Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pink Paisley

After days of feeling like I just couldn't seem to finish anything, I finally completed my pink paisley handbag. The funny thing is that I'm not really much of a handbag person. I carry around the same little green purse, just big enough to hold my wallet and sunglasses, with me everywhere I go. So I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with my little handbag creations. But they are awfully fun to make!

Here's a closeup of the button detail.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Simple Supper

I love simple meals. Especially, when like tonight, they are accompanied by simple pleasures. Tonight was a simply delectable evening. First, we enjoyed a dinner of herb roasted chicken atop egg noodles seasoned simply with sauteed mushrooms and chopped fresh parsley and basil from my patio herb garden. That was accompanied by a simple tomato and cucumber salad seasoned with salt. It was oh so simply satisfying.

My aerolatte milk frother arrived today so for dessert we sipped on french vanilla cappucinos
while we read the new Harry Potter book out on the patio. Quite nice. It's been a rare late July evening. The usual sticky, muggy air has been replaced by a fresh crispness that I usually associate with early Spring or Fall.

I lingered outside long after it was too dark to read. I have not spent nearly enough time
outside since we moved to our apartment in "the city." At our last country apartment I spent long morning and evening hours pacing the acres that stretched out behind our little house. I have long realized what I now deeply feel - that my connection to the outdoors is essential to my sense of balance and peace. So tonight I relished in it and I feel great for it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I recently finished reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I was so pulled in and moved by this book. It's the story of a friendship between two Chinese women in the mid-19th century. Though it's a fiction story, many of the details of their way of life and traditions are based in fact. I think this tale was so stirring for me, in part, because in a small way it is reflective of my own personal experiences with a friendship, and the things that can bind as well as divide us.

I was also particularly struck by the tradition of footbinding. Lisa See presents a compelling portrayal of both the physical and emotional effects as well as the actual process of forcing the feet to take on such an unnatural form.

I love to do extra research on things that I am reading about so I researched this and found that footbinding began during the rule of Li Yu at around 970 A.D. A woman performed a dance for him with her feet wrapped much like a ballerina would today. He was impressed with her and thought her dance was quite beautiful so many other dancers began to do the same. Gradually the practice was adopted by the upper class then eventually spread to the middle and lower classes.

As the characters express in See's novel, with unbound feet it was impossible for a woman to expect to marry. Women with unbound feet would only be servant women, working in the fields, or would be concubines. It's hard not to also consider how this practice could and did, in effect, control women. Not only because of the above-mentioned factors (in addition to other factors as well) but also because having bound feet prevented women from physically moving around in a normal way. The main character in the novel, Snow Flower, tells of her last days of playing outside as a child of 5 or 6 years because after the binding process began she was no longer permitted to play outside or to run around. Instead she was confined to an upstairs room of their home and had to limit the amount of time that she spent walking around each day.

The perfectly bound foot would be no more than about 3 inches long, as you can see from this picture where a typical sized shoe is placed next to, I believe, a cigarette package.

This picture is hard to look at but shows what the end result would typically look like.

For more information about the book you can go to which is where these photos were taken from as well. For more information about footbinding and it's history, see

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Satisfyingly Slow Week

This week has been of the best variety for someone like myself who has the summer off. It has been satisfyingly slow, with time passing ever so gently as I am able to savor each sweet moment.
This is a rare occurrence for me. Typically, Monday elapses into Friday at an incalculable speed. And I get frantic, wondering, did I do enough? Did I accomplish enough? Have I been as productive as I wanted to be? Am I making good use of this gift of time?

But not this week. This week I chose to relax and chill out and just do what comes naturally, acting as I feel inspired to do, even if that means doing absolutely nothing. And what an amazing difference it has made!

A few completed projects:

I'm fairly new to sewing handbags so mine tend to be on the simple side. I love this fabric though. I've been using the bag to carry around my crochet materials.

This is a coil basket made with cotton yarn that I hand-dyed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

One thing I LOVE to talk about...FOOD!

You'll find that I post about food a lot. I love to cook. I'm also a big nutrition buff. Not a health nut really, there's a difference. I'm not a stickler for fat and calories but I love researching and knowing the nutritional value of the food that I eat and why it's good for me. Tonight I enjoyed a savory polenta with sauted red peppers and tomatoes and fresh herbs and a slice of hearty sundried tomato bread on the side.

I enjoy knowing that my yummy red peppers are high in vitamins C and A, which are both high in antioxidant value. And antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals which can cause cell damage. They also contain lycopene which is beneficial to protect against some cancers. They are also high in B6 and folic acid which keeps those blood vessels nice and strong.

I like to think of myself as an enthusiast when it comes to food. I can promote a food's good qualities without getting too fanatical.

Polenta has to be one of my most favorite foods on earth. Last year I discovered the secret to lump free polenta! Instead of boiling three cups of water and then adding one cup of polenta, instead boil 2 cups of water and combine the polenta with the remaining one cup of water. When the water starts to boil, add the polenta/water mixture. For me, it's been fool proof. Comes out smooth and creamy every time! I like to add 1 tbs. or so of olive oil and a 1/4 c. of Parmesean along with salt and pepper. DELISH!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Hello ...

Hello blogging world! I read several blogs on a daily basis and I've decided to end my days of being merely a spectator and join you. I must let you know that starting things tends to flabbergast me a little so I hope folks will hang in there. I really think that, like wine and spaghetti, my little postings will improve with time.

My first pic is well, mostly a test, but for a better description, this is my lovable little shih tzu, Daisy. She's almost two years old, with a most magnetic personality. She's brought even non-dog lovers over to her side.