Embroidery by Yumiko Higuchi

Last night I spent the evening meandering through the Instagram of embroidery artist Yumiko Higuchi.

Pink Flower 2010 by Yumiko Higuchi

Her delicate hand stitching is beautifully photographed & sends a quiet message ~
“The pleasure of the hand can create a sense of peace.”

Antique Pin Cushion Photo by Yumiko Higuchi

Her needlework is filled with fanciful details of flora, fauna, and any other wonderful curiosities that happen to catch her eye!

Flowers of the Field by Yumiko Higuchi

Blue Whale by Yumiko Higuchi

Rainy Season Flowers by Yumiko Higuchi

Born in 1975 & a resident of Tokyo, after graduating from Tama Art University, Yumiko Higuchi began working as a handmade bag designer. Not wishing to be bound by traditional embroidery, she began creating her own designs in 2008.

Work Space by Yumiko Higuchi


Snake by Yumiko Higuchi

 This guiding spirit finds her creating work that is nostalgic, fresh & endlessly fascinating!

Embroidery Bee 2012 by Yumiko Higuchi

Embroidery Bee Pouch by Yumiko Higuchi

I absolutely adore her mini wool stitch coin purses! Her exquisite workmanship includes designing and finishing each piece by hand!

Studio by Yumiko Higuchi

Mini Pouches by Yumiko Higuchi

Thank You by Yumiko Higuchi

Yumiko Higuchi thanks you & shares her needlework knowledge and patterns in individual kits and in her latest book, Wool Stitch.

Wool Stitch Book by Yumiko Higuchi

To learn more about the embroidered nature of Yumiko Higuchi visit her website. There you'll find links to her store & other social media.
Bee by Yumiko Higuchi
Photos | Yumiko Higuchi

Happy February!

Happy 2016 by Yumiko Higuchi

The Sunflower Knows


sun·flow·er
The sunflower smiles, the sunflower knows.
Unashamed she sheds her clothes.
Sunflowers | The Lisa Porter Collection
The sunflower smooth's the restless sky
and lovingly she warms the ground, on which you lie.
Sunflowers | The Lisa Porter CollectionSunflowers | The Lisa Porter Collection
The sunflower knows, the sunflower’s wise.
She sees the doubts within your eyes
and so she takes her sunflower time.
Sunflowers | The Lisa Porter Collection
Tells the moon to wait and the sun to linger.
Twists the world round her sunflower finger.
Lets you see the wonder of it all.
Sunflowers | The Lisa Porter Collection
If you’ve learned your lesson well
there’s little more for her to tell.
One last caress, its time to dress, for fall.
Sunflowers | The Lisa Porter Collection
My Sunflower bouquet sits happily on a wooden pedestal in my entryway. Displayed in a coffee press ~ Some flowers still fresh and ringed with halos of red and yellow flame-like petals ~ Others going to seed and beautifully beginning to droop. All searching to face the life-giving rays of the sun under a portrait of my Great-Grandfather Collier.
Sunflowers | The Lisa Porter Collection
From young seedlings to stately stalks, Sunflowers continue to give. After all the petals & seeds have dropped, their beautiful, dark & handsome heads take a final bow.
 Sunflowers | The Lisa Porter Collection
It’s easy to see why people love them so much!
 Hope you caught my play with the lyrics of the classic tune ~ The Summer Knows. I hope you could hear Barbara Streisand singing as you read ~ I also hope you're looking forward to a really wonderful weekend.
XO Lisa
Click my readers to read more about my favorite Sunflowers grown during the lazy days of summer.


Heirlooms

The rhythms of becoming an heirloom are rough for some & smooth for others. I thought of this when I picked these heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market. When I arrived home, I felt that they deserved a nice rest in the soft lap of my grandmother’s bowl.
Heirloom Tomatoes | Lisa Porter | The Lisa Porter Collection
We spent our last summer evening appreciating much ~ along with a few heirlooms. As I was sitting in the cool grass with Granny’s bowl in my lap I was reminded of the cycles of life, of the rightness of change, loss & rebirth.
Heirloom Tomatoes | Lisa Porter | The Lisa Porter Collection
For the first time, I used my Great Grandmother’s pairing knife that my cousin Kris sent to me. In her note she said ~ Grandmother Collier peeled a ‘million’ peaches for preserves and for pickling with this pairing knife. She always liked a very sharp knife. The best part though ~ the soft and comfortable handle.
Isn’t it amazing how memories can unfold. Thank you Kris ~ I love it & you too!
Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

High Hopes!

A quick note from the Bluegrass ~

As we begin to wrap up the summer, I realized I hadn't shared photos from one of my favorite equestrian events, the High Hope Steeplechase!

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

To clarify, a Steeplechase is a distance race for Thoroughbred horses across ditches & over fences. Originating in Ireland in the 18th century, its roots were in the fox-hunting field, and occasionally horsemen would match up their horses for races over long distances to landmarks such as church steeples.  

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

At High Hope, the official with the flag signals the start of each race & spectators tailgate along the gorgeous cross country course at the Kentucky Horse Park.

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

American steeplechasing is unique because its races support the local community. The competition is fierce yet friendly & one that my husband's company, Flair Nasal Strips is proud to sponsor. High Hope Steeplechase charitable efforts support the Kentucky Horse Park Charitable Foundation and CKRH Riding for Hope.

High Hope Steeplechase 2014 | Photo | FLAIR Nasal Strips

High Hope is a full day of family fun for equestrian & dog lovers alike.

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

After the thoroughbreds race, it's time for the stick pony races.

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

Again, the competition is fierce yet friendly.

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

We placed our bet on the boy on the right!

Ready-Set-Go!

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

And the winner is….

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

breathing easy!

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

Where there are horses, there are hounds.

Parade of the Woodford Hounds | High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

 Lot's of them! In fact there was a parade!

Parade of the Woodford Hounds | High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection The annual Parade of the Woodford Hounds.

Parade of the Woodford Hounds | High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

At the end, Huntsman Glen Westmoreland and I had a good laugh & his hounds were slobbering all over me!

I was in heaven!

Parade of the Woodford Hounds | High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

Just another beautiful day in the Bluegrass!

High Hope Steeplechase 2015 | Photo The Lisa Porter Collection

Learn more…

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Artisan Gardner

 Warm weather brings an irresistible urge to dine outdoors & an appetite for seasonal menus calls for dishes made with fresh ingredients.

Beets from the garden for Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

"Seasonal" can also apply to schedules that may find you running or relaxing. Either way, uncomplicated meals made at home with simple ingredients are smart & healthy and offer the perfect opportunity to sit down together and give thanks.

Dinner Napkin | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

 Artisan Gardner is a nod to Laura Gardner ~ a friend & fabulous cook! There is a liveliness in Laura's cooking. Partly due to her genuine love of preparing good food & her seasoned career in the culinary & hospitality industry, but mainly it's her generosity and ease in which she entertains.

Fresh Beets ready to slice for Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

A casual invitation to dinner at the Gardner's fills us with joyful anticipation! We just know it's going to be good ~ and it's definitely a collaboration. Her mouth watering menus are always earthy & regional and Mr. Gardner's wine pairings beautifully compliment the meal & elevate the evening. They are quite a team in the kitchen & in real life!

Fresh Beets ready to peel and slice for Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

You may be wondering why all the beet photos. Well ~ It's because they're in season and because Grilled Beet & Goat Cheese Pizza was on the menu! Since Laura prefers to cook off-book & I'm a visual gal, I grabbed my iPhone and started snapping away!

Here is the result with recipe & instructions below. 

 

Grilled Beet & Goat Cheese Pizza

{Ingredients}

Serves 4

4 medium sized Beets with greens

Dough 

{White or Wheat ~ Fresh or Packaged}

Corn Meal

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Goat Cheese

Provolone Cheese

Dried Figs

Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper

At the Gardner's, everyone hangs out in the kitchen. If you want to pitch in, Laura and her husband welcome you to roll up your sleeves. The ultimate compliment is when she ties an apron around your waist!

Gingham Checks and Kitchen Apron | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection 

{Directions} 

Wash beets & greens. Remove greens & set aside.

Peel beets with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. 

Fresh Beets for Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Slice to medium thickness using a mandolin.

{be smart & use the guard}

Toss with S&P and 2 tsp. olive oil.

Sliced Fresh Beets for Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Chop greens.

Toss with S&P and 2 tsp. olive oil.

Chopped Beet Greens for Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Let dough rest at room temp and then separate into sections for individual pizzas. Use your ar·ti·san fingers to gently press the dough into rustic shapes.

Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza Prep (2) | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Let the dough rest again as it will bounce back a little. Prepare a sheet pan sprinkled with corn meal to prevent dough from sticking.

Place pizzas on pan & prepare cheeses.

Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza Prep | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Grill the beets over medium high heat, flipping & rotating until they start to spot or blister. 

Grilled Beets | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Over medium high heat place individual pizzas on the grill for approximately 4 minutes or until the underside becomes golden brown and easily releases from grill.

After a minute, you can lift an edge and peek underneath. You want a slight char around the edge, which adds a lot of flavor!

Grilled Pizza Dough (2) | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection Flip the dough back onto pan with corn meal so uncooked side is facing down.

Grilled Pizza Dough | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Spread the top grilled side of dough generously with goat cheese.

Layer with the fresh chopped greens & grilled beets.

Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza (4) | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Top with dried figs.

Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza (3) | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Top with provolone cheese.

Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza (2) | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

Place pizzas back on grill for another 4 minutes to brown underside of dough. Cover with lid during this time to allow cheese to melt.

Best when served hot off the grill!

These were quite filling so a sliced heirloom tomato with fresh basil & sea salt would be a great side & as always, a selection from J. Lohr Vineyards is the perfect compliment to any meal prepared by Artisan Gardner!

Grilled Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection

I hope you're looking forward to a great summer weekend! Get your grill fired up, dial up your favorite music, gather together and enjoy some chewy, crispy & smoky Grilled Beet & Goat Cheese Pizza!

As always, a selection from J. Lohr Vineyards is the perfect compliment to any meal prepared by Artisan Gardner!

Special thanks to my friend Laura. The Artisan Gardner who reminds me that cooking at home is not about perfection. It's about cooking what you like, how you like and for who you like.

Bon appetite! 

Heart Beet | Photo | The Lisa Porter Collection