Monday, February 27, 2012

35 days of motherhood

It's hard not to be totally in love, just look at her. The last 5 weeks have gone so fast, and yet I hardly remember a life before this one. Eden becomes more herself and less an attachment of myself as she develops a very sweet, sometimes nervous nature. I am still falling quite naturally into this new, much different identity as mother and for the first time in at least fifteen years I am gifted with time which I savor moment by moment (as much as I can). Even in the sleepless hours of the nights and during periods of inconsolable crying, I find myself grabbing hold of each moment as it fades into the next. It's not all perfect, I'm sure. But as these early days turn into memories the hard, tired feelings disappear and the wonderment is all that remains.

9 classics to read

Thursday, February 23, 2012


It's been one month since giving birth to Eden, which feels like a great time
to refocus on my health and encourage the restoration of my body.
My first step is juicing. Juicing for health provides nutrients, antioxidants,
vitamins and minerals for the body to repair itself, allowing cell regeneration
and growth. When I commit to making juice once a day,
I become more energetic and feel clean and healthy.
To begin this juicing journey I tried out several recipes.

Orange Juice
High in Vitamin C and Calcium this energizing juice is a perfect start to a day.

1 golden beet, quartered
1/2 orange, quartered and peeled
3 large carrots
1 inch ginger root

Cold Buster
With the cleansing powers of ginger and lemon, this apple juice
will help fight of the winter bug.

3 Granny Smith apples, quartered
1 inch ginger root
1 /2 lemon, peeled
pinch of cayenne, mixed into juice

Detox Juice
Full of detoxing powers, these fruits and vegetables
combine for a great cleansing juice.

1/2 cucumber, quartered
1 celery stock
1 granny smith apple, quartered
1/2 lemon, peeled

and there are many recipes and uses for juice pulp
some of the many ways pulp can be used:
compost for garden
vegetable broth
fruit leather
mix into muffins, pancakes, scones...
add to smoothies

Monday, February 20, 2012

9 weekend craft projects

I'm always looking for quick weekend projects during the rainy winter months in Portland. With the busyness of life I too often find myself short on time and among stacks of unfinished crafts. And therefore these days I work mostly within weekend-sized ambition.

1. Flower Headband. This project is ridiculously easy and satisfying and hardly DIY. I bought the flower and the lace separately at Michaels and assembled with a few simple stitches.

2. Slouch Hat. This quick and fun crochet hat pattern is free here. The hat can be made in several hours with less only one skein of yarn.

3. Window Frame Wall Art. I am always looking for cheap and original art to fill the space on my walls. This project was inspired during a renovation project that left us with a couple of old windows. Behind the window is a piece of painted plywood.

4. Triangle Cowl. The pattern for this crochet cowl is here for only 5 dollars. Give me two skeins of yarn and a rainy Saturday and I will be showing off this versatile scarf.

5. Knit Sweater. An adapted version of this Baby Eskimo Sweater pattern, this thick-yarn sweater is fast and extremely impressive.

6.Baby Beanie with flowers. Following a pattern from the crochet book "The Happy Hooker", and adapting it to fit a child's head, this became Eden's first gift from her Mama. The flower pattern is from "Essential Crochet".

7. Reversible napkins and placemats. This great pattern is from Amy Buttler's "In Stitches". It doesn't take much sewing skill and they make a great wedding or housewarming gift

8. Mason Jar Candles. I can't justify the cost for nice decorative candles so instead I buy nice cheap candles, place them inside various mason jars (I'm always picking up canning jars at Goodwill - there are endless uses), add some lentils, split peas or small stones and I quickly some nice candle decor.

9. Felted Wallet. A friend found this wallet at a craft fair. It could easily be replicated by felting a sweater, cutting out the desired shape and sewing together. Sweater crafts are so fast and cheap. Click here for some more great recycled sweater projects.

Monday, February 13, 2012

9 ways to slow down

I've been thinking about slowing down life recently, nervous that if I fail to savor each moment I will find myself nearing the end of my life regretful that I didn't take more pauses. Although my fear is extreme, I am finding more reasons to take a breath, look around, and marvel at what I see.

1. Turn off technology. A bit ironic I admit, as I use all kinds of technology just to write this but I think without the right balance technology robs us of valuable time. I strongly believe in the practice of shutting off technology whether for a few minutes, hours, or days - whatever pushes us to slight discomfort. It's amazing what can be created in that new space.

2. Bake bread. Good bread takes time and patience. Just the very processes of fermenting, rising, kneading, shaping, proofing, and baking force us to slow down and work within a very different schedule.

3. Go on a walk. Get out of town. Or stay in town. It doesn't matter. Just get outside and walk around. There are so many interesting people and beautiful places to notice when we are free from distraction.

4. Watch babies sleep. When I stop to watch Eden breath in and out, fully peaceful and focused, I am shocked how little else matters in that extended moment.

5. Take a bath. There's not much you can do but relax when you're naked and submerged in water.

6. Ignore the chores. They will be there tomorrow. I tried to keep my house projects consolidated and concentrated allowing me much open time during these early days with Eden.

7. Do a crossword. Every Wednesday morning I grab a Willamette Week from down the street, make a cup of coffee, and sit at the kitchen table with the weekly crossword. This tradition starts my mid-week mornings at a deliberately relaxing pace.

8. Play music. Sometimes when I'm feeling restless I sit down at the piano. Every time I make the effort I am reminded at how peaceful and powerful music playing can be. It soothes my restlessness and allows me to refocus my day.

9. Couch time. Last year Jason and I started a nightly tradition that we quickly named "couch time". Nightly, for at least an hour, we sat together reconnecting after the days events and refreshing our spirits as another day came to an end.

52 Lists

Have I mentioned I love list-making?
I'm starting a new project on my blog: 52 Lists. Look for it every Monday.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

handmade gifts

Handmade gifts carry intrinsic value.
I am touched by all my friends and family who put themselves into
the many creative and beautiful gifts Eden has recently received.

A baby bonnet knitted by my good friend Eva

Pants knitted by my cousin Leya

Onesies decorated by Eden's Aunt Deb and Tettah Samia

A felted mobile made by Eden's Aunt Rae

Booties crocheted by Eden's Aunt Megan

A quilt sewn by Eden's Great Great Great Grandmother,
restored by her Grammy.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I'm starting her young. At 16 days old I
strapped Eden in for her first day of baking.
We made two kinds of granola today, both super easy and very delicious.

Maple Almond Granola
4 cups rolled oats
2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
6 T dark brown sugar
6 T pure maple syrup
4 T canola oil
4 T agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a second mixing bowl combine the remaining wet ingredients. Toss together until the oats are completely coated. Spread on baking sheet and bake about 30 minutes, stirring often.

While the Maple Almond Granola was in the oven
we started on our second variety.

Cherry Coconut Almond Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut
2 cups chopped almonds
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup brown sugar

2 cups dried cherries

In a large mixing bowl combine first four ingredients.

On the stove heat the oil, maple syrup, almond extract, and brown sugar until sugar is melted and mixture is simmering. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until oat mixture is completely coated. Spread out on baking sheets and bake at 300 degrees F for 30-45 minutes, mixing frequently.

Eden got tired and decided to let me finish while she watched from her chair.

Once the granola is out of the oven stir in the dried cherries.
Let sit for ten minutes then stir again to break up chunks.
When both granolas had completely cooled I filled four
quart-sized mason jars, storing three of the in the freezer.

Monday, February 6, 2012

9 things to do once off couch-rest

Today is (hopefully) my last day of couch-rest and I eagerly anticipate what is to come.

1. Morning walks with Swede. A routine I'm very ready to pick up, especially during these beautiful February days.

2. Stock up the freezer. The week before Eden's birth I went to Bob's Red Mill with my mom and bought all the necessary ingredients to stock up on granola, seitan, and chili.

3. Stock up the pantry. While friends and family have been graciously bringing us meals, we know that will soon end and we will realize how empty-cupboarded we are. Filling up the pantry shelves is one of life's great satisfactions.

4. Prepare the ground for my garden. I found out I was pregnant at the end of May and by June I was couch-ridden sick. Last year's garden, therefore, was quite unfruitful (to say the least) and in the months that followed I've allowed the space to become carpeted in weeds. Fortunately I don't need to overwhelm myself with a garden this year because after two years of disappointing gardening, I wised up and signed up for a share of my parents CSA at Fern Creek Farm.

5. Finish the nursery. At some point after Eden came home her room because our storage space for things with which we were too busy to deal. Along with the mess there is unfinished craft projects, unframed art, unhung mobiles, and unwrapped gifts.

6. Finish the deep clean. I spent the two weeks leading up to Eden's birth deeply and thoroughly cleaning the house, room by room and closet by closet. At the time I was huge and nearly immobile so I was unable to finish .

7. Take Eden around town. Spring starts early in the Pacific Northwest and although there are many days of rain ahead of us, I want to take advantage of these warm sunny days and show Eden the great city in which she lives. She might be too young to appreciate it, but I know I will look at things in a new way.

8. Work on my cookbook. A revival of a project
I started back in 2010, my cookbook is a fusion of several of my interests: cooking, photography, and writing. Keep an eye out for recipes on the blog

9. Go out to breakfast with Jason. We have a saturday morning tradition of going to Vita Cafe for breakfast. They have a huge selection of vegan breakfasts and everything I've tried is wonderful.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

due date

Today was Eden's due date. Right now I am holding her in my arms rather than my uterus and I have a hard time imagining life before her.

The first ten days were quite emotional as I worried about time going too fast and counting the months between now and college. I felt nostalgic for the passing moments and sometimes wished I could shove her back in because she was already becoming too independent.

I'm finding my way out of the emotional postpardum maze. Two hundred and sixteen months is quite a long time. I'm learning to live with the moment rather than missing the moment before. And I accept now that in the instant Eden entered the world, that instant I met her and fell madly in love, began my incredible gift and responsibility of teaching my child independence.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

crafting in the nursery - part 2

From a previous curtain fiasco I found myself with two yards of fantastic fabric from Bolt on Alberta street ( Trying to figure out how to put it to the nearly unusable fabric to use I began googling nursery room projects leading me to this image from spool ( The tutorial is amazing. It includes a downloadable bird pattern and a demonstration for assembly.

I realize now that this image is all over the web as many people have created similar bird mobiles for their nurserys, craft rooms, general pleasure. People are quite obsessed with birds these days, and despite last years Portlandia's sketch "Put a Bird on it" I shamelessly admit that I am one of them.

Following the pattern, I put together nine birds out of my salvaged fabric. I started off by sewing them on the machine, but found it too difficult to maneuver because of the small size and sharp curves. I moved on to handsewing and despite the work, found it a very enjoyable activity during my then very limited mobility. They look a little more ragged than those on spool's website, but I've been recently encouraged to embrace the handmade, ragged, and imperfect look of so many of my projects.

Of course this is one of my many unfinished projects that I was hoping to complete in the two weeks of pre-baby maternity leave, but my babe had other plans and arrived early so she will be getting her finished mobile late.