Category Archives: Community

Processing Pain With Patchwork Quilts

2015 will be a year Eric and I will always remember. It’s a memorable one because we made it through. It was our first year of marriage and we made it through all the ups and downs that 2015 threw our way. We were pretty sure of it when we married each other, but now we know, without a doubt, that we can weather any storm.

IMG_65852015 was the year my mother-in-law lost her battle with cancer. It was the year when my brother-in-law unexpectedly made his journey too, just three short months after mom. 2015 was the year when we found out we were going to be parents only to learn that 2015 was not the right time after all. We’ve experienced three of those losses this year. I had my third miscarriage just last week at 11 weeks pregnant. We heard a heartbeat at 8 weeks and when we went back for our follow-up appointment, the heartbeat was gone. To say that my heart is heavy would be an understatement. The sadness I feel is palpable.

In the midst of all this sadness, during this time of emotional transformation, I’m finding ways to bring myself peace. The incredible outpouring of love and support from our family and friends wraps me up like a blanket and gives me hope for brighter times ahead. Through all of the loss, we’ve also had an amazing abundance of encouragement, friendship, and love. My gratitude for our community abounds.

IMG_6421I’m also finding consolation in unexpected places. It turns out, my sewing machine brings me solace. My mama knew her way around a sewing machine and thankfully, she passed her sewing skills on to me. I often think of my mom when I sew. When my mother-in-law passed away this summer, she left me an incredible gift – her sewing machine. So now, when I sit down at that sewing machine, I feel like I connect with my grandma, my mama, and my mother-in-law. I can feel all of my mamas’ spirits with me.

IMG_6450Like in September, when I sat down at my sewing machine to piece together my very first quilt, I imagined the joy they’d get out of seeing my patches. I shared my newly sewn quilts with anyone who would humor me, but wished so badly that I could show them to my moms. They would have loved them as much as I do. Pouring my love into vibrantly colored baby quilts has become the most ironic and comforting grief therapy. I sit at my sewing machine, surrounded by colors and patterns, and piece together quilts for future babies of friends I love. I think of my moms and wish I could talk to them, cry with them, lean on them. But because I can’t, I sew. I sew and I process the feelings that come over me as I navigate the journey of potentially becoming a mom, a journey that is nothing like I expected. I process my feelings of disappointment, sadness, attachment, and hope with every stitch.

IMG_2228As I thought about what would happen to my outlet when I finish the last quilt I have to make for a friend, I decided my quilting therapy doesn’t have to end. It can be a way to serve. I decided that I will sew these whimsical quilts I love, these quilts that heal my heart and bring me joy, and will donate them to places where they can bring children joy.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.  – Radindranath Tagore

Seattle Children’s Hospital immediately comes to mind, but if you know of an organization or place where my quilts could bring some little ones comfort and joy, please let me know!

* Fox Quilt Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman

Sharing in the Goodness: An Interview with Solid Ground

GiveRecently, I had the opportunity to chat with the folks at Solid Ground. I was honored that they wanted to hear about my story. We got to talk about what I love about being a giving gardener and about the experiences I’ve had as a child and as an adult that inspire me to keep giving.

goodnessIf you’re on the Solid Ground mailing list, you likely already saw my face on the cover of their quarterly newsletter! I am featured in the lead story! If not, you can read the article by clicking this link: ‘Sharing in the Goodness.’ Neat!

 

Cilantro Lime Brussels Sprout Slaw

IMG_2621When your friend is willing to share a bounty of local, organic Brussels sprouts, you take her up on it. The abundance of Brussels sprouts I ended up with, a five stalk bundle, inspired all kinds of delicious meals and I can’t wait to share them with you. It’s local food “Iron Chef” and this is what I’ve done with my featured ingredient, the first of several Brussels sprout posts to come.

My bounty of Brussels sprouts came from my friend, Janelle, the founder of the awesome new farm food site called Farmstr. It’s a super cool online marketplace that connects local farms with local consumers. Janelle says,

Farmstr is passionate about supporting farmers, and enabling their success by bringing them new customers and better margins. Farmstr is excited about making it possible for anyone, people like you and me, to easily find and access nearby farms, choose farmers, ranchers, and fishermen to support and to be able to buy farm fresh food for less than you would pay at the store.

If Farmstr is new to you, I’d encourage you to check it out!  It’s an amazing resource for Seattleites who want to connect with local farmers for seasonal, organic food. Seattle Seedling readers that sign up to get the weekly e-update about new food offered in the marketplace will get $6.50 off their first Farmstr purchase! That’s a free dozen eggs or a nice little discount off of your own bundle of Brussels sprouts or other local goodness! Score!

To get your first timer bonus, follow these simple steps:

1. Go to Farmstr.com

2. Sign up to get the weekly hot sheet delivered to your inbox (the dialogue box on the site, front and center). I love this because then I know exactly what new goodies are being offered without having to check back on the site all the time.

3. When you sign up, let Janelle know that you heard about Farmstr on my blog and you’ll get your bonus! Neat!

IMG_2636Brussel Sprout Recipe No.1

Cilantro Lime Brussels Sprout Slaw

A light bulb went off in my head when it occurred to me that I could use Brussels sprouts the way I like to use cabbage. They’re like mini-cabbages! My boyfriend, a steadfast Brussels sprout hater, would beg to differ, but if you gave me the Pepsi challenge, especially in this recipe, I couldn’t tell the difference. I loved every single bite of this slaw – my tacos never tasted better!

The measurements for this slaw are not precise and that’s on purpose. This salad is meant to be simple, easy and delicious. Chop up the Brussels sprouts you have available and adjust the amounts of lime, salt and dressing to taste. It’s really hard to mess this up.

Ingredients:

Fresh, raw Brussels sprouts (about one stalk worth)
1 lime
A handful of cilantro
Salt
One batch of this creamy cilantro dressing

Method:

Rinse the Brussels sprouts, trim the ends and peel off the outside leaves of the sprouts.

Halve and then thinly slice the Brussels sprouts; put them into a medium-size mixing bowl.

Squeeze the juice of a lime over the Brussels sprout shreds and sprinkle with salt. Mix to incorporate thoroughly. Let the Brussels sprouts marinate a bit while you put together the cilantro dressing. Click here for a link to that recipe.

Add the dressing to the slaw and mix well.

IMG_2637Serving ideas:

I love to serve this slaw with homemade carnitas (Have you made these yet? They are killer!). When I made my Brussels sprout slaw this week, I added it to some rotisserie chicken tacos in corn tortillas with fresh avocado.  I imagine it’d be amazing with some homemade fish tacos as well. I have a feeling I’m going to be making this Brussels sprout slaw again very soon.

Blue Ribbon Fig and Thyme Jam

ribbonOn Friday, the first one of the new school year, I found myself feeling a little run down. I ate lunch and checked the updates on my phone only to find the most exciting message, “Your fig and thyme jam took first place! Woohoo!!!” I bounded into the other room to share the news with my colleagues. It was just the kind of news I needed to boost my spirits and get me to the end of the day.

fig_jamAfter winning my blue ribbon last year, I didn’t know what to expect. I was open to the possibility that it might not happen again and at the same time hopeful that I would end up with another blue ribbon under my belt. I am beyond thrilled that I did. I am beaming as I write this.

Since I can’t let y’all taste the winning jam, I wanted to at least share the recipe. It was a winner even before it won a ribbon.

Fig and Thyme Jam

Adapted from So Easy To Preserve
(a highly recommended preservation cookbook of safe and tested recipes)

Makes about 5 pints

About 5 pounds fresh figs (~ 2 qts. chopped)
3/4 cup water
6 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Prepare the Figs:

Rinse the figs and place in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the figs and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain, stem and chop the figs.

Make the Jam:

In a large dutch oven or saucepan, add the figs, sugar, thyme and water. Slowly bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking. Check to see that the jam has reached the jelling point. (Click here for three ways to test if your jam is done.) Once it has reached that point, add the lemon juice and cook for a minute longer. Pour hot jam into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. *Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

* Follow these instructions for safe water bath canning.

Enjoy!

Click here for adorable label ideas!