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Author Archive: "Rachel C."

Susan Beal: The Powells.com Interview

Susan BealSuper crafter Susan Beal is everywhere. With five craft books to her name, contributions in Bust, ReadyMade, Venus, and Craft, as well as many appearances at craft fairs and conventions, Susan has become one of the major craft forces in the Pacific Northwest. From jewelry and beading to quilting and sewing, Susan's talents are a sight to behold. Often using her family, friends, and the beautiful state of Oregon as inspiration, she focuses on making crafts accessible — and fun — for everyone, regardless of skill level. Her two most recent books, Modern Log Cabin Quilting and World of Geekcraft, have been a huge hit with us crafty folk here at Powell's. On top of it all, Susan is quite possibly one of the kindest women I have ever met.

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Rachel Consolo: Did you have a crafty childhood? Was there anyone in particular who you were inspired by?

Susan Beal: My biggest influences craftwise were definitely both my grandmothers. My mom's mother sewed beautifully and made me sundresses and doll clothes, and we had so much fun working on projects together. I ...

Flour Power

Hi. My name is Rachel, and I am a carbohydrate addict. But not any carbs will do: I want bread. All kinds of bread. Loaves, muffins, bagels — heck, even a bag of croutons will do. I was pretty much raised on bread. There were always English muffins and bagels in my house, my father baked bread when I was young, and my brother baked bagels for almost the entirety of his college career. Bread is in my bloodstream, and my kitchen is often filled with the smell of a freshly baked loaf. Many people shy away from baking bread due to nothing more than what I think is an irrational fear of the kitchen. Baking your own bread is not the onerous task that many people believe it to be. In fact, it is a truly rewarding and fairly simple experience that ends with a tasty product you can be proud of.

But let's face it, life is busy. Finding the time to let your dough rise, give it a knead, let it rise again, give it another knead, shape it, and bake it is often ...

Berry Season

One of the greatest things about living in the Pacific Northwest is the abundance of local berries that arrive in the summer. In my opinion, berries are one of life's little pleasures whose perfection as a food never ceases to amaze me. Thankfully, there are some wonderful cookbooks that have berry recipes for every meal of the day.

A smoothie is a great way to begin your morning, as well as one of the easiest ways to consume your daily dose of fruits and veggies. Pat Crocker's Smoothies Bible has over 300 recipes for healthy and healing smoothies, one of my favorite being the Berry Blast. Chock full of antioxidants, one of these smoothies before heading off to the office will give your day a refreshing start.


Once the early afternoon rolls around and I need a little pick-me-up, a cold soup satiates my summer taste buds. The Mango Raspberry Summer Soup in Janie Hibler's The Berry Bible is a colorful and delicious way to ...

The Sock Summit

In preparation for this year's Sock Summit, I've been knitting some socks in my spare time. Knitting socks is a great way to knit something quickly with satisfying results: use that yarn you bought because it was on sale (as is the case with my creamsicle-colored variegated yarn), knit on the go, and practice your knitting-in-the-round skills before embarking on that fitted sweater you have been dreaming of.

If you're lucky enough to be able to attend the Sock Summit, you're in for an amazing event. The Luminary Panel boasts such groundbreaking knitters as Barbara Walker, Anna Zilborg, Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, and more. There are over 75 sock classes you can attend, a plethora of yarns to purchase, a sock hop, and a sock museum.

However, if you are unable to make it to the summit, don't fret, as there is a bounty of great sock books that can have you knitting your own socks in no time. If you are new to sock knitting, Ann Budd's

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