Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday Morning Inspiration/Connection

Life lessons always seem to be learned in difficult times.
Twice in my life my mouth has been wired shut. The first time was so that my bones could heal from a tumor being removed from my jaw. The second was after the reconstructive surgery that was needed to rebuild my face from the damage that the tumor and the removal of it had caused. All of my meals had to be liquid. During that period of time, I could smell food as it cooked, and although the food had been liquefied, I could taste. But what I learned was that the joy of eating actually comes from being able to chew food. As time went on, I ate less and less, I simply lost the desire to eat. 

Over the last 2 weeks, I've learned that so much of the human experience of  joy comes from being with others, sharing experiences. I miss that I cannot invite friends for dinner, sit in a packed theater and watch a movie, get together with my sewing friends, go to a restaurant, and the list goes on. Thankfully, we do have the internet which gives us the opportunity to connect. A diferent connection, but connection  nonetheless. 

I receive a wonderful newsletter from an organization called CrossRoads. Here's a little about them and their mission;

Travel with us on ClothRoads to a world of authentic textile culture. Here you’ll find folk and collectible textiles, accessories, fabric, and fiber art materials from many corners of the globe, along with fascinating stories of indigenous artisans and ancient techniques used in traditional and modern ways.
From the rivers of India to the mountaintops of Peru, we go directly to villages and cooperatives to bring you these textile stories and the work of skilled artisans who are dyeing, weaving, spinning, printing and embroidering some of world’s most beautiful objects. When you purchase from ClothRoads, you help us to build and develop new markets that allow artisans and communities, especially women and girls, to flourish.

In their most recent newsletter, rather than link to galleries and museum exhibitions, CrossRoads linked to some wonderful videos that I thought you too might enjoy.

The first is about a silk marbling technique that is being used for Hermes scarves.

This wonderful clip is about Abdelkader Ouazzani, Morocco's last Brocade weaver.

Have you ever wondered what happens to our cast off clothing? I saw this piece a while back and found it to be fascinating. It is 13 minutes well spent.

And finally, a full length movie, but well worth your time.

In the remote Andean highlands of Peru, Victoriano Arisapana cares for the woven footbridge that has stretched over the gorge for hundreds of years. The secrets of this bridge, the only one left from the ancient Incan empire, have been passed down by the men of Victoriano's family for 300 years. Victoriano is the Bridge Master, the one who has inherited the sacred task of weaving the bridge and of making the sacrificial offerings to the mountain spirits each year. But his sons are drawn to life in the city and his daughter is prohibited from this male-only tradition. When she goes missing a week before the start of 9th grade, this Andean farmer must confront an uncertain future, caught between preserving family tradition and losing his children to a world of change.

This is a rental, but only $3.99.   

Although we are unable to be together in person, I think this is a wonderful time to discover others and enrich our minds. And then, when this is all over, and we can once again come together, we'll have so much more to share. 
If you would like to receive the ClothRoads newsletter, you can find the signup HERE

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Supper/Marukan Chicken

Yes, it's me, a real post!
This winter has been very quiet blog wise, but full of so many other adventures. Sadly, I have allowed blog posts to slide. A friend whom I met through the blog sent a note yesterday, "just checking on you!" Funny how something like a quick note can have such a huge impact. And so, I'm back :)

I do have a soup recipe to share. I'll post it later this week, but I just have to share this recipe with you! It is not my own invention, and I can't remember how I found it, but I am SO glad that I did. While my diet is basically a vegetarian diet, and one that tends to be even vegan, from time to time, I will make a chicken dish. My husband tells everyone that he is vegetarian by proxy, in other words, he eats what I cook ;) So, from time to time, I give in and give him a treat. 

Now, doesn't this look amazing?!!!
This is a picture that I took of my finished dish, and trust me, it's as delicious as it looks.

The recipe calls for bone in chicken thighs. I used boneless, and I don't think it affected the outcome in the least bit. I also used 6 oz. of dried apricots rather than the 8 oz. that are called for. I had most everything on hand, except for the olives. With all the grocery store shortages, I thought that I might not get what I wanted. What I found, and felt worked perfectly were Mezzetta Pitted Castelvetrano Italian Olives

*A note;
Do not leave out the apricots! I know the combination of ingredients sounds a bit strange, but it all works. My husband had seconds, and wanted more, but there was dessert :)

Marukan Chicken with Apricots and Olives

1 hour 30 minutes
6 Servings
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp
Olive Oil
1 tsp
Thyme, dried
Chicken Thighs, bone-in
To Taste
Kosher or Fine Sea Salt
To Taste
Black Pepper
White Onion, cut in half then sliced
4 Cloves
Garlic, minced
1 1/2 Cup
Low Sodium Gluten Free Chicken Broth
Bay Leaves, small
8 oz
Apricots, dried
2 Cups
Sicilian Olives, pitted and smashed
For Garnish
For Garnish
Parsley chopped


Combine Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar with 1⁄4 cup olive oil and thyme. Set aside. Remove the skin and excess fat from the chicken thighs and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, in batches, meaty side down, and brown well on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pot, add the onion along with a big pinch of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the vinegar mixture to the pot and cook, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves, stir to combine and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is just beginning to thicken slightly. Add the apricots and olives, stir to combine, and nestle the chicken thighs into the mixture. Cover the pot and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle the top with paprika and chopped parsley and serve with rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.

Recipe Credit: Simply Gluten Free

You can find a printable version of the recipe HERE
 This is a company worthy dish. I really think you'll love it. There are lots of interesting recipes on the Marukan website, so check  them out :) 

Hope you are all well!

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections

My favorite prayer is the Lord's Prayer. It offers me comfort when I am at a loss as to what to say to God. When I awake in the middle of the night, the prayer gives me comfort. I invite you to listen, and offer up whatever may be on your heart. 
This is by far my favorite version.


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Monday, March 2, 2020

The Dress That Walked To Freedom

This past Saturday morning, I was out in subzero weather, trying to perfect my newly learned cross-country skiing skills. I was quite lucky as the instructor I had the previous week wasn't able to work with me. The replacement instructor was wonderful!!! What a difference. I felt that he really wanted to see me excel, and I did :) 

During the course of our lesson, we briefly talked about a new documentary that was released over the weekend, Tread. It's about a man who became quite angry, ended up ordering a bulldozer, outfitted it with concrete(making it indestructible), and went on to destroy a number of the businesses in the small mountain town of Granby, Colorado. The cross-country ski instructor told me that his father had been a physician, and believed that there is good in all people. He went on to say that he believed that at the core of human beings is evil. I felt sad hearing that. While yes, so many evil things happen in this world, but it doesn't take much to find the good.

This story has been on the news, and all over the internet, but I thought I would share it as it really touched my heart, and too, just in case you haven't seen the story. 

There's a new exhibit at the Australian War Memorial, and in that exhibit is a dress that exemplifies, I think, the true human spirit, compassion and love. The dress was created for Henryka Shaw so that she would have something to wear once she was able to leave the hospital after the liberation of the Mauthausen concentration camp. All she had was the sheet that covered her. 

Her friends and fellow prisoners would not allow her to walk to freedom without something proper to wear. The dress is believed to have been made from curtains found in one of the Nazi's elite offices. The fabric looks to be a simple cotton, but take note of the exceptional craftsmanship. The plaid is beautifully matched, and the hang of the bias is perfect. This dress was truly a labor of love. You can read more about the dress and the exhibition HERE.

In this short, 2 minute video, you can hear Henryka's daughter talk about the dress, and get a glimpse of the interior construction. 

I am especially excited as I will be attending a lecture that will be given at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee on May 17, 2020. The author of the book, Fashion Metropolis Berlin will be there to talk about the fashion industry in Berlin from 1836-1939. With the outbreak of the war, and the hatred of the Jews, what had once been a thriving industry, in 1933 was taken over and the businesses became "Aryanized." Under Aryan management, the businesses no longer prospered. The owners were robbed, displaced, and murdered.  

If by chance you might like to attend the lecture,you can find all of the info HERE on the Jewish Milwaukee website. I think it will be an especially informative lecture. 

Yes, there is hatred and violence in the world, and we must acknowledge that it is there. I just finished a study of the book of Esther in the Old Testament. It was fascinating! The statement that Esther's cousin, Mordecai made to her is a motto that I have taken to heart, 

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"
Esther 4:14  

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