Whirlwind life/work update today! If you follow me on Instagram then you know I've been moving studios (I'm staying at Western Avenue, but moved to a brighter space on the canal side of the building) and that has basically consumed me for several weeks. Paint swatches everywhere, obsessively taping + painting, repainting, "packing" + moving. It took way longer than planned, but I'm thrilled with the new space!
Since it took longer than expected to finish painting + moving, the rest of the unpacking has been put on the backburner while I get back to work... and now that it's also officially summer & the mister is on school vacation we've been trying to schedule more fun activities too. Including baking, obviously. Gotta take advantage of all that seasonal summer fruit, right?
And if you're wondering how Daisy is doing, she is holding steady at okay. We FINALLY got the impossibly-expensive medication but it was harsh & made her really sick so we have been trying to manage the repercussions of that and get to a place where we can try the meds again. She seems pretty happy day-to-day though, which we think is pretty good, considering.
It has been all chaos around here recently (end of school year, studio move, Daisy stuff-- all for another post) so I am looking forward to spending the day hanging out with neighbor/friend/fellow animal lover/maker of cute things Joelle Geisler this Saturday at the Strawberries & Art Festival in Westford, Mass.
I'll be debuting this print there (hooray strawberries!) and enjoying copious amounts of strawberry shortcake.
I'm also discontinuing a number of headband styles, so they will be on sale in person this weekend and probably eventually online. If you see something in this photo that catches your eye, feel free to shoot me an email about it at migrationgoods[AT]gmail[DOT]com.
To recap: cute new print, awesome animal & cute art by Joelle, strawberry shortcake. Sounds pretty good, right? Hope to see you there, Mass friends!
I have been trying to write this post for several weeks and failing because I'm just not able to put into words how so very grateful I am for the outpouring of love & support we received when I first posted about Daisy's health issues & biopsy.
In particular I have to thank Virginia (of gather here fame) for putting the precious Makers Gonna Make bags that Sarah of egg-a-go-go printed (especially for the shop's anniversary party, with donated time) up for sale. I still get teary about this when I think about it. And to all the people that bought them so quickly, and all the folks who shopped the sale I held in my shop, or bought nail polish from my destash. I feel so very very lucky to be part of a community of such caring & generous & supportive makers and people who appreciate handmade. THANK YOU. x a billion.
(photo by Virginia via instagram)
Daisy is doing pretty well these days. After waiting an excruciatingly much-longer-than-predicted amount of time for her test results, she was diagnosed with hepatotoxicosis, or copper storage disease. This is a liver disease, that, left untreated, is fatal. We feel fortunate that we caught it when we did, and Daisy is now on a 6 to 8 month treatment that includes medication and a strict low-copper diet. We are so, so glad that her diagnosis was not something even more serious that would require surgery or more drastic treatments.
However, I would not wish what we've already gone through (or the cost of it all) on anyone else, so please, please, PLEASE! pay attention to what you are feeding your pet (we fed Daisy what we thought was a quality food, recommended by a vet, but it was for years, and we didn't worry too much about formula changes because she seemed to like it). And always ask your vet all the questions you have (sometimes we didn't, because we assumed we were being given all the information we needed). Related: if you feel like your vet is not giving you all the information you need, even when you ask, go with your instinct & find one who will. We have always prided ourselves on taking good care of our dog and being responsible pet owners, but I realize now that it was easy to not go the extra mile because we have always had a healthy dog. This can change, and faster than you think.
Anyway, I have now read more articles on copper storage disease in dogs than I ever thought I would, so if anyone has any questions on it, I'm happy to answer them if I can. And it's going to be a while before we know for sure if the treatment is working. In the meantime, we have a very carefully monitored dog on a strict diet & a lot of bills to pay off but it could have been so much worse, and we are feeling optimistic about it all.
Thank you AGAIN to everyone who helped with purchases that will go toward Daisy's bills, but also for everyone who shared so many kind words of understanding & encouragement & love & empathy. They made a world of difference during a very tough time.
PS. If you still want to catch the end of the sale at migrationgoods.com, you have until midnight today, April 1st, to save 20% on everything. (code: DAISYDOG)
If you follow me on twitter or instagram, you already know that I've been busy/distracted with dog mom stuff, and I've posted a few sales there, but I thought it was time for me to update here too.
Miss Daisy dog has been testing with rapidly rising liver enzyme levels for a few months now, and after the ultrasound didn't give us an answer, we went to the biopsy. Without getting into all my emotional issues & mixed feelings about procedures on a 13+ year-old dog, we brought her in last Thursday. Then got promptly rescheduled to Friday. Were told we would get results on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, on the day that we dropped Daisy off at the vet (first try) for her $$$$ procedure, my (almost 15 year-old) beloved VW failed inspection for the first time ever. I'm going to be honest & tell you that I haven't even gotten an estimate on that. (Hey, I'm busy watching over my cranky cone-head dog!)
Anyway, the vet bill was not completely unexpected but (of course) higher than estimated, and that car thing was totally not on my radar. Hence the sales.
20% off EVERYTHING at migrationgoods.com! with code DAISYDOG. This includes all the new ceramics items as well as made-to-order accessories. Plus, free shipping in the US & half off international shipping on all on prints & postcards.
And NEW! for the nail polish people, I have pulled an embarrassing amount of nail polish out to destash, all at 50% off or more. Click the DESTASH picture below (or the little one in the sidebar at right) to check it out.
Thank you so much to everyone who has made a purchase already or who has spread the word! Daisy & I appreciate every single purchase & good thought & kind word, so much. And I can't even start to talk about Gather Here's sale of egg-a-go-go's screenprinted bags to benefit Daisy without crying so I'm saving that for another post.
Fast-forward to today: we're still waiting on test results. Yup. I will update on twitter when we finally hear something.
And I'll probably remain a bit distracted until then, but I'm shipping out shop orders on schedule while getting more online updates prepped. (Yarn & fiber people, you will have a sale too!)
Thanks again for all the Daisy love & for reading this confused, rambling update. We have our fingers (and paws) crossed for good news!
I love mochi. I think maybe I've always loved it. Mildly sweet, lovely & chewy, and often filled other yummy things (ice cream, chocolate, peanut butter, red bean paste). When I moved to Taiwan to teach English after college, the mochi thing went into overdrive. All of a sudden what had been a sometimes treat was EVERYWHERE! Taiwanese people even have a term for that lovely chewy toothsomeness that is embodied by mochi & other rice flour treats: "QQ".
Unfortunately, when I returned stateside my access to all things mochi was reduced greatly. Trips to Hawaii & other west coast cities helped a little bit, but it wasn't until my friend Joy posted her easy mochi recipe on her blog that I realized I could have ALL THE MOCHI again. Chi chi mochi is mochi as I love it most, in one of its simplest forms. And it's seriously easy to make.
The extra-awesome bonus to mochi is that since it's made from sweet rice flour, it's naturally gluten-free (chi chi mochi is also dairy-free & vegan). I was thrilled to have a dessert to make for all our vegan & dairy or gluten-sensitive friends.
Of course I can never leave well enough alone, so I modified that original recipe of Joy's to make chocolate & green tea versions as well. If you love mochi too but you think everything is better with chocolate, Joy is posting that modified chocolate chi chi mochi recipe on her blog today!
But in my mochi-making madness I soon found out that the lovely QQness of mochi that was so popular in Taiwan is actually something that some people do NOT like. Luckily for me, Joy posted her butter mochi recipe next. Though not what I think of as mochi (it's more like a very dense custard-y cake), it's also gluten-free. Flavorwise, it reminds me a lot of the pastries & sweet cakes you find in Chinese bakeries. Yum, right?
And I think you all know what came next. I made a chocolate version. This recipe is again, gluten-free, but it is not for the dairy-sensitive, nor is it vegan friendly. But if you are sensitive to gluten & miss brownies/chocolate cake (or just want less wheat flour in your life), this is the recipe for you!
CHOCOLATE BUTTER MOCHI (aka gluten-free brownie-cake) (Adapted from the Frock Files butter mochi recipe)
INGREDIENTS 3½ C sweet rice flour 2½ C sugar 2 T baking powder ¾ C dutch-process or other high-quality cocoa powder ½ t sea salt (feel free to add an additional ½ t if you like salt)
5 large eggs 1½ t vanilla extract 2 C evaporated milk 1 15oz can of coconut milk 1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, melted
½ C semi-sweet chocolate chips
A few notes about ingredients: Mochi is made from sweet rice flour (also sometimes called glutinous or sticky rice). Koda Farms' Mochiko is the most commonly used brand-- you can find it at Asian grocery stores or on online at Amazon, but Bob's Red Mill also makes a sweet rice flour that I've been able to find at most of our local grocery stores.
You can use regular or light canned coconut milk, which is usually available at most grocery stores as well (Trader Joe's also has it, and for much less), but I would avoid using coconut cream, which is much thicker. And FYI, two cups of evaporated milk is about one and a half 12 oz. cans. Sorry. If anyone has a good use for that last half can, I'm all ears.
Most importantly, the quality of your cocoa powder makes a big difference in this recipe. If you can't get dutch-process cocoa (we usually get ours at Penzey's), get the highest quality one you can find. No Hershey's here if you can help it, ok?
DIRECTIONS: Let's do this! Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 9" x 13" pan.
Whisk together dry ingredients (sweet rice flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder & sea salt) in a large bowl and set aside.
In another large bowl (I do this in a stand mixer, but a handheld mixer would work great too. You can also mix by hand but make sure you really combine everything well), beat eggs and vanilla extract together until smooth. Add remaining wet ingredients (evaporated milk, coconut milk and melted butter) and beat on low until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in small batches, beating on low the whole time, until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. It looks a lot like chocolate pudding before it sets at this stage. Pour into prepared pan. Gently sprinkle chocolate chips evenly across the top.
Bake for 50-75 minutes, until center feels firm & sproingy and no longer jiggles.
Cool COMPLETELY in pan on wire rack. Cut into small pieces with a plastic knife.
Note: When you first pull this out of the oven it will likely be shiny & crackly on top, and a little crisp around the edges, like a good pan of brownies. If you prefer them this way, cover only loosely once cooled & cut to preserve that crispy edge. If you prefer more of a cake-like texture, cover entire pan tightly with plastic once cool & wait another few hours or overnight to cut, and keep cut pieces tightly sealed as well. Either way, this is a dense, chewy-cakey piece of mochi-brownie-cake in the middle.
This recipe makes a very full 9 x 13 pan! I usually trim the edges off before serving, and even without those this easily makes 12 VERY generous servings. Probably about 24-30 "slightly more restrained" servings (please note that I will never judge your choice in serving sizes).
PS. This is the first recipe I've ever posted here, so I'd love any feedback you might have! And don't forget to visit Joy at frockfiles.com for the all her earlier mochi posts as well as today's (vegan/dairy-free/gluten-free) chocolate chi chi mochi recipe!
I'm writing this (super-sad-to-me) post because I've discovered some details about the material I use to apply the drawings on the dishes/spoons, and I wanted to make sure any past, current or future customers have all the information on these items. I have posted a page on the migration goods website, and am about to update the item pages.
Basically the paint has been tested to be non-toxic but isn't certified so I can't guarantee that it's food-safe. This is an issue more with the plates with large design areas on them, and most of all with the spoons -- extra friction from use or even temperature if you are planning on hot foods. It is of course a personal choice but I cannot tell you they're food-safe.
This issue does not affect use of mugs or bowls or any other items with designs only on the exteriors. And of course if you are using your ceramics for decorative purposes only, this doesn't affect your items either. Going forward, all pieces with designs on contact surfaces will be clearly marked "not recommended for food use".
I'm mortified that my rush & excitement over getting these new items out before the holidays allowed me to overlook this issue. This is not the standard that I hold myself or my products too, and I'm so so sorry.
For anyone who made purchases in December of 2013 planning on using their items for food, I have made a trade-in/upgrade/refund offer, which is open to anyone who made their purchase believing it to be food-safe. That offer is also on the information page here. Any other questions can also be made directly through the contact page.
Again, my apologies. This is certainly not how I wanted to start off in 2014. I will do better!