Monday, March 29, 2010


On one of my newer beaded journals (photo below) I included some beads that have a unique story you may find interesting.

These beads were purchased from monks that travel across the US, in a van, selling beads. When they make enough money they travel to other countries to do “good works” such as building schools, bridges, etc. When they use up their funds they come back to the US and earn more money selling more beads. Each time they have collected enough funds they leave the van, at whatever point they are at in the country, and contact another monk who picks up the van who continues traveling the US selling beads until they make enough to travel. And so the cycle continues.

It’s an amazing world out there!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trivia and Recipes: Springs first Blooms

In the last week the crocus have been blooming which is the clear reminder that winter is coming to a close. Lying in the muddy garden for a photo of these little blooms are always worthwhile.
The crocus is grown commercially for the stamen which is the spice called saffron. I tend to find it interesting to discover what herbalists used spices for centuries ago and I found some fun information (*see Consume With Care in right hand column). In the past it has been used in perfumes, used medicinally in teas for melancholy and as an aphrodisiac (this seems to be a common theme from ancient times). Another interesting factoid is it was thought if you bathed in it, it could help heal wounds. As saffron was (and I'm sure still is) used as a dye I sure would hate to scrub that bath tub clean!

Traditionally I’ve always thought of it used in rice dishes such as paella. While this is definitely the case I scouted, one of my favorite sites for new recipes, and found some appealing new ways to use the precious spice. Perhaps it’s time to celebrate spring and make a dish with saffron?

Cod with Mussels, Chorizo, Fried Croutons, and Saffron Mayonnaise

Cod Chowder with Saffron and Fingerling Potatoes
mmm, seems I may be in the mood for cod….

Sautéed Fennel with Almonds, Raisins, and Saffron

(be sure to click on the photos which are linked)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Songs of Spring - here little birdy!

Robins from GollyBard

One of my favorite things about summer is sleeping with my windows open and waking up to the sound of bird calls. I long to know who I am hearing and would love to find a site that has recordings of the bird calls of the Midwest.

Red Winged Black Bird from BirdNerd

In the last few weeks I’ve been hearing bird songs through my tightly shut windows and it's making me smile. Some say seeing robins hop about the ground looking for worms is the first sign of spring. Others say it is the red winged black bird calling "Conk-a-reeeee. Conk-a-reeee." or the chickadee’s “Phee-be-be”. For me, just hearing birds reminds me of why I love spring and it's promise that summer is coming.

Wonderfully Rustic Bird Houses from Bird House Accents

Found a great blog called Tails of Birding, it's where I obtained the above bird calls. Throughout the months ahead I know I’ll be searching this site. And I’m sure my neighbors will really love hearing me practice the sounds aloud. Of course I'll be chanting the bird calls just to see if they match up to what I’m hearing in my garden. Come on…I know you were doing it too....all together now... “Phee-be-be”…. “Phee-be-be”….

Chickadee from RockyTopStudio

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oscar Dress Code?

Did you watch the Oscars Sunday?
Did you notice a theme to the women’s clothing?

Now , I know it’s a black and white night with all those tuxes. But I don’t recall a year where the women wore such minimal color. It almost seemed they were directed to wear silver, gold, grey, flesh tones and only 2 or 3 people were allowed to wear color which was a bold RED! Certainly when they were giving the tribute intros to best actor there seemed to be a clear coordination theme.

Last night I glanced at my shop and laughed, it would appear I also recieved the memo on neutral dress codes. Below are a few pairings for your amusement.





no, I'm not calling you a daisy Jeff :)


Don't you just love this dress?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Couch Cinema: John Hughes & The Breakfast Club

Okay, I don’t often watch the news – I find it depressing and not something I’d like entering my psyche just before going to sleep. I don’t regularly read the newspaper – my mother kindly clips the articles she thinks I’ll be interested in. More often than not I drive to and from work in silence, no radio – my days are usually filled with nonstop calls and crisis and a little quiet at the beginning and end of the day is just what I need.

As a result of my self-imposed current events bubble I often don’t know what’s happening in the world for embarrassing long periods of time. One of these events was the loss of John Hughes. John Hughes was a name that surrounded the movies of my impressionable youth. He was responsible for a movie that still lands in top five of my very long list of favorite movies. And that movie is The Breakfast Club.

I love The Breakfast Club. For me it honestly portrayed the stereotypes of the people I grew up with. The actors played their characters just as the characters they represented played themselves each and every day in the halls of our schools. Each day, struggling to live up to the stereotypes and expectations of their friends and family. It’s often how we survive that stage of our lives and likely how we lived our lives for many years after. The movie revealed how they became what the world saw and how the pressure of those imposed expectations threatened to destroy who they really were. I love their compassionate acknowledgment of each other’s shame and frustration of the role they feel they have no choice but to play in the world. The ensemble forms a strong bond as they realize they are all more alike than not. But in the end, they honestly acknowledge that when they see each other in the halls on the next school day they will likely continue to play their stereotypical roles and their relationships with one another will not change, regardless of what they have learned.

For me, The Breakfast Club was and still is a reminder that when life threatens to stereotype the people around me, the truth is no one is a stereotype. We are all simply individuals trying to put on a brave face, struggling to live up to expectations.

Thanks John, for seeing us all so clearly. For we are all brains, athletes, basket cases, princess’s, criminals, yet so much more in between.