Monday, March 29, 2010
One abiding love is to cook. Living out of a backpack and with mainly dumpster dived or homegrown ingredients for much of my first years roaming meant a limited repertoire of dishes made it out of any kitchen i found myself in...Soup anyone?!
Sequestered in St Laurent de Cerdans in the French Pyrenees for four years i finally got to go wild with creating gardens and taught myself to cook. My partner and i (plus the many who blew in for meals and various stays) got rather round at times as i vied to perfect my cooking skills.
One recipe that was missing from my repertoire was an apple cake. Not just any apple cake...a moist one, spicy and delicious but still with the delicate flavour of apple present.
Since i left the US and my beloved commune five years ago (has it really been that long?) i have had my secondhand/thrifty radar up for Moosewood Restaurant's New Recipes book. I was wandering past my teeny local community run library and there it was on the books for sale rack for $1. Oh joy and happiness...apple cake heaven was mine!
Et voila.... Aunt Minnie's Fresh Apple cake!
Easy to make and very very good.
We used apples from our local orchard and said a big thank you to the apple trees as we left.
Now i realise that apple cake heaven could have been mine all mine years ago if i had of visited Moosewood's website. Ahem. The recipe book does have the most hilarious retro photos though so i feel somewhat vindicated.
I, of course, refused (despite the very best of intentions) to follow the recipe exactly and managed to tweak slightly and sneak in some grated fresh ginger root and some yoghurt. I also used butter instead of oil. Shameless i know but there was only olive oil in the kitchen. I do live in NZ where butter still reigns supreme. Apologies to Aunt Minnie.
An aside: My camera suffered a very undignified fall (aided by an excited small person) during a shoot a week ago so i am limping along without one while fingers crossed that the repairs dude can fix it. Fast and cheaply please oh please oh please! It is strange not to have it, i am constantly reaching for it or staging pictures. I love how taking photos more has opened my eyes to the world in a new way.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Loving this second one i made too. I like the way this vintage fabric works with a smaller design bag. I don't usually give away or sell my prototypes in the early design stage. This one may have to live here for a trial run. But never fear: A series of other bags like these, in vintage fabric will be in store (and rolling off the kitchen table) shortly.
Just stumbled across this moms against climate change video - watch it and send it far and wide. An old activist from way back, it brings me back to the inner conversation i have about what more i can do in my often brain addled sleep deprived state with limited time. But that's another post!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I love how $1 can still be the door to so much fun and learning. Just need to look in the right places. Often the fun and learning comes free but we love a little rummage in secondhand shops. You didn't know that about me? Stick around!
These dear jigsaw puzzles came in a bundle and look like they've never been touched. Each letter and animal pops out. Perfect for a little man wanting to know what letter words start with.
Now, i am wondering if anyone can really understand my excitement about this find. My $2 wee ironing board. For doing sleeves or wee pieces of sewing when i don't want to set up the whole board. I couldn't find one new except for a horrificly priced one and here, voila...the very thing i went to rummage for. The thrifting goddess was smiling upon me.
Spotlight had these wee $2 bundles of fabric in their sale bin. Begging to be made into kids costumes and capes methinks.
Even though we were awake from 4.30am yesterday i still dragged the small one into town to Crafternoon Tea. It was a wee bit like herding cats that might explode at any second, but i'm glad we cased Crafternoon Tea. I got to meet the lovely Angela of Mermaid's Purse in person (we are still talking about her beautiful strawberries) and some new crafty faces.
Rocking out to Band of Horses' Is there a ghost as i type - to keep me awake. It was either rock out or caffeine. It's 9pm NZ time. Even i have my limits.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
And one snapshot in words: J's been having trouble getting to sleep lately. I lay with him and read my book a little while. I thought he was asleep then looked over to see him gazing at me. When our eyes met he said, and i quote, ' your eyes are so beautiful'...(a few connected moments of wonder pass)...then, 'they twinkling like marbles'.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I am here unscripted with nothing but what's on my mind.
I am in the mire. You know, that place when you have a sneaking suspicion that something is not quite right, that something in your life has to change, maybe something big...but the details are still sneaking up on you. The revelation has yet to reveal itself. Either that or i'm averting my eyes...That transition place. Uncomfortable. Vulnerable. Kinda exciting. Raw place of possibility, where even beauty hurts the heart to behold.
In one of my workshops a participant once shared that 'Fear is just excitement but without the oxygen' - we freeze, contract, can't see clearly and forget to breathe when we are afraid. Well, i have been forgetting to breathe again. Funny how i forget the things i need in times of trial. I forget that happiness is not inherent in the events of life but how i greet them. The last few days i plum forgot that if i let myself feel sad or frustrated, feel it fully, then i can let it go and it passes. Just like the most connected and joyous of moments pass too.
Each moment is like one of these apples i got from our local orchard. $4 for a box of seconds. Each apple i have tasted has been delicious, each unique. All different sizes and shapes, different beauty spots/blemishs. Each has its own gifts. Just like each moment, each wave of emotion, each of us.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Not pictured is the experiment where an entire jar of dried yeast was mixed into ‘cooking’ and left to see how many bubbles or ‘creatures’ would come.
Also not pictured is the scrubbing of decks after aforesaid mix was mixed and splashed all over then baked hard by the sun.
Naptime (and procrastinating from writing a submission) had me stumble across two new blogs i really like. One a friend sent to me because it came up in an online search she did on my name. Shira from Shirari Industries comments on an article i wrote for Communities Magazine in the US. Reading your writing paraphrased by someone else is so odd! Her blog post was entitled 'exuberant nudity'. Oh it seems a looong time since i left Twin Oaks Community.
And this delicious piece of vintage sewing bloggy heaven. Peter Lappin's blog, male pattern boldness. That man's seams are just too good to be true, surely!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
When thoughts keep circling in my head and come to no peaceful resting place or useful conclusion, i either take long walks (limited possibilities of these being primary caregiver of small one), a long bath (being on tank water limits this one) or craft those thought demons into zenlike submission. It's a form of meditation. A way of processing emotional stuff that refuses to be shelved for another day. It works every time. The finished products are infused with a meaning and become symbols of that inner transformational work to remind me each time i use/see them.
I'll spare you the inner journey on this one but here is the result. A surprising one, even to me!
A bathmat a la frou frou. Been meaning to make one for awhile now. Well, a bathmat. The frou frou part was the surprising part. Inspired by a recent harvest of vintage sheets and Amanda Blake Soule's A handmade home book that recently visited my bedside table. Instead of Soulemama's towelling stripes i went floral...all the way and created these flowers with centres of vintage buttons. I, er, then went and sewed them on quilting style, but with spirals. It should be noted that i didn't use her instructions, just made it up as i went along. At no point did my tape measure come out. It feels soft and delicious underfoot, is superb at absorbing errant bathwater but has been deemed 'a bit over the top', 'frou frou' and greeted with a bit of er, surprise by some passing through the household.
It will remind me of summer all through the coming winter. Next towel i find in the opshop i'll repurpose into a bathmat slightly less frou frou and more manly retro- see how that goes down.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I dipped into my vintage fabric scrap box and came up with a few ideas for an i pod cover. One worthy of a muso. I really like the one i came up with. I am partial to any project that involves vintage fabric and vintage buttons. I am of the 'why buy it if you can make it' school of thought. It was drilled into me from a tender age and i hear it echoed in my sons world now too. There is more than enough stuff in the world already. I love the juxtaposition of the ultra modern whimsy of the ipod technology itself nestling into a blast from the past in its vintage fabric.
I honed the design as i went. Subsequent versions are more fitting.
Et voila, three more vintage i-pod covers. These ones are for sale. There were more, but folks dropping by fell in love with them and they went to good homes.