Rafu Craft Editor

As fall brings on shorter days and chilly evenings, warm and toasty comes to mind.

Certain foods and smells trigger a nostalgic, feel-good memory from years past. They’re called comfort foods.

As a kid, chicken soup, Campbell’s with gohan, was Mom’s cure all for a cold or sniffles. For a tummy ache, okayu, always with umeboshi, did the trick.

With heartier fare, it was beef stew, fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Sweet treats conjure up blissful visions of glazed donuts, cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, double-crusted apple pies and root beer floats.

A recipe from my sis, Carolyn, dates back to our college days. An absolute fave, it’s for an oh-so-good buttery coffee cake baked in a 10-inch tube pan.

You are dared to try this adapted recipe and serve it up during the holidays!

Start your day off right with a nice slice of sour cream coffee cake and an Americano. (Gail Miyasaki/Rafu Shimpo)

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Topping: 1/2 C nuts, chopped (walnuts or pecans), 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 3 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3/4 (1 1/2 cubes) C unsalted butter
1 1/4 C sugar
2 eggs, large
1 tsp vanilla
1 C sour cream
2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

In a large mixer, cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, sour cream. Gradually mix in dry ingredients. In tube pan sprayed with Pam (prevents sticking), pour in ½ mixture. Sprinkle with ½ topping. Add remaining batter and repeat. Bake 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. When cool, remove from tube pan. Option: Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tick tock! Hear that November clock ticking away? Pare down your Christmas shopping list and go shopping at one of the Asian arts and crafts shows before the sounds of those “sleigh bells ringing” shout out of your radio all December long.

Leather purses are handcrafted from start to finish by Sophie Wohlend of Seattle. (Courtesy Waisted Belt Company)

Nostalgic apple pies take center stage made by volunteers for purchase by attendees as part of the fundraising efforts by Ayame Kai in Seattle, Wash. On Saturday, Nov. 16, they’ll host their 32nd annual holiday craft fair.

Not to be missed are the leather goods from Sophie Wohlend. A belt-making family business owned by her aunt and uncle is where she learned the processes of making a belt, from a paper design to the finished product. That was 15 years ago as she continues to do all the work alone.

Born in Guangzhou, south China’s largest city, Wohlend feels blessed that her hands are ideal for working with cowhide. After long hours of cutting and stitching, Mocha, her French poodle, provides a much needed yin-yang balance.

“Bigger purses are less complicated to make than smaller ones,” she said, “but all are priced by size.”

Leather pouches start around $20. Popular is a dual-zippered travel pouch that can house a passport and other necessities. All pieces are finished with a sturdy nylon lining.

L.A. shoppers, have a field day the weekend before Thanksgiving!

Unisex belt selections vary from simple to fabric enhanced styles. (Courtesy Waisted Belt Company)

Koi Krafters holiday boutique takes place on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Alhambra’s Almansor Court.

On Sunday, Nov. 24, Beary Best Friends invites you to the Holiday Inn in Buena Park, where new artisan Judy Lee brings on the pearly whites.

This art director-industrial designer segued into fresh water pearl jewelry two years ago, starting with eight basic designs. Today, Lee has over 50 custom pieces that include necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

“It’s been an exciting journey taking my 2D experiences from the graphics design world and transferring these same design skills to a new 3D media,” she said.

Her story begins in China when Lee felt a connection to the pearl growers and craftspeople. She realized that this was her calling, to design customizable freshwater pearl jewelry.

Each and every pearl is hand-tied. One design may take a hired worker one hour, or over eight hours. Natural semi-precious stones and crystals are added to complement many of her pieces.

Lee foresees the potential with Internet growth.

“Triple Twist” is three separate 40”-long pearl necklaces in one, a top-selling design from Judy Lee of Corona Del Mar. (Courtesy Shanghai Roots)

As Thanksgiving Day nears, take time to reflect and give thanks. Let’s count our blessings and hold on to special memories of those dear to our hearts.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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Saturday, Nov. 16, 10-4
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Avenue So., Seattle, WA
(425) 827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Saturday, Nov. 23, 10-3
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
(626) 282-2932, Irene Jong

Coin pearls are mixed with clear crystals and beads for this striking necklace. (Courtesy Shanghai Roots)

Sunday, Nov. 24, 9-3
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
(562) 865-2637, Ellen Mabuni

Sunday, Dec. 1, 10-4
Krafty Delites Christmas Boutique #2
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
(310) 329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Sunday, Dec. 1, 11-2
St. Mary’s Christmas Boutique
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
963 S. Mariposa, Los Angeles
(213) 215-3883, Fifi Newcomb

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