Meet the Makers: Julene Ewert

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“You’re pretty much all whimsical,” Ian (9) says to his mom, Julene, when she’s asked to describe her work in a few words. Her brightly colored paintings line the mantle in her studio and it’s clear to see that Ian is correct. A circus themed mixed-media creation is one of Julene’s favorites. She uses vintage ephemera collected  from thrift shops and books from the recycling center as a background for a lot of her work, taking nostalgic pieces and reviving them in collages. This particular piece of work uses maps and pages from an old accounting ledger.

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With roots in Troy, ID, Julene thinks the Palouse is a great place to run her business. “There is great energy here and it’s a really supportive place for artists.” Julene has been in the design field for over 20 years. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at University of Idaho with a dream to work for Hallmark.  She began her design and advertising career in Colorado where she created ads, billboards and book covers. And when she eventually made her way back to the Palouse in 1998, she began working with local clients who she still designs for today. Locally she works with the Palouse Choral Society and the Hemingway Review, among others and lends her talents to teaching classes at Rendezvous for Kids, the Troy Public Library and Moscow Day school for kids and adults, alike.

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When it comes to her process for creating, Julene is dedicated to sketching (almost) every morning. It’s during this time that she can create characters, flesh out ideas and clear her head. She said she sometimes has a plan for what she’s going to create, but other times lets the colors and vintage paper items lead the way. Julene says that she’s inspired by “the things that make you happy as a kid” and that her son, Ian is the biggest inspiration.

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She’s been making greeting cards since 1993 with materials like ribbons, paint, paper and metal and translated that into bigger paintings and drawings. She now has a representative who takes her cards across the globe, which has given her access to sell in places like Nieman Marcus and Harrod’s department store in London. Her brightly colored designs have remained true to her heart over the years she has most recently been picked up commercially by Pier One, Home Goods and World Market and will hopefully have items available for purchase this holiday season. Julene has been guided by the quote, “She believed she could, so she did,” and clearly the belief in herself has lead to all her success.

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Julene is also an inspiration herself. Her son, Ian is following in his mom’s footsteps and has begun an art business of his own called Tiny Treehouse Art. He makes collages and abstract paintings, as well and shares a booth with Julene at the Moscow Farmers Market. You can find Julene’s cards here at the Co-op, as well as other shops and departments stores around the country, and she let us know that one of her next big projects is creating a children’s book with an author from Troy. To learn more about Julene and he work click here.

Traditional Pumpkin Pie Recipe

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You’ve crunched through the leaves, picked out your Jack-O-Lanterns and turned on your heat for the first time in months. Those are all signs that it’s probably time to start your fall baking! Our traditional pumpkin pie recipe is creamy and spicy with a crust that’ll melt in your mouth. You can simplify the process with canned pumpkin, or you can take your baking to the next level and make your own puree (no judgement either way).

To make our traditional pumpkin pie you will need:
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup ice water

For the pie filling you will need:
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup half and half

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For the crust:
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, either with a pastry cutter or two knives. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

For the filling:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup and spices together until well combined. Pour in the half and half and stir until incorporated. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell and baked for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool before slicing and serving.

Let’s Toast: Vegan Pumpkin Spice Creamer

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If you’re not part of the pumpkin spice craze yet, then gather ’round. This vegan coffee creamer recipe is sure to make you a follower. Unlike other commercial coffee creamers, this one is made with almond milk, maple syrup, real pumpkin (imagine that!) and variety of fall-friendly spices. Whip up a batch and keep it  in the fridge all winter long. You can even make your own pumpkin puree from scratch with our recipe here. Feel free to adjust the sweetness and spice levels to your own tastes, but this is the version we found to be the most flavorful.

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put all the ingredients in a pan over medium heat and whisk until incorporated. Let cool slightly and pour into a jar. Before adding to coffee give it a good shake!

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Warm Your Head, Hands and Heart

It’s time to start thinking about how you’ll bundle up this fall and winter and we want to make sure you’re stylish while you do it. We offer not only beautiful, high quality knits, but fair-trade and sustainably produced knits, to boot.

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Top Row, Ganesh Himal Trading Co.: Founded in 1984 in Nepal, Ganesh Himal Trading Co. set out to create a business that empowered marginalized populations, like women and refugees. 30 years later, they are a part of the Fair Trade Federation, an organization dedicated to promoting respect and fair interaction, at all levels, between producers and consumers. Why will this line of knits make you feel extra cozy? Ric and Denise, the founders of Ganesh Himal Trading Co. say,”We have always felt that for profit businesses can be as good at modeling “fair trade” as non-profit businesses and so have tried to incorporate that diversity in our own model of who we partner with.” Be sure to bundle up with their hats mittens and scarves this season. To learn more about Ganesh Himal Trading Co. click here.
Middle Row, PACT: PACT has set out to not only provide people with beautiful socks, tights and clothing, they are also on an educational mission to inform consumers about the hardworking farmers behind the garments they wear. PACT wants to remind us that just as food doesn’t come from a grocery store, clothing doesn’t come from a department store- the cotton used to make clothing begins in a farmer’s field. They use strictly Non-GMO cotton seed, wind energy and non-toxic water-based dyes that aren’t harmful to the environment. And on top of all the good they do for the planet, the folks who work for them are treated and paid fairly. Slip into their organic cotton socks. Your feet will thank you. For more PACT and their efforts to create sustainable goods click here.
Bottom Row, AndesGifts: AndesGifts has set out to prove that affordable, high quality, handmade products don’t have to come at the price of sacrificing ethically and sustainably sourced goods. They work closely with the women of Bolivia and Peru to create models that are most beneficial to their communities. They abide by the principles of fair trade, giving their hundreds of knitters opportunities for education, better diet and the pride of providing for their families. AndesGifts makes a variety of hats, scarves and legwarmers for both kids and adults. Go ahead and wrap your little monster up in the monster hats and mittens from AndesGifts. To learn more about AndesGifts and their work in South America click here.

Food for Thought Film: Blackfish

This month the Co-op is partnering with the University of Idaho Department of Fish & Wildlife Sciences to present the award winning film Blackfish. Blackfish is a 2013 documentary directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January 2013, and was later picked up by Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films. The documentary focuses on the captivity of Tilikum, an orca involved in the deaths of three individuals, and the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity. The film includes shocking footage and emotional interviews that examine orcas’ unique personalities and behaviors, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the impacts of sea parks that capitalize on training marine wildlife to perform for audiences.

We are pleased to announce that several former SeaWorld trainers from the film will be attending our screening and hosting a question and answer session immediately following the movie. Although this will be an open forum, there will be a focus on the impacts of the film and how viewers can get involved if they’re interested. Discussion will continue the following day with events taking place on the University of Idaho campus.

Blackfish will be shown on Thursday October 16th at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center with doors opening at 6:30 PM. Screening is FREE!

UI Events open to the public Friday, October 17th:

• Panel Discussion & Workshop w/ former SeaWorld Trainers 9:30 – 11:30 AM in the UI Law School Courtroom

• Research seminar “Emerging Science on the Effects of Captivity on Orcas” with Dr.s Jeff Ventre and John Jett, at Fish & Wildlife Sciences from 12:30 – 1:30 PM

How To: Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

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Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones… is your head spinning yet? Now that it’s October, it’s officially pumpkin season! If you have a list of seasonal recipes you’re just dying to dive into, why not try your hand at making your own pumpkin puree. The canned stuff is fine, but the flavor from freshly roasted and pureed pumpkin is out of this world. And it’s so easy to make. BONUS: We have a ton of local squash and pumpkins from Mendenhall Farm right here in Moscow.

Now, let’s be clear- not all pumpkins are created equal. While you can roast and puree any old pumpkin, you want to make sure that for cooking and baking you use sugar pumpkins. They’re smaller and have a sweeter and more flavorful flesh. To make your own pumpkin puree you will need:
2 pie pumpkins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pumpkins in half and scoop out the seeds. Save them for later if you like roasted pumpkin seeds! Place pumpkins skin side down on a baking sheet and place in oven for about 45 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Scoop flesh out of skin and blend in a food processor until smooth. You can preserve pumpkin puree by processing a water bath or refrigerate for up 3 days or freeze for up to six months.

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