Friday, December 30, 2011

Kale, an inside job

I may have an obsession. While with my parents the last few weeks a friend of theirs heard me talk about eating kale at least once a day and she asked is I thought kale could heal the world and bring peace. Without hesitation I answered yes. In November when talking to a friend about kale he said that he thinks Popeye got it wrong, it's kale that makes you feel like Popeye does after eating spinach. 

I've spent a lot of time with my parents the last six months as my dad has undergone a stem cell transplant and is now doing chemo. Helping with his care and care for the caretaker (my mom) a lot of which is being in charge of the food has made me think a lot more about what goes in to my body, how different foods make me feel and how they can heal. Then using some of that in decision about what to cook for my parents particularly when they're not eating very much trying to make sure what they are eating is the most healing foods. 

So, with my kale obsession in mind I decided to see if I can do an indoor winter garden and have planted kale. If it starts to grow I may try to plant a few other things although I don't have much space or enough space with sun to diversify too much. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

waiting to fly

It's interesting how things appear in our lives at the right moment. Take for example this free gift with purchase meditation pillow... I forgot my little travel pillow and have a red eye home - my ride to the airport got me here 3 hours early and now my fight has been delayed 2 hours - so I'll probably fall asleep on the plane and this pillow will be a huge help! As I start counting down the last few days of this year, reflecting back and thinking about resolutions for the future recognizing and appreciating these 'coincidences' is a reoccurring theme. 

It's strange being at the airport when it's so quiet. The shops have closed, the bathrooms are empty, the bicycle cops are riding down the long empty terminal with no people in the way...

I also find myself reminded about how much is taken for granted. The fact that I can get on a plane and fly across the country, on a whim if I wanted to, is pretty incredible. Having some quiet time in the airport before I leave just gives me time to appreciate the journey which is something else which often slips by. Getting there isn't the story, the story is how you get there and the gifts the universe gives you along the way. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

plant stand project

Another found item we've been putting off refinishing... This plant stand was out with the trash but it just needed a little TLC.

Step1: sanding off the rust with a wire brush and sandpaper
Step 2: clean all the dust off from the sanding
Step 3: spray paint with a white primer (stand was black)
Step 4: spray paint it with final color

And because my intention is to put it on our hardwood floors and I don't want the metal feet scratching them I also added felt pads to the feet.
Now to be patient and let it dry overnight before putting plants on it.

Winter lift - kombucha

Winter is here, creeping in slowly this year. I've decided to brew up some kombucha to be ready with a little lift as the winter progresses. I followed the same recipe I posted previously. I didn't have a scoby so I bought a bottle of kombucha with a nice scoby in it 

then I prepared the sugar and tea and once that was cooled to room temperature I dropped the scoby in. 

and covered the jar. With the cold weather I think it will take about a month before it's ready to drink. Maybe we'll toast the new year with a glass of kombucha. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pinecone Decor

Last winter I picked up a bunch of pinecones with the intent to spray paint them and use them for holiday decor. I got them home and then they sat in a closet.

So today was the day! I finally took the spray paint to them and even sprinkled some with glitter. Some I painted gold and others are white. Now to decide where to put them.

They'll also be in my etsy shop if you want some of your own!

Monday, November 28, 2011

gnome decor

Looking for quick holiday decorations easy to gift or to display yourself? Check out these little guys easy to assemble and to store or decorate your own!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

a holiday custom (order)

I bought glass balls last year and decorated them and posted them on etsy... a few of them sold, a few of them are listed again.

Growing up each ornament on our tree was a memory and every year it was so exciting to unpack all these treasures.

Sunday I received an inquiry about one of my ornaments - a glass ball with an origami crane hanging in it. I was excited at the thought of being part of someone's holiday tradition and holiday memories. The end result was that I did a custom order of 18 ornaments with red cranes and got them in the mail today - because they are going to be adorning a Christmas tree for a party December 1st. Ending delicate glass ornaments makes me a bit nervous but I'm thrilled to get to be part of a holiday celebration in some small way!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gnome for your holiday home

A few weeks ago I was inspired with this design idea, little holiday gnomes, made from paper so they could be easily mailed and stored (especially useful for people in apartments without much storage space) and easy to use for a little festive holiday decor in your house or at your office...
I was going to do everything by hand but today decided to experiment a bit with some computer help although I still drew the face on myself. 

So be on the look out for these little guys to show up probably in a set of 3 with a greeting card. You can keep them for yourself or send along the holiday cheer to someone else. 

Thoughts or suggestions? Drop me a line or "like" SoleLines on facebook to get updates about when they hit the etsy shop! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall foods

I love brussels sprouts cooked in a little bacon and maple syrup but how healthy could that be if that's the only way I cooked them and although I find it hard to believe I may get tired of just one preparation. 
Today I sauteed 
- bacon (just a little, I didn't use bacon when I cooked these last week)
- an onion
- acorn squash cut into small pieces
- brussels sprouts, cut into 1/8ths
- rasins
- walnuts
- variety of seasoning - salt, pepper, cinnamon, french thyme, tarragon, paprika

I had some locally made sweet potato gnocchi  so I cooked that also and then tossed everything together. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good find

The universe listens. After thinking and writing about refurbishing furniture finds I found this chair! It was out with the trash and just needs re-caning. I walked past it on my way out for the evening and thought, I could figure out how to fix that chair... when it was still there on my way home I stopped to pick it up and discovered that on top of it was a bag that already held all the things need to fix the chair! 
Looks like I have my next project all lined up!  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cupboard in distress

In my past job I met a woman who did art therapy mostly with people. She said one of favorite things to be able to do was working with people to refurnish furniture. Living in the city there's almost always something out on the curb that could use a little fix and a new home. We came across this cupboard in a store it was waiting to be refinished but we were able to get a bargain to refinish it ourselves, so along with the painting last week I started this project too. 

first I removed some molding that was around the top
then I used 100 grit sandpaper to sand it down
and primed it with an oil based primer 
I wanted to blend the colors with the new kitchen colors so I did an accent with the red from the walls
I also wanted an old and distressed look so after doing some research incorporated some tips including alternating between big heavy paint strokes and going back over the paint with just water on the brush
after I painted all the doors 
I took a small cheese knife and distressed them by gently removing some of the paint
and on the top doors I used a chalkboard paint.
Door hardware is expensive everywhere but you can get great funky designs for about 75% off in the sale section at Anthropologie so our new knobs came from there. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Paint it up

With the days getting shorter the dark wallpaper in the dining room makes the days seem even darker so we decided it was time to do some more painting. 

good bye wallpaper

I was torn between painting one accent wall or using the chair rail as the divide for painting so I started by priming above the chair rail to get a sense of a light dark contrast in the space and ultimately decided that's what I was going to do
to add a little interest I taped off rectangles under the windows in the room and painted right over the tape with the red paint
Since I had paint left over I decided I'd paint the kitchen too! In the kitchen I painted one red wall and the other walls the 'lighthouse' color from the dining room. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

three pots one plate

With the season change I notice that my body wants different foods. I've also been hearing that it's a good time of year to eat root vegetables to stay grounded and to eat cooked foods. 
I've been craving brussels sprouts too so I started with some garlic in oil then added sweet potato that I cut up small so it would cook quickly, then I quartered and threw in the brussels sprouts  and added a little salt, cinnamon and turmeric. I also threw in a few walnuts. 
In another pot I heated up some beans
And since I'd heard I should by eating more cooked and less raw during the seasonal transition I lightly sauteed some kale with garlic in a little oil and then squeezed a little lemon on top. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

gnome for the holidays

Hello, November! You crept in quietly.
That means the holidays will be sneaking up next. My little gnome friend reminded me that he already looks festive for the holidays so keep an eye out for some more gnomes showing up in my etsy shop soon!

Monday, October 31, 2011

a quick ghost

It's the first time in years I haven't carved a pumpkin for Halloween. Somehow it just snuck up on me this year. I wanted our house to look inviting to trick or treaters so I thought about elementary school crafts and remembered how to make a quick ghost...

What you need:
White plastic bag
Paper towels or newspaper
String or fishing line
Black sharpie

If you're using a large bag cut it in to squares, make a small ball from paper towels or newspaper, put the ball in the center of the bag to be the head, pull the bag down around the head and tie a string under the 'head' to hold the shape, use a sharpie to draw a face on the ghost, thread a needle and go through the top of the head to be able to hang the ghost

Thursday, October 27, 2011

maybe snow

October has disappeared. Apparently I had more going on this month than I thought and in these last few days am traveling back for another weekend in NYC - for a birthday this time.

The weathermen (and women) have been suggesting that it will snow today. So I decided their prediction combined with 40 degree weather and me leaving for the weekend meant it was time to harvest what was left growing in my garden before the cold kills it. I had a pretty good haul!

Two pardon pepper plants have just started to grow strong so I took them out of the ground and into the house in the hope that I can care for them and get some peppers.

Friday, October 21, 2011

10 of 10

This has been the year of the wedding for me. It all wraps up this weekend when I attend the final wedding I've been invited to this year. And I will have made it to 7 of the 10 I was invited to attend. It's been an expensive adventure but I've gotten to go to some pretty cool places - Half Moon Bay CA, Oxford England, Seattle, a summer camp in CT, the Oregon coast and now NYC.

So I'm going to sit back on my bus ride down to New York and enjoy the fall colors, maybe pretend I'm on a leaf peeping tour and cross my fingers that this really is the last wedding this year. I love getting to celebrate with everyone but it adds up and I don't think I can afford another one this year!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Dinner - Afghan Inspired

There's an Afghan restaurant near me that makes a delicious pumpkin dish. Since I have some ripe sugar pumpkins in the yard now I thought I'd try to make this dish myself.

1 medium pumpkin
6 cloves of garlic
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup of brown sugar (could use less)
6 oz can tomato paste
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons freshly ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper

peel the pumpkin and cut it into 1" cubes, put oil and garlic in a large deep frying pan and add pumpkin, let it cook until it starts to get soft, then add in all the other ingredients and mix together, cover and let simmer and cook together until pumpkin is fully cooked

2 cups basmati
1 chopped onion
5 cups of liquid (chicken stock and water)

put some oil in a pot and cook the onion until they start to turn translucent, add the rice and liquid and all other ingredients to the pot and let it simmer until water is absorbed 

Yogurt Sauce:
1 small container plain yogurt
1-2 cloves fresh pressed garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mint leaves

mix all ingredients together
The fresh raw garlic will make a nice compliment to the sweetness of the pumpkin

I also sauteed some greens in garlic and had those with the pumpkin and rice. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

1/2 Marathon

I have now run a half marathon! The inaugural year for the Providence Rock 'n Roll half marathon. As off as it seems - since it rained the whole time - I don't think we could have had better weather. And thanks to the great support from running partners and cheering on the sidelines it was a successful race that finished with a performance by Sugar Ray (photo above) who was not worth standing around in the rain for... We ended up taking our wet selves and dry clothes to the Westin which was amazing, we were greeted with dry towels and bottles of water. At lunch I quickly realized what I will be in for the next few days as my legs were so weak it was hard to push my chair back from the table but well worth it. Maybe next time I'll try training...