Tuesday, September 29, 2009
As for those friends from high school? Almost all of them I had not seen in twenty years. When I left, I never really came back except for occasional visits to my parents. I was as nervous as a cat, but deserve a badge of courage. I almost turned around and went home before walking in the door. I questioned myself at the last minute. Would everyone think my marriage was failing because I came without my husband? Why did I want to see these people, most of whom, I had lost contact with? The answers eluded me as I drove there.
I certainly wasn't going to prove anything. My conversation starter would be that I stay at home with my 3 and 6 year old, that I like to sew, and garden, and run in the woods. There's no segue way there for my career and educational success which I've chosen to put on the back burner. I wondered just what I would share with all of these people from my past. It was a strange thing to be inundated with so many emotions which were rooted from twenty years ago. Click. I was as awkward and nervous as I'd felt as a teen, clinging to my shaky self esteem.
What I discovered was that for the most part, everyone else is twenty years down the road too. Just like me, they've had their share of struggles, joys, mundane moments, and life changing events. The people that I was really close to then, I still felt a strong sense of connection. It was just incredibly gratifying. I even made some connections with people that I had never really talked with in high school. We shared about our gardens and talked about our kids.
I always try to push myself outside my comfort zone. It is so easy to safely stay in one's own box. Some days I manage that leap more successfully than others. Often, my anxiety is clearly apparent to any passerby. I'm not saying I handle each challenge gracefully. I can tell you though, that I'm so happy I made this trip.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I grate my parm from a huge block with the processor and set that aside. Then I process the garlic cloves with the olive oil until they are minced very fine. I add nuts. I process and add oil as needed. Then I start adding in basil leaves, stripping them from the stalks in huge piles. (Think production.) The stalks will be too tough, but of course, everything else about a basil plant tastes great. Don't get too freaked out as long as it's clean and free of bugs and dirt.... but, even then... you aren't going to die. When I've got what looks like good consistency in oil and basil, I add in sea salt and black pepper to taste. I use a little bit of lemon juice to help keep the basil nice and green. At the very end I add the cheese. I've found that it can be very easy to add more cheese than is really tasteful or necessary if you start with it at the front end. (This may be because I'm a total cheese addict. One year, I used yellow miso instead, when I was not doing dairy.)
I think this is one of the most amazing food "activities" you can do with kids. There are no eggs and kids are great strippers of basil off the stalk. They have so much fun. Plus, they can push the button on the processor again and again. It's loads of fun and a natural activity for following directions. There is something for kids about following the instruction to turn an appliance "on" and "off" that feels like huge responsibility to them. Because the processor blade is enclosed and the appliance can't be turned on unless the lid is locked in place, it's nice and safe for even really young guys. Perfect, if you ask me. Pesto. Entertainment. From the garden. Summer flav in the winter. Does it get better? Well, now, if the rain would let up...
Monday, September 21, 2009
It was hard for us to quit sewing, actually. At midnight, two of us were learning from another how to make a cute little zipper pouch. Here's mine in the pictures. Really fun stuff. It was probably my favorite project from the whole weekend. So sweet and functional... I want to make more! The tutorial is at Skip to My Lou.
I've always wanted to go on a sewing getaway with friends. This one was filled with so much goodness. Really, I think the very best part was the camaraderie of such a great bunch of women. No nastiness or weirdness, just relaxing, positive, and productive. Exactly what I needed. Amazing. And now, back to the real world.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
This is a little stuff sack that I made this weekend for my daughter out of fabric that she chose. She wanted something to hold her buttons which are the rewards she's received at school. (What's not to love about a teacher who gives buttons for rewards?!) It is truly fascinating how my daughter covets these buttons, looking at them, arranging them, lovingly storing them away. She "recorded" them on a cut out of her hand. Twenty buttons with room to add more, all carefully kept in her monkey sack.
This is a quilt that she and I finished. She chose the fabrics and then sat at the machine. She sewed the strips up, working the fabric under the foot as I pressed the peddle to control the speed. We were quite the team and she was so excited to sew on my machine. She asked me to quilt it with hearts, flowers, and swirls in hot pink thread. Yes, she's an average six year old girl, I've come to accept.
Friday, September 11, 2009
So, I've made some more and they're in my shop. I downsized and made some sets with Crayola colored pencils too. It keeps the roll a little less pricey. Now, before you read the next paragraph I'll warn you that I have a serious bias. (Told you, I'm full of opinions.)
This is my sales pitch for the German made Faber-Castell. They're really just phenomenal for the $6 price difference. The pencil lead is thick and flows over the page. The colors blend. The triangular grip encourages proper hand position for young ones. They really are an artist's dream; I want to grab them up and start drawing. My guess is they last a lot longer too. They're made from wood that is from the company's own reforestation project. Do I sound like a Faber Castell rep? I could be, but I'm not. I really just love their products and I've noticed that my daughter intuits the differences in quality art supplies when she uses them. It's not like I stand over her and tell her which one I think is better. She just gravitates again and again to the higher quality art supplies. Even if you're going to make a roll of your own, consider purchasing these.
So there you go... sock monkeys and my favorite colored pencils. A nice combination for anyone. Should I ask Faber Castell for a commission on my sales?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Chinese stacked coins quilt top. For more inspiration, visit the Flicker group here. If you're brand new to quilting and want to give this design a try, there's a wonderful tutorial I found here on the right side of her blog.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
We were lucky enough to have a friend share some of her tomatoes grown in her greenhouse. They were superb and so unbelievably sweet; I couldn't believe we were eating tomatoes. We ate them plain, with basil and mozzarella, and then we tried the Backseat Gourmet's recipe for panzanella. So quick and easy, and quite a hit with my family. This is Cheryl's picture of her recipe below. ( She's a much better food photographer than I am. Actually, she's also an amazing quilter, so go check that out too.)
It definitely feels like we're trying to hang on to the last vestiges of summer as we gobble down tomatoes and basil. Soon, I need to get busy making pesto. We freeze it in cubes and eat on it all winter, pretending we have summer in our mouths.