Lakes instead of seas…railroad tracks…

Gallery

This gallery contains 18 photos.

My little family and I left the Aegean Sea months ago… I miss it! The smell, the color shift depending on the mood of sky…from blues to greens to grays and back again… that salty smell… That vibrancy in that … Continue reading

Inspiration

With beautiful natural eggs colors like these you don’t need to dye eggs for Easter.

Been making connections and finding inspiration in others stories as I let my feelers out into the world.

Some fun things:

A family friend, Beth Mathews especially if you are interested in graphic design but she shares many fabulous things, a big sweetheart…

From Beth I found this textile designer, sewer extrodinar and mother of six, Anna Marie Gorgeous color and patterns.

Locally, I had cut out an inspiring article about a darling colorful baby shoe designer, Chelsea of Chelsea-baby. She started out of her parent’s basement too and is blossoming right now! I was lucky enough to meet her down my street! Chance or fate:)

I had a meeting this week with a store. Although it wasn’t the right fit for the product I have now it made me prepare. I met a nice shop women with lots of high-end retail experience who gave me a lot of feedback and I don’t think will mind if I contact her with future questions. Learned about a cool high end site, twist with delicious jewelry! Thanks Amanda!

Nava Zahavi, who takes Byzantine, this Turkish flair of jewelry to another level!

Dolores Petunia, have been admiring her work for a long time! Colors, colors and quality funky pieces!

My friend Molly, a talented artist who is about to launch an Etsy store…patiently await but here is her blog for now,there there. You should be excited for her watercolors! Thanks for her critics and advice as well!

Mimi…hey girl thanks for the good eye and feedback!

To my mom and hubby for support and watching the bigs(our daughter) so much!

Silk cocoons and lust…

Once upon a time…

when my husband was just my cute Turkish fling…

Pre-babies and stresses and worries(or different types of stresses and worries, much more egocentric)…

Pre-big love…just an evolving love…a lust…

We would take long drives through the twisty mountain roads behind our little college town of Eskişehir, Turkey…

We would save tortises from becoming road kill and stop for Turkish tea breaks in shacks set up by villagers for the sole purpose to make a few extra kuruş (pennies)…

We would use our “arkadaş”, friend in Turkish, which was our nickname for our little pocket dictionaries we carried everywhere for translation assistance as we fell in lust…then big-love through eyes and kind gestures…actions, not the words…those came later…

On one of our drives we happened into a friend’s village…

A village filled with crumbling stone buildings, lush gardens, huge Turkish hospitality and one big salmon pink cement building filled to the brim with silk moth pods…these cocoons…millions of them…

The villagers would “grow” the moths, or their caterpillars which twirl into cocoons in their fields(nature is so amazing!). The villagers would then harvest them, branches and all, as to not disrupt the fine continuous strands that silk is revered for. They proceed to bring them to this pink pop of a building for processing.

The cocoons then go into a big oven room (scarily reminded me of a concentration camp or something) and the worms perish as their fine silk thread cocoons are salvaged and woven into one luxurious type of fabric, fiber or thread…

The thermometer gauge…ekkk…

So very interesting I must say. There is often such a disconnect from how things are made. I love learning the whole process of a craft. Can you imagine just how many of those pods it takes to make a lovely silk necklace from me:)

I really enjoyed seeing this those years ago when I was falling in love:)

Grateful to say I still love silk and my husband even more!

P.S. It’s official my darlings! I have a name for my little evolving jewelry collection, Kisa Kollections.
There is alot of silk and alot of love in this venture as well:)

Busyness planning…

Well my darlings, many of you know of my craftiness and wanderlust and my hope to bundle it into a sweet business package or two:)

My biggest excuse or complaint is not that I can’t do it but my lack of time, or is it my own focus? This new path has not been paved for me before…Fresh asphalt found and laid by me…so…

I have enlisted help;

A: My most important job still is mother. And mothering is no joke. I have the utmost respect for single-mothers, all mothers truly! If you do it well that involves constant attention, teaching, monitoring, healthy food preparations and clean ups, laughter, patience and so much love but I am trying to balance it all a bit more. Chasing balance…(megs)

B: Between my own dear mother, my hubby and his enrollment in English courses that offer childcare it is such a gift! Dearest aunties and uncles close by are so sweet to help when they can!

C: Finding a schedule…I have to work in the mornings! This growing baby belly makes me sooooo sleepy other times of the day! Or evenings if a nap was fit in:)

D: I enrolled in a small business class at women venture to kind of figure out if this is a feasible, viable idea for me and my small growing family. Trying make a real go of it. Help with pricing and where to sells…so hard…the making and collecting is the fun part …not so much a fan of the rest of it:)

I have scratched the name Mavisu Designs and am leaning towards Tied to Travel?, Traveled and Tied? something…anyone help me brainstorm here…silken wanderlust?…

Here is my “elevator pitch” for the class…the 30 seconds you may have to tell someone what you do:

-Tied and traveled designs are my jewelry lines that evolved from two of my most life changing experiences, the loss of my father and living abroad(ultimately making a second home) in the country of Turkey.

-Tied: stems from repurposing my father’s stunning silk ties into modern, wearable art. Custom orders are very welcome to help you keep a bit of your loved one close.

-Traveled: While living in Turkey I was constantly inspired by bold colors and textures. These collections use hand-dyed Turkish silks, semi-precious stones, gold plated brass and hand-woven needle lace flowers with their own story to tell.

So…

This is a design I did for my sister using on of our Dad’s pasley ties(he could pull of anything and look handsome, even look manly in pink!), vintage buttons, rough cut dyed agates, baroque pearls and a little lace…

You like? I am kind of a tease as many of you said you liked my Turkish imports…but I promise I am getting my act together and things will be up for sale soon!

Thanks for reading…

Thanks for looking…

Thanks for the support…and patience…

xo

Do you ever read your baby book?

Do you have something to read?

Did your parents keep up your baby book?

Is this even part of your culture?

Not a Turkish thing but very much an American one…Where did it come from?…“Many baby books were giveaways from companies that sold baby-related products, from Mellin baby food to bank accounts”.

My youngest sister is almost crying reading this as she is the youngest of 4 and she has no baby book or a basically empty one in the least.

I have the most written in mine being the oldest of the 4. Progressively gets less and less down the sibling line as less and less free time is allotted for our dear mother with progressively more and more babies!

But to be honest I have only read mine maybe twice in my life so to my dear youngest sister you are not missing much:)

To our mother’s credit we each got a box in the basement stuffed with drawings, report cards and the like. We just went through it together a few months ago.

Alot was hilarious, more was just crap that got thrown away or reshoved into the box as we are a bunch of saps who can’t get rid of stuff. Poor mom is still stuck with those boxes(plus a ton of other stuff) in her basement.

For our daughter though I decided to do something a little different…

I didn’t want a fill-in-the-blank question and answer form so I got a gorgeous blank book from paperblanks, specifically Filigree Floral Ebony inspired by French textile design. Has a magnetic closure and a pocket in the back for “extras”. Good blog actually, gorgeous books and a wonderfully inspiring company I just found out…

Our daughter’s life has been extraordinary since day one, she flew across the world in a baby duffle bag at age 17 days. Her life will always be intertwined with death as she is the true light that kept us going showing us the full circle of life! A global citizen always she will be… Here is her’s and her grandfather’s song…

Beyond that she is an amazing little creature who is constantly evolving and growing (hopefully we all are) into her own little being…oh those terrible twos aren’t too bad but we had a tantrum this morning…goodness one for the book all because she ONLY wants to be OUTSIDE next to the neighbors chickens! I know…the excitement…real live chickens that she gets to feed…with her own tiny two hands!

Her book is mainly written by me; her mom(surprise) but has so many wonderful inserts from her baba of course, both grandma’s, her aunties and uncles, my’s dear friends that have visited us and who knows who else for the future…Those whose lives she has touched and are constantly feeding and stimulating her growing soul! I need to not get too crazy, write small and make the pages last until she’s older!

Currently I am working on a illustrated collage of her summer finishing up her second year of life, Didim 2011.

Full of her favorites; turtles “tutle”, swimming and the sea.

Yes, our daughter’s name is Mavisu which means blue water in Turkish.

Her two best comfort friends; mine + benim ponies= “minem pomo”. She has a recent stronger affinity towards the Zebra these days, who knows why?

We paid daily homage to these birds several times per day for about a month of pigeon nesting season.

The pigeon’s (or is it a dove’s?) nest on the third floor of our house that had three different mother birds (for her sake I hope or was it the same?) with 3 sets of twin eggs right after the other, although two different times one of the babies fell out or was pushed from the nest for my two year old with eagle eyes to find both times…slightly tramatic but we worked through it. The mother wouldn’t take the bird back though even when I put it back inside the nest using a piece of paper as to not get my scent on it. Harshness of mother nature up close…the mother not letting this ugly little chick under her to keep warm and then sat on it and smashed it…ekkk.

All birds are “ga” in my daughter’s vocabulary which is neither Turkish nor English but her own special language that I beleive evolved from “quack, quack”?? Everyone just goes with it…

Here is a glimpse of her oak tree growth chart with the Minnesota inspired squirrels her daddy loves to watch run around my mother’s yard.

Feels good to draw again…need to keep at the practice though!

Will post finished pictures when completed…

I L.O.V.E. love the illustration over at Rumisu!

Will finish the collage with some chickens for sure, a hammock, more sea and sun.

Drawing with her baba…I must write I am already impressed with my baby girl’s drawing and puzzle skills! Maşallah!

What else should I put in her book? current events? More pictures?

What is in your baby book that you cherish? facts? locks of hair? family history?

What is an individual heirloom or piece of your childhood that you cherish?

Are there traditions for children from your culture or family you could share?

xo

Experiential gift giving… Experiential living

I grew up like this..

ME: “mom what do you want for your birthday?”
MOM: “Just make me a card.”

Recently, it was Baby girl’s “twin’s” birthday. Her dear best buddy of 1 month age difference with similarly crazy head of curls, similar size cute bodies and big blue eyes as opposed to my baby’s big browns.

We had to find her a present…I need to admit right here and those that know me well will concur that I have the bad habit of late gift giving but once I do it will usually (I hope) be pretty good:) Also the shopping in our resort town isn’t the best so I wondered what could we be giving our little buddy…time to get creative!

How about…A big handwritten ticket stub for a night of fun at Didim’s amusement park, Lunapark (remember my re-found trampoline love there). Not only had we talked about going for too long but it could be something we could do together, an experience we can have together…all the better I say!

I did find a little tea set too, as she is a mix of two of the biggest tea cultures, English and Turkish(although there is a bit of American blood in there too which I love:) So she will need tea practice.

I had to wrap it…

So I busted out my acrylic paint while baby girl was sleeping. I stacked up about 3 pages of newspaper as not to bleed through and just started squirting, stroking and playing. It felt really good to have a brush in my hand again…been too long…even if it was just some colorful mark making(funnest thing about painting!).

Let that dry as big girl was sleeping.

Then she awoke to a fun colorful surprise on the floor that mom actually let her touch! Gave her a washable marker and let her go at it on top of my acrylic paint.

Turned out lovely…little artwork from my baby too! I think better late than never translates well here. ekkk…Can’t wait to pick a date to cash in our fun filled experience together.

So experiential gift giving. goes hand in hand with, “just make me a card.” Just make me something that has meaning, thought, something tied to it other than just giving something because that is what the holiday says to do…

One of my favorite sites is Etsy, where the buyer connects with the seller directly. The seller’s are artists from all walks of life and mediums who find passion it what they are putting out into the world.

We are going through some major changes here in my tiny household, We are putting forth plans to move to America. There I wrote it…it’s out there. Also better late than never and Together. Not just my daughter and I there but with my hubby too.

NOW…

We wait. Wait for visas and goverments. Wait for things to sell.

THIS I have been waiting for for so long. But is it the right time?

We collect. Collect money. Collect memories of the things we will miss here, in Turkey. Collect from the other family who is sad they will be left behind.

We fight. Fight resentment for leaving. Fight for a new life. Fight for each other.

We Feel. Feel defensive. Fell empathy. Feel LOVE.

I freak out. My husband quit his reliable job. We have no health insurance. Our cafe is less than booming. He just got hit with a student loan he had thought had gotten lost(there was a serious chance it had). I have student loans. We will live with my mother, we will be next to my family again…I freak out less…

MOM: “It will all work out.”

Just as I planned to write this post about experiential gift giving another blogger sent me this, Mission, Tara Agacayak, someone who has lived a few years ahead of me in this; living between two cultures, suspended between two worlds, someone whose words have often brought me comfort has recently posted this…

This week I got a phone call from home. Someone very dear to me has been diagnosed with health problems and though the prognosis is good, it was a wake up call…

Not things. Not stuff. But experiences.

As the two year anniversary of our father’s deaths is approaching. It is time…

To have a new experience together with my tiny blessed healthy little family.

To make people cards.

xo

Has news ever rocked your world?

Does creating bring you comfort?

Salad dressing recipe…and the secret ingredient is???

So do you think it looks yummy?

Well what is in there?

3 large potatoes steamed and cooled
1 cob of corn, cut from cob, steamed and cooled
1 large tomato
2 small cucumbers
1 small white onion
1 large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

chop it all up to your liking, fine chunks or hunks…

And the dressing…(approximately- I eye ball and taste)
2 heaping tablespoons extra virgin GOOD olive oil (very, very spoiled by that here on the Aegean coast)
3 heaping tablespoons apple cider vinegar
dash of salt to taste

plus the, drum roll please, secret ingredient…

1 heaping tablespoon sumac flakes

No need to emulsify the oil blah, blah, blah just pour the ingredients right over whatever your salad of choice is for that meal.

Mix well and let it sit as the flavors meld. Dash of pepper could do you good too.

I use this dressing often be it simple green salads or a whatever is in the fridge salad. (My sister is the granola bar rockstar but my mom is the whatever is in the fridge SALAD rockstar!!!)

So my secret sumac ingredient, (sumak in turkish) is no secret at all of course. It has been used for centuries or more. But was very new to me and I believe is for most Americans.

I learned it from the old chef at our cafe…and it’s bomb! He was from Adana in the south east of Turkey. This spice is commonly used there, getting closer to the middle east, as a compliment with kebabs, mmm…mmm…spicy Adana kebaps with a side of an onion, parsley and sumac salad! yes please!

These photos are from a lovely lunch with my hubby yesterday. Despite the heat we sat on the balcony…it was nice our baby girl was napping…we could eat slowly and chat. He doesn’t mind me taking pictures during our meal…very supportive:)

The salad is nice but did you notice the fried cheese…yeah that’s right…fried cheese…

Hellim in Turkish…is a hard, salty(some brands/village varieties need to be rinsed because sooo salty) cheese sliced lengthwise and fried! Turning it into this gooey textured goodness…yum and yum…

Lots of bread is a must, no excuse in a Turkish meal. My sister-in-law wonders how people get full in America if you don’t eat bread with every meal? Do they just go about hungry?

Anyways the bread is always fresh and crusty and serves as a utensil almost, a catalyst really for dipped delights. In this case olive oil from the olive bowl which is always full, ready in the fridge! (There’s my cute hubby reflected on the spoon)

In my Midwestern town we were mainly exposed to black olives that were factory pitted in a can and about the only good thing about them is that it was fun to eat them off the tips of your fingers(You know what I mean right?). Maybe throw some green ones with reds pimentos around too, slice them on your pizza…I guess…

Basically I never really liked olives…

Then I came to Turkey and lived on the Aegean coast…

There are huge (CRAZY ones my husband bought off the side of the road, you can hunt them out like that everywhere here!), big and little, black and green, and pink, and brown and yum and yum…and you can taste them ALL before you buy them (another whole post evolving here)…

But after all that goodness…

This is why I stay…it’s those eyes that won me over even without words…

Well I spilled many secrets today…AFIYET OLSUN!