Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pottery Goodness

This piece brings me so much joy when I look at it.  I think coil construction is probably the most rewarding technique I've learned so far.  Of course I've yet to learn how to throw pieces on the wheel, so there most certainly will be more rewards (and challenges) to come.  
Whenever I am working in this technique I find I am at once so focused yet so very much in outer space.  It always leaves me feeling somewhat relaxed and hypnotized, kind of like a good massage or a productive therapy session.
I'm finding there are lessons to be learned from working with clay that reach far beyond those of form and function.  The parallels to parenting alone are astounding with regard to nurturing, guidance, and, most of all, relinquished control.  So many pieces have evolved into something I didn't expect, as though the clay knew all along what form it would take. Those pieces I strong armed, committing myself to stick to a plan, emerged from the kiln a vague disappointment. Other pieces have been a challenge to the point of my willful dismissal, but upon hearing a tiny voice in my head to "Just go ahead, glaze it," I followed the orders only to discover beauty that would have never been realized.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Babette Blanket

I finished this blanket back in the summer and have been slack about getting a really great photo to do justice to all my hard work. This will have to do.
I love this project because it embraces both the freeform and the technical sides of crochet, with just enough balance to keep me interested for a couple of months at a time.
It is made from scrap worsted weight yarn, mostly acrylic and wool/acrylic blend. I have laundered it twice and it has survived in tact, which I feel is a true feat.
I have already begun another, but am much more slow going this time. The holiday season just turns me into a big ol' crafty Tasmanian Devil.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Vat of Soup!

Easy White Bean & Escarole Soup with Barley
Note:Requires a large stock pot.

1-2 Tbs butter
3 big shallots, chopped (or 1 med. onion & 1 clove garlic)
4 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 cup white wine
2 4-cup containers vegetable broth
1 C. water
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cans cannellini (white kidney) beans (chickpeas make an excellent substitution)
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 head Escarole lettuce, coarsely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley (more will make a thicker, less brothy soup)
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
1 Tbs. dried parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Saute shallots & celery in butter on medium-hi heat in the bottom of the pot.
Add wine to "deglaze", stirring briskly until mixture turns a little milky in color and thickens ever so slightly.
Add broth & water.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Simmer at low-medium for 45 minutes, or until barley is tender.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Food, Felt, Foil, Fun

These days I'm getting geared up for the gifting season. The ideas are churning up faster than my time allows them to come to fruition. I've spent a lot more time in the kitchen lately; it seems my craving for soup and veggies is insatiable. One would think I'm pregnant the way my body is dictating my diet so ferociously. But no little sprouts are to blame.
My Hooping instructor, Caroleeena, shared with me a wonderful recipe for a delicious, crispy Kale snack that has been a huge hit with not only me but our 3 year old son as well. Thanks Caroleeena!

Crispy Kale Snacks
Heat oven to 350f.
Wash and pat dry a big bunch of kale. Remove the thick stalks down the middles of the leaves and discard.
Spread leaves out on a baking sheet in one layer. Spray with a little olive oil (NOT Pam) and rub the leaves a bit to distribute the oil. Bake at 350 for 10-15 min. or until crispy to the touch. Most definitely check them at 10 mins. if your oven runs hot.
Sprinkle with a dash of salt if desired, but it really doesn't need it!