30 March 2012

newspaper seed pots.

I spent this morning making 72 newspaper seed pots. I then filled them with dirt and planted tomatoes, tomatillos and orange habanero peppers! I have all of my gourd seeds soaking overnight and I'll put those in the seed pots I'm making now. I have hundreds of these things to make...yipppee.

19 March 2012

homestead babies / chickens ducks & turkeys

         Getting ready for our little homestead!

2 of the lovely young lady chickens.

2 of the darling lil duckies!

This is our male turkey.

We got a trio of turkeys, a tom and two ladies. It should be easier to resist naming him Tommy, I will resist! I am very interested to watch these turkeys grow and become our friends. We have high hopes that they will aide us in insect control in our garden and I keep reading what great pets they make.

The ducks are so cute! We fill a giant bowl and watch them swim in the sunshine everyday. They are just darling and the youngest out of all these birds.

The chickens are very present and make eye contact! I look forward to loving them and collecting their eggs. Raising these babies is going to be so rewarding and fun!

16 March 2012

jadite salt shaker

Paca score of the century! Well, not really but, I'm pretty cized on it. I've been pining for an old jadite salt shaker forever. I spook them on etsy all the time and they are always way too pricey for me but, I've kept up hope that one day I'd find an affordable one. Look no more I will (Yoda voice).
I found this one for Q5 yesterday...that's less than a dollar and I didn't even bargain on the price!
It's already washed, dried, filled with salt and in action.
Ohh, it's the little things....
And don't you think it'll be the perfect salt shaker for our little farm? I do.

homesteading it's our dream, it's our future.

We have been in Xela (a big city for Guaemala) for a year and a half now and we've been in the house we're in for a year. We've been pining for dirt, trees and open air; in other words, el campo!

We move in 10 days to just that, the country, just outside of San Juan del Obispo, Sacatepequez!

We think we have an acre to farm (homestead) and a house with a big chicken run and a separate building that will make two nice stalls. We have big plans for this place and our new lifestyle and we are busy putting them into action. We procured an arsenal of non-gmo seeds including:
egyptian kamut wheat
amaranth oppeopo
beans beans beans
tomatoes galoure
melons & watermelons
squash (summer & winter)
highbush blueberries
black currants
mustard greens

Our goal with the homesteading is to become food independent! I feel like that should be capitalized, it's so important and special to me! Food independence goes hand in hand with having a whole-diet farm and that's what we are aiming for. It's not going to happen over night but, we'll work as hard as we can towards our goal.

For meat & eggs we are going to have:
Guinea Hens

For milk, butter & cheese we are going to have:

The property has an avocado tree, it's young but, it's already producing. There's also a 2 year old cinnamon tree! How cool is that? We really just can't sit still we are so excited!

We are going to garden using Intensive Gardening methods to maximize our space and work with the earth....can't wait to have a Three Sisters Garden!

14 March 2012

acapulco chair

I love my Acapulco Chair! We got it in Coatepeque and we're going back for another one! It's like a rocking chair and hammock all in one. It's the supreme book-reading/lounging in the sun chair!

22 February 2012

Mexican Garlic.

Last week I was lucky to go on a lovely Valentine's trip (ok, slash, visa run trip) to Mexico. We went to San Cristobal de las Casas and loved it. The market there was, of course, incredible. I brought back that braided bunch of garlic..smelled great all the way home! I can't wait to cook with it since the cloves are bigger and easier to use than the ones here in Guatemala. I have a sneaky little feeling that they'll be tastier too!
I also got a beautiful little stack of Haas type avocados. They were the tastiest avocados I've had in ages and you can bet your bottom dollar that all four of those little seeds are in jars (hopefully sprouting) on a window sill in my house right now. Yay! I <3 C.A. markets!

20 February 2012

egg dreams.

We love love love the markets here and do the majority of our shopping there. You just never know what you're going to find each time you go and we go almost everyday. It's always fun when one of us stays home and the other goes on a market shop. Surprises from the market are the best!
The other day Zach came home with all kinds of great treasures: geese eggs, a duck egg, 7 fist size Crystal Quartz rocks, 1 big chunk of Obsidian and a bike! About those eggs though...he got them with hopes of hatching them. Right away, he whipped up an incubator out of a lightbulb and cardboard box, marked them so we can turn them...we have a thermometer and by adjusting the lid we have the temp hovering at 100 degrees. Incubation period is 21 days and we have our fingers crossed that we have some hatchlings in a few weeks or less. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed!

19 February 2012

Broad beans for a favour.

I had the pleasure of shelling these beautiful Fava Beans aka Broad Beans. A couple of days ago my honey-bunny, Zach, helped a dude & his son carry his 2 huge costales (think modern feed sacks) full o' beans they'd grown & harvested. They were all on a bus together going to the market in San Francisco and the bus did not indeed drop them at the market as they said they would but, a ways away, downhill from the market, no doubt. Anyhoo...Zach got some great cardio in (hah! I think he about killed himself carrying that 100 lb.+ bag of beans.) For his very kind hardwork he got a 'free' bag of beans that he brought home much to my delight, they are one of my very favourites!! We eat them about twice a week. I will peel the ones in the picture one more time. I usually cook them like this: saute them for maybe 5 minutes with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt then, add water or stock and let simmer until tender! We eat them just as they turn out or I'll mash them and I add them to soups, stews and pasta dishes too. Yum!

22 January 2012

Sewing again!

I haven't sewn in some time, let's see...um, over 2 years! I didn't/couldn't bring my sewing machine to Guatemala when we moved. Moving house via luggage is not an easy task. As luck would have it, I was able to purchase a brand new machine in December and bring it back with me! It's taken some weeks to start using it but, I have and I've just begun.
*I got a Brother XL 2600i-love it a lot so far.


My etsy shop featuring my sewn efforts.

I gave my old appleseeds shop on etsy a new life with a new name:

I am working with old well loved vintage Mayan traje (clothing). All of it is handmade from the ground up. It's all been woven on a backstrap loom and a lot of pieces are even woven with fiber harvested and made by hand. All of the designs and patters and imagery on the traje is threaded in as the piece is being woven on the loom this technique is called brocade. Guatemala is 65% indigenous Maya Indian and most of them, especially the women, still wear the traditional clothing. All of the clothing is village specific, although plenty of modern Mayans tend to wear whatever they like from which ever town but, for the most part you can tell where someone lives or is from by the huipil they are wearing. Being obsessed with the indigenous culture and absorbing it like a sponge, I find myself living the simple life they do: going to the market everyday, preparing all of my meals from fresh and scratch and just taking life one day at a time. Spending a lot of time in the markets, I have almost become bi-lingual but, not quite, I don't exactly speak 'Spainish' instead I speak 'Guatemalan Market Spanish'. I write this smiling because I think it's funny but, what it really is is just the Spanish I need for my life at the mo'. What I am getting at is I spend a lot of time in the market and that's where most of the used (and new) traje is sold and traded. I've been collecting pieces to sew for a while and it's great to finally be getting around to it!

Deconstructing a vintage Chichicastenango huipil.
The huipil from Chihi is attractive to me in several ways. First, I love the patterns and colours, second, they are thick n' heavy and feel great, third, they are three panels attached by a hand-sewn external seam called a 'randa'. I love the panels because I can simply separate the and make pillows from the outer two panels without even having to cut into them. I have lots of ideas for the use of the middle panel but, haven't gotten to any of them yet. Here are some of the pillows I've made so far:

It's all very exciting to me and I can't wait to venture on to making different things!!

18 November 2011

Happy Birthday, Margret Atwood!

King Charles River, 1963

Happy Birthday to a favourite Author and fellow Lady Scorpio!!!!!
I just love Margret Atwood's writings. I get lost in her novels like no others, the more I read the more entranced I become by her words. I've never read more complex thoughtful insightful stories. She's a living legend and her body of work is beyond impressive; an inspiration of all time.

I've read these:
The Edible Woman*
Handmaiden's Tale
Oryx & Crake
Cat's Eye*
The Blind Assasin*
The Year of the Flood*
Robber's Bride*
Moral Disorder

*I have these books here with me on my bookshelf.

10 November 2011

living wreaths

Graves are decorated to the hilt for All Saints Day and Day of the Dead....here's a glimpse of the living wreaths that gorgeously adorn the graves in Xela Cemetario a week into November.

Simple. Beautiful. Amazing.

06 November 2011

i heart vintage leather.

The more distressed the better. The more battered and forgotten about the leather looks, the more I like it! I think that might be why I've found such badass leather bags here for a song!!

1st find! Cinammon Brown Leather Backpack Q20.
So practical. I use it for market shops & overnighters.

Most recent find: Oxblood Leather Bag with Wooden Handles. Q10

Pricey one! Warm Brown Soft Leather Bag Q30
I fell for this bag & passed it up b/c it was Q40; thought
about it for a week & went back with the luck to actually
find it in the crazy ass Minvera pacas. And I got it for Q10
less! Woohoo! It's a great bag..the straps adjust to two
lengths, there is one main pocket in the middle and then FOUR
huge saddle bag type pockets-two on each side...this bag
holds so much! la la love it.

05 November 2011

stumbled upon...

...a new trick! Well, not really a trick per se but, a handy discovery that I will put to good use. The other day it just so happened that we didn't have any fresh towels so, I grabbed one of my vintage linen tablecloths that I am so fond of. Turns out this table cloth functions way better than any towel I've ever used. It absorbs the water swift and gentle. It's miles softer and thinner making it easier to maneuver than a towel and it's so big I was fully wrapped. And on top of all of that it dried about ten times, if not more, faster than a dang towel! Oh, there is one more great thing about this: it rolls up even smaller than a towel making it the perfect on the go 'towel'. I have to just add one more thing, even though I have all vintage towels that I think are so pretty, I think the vintage linen tablecloth is just gorgeous. Mine aren't just tablecloths any more! I got this one here in Xela at the pacas in Minerva...love the pacas here! <3.

04 November 2011

potato face.

Pretty awesome eye & eyebrow for a tater.
That ain't all, this spud has two awesome eyes & eyebrows!

With a cute lil nose too....what a face!

03 November 2011

aguas amargas

 We decided to finally go and check out Aguas Amargas. A little hot springs destination not too far away from Xela. So we hop on a bus and head in that direction, getting off the bus in a small pueblo that we have to walk through. Mind you we had to tell the bus where we were going and we had to ask a few people which direction to walk and they all happily told us which way to go to get to Aguas Amargas. What they did not tell us, is that it was completely destroyed in a hot mudslide last year! Classic. It was a fantastic day even though we didn't get to soak in the hot thermal waters there.
What is left of the entrance.

 It's so destroyed and overgrown it's hard to see what's going on. If you see the little waterfalls towards the top right-ish part of the photo....those little waterfalls are going over what was the road.

This was one of the cabana rooms with a tub that thermal water flowed into. Egads, now it's a mudroom!
                                        This the road going there. Totally washed out. It was fun walking down through the little river.

02 November 2011


Not everysingle time but, a lot of the times I buy flowers and arrange them I am left with the odd flower heads that fell off or can't be used in the arrangement for some reason or another. I can never bring myself to toss the beauties out with the stems and scrappy leaves! The last batch I floated the flowerheads in bowls of water. Floating flowers are so enjoyable to have around. Win win. I've also strung flowerheads and used them for some tipico photos in the background.

01 November 2011

Happy All Saint's Day!

Greetings from Guatemala on All Saint's Day (Dia de Todosantos)!!! We'll be in the cemetary today for sure. This is a special day here. Families gather in cemetaries; they clean and decorate their family/loved ones graves and picnic there all day. The traditional dish of the day is a funky mix of up to 50 ingredients called, Fiambre. Flying kites is a popular past-time on this day; creating a link between life on earth and the lives of those that have passed to the other side. This will be our 2nd year participating in the tradition. =)

These giant handmade kites are just amazing.

Fiambre. Putting a 'blue flower' on top is super popular fancy!
We've yet to have the pleasure of sampling some local Fiambre.
(Already walking around today more cars than not that have gone by me have someone with a big ol' dish of 
 Fiambre in their lap! It's kind of awesome! )

31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

I may very well live in another culture with a whole different way but, that doesn't mean I don't think about my own cultural going-ons. Here we are on Halloween and I have so many fond memories of dressing up going trick or treating and I will cherish those forevs. I wonder what the most popular costumes will be this year?? However, as an adult I don't exactly miss Halloween but, I do wish everyone especially all the kiddos and my friend and family with kiddos a huge safe and Happy Halloween!!

30 October 2011

a personal trick to summon super-power

Me & Mike in our Superhero states of being.

When I find myself in a situation where I need to really bring it and be intimidating (you know, like when I feel like I am being scoped out by some street urchins or banditos or something); I imagine that I am that guy above and Mike is that hyena! It totally works!! I just project as much as I can that Mike and I am them. This image serves us well. I think they are the perfect superhero duo flip side for Mike and me.

Mike & Me at any given 'regular' moment.

29 October 2011

pink house!

I've seen a million different pink things raising awareness for Breast Cancer (pink m&m's, kitchenaide mixers, cars, ribbons out the wahzoo) but, the all time coolest thing I think I've seen is the White house lit up pink in honour of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Breast cancer sucks....pass it on.

28 October 2011

assam tea

Assam is a north-eastern state of India surrounded by 6 sister states also bordering Bangledesh and Bhutan. The area is known for it's gorgeous geography, preserved wildlife such as the one horned Indian Rhinoceros, Assam silk and Assam tea. Of course that's not all it's known for but, those are a few big ones. I am just chomping at the bit to visit or possibly live in the culturally rich area.

Assam tea is a black tea clearly named for it being produced in Assam. It is a tea that is known for its robustness and strong bright colour. This is the world's largest tea producing area. It seems to be of the perfect land lying between two significant rivers, the perfect altitude, with the perfect amount of rainfall which is heavy in the monsoon season and the perfect temperature! It's this combination of elements that gives Assam tea such a strong unique flavour for a black tea.
I know it's my favourite black tea!!