Sunday, July 31, 2011

A fresh peek at my home . . .

For those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, you will know what an enormous renovation we have been doing at our new house. With a tight budget, and first time experience, 
this has been several months of chaotic transformation. A true start to finish is yet to come, but 
we have lulled and I want to show you the changes. 

Wall of the kitchen to the living-room . . .

The carpet that smelled so strong the whole house was saturated . . .

Okay, now shut your eyes and turn around so you can have the fresh prospective:

Open bar to the kitchen . . . (which I'm sitting at as I write this) . . . 
The brilliant stove we found on Craigslist . . . (Two ovens, a  dream I've had since I was a kid!!)
The very same bathroom, gutted and loved . . .

 The stone sink was a bit of a challenge. It came from just a few streets over, at a small shop where the husband and wife import them from China. The wife is Chinese and either her family makes them, or they help select them. Anyway, I had told the guy helping us with our bathroom that we were going to have a drop in sink. I didn't know the plumbing changed entirely depending on what kind of sink you use. So part way through the bathroom creation, I showed up with this baby. The guy was horrified, but had to agree it was pretty amazing. Usually they are used for fountains, but hey, the wall were all slate, and it brought the feeling to the bathroom I was searching for. 
 He suggested a copper faucet. Plumbing fixtures are far from cheep, and once he realized 
we had no intention of trying to stay in the box, it felt like a burst of interest came in. He
 was ready to experiment. 

 The house has been a project. The means to fund the project dictated some of the outcome, but we tried to keep it as close to our gut feeling as absolute possible. I love it!
                                         ~ Marica

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making Mulberry Jam

On this new property of ours, we found we have a Persian Mulberry Tree. The berries are more like a cross between mulberries and my favorite thing ever . . . blackberries.
Right now the tree is heavy with fruit, practically dripping berries in the most satisfying way.  Luckily the kids love them. When I was a kid we had mulberry trees, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not learn to like them. I ate them when they were green because with that much sourness anything is good, but even my dad’s doted on Persian Mulberry tree, did not turn my lack of fancy. 
 But whether the psychological shift of this being my own tree, my taste buds changing, or that these berries are truly fabulous, I am finding I like these dark sweet gems.  
So yesterday I made our first jam. It was unnecessary to add anything other than sugar to make it jammy. The flavor would turn any true mulberry lover over in their grave, and cause any current mulberry lover to come knocking at my door asking for a tid bit.  Even our rabbit and guinea pig are indulging in the lush rain of mulberries.

I can't wait to make more jam.
                             ~ Marica

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sewing Class . . .

On Monday I held a sewing class . . . 
 There were six girls as prolific as honey bees, buzzing around my sewing machine, choosing cloth and building confidence in the art of "throw it together, it will come out".
To say the the least, I was impressed. 
 We completed bags, pillows and even one skirt . . .
The girls worked hard at keeping straight seams . . .And how not to cut your finger with a rotary knife. 
 The bigger girls worked straight from 9:00 - 2:00, only stopping for a short lunch. The littler ones sewed a bit, swung on the hose swings and played Mother May I. 
Then they came back to the drawing board to complete their projects  . . .
And start new ones . . .
I don't think it could have been more successful. Happy as can be they chattered, and woven throughout the day was a constant 
"Marica, Marica, can you help me . . ." 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A mermaid or two . . .

 Making dolls is always fun. Collaborating with the fabric to create a personality . . .
 As the face is stitched on, it is like meeting a new baby for the first time . . .
I always love them before the hair . . . 
 In this instance, it was mermaids that were the particular beings working to be made . . . 
Simply fun and satisfying. 

                                        ~ Marica

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Hundredth Post . . . favorite links, and a giveaway . . .

Well here it is. A hundred posts down the road into blogland . . .
I have to say, it has been fun all along. I love the blogs I have found and enjoy the camaraderieship that high technology, usually my evil nemesis, has offered. Due to the fact we are all obviously on our computers while we look at each-other's chronicles of best lived life, I thought I'd link to some of my dearest finds. These amazing pockets of creation are merely a click away, and I recommend the time spent checking them out:

As to the giveaway . . . A couple of years ago, my mama put together, or better said, finally complete putting together, a cookbook. It was a trek of a journey to get it through the publishing house and out on shelves. I was very involved, illustrating each page, testing and retesting recipes, and sharing the triumphant enormousy of getting published. Due to the fact Wasabi Honey Bee is so intermingled with cooking, I thought it very fitting to offer readers an opportunity to win a copy of this book. I am actually putting three copies up for grabs, so there can be three winners. To enter, leave a comment on this post by midnight (Pacific Standard time) July 30th . If you link back to this post on your site, I will double dip you in the drawing. 

Winners will be posted July 31st
Winners are: 

The Hungry Crafter
Rennee G
Teacup Adventures

            Best Wishes to everyone ~ Marica

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer dinner and the fastest pesto . . .

Last night I made the fastest pesto . . . What happened was I had a plethora of fresh basil that was just asking to be mixed with garlic and oil, but no blender to aid in the process.
 I wasn't sure of a solution until I realized on my refrigerator shelf sat almond meal, just as ready for
 battle as the basil. Well the problem was solved and none to shabbily either. In fact, I might even recommend it as to the fact this was the fastest batch of pesto I have ever made, 
and remarkably tasty.Fastest Pesto
 To make, simply throw together:
1/4 cup fresh basil finely chopped
1/4 cup parmesan
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh crushed garlic or more to taste 
salt and black pepper to taste

Mix over fresh rinsed pasta . . . 
 I also made sautéed tofu, which the kids loved. It was a little salty for me,
 but it was certainly a hit with them.

Sautéed Tofu
In a cast iron pan saute until golden brown:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. tofu sliced
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup Bragg
2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
 My two little ones threw together the salad . . .
 And dinner was made.

                              To summer dinners ~ Marica