Friday, July 31

Foxtail Gathering / DIY Wall Hanging at Freehand Chicago

When we first heard that Freehand was coming to Chicago, we eagerly awaited their arrival. Now open, this hotel / hostel is located in a classic 1927 building in the heart of River North surrounded by a plethora of boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. Recently we stopped in and took some time to poke around and explore. It took us no time at all to become completely smitten with the space - tiki poles, wood paneling, tapestries, vintage leather sofa, and shag throws - be still our hearts!  If you can't find us, you now know where we'll be hiding out. We just might have to take up permanent residency is this gorgeous hotel! Freehand also houses the Broken Shaker - stop in for a delicious handcrafted cocktail (they have the cutest gold pineapple mugs!) and Café Integral - our new go-to River North Café. 

Being inspired by the decor and vibe of Freehand, we decided it would be the perfect space to host our next Foxtail Gathering - a DIY Wall Hanging Workshop. Take a Sunday and join us for an afternoon of mingling with a creative community and constructing a modern wall hanging. 

Learn more about the workshop and where to sign up below. 
Oh, and don't forget to follow @freehandchicago

In this two hour afternoon hands-on workshop, we will lead you in constructing your very own modern wall hanging (as previously featured on F+M here). The class comes with instruction, inspiration, and all you need to make your wall hanging. Complimentary coffee drink and pastry provided by Café Integral

Get ready to be inspired and leave with a finished wall hanging. We hope to see you there!

What  //  DIY Wall Hanging Workshop at Freehand Chicago
When  //  Sunday, August 23rd from 1-3 pm
Who  //  Hosted and taught by FOXTAIL + MOSS
Where  //  Freehand Chicago 19 E. Ohio Street, Chicago
How  //  Sign up here!

Wednesday, July 29

MIXOLOGY / Cuba Libre with Parce Rum

Craft cocktails are all the rage these days and, believe us, we're absolutely behind this fancy drink trend. But it seems like the classics are just a little overlooked. So today we're teaming up with Parce Rum to give the good ol' rum and coke, traditionally known as a cuba libre, a summer-y makeover.

In Colombia, parce is casual for "good friend". And we absolutely love that Parce is a very good friend to the environment! With every bottle purchased, they plant a tree in Colombia to protect biodiversity and prevent deforestation (you can read more about it here). Help Mother Earth just by having a drink or two? Yes please! ;) Now on to the recipe.

Cuba Libre with Parce Rum ///
2 ounces Parce 8 Year Rum
3 ounces Mexican Coke
.5 ounces Lime Juice
.5 ounces Ginger Simple Syrup*
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Add ice and garnish with a mint bouquet

*To make Ginger Simple Syrup: Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar (or honey) to a boil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add 4 ounces peeled and cut fresh ginger; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Pour syrup through a fine sieve into an airtight container; throw away ginger. Refrigerate up to 1 month.

Adapted from a recipe crafted exclusively for Parce Rum by Paul McGee, beverage director of Land and Sea Dept.

Monday, July 27

LIFE / STYLE: Gone Adventuring

Over the weekend, Matt and I drove to a forrest preserve 25 miles north of the city. Nature-y stuff surrounding Chicago can be pretty slim pickings so when we heard rumors of hiking trails and waterfalls just a short road trip away, we were more than eager to check it out. The forrest preserve is called Waterfall Glen. Doesn't that sounds dreamy? A whole glen of waterfalls! (Spoiler alert: Waterfall Glen is not, in fact, named for a beautiful glen of rushing falls flowing with cool waters and deep emerald pools. It's actually named after some dude, Seymour "Bud" Waterfall. At least, that's what a posted sign informed us just before we reached the "falls".)

It's a 6 mile hike to the waterfall and the trail winds through woods thick with oak trees and fields overgrown with wild flowers. It was a seriously, seriously lovely walk. We stopped along the way to explore and climb trees and rest near swampy ponds. Then we climbed down a steep rocky cliff to reach the riverbed and make our way towards the waterfall.

Ok, so the falls were really more like a dam. And the water collecting below was more wading pool than swimming hole. But it was just so beautiful. Our exhausted sweaty selves threw down a blanket by the riverbed, got to splashing, and were just as happy as if the falls had turned out to be fifty feet tall. We lovingly re-named the spot Tiny Dam Glen and decided that it might just be "our secret spot" for the summer.

Little adventures like these are my favorite, misleading monikers and all. We can't wait to go back with friends and spend the day relaxing on the river bank, playing in the water, and maybe do some fishing. (Full disclosure...I don't really "fish". But I will sit for hours with a line in the water and crack open a beer or two. That counts, right?) Do you have a favorite secret summertime spot? Where are you adventuring this season?


Friday, July 24

Maker Spotlight / Taylor Mauch

Allow us to introduce you to ceramicist, florist, painter, crafter, and all around darling person, Taylor Mauch! We first met Taylor last summer in a lap loom weaving workshop put on by Herron Clothier and we've been keeping tabs on the lovely things she creates ever since. But it was when we spied a few of her half moon dream catcher wall hangings in Asrai Garden, the floral shop where Taylor works, that we developed a full blown maker crush! We are absolutely thrilled that Taylor is leading our next Foxtail Gathering workshop, where she'll be teaching us how to DIY our own dream catcher inspired wall hangings. Get to know this girl and where to sign up for the workshop below!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I'm from Kentucky, but I've lived in Chicago, New York, and abroad for years, so I feel like the various places I've called home have really shaped my style and sensibility. I love color, and lots of it, but I'm also fastidious, whether working in painting, ceramics, or making dreamcatchers- sharp lines, clean edges, smooth gradations, and very detail-oriented. I think this is probably why I was drawn to this method of making dreamcatchers. I'm also greatly influenced by my mom who is a painter and florist. I started out painting at an early age, and pursued fine arts through school for a while, but it took a while to find what really suited me. I eventually was drawn to ceramics because of the functionality, and I discovered that satisfied something that had been missing for me in my other pursuits. Eventually ceramics led me into more of a "craft" arena, and I wanted to make things that could be beautiful and perhaps functional, but rooted in the idea of creating a space.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I have several types of "typical day"- one is when I'm working in Asrai Garden; that day is shared with coworkers, making floral arrangements, helping customers, listening to Beyonce or Fleetwood Mac, and basically being surrounded by beautiful things for 10 hours. It is a lot of work, but I really love it, and making bouquets definitely provides another great creative outlet. I usually come home and try to spend a few extra hours making. Other typical days are my studios days, which usually start out a bit later thanks to my penchant for morning reading and cuddling with my cat. But I'll usually work on some dreamcatchers or other little projects in the morning, and then head to the ceramics studio, Penguin Foot in Logan Square. I'll spend anywhere from 3-6 hours there and then come home and get back to whatever else needs my attention before I throw in the towel for the day. It's pretty uneventful but my time in the ceramic studio is probably the most precious and coveted time I have all week (aside from that spent in bed, of course).

What is inspiring you right now?
I'm always inspired by my surroundings, which is why I've been so influenced by the places I've lived- they really inform the art I'm working on at that time and what I'm focused on. I'm also incredibly inspired by working at Asrai Garden. Working with flowers satisfies part of that desire to make beautiful things, but to also do so in the service of others. Also, being around all of the other amazing designers we carry and constantly being tuned in to who's making what, and what creative pursuits are being followed is very exciting. I'm seeing people every day doing what they want and creating a space for themselves and their brand, and that really encourages me to do the same. I also draw a lot of influence from travel, though recently I've been pretty rooted in Chicago. However, last weekend I was in New York for a wedding, and we spent two days revisiting the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum, which hit me as fresh as they always do and left me excited to go home create. For that same reason, I go to the Art Institute whenever I can because I always leave feeling invigorated and wanting to do more, which can be hard feelings to hold on to in day to day life.

What do you have in store creatively in the coming months and years?
Right now I'm really focused on getting a website up and running. It's averting a lot of my time from creating, but it's important and I can't wait to have it finished. Other than that, I'm looking to branch out a bit and explore new designs and iterations in the things I make. I'd like to explore working on a larger scale as well. I also want to make a popcorn-inspired line of ceramics.

What is your favorite nook or room in your home/studio?
My favorite part of our home is the garden. Our building is recessed from the street, and when my landlord lived there, he and his wife built an amazing little garden in the front with a brick pathway leading from the sidewalk to the door, beautiful jasmine bushes and trees, tons of perennials, and dense foliage. There are tons of cardinals and butterflies. There is a little table with chairs out there, and even though it can be hard to work outside, I try to every chance I get. It can sometimes feel like not even being in the city, our own private place, and it's a huge reason I moved in to the apartment to begin with.

What is your favorite Chicago spot and why?
The first thing that comes to mind is the fern room at the Garfield Park Conservatory- I just love that room, I think it's magical and it feels great to be in there. Otherwise, for a bar, it's Ward 8, but I think that's technically in Evanston.

What do you do when you're not making?
Most of my free time is on the weekends, when my boyfriend and I will go to the Art Institute, or the Garfield Park Conservatory, or a movie, or the suburbs. I know it sounds odd, but we go to the suburbs a lot because there are some really fascinating things outside of the city and great places to eat! I feel like most people never really venture much into the suburbs unless they are from there, because it's the suburbs, and it gets a bad rap. But driving out of the city just to eat mexican food in St. Charles is pretty great. We also have a list called Great Neighborhood Restaurants from the LTH Forum, which is a Chicago culinary internet chat community. The list is approximately 130 spots, and we are working our way through every place on the list and are actually almost done!

Thanks so much for chatting with us Taylor!

You can sign up for the DIY Dream Catcher Workshop and Brunch here. And follow Taylor on Instagram to stay up to date with the lovely things she makes!

Wednesday, July 22

What To Eat For Breakfast

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It's said that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but rarely do we get a chance to cook, sit, and enjoy this crucial first meal. We're usually on the go, grabbing whatever fruit or simply made smoothie is in our way as we rush out the door. In an effort to slow things down a bit and enjoy my mornings, I'm making an effort to cook breakfast at home more and eat a full meal that will give me energy to tackle my busy day. Is your mouth watering just looking at these photos? Mine is! Above are some recipes that I've been dying to try. What's on your breakfast menu lately?