Our blackberry bushes are now producing a bounty of juicy berries. I picked these on Friday evening, a day before things got crazy. I spent both Saturday and Sunday nights in the emergency room suffering a mystery affliction that hit me on Saturday. I seem to be on the mend now, but it's difficult to tell. I expect it won't be a very productive week for me, so you won't be hearing much from me at least for another week.
As for the berries, they're in the freezer awaiting their mates. Once I get a large enough number of them, I'm going to make some blackberry and apple preserves from this book. I love making preserves, and this book is filled with recipes for pickles, mustards, jams, compotes, cheese and more. Stunning photos compliment the recipes, and every time I look through it, I feel an overwhelming urge to make every single thing in there. We keep eating the berries as we collect them though, so it may be a few weeks before I will have enough for the preserves.
Things are feeling pretty hectic around here, and I’m beginning to wonder if it will ever slow down. My life has been disheveled for so long, that it actually feels odd to have the time to do normal things. Eric and I had the most wonderful weekend of just staying home and being sickeningly domestic. We sat out in the yard in our lawn chairs and watched the sun go down until we finally surrendered to the bites of the mosquitoes. We made pesto, mowed the lawn, picked some of our ripened blackberries, barbecued fresh wild salmon, hung clothes on the line to dry and sat on a blanket in the yard. It was like we tried to cram every summer cliché into a single weekend, and well, I think we succeeded. I’m so glad we did too because it has been dreary and grey here the past couple of days.
Last Thursday during my weekly trek to Kinokuniya, I found what I believe it is a new Lotta Jansdotter book, Lotta Jansdotter Handmade Project (it's much less expensive at Kinokuniya). It’s published in Japanese with easy to follow directions. Finding the book was an unexpected delight. It's just the sort of treasure I hope to find every time I go there. It is filled with some great little projects and ideas including instructions for printing your own designs onto fabric. Her patterns are simple and beautiful, and the book is filled with images from her home. I’ve looked through it many times now, but I still haven’t been able to commit to a project. Instead I’ve opted to work on a design of my own.
I’ve had so many ideas caught up in the design phase. So much so that I’m starting to feel out of sorts about not being productive. I worked on my studio on Sunday and got it in a condition where I can at least accomplish some work in there even if it’s not quite where I want it to be. I’ve begun work on a new stuffed, and I’m already feeling more calm. If all goes well, I should have it finished by the end of the week and promise to share it with you (if it turns out okay).
I'll leave you with a cute photo of Vedo. I was trying to snap a picture of this plate I bought last week, and Vedo had to make sure there wasn't any food on it for him. So typical...
I’ve been tagged by Dawn, so I’m going to start off the week with eight things about myself.
1. My husband and I have known each other since attending high school together in Enterprise, Alabama. We were most decidedly NOT friends at that time. We were in different clicks in school. He assumed I was a snob, so he was always rude to me. I thought he was rude, so I didn’t want to be friends with him. He moved to Seattle nearly a year after me, and our paths crossed again. We still didn’t get a long. We used to have these intense debates on just about every topic, but somehow we always had fun together. We remained friends for many years, and it honestly never occurred to me that we should date until it happened. I think we started out on opposite ends of the spectrum and have, through time, found ourselves meeting somewhere in the middle. We still don’t agree on everything, but he helps break me out of my comfort zone at times, and I need that. I tend to be a little too concerned about what other people think, and he doesn’t care at all, so it leads to some interesting situations.
2. All but one of my grandparents are still alive and are a very important part of my life. Because I am from a military family, I grew up away from my grandparents. One of the reasons I decided to move here to go to college was to be closer to them. Now, they are less then two hours away, and I’m able to see them on a regular basis. I feel so fortunate to have a close, mature relationship with them.
3. I blush when I get embarrassed, and I get embarrassed about stupid things. So I blush frequently about stupid things. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been really embarrassed about running into people I know when I’m out shopping. I can’t explain why, and I know it’s weird.
4. I used to live in Germany and could speak fluent German. My family rented half a duplex from a wonderful German family in a small village. We lived upstairs and they lived downstairs, and they treated us just like family. I was young when I lived there, but I remember a lot. When I moved back to the U.S., I stopped speaking German and lost the language. I took 2 years of German in college, but I’m still far from fluent. I love the German language though and hope to return soon.
5. When I was eighteen, I had an espresso drink for the first time: a vanilla mocha with whipped cream. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Now I just drink Americanos with the occasional soy latte. I’ve quit drinking coffee on several occasions but always come back to it. It is impossible to walk anywhere in Seattle without tripping over a coffee place, so I suppose drinking coffee is a bit of a necessity here. I’m okay with that.
6. I’m fairly certain I’ve written about this before, but I’m too lazy to search for the post. I have recently acquired/been afflicted by a gluten intolerance and multiple food allergies. I don’t exactly know when it happened but I have my theory. A month after completing my first year of law school, I inexplicably broke out in hives. I became swollen and had hives traveling all over my body. My feet swelled so big I couldn’t walk, and my hands were so swollen I couldn’t bend my finders….at all. I was scared I would lose blood circulation. It was terrifying. I had never had even one hive before, and I had no idea what was happening. I went to the emergency room twice, and was finally given prednisone to reduce the swelling. It worked, but for months afterwards, my body was still enflamed and I would get welts if I would even just touch my skin. Since that episode, I have been afflicted by all sorts of health problems I never had before that. I just think a switch was flipped in my body, and everything went crazy. A year ago, I learned about my food allergies, and it’s still a challenge for me. On top of the gluten intolerance, I am allergic to cows milk and eggs. I’m pretty good about avoiding gluten, but it’s found in some places you would never expect. I’m still learning how to avoid it, and I’m looking forward to being entirely gluten free. The hardest thing is to adhere to my diet when I’m around other people. I don’t like to attract a lot of attention to my food allergies, but I can’t help but feel like a freak when I’m around other people. I feel like people just think I’m trying to get attention or just being weird. Even my own family has a hard time understanding (particularly my grandparents), and that can make it more challenging for me. I know much of it is my own insecurity about it all, so I’m learning to deal with that.
7. I have two adopted, half-siblings from Cambodia aged 9 and 6. My parents divorced when I was eighteen and both remarried within the next year. After several years of marriage, my father and stepmother decided to adopt, but because of their ages could not adopted in the U.S. or many other countries. Cambodia’s adoption regulations were more lenient, and they were able to adopt my sweet little sister, Emma. Three years later, they did it again and adopted a little boy named Chhay (pronounce like chai tea). This time they did not give him an Anglican name(like Emma), which is so perfect for him. Shortly after bringing him home to the U.S., Chhay became very ill and was hospitalized several times while the doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with him. Now he is healthy, strong and rambunctious , playing t-ball and football to my father’s delight. Because his illness was so severe, I have no doubt that he would not have survived in Cambodia. I’m so happy to have them in my life and only wish I could see them more often.
8. I’m really stubborn. Like most things, this can be good or bad. It’s good because I don’t give up easily. If there is something I want, I just don’t give up until I accomplish my goal. However, I sometimes create unnecessary problems because instead of backing down when I encounter an obstacle, I insist on figuring out a way to get around it. My life would probably be a lot less stressful, if I could learn to just give up a little more frequently.
And there you go...thanks for reading.
I hope you all had a lovely, relaxing weekend, and I wish you a great week.
I'm looking forward to the these baby blackberries maturing. Our backyard is bordered by a greenbelt, and it is bursting with blackberries. Okay, the truth is, it's a little out of control, but since they are so close to producing, I'm going to pick all I can in order to make jam. Once they've produced, Eric and I can get busy with the messy work of cutting them back.
Since the studio still isn't put together, I'm still not creating much. That means I've had lots of time to peruse other sites and admire the work of others. I thought I'd just share some of those things with you.
I'm excited about this new project.
I'm drooling over just about everything here.
I'm trying to figure out which one of these I want for our new house (and possibly my new office).
I know they're a bit pricey, but I really want one of these (red, of course).
I've also made a few purchases over the past couple of weeks, but I'll wait to share them with you until I receive them in the mail. Right now, the home is a blank slate, and I'm looking forward to putting some things on the walls.
Hmm, that reminds me. I think I'm missing a box of framed art. Must go find that.