29 March 2010

spring transitions

i am slowly adjusting to the time and season change, which caught me off guard as usual. i am coming out of my winter cocoon of warm milky beverages, baked goods, and movie after movie curled up on the couch during my hard to come by down time and moving toward the active-i-need-yoga-and-hikes-and fruit-smoothies mentality of spring.

i have to say this is a more difficult cocoon to break free from this year. the transition is full of push and pull--i am pushing myself away from winter habits and being pulled back in from time to time. i notice even the weather is having the same back and forth pattern as i am. part of my pull was this weekend when i decided, after a particularly strenuous week, that i needed a baked good and i needed to make it my last batch for a while.

i had a ripe banana and some apples that needed to be baked or composted so i made some banana-apple muffins that were outstanding (recipe below)....so outstanding that i ate 2/3 of them over the weekend... when i approached 1/2 of them (that's 6 between two days and in my defense they are smallish) i was so stunned by this fact --there was a time when i would be upset over this and scold myself, but instead i had a farewell ritual with the last muffin and a giant cup of black tea with milk and honey. it was a great thing to do! instead of gobbling the muffin i ate it slowly and mindfully while sipping my tea. i acknowledged the passing of time and transition into spring, as well as the need to be more active and cultivate my goals.

last week as we entered spring with gorgeous sunny weather, i jumped onto the hiking/yoga wagon and felt energized and strong. this week i feel sluggish and tired as the skies are overcast and the air is misty and cold, even with yoga and coffee in attempt to energize myself. i know that transitions can be difficult and are full of ups and downs. this is true of all transitions from changing jobs to boyfriends and everything in between. through my observations i am of the mind that since we are part of nature it's better to mirror the cycles of the seasons, up and down, back and forth--it's fine--it's natural.

so when you are in the mood for a shameless muffin, here is the recipe:
Makes 12 muffins--

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 TBS unsalted butter
2/3 cups white sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 avg. size apple - peeled and shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Grease and flour 12 muffin cups, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg then stir in the vanilla and milk.
Add the flour mixture, do not over mix, stir until just blended in. Add the banana and apples.
Fill each muffin cup half full.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool and enjoy. I like to add just a dollop of creme fraishe or eat plain, slightly warmed.

24 March 2010

2 years and counting on many more

after 2 whole years of marriage i am a believer in the amazing and beautiful bliss of being and staying in love. i suppose it is hard work to stay so in tune with one person for so long, but honestly it feels so easy and so wonderful! a very good sign:)

the traditional gift for the second year is cotton. so i made him a love letter out of the organic cotton notebook fabric kit from Leafcutter designs (world's smallest postal service). he made me the coolest portraits of us from halloween and super sweet love poem on cotton photo paper.

we had a lovely get away to sonoma thanks to the sale of several books to the local book store and a few anniversary gifts from family. we stayed at the fairmont as a nod to our wedding night at the fairmont san francisco. we got a serious upgrade to a junior suite which came with a fire place, living room and jacuzzi tub! holy hell that was nice...far more luxurious than the room i booked online! they take such good care of you if you are celebrating something special. free room upgrade and free booze, but since we don't drink they gave us sparkling cider for the room and a few bottles of voss mineral water at dinner, which probably cost more than the wine they offered us.

the trip was amazing. we went on a hike through Jack London park and saw the remains of his old house and had a picnic. we checked in and went swimming, had a lovely dinner and night by the fire. in the morning philip got his lemon pancake wish-- they were outstanding. i got my spa wish and it was also outstanding. i woke up early for some yoga, followed by a "vanilla float" treatment, which consisted of a scrub down and moisturizing with vanilla lotion while sitting in a floating relaxation bed and a vanilla shake afterward. i also did this amazing ritual bath with mineral pools and saunas. needless to say we left super sleepy/relaxed and once we made it home we napped and then stayed in for movies and takeout.

i am SO grateful to have had such a luxurious trip. i really needed the break from the everyday. all and all a fabulous get away.
now back to the real world...*sigh*

21 March 2010

craft show update

reporting back from Craft Happy, Fremont...the show was FUN! a smaller venue and less foot traffic, but a success nonetheless. My magnets were a hit and I received several compliments on the journals I hand embroidered. Our table was fun to design and we also received many kind words on the cuteness of it all. Sylvia had these incredible handmade birds and eggs, which got the attention they deserved with all the awwwwe's and squeals of delight. She had this ingenious idea to make covers for kitchen mixers too and I hope to one day have one of my own.

We also had a last minute art show on our wall. Sylvia came up with the project --we used 3 of each others photographs to make a minimum of 3 pieces of artwork in 24 hours. We titled the show "Limits" to emphasize the limitations we set using these photos as departure points/inspiration. Sylvia is full of great ideas like this and I had to thank her for lighting a spark back into my creative being...This is the first real series of art that I have made since graduation! (that's 2 years and waaaay too long) It was interesting to see how my body tensed up and then loosened as I got further into art making process. It was also interesting to see my color pallet and use of animal imagery were alive and well as they came right back into the creations I made without hesitation.

I am exhausted but elated. I plan to regroup and use the fact that I have plenty of left over stock to set aside craft time for art time.

off to Sonoma tomorrow to celebrate 2 years of happy marriage.
until soon!

07 March 2010

march madness...

greetings from the hive! it's march and it's madness, but the very good kind. we are two weeks away from the craft show and meanwhile Ringler Studios is booked solid this month with 2 installations, 2 regular clients, and one (very exciting) new one. so this weekend was a combination of resting and creating---two of my favorite things!

some new projects came about with a recent donation to my little studio...a button machine!!!! yeah!! many thanks to miss ashley who gave away the lot for her big move to London. (i was also bestowed with a full size ironing board which i cannot believe i lived without for so long! it just makes pressing happy)

here are the first fun creations from the button machine, which I have made into magnets:

i used some vintage animal and nature books from my collection of resource materials, cutting out or drawing in as i went along to create these mini collages.

i also continued with some hot-cup cozies (not shown) and checkbook cozies:

update on the screen printing:
test prints came out okay, not great...mainly because I am without proper inks at the moment and the budget is too low with having spent this months allowance on an upcoming anniversary gift for my dearest. I figure it's been a year in the making, what's another few months? so not in time for the craft show, but in time indeed.

other crafts/projects in the works:
i need to tackle the mess known as 'the pit of despair' that is my pot/pan/bowl cupboard. i am already obsessing over a kitchen re-organization project, penciled in for April, and budgeted for each phase. something like this. a pegboard hung on the wall to host the pans and a few organizing tools to keep the lids-etcetera in order and i should be set. (but a spice organizer and an under the sink drawer would be a bonus, so like i said, phase by phase we'll get it done:)

and that's that...i'm off to get more relaxation in to what's left of the weekend.