Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Grad School starts up again for me this week.  I didn't really have a summer since I have classes all year at the school that I'm attending (so I can graduate in a year instead of two.)  I'll be happy once it's all complete, but until then I think I'm driving myself mad.

Before starting the insanity, I thought I would tackle one big project that I've really wanted to do before the cold weather starts...and since this will be my last chance to do anything huge before the winter arrives...I decided to do it now.  My last chance for a while.
(Please note that it was 89*F today...and here I am making.....)

My first quilt in over 4 years...
in progress.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Two Doves

I thought I would share this song with everyone.
  1. It's a pretty song.
  2. I didn't want to forget it.

Happy weekend!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Flashback Friday -- Traveling Days.

After I flew to Florida with my sister earlier this month, we parted ways and I flew back to Wisconsin by myself.
It made me miss my days of traveling.
2008 and 2009 were my years of great travel.  I went everywhere in the country on a whim, excluding 9 states (9, including Alaska and Hawaii.)  I played music in crazy towns in the rocky mountains, flew to Seattle, El Paso, Philly,  bussed from Montana to Pennsylvania, and I drove from Pennsylvania to Madison all by myself (and my sewing machine, musical instruments, and books.)  Being in the air by myself again made me yearn for my wild life.

Looking back on in now, I see how spontaneous and dangerous a lot of the things I was doing really were, but at the same time, I long for the danger and excitement of not knowing where I'm going to be sleeping that night, or if I would even be sleeping at all.  The majority of my traveling at that time was for emotional healing and patching my heart, and I don't think I was thinking about what I was doing because I was just looking for my next answer hidden in an adventure.
I'm so much happier and calm now that I live in Madison with Jason and our cats, and certainly I wouldn't trade it in for my wild, unexpected lifestyle.  I guess I just crave the freedom I used to have of not belonging anywhere, and living off the grid.
Maybe I should just go camping!  HA!


School is about to start again, and as I'm getting ready for that, I'm also preparing for the cold weather (my morning sniffles are indicating that it's right around the corner.)
And with the start of Semptember comes:
  1. My mother's long awaited visit to Wisconsin (the first time she's ever been here!)
  2. The Nebraska Pop Festival
I know I don't really talk much about my music on here, mostly because I feel music cuts us up into tribes, whereas art, food, and crafting unites us. Usually if I'm slow with writing in my blog, it's a good indication that the musical muse is upon me.
I mentioned a while ago that I was invited to play the pop festival, but it has been a while since I've said anything about it.  I've asked Jason and my friend, Liz to join me on stage, and our friend Andrew to be our groupie (like he isn't already.)
I'm going to be bringing copies of my new Album, Spring Spring, as well as my two EP's; I like my soul much more now, and My first Christmas in Madison, WI.  I'm also bringing the contents of my Etsy shop, and making some additional handmade merch.
T-shirts, patches, buttons, maybe tote-bags if I have the time...
Here is a sample from a design I've been drawing up.

Also, I've really been loving the magenta on saffron combination lately, so I've been sewing many coffee sleeves with that in mind.

Currently Loving:  This idea
Currently Hearing:  "Nice to Come Home" -- Julie Dorion
Currently Wanting: sushi

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Saving the Succulents

We recently inherited some succulents (Sempervivum arachnoideum's, to be exact.) from some old subletting neighbors who left them behind.  They were looking pretty sad, so I've decided to try to save them.
Also, I've discovered that our cats won't try to eat them (like every other house plant we've tried to have.)  That's always a plus.

Certainly it's not as important as saving the planet or the whales, 
but saving the succulents is pretty important too, right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Natural Woman, Day 5, 6, and 7

Well, this is the last time I'm going to blog about my hair for a while.  At least a month or two.
My advice for future Shampoo Quitters:
  1. Don't be afraid to use a decent amount of baking soda at first and then gradually decreasing the amount you use.  (I tried using 1 tsp right off the bat, and I looked like Ponyboy Curtis.  However, you still might want to try using 1 tsp the first day to see how your hair reacts to it.)
  2. I have found that making a baking soda/water paste works best for applying to my hair.
  3. Don't be grossed out by not washing your hair everyday.  It's good for your hair, and for adjusting you hair to the "no poo" process.

 Day 5, 6, & 7: 
Noteworthy Notes:  Since I've increased the amount of baking soda I've been using, my hair has been looking and feeling a lot better.  Truly.  My highlights (courtesy the overbearing Florida sunshine) are poppin'. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Skinny Eggplant Parmesan

Okay.  Enough with the hair for a day. 

Skinny Eggplant Parmesan.
I love making this recipe.  Eggplant was my family's ultimate comfort food when I was a girl.  It sang our heritage, our ups and downs.  It was always the center of the first meal my mother always prepared for me when I came home from college or from touring that let me know that I was actually home.  My mom still makes it the first night I come home to Pennsylvania whenever I visit.
Now.  Usually Eggplant Parmesan is a pretty fattening dish, but it doesn't have to be.  What makes my Eggplant Parmesan different from the rest is that I do not fry my breaded eggplant.  I bake it.
I also use fresh mozzarella, and not the packaged kind that is full of extra sodium.
It ends up:
  1. Tasting better.
  2. Leaving you with a full belly that isn't full of heavy oil.

  • 1 Medium-Large Eggplant
  • breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbl. Milk, or any milk substitute would do just fine
  • Fresh mozzarella 
  • Fresh marinara sauce (handmade or local is always better tasting, and better for you...no weird ingredients.)
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 baking sheets
  • Frying pan, or whatever you really have that will heat it up

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.
  2. Peel the Eggplant (you can leave the skin on, but it is bitter, tough, and has a noticeably different texture that I don't like.) then slice it into about 1/4 inch coins.
  3. Beat Eggs and about 2 tbl. milk together.  Dip the eggplant coins into the Eggs/milk, and then cover them in breadcrumbs.
  4. Lightly brush the baking sheet with olive oil, and proceed to lay the eggplant onto the sheets.
  5. Bake for 10 minutues, turn the eggplant coins over and proceed to bake for another 10 mins, and remove the baking sheet once the eggplant is soft (or until a fork will slip out of the eggplant easily.)
  6. Heat the frying pan, and add 1/2 cup marinara sauce to the bottom of the pan.  Proceed to lay the eggplant in the frying pan one at a time.  Follow the pattern:  Eggplant, marinara sauce, mozzarella.  Repeat.
  7. Cook until everything is warm, melty, and delicious.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Natural Woman, Day 3 and 4

Day 3:
I didn't use any Apple Cider Vinegar today, and my hair is still pretty gnarly.  My scalp feels okay, but my longer hair feels so heavy.  It just kind of seems to dry in chunks after I brush it.   Tomorrow I am certainly using more than just 1 tsp. baking soda.  Ick.

Day 4:
Today I used three tsps. of baking soda and about four teaspoons of water to make a watery paste.  I put it in a small squeeze bottle and applied it to dry hair instead of wet hair (like I had been doing previously) and put it all over my hair to clean all of the dirt that had accumulated the past few days.  My goal is to get back down to 1 tsp of baking soda once my hair has transitioned, but I think I'm just going to have to slowly decrease the amount of baking soda I use so I don't have to feel gross in the meantime.
I also used the Apple Cider Vinegar again today, with 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract added to it.  I thought it might leave me hair with some sort of sweet smell, but it didn't.  I'm thinking of adding some lavender oil once my hair has finally adjusted.

Oh!  Also!  My hair feels so much softer today that it EVER did when I used shampoo.  
Yeah, you know.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Natural Woman, Day 2

Day 2

I'm not going to lie...My hair is feeling pretty gross today.
I never used conditioner before I started the No-Poo process, and I'm thinking that maybe I should not use Apple Cider Vinegar either until my hair adjusts (since that's what is used as the conditioner for your hair.)  I also feel like a french fry at some icky gyro place in Seaside Heights when I'm washing my hair, even though the scent of Apple Cider Vinegar washes out completely.  It doesn't linger.  It's just the 30 seconds that I leave it in.  (Don't worry, my future Poo-Free pal's.)

You can also use olive oil if you feel like your hair is left feeling a bit dry...but let's face it.   I really don't need that right now, considering I look/feel like a Trustafarian today. 

Warning:  I also might feel kind of gross because 
I am writing this after working 10 hours.
I'm fairly certain that has A LOT to do with why I'm feeling pretty "eh."
I think I can, I think I can...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Natural Woman, Day 1

I am on a quest.
A quest to become a natural woman.
Yeah, like the Carol King kind.

How am I going to start such a journey, you ask?
I'm going to stop buying/using shampoo.

"That is gross and dirty", you say? Well, actually it's pretty old school.
I'm taking a cue from my ancestors and washing my hair with baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and warm water.
Click here to find the recipe I'm using.

I've been researching the No Poo Movement for a few weeks, and supposedly shampoo poisons your body, your hair, and the environment. Count me out.
So now I'm documenting my DIY journey to healthy hair, one less squirt of shampoo at a time.

Day 1:
My personal hair routine before:
I don't dye it, blow dry it, use conditioner, and sometimes I don't even brush it. (whoops..)
So it's pretty healthy, I guess.


Still not dyeing, blow drying, or anything stupid. You know.

Note-worthy Notes:
So far my hair certainly feels like it's adjusting/transitioning,
but it doesn't feel or look greasy.
So far so good.

The weirdest thing so far is taking pictures of myself to document it. It's like hearing your own voice. Ew.

Uncle J

Have I mentioned that Jason is an Uncle? No?
Well, that's because it just happened last Thursday.

Since then I've become prettyyyyy inspired to make lots of handmade baby clothes, bibs, and whatnot. There's a certain freedom in making apparel for children that is completely unique.
I love that.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Brian does Gershwin

via Amazon

The new Brian Wilson album came out today.
He really loves George Gershwin.
He also really loves sleigh bells.
AND he's doing an album of classic Disney songs next. I can't even wait.

Ahhh.... new music from Brian. What a perfect way to say bon voyage to summer.
(Is it bad that I feel drawn to do cover albums of B.W.'s cover albums??)


In other news, today I made mystery gourd bread out of the mysterious squash-like/zucchini growing in my garden.
If I never write in here every again, you know what happened. ;)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Drawing color.

Lately I've been trying to make a conscious effort to experiment with drawing color inspiration from pictures.
Here one! More to come!

Flowers that Jason got me for my birthday
(that had seen better days, trust me!)

My sister's birthday presents!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hello, summer crop!

I'd say my first garden was a success.

How did your garden turn out?
Tell me what was growing like a weed in your plot (besides the weeds!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

DIY Coaster Tutorial

I love pretty paper, especially wrapping paper. That's why I always save the ones I really love.
This DIY Coaster Tutorial is a great way to use that beautiful paper that you can't bare to part with!
And it's simple!
(I made these coasters while I was talking to my sister on the phone about how her creepy landlord keeps asking her out on dates. Eeek!!)

DIY Coaster Tutorial

  • Mod Podge
  • Paint brush
  • Old coasters or tiles.
  • Scissors
  • Paper (scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, a picture from a book, etc.. just don't use a picture you've printed out...the colors will run.)
  • Pencil
  1. Trace the shape of the tile onto your desired paper with a pencil, then cut.
  2. Lightly coat the tile with Mod Podge, place the paper onto the tile, and press out all of the bubbles.
  3. Paint another coat of Mod Podge on top of the picture. Let dry for 20 mins.
  4. Apply another coat of Mod Podge. (You can also use Resin for the top layer, but it's a pain in the butt, and it also smells like butt.)
  5. Allow your coaster to dry for 24 hours. (I put mine under a colander so my cats/dust/whatever couldn't get to it.) Please keep in mind that it takes about a month for Mod Podge to completely dry, so don't but anything hot onto your coaster for FOUR WEEKS!

As always, Willie and Humphrey felt that they needed to help me.
(God knows, my cats love their fish.)

Monday, August 9, 2010


After Jen came to visit, we both went to Florida for a week to visit family, and meet up with my mother.

Things I did:
  1. Drank wine for breakfast.
  2. Ate baklava.
  3. Went to pool aerobics, like a true Golden Girl.
  4. Went to Industrial night in downtown Orlando with Mobby Bonahan (pictured below) and danced with a Marilyn Manson look alike. (are you jealous yet?)
  5. Became quite dehydrated at the beach.

Things I did not do:
  1. Get a horrible sunburn.

Okay...now that you're updated on my life, we can actually get back to some DIY fun.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

JJ visits Sconnie.

I'm sorry I haven't been around lately, kittens!!
I just got back from spending two weeks with my older sister, Jen.
She has the strange ability to annoy me and make me laugh at the same time, but most of the time we genuinely laugh together (no annoyance necessary), and that's why we're best friends.

Jen spent the last week of July in Madison with me, where we were true outdoors-women.
Canoeing, biking, baking, and cheese-curd-eating/cider-drinking aplenty!

Here we are at the Terrace with my delectable friend, Andrew. Does that toothy grin look familiar?
Well, it should because it's the only physical attribute that my sister and I have in common!

After that we went to visit my G-parents and Ma in Florida.
And what a whale of a tale it was...

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