Saturday, September 26, 2015

stones for my hair

I saw this beautiful photo of an Elemental Child crystal crown tucked into a French twist last year and wanted to do something similar. Only, since I'm unlikely to put my hair up into a French twist (ever - I usually do a pile of sculptural curls at the nape of my neck, if I do anything at all), I decided to separate mine into individual combs.

This is the first set I made. I haven't worn them yet (no occasion for fancy updos when one is moving!), but I hope to, soon. I'm debating whether I'll tuck these into my hair at my workplace's fundraising gala in October  - the alternative would be donning my favorite fascinator/tiny pillbox hat from Spain. Ah well, the holidays bring plenty of opportunities to play dress-up (and I intend to take advantage of them!).

I plan to dabble with a few more of these in the future; I have smaller crystals to try (I wanted my first set to mimic the scale of the original photo as much as possible, though), and diminuitive one-inch-wide combs, to experiment with scale. Using both might yield darling results for a child!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

stopping time, moving forward

tart cherry preserves - a taste of my childhood!

Ugh. Once again, where has the time gone? Well. I have been making things and taking photos all this long, hot, dry summer. I just haven't taken the next step of culling and editing photos and posting. I also feel like I've barely been keeping my head above water with the making.

Part of it's the heat; look at the grass in that top photo - little straw-twigs! This summer was a prolonged battle of attrition to try and keep the garden alive. It was more work and money than it was worth and eventually I threw up my hands and said, "I give up."

It was the right choice. And now that some more seasonable weather has returned (three good drenching storms in a 3-week period), I feel like I've had a little more time to gather myself and get things done. So I sat down yesterday morning and culled a bunch of photos to put together a couple of posts.

I found tart cherries at the U District Farmer's Market (thanks to a tip from my awesome neighbour) and made preserves - well, more of a low-sugar pie filling, really. I was only able to get 2 lbs of cherries, so these won't be shared, because after you remove the pits, the 2 lbs have pretty much become 1 lb and it's just not enough!! These are for turnovers or eating on English muffins this fall, and reminisces about the mature tart cherry tree I grew up with. (More on that in a moment.)

blackcurrant preserves!

At one point this summer, I walked into Ballard Market and there were flats of blackcurrants for just $10. I took one and went through the laborious process of picking all the bits of stems and flower ends off them - and then I made delightful blackcurrant jam. I have given lots of these away already, sharing the bounty, but there should be a few left at the holidays. I also baked the leftover preserves (when I ran out of jars to pack them into) into a completely heavenly vegan coffee cake (I had some stress this summer and my doctor ordered me off dairy - it took about three weeks for things to level out, and I started getting creative with the vegan baking). 

And now, back to that little note about the cherry tree of my childhood. I've bought one for my own garden: a Northstar. It's supposedly self-dwarfing, only growing 8-10' tall and wide, able to be netted and harvested without a giant ladder, resistant to cracking and brown rot, and when mature, producing plenty of fruit for a family of four. We only have two in our family, but I definitely eat more than my fair share of tart cherries - as a child and teen, these were the only fruits I would eat to the point of allergic reaction: when my grandparents visited and my grandpa brought jars of tart cherry sauce, I'd eat it all day ... until I broke out in hives on my wrists and inner forearms. I'd take a cold shower and put on calamine lotion before bed ... and in the morning I'd start all over again - no regrets!!

And where will we put this tart cherry tree? Well, we'll put it in our new garden that we're going to build ... in our new home. Cass and I have become homeowners - finally! - for the first time in our lives. I expect the tone of this blog will shift toward more decorating, gardening, and home repair/upgrade projects in the future, but for now we're living in boxes as we can't start moving until Tuesday.

And maybe the new home will be just the prod I need to get back into the swing of things here. Let's hope so - because Pacific Rain has been languishing this summer!!