Monday, September 28, 2009

arrrr ye tired of pirates yet?

Well year 2009 Pirate faire is over and I thought I'd just attach a few more pics for the fun of it...I know there are more floating around the web too. These are from my friend Ayleene, she is a fabulous photographer, her website is in the watermark

Friday, September 25, 2009

round #2-Pirate faire

I love the idea of going, but weekend #2 is here and I have to go camping for 3 days! I am not packed. I understand that for the general public 2 weekends of a faire is preferable, but for me who has to work 3 shows a day in 90* heat...well let's just say it's a different story! I would like nothing better than to stay home and putter around the garden and bake a pizza.

Oh yes you heard me complaining! haha! my bad...bad bad bad!

Let me make it up to you with chocolate muffins...chocolate chocolate chip muffins in fact! They are NOT on anyone's diet, they have sugar, butter, & taste like brownies only you can carry them around in your could even eat one while riding your bicycle...which I think I may do in a few minutes.

see! Jillian approves this recipe!

I made these up while I was in the kitchen so I'm trying to remember the recipe now....
preheat oven 350*
line muffin tins w/ papers or grease them w/ your choice of stuff (I would choose butter).
makes 12 muffins

2 cups of unbleached flour (or you can use organic whole wheat pastry flour too)
3/4 cup sugar (I use the brownish kind you get from the health food store)
3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder, I use Droste natuurlijk!
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
mix dry ingredients with a whisk breaking up any clumps of concentrated powder

in separate bowl
6 tablespoons melted sweet cream butter
about 1 1/2 cups milk (start w/ 1 and add more if the batter is too thick)
1 egg
beat the egg into the other liquids

add the wet ingredients to the dry at this point add more liquid if necessary, you know what muffin batter should look like right? Thicker than cake or pancakes, wetter than cookies.
Use an easy hand to mix
Dump in about 3/4 of a bag of organic dark chocolate chips and mix some more.

fill muffin tins
check at 20 minutes, they may need a few more minutes

You can also spread these with a little cream cheese that has been mixed with powdered sugar & half and half.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yes it's Pirate Faire AGAIN!!

I don't feel the need to say much about Pirate Faire...I think the pictures tell the story pretty well. One more weekend left!

Monday, September 7, 2009

My cotton project

Not everyone I run across is aware of my multiple lives, belly dance students and friends don't necessarily know about my work in fibers, and visa versa. But that is part of what this blog is about, my attempt at integrating all the crazy split facets of my life.

So one of my belly dance students who is also attempting to live a low footprint life, mentioned that it was impossible to handspin cotton...she said this to me! of all people! It was her lucky day to be informed that it is indeed very possible to handspin cotton for multiple needs- knitting-weaving-string- and even easy and fun once you learn how it's done!

Well now that the year is almost over I'm telling you that the United Nations named 2009 the year of natural fibers. To me every year is the year of natural fibers. The ability to make objects we need that already exist in nature is a great gift as I'm sure most people realize. Current and future residents (of all species) of our planet stand to benefit from the use of natural fibers. From people who grow and produce commercial products to the home crafter we can lessen our negative impact on environment by using natural fibers. I don't believe we need synthetic fibers and they only add to our dependance on fossil fules. I have a strong belief that we can all enjoy abundant lives through local/slow food and (I just heard this one) slow clothes and more things beyond that. What we really need is less of everything in order to enjoy higher quality lives.

Back to the cotton story! So over the next few months I'm going to attempt to share the process of making clothing out of cotton from plant to finished product.

Here are pictures of the cotton trees in my garden. I planted them a year ago thinking they would just be the usual smallish cotton bushes that I have grown before, but for some reason they decided to become trees, the tallest of which is about 15 feet tall!

Cotton can be grown pretty easily in any temperate climate. Where I live we range from about 5-7 days below freezing to 14-21 days over 90* in a year. So it's pretty mild here, unfortunately we don't get much rain. You just start the little cotton seeds in the ground, I've done it any time of year. You have to protect your young plants if you have chickens or animals that like to eat tender young plants. I've been told it is a poisonous plant but I guess it's not to chickens as far as I can tell since one of my chickens ate my cotton plants a few years back and she is now 9 years old.
There are complete instructions on how to grow cotton in the current Fall 2009 issue of Spin off, for more complete instructions.
Here are pictures of my cotton plants! The pretty yellow flowers become large round seed pods called bolls, I will post pictures of some as soon as they appear trees and then they burst into cotton balls!

If you would like to try growing your own cotton, I'd be thrilled to send you some seeds, just send me a message!

I would like to add this piece written by George Carlin, I plucked it off of a newsletter recently...
A Message by George Carlin:
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little,watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too
much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are notgoing to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the preciousthoughts in your mind.
And always remember:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
George Carlin

labor day is lovely!

The unbelievable heat and dryness we experienced in Southern California last week appears to have given way to total perfection! I'm sitting on my backyard deck watching Robert assemble my bicycle trailer (part of my grand plan towards world domination through, yarn, bellydance, & bicycle riding) and enjoying the breeze and sounds of hummingbirds chirping. Of course part of my grand plan is also to move away from L.A. to an area where I can ride my bike to do what I need to do, have my garden, chickens, dogs (yes even Tasha), have lots of fiber and bellydance friends, and Robert can own a pub (that's my plan for him not his) and illustrate children's books. Isn't that a good idea?

Anyway, in the heat...lucky thing for public pools and the Pacific Ocean! After her first day of kindergarten Jillian and I whisked Riley away to Sycamore Canyon, my favorite beach. We saw dolphins and a seal was body surfing.

Pictured here along w/ our afternoon at the beach are my backyard fairy hut & the avacado tree which I grew from the pit of an avacado I bought at the market.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The balance of life

Lately I have been writing more about my non dance life, but that doesn't mean I'm not dancing or doing many dance things...part of the reason I've been doing this is because I got a new computer for my birthday from Robert and I have not moved all my pictures and information over to the new machine yet!

A few of the things I've done over the last two months are...

Danced at the Richard Lowe's showcase Kalidescope at the Oasis Dance studio w/ my beautiful daughter Jillian...
these pictures are by Richard Lowe of course! To see more of his work check out his website

I took Frederique's workshop and danced in the Oasis Super Saturdays showcase afterwards, but I don't have any pictures of that unfortunately... : (

On my birthday August 8 I danced in the Vegas Hafla that Weathervane puts on with Jillian, and Heidi. There are some really pretty pictures that Lee, Jon, and Richard took, but all but one are on my other computer. Keeping with the Las Vegas theme we did a piece with fan veils from Cirque du Soleil, it turned out really pretty! And then we did a DJ Shadow piece which was really fun and more our usual style. I'll dig it up on youtube and make a link if possible.

The HIGHLIGHT of August was that I took the Teacher Training from Fat Chance also at the Oasis in Highland...I learned how much I still need to learn. I am giving myself time to continue my studies and interest in ATS, hopefully I'll have some time to go up to San Francisco and study there on a regular basis. And although I won't discontinue doing my ITS and fusion dancing, I know I really want to put a lot more energy into the practice of ATS and would like to develop a Fat Chance sister studio. I am all at once proud, humbled and inspired!

I also have been going to shows, and watching other performers more than usual...I went to Christina & Donavon's hafla at Studio Iqaat. AND another highlight was Jillina's show Bellydance Evolution, with Jillna, Ansuya, Elizabeth Strong, Sa'Ellayssa which was amazing.

And of course I'm teaching my classes, we've been working hard to prepare for Pirate Faire and our recital which will be at Studio Iqaat on October 10th!

Are chickens psychic?

Robert and I were discussing the fact that our very naughty old lady chickens (Jack & Cher) have been breaking their eggs, or their eggs roll off of the ledge in their little nests and get cracked...either one; and how we don't want them to teach our new baby girls (Cutie,Cheap-cheap, Buttercup) not to do the same. Rob came up with this halarious idea to put golf balls in the chicken nests hoping that they would try to peck at them and realize it was painful and they would quit, that is if they can actually learn...
Anyway, they don't lay much any more, I mean when I say old ladies I'm not kidding! Jack is 9 years old and Cher is probably 6 or 7 (I got her full grown from a friend so I can only guess her age) basically they are way past laying age. Last week Cher laid an egg while Riley and I were in the garden and we took it away from her before she could do any naughty stuff, but when I brought it into the kitchen to wash it off it broke in my hands. This lead me to believe that her shells are not strong enough...yes she may have osteoporoses! And then yesterday again I found one of her eggs broken on the ground and I feared she had damaged that.

My friend Jenn recently told me she took her old chickens to the feed store after they were past their egg laying stage because it wasn't worth it to her to keep feeding them for no return. I am a vegetarian you may know, so this idea doesn't sit well with me. Last night I was speculating with Robert and saying perhaps lived a full and happy life and maybe it was time to do something like that....

Then this morning I went out to the garden to take care of them and lo and behold! What did I find? Two eggs, one green (it may look more white in the photo), and one brown! Nice and strong, not as big as they used to be but good eggs! I was going to title this blog "Do chickens have ears?", but I already know the answer to that one! Yes they do! That is how you know what color eggs they will lay. Jack is an Americauna and she has green ears and eggs, Cher's breed I have no idea but her ears and eggs are brown!