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July 29, 2014
A magnetic holder keeps knives
and other gadgets organized
and within reach.

Fabulous Kitchen Finds

By Wini Moranville

 

While researching my recent story for dsm on go-to kitchen gadgets, I asked my All Things Food DSM Facebook community which culinary tools had changed their cooking life. Among the responses, the microplane was a clear standout. Deb Cazavilan, a cooking instructor and owner of Wooden Spoons Workshops, says, "My microplane gets a great workout, for lemon zest, garlic, nutmeg, cheese, chocolate . . . you name it!"

Food editor Stephen Exel agrees: "The microplane--celebrating 20 years this year--truly changed the way we cook." 


 
Indeed, a microplane is one of those "how did we ever live without it" gadgets. 


And here's another: A magnetic knife holder. After years of storing knives in a counter-space-hogging knife block (or worse yet, throwing them willy-nilly in a kitchen drawer), I finally got one of these. Now, my knives are always safely within reach, without taking up valuable kitchen real estate on the counter or in drawers. I also like using it to keep other often-used gadgets close at hand, such as my kitchen shears and corkscrews (of course).

Find Harold Import Co.'s stainless steel magnetic knife holder ($19.99) at Le Gourmet, a charming kitchenware shop in Valley Junction. The store also sells specialty foods, such as vinegars and olive oils from casks, Stonewall Kitchen products and gourmet pastas. 201 Fifth St., West Des Moines; 226-2283.

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The Joy of Texture, The Influence of Light
As mid-summer schedules intensify, we thought a dose of residential eye-candy would provide a pleasant break from the heat. Enjoy!...

Embroidery, drawn thread-work
and fringe add to the personality
and appeal of vintage linens.

Vintage Linens

By Vicki Ingham

 

I love vintage linens, especially white tablecloths, dresser scarves and hand towels. There's something about the texture, weight and quality of old linen and cotton that's so satisfying to the eye and the touch.

Since a person can use only so many tablecloths, however, I like to find other ways to use them. A large white tablecloth works well as a bed skirt for a twin bed, and a tone-on-tone damask tablecloth serves nicely as a coverlet. A tablecloth that's too stained to use as-is can be cut up and stitched into napkins (but I would first try treating the stain with B.O.S.S., an amazing stain remover).

One of my favorite places to shop for vintage linens is Sisters in the Junction in Valley Junction. Greta McCarty and her sister, Sara Davis, took over from their mother 18 years ago, and along with lots of beautiful new things, they have a nice selection of old pieces. In fact, I spotted a bedspread that I'm thinking might work as a slipcover for a love seat.

Find Sisters at 202 Fifth St., West Des Moines; 277-8778.

El Anatsui, "Basin" (2012), found aluminum and copper wire,
134 160 inches.

New Art Center Acquisitions 

 

Of the recent additions to the permanent collection at the Des Moines Art Center, my favorite is "Basin" (2012) by the Ghanaian-born artist El Anatsui. His ability to transform discarded aluminum bottle caps and other junked metals into a fluid net of silver and gold is nothing short of magical. Anatsui had a solo exhibit at the Art Center earlier this year; if you missed it, this is your chance to see why his works are so captivating.

I was also pleased to see that the Art Center's collection of works by Isabel Bishop grew with the gift of three etchings from Melva Bucksbaum and Ray Learsey. In addition to being a gifted draftsman and an acute observer, especially of women in urban settings, Bishop (1902-1988) represents a cohort of early 20th-century female artists who deserve to be better known.
 

Other new acquisitions include works by Robert Rauschenberg and Kerry James Marshall and 40 19th- and 20th-century Japanese color woodblock prints. -V.I.

There's an App for That

 

GrowIt! is a new iPhone app developed by Ball Horticultural Co. to help you locate the plants that are best for your area. Drawing on user-generated photographs and content, the app includes a geographic locator stamp, so when you search for a red flower that likes full sun, you'll get recommendations from gardeners within a 75-mile radius of where you live. The app is only available for iPhones right now, but the developers are working on an Android version.

Join the developers at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden today, 5-6:30 p.m., for a kickoff party to introduce the new technology. The event is free, but registration is recommended. -V.I.
Backpacks filled with new supplies are being given to 1,200 kids today.
Backpack Brigade

 

The list of supplies students are expected to bring to school now is long and expensive, and for low-income kids, the lack of access to markers, pens, earbuds and notebooks can be an obstacle to learning. CROSS Ministries is aiming to address that inequity by giving away 1,200 new backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies.
This is CROSS Ministries' 22nd year offering the Back-to-School Giveaway, which takes place today until 8 p.m. at Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1050 24th St. Volunteers are filling the 1,200 backpacks; financial donations to CROSS Ministries also are welcome at any time. -V.I.

 

Vicki Ingham    

Vicki Ingham is a
Des Moines freelance writer and editor. A former book editor at Meredith Corp. and freelance editor for John Wiley & Sons, she writes for a variety of magazines, including dsm. She's also the author of "Art of the New South: Women Artists of Birmingham, 1890-1950" and is currently researching Iowa's historic architectural stained glass.
Wini Moranville

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at
6:40 a.m. 
on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.

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