Monday, July 30, 2012

i dreamed of the sea

I've always felt a pull to the ocean, that's what has kept me living on the coasts of the country, I need to know I can quickly get to the sea. There is an incredible grounding that comes from sitting on the beach and watching the waves. 

This summer that pull has been greater and I've spent more time on the water than I have in a few years. It also provided me with inspiration for some new jewelry available in my etsy shop

I've been holding on to this golden mermaid for over ten years. I found this navy thread and thought about the dark blues of the ocean and fishermen seeing mermaids, with tangled fishing nets, and the nautical look of a toggle clasp... it needed a little more sparkle and some knots like a fishing net so I added some small pearly beads. 

This green glass bead reminded me of sea glass, sea foam green and smooth as if the waves have been washing over it. There's also a nautical feel to the bead which made me think of fishing boats, so I chose a brown thread and tied it off like you'd see a life preserver on a boat. The colors also remind me of seaweed. 

I found this shell this summer when I felt the pull of the sea that could not be ignored and took the train to the beach. It had a small hole at the top perfect to be part of a necklace. I added a silvery grey bead reminiscent of a pearl, although this is no oyster shell it seems like a good reminder that there are pearls everywhere for those who look. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

a modern meditation

Sometimes we need a reminder to slow down, breathe deep and take a moment to ourselves. I feel like I have needed that reminder more frequently lately so I decided to work on creating some interpretations of a meditation bracelet. 

Meditation bracelets usually have 27 colored beads and a counter bead. The tradition is to do 108 mantras - 100 plus and extra 8 in case you made any mistakes. The 27 beads and counter are used so you can go around the bracelet, mantra once per bead, 4 times to reach 108. 

You can find these bracelets in my etsy shop

There is so much significance to colors too so I did some bracelets with colorful beads so specific colors can be worn if there are specific things you want to meditate on.

Red - the 1st Chakra, love, passion, energy, courage, protection, strength, courage - a wish for love 
Yellow - the 3rd Chakra, learning, mind, communication, confidence, persuasion, harmony, creativity -  a wish for abundance
Green - 4th Chakra, healing, money, prosperity, luck, growth - a wish for healing and prosperity
Blue - the 5th Chakra, awareness, meditation, tranquility, truth, forgiveness, dreams, inspiration, balance -  a wish for peace and healing

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

maple latte oreo ice cream

Our freezer is now well stocked with ice cream...

3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of maple syrup
4 tablespoons of espresso beans cut in half (or more if you want stronger coffee flavor)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
oreo cookies cut into small pieces

Bring the milk with espresso beans, vanilla and salt to a simmer on the stove, whisk constantly for 5 minutes, turn off burner, whisk in maple syrup  let sit for 10 minutes, then strain out the coffee beans
Put mixture in the fridge for 6 hours or freezer for 2 hours or until cold
Pour ice cream mixture into ice cream maker for a Kitchen Aid mix on low for 30 minutes, add oreo pieces and mix for another 5 minutes, then put it in the freezer

Friday, July 20, 2012

basil ice cream with strawberries

We have a lot of basil in our yard and it seemed like it might make a refreshing ice cream flavor so I decided to give it a shot. I've seem multiple recipes for 'simple' or 'quick' ice cream that replace some of the milk and sugar with a can of sweetened condensed milk so I thought I'd test that out too.

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tablespoons vanilla
3 cups whole milk
10 basil leaves

1 bag frozen strawberries
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons maple rum

I put the all the ingredients (sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, whole milk, basil) in a pan on the stove 
When it began to simmer I whisked everything for 3 minutes then turned off the burner and let the basil steep for another 10 minutes. Then I removed the basil and put the milk mixture in the fridge for 6 hours. 

I wanted to add a little dimension and not just basil ice cream so I decided to add a strawberry swirl. 
I had a package of frozen strawberries, I put the on the stove and let it defrost and the strawberries cook down, stirring and smooshing them occasionally. They tasted a little tart so I added 2 Tablespoons of sugar. I am a sucker for anything maple so I'd purchased maple flavored rum awhile ago and decided to add that into the mix. I didn't want to cook off the alcohol so I added it after I was happy with the strawberry mush. Then I put that into the fridge to cool also. 

I mixed the ice cream as my mixer instructs (30 minutes on low) and then poured the strawberry mixture in one spot and turned the mixture on briefly to get the strawberry swirled in. Then the ice cream went into the freezer and will be a refreshing treat on these warm nights. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This morning

Breathing in I calm my body
Breathing out I smile
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment!
Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

fridge pickles

I had no luck growing cucumbers last year. I had dreamed of piles of full pickle jars and then there were no cucumbers... this year however we have lots of cucumbers coming in, it feels like there's another one to pick every day. I started looking up pickling recipes and realized that making pickles that will last in your pantry seems like a lot of work! Making pickles that will keep in the fridge however seemed doable. 

I boiled 1.5 cups water, 1.5 cups vinegar, and 3 Tablespoons salt 
I cut up cucumbers and put them in the jars each jar also had 4 sprigs of dill, 4 cloves of garlic cut in half and half a jalapeno pepper
I poured the boiling water mixture into the jars, closed them up, let them cool off a bit then put them in the fridge. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

in the garden

Our garden beds are overflowing. How incredible it is that I put tiny seeds in the dirt, gave them water and some kind words and they are now giving me an incredible bounty of food.


Cucumbers                   Poblano Peppers                     Tomatoes 

Harvested - 2 types kale, 10 types of herbs, 3 types of edible flowers, carrots, 
radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, snap peas 

this beautiful little heart shaped leaf on one of my heirloom beans, a little extra garden love

Monday, July 16, 2012

mint ice cream

It has been a hot and humid summer so far with little break in the heat. I realized that's lead me to many ice cream purchases so I decided to save some money and get back to experimenting with making my own ice cream. 

3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
1 Tablespoon of vanilla 
some salt
10 springs of mint (I used chocolate mint because that's what I had in the garden)
Andes Mints (I had wanted Oreos but they didn't have them at the store I went to so I decided to try these)

put all the ingredients except the Andes mints on a pot on the stove and when it starts to simmer whisk constantly for 3 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Remove the sprigs of mint. Place in a covered container in the fridge for about 6 hours or in the freezer for about 2 hours, you just want to cool everything down 
These are the directions for  a KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, if you're using something else follow the directions that came with it.  Put the milk mixture in the ice cream maker (which has been in the freezer for at least 12 hours) and mix on the lowest setting for 25 minutes. Cut up the Andes mints, after the ice cream has mixed for 25 minutes add the mints and mix for another 5 minutes. That's it! 
Put the ice cream in a freezer safe container and put it in the freezer, take it out and enjoy to help beat the heat and feed the sweet tooth! 

ready to bloom

Sunday, July 15, 2012

NYC on the rivers

I'm sitting on the bus, dead stop on the highway, rain coming down and periodic lightening, in front of us I can see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. I am thankful. This minor inconvenience in my travels home after a quick trip down to New York but I am safe, I am dry, I don't have the stress of driving right now and I had the ability to go to New York for the weekend... This was not my initial reaction as the bus along with all the traffic came to a standstill. One of the ways I am trying to make change within myself to help me to live a happier life is to take these little steps back and try to be thankful for every moment because every moment is a gift. I have the power to control how I react to it and to learn from it. I could choose to sit her and become anxious and angry but all that would accomplish is making myself miserable. So, that does not seem like a good choice to make. Instead I am choosing to be thankful and to use this time to share some images from my weekend in NYC.

New York seems to have the best billboards, really clever funny billboards for random things you don't seem them for in other places like parking and storage....

both of those I saw from the Highline 

wandering, Union Square Farmers Market

A walk along the East River 

water taxi to Brooklyn 

view from rooftop bar at Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn

Morning Love 

Staten Island Ferry 

on the way to the bus

Friday, July 13, 2012

evening on the water

It feels like a particularly hot summer in Boston. I feel as though there are usually more breaks in the weather but there has been pretty consistent heat and humidity this summer. This summer which is also already disappearing much to quickly.

The heat does make me seek out time on/near water more. A friend and I have tried to make a once a summer trip on a water taxi from downtown to East Boston where there is an airport Hyatt right where the water taxi lets you off that has an outside restaurant patio where you can sit, have a drink and enjoy watching the city. Today was the day for that. Who knows this may be the year we take this trip more than once.

view of Boston from the Hyatt

After watching the sun start to sink and realizing that we were going to need to eat more food we decided to try something new and too the water taxi to the Seaport in South Boston

and got to watch the sun finish it's decent behind the city from South Boston 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

next stop wonderland

Today felt like a vacation day. I went to the beach, I wandered around the city, I went to a museum....
Today reminded me how lucky I am to live here, there is so much so easily accessible, I just need to get out there and take advantage. And reminded me how incredibly fulfilling it is to get out there and do things on my own, it builds this great confidence.

Revere Beach has an annual sand sculpture contest and the subway goes right to the beach so I decided to head out to check out the beginning of the contest. The last train stop is Wonderland. Who can resist a trip to Wonderland? So I took the train to the end.


I left the train station, crossed the parking lot and the street and was greeted by the water, beautiful warm water, sparkling sand, lots of interesting shells and the smaller sand dollars I've ever seen. 

Revere Beach has a rich history, the oldest public beach in the US that was once the home of an amusement park, dancing, and of course the races where greyhound racing took place from 1935 - 2009. It's a long beach that is well kept up as it gets raked daily.
And it's always nice to be near the water when it's hot, able to at least get your feet wet - maybe next time I'll bring a swimsuit and towel. The beach got more crowded as I made me way down to the sand sculptures.

It was really neat to be able to see people's sketchbooks with their designs and get to see these images start to emerge from the sand. 

Then I headed back in to the city and got off the train at the aquarium.

I made a stop at the tank outside to say hello to the harbor seals. 

and wandered along the Greenway which has been the most incredible addition to the city. What a huge difference it makes to have moved the highway underground and created this beautiful open space. I found a part of the greenway that was recently finished with this labyrinth meditation walk with a fountain in the middle. This may now be my favorite part of the greenway, this beautiful space to do walking meditation in the middle of the city. These labyrinths are traditionally to clear the mind, give insight, and bring yourself back into alignment which is an incredible tool to have in the middle of the rush of the city. 

Then I took myself out to an actual sit down lunch, which I haven't done in years. I happened upon a new restaurant I had read about, Granary Tavern.  There was an empty outdoor table so I checked it out. Sounds like they're still working on solidifying their menu but was good and was right across the street from the Greenway so I had a view of people playing the a fountain which was fun.

I wandered around Fort Point Channel a bit, I always find myself drawn to the exterior of the Intercontinental hotel and I saw the new Boston Tea Party Museum... 

Fort Point also always seems to have great art installations and this was no exception, a tight rope walker suspended over the Channel on a wire attached to two bridges. I believe if it was windy the tightrope walker would spin around the tightrope. 

I ended my wandering at the ICA (Institute for Contemporary Art). Thursday evenings it is free to see the exhibits. I am usually babysitting Thursdays but not this week so I wanted to take advantage and discovered that they also do free music and have a bar set up on the waterfront side of the museum which was great. 

I waited with a drink, enjoying the view and the music until my husband arrived to walk through the museum with me.

My favorite part of the Josiah McElheny exhibit were the chandeliers inspired by the cosmos. 

It was a great, empowering, vacation day that ended beautifully getting to enjoy a Thursday night with my husband. And a good reminder to keep exploring this city and this area that has so much to offer.