Top 25 Takeaways from Craftcation

Craftcation Conference Logo

If you follow me on Twitter, then you already know that I spent last weekend engrossed in the amazingness that was the first-ever Craftcation: Indie Business & DIY Conference.

Delilah Snell (who was November’s TasteMaker), and her cousin, Nicole Stevenson — aka two of the busiest bees I know — somehow found times in their ridiculously packed schedules to create this much-needed conference. I say much-needed because it’s clear more and more people are getting into the handcrafted world (including food in there too, of course) and that we can all benefit from converging, conferring, and, collaborating.

Here are 25 rather random observations and takeaways:
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Pretty. Easy. Spiced Boiled Peanuts

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Snack Recipe Spiced Boiled Peanuts Recipe

It’s pretty much impossible to spend any real time in Hawaii without coming across boiled peanuts. Along with poke, boiled peanuts are a classic happy hour pupu (appetizer) and I can never seem to get enough of them. When I’m on Oahu, I stop by Tamura’s where there’s an awesome selection of booze, poke, and boiled peanuts. But I started getting annoyed that I was spending money on boiled peanuts since they require nothing more than a few ingredients and a few hours.
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Local Adventure: Patchwork Festival

Toast Print from The Poster List and Upcycled ornaments at Patchwork

This past Sunday I checked out the Patchwork Indie Art & Craft Festival, put together by my friend, Delilah, and her niece, Nicole. Though they’ve held the event for five years, yesterday marked the first time it took place in the Los Angles area — at Helms Bakery in Culver City, to be precise. Helms is a shopping district that’s worth a visit in its own right as it’s packed with good food and gorgeous design places like Let’s Be Frank, Lukshon, and Room & Board, but yesterday it was even more worth the trip since they were hosting over 100 local vendors for the day.

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Hot Mexican Pickles

Delilah Snell Easy Hot Mexican Pickle Recipe

If you caught yesterday’s TasteMakers interview with Delilah Snell, then you’re likely as convinced of her awesomeness as I am. She’s a rare breed as she’s one of a handful of Master Food Preservers in the nation and spreads the good word about preserving via her numerous endeavors from her store and blog to her line of preserves. Needless to say, when we met, it was quite clear Delilah and I were equally food obsessed and we have quickly become friends.

A few weeks ago I attended one of her pickling classes, which was a whirlwind of a day in which we made everything from kimchi and sauerkraut to preserved limes and spicy green beans. Of them all, this recipe for Mexican-style pickled carrots was a crowd favorite so Delilah is sharing the recipe here.

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TasteMakers: Delilah Snell


I strongly subscribe to the belief that we should never stop learning and I’m fortunate to have fabulous people in my life who help make that happen. They’re some seriously talented folks and have all taught and inspired me in some way. I realized it was no longer fair to keep them all to myself, so I’m starting a monthly feature I’m calling TasteMakers where I’ll be sharing their amazingness with you.

The first TasteMaker is the fun food wonderwoman (or, funderwoman, as I call her), Delilah Snell. She may be the most prolific person I know with her hands in numerous activities at once, not to mention she’s also a Master Food Preserver, of which there are only a handful of in the nation. Master Preservers evangelize the lost art of putting up your food, which I’m drawn to it because it helps us learn more about where food comes from, how to respect it, and how to make the most with what you’ve got (a good philosophy for life, no?). When she’s not busy spreading the good word about preserving you can find her dabbling in one of her other activities be it her store, her preserves line, her blog, or one of the craft shows she has helmed. But let’s hear about Delilah’s adventures in her own words. Oh, and be sure to check back in tomorrow when I’ll post a recipe for her Hot Mexi Pickles.

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Fresh Fruit Fizzies

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Recipe Homemade Fruit Soda

By now it’s engrained in us: soda’s the enemy. Even so I still yearn for a cold fizzy drink when it’s hot out, like, for example, this week where temperatures have been nearing the triple digits. There’s only so much water I can down, so I’ve compromised by mixing up homemade nonalcoholic drinks. Making them myself allows me to avoid all the scary stuff while still satisfying my soda fix. These fizzies are an awesome alternative because they’re simple to make, just a tad sweet, and an easy way to get a few extra servings of fruit, which is why they’re part of my week of healthy back to school recipes. So, help your little ones stay cool and healthy and toast the new school year with these homemade fruit fizzies.
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Summer, From Concentrate

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Recipe Cocktail Shrub

If only it were possible to bottle summer and store it away. Then, on a whim, you could open it to let sunshine, frozen desserts, and grill smells brighten even the rainiest of days.

When I was a kid, I almost had it figured out. I’d be at my grandmother Noni’s house in late summer — where time was kept in matches of badminton and meals defined by how many grilled scalloped potatoes you ate and I’d run about with a net and jar bottling fireflies. To me, fireflies were the epitome of summer because they’d dance about in the dark and make the room so bright that I could read Nancy Drew by their light. The next day we’d let them go and I’d inevitably be saddened because I’d remember that both the fireflies and summer were fleeting.

Now that I’m older, I take a different approach. Each season, I round up the season’s produce, get crafty in the kitchen, and lock in the flavor at its prime. Over the years I’ve pickled, preservedcandied, and canned all in the name of sealing the season tight in a jar. But this year, I took a different approach and started distilling those sunshine-filled flavors into shrubs.
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The Shirley Temple Sundae

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Recipe Brandied Cherries

I really wanted to be Shirley Temple when I was younger. Maybe because we both had ringlets or because my mother strapped me into taps shoes the minute I could walk, but I always felt we were kindred spirits. My sisters and I would put on shows for our parents and their guests during dinner parties and I was the go-to girl for the Shirley Temple roles. Not that I ever objected. I would channel my best Shirley smile, don my sequined dance skirt, and eagerly attempt my best rendition of On The Good Ship Lollipop. Seeing as I was a fan of all things ST, I was naturally obsessed with her namesake drink and would ask for it every chance I got — with extra cherries, thank you very much.
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