Saturday, February 14, 2009

Massage inside the ear

Requirement: be able to wiggle your ears.

Ok, so I'm sitting at the computer, and my brother was practicing his highland bagpipes in the same room. I love the music, but it's a tad loud. So, I'm wearing ear plugs.

I just happened to wiggle my ears. Well, when I did so, I remembered (I'd known then forgotten) that wiggling the ears while wearing ear plugs is a good way to get a massage on the inside of your ears!

Ok, so it's not exactly something crafty or whatever, but it's an activity so I just thought I'd post it! :P

Hawi'ian Lei

I went to a workshop today, in which I learned how to make a lei! Well, there was extra material, and they said we could take some home. So, I did, and got my mom to take photos as I made another one.

4 ti leaves
flowers with stems (I use orchids here)


1) Get ahold of some ti leaves. Explore around online to find them. If you actually live in Hawai'i, it's my understanding that you ought to be able to find them fairly easily.

2) Prepare the leaves. We didn't actually do this in class (they were prepared ahead of time), so while I can tell you that it involves ironing, I can't say on what setting. If I figure it out, I'll post it. Until then - good luck! :) After ironing, you cut them along down the "spine" of the leaf, so that you end up with the spine by itself, and two sides of the leaf separate.

3) Take two pieces of leaves, and tie them around your toe, or around a partner's finger.

4) Twist the two leaves together.

5) When you get to about a couple inches from the end of the leaves, you need to add more leaves in. This is done by winding one new leaf around one of the old leaves, and doing the same with a second new leaf and the 
other old leaf.

6) Once you've got the new leaves wound around the old leaves, simply wind the new leaves around each other the you had been the old two.

7) Continue on like this until you've used up all the leaves.

8) If you're not working with a partner, then before you're through you'll probably have to start stretching a little, like I am in the photo above. The way I dealt with this is illustrated in the photo to the left.

9) Once you've used all the leaves, tie it off at the end.

10) Remove the other end from around your toe (or your partner's finger) and place the knotted end through the loop. You may want to untie and then retie the looped end, to keep the lei from coming undone.

11) Now it's time to place flowers in the lei! :) Make an opening between the leaves, as shown to the left.

12) Place the stem of the flower through this opening. Make a second opening, and put the stem through this opening as well.

Although the flowers won't last for long (I think), the lei can last for up to a year. The instructor said that you can simply place it in the fridge or freezer when it is not in use.

I asked the instructor if there are any local (to Portland, OR) alternatives to using ti leaves. She said she doesn't know of any alternatives. I'll probably experiment sometime. If I do find a good alternative, I'll either add a note here, or perhaps even make an entirely new post about it!

The instructor said that Hawai'ians have been using ti leaves to make leis for about ten years. So I guess it's not exactly a "traditional" Hawai'ian craft, but I think the word "authentic" can be applied to it! =)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sugar Waffles

Really really yummy. You cook the waffles on the stove, and actually crystalize the sugar onto them. This is a recipe I learned from my mom.


Plenty of sugar
Two waffles


1) Place about one and a half tablespoons of butter in a large pan on the stove. Turn up the heat to where you would boil water. Remember - we're going to crystalize the sugar.
2) While the butter in the pan is melting, butter both sides of both waffles.
3) Once the butter in the pan has melted, place waffles in pan. Get butter thoroughly melted onto them.
4) Using a spoon, spread sugar onto one side of the waffles. Turn them over, so that the sugar side is down. Once the sugar side has had time to start to brown (you might want to peek under the waffles to keep an eye on the browning process) do the same with the other side.
5) I usually put sugar twice on each side of the waffles.
6) They are done when they are nicely browned.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Brighid's Cross

I want to post some craft or recipe in honor of Imbolc today. Unfortunately, I don't have any ideas for anything I actually know how to do. So, I am reduced to posting a link to another site, which tells how to make Brighid's Cross. I'd write out how to do it myself, except that I haven't done it before, so I wouldn't know where to start.

If you're wondering what the heck Imbolc is I'd recommend clicking on the link I've provided about it, but here it is in a nutshell: it's an old Pagan holiday celebrating the season of rebirth - things are starting to grow again! The deity it focuses on is Brighid...who happens to also be a Christian saint! So, Brighid's Cross is an activity for Christians as well as Pagans. Cool or what? :)

Next time I'll provide something I actually know how to do. Honest. 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Greens with a Little Something Extra

When I was growing up greens meant canned spinach, canned mustard greens or mustard greens cooked for about 2 hours. Believe it or not, I liked greens then - shake some hot pepper vinegar abundantly on the slippery, squishy grey-green leaves and you had an appropriate Southern side dish. Now I like my greens with the color green still intact. Hot and Sour Greens are also good with sauted onions, currants, olive oil, or pepper vinegar.

Hot and Sour Greens
(from Andrew Weil, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health)

1 bunch greens
(arugula, endive, chard, collards, kale, mustard, tat soy, bok choy)
2 tsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

Rinse and slice greens in ½ inch shreds.
Heat oil, stir-fry garlic and pepper flakes 1 minute.
Add greens and mustard powder. Stir to coat greens with garlic and oil. Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Add to skillet.
Cook, covered, over medium heat for about 5 minutes.