Made By Hand: Camp Wolf

A few months ago we were introduced to the adorable, handcrafted designs of Camp Wolf.  Designers, Cristin and Cora, repurpose denim along with Pendleton wool to create one-of-a-kind pieces that endure the active lifestyles of little ones.

Check out our Q&A with Cristin and Cora to learn more about Camp Wolf and the inspiration behind each of their handcrafted designs.

Plus be sure to enter the Minnetonka + Camp Wolf giveaway for the chance to win a Camp Wolf vest for you and your little one, along with matching Minnetonka mocs!

Tell us about yourself and your background and how Camp Wolf came to be?

Camp Wolf was born in Portland, Oregon out of a love for the Pacific Northwest and our passion for making unique things for the people we love.  Camp Wolf started as a kid’s clothing and accessories line, but since our launch in September 2013 has grown to include styles for men and women, too.

Believe it or not, we met through Instagram just over a year ago and live on opposite sides of the country (Portland OR & Richmond VA)!  We are both mamas to boys (Miles, 2; Henry, 3; Jack, 2) who keep us super busy.  We’re pretty amazed by how much we’ve grown in our first year, and sometimes we still just can’t get over seeing photos of our amazing customers and their children wearing things that we’ve made!

Tell us about the handcraftsmanship that goes into each Camp Wolf piece. How is each piece unique?

When it comes to our products, we believe in function, craftsmanship, and above all, individuality. All of our denim garments are repurposed and feature authentic, 100% pure virgin Pendleton wool, made right here in the USA.

Because all of our denim has been carefully selected from all over the country and is embellished by hand, no two pieces are exactly alike. This is what makes them truly unique!

Describe your design process.

If we had to pick one area of our business where living so far apart presents the most challenges, it’s here!  Since we aren’t able to work together in the same studio space, we begin designing a lot of our products independently.

Thankfully, it’s really easy to stay connected between endless phone calls, texts, emails, Skype sessions, and the good ol’ USPS, so we’re still able to be involved in one another’s creative processes.  Naturally we are drawn to different styles, and the way we create new products allows for each of them to be represented within our line.  We love that!

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

We are endlessly inspired by the gorgeous materials that we use daily for our line.  Pendleton wool comes in so many beautiful prints and colors, and we love challenging ourselves to find new ways to use it.

Our boys are also a constant source of inspiration!  They all have such different personalities, and it’s so much fun to see our designs come to life on them.  It’s also a great way to test the durability of our products.

What’s been your favorite piece that you’ve created so far?

Our denim jackets are, hands down, our favorite pieces.  They are what started it all, and they are what truly embody our line.  The process of hand-picking a jacket and pairing it with the perfect Pendleton print to give it a whole new life is so much fun, and we’re always in love with the final product.  Knowing that our garments will be worn with love on adventures great and small is awesome!

 Photography by:

Margaret Jacobsen
Aspen Summit
Clair Morgan

Craftsmanship + Color: Limited Edition Thunderbird II Moc

Our iconic Thunderbird II moccasins have been infused with a fresh, citrus hue. These limited edition nectarine mocs are the must-have accessory for every summer adventure. They feature the same quality and hand construction everyone’s come to love.

A few weeks ago we got the chance to see how these handcrafted beauties begin.

It all starts with the best materials around. Quality, suede leather is cut with steel dies.

Each piece will become part of our iconic moccasin. The only way these reach our feet is by hand, which makes each pair totally unique.

Here the collar is expertly stitched. Hand sewing ensures an attention to detail unlike any other.

Next it’s time to sew the sporty sole to the moc. These rubber bottoms are key to comfort. They bend and flex with every step.

Hand lacing closes the moccasin around its round toe, which features our iconic hand-beaded Thunderbird detail.

Handcraftsmanship and a distinctive style meets a fun, new color. Pair these limited edition nectarine mocs with skinny jeans, skirts or shorts for a stylish, summer look.

 

Tucked Away Gold with a Side of Brown Bread

Her name was Evelyn Day Bruner. She lived in Brooklyn but was born in the Midwest.

While sorting through some boxes in my grandmother’s house, I found a tiny black book. And when I read the cover, I had to know more.

So I investigated, and discovered my great-great grandmother, Evelyn Day Brunner’s recipe book, my version of gold tucked away in an old drawer.

It’s frayed in all the right places, peeled and chipped to reveal the red under the black cover and gold script. I loved it immediately.

It has a tassel for marking your place.

And a proclamation that it was an “Elite” cooking recipe book. Not just an average one, in case there was any doubt in the 1800’s.

I had heard about this Brown Bread recipe in the family my whole life, but I had never tasted it.

And as I flipped I discovered she in fact had several Brown Bread recipes of various kinds.

I recognized other quirky family traditions within the pages, for example in a dessert of tapioca, she suggests no sugar at all, a particular habit of so many of her descendants, to eliminate sugar in order to accentuate the other flavors

On a page of Chicken Croquettes were the markings where she had dripped on the page while trying the recipe.

And from time to time there was an extra note slipped into the pages of the book…

Someone else’s Brown Bread, someone named Mrs. Core, had the most wonderful line of all: “Sometimes we cram as many chopped raisins and chopped nuts in as our conscience will allow.”

There were three more Brown Bread recipes I stumbled upon in the book that day.

And shortly after, on my doorstep, I received the latest edition of our modern family recipe book in the mail, a compilation of six generations of recipes from the family tree. Each new addition of the book keeps the recipes of the old books, and adds the new ones collected from all of the new family members born since the last addition. It had been over 25 years since the last edition and guess what was in it?

More brown bread.

It was then that I was seized with the overwhelming realization that I wasn’t a legitimate member of the family tree.

I had never tasted, let alone made brown bread.

It was time.

It was my destiny.

Brown Bread and Me would finally intersect in the history books.

I took a moment of silence to reflect on how good this was warm with butter…

And lemon curd…

Evelyn Day Bruner would approve.

Brown Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat or graham flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Sift and mix the dry ingredients, except the baking soda.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the soda, buttermilk and molasses.
4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Stir in the walnuts.
6. Pour the mixture into a greased bread baking pan and cook for about an hour until well risen and browned on top.

 

About Georgia Pellegrini:
Georgia’s taste for simple food and outdoor adventure evolved as she grew up in the Hudson Valley. She followed her passion to the French Culinary Institute and then to Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and La Chassagnette in France. Georgia is the author of “Food Heroes,” “Girl Hunter,” and the new book “Modern Pioneering.” She has appeared on Today, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Iron Chef, and much more, and her outdoor Adventure Getaways have been featured everywhere from the New York Times, to the Wall Street Journal, to HBO. She lives in Austin, Texas and chronicles her adventures on her wildly popular website GeorgiaPellegrini.com and her Facebook fan page.

Made By Hand: Free Range Mama

A few months ago we began seeing the cute and colorful hand painted designs of Lindsay Stewart’s Free Range Mama shop on Instagram. 

We adored the customized designs Lindsay was adding to Minnetonka booties and couldn’t wait to learn more about her Minnetonka connection and inspiration behind her Free Range Mama Etsy shop.

What’s your Minnetonka story?
I have  worn Minnetonka since Day One. My mom was familiar with the brand from growing up in Starbuck, Minnesota and throughout my childhood my mom, dad and I all wore them.

When my husband Josh and I had our first son, Maxwell, my parents gave us my first pair for him to wear. As he grew out of them, we packed them away – only to bring them back out when our second son, Magnus, was born. The fact that they’ve lasted 33+ plus years is definitely a testament to the brand.
 

Tell us how Free Range Mama came to be.
After Magnus grew out of my infant Minnetonka booties I sealed them into a Ziploc and placed them in the bottom drawer of the boys’ dresser. A year or so later, I was reorganizing and emptied the drawer and was so excited to see them again. They were squashed flat but as I pulled them carefully from the bag, the texture of the worn suede felt so reassuring to me.

The soles of the moccasins were worn, but showed no age. I wondered if anybody found their Minnetonkas to be such a keepsake the way I did. Folks used to wear white leather booties and would later bronze them – that’s pretty special, I thought. But I wondered if anybody would want a birthday or a name painted on these moccasins. To keep and hand down. And add names later, maybe. Sort of like a lineage of moccasin-lovers.

I did love to paint but hadn’t in years. So I took a leap and ordered three pair of Minnetonka booties and some sets of new paints. For three Saturdays, I painted. With three, simple pair of custom, hand-painted moccasins, I opened my Etsy shop. First under the name “Magnus ‘n Maxwell” – unsure what the heck one actually does with an Etsy shop.

Several months later, I sold my first pair. I was so excited I texted a friend. She had no idea I had painted some moccasins! I sent her the link to my Etsy shop and she wrote back: “I’ll take three.” And then another friend caught wind: “I’ll take three.” And from there it sort of snowballed.

What inspires your designs?
Well, the music is always on. Also, album art and poster art, 1960’s photography books, flora/fauna guides, a plane ticket.

What’s your process?  How long does it take for you to create a new custom pair?
Free Range Mama is a free-hand, hand-painted, entirely custom brand. No stencils. No tracing. No sketching beforehand.  Once I’ve ironed out what the client has in their heart and it’s production time, I can have the moccasins painted and ready to roll within a few hours.

What is your most memorable (or favorite) pair that you’ve ever painted?
I have so many. Two faves are the Spaceship and Planets pair with the navy blue capped off toes and also the Psychedelic Tie Dye Swirl “Cosmic Friend” pair. Anything with owls is requested all the time, too. Luckily, even repeating styles keeps things interesting around here since they are all one-of-a-kind. Every, single pair is unique.

Sometimes clients want something they don’t see listed and then we can collaborate on a specific design.  All Free Range Mama moccasins can be personalized with names, birthdays, quotes – even music notes. A recent pair included the actual music notes for “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Harry Nilsson. My favorite words to paint are “Be True.” “Be Brave.” Such a sendoff for the moccasins; from my silly little paint brushes, to the soles of the feet so precious in your life.

For more of Lindsay’s designs visit her Free Range Mama Etsy shop.

 

Everyday Adventure: Modern Pioneering

Meet Georgia Pellegrini, a new monthly contributor to the Minnetonka blog.  Today she shares her approach to finding adventure in every day life, along with a delicious Rose Petal Hazelnut Cake recipe from her new book “Modern Pioneering.”

Because of my Great-Aunt Gray, I have always liked to get dirt under my fingernails.  I can still picture her standing in her gardens, hunched over with shovel and trowel, her white hair puffing out from below the brim of her baseball hat, her floral skirt falling just above her oversized muddy sneakers.

She opened my eyes to what it means to be a fearless girl, the last of a generation that knew how to kill a chicken in the backyard for dinner, that wasted nothing, that made the best of what they had and never pointed out what they didn’t. Thanks to her, I learned to cook with economy and respect for simple ingredients.

For her it wasn’t about survival, it was a way of life, and she taught me to stop and smell the rosemary and to look for purslane in between the sidewalk cracks, and turn it into a tangy healthy salad. I also learned to wear a little homemade beet juice tinted lip-gloss while doing it.

There was comfort and strength to be found in the deliberate churn of Aunt Gray’s ice cream maker, which set the day’s tempo. Aunt Gray was famous for her rustic cornbread and her homemade ice cream, which she prepared with the bare minimum of sugar in order to accentuate the other flavors. She probably would have eliminated sugar from their recipes altogether if she could have gotten away with it, such was their disdain for added sweetener.

In the years since my time with Aunt Gray, I have spent countless hours in the outdoors, but I have also traveled constantly, and have lived in small urban spaces without the luxury of lush land around me. Yet I still have the desire to feel the dirt slip between my fingers, to stir ruby-colored jam in a pot and watch it grow thick.  And I have come to realize that Aunt Gray’s generation got more than a few things right and there are still ways, both large and small to “get back to the land,” even if the “land” is only a fire escape or a patio planter; even if the land is a parking strip where you are picking wild dandelion greens for a salad.

Even in my urban Austin home, I can still mark the seasons by the scents of the herbs growing on my windowsill and the rose petals blooming in the parks. Yes, Aunt Gray taught me that those pale pink rose petals that grew on her arbor were edible too, and make the most festive party presentation on a cake.

Thanks to her, I’ve realized that we can all be both modern and a pioneer if we seek out new experiences with a sense of fearlessness. Sometimes stepping outside of our comfort zone is a reminder that the lost world we seek can be within arm’s reach.

It is empowering ourselves to find adventure in new experiences and in a little self-sufficiency that is what makes us feel truly full. And sometimes it can be as simple as scattering a fistful of rose petals onto a hazelnut cake on a warm sunny afternoon.

Rose Petal Hazelnut Cake

Serves 8

This is a simple, nutty cake good for afternoon tea. Because it is flourless and not too sweet, eating it any time of day is suitable. You can of course dress it up with whipped cream or frosting if you would like.

Tip: If you whisk the whites by hand, use a large, heavy whisk for efficiency and make sure the whisk and bowl are very clean and dry so that your whites form stiff peaks.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
Unsalted butter for greasing the pan
1½ cups hazelnut flour (or finely ground hazelnuts)
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs, separated
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup fresh organic rose petals

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. butter an 8-inch fluted tart pan with a drop bottom and set aside. You may also use a cake pan, but if you do, be sure to use a toothpick to check for doneness.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the hazelnut flour and baking powder and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk vigorously until pale yellow. Add the almond and vanilla along with the cream and whisk again until fully combined.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the yolk mixture and mix together until uniform.

5. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

6. With a spatula, fold a third of the egg whites into the batter, then incorporate the rest of the whites all at once.

7. When the batter is uniform, gently fold in the rose petals.

8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let it cool to room temperature.

9. Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar, slather it with whipped cream or frosting, or leave it be, whatever you please. It will keep for about 3 days, and should be stored in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic.

Click here to enter for a chance to win a pair of Minnetonka boots and a copy of Georgia’s new book “Modern Pioneering.”

About Georgia Pellegrini:
Georgia’s taste for simple food and outdoor adventure evolved as she grew up in the Hudson Valley. She followed her passion to the French Culinary Institute and then to Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and La Chassagnette in France. Georgia is the author of “Food Heroes,” “Girl Hunter,” and the new book “Modern Pioneering.” She has appeared on Today, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Iron Chef, and much more, and her outdoor Adventure Getaways have been featured everywhere from the New York Times, to the Wall Street Journal, to HBO. She lives in Austin, Texas and chronicles her adventures on her wildly popular website GeorgiaPellegrini.com and her Facebook fan page.