Jessica of Turkey Cookies recently posted an interview conducted by a friend of hers. I thought it would be fun to participate, so I signed up. Her questions were so perfect that they sort of inspired some long winded answers. I loved revisiting the topics she chose. Thank you, Jessica. Your interview questions were absolutely perfect.
1. This summer you hosted a go local challenge (which I LOVED). Why are you so passionate about local eating?
I've always been so inspired by Farmer's Markets and local artisans. My initial love of local foods stems from my travels in Europe. I can't stress enough how much the experiences I had over seas have impacted the way I see the world. I fell completely in love with shopping at the out door markets and seeing the farmers and artisans selling their wares. I also love places like Pike Place Market in Seattle and the Lavendar Festival in Sequim, WA. The first time I started shopping at a Farmer's Market was back in the early 90's when I was in college. I used to ride my bike from home to school and cross paths with the market in downtown Boise, ID. I always bought myself flowers and bread. Sometimes fresh produce, but mostly I saw this weekly stop as a luxury and not a place to purchase necessities. When I lived in Arkansas for four years the closest market was an hour away in Little Rock, so that wasn't a weekly occurance. We moved back to a small town outside of Boise back in 2002, and I immediately discovered the local Farmer's Market in our town. It's not the trendy over priced kind of market found in most cities. This little market is comprised of local, small town farmers who sell their wares for reasonable prices, but until last year I still felt the market was mostly a luxury.
Then came Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. That book changed everything about the way we eat and the way I viewed my local market and regional growers. I immediately started doing research on local foods and what was available near me. I vowed that the summer of 2008 would be my year to start going local. What I learned was more than just how affordable eating local really can be. I also learned how much ownership I suddenly felt for the foods we eat, and the people who grow them. I have never felt more connected to my community or my dinner table.
Last year we had 21 people sign up to Go Local. This year I want 40, so get ready!! We're going local in a big way again.
2. You've just started knitting and are a rather crafty person (you have a great etsy shop by the way!). What inspires you most to create?
I believe I have always been crafty, but it took me a long time to trust my creativity the way I do now. I remember sewing and crafting when I was young, but it's not a distinct memory. Mostly I just yearned to create and had no idea where to go with this yearning. When I left home my Mom gave me a garage sale sewing machine. I used it to make things like pillows and curtains mostly. One time I saw a linen dress I really loved in a J Jill catalog. I went to the store and bought this periwinkle blue linen. I took it home and just started cutting and sewing. The final result wasn't exactly like the picture in the catalog, but it was close. I was so proud of myself, but the best part was being able to have the dress I wanted without the $100 price tag. I'm very frugal by nature, and I really don't enjoy spending money, so I think my desire to create was also born out of necessity. Most of the things I create are functional and allow me to have what I want without spending a lot of money. Blogging has really impacted my love of craft and given me so much more confidence with my creativity. I remember the first time I discovered crafty blogs. My life has never been the same. An interview I heard on craftsanity with an artist named Alynn Guerra really changed my way of thinking about what an artist really is.
3. One way I think you are rather creative is that you are a music teacher. Tell us a bit more about this side of you.
Music was my first love. It moves me in ways that I find difficult to express, and my involvement with music has been the most prolific way for me to express my creativity throughout my life. I started taking piano lessons when I was 8. I never loved playing the piano as much as I loved singing, but it was a rule in our house that we had to take music lessons. When I got into Jr. High I really started to love singing and at that point my piano playing was important for me to accompany myself. I was lucky enough to participate in choirs conducted by some of the most respected choral conductors in our region. My choir teachers have had a huge and lasting impact on my life. I will forever be indebted to them for what they gave me during the most challenging times.
As much as I loved music I also loved teaching. I knew very early on that I would be a teacher. I didn't know for sure what I would teach. I thought about several different subjects before I settled on music. Once I made the decision it was a challenge for me to get through school. The technical parts of music were difficult for me to enjoy. I actually dropped out of college for awhile and didn't return to school until after I was married and had moved to Arkansas. That's when I met Mundane Jane and her buddy Tawana. Someday I'll tell that story because it's a good one.
Once I finally graduated I began teaching at a private Catholic school. When we moved back to Idaho in 2002 I took a break for awhile before I decided to return to teaching. While I was busy getting my teaching certificate in Idaho my friend introduced me to an Arts Charter School being developed. I was so excited to be a part of opening that school and developing the general music and choral programs there. It was a big job and it was very rewarding. Then came Amelia and I knew I needed to take a break from the demands of teaching so I could focus on some other aspects of my life more fully. I miss singing with my students, but this year has been invaluable to me in recovering from my stressed out state of the past few years.
I'm currently teaching a few preschool music classes each week and I love it. There is no stress involved and it keeps me making music in such a basic and pleasing way.
4. Spring is just around the corner- what is your advice for someone who wants to start a garden to feed her local food cravings?
I'm certainly not an expert gardener. I learned to garden very early on in life. My dad grew up on a farm where they produced beets and dairy here in rural Idaho. He always made sure that we had a HUGE garden growing up. One of our tasks in the summer months was to weed the garden for 30 minutes every day. We hated it so much. Sometimes we made the best of it, though. I wish I could find a picture I have of me in the garden when I was about 10 years old. I was covered from head to toe in mud. I was wearing a hot pink mama made outfit, too. So really, that picture could pretty much sum up the way I live my life today. I'm so thankful for the lessons I learned from my parents about being frugal, working hard and taking time to enjoy the simple things in life.
If you are a first time gardener I really recommend just jumping in and going for it. Find a spot in your yard that gets a lot of sun. Choose 3 things you love more than anything else and plant them. The next year you'll be ready to expand and things will take off from there. I learn best by trial and error, so that's my approach to gardening, too. Plus...the Mail Man helps a lot. He told me this year that I'd have to take on more of the grunt work of building some new beds. I'm ready for it, but I'll be honest...I'm a little intimidated.
5. What is one way you re-energize so that you can do all the wonderful things you do?
I'll admit, this is my weakness. If I had my way I would have a weekly massage, but that's not going to happen any time soon. Mostly I find that I really just need some quiet time to read or take a hot bath every once in awhile. If I take time to do that I feel so much better. But I forget a lot and need to do this more. Thanks for reminding me.
If you made it through this interview, congratulations. I didn't intend to be so long winded. If you would like me to interview you...leave a comment and request an interview. I'll take the first five requests.