Saturday, March 27, 2010

Things in motion

Finally I got some good manure on the ground to make my garden feel ripe and ready for some seeds and plants. I'm a little late on the parsley and cilantro. Hopefully we'll get one more good frost to help the out. I say that for the sake of the plants, because I would be just fine saying goodbye to cool weather. I'm going to test my soil tomorrow. You take a jar and fill it 2/3rds the way full with water, a squirt of dish liquid (not sure why), and fill with soil. Shake it up and allow it to settle for two days. When it settles you will see the ratio of clay, sand, and silt. I think that's right...I'm looking for something called loam soil. Let's hope.

I really love cooking greek food. It really doesn't require much cooking at all and it's usually healthy. My husband and I really enjoyed making this pan seared tilapia with quinoa, cucumbers, and feta from Everyday Food. For the recipe go to Shutterbean, a great food blog. Here was our addition:
TZATZIKI SAUCE! We bought a small container of Fage plain greek yogurt, used some of the diced cucumber, three garlic cloves, plenty of chopped fresh dill, a squirt of lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. I've been snacking on it all week. I really love it piled onto a wheat cracker.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Embroidery Beginnings

The coolest thing about embroidery, by far, are these awesome golden crane scissors. They remind me of The Decemberists album The Crane Wife. Embroidery isn't nearly as easy as it looked, but I'm learning it's like that with most things. I'm amazed at how awkward these stitches can feel and look. But I think the idea is very interesting. It's really drawing on fabric with thread, instead of using paints on canvas. A very cheesy thought indeed, but I've always wanted to have the ability to pick up a paint brush and create a beautiful impressionistic landscape to frame and hang on my walls. This is how I get to feel like an artist.

Practice, practice, practice.

I saw two really good movies over the weekend. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was heart wrenching but excellent. Everyone in the room was crying at the end. The sickening horror of what inhumanity took place during Nazi Germany is hard to shake. What's worse is that mass murders are happening all over the world and it's not just a thing of the past. We also watched Precious which was very difficult but managed to bring up excellent points about overcoming hate, poverty, and abuse. I wouldn't give my job up for anything in the world, because I have the privilege of helping, even if it's only teaching a student how to write a sentence or divide a large number. That's precious to me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Things

Yes, I know the fabric resembles something worn by Blanche Devereaux on a spring date with a white haired man, but I found it enduring because it not only screams old lady from the 80's but spring, spring, SPRING! Can't you hear her drawn out southern voice saying it seductively? I was hoping that this project, like the wallet, would be easy like the front of the pattern stated. I found it to be more of a challenge then I had hoped for, and had to get help from the hubby who, thanks to years of playing with legos as a child, has the talent for visualizing how to create certain shapes. If I have a daughter she will play with legos. I hope she doesn't feel as crippled as I do in these situations. Next on the to do list is an apron for mom which I hope to give her for mother's day.

My two weeks of spring break are almost here. I have so many projects that I want to begin. First off is baking lots of homemade bread! I recently purchased Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which promises dough that will last two weeks in the fridge. You make a big batch and scoop out what you need, shape, let it rise for twenty minutes, then bake for 30 minutes. If that is the case, I might be finally won over to the idea of baking my own bread. Before I saw this book, I was never really tempted with all the rising and kneading and TIME. You need rhythm to knead and I have none.

There is a hill at school that is covered with tiny blue flowers and the students and I can't help but comment on them every day on our walk back from recess. Anticipation for more blooming is almost overwhelming. No seeds have been sown in my garden yet. Tomorrow I have some time off and I hope I remember my camera.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I don't like the word hobbies. That word makes the learning process sound always enjoyable and easy. You don't call school a "hobby." Is a hobby something that isn't necessary, or something that's less important? Pursed for pleasure? Point is, I didn't like it when Matt referred to my sewing/crocheting/etc as hobbies. I told him Div School was a hobby. He shakes his head.
I do think that it's pleasurable, but I have other motives and reasons. Reasons that include not making the highlight of my week a shopping trip or only tasting culinary magic at a restaurant. Creating is a powerful thing. Power to the people.

I'm pretty excited about these two books. I heard about A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg from several of the blogs I follow, but also because she writes baking articles for Bon Appetit that I look forward to reading every month. Her and her husband just opened up a pizzeria. I think this, like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, would be a great book to read with a book club. I don't have enough friends close by, but maybe Kerri would be interested in it or Whitney. That's an idea...
Embroidered Effects looks to be full of valuable information for someone who knows nothing about the subject, like myself.

Today in class I played soccer for approximately two seconds with the boys. I thought I was cool running down the gym towards the unsuspecting goalie, boys screaming behind, at my very heels, when I go to kick, miss the ball and send my shoe flying right at the goalie's head. There's no one cooler than Mrs. Ballard. Same thing happened with the shoe during science. I didn't realize how much kicking teaching involves.

I went to the library in search for gardening books. I'm pretty obsessed and I'm thinking about naming it or something. I've already called Dad asking when will I get a chance to come over and feed the soil some cow poop. I feel like it's a pet or child or something that needs my love and attention. As if the plowed patch of dirt is lonely all by itself, feeling unloved. By the way, Matt went back on his word and is so excited about our baby garden.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Quickly wanted to post a few blogs that I waste hours of my life reading.
Posie Gets Cozy
Joy the Baker
Smitten Kitchen (this place is packed full of some of the most delicious meals/sweets I've ever seen!)

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Today was all smiles. It was a time to sketch down images, comments, and thoughts deep into ones memory and keep them in a special place. Warmth and sun arrived.

Good memory #1: Starting the garden

Dad and I walked out to the over grown plot where he had once planted watermelons, but had recently used the area to burn branches and what not. Matt and I removed the rocks and sticks, along with old pottery and glass from decades, maybe a century ago. Dad informed me that the tractor didn't have breaks and since there was a dropping slope at the end of the garden, he should do the driving, not me. I tried not to seem too disappointed. Already more help then I wanted. I wish I had brought my camera. It was the prettiest dirt I have ever seen. Red clay was present, but Dad said it was a special kind of red clay, and lots of dark, almost black soil. I picked up earth worm after earth worm, bigger than the last, feeling sorry that I had disturbed there winter slumber. So that's all that was accomplished today on the garden. Next week, after the soil has dried Dad will have to use a harrow to "hare" the garden. Then I have to apply tons of composted cow manure to it. A good couple of inches worth. Then I can sow cilantro and lettuce since they can germinate and grow in cooler temperatures.

Good memory #2: Spending time with the family

My great aunt Helen brought over an old eight millimeter video filmed back in the fifties. We all watched the children riding around on ponies, my Nanny dancing and acting silly like she always did, Little Granny shacking her head, Big Granny sweeping the porch, Charlie Beal, my great grandfather, wearing a woman's hat and a blanket pretending to be an old lady. My aunt leaned over and said to me, "That's what I liked most about Nanny. She always had a good time." That is still a big deal to everyone in my family. You always need to have a good time. I couldn't get over the flowers in the video. Giant red roses growing up the side of a building, rows of huge irises in pastels. It was inspirational. Once I get this vegetable garden down, I'm moving on to flowers. Less practical, but more beautiful.

Good memory #3: Getting to chat with Whitney whom I haven't seen since May. So excited to learn that she also got a sewing machine for Christmas and is getting frustrated with sewing. Kindred spirits we are! Plans are in the making for spending time together.

So, nothing is especially unique or rare about today, but everything has made it a day to remember.