Archive for July, 2013

July 26, 2013

Inside the Queens’ Studio with ELizabeth Lyons

by Crystal Cook

Queen's Studio

We met Elizabeth Lyons when we were in Arizona  for a Lunch & Learn demo at the fabulous Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Scottsdale last year and immediately fell in love with her for a thousand reasons. First of all, she’s adorable. Look at her! Second, she came bearing gifts! She had read our bios and took a line of ours “Part Kitsch. Part Dish. All Apron.” and made us these amazing leather wrap bracelets.

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In addition to being generous, she’s this amazing mother to nearly half a dozen kids and yet still has the wherewithal to be hilarious and passionate about her work–and let us tell you: her work is goooood. She’s a vintage silverware upcycle jeweler (that’s a mouthful!) and she created an organizer that makes everybody from mom’s to doctors say, “what did we do before this existed?!”  And how cool is it that the woman with all these fabulous ideas wanted to collaborate with the two of us Queens on her new line, Culinary Chic. What an honor! We can’t wait to see the amazing pieces she comes up with. So, of course, when we were looking for a person to interview for the ol’ blog, Elizabeth was the obvious choice. You’ll definitely love her as much as we do after reading this interview. Enjoy!

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1. Hi Elizabeth! We’re so excited to talk to you. You’ve got 3 sentences—what’s your story?

I’m a mom, jewelry artist, chauffeur, DIY fanatic, author, Starbucks addict, on-call plumber, wannabe organic gardener, sometimes hostage negotiator, ongoing dog trainer (they don’t listen), and strong disliker of olives. I don’t like hearing the word No. I asked my kids what my story is; they replied, “You’re a very busy woman.”

2. You say on your website that you have been working with metal for years. What triggered the interest in the first place?

Some people punch pillows or punching bags when they need to get rid of pent-up frustration; I hammer metal. The day I realized I could use a compressor tank in my work as a jewelry designer was a happy one indeed; do you have any idea how loud those are? I can drown out 99.7% of the ridiculous arguments over which kid has ruined another kid’s life by having 2 tbsp more ice cream!

Joking aside, the way metal responds to a hammer fascinates me. It doesn’t always do what I want, but that’s (almost) always an issue with the hammer I’m using or the way I’m striking the metal. It’s taught me to have more of an appreciation for what something needs in order to do what I’d like for it to do, which is a most helpful lesson for being a good friend and a mom of many!

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4. If you weren’t a fabulous jewelry designer, what would you be doing?

Oh gosh, the list is long. I would love to be a speech pathologist, working with children who have had cochlear implants. I’d also like to be Lisa Ling, reporting from the trenches on unfortunately disenfranchised people with amazing stories to tell. Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel has a ridiculously amazing job: being paid to stay at and report on the fabulous resorts and hotels in the world? That would not suck.

5. If your personality could be described as any casserole, what would it be?

For real? You’re going to make me admit to my limited knowledge not only of casseroles but anything that is baked, whisked, or poached? I suppose Shepherd’s Pie. It’s a combination of a whole slew of things you might not necessarily think would go well together but, somehow, it works.

6. The Queens love our vintage pearls, but what other recommendations do you have for fun, 50’s flair? Maybe something from this Culinary Chic line we hear all about? 😉

Well, I LOVE using vintage silverware to create rings, bracelets, and necklaces. I’m working with a client right now who purchased spoons from her grandmother’s silver pattern from Replacements, and I’m making them into bracelets for her, her mother, and her three aunts. It’s such a fun way to reuse a meaningful piece in a way that allows the wearer to appreciate and enjoy it daily!

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7. What has been the most interesting design request you have ever received from a client?

Everyone loves unique pieces that reflect what’s most important to them. One client asked me to make matching spinner rings for her sister and her with a phrase that holds special meaning for the two of them engraved on the inside. Those were amazing pieces to create. I have a number of “stock” leather wrap bracelets, but many people don’t know that I happily accommodate custom requests for those, too. Clients send me sayings that empower them, inspire them, or simply crack them up. Some of my favorites so far: The Only Way Out Is Through, Never Give Up, and Molon Labe.

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8. Family is in town unexpectedly and coming over for dinner. Quick – what is your go-to meal?

P.F. Changs. Okay, if I HAVE to whip something together, it would be gluten-free enchiladas and corn bread. Do those even go together?

9. What dish from your childhood brings you the most comfort and why?

Interestingly, Shepherd’s Pie! The answer is really deep and revealing: I love mashed potatoes and cheese, and my mom’s version was topped with both. My mom also used to make a dish called gooey buns. It was a hamburger mixture combined with lots of cheese and onions and baked inside hot dog buns. My sister and I practically threw parties when we learned we were having gooey buns for dinner!

10. If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be?

I Don’t Get It. For real, that would be the name of the book.

11. You’ve got 5 kids —what’s one thing you cook that makes everyone equally happy?

Enchiladas and corn bread; are you noticing a pattern here? I just surveyed my children. George (9) replied, “Cake.” I asked what else, and they unanimously replied, “That’s it.”

12. Do you have any other entrepreneurial endeavors besides jewelry making?

I’m the author of 3 books (the first two are about raising twins in the first year and the toddler years; the third details rules for finding balance and maintaining a sense of humor as a busy mom). I also invented the Hold It Baby On-the-Go Toy Organizer (www.HoldItBaby.com) after I got tired of products that only secured my kids’ sippy cups to their car seats, strollers etc. My kids wanted to have far more with them than sippy cups, and I got tired of having to pull over the car or grab stuff off the floor of the grocery store! The Hold It Baby is the only product of its kind exclusively designed to hold not only sippy cups but also board books, stuffed animals, smart phones, small toys and small blankets, and secures those items to a car seat, stroller, high chair, shopping cart, bike trailer, or backpack carrier.

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13. What would you say to someone wanting to start a company?

Go forth and do it! The entrepreneurial road is rarely (if ever) smooth; it will have twists and turns you could never anticipate, so stay flexible. Think outside the box. Stay true to yourself. Never compromise your principles. Never lose sight of the brand you are building — successful companies don’t thrive long-term because of their products alone; they thrive based on the brand that’s built as the foundation of those products. Most important, never, ever give up!

Could there BE any better words with which to finish?! To find out more about Elizabeth and her jewelry, go to http://www.elizabethlyonsdesigns.com/.

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July 3, 2013

Elote: Roasted Corn with Mexican Crema

by Crystal Cook

In the July issue of Woman’s Day Magazine we feature a corn pudding that was developed from our love of Elote – so we thought it would be a great idea to re-post this how-to for the dish! Enjoy! Mmmmm…..Elote!

Casserole Queens

It’s technically not summer yet, but most of us seem to use the Memorial Day weekend as the “unofficial” kick-off!  So in honor of summer, I decided to do what most Americans do, and grill up some grub!

When I first moved to Austin, I discovered something fabulous at a street vendor that very well may have changed the way I viewed life – gigantic ears of roasted corn smothered in Mexican crema and sprinkled with lots of spice and lime juice. They call it Elote, but I call it delish!

Naturally I have been trying to perfect this dish for sometime, and this is the closest I have come to recreating the magic. The corn makes an amazing side dish, but is so decedent that it may steal the show!  I served it with cilantro lime chicken breasts (also done on the grill) and a black bean salad.

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