the dreaming pear

life {enchanted}

adventures in marmalade

It's been quite a while since I got my new website up and running and began playing around with my new branding as The Dreaming Pear.

I've been spending most of my time working my day job at The People's Food Co-op of Kalamazoo, which is what pays my bills and also teaches me so much every day about wellness, about excellence in customer service, about positivity in communication, and about compassionate business skills, among many other useful things!

So much gratitude!

I value my experiences at the co-op, and I also value the opportunity to simultaneously and slowly build up my art and massage studio into a thriving business that will eventually sustain me full-time.

Eventually is a long way off, however, and my blog posts will most likely be few and far between for a while, as I only have the energy to write these days when I feel super inspired by something amazing.

This weekend I found that inspiration, and it fits in nicely with one of my intended future topics for my blog: Things I'm Loving!

There are so many things in this incredible world that inspire me, and I thought it would be fun to occasionally share some of them with you in addition to writing about my art- and massage-related journeys.

I hope you enjoy this little view into my current winter inspirations!

Wintersweet: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home by Tammy Donroe Inman

Wintersweet: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home by Tammy Donroe Inman

I am loving this cold, somewhat snowy Michigan winter, and I have been wanting to do some baking. Without knowing I was looking for it I found this jewel of a winter dessert cookbook on Friday at Bookbug, one of Kalamazoo's terrific local independent bookstores:

Wintersweet: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home by Tammy Donroe Inman

A quick flip through the pages sold me immediately. Everything about this cookbook is beautiful, including the author's philosophy about the importance of eating locally-available, as-fresh-as-possible, in-season produce and supporting local farms. Equally as important, every single recipe is something I would love to eat, and I got excited about spending the rest of the winter trying out as many delicious new desserts as I can.

Citrus season is in full swing in the US, so while citrus may not be local here in Michigan, it's as fresh as we can get it. At the suggestion of one of my coworkers I flipped through the citrus chapter to find something I could easily make without buying any new kitchen equipment or staple ingredients.

First up: Orange Kumquat Marmalade!

Thanks to the wonderful fresh organic produce at the co-op, I purchased the blood oranges, lemon, and kumquats before I left work on Saturday, and yesterday I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen delightedly slicing citrus half-moons and watching a boiling pot of citrus-y sugar water.

{I know I'm not supposed to watch the pot, but I couldn't help myself since this was my first attempt at marmalade and I had no idea what to expect!}

Before I figured out I needed to take the lid off!

Before I figured out I needed to take the lid off!

It was touch-and-go for a while, since I wasn't sure whether or not to put the lid on the pot, which boiled over, leaving a caramel-y citrus mess burned onto the stovetop. It took about an hour longer to cook down than the recipe said it should, and I was afraid I was going to end up with something hard and inedible after it cooled. {In hindsight I'm guessing no lid is best.}

Thankfully, marmalade seems to be somewhat foolproof, and with such a great recipe to follow my first attempt turned out amazing!

I love the ruby red hue from the blood oranges.

I love the ruby red hue from the blood oranges.

This morning I spread my new marmalade on buttered toast for breakfast and enjoyed a heavenly minute or two savoring it while eating it as fast as possible because it was so freaking delicious!

dreaming big

Whew! It's been quite a year!

At this time last year I was just beginning my recovery from a frightening experience with anxiety and depression.

A life instinct somewhere inside me urged me to pick up the phone and call my closest family and friends for support. Out of my self-induced loneliness I built a loving support network of family, friends, and professionals to guide me back to health.

Right before my brain chemistry and emotional confidence wavered last summer I had taken the huge step of signing the lease for a studio space for my fledgling art and massage business. I was so proud of myself!

And yet also terrified.

Creating a space for myself to create and simply be was like second nature for me.

Inviting people I had never met before into my space was foreign and frightening. Baring my vision and my soul to strangers left me feeling more exposed than I had ever felt before.

And more empowered.

It was and still is an incredible feeling to express myself so completely and be affirmed in my self-expression.

I've been open for several Art Hops now in the Park Trades Center Mezzanine Studio, and I love it! I am only in my studio on Mondays and for Art Hops, so my space and my work are evolving and progressing slowly, but slow is good for me.

I am now in the process of redeveloping my brand concept and my website, and I am very excited with the results so far!

I invite you to explore my website and get to know me and my work and my dream. Maybe I'll see you at an Art Hop some day soon!