Friday, July 30, 2010

A Year of Taking In

If Christmas can be in July, then gosh darn, New Year's can be in August. For me, it's a time to look forward and look back. As you may well know, I'm a proponent of the rhyming yearly motto. This year's mantra was/is: Begin again in 2010. Before it began, I declared this a year of trying new things, of learning, of being okay with the untraditional turns by which my life path has lead me. I've tripped up plenty of times on this walk, believe you me. I've forgotten gratitude for the freedom that this year has provided for me to invest and wait. But, it's not over yet. I've still got five months of this year to make good on my self-promise. Let the learning, the patience from henceforth abound.

In one of my favorite stories, two young lovebirds speak fondly about their time studying at Oxford. Their home was lovingly termed "The Studio," and was a place were tens of friends gathered on a daily basis for spirited conversation. It was a lively time, filled with mind-broadening new ideas and joy in the diverse company they kept. It was, as they said, "a time of taking in." I do believe this is the phase I'm now in. Surely, there will be a time of giving out, of passing onto others what has been taught to me. But for now, I am a pupil. God, open my eyes and mind for the taking in.

As of late, I've been inspired by: this blog where you can sign up to swap crafts with others and this book that details the history and work of some contemporary letterpress printers.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Do Like You

This book about Amy's kitschy hospitality is a barrel of laughs and a recommended read!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chew Chat

This month's chew discussion centers on what it is to live in community. To prepare, I'm reading through Bonhoeffer's Life Together and the accounts in the New Testament of the early church. Any other suggestions? Feel free to visit the blog and add to the conversation.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just Another Day in Paradise Gordo, Ala., that is.

Printing paradise of Pickens County.

Where beautiful things are born.

I'll be back with more news from fourhatspress!

A Heat Wave To Someone You Love

Jump! Twist! Dive! AUGUST Calendartines are here!

Get these letterpressed lovelies from fourhatspress, or find them in Birmingham at Urban Standard, Zoe's Consignment, The Ruby Begonia or Charm.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

(Illustration from here)

Warm arrives
and brings its buzz
the crickets echo loud
tree frogs join in
to belt their song
the summer stars, their crowd

When air is thick
as texas toast
and sun is yellow-red
the childlike joy
is waked again
by memories we're lead

to twiddled thumbs
and light-stained scenes
of summers old and gone
the possible
the openness,
no dread upon the dawn

So, amplify
oh, warm moon song
belt chorus too, oh, sun
for season calls us to look back
or, perhaps we've just begun

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Bread and Butter

It was a tradition.

When I was growing up, no matter what time of day it was, a return trip from the grocery store with a pint of ice cream always meant a supper-spoiling few spoonfuls of the perfectly-soft sweet stuff. My mom was the one who started it. It could have been ten minutes before a meal -- didn't matter. On the way from the from the grocery sack to freezer, you better believe that tub was first making a stop on the counter. Grab a spoon, girls, I can hear her saying. Then, we'd gather around the melty mess and indulge in a one (or two or three) hearty bites.

It may sounds silly, but today, I started my own mental tradition. If/when I have a family and if/when I master the art of bread baking, I too, will host these carefree taste tests. No matter what time of day or night a fresh loaf emerges from the oven, it'll be Grab a knife time. No question.

There's nothing like a house that swims in the smells of freshly baked bread, and further still, nothing like the taste of it warm from the oven. This afternoon, I baked the Olive Oil dough I made from this dear book. I infused the already-spectacular flavor with a little front-yard rosemary. The great news is, I've still got enough dough (good for the next ten days in the fridge) for at least two or three more loaves or pizzas. What a dream.

(Perhaps, I'll use what I've baked to try and recreate the crusty bread/creamy brie experience of my final lunch in the 4th arrondissement.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Adventures in French Cuisine (Cont'd)

image from here

Last night, after several failed attempts, I think I've come a bit closer to the taste and look of the Parisian banana/chocolate crepe that rewarded an hour and a half trek to the Eiffel Tower just a few weeks ago. Twinkling in all it's glory was the Tower; oozing in all it's sweetness was the perfect ending to an absolutely stunning night in the City of Lights.

I used Donna Hay's crepe recipe, filling them in with some of this godly nectar. Oh la la!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Big Little Kid

(image found here)

When I grow up, I want to have one of these in my backyard. And maybe my living room, too. Some instructions found here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Backward Glance

(image nabbed from here)

I have a pretty terrible memory. If at work, it's not uncommon for me to take an order, and in the midst of my punching buttons and clamoring to hear over the grind of the espresso machine, have to ask a customer to repeat him/herself just seconds later. I'll often walk into a room with purpose, forgetting the resolve I had just minutes before to complete what seemed a most virtuous task. I'm no elephant, I tell you.

That's why I'm not surprised that I seem to have forgotten the words I myself penned here or here. We're past this year's midpoint, and it's high time I re-evaluate the goals I set for myself to both work and watch. During the last few months, I've felt my artistic growth has been slightly stunted. I've been prone to compare my existence with other's, tending to be a smidge dissatisfied with my own progress. My celebration of a quarter-century of life had me reeling in a bit of what-is-my-life? self-dialogue.

But, tonight, I pray this same prayer again. I thank God that I have record of His Words and my thoughts -- proof that the Potter's hand is still at work on this lump of clay.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Tasteful Thought

A leafy array from local-farm, Owl's Hollow

Over the last several months, I've had the wonderful opportunity to write food-related articles for a weekly alternative paper here in town. As a result, I've learned more about what's going here among foodies, farmers and restauranteurs. I've been fed, challenged, and more than anything, inspired to get out to the farmer's market and into the kitchen to reconnect myself with the people and processes behind my own food. Last night, I was delighted to be able to attend a panel discussion with some community leaders who fight to raise Alabama's rank as being the 39th worst state in areas of Food Insecurity. Represented were the Magic City Harvest, Main Street Birmingham, West End Community Gardens, the United Way, Pepper Place Farmer's Market and Jones Valley Urban Farm. The list goes on, but suffice it to say that there is a grocery list of people in this city who are moving and shaking to create change for what is an inefficient and unhealthy food system for so many people in our midst. I am completely culpable of being uninformed and apathetic to the fact that healthy foods are not easily accessed or afforded in areas right down the street from where I live and shop. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all this thought-food. But, I am surely chewing it over, hoping I'll know how to come out from what can be viewed as (and may, at times, be) a superior foodie perspective to be able to help bring positive change about.