13 April 2018

.t h i r t y f o u r.

I always love to write something as I begin another orbit around the sun. I turned 34 on Tuesday this, whoa! This year held so much movement for me I wanted to journey the year again to remember it all, here it is.

My 33rd year was a wild ride of adventure - travel - big questions - dead end roads - unplanned journeys and new layers of awareness!!

I started my year last April celebrating my birthday in the mountain town of Ketchum, Idaho nestled at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains. I lived in Ketchum for 9 months working at a Community Health Educator with Planned Parenthood. Most of my time was spent teaching puberty and sexuality education to middle and high school students at both the public and private schools. The experience was challenging and isolating but also allowed a flexibility to explore the amazing nature around me. The Wood River Valley is one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. The foothills are blanketed with sagebrush and having grown up in the high desert of Central Washington I always feel at home where sagebrush grows. The position lost most of its funding and with fall approaching I decided to head back east for holiday art shows.

It took 21 days for me to drive from Idaho to Massachusetts, camping 18 of those days and staying with friend on the other days. I remembered how the road is my happy place. Setting up my campsite and packing it up every morning was such a innate rhythm for me. I met a kindred spirit at Craters of the Moon, went fly fishing on the Teton River, slept in a yurt, slept in a tipi, fell in love with the mud pots at Yellowstone National Park, took slow walks along the madison river at dusk, moon bathed in a tipi next to the Devil’s tower, got lost in the cornfields of Nebraska, saw Georgia O’Keeffe art in Iowa, Slept next to the Mississippi, fell in love the with fingerlakes and Ithaca, Slept by a tiny lake in the Catskills and only had rain as I was driving into Boston. It was the most reinvigorating 21 days!

Coming back to New England was such a reflection to realize how much Idaho had changed me in just 9 months. I ached for the vast openlands and silence. I had a busy holiday season and reconnected with friends. I also continued to teach metalsmithing workshops. I love teaching these workshops and learned so much from teaching adult learners.

In January after 5 day delay due to a Nor’easter I arrived in Washington for a delayed holiday time with family. I spent my days hiking and soaking up the colors of Central Washington. I realize how the land feels like home to me. I created a personal residency during my time there, a quilt project. I took walks everyday, took a picture, translated it into a very simple design and sewed a patch. It was such a great project to get back in the rhythm of see - design - create.

I came back to the East, to Maine this time to a small town 1 hr north of Boston. Due to my beloved turbo engine subaru exploding and being without a car for weeks I translated my quilt project into a brooch project. Now translating the designs from fabric to metal. I have 12 brooches made. I am so excited and proud of this project. There is no motive in this project except just to make - to tell a story of where I come from - to explore how to translate landscapes. I also was able to take a pie workshop from one of my favorite bakers and it inspired me explore baking more. So I’ve been baking a few pies every week learning and improving recipes.

This all leads to the end of 33 and beginning of 34. I’ve moved to the south, Western North Carolina nestled next to the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a special place for me with my Mom’s family being from the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains. I always feel connected to my Nana there, even after living most of her life in Washington Tennessee and those mountains were always home for her. I’m excited to explore the mountains more and to start a massage program in the fall. With over 10 years working in health I’m excited to connect bodywork to the experiences and knowledge I have gather my journey so far.

So much to unfold and learn this 34th year. I hope you are healthy and learning!

16 March 2018

.maine in march.

When you get a nice day in winter in Maine you take advantage of it. The winter has been late to arrive here in the Northeast but its here, with two Nor’easter storms in the past week and another one might be coming next week everyone is desperate for spring. Two days after the first Nor’easter the sun came out, blue skies with a high of 43 degrees! We took advantage of it. We went to a favorite trail that curves thru the forest and opens up to the ocean and continues along the coastline looking to where Maine waters meet New Hampshire. As the trail opened up to the ocean we saw a small girl building a sand castle and her mom was stretched out wide sunbathing in her boots and winter jacket. I smiled understanding the feeling of enjoying the sun with air that didnt hurt. We walked out to explore the tide pools and on the beach a couple were sitting on the rocky beach soaking up the sun and as we were heading back up to the trail another woman just laid down right on the trail with her dog. I love these moments that are unique to a place. It seems that once it gets above 40 degrees in March Mainers seems to just collapse with joy! They were acting like it was a summer day and 30 degrees warmer than it was but I get it. We are ready - we are so ready for spring and sunshine and warmth and longer days!! 

Another storm came a few days ago bringing almost 24 inches of snow, 35 mph winds and white out conditions for most of the day. The next day the sun was out so I went on a hike trying to be grateful for the beauty of the snow. Trying to remember the way the snow holds a silence, the fresh smell of winter air and how it illuminates everything even on an overcast day. I try to be present because it will be gone - nothing stays and winter, as trying as it is, allows me to turn inwards and reflect. This winter has been challenging but just as the days are getting longer and warmer days *should* be coming I’m grateful for the new awareness and truths that have found me this winter. 

New adventures are here and coming soon! I’m ready. I’m so ready. 

25 February 2018

.the meditation of baking.

A few years ago I found a baker, originally from Maine who baked her way south to a little spot outside of Asheville, NC in Madison County. Tara Jensen is a baker, artist and community builder. I fell in love with her slow living, how she combined art + baking and vulnerable Instagram posts.  About 3 years ago she started hosting workshops in her mountain bakery focusing on bread, pizza and pie.  I was able to attend on of her workshops the summer of 2015, having just ended a job and looking ahead to what was next it seemed like the perfect adventure. I had been to Asheville before as my Mom's family lives on the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains. Asheville is such a vibrant town overflowing with traditional craft and young creatives bordered by the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. The workshop was hidden up in the hillside I had to drive the winding roads twice before I noticed the blue house with the wood fire oven tucked up in the trees. It was a truly inspiring experience I traveled back up to Boston with her gift of a sourdough starter hidden in my bag.

I have continued to follow Tara’s journey as she bakes, had her heart broken/fell in love/got married, taught workshops at Bon Appetite and wrote her first cookbook, A Baker’s Year! So when she announced she was going on a small book tour starting in Maine, revisiting the first bakers/bakeries who guided her from the beginning I was thrilled to attend another workshop and this time Apple Pie!  She makes more of a pastry crust than a traditional pie crust leaving big chunks of butter and then laminating the dough making for the flakiest crust I’ve ever had!! I also love how she uses extra dough to make finishing art. She says that living in North Carolina surrounded by crafts she is very inspired by weaving and uses forks and spoons to create incredible woven like patterns. I made a small weaving inspiration on the top of mine.

What sets Tara apart is how she approaches baking with a meditative perspective - encouraging everyone to pick a recipe and make it over and over again until you no longer need the recipe but can just feel/smell the process - when the intuition is in your hands. Tara’s workshops are such a beautiful balance of wonderful baking knowledge mixed with loving-kindness acceptance for the journey of imperfection and reminding us to keep showing up. When we keep showing up and doing what makes us happy - whatever that is - we create a beautiful ripple of positivity to ourselves, family/friend, community and world.


 Baking Tips from Tara Jensen:

-Use fresh milled flour or if not then try to use local flour.
Maine has a wonderful organization call Maine Grain Alliance which sell all Maine-grown flours.
-Keep everything COLD!
Butter, Flour, water....everything it will bake better
-For Apple Pie: Cut the apples with the skins on, it makes for a beautiful color when the pie is cut

31 January 2018

.recipe: snooze tea.

A few years ago I found a curiosity to grow my knowledge about herbs and how to make delicious and beneficial tea blends. This lead me taking a herbal class a few years ago and learned how to make a yummy calm tea for the winter months. I loved the process of blending and drinking the tea. It's also a wonderful gift to give to loved ones! I have continued to try and experiment with herbs and tea blends then a few weeks ago I found a new herbal tea book that is overflowing with wonderful blends and recipes from PNW Herbalist Sarah Farr. I want to try all of these recipes but the first one I tried was snooze tea. It's a perfect tea for bedtime, the blend includes valerian and kava kava which are deeply relaxing herbs (note: some people do have different experiences with kava kava best to research more information if you have any medical concerns. And you shouldn't consume this tea if you are pregnant or breastfeed). 

If you need a little help to unwind and relax at night this might be a nice tea to try. Find the recipe and infusion instructions below!

Snooze Tea
Recipe by: Sarah Farr
from Healing Herbal Teas: Learn to Blend 101 Specially Formulated Teas for Stress Management, Common Ailments, Seasonal Health, and Immune Support

2 parts Valerian
1 part Kava
1 part Linden
1 part mint
1 part passionflower
0.25 part hops
0.25 part nutmeg

Hot: Pour 1.5 cups hot water over 1 to 2 tablespoons tea. Steep for 5 to 10 mins.

Cold: Combine 2 cups cold water and 1 to 2 tablespoons of tea in lidded jar. Shake the jar to make sure all the tea is saturated. Place in the refrigerator or cool place for at least 2 hours.

.a favorite place.

This is one of my favorite places, ever. Despite being only 30 minutes from where I grew up I didn't find this walk until a few years ago but now I try to visit every time I go home. It has all my favorite colors, plants and textures. This visit the fog was heavy and thick and slowly lightened up by the end of our walk which gave a deep vibrancy to the muted earth tones. I'm back east already but still holding this place near.

17 January 2018

.make time to visit.

I'm out west in the arid foothills of the cascade mountains, my hometown. I've been going on daily walks in my favorite places. I cherish so many corners of this place - the colors + textures and the knowing of a place so deeply. 

Three days ago I went on a hike and looked at a sagebrush I remembered collecting sage from years ago. Yesterday, I went on a hike and remembered my favorite patch of winter blooms from a visit last year. Today I walked next to the Columbia river and remembered hot summer days of kayaking thru inlets and that cove where the sparrows sit in the high trees and squak so loud it drowns out the sound of traffic that echoes of the empty field next to the trail. Maybe it's because I travel so much that there is such a richness to visit these dear places, again and again or maybe it's just the connection I have to here because it's the land that raised me. 

I'm so grateful for it - this land feeds me. It taught me how to have a relationship with land. I walk these special corners with such gratitude of the colors + textures + sounds. 

Do you have places you visit? Where are there? Are they places you've known forever or are they new? 

16 January 2018

.listen more.

I went for a walk today and as I started on the trail the path was so wet and muddy I had to walk really slow and almost turned around because I didn’t want to walk slow but I continued - slowly - and realized what a beautiful reminder to s l o w down - be intentional - listen to the moment. 

Today is MLK day, a few years ago I had the honor of visiting the Civil Rights Museum - the stories impacted me so much - it reminded me how important it is for us to tell our stories and even more important for me to listen. Whether these stories are screamed - spoken - softly said or whispered, just listen. 

To listen with openness. 
To listen with respect. 
To listen and hear what is being shared. 
To listen and honor these stories.