Tuesday, May 13, 2014

College Grad!

The last few months have been pretty hectic as I organized two senior projects, took a trip to Kyrgyzstan with my mom, developed my business, wrote a book (and other stuff), and graduated from Prescott College!

Now that it's all over, let me share the details...

I just graduated on May 10 from Prescott College with a double competence (competence is PC code word for 'major')--one titled Arts and Letters and the second titled Globalization and Religious Ethics. I posted about it a few months ago...
(I haven't actually received my degree yet, but I did get this cool medal...)

For both projects I worked with a women's craft organization in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan. My mom and I just traveled there March 28-April 10 and we really got a surprise from Janyl, the woman who runs the organization. She scheduled a fantastic trip for us. Rather than just staying in Karakol and learning about Janyl's cooperative, she and her husband drove us all over the place visiting many craft organizations an meeting some of Kyrgyzstan's master craftswomen. We had SO much fun and learned SO much, but it was a very fast paced trip. As soon as we got home, I had to dig right in to the completion of my senior projects, so I didn't even have time to post photos!
Well, they're on facebook now, so you can click this link to see them. 

The final product of one of my senior projects is a book about our adventures during the two weeks Mom and I spent in Kyrgyzstan this spring. I have a pdf of the book, so if anyone would like it, please email me. Hard copies of the book are also available for purchase HERE. Or go to Blurb.com and search the Travel books in the Bookstore for Masters of Craft, Mothers of Culture. As a bonus, all of the proceeds from online sales will go to support disadvantaged girls and women in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan. The funds will go to Asylzat Craft Cooperative which provides income and educational opportunities for women in the community.

So now that I've graduated, what's next?! I am planning on staying in Arizona for a while. Jett and I started a jewelry business that specializes in fundraisers. So, if anyone needs a fundraiser--- maybe your church group, softball team, school band--- just let me know and we will help you out. We make high quality, hypoallergenic, personalized, stainless steel rings. You can see some photos on our website: www.redrockcustomjewelers.com

I will also be relaxing with my dog, watching the ducks eat snails in the yard--probably continuing with my manzanita cribbage board production--and exploring what sort of real world jobs are available to me. If you have any suggestions... I'm sure I could use them!

Thank you to everyone for all the love and support! I finally graduated college, but I couldn't have done it alone!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sourdough Adventures

In February, I decided to reward myself for completing all the essays and paperwork required to apply to do my senior projects. My reward manifested as the creation of my first sourdough starter. A lot of friends supported and cheered my effort, but I was also told I shouldn't be dismayed if it doesn't work the first time. Apparently, sourdough can be tricky and starters can be difficult to keep alive.
Mine flourished. It lived and grew on top of the fridge. I fed it every day and encouraged it with kind words. It grew SO well that after only a week, I decided to try it out in a recipe.
Roasted garlic and rosemary focaccia. Success! Even though my starter instructions said to feed everyday for two weeks, I went ahead and stashed it away in the fridge. Sourdough doesn't just hang out in the fridge, though. It requires a weekly commitment, at least. So every week I have been pulling out the starter to feed it and using the extra to make whatever I can.
 The second week, I made an herbed sourdough pizza crust, topped with sweet potato and spinach.
 After that, a sourdough fougasse with seeds and nuts. It was delicious, but didn't turn out as pretty as I would have liked. Fougasse has a notoriously 'rustic' look, and has even been called ugly. Mine is almost there, but I think it looks a bit too puffy and the holes are not clearly holes.
Last week's carrot cake was a very pleasant surprise. I expected some hint of sourdough flavor, but there was none at all. It was moist and cakey and perfect. Definitely in my file of sourdough recipes to use again.
This week's fougasse is a little bit better, but I think I still need to work on it. Perhaps splitting the dough in half to make two loaves would allow me to get the dough thinner and more spread out on the pan to avoid the closing up of my pretty slices. Good looking or not, I can't wait to tear off a chunk and scoop up some roasted red pepper hummus! Nom nom nom!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Community Foundations in Kyrgyzstan

The journey is almost over... I am now officially in my final semester at Prescott College. But, I still have a lot of work to do before graduation.

I am currently working on capstone projects for two majors, Globalization and Religious Ethics and Arts and Letters. For both projects, I will be working with the Asylzat Craft Cooperative in Karakol, Kyrgystan. The final products of these projects will be a full project report including a 3-year business plan for the cooperative, with the goal of helping the cooperative become financially self-sustainable, and a book about Asylzat and my experience there.

A photo from my last visit to Asylzat in fall 2012
I am SO excited to go back to Kyrgyzstan for the beginning of April. And, even more exciting for me, is the opportunity I have to share the experience with my mom, who has bravely accepted the daunting task of being my research assistant.

To prepare for this trip, and to kick off some strong financial support for the cooperative, I have started a crowd funding campaign that anyone can contribute to. Check it out here: http://www.gofundme.com/79jy2w .  And share it with your friends!