I have a new crush. I haven’t been talking about her because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (Ukuleles can be so sensitive!). Her name is Stella, and while we’ve been living together for a few months, we’re just finally getting to know each other.
New love can hurt a bit! I have sore finger tips because I’m unaccustomed to steel strings, and my head aches from learning new chord shapes, but I’m having a wonderful time.
Stella is about nine years older than me, and she’s come through her 52 years relatively unscathed.
We met a couple of years ago, when my friend John found her hanging around the thrift store, and brought her home for a song.
He gave her some attention and TLC, and even hand made her a leather jacket to go over her original case.
Then John found another 4-string, a hefty Brazilian quatro that fit his playing style better. Stella languished at home, alone. I had nearly forgotten about her when he mentioned in April that he’d be taking her to the Folk Fest music swap. I saved him the trouble and bought this sweet tenor guitar for his asking price. If I practice, maybe someday we’ll make beautiful music together!
UPDATE: Guess who else played a Stella Tenor Guitar?
For instance, I finally made use of the instrument hanging hack I learned from my friend Rhonda. If you’re like me, and you’re house is filled with stringed music makers that are safer off the ground, you may want to try this too. I made two in less than five minutes (after thinking and procrastinating and collecting the right materials for weeks). The first two I hung are Jay’s guitar and baritone uke, and now, voilà! They’re still within his arms reach, and won’t get accidentally kicked over.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Sturdy picture hangars
A scrap of heavy leather
Hang the picture hangar where you’d like your instrument to rest.
Cut a piece of leather about 1.5″ wide and 4″ long. Then cut it in half but only 2/3 of the way, making two ends. Then fold and snip a hole in each end big enough for a tuning peg to fit though.
Slide each end over a tuning peg. (I chose the lower peg so the strap itself won’t show on the wall).
For the month of March, my students from my latest artist in the schools residency at Juneau Douglas High School are exhibiting their work in the gift shop at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.
The lovely folks at the JACC let us transform a portion of their lobby gift shop with the twelve collaborative ceramic and felt pieces the students made.
The residency was an unusual collaboration. I taught wet felting to beginning ceramics students, and in the same two weeks they learned the basics of working with clay, while they made and glazed beads to go on their felted pieces.
Heather Ridgway, the ceramics teacher, and I wanted to create a mixed media exploration of social pressures and communication. The students began the semester with a visit from members of the Sources of Strength suicide prevention program. The Sources of Strength exercises ignited thinking and conversation about the power of diverse relationships.
The classes created felted fabric and ceramic beads, designing and assembling their pieces collaboratively while reflecting on the artistic concepts of unity, emphasis, and juxtaposition. As we had hoped, their pieces demonstrate how the fragility and strength of wool echo the fragility and strength of human connection.
This is my favorite find from a recent trip to Anchorage. I was wondering through a sweet little shop downtown called Balliwick. The shop is small and well-curated with a sense of humor. And the last time I was there in December, I found a wonderful Irish sweater from the 1960s that was barely worn. But that’s a story for another post.
I don’t know how old this linen napkin is, exactly, but I’m guessing 1950s. What do you think?
These days it’s not uncommon to introduce snarkiness and irony into crafts, and humor rightly challenges and subverts the expectation that handcrafts are staid or old fashioned. I love that. So, while it would be silly to assume that our predecessors had any less fun than we do with needle and thread, it’s great to have stumbled again upon a little proof.
My girl, playing an old resonator guitar, outside, in Alaska, in February. The guitar, the scooter, the garage, even the vest on her back belong to our friend John who was taking a break from repairing shoes in his garage shoe shop to jam with our friend Reed. Or maybe he was taking a break from jamming to work on some shoes, which is how Selma sweet talked her way into the resonator and the vest.
Lately, I’ve been musing about how to feed those I love this summer as they wander off to various adventures at land and sea. I want treats that are not only delicious, but also nutrition-packed and portable. Somebody shared a recipe the other day, and my first thought was: that would be delicious with smoked salmon. So, I went and created my own version of savory, eggy muffins with an Alaskatarian twist. Frankly, my brood are all off on adventures right now and I have the kitchen to myself for days, so I’ll probably freeze the ones I didn’t gobble up for dinner.
This is a flourless recipe, but you wouldn’t notice that if I hadn’t told you. The muffins are made with almond meal and flax meal–you could easily use a cup of whole wheat flour instead of the nut and seed meals if that sounded yummier or just easier to you.
Salmon & Cheese Egg Muffins
Preheat the oven to 350F.
1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. flax meal
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. dried dill weed
several grinds of cracked pepper.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. manchego cheese, shredded
4 oz. soft goat cheese (chèvre) crumbled in 1/2 inch chunks (you can substitute cream cheese)
1 jar of smoked red salmon
Whisk together the eggs and oil in a separate bowl. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients until combined. Gently stir in the salmon, cheese, and goat cheese, so the cheeses and salmon stay in large chunks. Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.
Serve hot or at room temperature. To store, cool completely and wrap tightly before freezing muffins individually.