Saturday, July 31, 2010

not mine...

Your house never looks like this, does it? A little boy with a litter of fabric trailing behind him.

Mine certainly never does.

Friday, July 30, 2010

{this moment} - hard at work

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

*It's pig week at The Book Children*

Thursday, July 29, 2010


When I posted a "corners of" post last, I had a thought that it might become a weekly series here. Alas, two and a half months have past, and I'm finally getting around to another one! But here we are...and here are my corners of glass.

When I was much younger, I remember watching a movie which showed one of the characters blowing glass. Watching the glowing hot lump of glass turn into a beautiful vase, I thought that was surely the most fascinating, and brave, form of artwork I'd ever seen. With one glassblowing class now under my belt (when Finn was 3 weeks old, no less!), I'm happy to leave glassblowing for those less afraid of blowtorches and molten glass and admire the few pieces that I still have from my class. And of course, those I've acquired from other fabulous glass artists.

Hanging over our breakfast nook bay window, glass orbs from a local artist.

The way the light bends and changes through the texture and color of the glass can be amazing sometimes.

The "extras" sit in a bowl on a library shelf. Only 2 of these are from a local artist, one is from Asheville and the other is from a trip to Italy. (The green wool ball in the back is from our trip to Ireland.) I love how seeing these pieces can transport me back to where I was and what I was doing at that time.

A funky little artistic piece made with copper and glass hangs in our kitchen window, a reminder of a fun Christmas party gift exchange.

This next piece sits in my bedroom window. Made from stained glass and copper, it is part of my art-o-mat collection.

And one of the remainders from my glassblowing class, a long, skinny doggy. :)

And a pile of beads. I've intentioned to make them into a ceiling fan chain pull, but that clearly hasn't happened yet.

Even Elizabeth's gotten in on the action a little bit with this glass she covered at yarn camp last year. It looks beautiful with a candle inside!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

never a dull moment...

I was prepared to write a post tonight on how not much is happening around here. I took a few cute photos of Finn (because Elizabeth can't be bothered to hang out here for more than just meals and Paulie and Philip are at their grandparents for the week) and call it a day. And then...

Token photo of Finn #1: enjoying the blueberry jam

Token photo of Finn #2: demonstrating his new scissor-cutting skills

Token photo of Finn #3: the farm, you know, under the waves

And then I had a rather impromptu bread-baking class with our 2 favorite sitters.

We played with some dough, discussed some technique, and sampled some very yummy bread.

And jam! Can't forget the jam.

But there was this little problem. We saw a wee bit of evidence that we might not be alone in our kitchen for the last week. Then our uninvited guest decided to make an appearance during our little bread-baking class!

Mary took matters into her own hands (while Heather and I perched on the furniture) and trapped our little intruder.

She carried him right out of the house.

We had quite the procession trailing our furry friend down the road to an empty field.

And Mary released him out into a wooded area where he'll hopefully find a friendlier home.

So much for not much happening around here!

*It's pig week at The Book Children!*

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday lunch for Sunday dinner

How do you spend a Sunday afternoon in July? We spend them up to our ears in blackberries and blueberries, apparently. Saturdays tend to be so busy with family events, etc. (this weekend Paul's sister and her husband were in town for part of the weekend) which is lovely but also tends to push my domestic tendencies to Sunday afternoons.

Elizabeth spent over an hour washing and pulsing blueberries for me while I made blackberry jam from the already washed and smashed blackberries.

Who needs to schlep all those jars outside for photographing...not me, but here's a sampling. The kids think it's a horrible torture tactic for me to force them to wait the full 24 hours before letting them sample the jam. (Hey, I do let them lick the spoon!) This is a first time for me on the blueberry jam, insisted upon by Elizabeth, so I'll keep you posted on how that tastes.

Saturday lunch has taken a hit over the last few weeks with my out-of-town trip and family visiting, but we did make it to the farmer's market today after church and found some delicious produce (aside from the blueberries and blackberries). So we had Saturday lunch tonight for dinner, including this fresh pasta, which you can also enjoy through etsy if you choose.

As I went to pick basil for our tomato-basil-mozzarella salad (yes, we eat that 3x a week now, I'm sorry if you're getting bored of seeing it), I found a nest of baby ladybugs which Elizabeth tried to rescue after I dumped most of them on their backs trying to photograph them. I spent most of the dinner paranoidly looking under each leaf, despite having already checked them all and washed them thoroughly.

Basil pasta with broccoli, olive oil and (not local) parmesan, tomato-mozzarella-basil salad, and the sweetest, juiciest blueberries!

You might wonder what keeps the kids occupied when I spend the whole afternoon in the kitchen. Why they dance to symphonic Christmas carols in the foyer...don't yours?

Or they turn Paul's shirt into a sleeping bag for exhausted owls.

Friday, July 23, 2010

{this moment} - a feat of engineering

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

{Philip's erector set}

*You have a few more hours to enter the double giveaway on The Book Children*

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WIP Wednesday

I'm still plodding along on Christmas gift projects (and probably will be from now until December). I finally decided on the buttons I wanted for Paulie's felted slippers. He's quite a hedgehog lover and these large cloth-covered buttons seemed funky and perfect.

The punk hedgehog:

And his tamer, healthy-eating brother:

While I was at the Institute last week, one of my classmates, who taught the children's program woodworking class, offered to help me make a small cutting board for Elizabeth. The whole process of cutting the board into a nice, organic shape, rounding the edges, sanding and applying mineral oil to seal and shine the wood took about an hour. I'm planning to buy her a paring knife of her own and gift her with the set for Christmas. As much as she enjoys helping me in the kitchen, I think she'll be thrilled.

Elizabeth's sweater is also coming along nicely. I really like the way the cotton and modal blend yarn drapes and has such a nice shine to the yarn. The back is complete and a front panel is currently underway! Slowly, but surely...

*We're seeing double over at The Book Children. Two sets of twins and a double giveaway! Come leave a comment and enter to win!*

Monday, July 19, 2010

home again, home again

Ah. We're all settling in to being a family of 6 again after my absence. It's a good feeling. Some things that have marked our last few days:

::a basil explosion::

::flowering crepe myrtles::

::frittata, basically this recipe with some fresh basil thrown in::

::Finn becoming self-sufficient::

::lots and lots of sourdough::

::visiting my little bee friend who hangs out in the lavender::

(judging by his wave, I think he missed me!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

final thoughts on my week at the Steiner Institute

As I hurriedly pushed out my post on croissants the evening before I headed home, I knew I would need another post to fully flesh out everything I wanted to share about my week at the Steiner Institute. (Sorry that it took me an extra day to get this posted though.) The experience of the bread class was amazing, and I'm thrilled to have had this opportunity especially under Warren Lee Cohen's knowledgeable and energetic tutelage. (You can see his summary of the class on his blog.)

I'm finding it hard to know where to start because there is so much of my experience that I can't put into words. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Institute last year, but this year really felt different in such a positive way for me. The discussions about bread, it's history and physical connection to humans, both physically and spiritually; the camaraderie, through group kneading sessions, singing work songs, and constant sneaking back to the kitchen to monitor the process of our work; and always the lovely people who really make the Institute a warm and welcoming place for all, from my amazing teacher and his beautiful, sweet wife (and kids!) to the other fascinating and helpful members of my class (one of which even helped me make a wooden gift to bring home for Elizabeth. I'll share more about that another time.) Anyway, other than mention these experiences, I can't really share them with you in a tangible way except to say that if you ever have a chance to attend something like this you should jump in with both feet, arms open wide.

Part of our class time each day was spent painting, sometimes on collaborative efforts, sometimes on individual projects. It was such a fascinating way to process some of the topics we were discussing.

Here is our color study on wheat:

We had opportunities to hear musicians of every kind, from a Julliard-trained pianist to violinists, guitarists, fiddlers, homemade instrument players, an accordion player and a teen-aged bagpipe player. You should have seen the way the children gathered when he pulled out his pipes. I thought it was amazing how well many of the children there could play various instruments.

Another teen-ager saw me working on my knitting and brought her knitting to show me. Isn't this hat fabulous? She's also an amazing violinist who's spending this week at a music camp.

Once the puppeteering class was finished with their puppets, they put them on display for the rest of the crowd to admire. Such lovely handwork!

And there was the children's work. I'm always amazed at the beautiful artwork that flows from children sometimes. Aren't their pieces lovely?

These handmade books were also made by the children:

Lastly, I've gotten a few questions over the week about the breadmaking process. The number one question was to recommend a good breadmaking book. When I posed this question to my teacher, he hemmed and hawed (about the same as anytime we asked him about measurement). His typical answer was that sourdough especially, which is what he recommends as the closest to natural breadbaking, behaves differently in different environments and giving a recipe often dooms people to failure because they follow the recipe precisely but because their house might be warmer or more humid or higher in atmospheric pressure than the recipe author's house, the recipe doesn't work correctly. He thinks it's much better to experiment and get to know how dough behaves in your environment and adjust accordingly. With that said, he actually authored a lovely book, Baking Bread With Children, which I have raved about in the past, but it's so much more than just a recipe book with songs, poems, stories and information about building an earthen bread oven. Also in our class there was discussion from a few other books including Six Thousand Years of Bread, The Tassajara Bread Book, and The Bread Bible. I also purchased The Waldorf Book of Breads while I was at the Institute and I have to say that the Sky High Biscuits last night were fun for the kids to make and quite delicious. :)