Saturday, June 26, 2010

on a dreary june day...

{lavender simple syrup}

...nothing is more wonderful than making up a batch of lavender lemon-aid and lemon-basil ice cream.

The lavender came from my mom's garden (ours is a little too puny) and the basil from ours.

I have some friends coming by tonight to help me enjoy!

Love Always
Joan Blondina

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

with the pursuit of inspiration I am able to grow...

What makes me qualified to write a blog? What makes Tyra Banks qualified to host a talk show? I love Tyra, but if she can do anything she wants to do, than so can I.

But really, it's after a few months of internal debate that I decided to blog. For me, blog reading started because blogging is a big part of the knitting world, and since I have no one in my life who shares a love for the 'art of purl' I get my inspiration from mysterious yet familiar strangers from afar. Knitting was the gateway drug that then led to to sewing blogs and DIY blogs and vegetarian blogs and interior design blogs... it's a big world out there folks! There's a lot of inspiration to be found. You can find examples of some of the bloggers who have given me inspiration on my sidebar. They are amazing. I am not delusional to think that I am as gifted or artsy or talented with the camera as they are (I don't have an SLR or Photoshop... frankly my laptop can't handle any photo editing period). I am certianly not as elloquant as many, yet I still really want to be a part of this sharing of ideas and thoughts. I can't express how women like Aura Joon and Sarah Britton have made me feel more comfortable about who I am, knowing that there are other's out there with similar values as mine. Why can't all these amazing women get together for an amazing women party at my home?? Well we can't. We can, however, meet up in blogland. So, here is my contribution. Thank you to those who have inspired me to be a part of this!

Not too long ago I was at my parents home helping them empty out the basement when I found a box of things from between the years of 1997 to 2002. Everything that I kept from before university was in a box (let's not be delusional... there were several boxes of hoarded half broken crafts and trinkets). Included amongst the treasures were past journals and notebooks. I have always written in a journal. Even now I write. As I read some poems and passages out loud to my mom we were both amazed at what I was writing, even as young as 14 years old. I just loved to write. While I still occasionally write privately in a journal, I don't pour myself out on paper like I used to. Granted, these were very private notebooks, and the internet didn't even exist for most of it, but I was somehow able to express some very insightful thoughts about significant developmental milestones. My mom asked me why I don't write anymore, and why I never pursued writing as a career. I told her that no job could ever be as glamorous or financially rewarding as social work (wink wink) but agreed writing is something that I enjoy.

There is something about writing that helps my thoughts to become organized. As someone who spends a lot of time in my head, it helps to turn thoughts into sentences. There is also something both terrifying and exhilarating about the transparency that comes with writing thoughts down. There is the chance that somebody could read it and (horror) know what I am really thinking. Well, I don't promise to share all of my deepest darkest secrets, but I do want to share a few thoughts. To anyone who is out there. Or to no one. I really don't care. This is partly for me too, you know!

So a little known fact about me is that I am a journal hoarder. I love them. I have some journals that I have found on my travels that I don't even intend to write in. I also have my journals organized thematically. For example, my journal library looks something like this:

- kitchen journal - where I record recipes that I hear a
bout, dream about, or concoct
- gardening journal - what I grow, where, and how it's doing each year
- knitting/crochet journal - when I make up a pattern I write it down - there are not many of these. It also includes ideas for a knitting business which I will probably never get around to!
- travel - oh, this one is a cherished one. It documents, in depth, each day of my travels when I am alway, except for, inevitably, the last few days when I am sick of writing
- a journal for poetic thoughts and insights
- a journal for the juicy details!!

And you know what... unlike my old journals, blogger has spellcheck! Lucky for you. Seriously.

I hope this serves to explain the purpose of wanting to make a blog. I figure I will have a thought, something to say or share to the world, and maybe document it for the whole world to read (or maybe nobody - and that would be fine too).

Love always,
Joan Blondina

how's it growing?

This is my first blog post, and I want to start it off light and easy. See how it feels to be a blogger before I commit. Commitment is hard. What is not hard is just talking. Actually that can be hard too... let's just talk about growing. Growing little things into big ones. What do you say?

I am no gardener, but I do love home grown vegetables and herbs. Being able to grow my own food, that I know is nutritious, organic, and as local as it gets makes me feel pretty empowered. Because I live in an apartment building I don't have a garden, but I do have a balcony, and therefore the best advantage out there for growing! Two summers ago we lived in a townhouse, and not only did we spend hours trying to get the polluted, cigarette butt infested, garbage laden, weed covered dirt from the previous renters out of there and replaced with actual soil, but we spent hours throwing rocks at the poor starving squirrels who feasted on everything we tried to grow! I hated gardening because of it!

Last year things were a lot easier, and this year even more so! We buy plants mid may because in our little nest there is no room for seedlings. This year we got a lot of them at a local market which had tons of variety. Balcony gardening is the fastest way to garden with the best results I think! It took us about 20 minutes to empty the containers of last years herbs and veggies, add fresh soil, plant and water everything. And the best part: no pests or weeding!
thyme, parsley, chili peppers, and mint
Thankfully we do get some bee friends who visit to pollinate. Otherwise there are no critters to compete with. We water every couple of days and enjoy!
cos lettuce, chives, cilantro, rosemary
We ended up switching the tomatoes/basil with the chili/mint/parsley/thyme because the eastern-most corner gets the longest sunshine.

We are really looking forward to trying the heirloom tomatoes. A big problem with food these days is that with the thousands of varieties of veggies like tomatoes, we only get a handful in our grocery stores. This is not right. We can't appreciate the diversity and complexity of food when all we get are some rubbery, waxy, two week old genetically modified version of the real thing. This is why growing is so important!
lettuce leaf basil, heirloom tomatoes (black russian and pineapple)

I can't live without this lovely lady!
Lavender is my favorite! I can't walk down the street and pass a lavender bush without sticking my hand in and smelling it's perfume. Every home should have lavender. In our old townhouse I planted 8 lavender plants, three different varieties, and they all got choked out by the infestation of burrs that I could never get to go away. Needless to say, nothing grew at that house except for my need to move.
welcome buddies! grow big and tall!

By the time I am writing this everything has doubled in size. I have enjoyed all of the herbs in my cooking! What a delight! I can't wait for tomatoes to come! I see some fresh salsa in my future!

basil in its glory
come on out little one!
tomato jungle
"i'll be a chili one day"
We had some extra containers, so I planted some seeds (a little late, I know) and we'll see what happens to them. They are all flowers, so hopefully I can have something to make some home-made arrangements with soon! Here's what they look like right now:


what will you look like?

decorative climbing sweet peas

Isn't nature amazing?

Love Always,
Joan Blondina