No age limit for girls’ night out

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Today’s Special

If you’re trying to come up with a novel gift for Mother’s Day, I might have an idea you’d like. Think about a night out with the girls.  Most of us grandmothers still consider ourselves as girls, older girls perhaps, but always fun loving and young at heart and game for a fun night out!  So don’t count us out!

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Count me in! is what I texted back as soon as daughter-in-law Laura and her BFF, Samantha, asked if I’d like to attend a “Shibori” workshop in Jackson.  Of course I would, for several months ago we three had a fun time making terrariums at a local plant store.  I love these girls and I love participating. So thankful that they love me too and include me in the fun!

This outing included Laura’s mom and 3 other teacher friends, for a total of 7. None of us had done this before, but the artist among us (Samantha) did know something about the process.  We gathered at the store at closing time.  Owner Lisa had it ready, our places set up, with a plate of delicious (vegan and gluten free, too) cookies with bottled fruit drinks from Grubb’s, the organic and very interesting grocery store across the parking lot in The Jackson Walk.  (This store owner understands the concept of shopping local and supporting other local business in her shopping center, good for her.)

Garner Blue is in downtown Jackson, situated on the side of the very busy Highland Avenue which runs north and south through Jackson bringing thousands of cars by every day.  Storeowner Lisa specializes in the Japanese art of “Shibori” which is very similar to (but isn’t) “tie-dye”.  She makes her own indigo dye and sells a collection of items which she dyes in her store…tea towels, kimonos, even dresses, hats and tote bags.  Plus, her store features many more works of art by local artisans.  I had been in before and loved it.

Shibori means to “wring out or squeeze” in Japanese and has no English equivalent. The point in this process is to create a “resist” so patterns are made on a natural fabric. Folds, bands, dowels, blocks of wood, even old cassette discs were used to create certain patterns by preventing the indigo dye from soaking into the entire fabric. History calls it the ancient art of manipulating cloth to make different patterns on the fabric. And each is an original.

We had three choices: tea towels, napkins or a tote bag. I went with the three tea towels and tried my hand at 3 different patterns.  First, we “manipulated” the fabric by folding, rolling it around a dowel, scrunching it and/or placing blocks of wood against the fabric (though slightly different for the tote bag, where clamps were used to hold the blocks securely against the fabric to create the patterns.)

Next, we moved outside, and luckily it was a pretty evening with a warm breeze blowing as the cars buzzed by.  The dyeing process can get messy, Lisa was ready with outside tables for this next step.  We dipped our pieces in the indigo vat, the more dips the darker the blue.  The last dip was in water, then we removed the bands, blocks and folds to reveal our patterns.  We took turns so as not to miss any of the reveals.

Back inside for the last step. All the pieces went in the washing machine for the final set; and we had 30 minutes to shop, visit and eat more cookies.  The next day we all agreed we’d do it again. My tea towels are so different: one looks like 3 big jellyfish floating in a dark sea; another looks like a peacock’s plumage in varying shades of blue and white; and the other has squares and triangle shapes in the deep indigo against a mostly white background. But DW seemed disappointed that I didn’t come home with a tie-dyed tee shirt. Don’t know why he thought that.

So there’s my idea, a fun night out for any mom with friends…learning, creating something unique and mostly enjoying precious time together.  I can’t wait for the next night out with these girls. Count me in!

Recipe of the Week

Girls’ Night Out (GNO) Cookies

Vegan and gluten free so feel free to eat the cookie dough!

¾ cup packed dark brown sugar (or coconut sugar)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

3 tablespoons almond milk (or any dairy free milk)

⅓ cup melted and cooled coconut oil

1 cup packed fine blanched almond flour

1 cup oat flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, vanilla, flaxseed meal and almond milk until well combined and wet. Next, whisk in melted and cooled coconut oil until completely smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add dry ingredients to the bowl: almond flour through salt. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Use a medium scoop or spoon to pick up 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing them from pan to cooling rack.