Friday, January 23, 2015

The Butterfly Challenge-Learning to Fly

     Spreading my wings and ignoring the fear of failure, I begin my week-long journey of learning the butterfly swirl technique. I have never participated in a soap "challenge" before. Heck , I've just barely started sharing my expression of this art-form beyond my friends and family. I have been soaping since the summer of 2011 when my dear friend, Rocio Mendez of "Souled Out Soapers", taught me how to use cold process soaping to formulate wonderful soap that didn't break the budget. Several other friends joined us in our endeavors, and in 2014 we formed a monthly soaping group to learn techniques beyond recipes, colors, and additives. Growing together, encouraging each other, and just enjoying getting together for some good "clean" fun, this group of women has been instrumental in helping me realize I wanted to do more than just save money by making my own soap. I wanted to spread my wings and fly!

     I was immediately intrigued by the beauty of this technique. While difficult to "master", even the "failures" are mesmerizing, each work of art resembling a sort of ode to the Rorschach Test. Do you see the butterfly? Did you feel it develop as you used your tools to create your masterpiece? Was it so elusive that it escaped you? Did you give up before you even began?

     I spent a week learning, side-by-side with my "Partner in Grime", Jackie Duff of Key Expressions. After seven attempts at the swirl, some frustration, and a lot of laughs, I had several examples of what I believed were very good butterfly swirls. I presented them to my friends, family, and the soaping community I have come to love and respect. I asked for help deciding which image best represented the "Butterfly Swirl Challenge". Overwhelmingly, a lovely blue and green butterfly was chosen. I struggled. While it probably was the best butterfly image, it wasn't right. It wasn't ME.

     I'm pretty much an open book and have very few secrets. I love people, yet sometimes am overwhelmed by loneliness. I am creative and love to express myself, but will put my passion aside to help others grow in theirs. I still believe that I can do anything...because my momma told me I could, however, I wonder if it will only be good "enough". Maybe this challenge was a type of Rorschach Test, more than I could have known. Maybe this challenge helped me to really see what I was looking at, not just the blots of color before me, but the real image. For those reasons, I chose the butterfly that may not have been as soft and beautiful, may not have been the favorite, but best represents The Whole Orrdeal...the person that is the artist.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Heroin & Ham

"Heroin & Ham are in completely different categories!" BEST QUOTE EVER!!!!!

Do you know how long I've wanted to see the documentary, Supersize Me? It's sad how I neglect many of the things I enjoy when I get B.U.S.Y with life. I keep a list of books & movies I want to read/watch so that I can return to the list at my leisure. Apparently, not much leisure since 2004, because this was the first film on my list.

As I was cleaning my ever depleating "skitz" piles this week, getting ready for taxes, I found my list. TaDa!
I put it aside....for.....LATER! I guess the sick baby this week has kept me B.U.S.Y.
I picked it up again tonight & googled "supersize me". In doing so, I found hulu & watched the entire movie free (I don't mind the advertisements). Yep, I know, YOU all know about hulu...well, get over it! I hadn't really discovered youtube or tangle until recently either. We all know I'm not tech savy.

I loved the film. I'm already on board with virtually everything the film said, but it's horrifying to actually see the damage done & have my gut instincts reinforced by data. The segments on schools was really disturbing. I already "knew" most of these things, but it's still terrible. Nutrition is a battleground that we face head-on daily....will you fight the good fight?

I am determined to put a dent in this list before the school year is over. Here's the good news I've already read the first book on the list (confession: our wed night lifegroup happened to be doing a study on it, otherwise it would still be in my closet...where it had sat for the last 3yrs). That book was Why Christian Kids Rebel by Dr. Tim Kimmel. It was an easy read, very down to earth and it had solid practical advice on how parenting styles shape our relationship with our children.

Here is a look at the next few items on my list:
Food Inc. (wanted to see this since I saw the advertisment on my Stonyfield Farm Yogurt top)
A Full Quiver by Jan & Rick Hess
Debt-Proof Your Kids by Mary Hunt

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In the Kitchen

I love to cook, to bake, to create melody through the sounds and smells of the kitchen. Nothing says "home" quite like the smell of Mama Jewell's Homemade Bread fresh out of the oven. Burning your mouth on the first bite because you weren't patient enough to let it cool....SO WORTH IT! Some have said that I've perfected this recipe, I say I'm just trying to keep up with a legend. Whether a simple cup of coffee shared with a friend, the fun of inventing a new recipe with my children, or perfecting a dish rediscovered in the family recipe books...these are the foundations of our memories created in the kitchen.

I come from a family that flourishes in the kitchen. From Mama Jewell's bread, sop & biscuits and no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, Jamaw's buckeyes, MawMaw Dunning's dumplings, fried pancakes and sour cream cake to Mom's twice-baked potatoes, peanut butter fudge and fried rice w/sugar. We cook, we bake, we share stories, we EAT!!!!! My small kitchen brims and overflows with the love, the tears and the joy poured out within it's walls.

I'll share some of my favorite recipes with you. I'd love feedback and I hope you can create some of your own memories with them.
Drumroll please............Mama Jewell's homemade bread.
Mama Jewell made this bread for years and it's always been a family favorite. Jamaw sat down with Mama Jewell in her later years to preserve this recipe but this was a creation, rather than a process, so most ingredients are added by feel & experience rather than exact measurements of ingredients. Half of the fun is trying to replicate that taste & feel, so completely burned into the recesses of my mind.
1/3 C Warm Water 1/3 C Shortening Approx 12 C Plain Flour
1 T Sugar 3 Tsp Salt Approx 1 Qt Warm Water
1 Pkg Dry Yeast 1 Can Condensed Milk
Makes 4-6 loaves
1. Dissolve Yeast & Sugar in 1/3 C Warm Water. I use a small coffee cup & fill 1/3 w/water, then add yeast & sugar (or honey). Stir to dissolve & allow to bubble while I start next step.
2. In a bowl, slowly work condensed milk, water, flour, salt, yeast mix & shortening together. I start with salt, shortening & a little flour (so I can break up the shortening well) then add the rest of the ingredients a little at a time. Start with a spoon & when you can knead without the dough sticking to your hands your ready for the next step. Add flour or water as kneading to help with consistency.
3. Let dough double in bulk. I cover with warm, wet cloth
4. Punch down, form loaves in loaf pans or on baking sheet and let almost double again.
5. Bake 325F for 40 minutes.
Temp can cause the rise time on your dough to vary.
My oldest daughter has created her own version by adding brown sugar & cinnamon, then rolling her loaves....YUMMY!!!
I've also made the ABSOLUTE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS using this recipe as my dough.

My first blog

My friend is cooler than me & is helping me fall into the 21st century. So, anything cool on here is because of her, not me....I'm only responsible for the random musings and blank stares induced by motherhood.
Here is about the best pic you'll get of my family...not including me, a camera has a hard time capturing the essence that is "MOI" (because I am always behind it)

Welcome to my world!