Palette No. 33: Nicky Rising

Palette No. 33: Nicky Rising | CLOTH & KIND
What an insanely wonderful whirlwind of a week here in Los Angeles! One of the best parts, hands down, of being here in celebration of the LCDQ Legends event (and our custom designed Goldfinger window at Sydney Harbour Paint) was the time we were able to spend with our peers and friends in the interior design industry.

Case in point. Yesterday we crashed Nicky Rising – an all time favorite CLOTH & KIND showroom – and had her put together today’s Palette for us on the fly. We adore what Nicky and her fabulous showroom manager John threw together, all built around this divine showpiece of a vintage rug. Bright and cheerful, just like beautiful Nicky. Here she is pulling it all together.

Palette No. 33: Nicky Rising | CLOTH & KIND

We’re headed home to Ann Arbor & Athens today and couldn’t be more ready to get back to our real worlds, our families (good lord, do we miss them!) and our clients, but it’s been a blast LA. Thank you to everyone for being such gracious hosts, especially the LCDQ and Sydney Harbour Paint.

TOP RIGHT | Bermuda by Chapas Textiles (#09-20A) from Nicky Rising
TOP LEFT | Mahmut in Pink by Tulu Textiles (#n/a) from Nicky Rising
BOTTOM | Vintage Pictorial Khotan Chinese Wool Rug, early 20c (#n/a) from Nicky Rising

Deconstructed Kitchen: Japanese Pancakes

Deconstructed Kitchen: Japanese Vegetable Pancakes | CLOTH & KIND

I have to admit that I have had to learn to like vegetables. So any time I find a recipe that makes vegetables look tasty I jump right in. These definitely need the sauce, but the combination is yummy. They are reminiscent of latkes, but a wee bit healthier. I made the smaller pancakes. The large ones seemed a bit too intimidating. Plus, I always figure the first few end up being a bit of a failure due to my learning curve anyway.

Japanese Vegetable Pancackes from The Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 12-14 small pancakes

1/2 small head cabbage, very thinly sliced (1 pound or 5 to 6 cups shreds)
4 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
5 kale leaves, ribs removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons
4 scallions
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Canola, safflower or peanut oil for frying

Tangy Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine or sake
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey (use 2 if you like a sweeter sauce)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Make the pancakes:
Toss cabbage, carrot, kale, scallions and salt together in a large bowl. Toss mixture with flour so it coats all of the vegetables. Stir in the eggs. Heat a large heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Coat the bottom with oil and heat that too.

To make a large pancake, add 1/4 of the vegetable mixture to the skillet, pressing it out into a 1/2- to 3/4-inch pancake. Gently press the pancake down flat. Cook until the edges begin to brown, about 3 minutes. 30 seconds to 1 minute later, flip the pancake with a large spatula. Cook on the other side until the edges brown, and then again up to a minute more (you can peek to make sure the color is right underneath).

To make small pancakes, you can use tongs but I seriously find using my fingers and grabbing little piles, letting a little batter drip back into the bowl, and depositing them in piles on the skillet easier, to form 3 to 4 pancakes. Press down gently with a spatula to flatten slightly, but no need to spread them much. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the edges brown. Flip the pancakes and cook them again until brown underneath.

Regardless of pancake size, you can keep them warm on a tray in the oven at 200 to 250 degrees until needed.

If desired, make okonomiyaki sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and thick.

Serve pancakes with sauce and any of the other fixings listed above, from Japanese mayo to scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

Do ahead:
Extra pancakes will keep in the fridge for a couple days, or can be spread on a tray in the freezer until frozen, then combined in a freezer bag to be stored until needed. Reheat on a baking sheet in a hot oven until crisp again.

CREDITS | Guest edited, prepared & photographed by Bonnie Berry | Recipe by Smitten Kitchen | Table linens provided by Stone Textile

Fab Five: Chevron + A $100 Giveaway!

Did you guys catch our guest post over at Annie Selke’s Fresh American last week? We had such fun putting this special Fab Five together for them. To learn more about our inspiration for this piece, read on…
Fab Five: Chevron + a Giveaway! CLOTH & KIND

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It’s no secret that we at CLOTH & KIND have a long-standing love affair with patterns in textiles, and as interior designers, it has become a hallmark of our design aesthetic. While we are drawn to all manner of textile designs, without fail, we always come back to the chevron as a favorite. There is just something essential and noble about the chevron, with its inverted V-shaped motif, in all its variations, that piques our fancy.

Apparently, we’re not the only ones to delight in the zigzag pattern, because it dates back to ancient times, as seen in archaeological recovery of Greek pottery designs, as well as in early rock carvings. Throughout history, the geometric chevron has been commonly used as a military insignia and in the heraldry images of countless coats of arms and flags. To that end, the chevron has become part of our collective consciousness, and it’s no wonder that the pattern is a stalwart fixture in the graphic-design motifs found in many textile designs.

Our Fab Five inspiration started with the intoxicatingly beautiful Dash & Albert Zigzag Multi micro-hooked rug. We were immediately drawn in by the color combinations that when paired with the zigzag pattern create a cheerful graphic punch. We could see this rug working in a variety of settings, lending a playful air to the room.

We have always been fans of all things Arjumand and would likely sell our souls for the Herringbone Cool wallpaper from the Imperial Collection.

And who wouldn’t love one of Caitlin McGauley’s zigzag trays? We love Caitlin’s whimsical hand-drawn chevron motif on white porcelain accented with 22k gold.

And, let’s be honest, Kelly Wearstler nails graphic patterns and has done so again with this Groundworks for Lee Jofa trimming.

And even if you have been living under a rock, it would be hard to miss how much light has been shed on the beauty of wood floors laid in a chevron or herringbone pattern. Hands down, few companies do this with new floors as impeccably as Exquisite Surfaces.


So, what’s your favorite pattern? If it’s chevron, then you’re in luck, as we’re partnering with Annie to offer you a $100 Pine Cone Hill shopping credit, where you can shop all sorts of chevrons. Click HERE to enter over on Fresh American… and best of luck to you!

Inspired: Hecho A Mano

ABOUT | Aside from being one of my best friends on this planet, Rasheena Taub is a woman who has a profound way with words and rich understanding of the human spirit. In her first guest post on CLOTH & KIND, she shares the story and images of her recent trip to Peru and the loving art of creating mantas textiles by hand, hecho a mano. This fall, Rasheena will launch Kickstand Collections, an online resource for parents seeking more personalized collections of children’s books and souvenirs.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

I blame the elevation for my oversight in grabbing water bottles “con gas” at a small market on our way from the Cusco airport to the Sacred Valley. My nine year-old, who was newly exposed to Sprite, delighted in hydrating with a bit of bubbly. Our tour guide seemed less pleased. After twisting his bottle’s plastic cap off, he poured a healthy sip onto the ground. But then he chugged the rest. “Does it taste ok?” I questioned before committing to mine. “Si. That was for Pachamama.”

It turns out Spanish was not the native language of indigenous Peruvians – Quechua is. And in this ancestral language, Pachamama means “Mother World” or, as we know her, “Mother Earth.” Daily worship of their goddess of harvest and fertility includes this ritual of spilling a small amount of one’s drink onto the floor before drinking the rest — a personal gesture of gratitude directed at feeding and giving back to the land that takes care of us. I tried not to think about our water bottles piling up in some landfill.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

In the small town of Chinchero where we stopped en route to the Sacred Valley, we learned just how Pachamama and the Peruvians take care of each other. Sundays usher in busloads of tourists to experience the market, but this weekday afternoon our van was the sole vehicle in sight. We felt transported into a centuries-old way of living. Free from tourists, the town itself resembled an unoccupied Epcot country with souvenirs lining storefronts on the cobblestone road. Our tour guide led us to the front door of a local family. When no one answered his repeated knocking, he turned around and tried the neighbor’s house. A wooden arrow overhead had the words “Ayni Ayllu” painted onto it. We lucked upon a cooperative of women who thread traditional culture into their goods and weave their way into the modern world of commerce.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

A man, disrupted from siesta, descended from an upstairs room and greeted us. He then swiftly left us in the care of two women who welcomed us into their courtyard. In its center stood a working loom. As a writer, I am drawn to storytellers. These women understood their history and the importance of it, and they sought to preserve it by mentoring their children and educating tourists like us. They were also artisans, taking great pride in their handiwork and personal expressions of an ancient Andean art. A girl my seven year-old son’s age quietly fed guinea pigs while her mother set up a display of wicker bowls that held her show-and-tell. We were invited to learn how their most important textiles, mantas, are made. Symbolic and functional, mantas are the long weavings that women wear on their backs to carry babies and items such as food.  Distinctions in pattern and color identify the community in which it is created.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

Did I mention yet that Chinchero perches at 9,000 feet? We sipped coca tea and staved off altitude sickness while the women washed dirty sheep’s and alpaca’s wool with soap made from the root of a local plant. This natural detergent is also used as shampoo for their long, braided hair. Lack of oxygen may have something to do with my imagining these women in a detergent commercial where their strands of glistening white wool triumph alongside the unnamed leading detergent and an article of clothing still visibly stained.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

My children loved the next step, which involved spinning the wool into yarn on small toy-like drop-spindles. We’d see women around town that afternoon multi-task as women are prone to do: conversing, walking and spinning wool. In retrospect, I’m not sure how I thought color thread was created in this remote region. Again, they turn to the earth for resources. Hand-gathered natural ingredients such as leaves, corn, flowers, sticks and seeds produce different hues for the dyes. Salt and lemon alter the shades of colors drastically. Even cochineal, a small beetle that lives on the local pear cactus, is crushed to create a red dye. This same pigment adorns women’s lips and cheeks as make-up.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

The women boiled water in large, Strega Nona-like vessels and then added the desired dyes. They dipped single-ply yarn into the pots for varying lengths of time. The longer the thread soaked in the dye, the more intense its color. My kids grew bored of the demonstration. My husband refocused them on the tables of mantas, sweaters, dolls and pouches for purchase.  He knows me well enough to know that I was staying put for as long as they’d have me.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

The gorgeous yarns then had to be rinsed and hung to dry, all before being spun again to create thicker ply for weaving. Thankfully, balls of yarn crowded a woven basket near the working loom. We were good to go (not out the door, but toward the loom!). My son remarked that the simple loom, with its two upright poles and cross bar, resembled the top half of a field goal. He was right to be thinking of sports, since the two women tossed the yarn back and forth to thread the loom, creating a reversible textile.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

A weaver’s story, though, is told in most detail on an individual loom. Designs depicting natural elements such as rivers or mountains, stripes of varying thickness and color, and even animal figures emerge from the weaver’s mind. During Incan times, textiles commemorated personal milestones and peaceful offerings while representing basic beliefs and values of their makers. Even now, hundreds of years later, you get the sense that whatever a woman is feeling – whether longing or love or loss, she is expressing this through her choice of color and is identifying with Pachamama’s serenity, strength and survival.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

On the afternoon we spent in Chinchero, women gathered to weave in the town’s center and on a patch of grass beside the cobblestone road. Some removed their shoes, made out of recycled tires, and used their toes to hold the yarn. Others worked dutifully on backstrap looms designed for individual use. I envied these creative women for having their community within arm’s reach. Mine is dependent on email, phone calls and care packages. I missed my girlfriends, the ones who value the importance of making something with your hands, who turn hardship into something artful and beautiful, who own their power and use it for a greater good, who get that once you share your story, your few drops of water on the ground, you share yourself with the world, and in doing so, you are sustaining it.

Inspired: Hecho A Mano | CLOTH & KIND

IMAGE CREDITS | All photographs taken by Rasheena Taub.

Deconstructed Kitchen: Carrot & Red Lentil Soup

Guest edited, prepared & photographed by Bonnie Berry

Deconstructed Kitchen: Carrot & Red Lentil Soup | CLOTH & KIND

I love soup. It instantly cheers me up. And I feel like it always needs crackers. It must be from days as a child when my grandmother gave me soup and crackers. So I decided I should make them, which seemed like an impossibility. I don’t know why, but it always seemed too hard. It is, however, surprisingly easy. And with all of the GMO issues and the hidden chemicals in our food these days, and the fact that I like to cook, making things from scratch seems like the simplest way for me. I have made this soup recipe a dozen times and it never disappoints. I have used different kinds of lentils when I have not had red ones and the taste is the same, although it may not look quite as pretty.

adapted from La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion sliced
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves minced
1 large tomato (blanched, peeled, seeded and diced)
1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste
2 cups carrots (peeled and sliced, about 4-5 carrots)
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and sorted
4 cups cold water
1 bay leaf
Sea salt and pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or more to taste)

Top with:
Lime juice
Coconut milk or cream
Chopped cilantro
Crushed red peppercorns

In large heavy pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the oil, then add onion, leek, cumin, and thyme, cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring until fragrant and the onions are soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomato and tomato paste, cook for 2-3 minutes until tomato has softened. Add the carrots, lentils, cold water, and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the carrots and lentils are soft. Remove from heat, discard the bay leaf and transfer to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Return soup to the pot and stir in coconut milk. Reheat and check seasoning for coconut milk and salt and pepper. Serve topped with a dab of coconut milk, a squirt of lime juice, cilantro and crushed red pepper.

Deconstructed Kitchen: Carrot & Red Lentil Soup | CLOTH & KIND

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Rolling the dough 1/4-inch thick, I yielded 30 1 1/2-inch square cookies that shrank slightly and puffed to 3/8-inch thick

1 cup all-purpose flour, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream or half-and-half, more as needed
Coarse salt, pepper, sesame or poppy seeds or whatever you like for sprinkling (optional).

Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly dust with flour. Put flour, salt, cheese and butter in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until flour and butter are combined. Add about 1/4 cup cream or half-and-half and let machine run for a bit until a dough forms. If it does not come together, add more liquid a teaspoon at a time, until mixture holds together but is not sticky.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/4-inch thick or even thinner, adding flour as needed. From here, you can either form them into individual crackers (I went for 1 1/2-inch squares cut with a fluted pastry wheel) and bake them an inch apart on your baking sheet (the method I used) or transfer the entire rolled-out sheet to your baking sheet (draping it over the rolling pin will make it easier) and score them lightly with a knife, pizza or pastry wheel to break into crackers after they are baked. For either method, dock all over with a fork and sprinkle with salt or any other toppings you are using.

Bake until moderately browned, about 12 minutes. Cool on a rack; serve warm or at room temperature or store uncovered for a few days.Deconstructed Kitchen: Carrot & Red Lentil Soup | CLOTH & KIND

IMAGE CREDITS | Plate & Napkin from Anthropologie. Photography by Bonnie Berry.