Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tea Towels for the Family

My grandmother was a lively woman. She was friendly, creative, and resourceful. She had no problem speaking her mind, and I pity any person who ended up on her bad side. She knew where all the best deals in town were, and her cellar pantry showed for it. Like many other women from her generation, she was also a great cook! With our large family, I'm sure the requests were a bit daunting when the holiday's rolled around - but she always managed to make my favorites. When she passed away, my grandfather let the family take some of her beloved kitchen items. I put those items to good use as often as I can. Every now and then I wrap her colorful granny apron around my waist twice and get to work feeding my family. A couple of months ago, I decided to scan in a few of her hand-written recipes and put them together in a digital collage to be printed on fabric at I knew there would be a few other family members interested in this idea, so I made a neutral design in black & white and decided to turn the fabric into tea towels. I gathered up the family orders and began working as soon as possible. I am very pleased with how the tea towels turned out and I love seeing my grandmother's handwriting all over them, scribbles and all.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Belle and Beau Move to Amazon

Christine Klein
Designer of Belle & Beau
     Belle & Beau is making new ground in an online network of shopping. Handmade at Amazon is the place for artisans to sell their unique, handcrafted goods to hundreds of millions of customers worldwide. Christine Klein, designer and primary developer at Belle & Beau, is excited about this venture because Amazon is the most shopper-centric platform available online today. The Handmade at Amazon network provides the same reliable support and customization for artists all over the world as it does for commercial products.
     As consumer concerns focus on environmental impacts and a stressed economy, supporting small local business becomes more important than ever. Amazon has consistently grown in value while online shopping has dominated consumer industries. Handmade at Amazon reflects consumer driven interest by providing access to quality, affordable, handmade goods. Shoppers can customize their searches by product type, artist location, price, age groups and more.
     Belle & Beau fans can expect to see new products making their debut over the next several months. Wildlife and nature continue to be Christine's primary source of inspiration. She has been busy at the computer, consulting with parents, designing new fabrics, and planning a line of children's toys that will inspire the imagination. If you've ever purchased from Christine or used her products, please feel free to write her a review that will help others feel confident in purchasing from her store.

Bracelet available at

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Graphic art meets real world

My latest graphic art is now available in the real world. I designed these fish and printed my custom textile in the United States. This is my most favorite piece yet. Every aspect of this toy is handmade with care, from the fabric twine to the last stitch. Some of my earliest memories are fishing with my dad, and I know I would have appreciated a toy like this when I was a kid. This three-piece set will be sold with a simple wooden fishing pole and I hope it inspires hours of imaginative play! If you want to get your hands on this new item, make sure you come and see me at my next show. Further information available on my facebook page.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Belle and Beau Go Live!

Blockboards by Belle & Beau
New town means new adventures and Christine isn't wasting anytime preparing for the handmade scene in Tennessee. Belle & Beau is a newly formed, joint project with husband David, for a refreshing update to her original solo project Belle Adore Boutique. To start, Christine and David hope to join the handmade and indie scene happening in the Nashville and Cookeville areas of middle Tennessee. They have set their focus on children's items, particularly inspiring imagination, creativity, and problem solving skills. You can expect to see Belle Adore's classic reversible crowns as well as new items hand crafted by David, such as the miniature blockboards pictured above.

Crowns - Reversible Washable Adjustable
by Belle & Beau

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Something special

Handmade blanket from Dad's fleece robe
This is our first Christmas without my dad. We lost him suddenly and too soon, at the young age of 54. It was a shock to us all and we continue to adjust. Christmas has been no exception. My two beautiful children are the only reasons why we pulled the decorations down from the attic and carried on with our usual traditions this year. We were pleasantly surprised with new ornaments, handmade by sister and brother-in-law, commemorating my dad's life. It was a real treat to watch the kids hang them on our tree. Even though we live several states away from each other, it's no surprise that my sister and I were both making special gifts that centered around my dad. I secretly worked on a blanket for our mom. I knew she wanted to turn my dad's robe into a blanket, so I took it to Florida with me, and that's what I did. I carefully cut it into useable pieces (my gosh that first cut was hard!), and found a fleece pattern with a feminine touch to add to it. I made it so the two side plaid panels still have the pockets. When wrapped around my mom, she can actually use the pockets. I really love the way it came out and now that it has arrived home, I can share it here. My mom loves it and I know it will get a lot of use.
           When grieving a loved one, there are many ways to honor that person and keep their spirit alive. I personally like having some of their things around my house. There are several kitchen items I use that were my grandmothers. Whenever I use these items (a Boston bean pot, a banged up metal colander, an apron too big for me) I go through a slew of memories with my grandmother. This is how I keep her spirit alive in my home. I have similar items from my dad, and even though the loss is still painful, it does help a little, having some of his things with me. Now....I'll have to think about what to do with those robe scraps!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Be a drop in the water pot!

Now that Odd Duck Bazaar 2014 has passed, my co-producer Shelley Mitchell and I are focusing on local charity work. Shelley and I got involved as participants in an annual Spin-A-Thon with Marine Industry Cares Foundation in 2010. The foundation contributes to local charities helping children and families in need. The organization and people involved are top-notch and I've personally seen the positive impact these foundations make on children and their futures. I have set the bar higher than suggested and I'm trying to raise $500 on my own. This year marks the 6th year and takes place at Esplanade Park in Fort Lauderdale, FL on April 25th starting at 1pm. I encourage you to join in support in whatever way you can! If you'd like to help either one of us meet our goals, please click on the links below to contribute today. We'll do the hard work!

 "Drop by drop the water pot is filled" ~Buddha

Make a donation to Shelley's goal:

Thank you to our sponsor Connell Communications for allowing our team to participate this year!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Boston butt, baked beans, and creamy slaw

My crockpot has probably been THE best kitchen purchase I've ever made, aside from the basics of course. I'm always looking for recipes that call for fresh ingredients and require few steps in preparation. I recently came up with this pork Boston butt recipe by browsing the Internet, listening to family and friends, and tweaking for our tastes. I've served it with homemade Boston baked vegetarian beans, and homemade cabbage coleslaw. Here are the recipes and ingredients I used:

Pork Boston Butt BBQ Crockpot
About 3 to 4 lbs Boston butt
Dry rub, lysanders BBQ
4 cloves of garlic
1 onion
Bottle of BBQ sauce

Trim excess fat off of the roast. Use scissors to slice deep holes in the meat, then stuff with garlic cloves. Chop onion and place in the bottom of the pot. Put the meat on top then sprinkle the dry rub generously over all sides. Cook on highest for about 5 hours. Drain fat once or twice before finishing. Put on warm and mix about a half bottle of BBQ sauce in the meat after shredding with a fork.

Creamy Coleslaw
Shred half a head of cabbage
Use one small bag of shredded carrots
Finely sliver and chop white onion (optional)

Mix sauce ingredients and pour over vegetables, then stir:
3/4 cup mayo
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil

Boston Baked Vegetarian Beans
1 package of dry pinto or dry white beans, 1lb
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 medium onion chopped
5 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp dry mustard
5 tbsp molasses
2 tsp sea salt

Soak beans in water overnight, keep covered with water. Drain while preparing the bean pot. In a bean pot, place onion, garlic, sugar,mustard, and salt. Pour beans over the mixture then top with molasses. Cover all of it with water until about an inch higher than mixture. Bake for 6 hours on 300 degrees in the oven. Check after the first hour to make sure it hasn't dried up. After that, leave it alone. No need to stir at all!