Monday, September 20, 2010

A World Awash with Color

I've been finding lately that I've been enjoying color immensely. It's not that it wasn't there before, lurking in a shadow, warming up a cloud, beaming and refracting into a prismatic rainbow. No, I suppose it has always been around me, delighting my eyes, but recently I've been more aware of it.

I often cook a stew that is sort of this American's version of Ukrainian borscht.* (We adopted our daughters from Ukraine in 2009, and I loved the borscht in that beautiful, hospitable country!) As I cut the vegetables, the carrots and beets in particular tickle my eyes. Such wonderful color God has created in the simplest of things! So many vegetables and fruits are brightly colored, perhaps to alert us to those with the most nutritional punch.

In our home, we've added splashes of color here and there while leaving a lot of white to reflect the bright, sunny days we have so often here in Colorado. The sun peeking into the dining room and kitchen warms the curtains you see above--a dramatic backdrop for our culinary creations.

Of course, all this color awareness prompts me to use color in my teddy bear creations. My latest bear, Pumphrey the clown, has a beautiful combination of purple and gold. He is looking for a new adoptive home (see his post below), but is content for now to clown around the studio.

As I paw through my mohair fabrics to find the piece I will use for my next bear, I so enjoy seeing the colors and how they work with each other or even clash a bit. How can I use the flaming orange tipped piece? How can I use the red, the pink, the blue?

In my idea sessions for the bears I'll be making for the upcoming ONLINE Teddies Worldwide Holiday Bear Show, to which you are ALL invited, I've been dreaming in reds and golds and greens and twinkly ivory whites, and Christmas carols have been playing in my head. My bears are cut out, and the next task is to get my sewing machine humming. There's not much time until the show, happening November 20 and 21 (mark your calendars, and join the Crew's mailing list [use the box in the right-hand sidebar] to receive an e-mail reminder), so the fur has been flying here in the New Avenue Crew studio. But I can't reveal all the colors just yet!

*My borscht recipe is a simple one, and you can customize it to your tastes. Chop a bunch of the vegetables you like best (include some beets--they are required for borscht!). I use onion, celery, beets, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash, tomatoes, and green beans.

Saute onion and celery in a large pot in some coconut oil (a good fat) or butter over low to medium heat. When they are translucent or browned, whichever you prefer, add ground beef and brown. Then add homemade chicken or beef broth and your vegetables. I fill the pot with broth to just below the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 25 minutes (more or less depending on how done you like your vegetables).

Ladle hot soup into bowls and top with minced garlic and a dollop of sour cream (also very Ukrainian). When the soup has cooled a bit, you could also add some extra virgin olive oil for its rich taste and good nutrition. It's another good fat. Season to taste with sea salt. You could include some herbs while the soup is simmering, like dill (very Ukrainian) or thyme. Perhaps you would like to add freshly ground black pepper, too. Serve with some crusty bread, if you like. Enjoy!


  1. Wow - cooking and sewing! You have my admiration! ;) Good luck choosing a color to use. It seems to me whatever you put your hands to work on turns out lovely. Your classic bears are truly wonderful.


  2. Ah Debora! Your borsch looks yummy and makes me hungry! I love the borsh colours, looks very appetizing to me =)

    Wow, you have a nice collection of mohair colours, I am so excited to see your creations for the online bear show. I am still thinking very hard what to make for the show.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe with us, have a great day.


  3. Wow, that's spooky, I just made a big batch of rainbow salad for my lunches for the rest of the week. The borscht looks yummy, and love all the mohair colours

  4. Beautiful colors of food, art and happy thoughts. So sweet about you adopting your daughters!
    xx, shell

  5. Enjoy your celebration of colour might be the season (autumn) that inspired it.
    PS Your bears have such appealing faces :-)

  6. Thank you so much for your lovely comments, everyone! I really appreciate them. Ginger and Elaine, you are so sweet. I'm so glad you like my bear creations. :o)

    If any of you make my American borscht, let me know how it was!

    Blessings and bear hugs,

  7. LOVE YOUR BEARS!!!!! A few years ago (when I was around 12 years old or younger, I bought a book to learn how to make bears, rabbits, and all kinds of other animals...and they looked like the ones you make. I wanted to make one but didn't know how to sew and did not understand how to do any of that stuff, nor did I have the time or someone to help me with it. Anyways, I think you are very creative with everything you do. I will try your Borscht recipe and tell you how I like it. ;) Thanks! <3


We love getting comments here in the Crew studio. Thank you for taking a peek at New Avenue Crew and leaving us your calling card. Blessings and bear hugs to you!