Tuesday, July 31, 2012

beet salad lunch

 I had this lunch on my balcony today!  I recommend it - easy to make, and satisfying, too.

boil beets until they're tender while you're doing other things.
after they've cooled, peel them and cut them up into bite-sized chunks.
put a handful of walnuts into a skillet.  once they seem decently toasted (they start smelling like popcorn), pour a couple tablespoons of maple syrup over them and stir until they're all coated, then set aside to cool.
fill your bowl with whatever greens you like best.
put beets on top, with crumbled goat cheese and the candied walnuts.
i made a dressing to taste by whisking together balsamic vinegar, olive oil,  maple syrup and 
a pinch of sea salt.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I got two nasturtium plants at our local nursery for 89 cents each.  They seemed thirsty and scraggly and like they really needed to be perked up. So I potted them on my balcony and have been trying my best to get them to flourish a little bit.  I was so glad that a bloom came!  And new little leaves are emerging.  Hopefully next summer I'll plant my own from seeds and have a whole bunch of blooms I can clip for salads.  They're edible and so pretty mixed in with the greens.  But so long as I only have one bloom, I'd rather just feast my eyes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

around the house

 Thank you mom, for this bookmark you gave me several years ago.  I've got it on the windowsill above the kitchen sink, and the message charges me up every time I lay eyes on it.
This one rose smells like a lemon cut in two.  Mmmm!
 My sewing machine right next to the window is proving to be a really good work space.  

Autumn inventory piling up... but I've still got  A LOT  more to do.
I've really been enjoying reading this back issue (April/May 2011) of Garden & Gun magazine.  I especially liked this article by Donovan Webster on the Mississippi potter Lee McCarty.  What good, simple advice!

Monday, July 16, 2012

settling in

I've been away from my blog for weeks and weeks and although I do feel irresponsible for neglecting it, I've been putting time and energy into lots of other good things.  I've moved, I've done my usual waitressing work, I've made new fabric patterns, and I even went to the beach with my family and slept in the sun with the sound of the waves rolling over and whooshing onto the sand.  That has got to be one of life's best, and most therapeutic luxuries!  Now I am trying to get my new apartment and workshop in order.  I think this is one of the best places I've lived so far.  For some reason, the minute I walk in the door, it feels right, my heart slows down, I feel at home.  Maybe it's the peaceful blue paint on the walls, or the way the sun comes through the old glass windows.   In moving, I got to appreciate and consider all over again the things I have that once belonged to my relatives, like my sewing machine and typewriter.   And I lugged a new one out of my mom's attic:  my great grandmother's ironing board!  The sewing machine and typewriter come from my mom's side.  The ironing board is from my dad's side.  It belonged to my great-grandmother Gladys.  She was really spunky and I've heard lots of stories about how she liked to feed her chickens while wearing high heels.  I feel so blessed that I was left behind so many tools that are coincidentally really useful in working on my fabric designs.   I can't help but feel like the spirits of my ancestors are cheering me on somehow.   How amazing is it that their old tools have become such good and appropriate tools for me, decades and decades later?   There's something else that my mom recently pulled out of her cedar closet for me.  It appears to be a set of lace coverlets for two twin beds along with matching pillow covers. Mary Jane (if you're still reading and haven 't given up on me!), I'm hoping you might be able to give me more details about them, because they were in a blue cloth bag in the closet, and an iron-on label on the bag had Don Paul's name on it.  I left the bed coverlets in the closet, but took out a couple smaller pieces to use as curtains because they are so exquisitely beautiful and inspiring.  I would love to know the story behind them.

More pictures and news will follow soon.  In the meantime, I'm tackling my calendar of deadlines and putting the sewing machine and ironing board into use.  Those are the exciting tasks.  The ones I'm agonizing over are setting up internet and phone services.  My rotary phone is sitting unused without a connection, and I'm leeching off a weak, unreliable, unsecured internet source.  But I want to see my first electricity bill before I commit to two more utility bills.  It's so important to me to live within my means and I really waffle and scrutinize when making these kinds of decisions, trying to make sure that I really choose the smartest, most economical option.  The decision making is especially hard when customer service representatives have all these pre-programmed, indecipherable responses instead of being able to answer your questions flatly, and it seems they never can tell you how much something is going to actually cost after all the applicable taxes and fees.  But that is the end of my rant.  Now I'm going to make my first eggplant parmesan of this summer!