Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Still at the Root of Me

 
Just because the 'Plant' is not currently in bloom, doesn't mean the 'Artist' is not still at the root of me. Although I have temporarily closed my Etsy shop, I am still working on a number of new items... so when I re-open, I will have alot of pretty new pieces for you to check out....

A little hiatus from selling... and time for 'growing' as a person along the way... we all need that from time to time... to just stop the superfluous and take stock of where we are at as a person... make change as needed... a good pruning... or transplant... whatever the need....

I continue to tap into my creative self. Working with clay, playing at color, texture, shape...

I continue to combine Glass, Gemstone, Wood, Metal to add dimension to my designs.... and of course, my designs always reflect my love for nature and gardening.
No matter where I wind up in life, how I might change as a person or change how I am living...one thing about me will always remain a constant.... I will always be the girl who loves to sit in the forest and ponder... who loves to grow plants, run outside in the rain, who loves to care for little creatures, look up at the clouds as they float by... and parlay that inspiration into creativity.
 
Everything I work on for my shop is a reflection of my days spent outdoors, as a little girl, as a teenager, and now as an adult.  I think we all need to reaffirm, from time to time,  the unique things that make us who we are and embrace whatever it is. For me, it is now more important than ever. In a world that is ever spinning out of control, and a life that can sometimes bring chaos and challenge; it is good to feel grounded by something that brings me joy. My creativity is where I go to express myself: the good, the bad, and the 'where did that come from'... ? It is both an expression of who I know I am and a reflective vehicle for self discovery.
 

So, whether, I 'perch' in my daily living.....

Or whether I take 'flight'... 
 
Nature, and the creativity that it inspires in me..will always be at the root of me...
What is at the root of you? 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Going Against the Stream



When I attended Nursing School years ago, I worked in a retail job. I earned enough money to keep gas in my car and pay for sundries. In short, very little.

Back in the day,  I recall removing tickets from the garments that the store 'Buyers' had purchased for resale in the store. For those of you not familiar with the workings of retail stores, the 'Buyers' are the people who obtain the merchandise for the store to sell. Each garment might have been purchased for a few dollars... I'm talking 2 or 3 dollars per garment. Seriously, 2 or 3 dollars for each item to be sold. We would then place new sales tickets on the items, and mark up the same garments to retail prices as you and I know when we shop. A HUGE mark up. So, knowing this, and seeing the recent reports in the news about Walmart workers, particularly resonates. 

Profit margins of Big Box retailers are HUGE.  And there is no reason for Big Box retail stores to exploit their workers; paying them a pittance, stiffing them on adequate benefits, while CEOs line their pockets with the lion's share of the profits.

I'm not posting to bore you with retail stats and the like. The point of my post is simply: This is just one more example of the 'Haves' getting what they have on the backs of the 'HaveNots'.  It's a vicious cycle really... the more people purchase from them, the more potent they become as the 'Haves' , and better positioned at keeping others as the 'HaveNots.'

Whenever you can, I implore you to consider going to your small town stores, Mom and Pop restaurants, shop small Indie businesses online for your needs. While it is enticing to pay lower prices at the Big Box stores, ultimately, and please hear me: You will pay more elsewhere to subsidize the public assistance that ill-paid, no or low benefit workers, must obtain to keep themselves afloat. Pay me now or pay me later is the reality, all while allowing the 'Haves' to exploit Free Markets. I'm not saying that positioning for profits is an evil practice. What is evil, is doing so at the expense, and to the unfair detriment of others. It is a moral and ethical abomination. I ask that you join me in 'going against the stream' and support your friends and neighbors in their efforts to make a living. Don't continue to support the efforts of CEOs whose only livelihood they care about is their own.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving , Happy Every Day



Let's not just be Thankful for what we have.. Let's be Thankful that we can 'Be' . Every Day that we are given is so precious. Don't wait for holidays to enjoy flowers, light candles.... Celebrate how special every day is ...even if in some small way......

                                           

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Jane 'Dough's' Pineapple Squares


 
 
This is a recipe that I love making right into Autumn... Buttery dough and sweet, fresh Pineapple make this a welcome tropical treat. I have always loved playing with dough. When I was a little girl... it was Play-Doh and now.. I have my fun in the kitchen! Be advised, this is not a recipe for the 'faint of heart' when it comes to working with pie dough and such... This dough is very tender and a little tricky to work with... but very worth it! So, if you are confident in your culinary skills, by all means, give this a try... you'll be glad you made the effort.

                                                                        Pineapple Squares

For the Crust:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Butter or Shortening
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla

Beat the Eggs with the Sugar. Add Vanilla. Then, add all other ingredients. Mix as you would pie dough. Separate into two balls of dough. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least one half hour.

Pineapple Filling:
One 20 oz. can of Crushed Pineapple ( I use a fresh Pineapple, dicing, and then food processing to a fine 'crushed' consistency)
1 tsp. Butter
1-2 tblsp. Sugar (to taste)
3 tblsp. Corn Starch

Mix ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook slowly over medium to low heat until the filling thickens. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Measure wax paper to approx. the size of your pan. ( use a 13x9x2 cookie sheet) Roll each ball of Dough separately on wax paper. ( As I roll out this dough, I flour the wax paper, my rolling pin, and the dough generously. You can also gently knead in extra flour into the ball of dough to make less sticky for rolling, if needed. ) Place one sheet of rolled dough onto a lightly greased 13x9x2 cookie sheet. Fold the edges neatly as you would with Pie crust.

Spread the cooled Pineapple filling over the Dough as shown:




Then, Roll out the second ball of chilled Dough onto wax paper. Place the sheet of dough over the pineapple filling and fold edges inward to neaten as shown: Press edges lightly to seal.



You can brush the top with milk before baking, if desired. ( This will give your Dough top a golden gloss, once baked. ) Or you can forego the milk and let the crust bake to a golden brown. Bake at 350' 20 to 25 min. ( Time will vary, depending on the power of your oven. )
 
Once cooled, cut into squares and enjoy!          
 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where I Wish to Be



As I step into my future, let me have clear understanding of where I wish to be.
With the courage to know and understand myself, I will be in step with the right path for me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

We Are All Cracked Pots/ You Are Perfect For Your Life's Purpose

 
The things we get from our loved ones simply are not things that can be purchased in a store. Most often they are intangible and they comfort us, teach us, and nourish our soul.  Many years ago, my Dad wrote to me, and he sent along a wonderful story. It is food for thought for anyone who has ever felt challenge, felt disadvantaged, felt less than perfect. The truth is we are all not without Human frailty. What we may perceive to be imperfection, is what makes us real and beautiful. The most important thing is that we take whatever our reality is and use it for the good of ourselves and others. 
 
 My copy does not have the name of the author, but a quick internet search reveals that it is a parable from India from an unknown source. The parable reads as follows:
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of a pole which he slung across the back of his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
 
For a full two years this went on daily, with the water bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
 
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I must apologize to you," it said. "Why?" asked the water bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"I have long been able to deliver only half my load, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house," the pot answered. "Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts."
 
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion and wisdom said, "As we return to the master's house today, I want you to notice something: the beautiful flowers along the way." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of how the sun warmed scores of beautiful wildflowers on the side of the path, and this vision cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad about its "disability"—because once again it had leaked out half its load—and thus once again it apologized to the water bearer for its perceived failings.
 
The water bearer said to the pot, "Did you happen to notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, and not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we have walked back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. If you were not just as you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house."
 
Each of us have our own unique flaws. We are all cracked pots. But each has a gift to give. Accept yourself as you are.  You are perfect for your life's purpose.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Drunkin' Clam Chowder

 
 
 
Drunkin' Clam Chowder
 
This evening, I made the best Chowder I have ever eaten... I'm blogging the recipe before I forget what I did... although.. I have to say, what I am documenting are approximations... You may or may not want to alter proportions to suit your own tastes... or add more veggies, or more fish... It is solely up to you.. Surely, the Soup Police won't be by to arrest you, if you switch things out... THAT , my Friends, is the beauty of Soup! 
 
 
 
In a large pot, simmer 1 cup chopped Celery, 1/2 cup chopped Onion, 1-2 tblsp. finely chopped Garlic ( to taste) , 1 tblsp. Fennel Seed in approx.  1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Simmer until the vegetables are translucent.
 
Meanwhile, Place Fresh Littleneck Clams into a cool bath for about 15 minutes. This removes any 'sand' that might remain in the clams. Discard the 'bath water'. Place the clams in another cool water bath. To this, add 1/4 cup of Bourbon. ( I used Jim Beam Devil's Cut)  
 
Once Veggies are translucent, to this, add 8 oz. Clam juice, 1 cup of finely diced Clams ( use canned if you want to keep your sanity :/ ) 28 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes,  Filet of fresh Fish ( I used Tilapia. You can use whatever fish you prefer, amt. to your preference; I used only 1 filet) 1 cup of Fresh Diced Carrots, 1 cup of Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves ( stems removed) , 1 shot glass of Bourbon, 1 tblsp. Dried Basil, 1 tsp. Sea Salt,  Cracked Black Pepper to taste.  Add in 2-3 cups of water ( use your judgement, depending on how thick the broth is). Simmer this on medium heat until you have a light rolling boil, carrots are becoming al Dente, and Spinach leaves are wilted.
 
Drain the Clams and add to the Chowder. Continue to cook on medium heat until the clam shells open and the clams are cooked thru.
 
 
 
Serve with a crusty Baguette for dipping into the Chowder.  I paired this with a spicy Spanish Tempranillo, Vega Moragona . Enjoy!
 
 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jane Dough's Comfort Food: Corn Fritters

 
 
This is an old fashioned family favorite... perfect for Brunch or those evenings when you have a craving for comfort food or Breakfast at Dinner. My Corn Fritters are quick and easy to make and sugar free. The subtle sweetness of the Fritters is derived from the creamed corn. For added sweetness, go ahead and drizzle on warm maple syrup.
 
1 can of Creamed Corn
1/2 cup of Milk ( I use 1%)
2 Eggs , beaten
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
6 Tblsp. melted Butter
 
Combine ingredients. Mix thru.  I fry these with just a light coating of oil on the pan. They fry best, and get nice and puffy from the Baking Powder, if you avoid using alot of grease to fry.
 
 
Enjoy!
 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kant's Horizon


  
Putting on my Buster Browns and heading down the lane.
Untying, buckles flying.
Only ponies on which I am vying,
know the miles I'm bound to gain.
This, a journey unto myself,
on which I steadfastly will stay. 
Where grows my moral virtue
and happiness has it's day.

Riding away from the house of dolls and taking freedom's hand.
Going, not playing,
This child is not staying,
bounded by a band.
I am dancing off to Kant's horizon
with a metaphysical eye.  
There I embrace the thrust of time's clock,   
as it's ticking by and by.

Flying off to a rational nest,
where imperative sets me free.
Song singing, this bird's winging,
An a priori trip is ringing. 
No empirical flight of ideas for me.
Duty's call, calls to me.
It leads me knowingly within.
In the glow of rational thinking,
the light of virtue does begin.
 
Taking off the make up, the mask of who I am not.
Self knowing, well being growing.
In touch with the warm and glowing
feelings I have sought.
So goes and grows the child.
from the root within my soul.
Nourished and whole by self efficacy,
where doubt can play no role.
More than the way, the journey or place,
I am the face I present and my Self that I face.
Unbound and unfettered by societies plans for me.
Down the lane to Kant's Horizon
Where I am all I can be.

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