I'm excited about these new half-sized brochures, and little gift tags that will go on sets of a wooden soap dish and one bar of soap. The soap dishes should arrive in the mail any day now. I ordered them from a maker on etsy, who makes and stains them by hand and sells them in bulk at (semi)wholesale price. I got 1/2 with a dark stain, and 1/2 light, for customers to have a choice.
this morning was characterized by being cold, new wave which helped me do stuff, hot coffee, flannel, learning about the Dutch Halloween-type tradition, and Saint Martha and Simeon Stylites the Younger on wikipedia. my house is so cold. i need to get some wood so that i don't have to rely on this electric heat anymore :/.
I'm trying to be a good girl and eat right. As I was catching up with my friend in New Jersey about his state during the hurricane, during which he cooked fresh squash from the garden and onions in a cast-iron skillet over his open fire in the fireplace (that he built himself), later turning it into a soup, we discussed how we sometimes don't even want to eat what we cook. Example: quinoa and potatoes with a white wine and herb sauce that I made the other night. Not that this wasn't tasty, I just didn't want to eat it a second night in a row. What is this? Why is eating so hard sometimes? Well, this morning I spiced up my morning oatmeal with some shredded carrots and almonds, with the usual maple syrup. This made me want to eat my oatmeal this morning. No dairy even!
And Homemade Almond Milk. This is one of the tastiest things ever. I don't know why I don't make it more often. I just chugged it straight out of the blender for a solid 5-10 seconds. I need more nuts in my life.
Wires to connect me to outer life events; boxes, upped then downed; a box of couch cleaner; apples in a crate, slowly getting older, waiting to be turned into something good, but still good on their own.
I got a cold yesterday. Well it came on fast on Saturday late afternoon, then I got wiped out on Sunday. I started taking Gen Mao Ling, a Chinese herb remedy, eucalyptus baths, Vitamin A and D, some orange juice, Gypsy Cold Care tea, and this chicken soup that I made.
I have never made chicken soup before. I had some Draper Valley frozen chicken legs/breasts that I picked up because they were on sale @ $1.89/lb or something... very large pieces, still on the bone. I wasn't sure if I could add frozen chicken directly to the soup. I wasn't sure if I could cook the veggies with the chicken. I was kind of frustrated to not know any of this. I researched a little and the internet seemed to say adding frozen chicken to boiling water is fine. (Kinda seems like a 'duh' thing now). I didn't have a recipe, but I decided to just go for it. Pot full of water, add frozen chicken when boiling. Simmer til kind of more cooked, then add celery, carrots, lots of onions, a couple tablespoons each of chopped fresh sage and parsley from the garden, lots of coarse sea salt, garlic powder, and some long jasmine white rice that I didn't even measure out... maybe 1.5-2 cups. I was too sick to measure things out. And I think I like making soups this way anyhow. It's just all about your own tastes. The final test was inserting the thermometer into the chicken - 165°F and you're good. I was at 180°F and the chicken still seemed tender. It all simmered for an hour maybe.
My dad calls it Jewish penicillin, and I think it's really helped do the trick, along with good 'ol Gen Mao Ling. Sunday night I wasn't feeling good, but by Monday morning I was much better.
And this is a soup I made last week. Just a pot full of random veggies I had on hand- onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, celery, kale, and a black and white bean combo: black and cannelini. Topped with dulse flakes.
I've been working on a new label for my soap! Which has been both fun and hard. There are many factors in this process... #1: Making it look cool. #2: Cost-effectiveness, DIY-ease (printing, folding, wrapping, etc.), looks, feel, product information space, shipability, shelf aesthetics, etc.etc. Really fun, but kind of hard. Probably the most hard making it look cool using the computer because while I have a cool image in my mind, I can't make the fonts and everything. I decided I wanted my soap to be entirely contained. Not just a wrap-around label anymore. I suppose for a few reasons:
-While it's nice to see the soap, it hopefully won't get dinged up as much (not that they do TOO much because they are cured and quite hard). But less susceptibility.
- I think if I eventually sell to stores, it seems like they would like that better. Maybe not, but maybe so.
- It IS kind of fun to have it be a secret package inside!
-The paper wouldn't get as tattered en route via mail trucks, or during shelving, or customer handling, because all ends are tucked in.
- I like how it's just a very grab-able little bundle if all wrapped up.
- I already bought a whole ream of this paper, so wanted to still use a paper label.
This is one incarnation. I have more in my mind that I'd like to try, perhaps with different "lines" of soap, like where I can get trippy with the names of the soaps, i.e. Mossy Stone ;). This one is pretty basic/straight-forward, and I'd like to do more crazy-looking ones. Like with original fonts, more illustrationy, more celestial, etc.
I'm collaborating with a nearby alpaca farm on felted soaps! It was a serendipitous movement of events that got this into action. I stopped by their farmstore/yurt today to check out and pick up a sample bar of her first feltings of my soap. I think it's beautiful. I'll be making the bars a bit bigger from now on though. And I'll make a few different fragrances, and she'll felt them in different colors, including a light brown.
Since those smaller-bar-batches, I've bumped up the size to be a bit taller. I've also been working on the label.
(my subject heading made me think of the Works Progress Administration of the Roosevelt days, which made me look it up on Wikipedia. Enjoy this neat picture from that page:)
Sometimes, the best things come to us unannounced, and apparently for no reason. But there is a reason, and that reason lies in being open and receptive to thoughts and impulses. When we have the proper time and mental awareness, we can act upon what the spirit moves in us. "Proper time" doesn't mean the luxurious vacation time that the rich or retired can afford. It means when we intentionally create, indeed, actual 'time' for ourselves: waking up earlier, not stressing about a bedtime and staying up a little later, not stressing about keeping on a schedule or doing what we feel we "must" (going outside when it's nice out, attending events we don't want to)... it's creating a space where the passing of time doesn't bother you, where spontaneous thoughts and feelings will hit you. Physical Space is also a factor in this. When the kitchen is a mess, the space feels wrong. When a space feels "bad," good things won't always hit you, because the physical clutter can be clutter in your brain and heart. This doesn't mean the kitchen can't ever become a mess, because impulses, ideas, and change can and may need to arise out of chaos. Mental awareness means not cluttering our minds and hearts with noise and imagery that diffuse the important stuff in life. Like being in the habit of watching TV for no reason, or being addicted to hearing gossip about other people... Not that that stuff isn't enjoyable or acceptable at certain moments (who isn't somewhat interested in hearing what's going on with certain celebrities, local people, or watching a nonsense TV show for a moment? etc.) There's just a point when you become aware that you actually don't WANT any of that.
Well, all this is a fancy way to say, I enjoyed making this breakfast porridge this morning that I had never made before... buckwheat simmered with raisins and slivered almonds, topped with raw milk and maple syrup. Nbd ;)
from this February in Seattle. It's Craig Salt Peters, electrified as the Craig Salt Peters Band. with Zach Burba on drums (iji, amazing band), and Jacob Jaffe on guitar (Younger Shoulder, also amazing music).
Why do some days I just don't feel like doing much? In my head, I have lots of activities going on and fun creations that I'm daydreaming about. It's like a factory in there. Other days, like yesterday, after a full day of working in the garden, I found myself out there again weeding at sunset and baking banana bread at 10:30pm. Granted I had had one cup of black tea in the morning, and one in the afternoon, but usually, I wouldn't think that helps me out too much. Maybe it was the red clover blossom tea. (see here). Although that's what I had for breakfast this morning, so I guess not. While I have been formulating a new soap recipe, today I just needed some food inspirations to get me through.
Flaxseed banana bread, Braeburn apple slices, red clover blossom tea
This might be one of the most delicious things ever. I've realized, I love grilled baguette sandwiches/panini-type things. Open-faced or closed, I don't think I mind. I had the realization the other day that I should get a sandwich grill/press thing! I had never even thought of it before! I want to get into a groove of life, where I have my certain foods that I know I'll like, and just no-brainer always have the ingredients on hand. Like, "Op, the baguettes are gone. Get more of the same bread at the same store." "Op, it's lunchtime? Have a panini!" This sandwich was:
1. Olive oil bottom sides of baguette and broil a bit.
2. Take out, turn over, spread with Amy's Goddess Dressing (which I never thought I liked, but that might be the Green Goddess).
3. Layer with Hickory Smoked Tofurky slices
4. Top with Pepperjack cheese
5. Sprinkle with a little salt
Next time I will trying adding some spinach, maybe at the bottom.
After this, I Skyped with my sister for a while and washed my previous batch's soap pots. Then I went into another slump of non-motivationness. So I went to the store and got some goodies that made me happy.
I got myself a second grinder-- solely for coffee! Herbs and spices took precedence for my first one.
My mom gave me this cool little Italian espresso maker, that her old, very kind roommate, Dave, had given her.
(It was featured in a nytimes article because they had it built by an architect (Roald Gundersen) making houses/structures out of whole, localized trees)
We talked about planting with the rhythms of the planets and went and looked at the stars in a dark field while petting their horses.
Another one of those days was spent going to learn about alternative energy -- a guy living on a river, using draft horses, building some kind of engine, based on some kind of non-fossil fuel thing. Obviously, I can't say I remember what I learned about that engine, but I DID learn about Rejuvelac, and I remember that. Under the hot mid-summer midwest sun, we were offered a cold, refreshing beverage after a wagon tour of his prairie restoration fields. It was said to taste like tart lemonade, and that I thought it did. But the man swore by it's beneficial effects, saying he's felt the best he's felt in 20 years, his joints feel great. He called the drink, "Rejuvelac," but said we could make it ourselves from soaked (and ultimately sprouted and fermented) wheat berries. I've been meaning to make it ever since that day. Not sure how many states I've left produce bags containing a cantaloupe-sized mound of wheat berries from a bulk bin.
Now after all these years of physical labor during the spring, summer and fall, my joints are finally kind of hurting. My right elbow feels like tennis-elbow sometimes, I've been getting this sciatic nerve feeling thing in my lower right back, my knees can ache... So, here's my first try at the drink. Now I just can't remember what these grains are: whole oat groats or wheat berries? You can make it out of many grains. I've since researched that rye makes the best.
My mama came up to visit me for the weekend. Breakfasts on the sunny deck, sandwich lunches, many 'a tofu burger. We would tucker ourselves out by the end of the day, that day #1's dinner became #2 and #3's as leftovers. She brought some lovely homemade citrus bars of which I've had two today. We went to the Earth Sanctuary, the rhododendron gardens, Office Max, a farm for an amazing lunch of savory and sweet pies and seafood chowder and the freshest asparagus, and a short stint at the beach. The only thing I'm bummed about is that we didn't get to play 'Clue' while Craig was up. In fact, we played no games at all :(. Just watched Caddyshack and an independent Canadian film about inter-racial/culture love, which was pretty good.
After hanging my laundry to dry, I went back inside and was standing at the sink, looking out toward the line. I didn't even plan the colors, and I don't even attempt at having a colorful wardrobe, but this combination made my eyes and heart pleased. Then it proceeded to rain two days straight on them.
Made these POPOVERS, thanks to this girl, and while the fact that I took a picture of them before poking them with a fork like she so thoroughly explained in the directions made them more of POPunders, they were still such a nice breakfast and anytime snack.
This is 'Fettucini No-Fredo' from 'Get It Ripe'! Made with tahini, pureed onions, garlic, soymilk, parsley and lemon juice. So tasty!
And another 'Get It Ripe' concoction: Banana Chocolate Chip muffins... mmm.
I suppose I should also make a mention of the farmer's market that made many 'a preceding posts to this one. It went well! ... I have nothing to compare it to, but I had over a dozen customers. I'm thankful for all of them. If it weren't for them, why would I make so much soap?! I love making soap. And thank YOU for reading about it and supporting me!