Veggies into Baked Goods

This summer, we had an amazing community garden at work (Thanks, Columbus Foundation – you rock). Summer veggies were in high abundance! We had multiple zucchinis the size of some of the lil ones at work. This past weekend, we had one zuke left over from the day’s haul. I didn’t want this guy left alone to rot over the weekend, so necessity demanded that I adopt this zucchini.

Now if you’re my mother reading this, you are probably thinking “this girl has never willingly decided to take a vegetable home”, but I did. Look at me now, Ma! I took this zucchini home. After I got the behemoth squash in my kitchen, I’ll be honest, it was pretty intimidating. This is a large vegetable. So what do I do? Naturally, I take to Pinterest. And what do I find? I find a CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD recipe. That’s right. Chocolate.

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Had a quarter of the zucchini left over, even!

I found this baby, courtesy of twopeasandtheirpod, and man am I glad that I did. I took my recipe to the local Trader Joe’s, which, I was very glad to discover, has everything that one needs for this baking project. This is from scratch here, and I am not the kind of cook that regularly keeps flour stocked in her kitchen. If you are, then you are one step ahead of me!

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My Kitchen Aid mixing bowls are my favorite. Thanks, Ma!

I got to work prepping and shredding the zucchini (pro tip: I have since made this recipe 2 more times and the best times have been when the zucchini was patted with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.), mixing my wet and dry ingredients separately, and of course getting cocoa powder everywhere as one is prone to do when simultaneously dancing while baking.

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I enjoy that Trader Joe, when baking become his German counterpart, Baker Josef on their baking items. That’s good branding!¬†

You stick this bad boy in the oven at 350 degrees for 50-60 mins (every time that I have made it, I’m usually closer to 60-65 minutes, but I also used a 6×8 pan instead of her recipe’s 5×9). And then the oven does it’s magic!

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What comes out is the deliciously chocolatey bread that is honestly more cake-like than bread-like. It would also be great for muffin tins for smaller servings to eat throughout the week. I always eat one slice right out of the oven. Obviously you have to taste test your baking. How else would you know it was acceptable to share with the public? Its a great recipe for sharing with a group of friends, office mates, and even picky boyfriends. There is no way that you could tell that there were veggies in this gooey, chocolately bread. So look at that, Ma! I can eat my veggies…when combined with enough sugar, butter, and chocolate ūüôā

I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, especially if you have some lingering late summer zucchini! Enjoy!

-Jessie

P.S. Sorry about the photos – the lighting in my kitchen is not the best! #apartmentliving

Creative Happenings: Country Living Fair 2017

Hey Hey! I hope that everyone is having a great week, and also enjoying this summer like weather that we are having here in the Cbus…I’m a little over it, personally. ¬†Honestly, I hope it ends soon because I have already put up my fall decor, and I would like to unpack my sweaters and boots. You listening, mother nature?

This past weekend, my parents came to town for a quick trip. I always love when my parents come to visit and I get to share my new city with them. It might come as a surprise to you that I am a country gal at heart. I grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh…and my house was in the middle of a field. And what has fields? You guessed it. A farm! Yes. I basically grew up on a farm. Farm adjacent if you will. That being said, I have since embraced the big city lifestyle with my move to Columbus a few years ago. However, you can take a girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. My mother is entirely to blame for instilling a love of hand crafts and shabby chic decor in me during my upbringing. Naturally, we also share a love of thumbing through the Country Living Magazine ¬†in the grocery check-out line. It was a no-brainer since they were in town that we check out the Country Living Fair!

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My momma and I being all cute in front of a cart full of mums!

Being relatively new to Columbus, I didn’t know that this lovely slice of country heaven annually visits the city. The Fair takes place at Ohio Village, right next to the Ohio History Connection. The Village was the best setting that I could have imagined for the Fair. It was the quaintest back drop for the pages of Country Living Magazine to come to life. Like seriously, though. The place was set up for a photo shoot! There were vendors selling everything from hand painted signs to baskets, christmas ornaments, antiques, and all kinds of upcycling! There were local artisans as well as makers from all parts of the country. There were also food vendors – a majority of whom served out of the cutest little trailers.

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There were many parts of the Country Living Fair, but it was getting toasty, so my parents and I retreated to the coolness of the A/C after only 2 hours. But not before I took a photo of this beautiful gourd pyramid!

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Who doesn’t love a good fall squash display? It was a quick trip for us this year, but next year, hopefully the summer will have simmered down a bit for this Columbus tradition, because I will be back! I didn’t buy anything this year, but my mom was on the hunt for a porch sign for the house in PA. She was successful and found the cutest lil metal sign to welcome our PA guests to their wrap around porch. I do miss that view! But I also love that I can find the country in Columbus.

Until next time!

-Jessie

Creative Happenings: Urban Scrawl 2017

Hello! I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy this B-E-A-Utiful weather that us in Central Ohio are having the pleasure of enjoying, currently. It was a fabulous weekend for exploring our fair city. It was also, coincidentally, the weekend for Urban Scrawl, a massive art event that occurs in the Franklinton Arts District, an area directly west of down town that has become a local arts haven over the last decade or so. There are a TON of local artists that live and work in the neighborhood and it has the delicious, gritty, urban, art feel. There are these amazing warehouse spaces, old brick, and grimy windows that just scream to be used as a backdrop for creatives to work their magic.

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Neighborhood signature mural outside of the 400 W Rich Studios

I used to intern at a fancy lil organization called the STEAM Factory, a collaborative research initiative of The Ohio State University that calls Franklinton home. As a result, I spent a decent amount of the Spring of 2016 exploring the 400 W Rich Studios and the neighborhood that is known as “East Franklinton”. ¬†Franklinton Fridays became this area’s version of the Short North’s “Gallery Hop”, and the studios would be open and there would be art everywhere. This neighborhood is also home to one of my favorite restaurants, ¬†Strongwater Food and Drink (my internship supervisor used to have a drink named after him, which to me, that’s how you know you’ve made it), and Land Grant Brewing, which is a cleverly marketed craft brewery that brews delicious libations. It is an up and coming area that is keeping local arts at the center of it’s development.

Urban Scrawl is a special event that has been occurring every summer since 2007, and it contributes to the artist driven community improvement that is happening in Franklinton. Basically, artists from all over the city have an opportunity to create amazing mural projects over the two day festival and these pieces are then made available for purchase, benefitting a cause that supports the arts community. This year, the proceeds will benefit the new Franklinton Arts District’s George Bellow’s Artist Fellowship. The Fellowship “… provides funding in support of individual artists, artistic collaborations, and community-based organizations investing in the fundamental value of arts and culture in the Franklinton¬†community.”. Now how cool is that? Artists supporting artists – that is what truly creates a community.

The vibe at this festival is truly one of a kind. When I walked into the back alley way, I was met first by the strong smell of paint. And there was a LOT of paint in use back in the mural area. Blick Art Materials was sponsoring the event, and they had even more gallons upon gallons of acrylic paint available for the artists to use. As I walked around, it was clear that the visual arts talent in Columbus is truly larger than life. These murals were ginormous. To me, there is nothing cooler than art that forces you to pay attention to it, and that is exactly what these murals did. They demanded attention. Even though there were a few hundred people all milling about, the art was the centerpiece. It was such an experience to be able to walk down the aisles and see the artists in the throes of their creativity. There was so much drama and action in the way that they were working. It was the best kind of reality tv show. I could watch these guys all day. Here are some of my favorites in action:

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Maureen E. Clark‘s beginning of a downtown cityscape

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Awesome psychadelic mural by Elise Alexander

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Massive Dandelion Mural. Could not find the artist’s name…

I’m a bit saddened that I wasn’t able to make it back Sunday night to see the completed pieces. The energy and excitement that I felt on Saturday, however, was promising that these pieces would be truly astounding. If I had a vaulted ceiling in my apartment, I would be back for the auction event for sure. However, most of these pieces are much too large for my teeny place. If you weren’t able to make it out this past weekend, I highly recommend liking the Franklinton Arts District Facebook page to keep in the know of all the artistic happenings down in this ‘hood. It’s an authentic arts neighborhood with much cheaper parking than it’s Short North counterpart. If you haven’t been yet, what are you waiting for?

Til next time!

Jessie

Being Creative: Weekend of Lettering and Line Illustrations

Hey Guys! Going on week 3 of the blogger lifestyle. I might be starting to get the hang of it! You’re still here, reading away, so I guess I must be doing something ya like. Thanks for sticking with me!

Anyway, I needed to take a break this weekend. I don’t know about you, but last week was CRAZY. I built a playground for my day job with 327 other volunteers from around Columbus. It was clearly a very chill experience. Actually no. Not even close. I cannot even joke about the lack of chill that was last week’s activities for this playground. It was fun, but it was a lot of work. ¬†And I love my job, but sometimes, even the best jobs can completely drain all of your energy.

For me, when I am drained, I need to hit the reset button and recenter myself. My favorite way to do this is to create something. Lately, I have been playing around with one of my favorite instagrammer’s, @pigeonlettering a.k.a Peggy Dean’s, fabulous step-by-step illustration book, Botanical Line Drawing. I’ve never really considered myself an “artist”. I am an “amateur doodler” at best. But this book makes me feel like a pro!

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I’ve been practicing hand lettering for about 6 months now. I’m still not sure if it’s hand lettering or brush letting or brush calligraphy, (the blogging community has yet to come to a consensus on that one). I LOVE IT. I get to buy pretty pens that come in all the pretty colors and write pretty words and phrases and add some beauty to an otherwise dull world. It’s also really fun to send cards in pretty envelopes to brighten dreary mailboxes as well. My favorite pens are from Pentel, but Tombow’s markers are also fun. It just depends on the vibe you are going for, and the size of the piece. I’m a little clumsier with the Tombow DualBrush Markers, and the Pentel Sign Brush pens have a more flexible tip. But I’m still really new to the lettering game, I’m hoping to one day be able to make amazing letterings with any markers like all the instagrammers do, but it takes time. I love practicing lettering and I find it very calming. I love words, and letters, so making them myself is extremely gratifying.

I love studying different type and fonts and learning how different styles can make you feel. I was always that kid in computer class playing with the different fonts in Word to make sure that I had the best cover page. I also have always been the girl that wrote everything in cursive when she learned it in 4th grade. My printing is awful, but it’s ok, we are working on it! I found out about hand lettering while browsing around on Pinterest and Instagram. Before I knew it,I had bought some pens and paper and I was lettering. I’m still learning and refining my style. If you like what you see, let me know. I’m thinking about opening an Etsy shop…

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I spent some time with my sketchbook and a glass of wine on Saturday night, and this is what I came up with. Lettering: Pentel Color Brush, Line work: Tombow MONO Drawing Pen, and Color: Tombow Twintone Markers in Pastel. It was a great way to destress and calm my mind. I apologize for the sketchy color lines. I was trying a new, different style to fill in my illustrations, and some of it looks better than the rest. Just another excuse to keep practicing I guess!

I hope you are all enjoying your last few days of summer. I know I am clinging to them. But I am also ready for everything pumpkin. Summer color palettes are way better, though. Win some, lose some, I suppose.

Have a great week everyone! and thanks for reading!

Best,

Jessie

Creative Happenings: Ten By Three – A Badass Portrait Series

Columbus is home to an amazing amount of creative talent. Honestly, that is the main reason that I decided to start this blog. There is a creative revival happening in North Columbus and Wild Goose Creative is playing a big part in supporting the local art renaissance.

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Wild Goose Creative is where you go in Columbus to be a “Part of the Art”. It is a membership based organization that is a creative incubator for all kinds of artistic happenings in Columbus. They host a number of amazing programs in their space every month. A few of my favorites include their Business of Art Series, which provides business professional development workshops for artists in the city; Speak Easy, a themed open mic storytelling event; and their monthly gallery shows, which is what I’m talking about tonight.

I’m always excited for a new gallery show at the Goose (which members get into an hour earlier than the general public, just FYI). This month was no exception because one of my favorite photographers in Columbus, the ridiculously talented Autumn Theodore, was one of three photographers featured in the show Ten By Three.

Ten By Three is a series of portraits of ten women photographed in the style of three badass female photographers, Megan Leigh Barnard, Allie Lehman and Autumn Theodore, and OH MY WOW. These photographs were stunning. Hung in simple black frames, the beauty of each picture was visceral. It was so inspirational and eye opening to see the same woman through three different camera lenses. Their unique photographic styles shone in each portrait.

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Megan’s style was distinct in the way that she included additional background, or items that shared a piece of each subject’s personality. Allie’s were dark and mysterious, with each subject looking almost like a Disney villain, but in the best way possible. Autumn’s style played with all different lighting colors and angles. Each photograph on it’s own was remarkable. But when they were displayed next to each other, their power was overwhelming. These are such strong, creative women and they have a lot to say. I can’t wait to see their work and the names of these women are ones to look out for.

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Photography is a skill that I have long admired and tonight I walked away completely amazed by the vision and execution of this project. It was truly only describable as “Badass”. There is more to it as well beyond just the pure artistic skill, vision, and talent of these women. The room tonight was filled with women that support these women as well and there is absolutely nothing more inspiring than a room full of badass babes supporting each other as well all seek to share and experience art in the city. This series is up at Wild Goose until the end of August. GO SEE IT!

That’s all for today,

Jessie

 

Creative Places: Columbus Metropolitan Library – Main Branch

Libraries… what a drag. Amirite? OF COURSE I’M NOT, YOU LOON.

I love the library and, honestly, I think that graduate school made me forget that. I spent a good deal of time in the Thompson Library Reading Room to get me out of the house and focus a bit more. A graduate degree, well an M.A. at least, meant researching for hours and writing for hours about things that were absolutely fascinating, don’t get me wrong, but just were not…well fun. It was work! As a result, I had no real desire to go to a library of my own free will. Hadn’t even thought about going. I’ve been on a big buying books kick lately…but one only has so much shelf space.

Lately, and I’ll go into this in another post eventually, I have been dipping my toe into the design world. I watched the amazing Netflix Documentary “Abstract” on the amazing Paula Scher and decided I wanted to be her when I grew up. So, in addition to learning how to blog, I’m also learning about graphic design, which I will also write about – You guys have so much to look forward to. Anyways, I had a free afternoon, and, after brunching on the largest cinnamon roll I’ve ever encountered at the new Grandview Cafe, I ventured downtown to check out the newly renovated Main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

As soon as I stepped out of the elevator and into the main entry, I was awe-struck and inspired. I mean, first off, LOOK AT THIS COOL SCULPTURE!

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This behemoth of a piece greets you in the main entry of the Main library. I couldn’t find any information about the piece in the Library, but after a brief Google search, it seems that the artist’s name is Virginia Overton and that the materials used are from the renovation. So that’s pretty cool. I love art that demands your attention. And these giant metal spheres do just that as they hang mid-air, adding another dimension to the classical architecture of the building’s facade.

Overall, the space was full of windows (read “more natural light than you thought was possible inside but in the best way possible”), high ceilings, and it was very crisp with white and gray color themes. It was absolutely gorgeous. There are tons of chairs and spaces to find that perfect reading or sketching spot. The view from the top floor overlooking Topiary Park was also pretty great. Being a native Pennsylvanian, I constantly marvel at the flatness of Central Ohio, and I love being high up and seeing as far as I can. We have mountains in PA that block those kinds of things…

I was in the library for a few hours getting lost in the non-fiction sections, specifically, in design books thanks to my new obsession. I walked away with a copy of “Women in Design” by¬†Bryony Gomez-Palacio ¬†and a copy of “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, both of which I cannot wait to plow through (thoughtfully of course) and review for you all here. Yay new blog post ideas!

 

Until next time,

Jessie

P.S.

I’m not sure how long to make these posts or even really how to end these things…I’m still pretty new at this. Let me know if you’ve visited the library recently and been inspired! Or just let me know if you wanted to read less/more about what I did there. I’m always open to suggestions!