Monday, August 1, 2011

Craftaluma Vendors: Of Cookies and Canines

Meeting Meredith is like taking a bath in an errant ray of sunshine. She beams you with sunny smiles and if you're lucky, you leave with a belly full of her decadent bites of comfort.
I knew this lovely baker and apron lover and I had lots in common, but after interviewing her, I decided we must be long lost twins - who else says "Holy Smokes", wears boots all summer long, (well, maybe Stevie Nicks), is a cookie connoisser, believes in the magic of aprons, loves the smell of rain and is a chapstick addict? Did I mention the red Stetsons? I plan to steal them when Meredith isn't looking and is busy cooking. The fact that she makes buttery citrus sunshine melts, aka, cookies baked withf resh zested Meyer lemons, is the icing on the cookie and this story. They are addicting and I should know. Of course, after sampling all five fabulous and seriously addictive flavors, I was quite hard-pressed to name a favorite. The Triple "C" cookie is loaded with creamy milk and dark chocolate chips, sweet cream butter, brown sugar, aged vanilla and a dusting of cinnamon; the overall effect made me want to propose to this cookie - and chocolate isn't even my favorite flavor. lending an overall smoky, toffee chocolate flavor I can't get enough of. Yep, it is one honey of a cookie, darlin'!

We are happy have this delightful baker, friend and apron maker at Craftaluma's "How The Craft Was Won!" this summer and we are confident you'll love her crafty treats as well.

Meredith, tell us the name of your business and how you got your name:
The name of my business is A Girl And Dog Boutique Bakery. Came up with the name a while back- the first part of it anyway! Always liked the simple idea of a girl and dog doing their thing. The 'Boutique Bakery' part came just before starting the business. I wanted to include the word 'boutique' to stay true to my mission- sharing small batch, gourmet cookies & quality handmade aprons with people- nothing mass produced- nothing done half heartedly. My dream is that it will be big enough to be self sustaining but small enough to always keep quality top notch & (hopefully!) unforgettable.

Where are you from?
I'm from western Washington! A beautiful, beautiful place! I'm thrilled my parents moved us all there when I was 3 ½!

How long have you lived in Petaluma?
I've lived in Petaluma for 5 years now.

Do you have a favorite spice in your cupboard?

Chosen music to craft to?
Holy smokes! So many! Depends on my mood but I have been known to listen to the likes of Lyle Lovett, Tracy Chapman, Radiohead, Nick Drake, Bob Marley, Crooked Still & even a little Irish music from time to time.

How do you start your day?
Always with a little tea & toast- sometimes I save myself & walk downtown with Abe for an iced coffee- that's mostly a summertime activity though!

How does your crafty self reconcile with the bottom line business side?
Not well. But I'm getting better at it. I have a good friend who's my accountant & she helps me through the paperwork side of things. Getting all the permits & related business has been the biggest challenge for me. But once I check off all the things on my list that AREN'T my favorite & I get to go back to the creative side of the business I am able to quickly refuel & focus on the dream of A Girl And Dog... so it's all worth it.

How do you unwind at the end of a hectic work week?
Couple of ways. I either take a drive to the coast with Abe or grab a beer & sit on the back porch. Or I have a milk & cookie break. Obviously. : )

Best thing about living in Petaluma?
Do I have to pick just one? I suppose the best thing to me right now is knowing I can head down to the local cafe, grab an iced americano & work on the computer while some local artist's playin' his guitar & singin' his songs a few feet away.

Why are your cookies so danged good? :)
Ha! I think my cookies are the way they are because I've been mixing, baking & perfecting the recipes for years & years. I've always baked cookies- it's just kind of my thing- and once I got the hang of using the giant convection ovens at the commercial kitchen- things just kept getting better & better. Plus- I'm really focused on detail. It's about the taste of the cookie (with as many locally sourced ingredients as I can find) but also about presentation. A beautiful cookie's just gonna taste better! I've done some serious work taste testing over the years so I feel fairly confident about that : )

Favorite book and why?
Lonesome Dove! I love the character development. Larry McMurtry writes in a way that allows me to immerse myself in the saga of a bunch of cowboys driving a herd of cattle from Texas to Montana. It's got elements of love, loss, humor, sadness & joy all wrapped up in one incredibly great novel... in my opinion!

Your favorite comfort meal is:
Currently it's grilled chicken over a bed of sauteed onion, garlic, carrots, kale & spinach... with goat cheese on top. A glass of red wine always makes it a bit better too!

What's in your handbag?
Chapstick... among other things... but if I don't have my chapstick I get a bit cranky. And it's the peppermint kind if anyone's wondering!

What is always in your fridge?
Milk, eggs & butter... real butter.

I'm inspired by:
My mom. Also by anyone who quits something that's not right & pursues something that is. With reckless abandon & passion.

What still holds wonder for you in this world?
To be totally honest... everything. Some people have said that's a fault of mine- that I live in some kind of dream world- but I don't think that's it at all. I call it hope. And I'd rather be a hopeful being then one who can't find joy anymore.

I couldn't go a day without:
Abe... or my chapstick : )

"____" really ticks me off:
People who check their phones all the time even if they're with you. How is someone on the phone more important than the person right in front of you? I always wonder...

(Amen to THAT sister!) Annoying and rude. Destination dream of traveling to?
Connemara again. I love the west coast of Ireland with my whole entire heart & can't wait to go back again.

George, John, Paul or Ringo? (feel free to expand on why if you wish)
I love and appreciate the Beatles for their musical genius & ability to produce great music for so many years but I don't have a favorite. Am I being judged right now?! : )

How do you feel American craftypreneurs have shaped craft and the craft
First off I love the name craftypreneurs. I am fairly new to the whole scene (as far as starting my first official business) but what I'm coming to understand is that there's A LOT of creative genius out there & we are lucky, lucky, lucky to be able to appreciate & learn from each other. It's an incredibly talented, colorful world & I'm thrilled to a part of it.

What empowers you?
Staying true to myself always and being unafraid to try... just try.

What advice would you give to crafters wanting to get into supporting
themselves through their craft?
Be realistic but don't let fear stop you. If you think it can happen- if you believe it will- then that energy will spread- through your work & to those who get to experience it. Good things come from doing what you love.

I really love "____".
The smell of rain in the morning.

What gives you a special swagger?
My red Stetson boots.

Any Pets? (names and occupation please) :)
Abe! My 6 year old black lab. He's my business partner & best friend.

I wear boots all summer long, I notice you favor them too. Do shoes
really make the girl?
I don't know if they 'make' the girl but they compliment her style & her energy. And I'm into that!

Question of your choice:
I think it's all been pretty much covered! Fun!

Thank you Meredith!
** For more goodness from Meredith Harman and her cookies and aprons, check out her website and facebook page!

xoxo, Your PCM

(photocredits in this post courtesy of © and ©erinwrightsman)


sparklejenna said...

Yay for cookies, aprons and dogs! Can't wait to take in more of meredith's goodness at the next Craftaluma!

Moxieville said...

Save some cookies for me scintallare!!