Bake Knit Sew by Evin Bail O’Keeffe

Evin and I met in 2012 via Twitter when I was preparing for my last trip to Cork, Ireland – where she and her husband and their son have made their home. Like Evin, I feel a very strong connection to Cork – call it spiritual, call it kismet, call it The Force; whatever it is that brings me back again and again brought Evin and I together and getting to sneak peek her debut book, Bake Knit Sew is just a perk of friendship.

Now, I am not a knitter. I can barely sew. Baking is an exercise in forbearance. However, my friend Evin not only revels in these hobbies, but dedicated her first book, Bake Knit Sew, to all three of them!

Bake Knit Sew features twelve original recipes (one for each month of the year, divided by season), seven original knitwear designs, five original sewing projects, two photocopy-ready templates for sewing projects, and over 80 full-color pages devoted to this seasonal collection of recipes and patterns.

It was with great honor and privilege that I took my hot off the press e-book with the utmost seriousness and sweated it out in my kitchen to replicate one of her idiot-proof recipes. Here is the end result:

Honey Orange Loaf Cake - from Bake, Knit, Sew
Honey Orange Loaf Cake

Not too shabby a job of chemistry for someone who only made it to Earth Sciences, eh? Even when I substituted orange zest and a tablespoon of OJ for the orange extract, my loaf cake came out fragrant and bold with the harmonious marriage of orange and honey. Baking two loaves allowed me to share with friends and family while still keeping some for myself. I definitely recommend this treat with a good cuppa!


Festive Bunting

What inspired you to create Bake, Knit Sew?

Evin: My book Bake Knit Sew was inspired by my life-long dream to write and publish a book, my passion for food and crafts, and my desire to not put off following my dreams. The combination of content together came about from my longing to have such a book when I first learned to knit. Bake then, I’d have been confident trying new baking recipes, so having something I’m good at and something that something that challenges me in the same volume would have been an ideal way to face new obstacles in creativity without buying an entire book devoted to a craft I had yet to master. The seasonal theme came about from talking it over with a friend and once that was decided, the book fell into place in my mind.

You have made Ireland your home now; which Irish food products/brands have you really enjoyed working with in the kitchen, or just snacking on in general? (I’m partial to Irish cheese myself)

Evin: One of my very Irish habits is enjoying tea. I now have a big golden tin of Campbell’s Tea (Dublin) in my kitchen of loose tea from which I make my morning cup. And on days when I’m very tired, there is a mid-day cup as well. And you’ve not tasted mushroom pizza until you’ve had it with Ballyhoura Mushrooms. Of course, what is Ireland without scones. My favourite is at a local restaurant called Fenn’s Quay. I love Kerrygold Butter. I bought a different brand by mistake once and my husband insisted it be relegated for greasing pans and not used as an ingredient or on our toast. My son’s favourite food is actually lightly toasted freshly baked bread with butter. In general, Irish dairy products have a rich flavour and the butter is known for being quite a cheerful shade of butter yellow. This is attributed to the natural grass diet of the cows here. I also love the scallops! My husband swears by Rosscarbery Recipes free-range pork products, though I don’t eat pork myself.

Any new projects on the horizon?

Evin: I am working on the second book in the Bake Knit Sew series as well as a few publishing projects by other authors for Anchor and Bee. The second Bake Knit Sew book will have the same format, but focused on gender-neutral children’s patterns inspired by the sea with recipes encouraging families to bake together.

Falling Petals Lace Shawl

Evin developed the recipes, created the patterns, had them tried and tested and fool-proofed, snapped the photos, everything. In addition to tackling this momentous project, Evin is also an award winning blogger (2014 Best Craft Blog, Blog Awards Ireland) and launched Anchor and Bee Publishing. I am quite literally amazed by her talents, and consider myself supremely fortunate to call her my friend.

Bake, Knit, Sew eBook edition is available exclusively through Ravelry, while the paperback edition can be purchased by Anchor and Bee directly! Enter the passcode BLOGTOUR for 10% your entire purchase!

Follow Evin!
EvinOK | Anchor & Bee Publishing | EvinOK on Facebook | Evin on Twitter | Evin on Ravelry


Party Brazil Phrasebook 2014

Time for another episode of Quickie Reviews – and wowza, look how fancy pants Quickie Review has become! Jump cuts and subtitles and a guest, oh my! In all earnestness, a gargantuan bubble of love and gratitude to my friend Nani for not only guest co-piloting this episode, but helping me with pronunciation and mucking her way through the unnecessarily complicated iMovie settings to edit this.

Today on this episode of Quickie Review, Nani and I tackle Party Brazil Phrasebook 2014, “the essential language and culture guide for anyone visiting Brazil during the 2014 World Cup.”

From Ulysses Press: Packed with up-to-date slang phrases, after-hours expressions and insider information on futebol, this book will have you cheering, dancing, drinking and celebrating with the die-hard fans of this beautiful game. You’ll learn how to buy a round of drinks (i.e. Next round’s on me. = A proxima rodada é minha.), comment on bad calls (i.e. The ref is a thief. = O juiz é um ladrão), and a number of other handy phrases (That girl in the VIP section is super hot. = Aquela mina no camarote é muito gostosa.).

With the “Party Brazil Phrasebook 2014,” this World Cup might just be your best sporting experience yet.


Like our inspired by the Brazilian flag eyeshadow? It’s Sugarpill Cosmetics!

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given for my review, and all review words, video direction and opinions remain my own.

Two Kisses for Maddy by Matt Logelin

I subscribe to Los Angeles and Pasadena Magazines. Well…more like I use their material to stalk them from a distance, study them cover to cover and brainstorm on ideas that may get me published in either periodical one day. Still, they’re both fabulous resources for all things Los Angeles (and I’m not just saying that). In the March issue of Los Angeles magazine I ran across an article about Matt Logelin, a local blogger who was about to publish his first book. It is not a book that came easy to Matt as it spawned from the worst day of his life, the day he lost his wife Liz.

That was so not a spoiler.

Let me back up.

At the top of 2008, everything was looking pretty rosy for the Logelin’s. Matt and Liz, together since the age of 18, had traveled the world, found careers and settled in Los Angeles. They were expecting their first child but ran into some complications. Complications led to the premature birth of their daughter Madeline. She was early, but healthy. Everything was looking good until very suddenly, 27 hours later, Liz Logelin died.

Two Kisses for Maddy tackles the first year Matt took on as a suddenly widowed father and the amazing outpouring of support he found from family, friends and perfect strangers that found Matt through his blog (simply named Matt, Liz and Maddy). That support eventually turned into an entire network and grew into The Liz Logelin Foundation, a non-profit organization that gives assistance to young windows, widowers and their families.

I knew that I would be picking up this book and following Matt’s blog because he deals with death the same way I do: with a lot of swearing and internet. I hate sugarcoating the shitty aspects of life, and death is easily #1 for me – especially when it claims the young. There are days you just want to knee-jerk someone in the gut because they try to wrap up these shitty things in a Tiffany’s box. It just doesn’t work. An unjust, albeit blameless hiccup of the universe needs to be called out for what it is: shitastic.

I dragged my feet picking up the book, but when I realized the book signing Matt was scheduled for at a local bookstore was a mere 7 days away I had my sister use her Amazon Prime account to order me a copy. It arrived on Monday, April 18th. Part of me wanted to rush through it before the signing on the 21st, but I also wanted to take my time and really get to know Matt and his story. I managed to stretch it out for a week.

Matt’s narration is authentic and raw, and reads like a one on one conversation you are having with him. I could tell that he writes the same was he speaks from the natural ease the narrative has. Just when I would feel tears prickling at the back of my eyes, Matt drops a “mother fucker” and I’m laughing out loud. Being able to take the edge off such a heavy, fully-loaded topic is an art form one never really seeks to learn but develops fluidly through hardships.
I have only a minor quibble about the book, though not about the contents itself but merely Matt’s statement that great art can only be created through great suffering. Having a life-threatening medical condition and subsequent depression that renders me creatively impotent, I’d have to respectfully disagree. However, I realize this is coming from a dude who enjoys listening to predominately melancholy music. No worries, Matt. We can’t all love Sun Kil Moon. 😉

Vroman's Bookstore Pasadena
Vroman’s Bookstore

On April 21st I had the good fortune to meet Matt and Maddy at a book reading and signing. I was one of the first people to show up, which is no surprise; I’m usually hours early to a book signing. Arriving a mere 30 minutes prior, I actually thought I’d have to push a granny over for a good seat. The vast majority of the audience showed up exactly at 7:00pm, making me that weird girl who sits alone up front until there was actually no more room and people had no other choice but to take the remaining front seats. Matt welcomed Q & A, assuring the audience that there was no question too uncomfortable for him. My hand was in the air first – but instead of being that-bitch-who-throws-down-with-a-widower-about-what-makes-great-art (even if I meant it in good fun) I instead opted for my other questions, mostly pertaining to Maddy and how Liz is incorporated into her life.

Two Kisses for Maddy - Matt Logelin
Matt Logelin

Matt himself is a very down to earth friendly guy, whom I’ve more than likely seen around town, probably with Maddy in tow. Don’t you worry, Matt. Others may have given you weird looks, but when I see a dude with a small child as happy as Maddy is, I think to myself, Now here is a guy who is doing something right.

Two Kisses for Maddy may be a memoir of loss and love, but it is a testimony to the power of the human spirit and what we can accomplish in the face of tragedy. Good on you, Matt. I hope to see you around the neighborhood soon.

Matt is still on his book tour find a location near you.

Matt, Liz and Maddy (Matt’s blog)
Two Kisses for Maddy
The Liz Logelin Foundation
Matt on Twitter